Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

Sunday, December 6th, 2015
Toronto, Ontario

Shoes or No?

Praveen, Mandala, and I took a short stop at the Bata Shoe Museum on Bloor during our walk. I would like to think that there’s some connection between shoes and walking, so we stopped. I was relaying to the other two how I had been inside before to view the displays. There are these stacks that were worn by Elton John. I also remember on display, the personal shoes of Glenn Gould, the renowned pianist. I was most intrigued by a pair of chappals used by an Indian Maharaja, a king. Each time his foot came down with his heel pressing to the shoe, a device inside shot out perfume.

Walkers need shoes, or so we’re told. It was about ten years ago that I was just one block away from the museum on Bloor when I was chanting. A young chap on bare feet got on my case for wearing shoes. He was part of a growing movement that goes shoeless. I suppose he felt, since I’m a monastic, I should show by example what renunciation is really all about.

That was nice of him to suggest that. I do hope his calluses are what he wants them to be, tough and hard. Personally, I would subscribe to such a radical fashion, but perhaps in a place where temperatures are more mild, and where there’s natural dirt everywhere, free of sharp objects, broken glass, and pavement. I felt that when he told me I should be the example, that I need to pay attention to a directive from our guru that he did not like his students to be without footwear. Yes, he (Srila Prabhupada) was a teacher who never cared for what may be perceived as a hippy look.

When doing pilgrimage in Vrindavan, India, on the trek around Govardhan Hill, it is the preferred approach, you go barefoot. In fact, it’s generally regarded as an offense to sport shoes on the feet on such sacred ground.

May the Source be with you!

5 km


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