Behind the Chariots? I Don't Know
I can’t boast about any walking today. It took two flights to get to Durban from Mauritius, hence no time to trek. When we did arrive I was shown the below article in “The Independent” Saturday's addition. I guess you could call it a promotion for the festival we are involved with. “Meet the Man Behind the Chariots” by Arthi Sanpath.
As a young student, Canadian, Bhaktimarga Swami, had a yearning for an alternative life, and encouraged by the mysticism of the Beatles, he was drawn to a monastic lifestyle.
Swami, from Ontario, Canada, also known as the Walking Monk, is in charge of the productions at the Festival of Chariots, which will be held at the old Durban Drive Inn over the Easter weekend.
“Our heroes of the time, the Beatles, were dabbling with the mysticism of the east and so I was attracted to alternative living. I was a fine arts student, trying my hand at painting and sculpting, but I ran into a brick wall, so to speak,” said Swami, formerly known as John Peter Vis.
“Like many youths, after the counter-culture of the 1960's I sought a different purpose to life from the routine pointlessness of “live to die”. I aspired to a depth that would promise more.”
When a few monks visited his college in northern Ontario, he listened in on the conversation, and he said, “One thing led to another.” While he didn't complete his studies he found his passion for the arts encouraged within the Hare Krishna movement.
“I have a new drama called Blue Mystic which features some of the aspects of Krishna's earlier life. We will have a cast of Zulu, Indian and African participants. I am looking forward to it. Then another play called Sati looks at the interaction between Sati and Shiva. It’s more of a triangle dynamic involving Shiva's-in-law, Daksha. You can expect contempt, loyalty, love. We'll incorporate traces of the east and west and Africa.”
Swami has walked across Canada, Mauritius, Ireland, Israel, Trinidad and Guyana. He calls it his “downtime”.
“It’s through the walking that you get inspiration. The creative side of an individual becomes enhanced through the treks. I began my first walk across Canada in 1996, a result of both happy and troubled times the year before. Even a monk is confronted with ‘challenges’.”
He next plans to walk from Boston to New York, and plans to walk a route in Africa, should he be up to it. “Let’s see how the legs hold out, I am going on 63.”
May the Source be with you!