Saturday, May 2nd, 2015
The Day of the Lion
One young woman in particular wanted the experience of
what’s called a mangal arati, a
ceremony with chants and images at 4:30 AM.
She made the effort, on the will of her desire, she showed up all happy
as a guest. She was also keen to go on a
morning walk with a bunch of us with destination the nearby botanical gardens,
once again. Besides ourselves there was
only one human who came to share the space of shanti, calmness. I guess he
was out on his own meditation. While
sitting on a rock and chanting a quiet mantra
(the gayatri), frogs were all around
us as they tried to leap across our pathway.
Cardinal birds with a fire engine red colour landed on rocks
nearby. Who could blame them for being
nosy, we are a curious sight – human beings in exotic attire of saris and dhotis, and who are chanting mantras.
By afternoon, we made our way to Saint Catherine’s Street
for more pleasure and duty which comes in the form of kirtan. The streets were
crowded. We were just under 20 in
number. Outnumbered we were by the
thousands there and who were on the hot pursuit for maya. Some are tourists, and
they, like everyone else, are caught up in the Saturday spirit of freedom in
this dominant, plentiful city. Generally
you can tell who the tourists are, they have a slightly different air about
them, an air of wonder. With our chanting
procession, we did our grand finale in front of one of those older, gorgeous
cathedrals to be admired. With the rule
of time behind us, we were scheduled to be present at the Iskcon Centre on Pie
IX Boulevard to honour the lion avatar,
Narasingha, a big day on the Vaishnava calendar.
I had received an email that came from a monk friend of
mine, Krishna Kshetra Swami. It was the
first draft of a script, a conversation between Narasingha and ultimate demon,
Hiranyakashipu. Then Yves Prescott, another
friend of mine, joined me in the dramatical reading of this very witty script. It gave delight to the ears of the community
and added a special flavour to the evening.
Everybody likes lions, especially this one.
May the Source be with you!