Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Manhattan, New York
The Finish Line…The Tree
We had yet to complete New Jersey before hopping on to a ferry for Manhattan, taking us towards our final destination for this walk.
Two more players entered our trekking arena; a local person, Bhakta Avatara, and Jake from Michigan. Seven of us took boldly to the streets despite it being overcast with light rain. Through Newark downtown we went. And then we came upon bridges with walkways - rarely used. They take you over the river before reaching Jersey City. Before we came to the posh and clean waterfront with new high-rises, we traveled through areas of human embarrassment - trash, rejected objects of food, coffee containers… We walked by a massive auto grave yard catching a glimpse of the symptoms of Kali Yuga, the age of forgotten values.
In Manhattan, the world of cultural power catches the attention. We came upon an extraordinary memorial in honour of Irish settlers who took the long journey to the US in response to devastating famine. Not far from there, just two blocks away, we observed another monument. This one was to honour the departed souls of 9/11. It was a huge square-ish run of water trailing down a dark deep well. Very impactful.
Another one of those tiny miracles occurred when I was stopped in the street by another friend, Sudha Jiva. He came at the point when the rain came more profusely. Conveniently, we took shelter of his vehicle nearby where we could talk.
“Much work needs to be done”, we both concluded in regard to promoting spiritual renaissance, one that encourages us back to the land and simple living.
A kirtan chanting party was set for our last leg of the 950-mile walk in honour of our teachers (and specifically our guru Srila Prabhupada). It began at Union Square and proceeded to Tompkins Square Park to its central point, the elm tree. It was under this tree that our divine teacher inspired his first followers to engage in the prime function for the people of this age - celebration of sacred sound. There was a small gathering that came to honour our humble event of walking from Boston to Butler and to New York. I’m grateful that Abhiram, my spiritual friend, came to join us. Not all of us hugged that very special tree but we all circumambulated it offering it the reverence and credit that it deserves.
I had the good fortune to speak about the glories of bhakti-yoga and our recent walk to a gathering at the nearby Bhakti Center. I hope that I successfully took them out to the trail in an imaginary way through the woods and along the crazy highways to capture even for a moment the glory of introspective walking.
Although this walk is now completed, I will continue with more trekking and we’ll update you with more tales. Thank you all for following us.
May the Source be with you!
17 miles / 27 km