A librarian, Ariel, accepted the name Agni at his initiation today. There was also Rahul who received the name Ramachandra (via Hridayananda Goswami) and the massage therapist, 23-year old Elvis, took the name Ekanath.
The Krishna community here in Habana was very happy for them. They could appreciate the achievement. The joy of community and initiate-recipients was expressed through the dance and mantra after the fire ceremony held in a generous woman’s apartment.
Not everyone can own a car in Cuba. At average, 20-30 dollars a month, it’s virtually impossible. Being that the way it is, a good heap of attendees walked the 5 KM to and fro. Certainly an event like a (havan) fire ceremony takes on a more traditional flavour when you walk to it. Another advantage - people are outdoors. They get to see you and you, them.
I was particularly keen on this response from the public which always gives me a big thrill, especially at our return to Riu resort in Varadero.
In the relaxed atmosphere, the pop-over and questions didn’t stop. Just as one curious browser would leave, another would come. Their question period was never long enough to go deep into a subject matter. The best of the bunch was a happy-go-lucky chap from Toronto, perhaps in his late sixties.
“What are you doing here? I see you at Yonge and Bloor all the time,” he remarks about my frequent walks there in Toronto. He was less interested in my lifestyle in place of his own I guess. This is not as a judgmental remark but he really did brag about the cigars he smokes.
“Great, but I stay away from the stuff,” I told him. “I don’t and I’m doing pretty good,” the man said in all smiles.
As I close today’s blog entry I just wanted to reveal a true smile-maker. Our new initiates and companion-monks from Canada sat together to memorize a verse from the Gita in Sanskrit whose translation goes as follows, “Even if you are habituated to erroneous deeds, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.” (4.36) This might even apply to the cigar man.