Monday, 10 August 2015

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Sunday, July 19th, 2015
Toronto, Ontario

Spirituality and Fun

I don’t think it would be an error to say that Centre Island, situated in Toronto Harbour, is probably the picnic capital of the country.  People pack lunches or ingredients for assembling food, as in a traditional sandwich, or perhaps they get behind some kind of barbecue preparation.  There’s the iconic type of Canadian family that’s present on the island but there are many more newer immigrants that come prepared with perhaps halaled, koshered, prasadamed or blessed food dishes.  All kinds of races and ages of people come to the island. They gravitate to what is like a heavenly planet. 

For day two of our festival on the island there was no shortage of fun.  At the same time, the spiritual content presented at the festival held its own as well.  The question that arises in the mind of some people in regards to spirituality and joy being separate universes was something I momentarily pondered.  Should spirituality be merely a rigid practice?  

In the evening at wrap up time, myself, along with Bhaktivinode Swami, Agnideva (a soon to be swami) and three local monks, took the journey from the ferry dock on the mainland to the ashram via a van cab.  The driver hailed from Pakistan.  I took the front seat and after a handshake with the gentleman I began a conversation.  He definitely wanted to go ‘spiritual’ with the talk.

“Why did God create human beings?” he probed.  I offered him my answer from a Vedic perspective.  In short I expressed, 

“For enjoyment,” and also went on to explain that it is an opportunity towards enlightenment.  

“There are multiple ways to answer the question,” I said.  The cab driver, however, only wanted to accept one answer. 

“God created man to worship Him.”  From his response and attitude I detected some exclusivity.  I went on to stretch my point, 

“You may say ‘worship’ but I would give it another word, ‘love’ or ‘bhakti’.  1) God can’t demand, but suggest.   2) God demonstrates love in reciprocation.”

We arrived at our destination.  We shook hands once again.  My lingering thought on the matter was that when spirituality is too rigid, is not a joyful output and is not a two-way situation then I’m out. 

Further on, I reflected on the kirtans that I enjoyed on the island and also the swim with Agnideva.  I reflected on the inseparable, beautiful and spiritual human exchanges I had with people on the island today.  I felt complete. 

May the Source be with you!

8 km

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