Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016
Toronto, Ontario

The Need for Blessings

Please notice: for those following me in the walk through America, I will continue.  I have taken some days off my route to attend a wedding, a pre-school anniversary, and the blessing of some land purchased for the purposes of bhakti (devotion).

Speaking of blessings, I had returned from a visit to a Physio Rehab with my dear god-brother Daniel Dean (Vallabha Chaitanya) who came in contact with a unique form of cancer. That went well.

I decided to walk back- a mere 8.3 kilometres- to my ashram (monastery).  While trekking back through the area of Parkdale, on King Street, I asked three young ladies on their stroll, "What is the time?"

"8:45 pm," answered one of them.  Another asked, "Are you a monk?"


"Do you just walk around Parkdale and give blessings?"

"I try.  It could use some, don't you think?"

There was some agreement to the notion.  Parkdale, although an area of some fairly well-maintained homes, has some reputation for drugs, prostitution, and mentally unstable people roaming in certain areas.  Blessings could help the place, but I'm not sure that I have the power to release such benevolence.  I can only try to function as a medium of mercy through the use of chanting the maha-mantra as I walk the zone of Parkdale.  It is actually a place of great potential for beauty, morality, and sanity.

I see that the city is making the effort to culturally clean up by providing decent facility. Yet the real revitalization depends on a spiritual participation.

Yes.  That is the resort we, as humans, require - a spiritual shelter.

May the Source be with you!

14 km

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Saturday, May 21st, 2016
Toronto, Ontario

Our Group

Back at home-base but I can't get lax.  It should be business as usual.  "Walk a stretch!  Do so in the morning if you can.  You catch the best air.  Trees are sending it out for you to capture.  Oxygen, yes!  The early sun is energy-giving as well.  Connect with it!" - I tell myself.

I conscripted a small group of eager walkers and chanters.  Our intent was to connect with a piece of the creation, and the Creator too - through the chanting.  Our group of five fairly-well represented the spectrum of the human race.  Even Viv came to join us.  She's from China.  We were, altogether, looking like poster kids.  This is a far cry from the early days of the Hare Krishna movement when most of the new recruits were, on average, in the age bracket of 18 to 25 and from white, middle-class backgrounds. 

Now there is quite the cross-section of people involved in functions that are spiritual.

Is walking spiritual?

It can be.  It simply depends on your state of mind.  When you move through the world, on foot, and you see yourself as a tiny spark of life, humbled by all you see, and in appreciation of all that wonder - then you've got it right.  Then you are a pilgrim, or a spiritual mover.

The area our group walked in, Rosedale, was a place easy to fall in love with - considering the great burst of spring dynamics.  Walk and get high! 

Congratulations to Parama and Rukmini for the absolutely beautiful wedding.

May the Source be with you!

7 km

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Friday, May 20th, 2016
Rocky River, Ohio

Detroit Rd by Erie

Detroit Rd appears to go on forever, beginning from the downtown of Cleveland.  It is a rather straight route and runs parallel to Lake Erie.  There are a few bends to the road which always make a break from monotony.

Gone are pedestrians and motorist have taken-over, in this foresty, residential haven.  Dear to all motorists are good roads.  Road improvement people populate the road and it is they who nod in greeting.  Their showing this acceptance of me compensates for the lack of people walking.

A pilgrim, however, must be satisfied with whatever comes head on.  If people are not on the sidewalk, then branches and roots of trees make themselves welcome.  I do feel their presence.  They are above me as branches.  They are below me as feet (roots).  And, like people, they throw off their smells.  'Fragrant' is the word.

Second to them are the birds in flight.  A robin took a fierce beak-dart at a black-bird.  Yes, territory means everything to them.  Likely those baby-blue robins' eggs drew the attention of the black-bird.  When do we not view or experience defense?

For myself, I have little to defend while I am moving through perfect weather.  I'm sandaled and sock-less.  No hat.  Not coat.  It's a short one (walk) today, again.  It's a six miles.

Our guru Srila Prabhupada, used to say "little drops wear away the stone."

May the Source be with you!

6 miles

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Thursday, May 19th, 2016
Lakewood, Ohio

Pedestrians - Yes!

The previous night's program, held at Dayal's, was devotional as usual because that's where he is at.  I thank him for all the times that he's accommodated me.

The walk today was short, sweet, and memorable.  The sun shone, the temperature perfect at about 65 degrees Fahrenheit - good for a walk.  What a break it was seeing human beings on the same street level.  I stuck to Detroit Avenue, going west.  Avadhut, a Cleveland resident was my support person, while Gopal and Arjuna have left for a weekend conference.

As traffic whoozed by I could now see people, pedestrians not bound by vehicles.  I could greet kids on their way to school, adults on their way to work.  One of those people was Bill, 63, who mixed with devotees of Krishna through the 70's.  His surname is Angel.  In many ways he is one. 

He offered pranams.  For blocks we walked, talked philosophically, and otherwise - until we reached his workplace 'John's Diner.'  I stopped-in to use the restroom.  I mentioned to Bill about the lack of response from media in Cleveland regarding the walking project.  As we entered John's work premises, a cozy, 50's style, checker-tiled-walled place with round stools at the bar; there was Bob Soltys - a photographer and writer for media.

Bob was fascinated by the pilgrimage project I was doing.  He liked the concept of the easy life of moving, a 'ramblin' rose,' a rolling stone.  Bob had an affinity for the spiritual as a balance to life.  He even said he'll pull together an article for a media outlet.

My visit to Cleveland was not in vain.  Again, this night, we held a program, a satsang, this time at the home of Avadhuta.  His very great and animated spouse, Agnihotra, put a great feast together.  Kirtan was at an optimum.

May the Source be with you!

7 miles

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
Downtown Cleveland, Ohio

Got Excited

Abhimanyu Arjuna and I trekked from Beachwood to the downtown Public Square of Cleveland.  It would be our rest stop, but renovations are underway so we continued on for the ideal relaxing location.  At Superior Ave we were told by a city rep to not cross the road but to wait for three minutes while a movie stunt was being done for a 'Fast and Furious' sequel.

Okay!  Something about racing cars is what Arjuna was saying.  He says he likes the series.  I resigned to say anything about the boring nature of fast cars.  I don't even care much for slow cars.

Never cared much for basketball either.  On my second installment of walking today Gopal accompanied me.  He was clicking away with the camera as we passed by the stadium.  The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors were playing next.  Still, this doesn't excite me as much as meeting people.

At mid-day Agnihotra treated us to her exceptional soya nuggets.  I'm a bit warmed up now.  And her husband, Avadhut, took us to the pilgrimage sites of Bhakti Tirtha Swami's earlier childhood.  He died from cancer over ten years ago and was a dear friend to me.  Known as John Favors, he was recruited to attend Hawken private school for boys.  He was a remarkable student and he graduated at the high school the same year as classmate Jeff Briggar who took us for a tour of this thriving school.

We also drove to B.T. Swami's former home, or at least where the home was at 82nd St off of Kinsman, now an empty lot.  The church he attended as a child is now boarded up.

Jeff did pull out a copy of the school's year book which opened to two pictures of B.T. Swami when he was John Favors.  The write-up on him goes as follows.

"With his amazing strut, his flaming, iridescent, tapered, cuff-less, belt-less, sharkskin, electric, spray-paint, skin-tight, orange tubes (pants), his matching four-inch high-rolled-collar-turtleneck, offset by contrasting sport coat (belted in the rear), and alligator pinstripe shoes, John Favors came to Hawken.  Underneath that sartorial splendor was a real student.  Favors' contribution to every class was always impressive.  He was one of the few seniors who studied during the day (or studied at all for that matter) and he could be found any time in his private carrel in the library.  He appeared very quiet, perhaps a bit frightened by Hawken when he first arrived last September.  His fear wore off in time yet despite his overt amicability, Favors remained somewhat estranged.  It's possible that that is the way John wanted it.  Regardless, Hawken and John learned something from each other."

Being in his places of the past and reading about my dear friend, I got excited.

May the Source be with you!

14 miles

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
Beachwood, Ohio

East of Cleveland

I met a series of good Samaritans.  It started off with a woman who stopped to offer a ride.  She was in tears, her face wet with emotion.

"Would you like a ride?  Sorry, I've been crying.  I just came from a woman's group."

With that I had to decline, as I had to for so many kind and conscientious people, which included two police officers, a Buddhist woman, a yoga teacher, Allan - a tree maintenance man, a female disciple of Such-and-such Swami, and a well-to-do suave dude with his mom.

These encounters left me with a good taste for things east of Cleveland.  For the most part I trekked through green spaces of creeks and hardwood trees and residential paradises where no one is encouraged to walk.  Where's the sidewalks, please?

At Chagrin Boulevard I saw my first signs of suburban plazas and here I felt a notion of liberation upon seeing fellow pedestrians.  One of those striders (if I may use that term) was a tall orthodox Jewish man in his black, someone I envied.  If I had his speed and stride I'd make it to San Fransisco in thirty days.  Further on he went and I could see him being approached by a woman collecting petitions. 

Now it was my turn to be talked to also.  "Can you sign our petition for approvin' marijuana for medical purposes?" she asked.

"No thank you!  I'm from Canada and our prime minister is working on legalizing the stuff.  Period!  Not that I approve."

"Okay!" she said surprisingly.

It was at that juncture on the street that our party of two grew.  Abhimanyu Arjuna from Florida joined Gopal and I for the US Walk.  Hurray!

By nighttime we reached the home of Kaustubha and Tulasi and their 2 1/2 year old son Kapil.  Our purpose in part is to visit members of the Bhakti Yoga culture along the way.

May the Source be with you!
16 miles

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Monday, May 16th, 2016
Burton, Ohio

Horses and More

The sights of the morning were horses and buggies-- of course horse-drawn in some cases.  Indeed, this is Amish country and I'm loving it.  The men were repairing a barn roof.  The women doing the laundry.  That I could not see but I did view one lady putting out the family wash for drying on the clothes line.  This is the first day for all day sun in a while.

Anne, the reporter from 'Maple Leaf' newspaper, had mentioned to me that the Amish kids are the only ones that play in the yard.  There's an implication here that most other kids are locked indoors, by choice, addicted to devices.

"I believe you're right, Anne."

I was a curiosity for them.  The darlings say to me, "Hello!" to which I would say, "How are you?"

"I'm fine," they say as they tilt their head in shyness.  Our encounter always ends up with the wave of a hand.  I end up feeling as though I've stepped back into a more innocent era.  This is old school lifestyle they're living through - and I like being part of it - though it's so temporal.

The chief of police from Burton, Richard Smigelski, came out to see if I'm doing alright.  Chris McClellan, who builds earth homes for people (UncleMud.com!), also stopped to talk.  This is interesting what he does.  I really wanted to spend more time with him but I had to move on.

Come to think of it a song about rambling on came to mind - a song by Patrick Sky called 'Many a Mile' from the sixties.  It's a heart-puller and I used to sing it out loud in the valleys during my hitch-hiking days before becoming a monk.

Yes it was a step into the past.  Thank you Atmarama and Manjula for hosting us.

May the Source be with you!

20 km / 12 miles

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Sunday, May 15th, 2016
Southington, Ohio

All's Well

Brian was saying that he was keeping up with the Krishna's at all the DEAD concerts (the Grateful Dead rock band).  "We would be there singing and dancing with the Krishnas.  But then Garcia passed away and we got into family and responsibilities."

We had an astounding gathering (not exactly like the Dead concerts) but a group of 20 people had come to Brian's Love Boutique and Yoga Studio, in Newcastle, for hearing from our 'Tales from Trails' and kirtan.

What a marvelous mature group they were!  This occurred after a 17 mile jaunt today when I weathered some rain, sun, hail, sun, and wind - one after the other.  It was Gopal who encountered more interaction from people.

"Hey, you're parked on my grass!  That's my grass!  And you, don't start spinnin' your tires there!"

Gopal was aghast at the outburst of misrepresenting appropriate ownership.  After-all everything belongs to God.

Another fellow became disturbed for Gopal's pulling over the vehicle too far into his driveway and waiting for me to reach there.  When he explained to the complainer that he was the support person for a monk walking across America, for America, he just calmed right down and offered a great place by a pond for parking at.

All's well that ends well.

May the Source be with you!

27 km / 17 miles 

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Saturday, May 14th, 2016
Warren, Ohio

Full of Rain, Full of Fun

Gene was like a cross between the sunshine and the actor Burl Ives.  Warm, euphoric, giving, and fairly large-framed.  He read the article that came out in 'The Vindicator' entitled, "Walking Monk Makes a Stop in the City," by Bruce Watson.

Gene owns and runs a car dealership.  From across the street he saw me through the rain as I walked closer towards his sales yard.  He beckoned me to come over.  He offered a donation.  Kindness?  Yes, he was oozing with it.  He even offered the shirt on his back - literally!  It was a t-shirt with his company's name on it.  While beaming the whole time I was in his shop, and me having a chance to dry off - Gene kept up with his helpfulness.  He told of a friend settled in a town from Ontario.  Then he began sharing friends' contact details with Gopal (my assistant) and I.  He just wouldn't stop - he called Don Perkins from Wawa Ontario and handed me the phone to talk to him.  We were set for a sit-down and a salad - later in the afternoon.  I had to politely sneak out to continue on trekking on the Millcreek Metro Park's bike trail.  There I entered paradise for two hours before merging in with regular shoppers' traffic on this Saturday afternoon. 

I passed by Mini Food Mart, near Warren, when the owners of the place came out magically to greet me.  It was a couple from Nepal, Laksmi Narayan & Brnda, who have that strong tie and connection to Krishna Consciousness.  Laksmi had been trained in India in the gurukula, the school for learning bhakti-yoga.  Along with Gopal and myself, Laksmi Narayan insisted on a kirtan right in his convenience store while customers were coming in.  Every-time a customer would come in, Laksmi would temporarily stop playing harmonium while I continued on a dolak drum and Gopal on the karatalas (hand cymbals).  Laksmi was reliving his boyhood-past in Vrndavan, India.  He also relayed to us that his father was the person who translated the teachings of our guru, Srila Prabhupada, in the Nepalese language.

While our day was full of fun, it was also full of rain.  It is part of a lesson in learning detachment from this world.  I was reminded of both death and life.  Of course, the plants seem happy with the natural shower.  It was road-kill, mostly muskrats, that told me of life's futility - apart from walking by the memorial of McKinley, one of the U.S. presidents, who was assassinated way back when.

I want to thank Das and Vrsni of Pittsburg, who were fine hosts for us for the last few days.

May the Source be with you!

17 km / 10.5 miles

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Friday, May 13th, 2016
Youngstown, Ohio

Along the Mahoning River

I had put in several hours on foot on a great trail.  Naturally I became thirsty and made my way to a convenience store for juice, on the outskirts of Youngstown.  The place was dark; tiles were cracked on the floor.  Chicken was being cooked at one end of the shop.

I was selecting a drink - an energy drink - with sugar as a nominal ingredient.  A fellow walks in as loud as can be and addresses his friend.

"Hey thanks for hookin' me up with that chick the other night."

"No problem!"

I found the place and parlance interesting.  The word 'monk' is expressed over and over again by pedestrians.  One motorist today asked, "Are you a monk?"  It ranks as the number one question on these travels.

In Lowellville, a couple of elderly women gave me directions.  "You're a monk going to San Francisco?"

"Yes, here's a mantra (I had on my card) and this is the song the Beatles would sing."

"Really?!  Can we give you some water or juice?"

I looked joyfully down no two Macintosh apples.

"Please pray for us," they said.

"I will."

The bike trail that led to Youngstown was under-used by humans, but is frequented by frogs, rabbits, and muskrats.  The birds were also plentiful - blue ones, red ones, orange, yellow, and black ones, too.  The month of May is an a-MAY-zing time because of this.  Two birds were battling over a butterfly.  In the scuffle the butterfly got away.

A major bridge into the city was closed but not for me.  I was not going to detour.  I took advantage of a monk's garb to transcend the conventional closure.  I was just tired and couldn't go the extra mile.

May the Source be with you!

19 km / 12 miles

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Thursday, May 12th, 2016
New Castle, Pennsylvania
After the Article
The elderly man drove oh-so-slow on the country road and with pleasant weather he had his window down.  He went even slower as he approached me.  He turned his head and said, "Thank you!"  I simply guessed at the reason for the abrupt comment as he then sped along.  This man had read the daily paper and the article on the front page with picture captioned, "Hare Krishna Walking Monk visits the area," by reporter Nancy Lowry.  It happened more than once-- when I blocked out one hour for phone calls while walking-- that motorists stopped to congratulate and offer water.

Throughout the day hand-waves, handshakes, and voice gestures of well-being came my way.  An officer also stopped.  He was the only motorist who wasn't up on the news.  So he asked, "Are you looking for something?"

"No!  I'm just trekking and on my way to San Francisco."  With that he bulged his eyes and shook his head in a comic disbelief.  It was priceless.

When I finally got into the city of New Castle, where there was also overwhelming response, one man, another senior person, whose name is Evangelist Green Leaf, came over to my side of the street.  The 69-year-old was open and friendly and wanted me to have Jesus in me.  He out-stretched his right hand and welcomed the Saviour into my heart.  I'm sure we were a spectacle, because we actually sat there over the ordeal and were absorbed in discussion - he with his bright green top and me in saffron-orange.

I thank Nancy for the positive article that made the residents of the area aware that Hare Krishnas have been around now for 50 years and it all started more-or-less in Pennsylvania in 1965, when its founder, Prabhupada, came to present a new way of thinking and being.

May the Source be with you!

20 miles / 32 km

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016
Butler, Pennsylvania

Back At It

"Where yah goin'?" asked the worker from his van, which was parked next to the road as I passed by.

"I'm going west, to San Francisco, on foot."

"Is it for a religious purpose?"

"Actually I'm encouraging pilgrimage, which refers to walking meditatively - you have God on your mind."

"I believe in that," stated the curious fellow on his work break.

Then, two young mechanics (brothers) - Mark and Junior, were on their way to work when they were puzzled to see a robed man on the side of the road.  As Mark rolled down his window in the passenger seat, Junior, the driver, came to a full stop.

"Are you really a monk?" asked Mark.


The two men hurriedly came out of their vehicle to see and talk with me on this first day in reconvening my USA walk.  The conversation went slightly crazy as the two were arguing over who the better fix-it-man was between them.  They generally held their own courtesy and shook hands with me at least eight times each.  One of them even asked for pardon when he almost breathed out the whole word, "sh_ _." After the multitude of handshakes they even ended up doing pranams (folded palms) when, at least in the beginning, they admittedly expressed never having a 'God experience.'

A state police car also pulled over and I told him I'm on my way to San Francisco.  He had nothing but kind words to say like "you are really dedicated to what you are doing."  He was not familiar with the term "Krishna."


"No!  Krishna!  You know - roots from India.  The Beatles used to sing this song?!"  With that I handed him a mantra card.  As I did he noticed my orange watch band and got a super charge from that.  He also admitted receiving one call - a concern about someone who might be a convict escapee in an orange jumpsuit.

Before nightfall my support person, Gopal, and I were hosted by Das and Vrsni of Pittsburgh.  There I gave a talk and a mantra about the glories of walking and the beauty of chanting.

May the Source be with you!

15 miles / 24 km

Tuesday, May 10 th , 2016

Tuesday, May 10 th , 2016
Moundsville, West Virginia

A Trail for the Future

On the previous day, at review time, I had suggested that the community construct a first class walking trail. Such a trail would be an incentive for introspective trekkers. You could go around armed with japa beads for meditation. You could do it solo or with a group. The trail would be inspirational and take you through valleys and highlands with switchbacks in between. You would be able to admire variant trees and vegetation along rocky slopes as well as the wetlands and creeks. The trail would stimulate adventure and also connect you to sacred spots, such as the major temple, the Palace of Gold, and the upcoming Radha Gopinatha temple. Various loops would comprise this trail, and would measure 2, 4, and 8 miles in length.

It was just a wish, and I believe it would be an attraction. The suggestion was well received.

Today I walked along McCreary’s Ridge Road. It simply reminded me with its treacherous nature, its speedy traffic, windy disposition, and no shoulder, that a japa walking trail would be well justified. I was looking at a possible route that could be as far distant from the road as could be.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to dream up such a trail, but I thought “Let’s get the suggestion out there, perhaps one day, such a route could materialize.”

A word of caution for anyone on a trail, this is the month of May, the ticks are in abundance. Even without me hitting the woodsy trail, I managed to have one cling on to me without my knowing. That’s another reason why it’s imperative to bathe at least two times a day if you can. One reason is to wash off, forever, any of those pesky little things that could cause Lime Disease.

May the Source be with you!

5 km

Monday, May 9 th , 2-16

Monday, May 9 th , 2016
Moundsville, West Virginia

Start a Project Today

The president overseeing the spiritual retreat grounds here in New Vrindavan is Jaya Krishna, who hails from Switzerland. He announced to the attendees that today is akshaya dristi, which according to the Vedic calendar is a good day to start a project. Jaya Krishna himself had planned it was the day he was moving his family into a new apartment. I guess he took advantage of the auspicious time.

I was also called into a meeting where a few of us began thoughts which were actually preparations for next year’s Festival of Inspiration, brain storming, or brahmin storming, you might call it. Seeing that Sunday night marked the end of the Festival of Inspiration for 2016, we ended up deliberating or assessing the program that was completed. And so the project for next year is already underway merely by talking about it.

Lastly, I had been rather up-in- the-air about my walking project since my anticipated support person from Florida just didn’t show up. I had mentioned to the Palace of Gold coordinator about my dilemma, and with a keen interest to help, he made a few phone calls, and voila! A new arrangement was in the making. With further assistance of Jaya Krishna, I was introduced to a 32 year old Gopal, who has that outgoing nature. He’s smart and enthusiastic.

“Here’s your new man, and we will provide you with the use of our van,” said Jaya Krishna.

“Bless you, Prabhus (guys).”

I would have Gopal’s assistance for the next 10 days along with the vehicle. At least it’s a good start, and today was the day to pull plans together. We would leave for our destination to begin the first day’s walk  – a walk that would take me across America.

May the Source be with you!

0 km

Sunday, May 8 th , 2016

Sunday, May 8 th , 2016
Moundsville, West Virginia

Walking with the Spirit

There was not sufficient time to trek down to the creek this morning. I asked some locals as to the creek’s name, but I met with the answer, “Just a creek.”


This morning’s walking allotment of time was shifted to drama practice. The performance went very well; quite appreciated by all. The lodge was the venue for our performance of “Krishna Is…” The crowd became wet with tears. It was the two scenes of Krishna’s interaction with His gopi friends and His communication with schoolmate, Sudhama, which struck hearts.

With the lapse of time in the day I found I could contemplate for the missing chance to trek a bit. Headed towards Moundsville via the local McCreary’s Ridge Road, I was lucky to meet Ananda Vidya, who enjoys the service of milking the community’s six cows. The local teens had gathered in Ananda’s home. One of them came out to greet me. I invited him for a trek.

“You don’t mind walking with a monk, do you?” I asked.


“Bring the rest.” So they came. We had a great trek. It ended up being more of an herbal walk, I would identify plants and explain their medicinal properties. The group was quite surprised at the discovery of the green opulence in their neighbourhood. As everyone knows, when you are an adolescent, you may lack appreciation for your surroundings. As expressed by one young woman I met in BC sometime back, about her hometown, “This place sucks.” I was getting the feeling that that’s what these young folks were thinking about their place of habitat. By the time we finished having a candid look at the horticultural quality of the hills of West Virginia, the appreciation for the place went up a few notches for them.

Walking in the spirit of wonder, adventure and gratitude, is like a walk through the spiritual world.

May the Source be with you!

6 km

Saturday, May 7 th , 2016

Saturday, May 7 th , 2016
Moundsville, West Virginia

Point to Consider

I don’t take shorthand – probably should, but I can remember points that are delivered at a conference when strong and good messages filter through my fingers and the pen. I highly revere one of the speakers at the retreat here for his candid and thoughtful presentation. He quoted our guru, Srila Prabhupada, as saying, “Do not be upset with the instrument of your karma.”

In some order I will present to you additional remarks that I was able to capture with my own concocted shorthand. The messages are as follows, some of them being thoughts, and some are stats:


1. “Appreciation should be our driving force.”

2. “Service is the heart of everything.” – Sharpe

3. “Service is not a chore.” – Mother Theresa

4. “Find yourself in service to others.” – Gandhi

5. “There are two births – the day we were born and the day we learned why we were born.”

6. “If you are not challenged, you can’t change.”

7. “Are you a contributor or a consumer?”

8. “Humility is the solid foundation of all qualities.”

9. “The body is a PC – a pleasure centre and a pain centre.”


10. “There are 108 stitches on a baseball.” (108 being an auspicious Vedic numerical figure.)

11. There is one suicide every 40 seconds globally.

12. 1200 teenagers attempt suicide every day.

Reasons for This Teenage Tragedy

1. Not having a spiritual foundation.

2. Very materialistic lifestyle.

May the Source be with you!

5 km

Friday, May 6 th , 2016

Friday, May 6 th , 2016
Moundsville, West Virginia

When I arrived at this country retreat, a good 600 km from Toronto, I was asked one usual question, “Did you walk here?”

To which I reply, “I wish.”

In truth, I piled into a van with other, what I consider, pilgrims, and made the not so long ride through great countryside. I would think that anyone who makes the endeavour to leave the concrete machine for a little green-time and space is headed for a healing. Here, in New Vrindavan, West Virginia, the healing also has much to do with hearing.

As shastra (scripture) states, “The sacred place has a primary purpose for being a place to learn – to hear.”

To hear about what?

About the Absolute.

Here you can admire the Appalachian world of mountains, trees, and other greenery. And, oh yes, there are those albino deer around here. They are completely white. This is the property site of New Vrindavan, which is an animal cruelty free zone. Deer love it here.

So do the pilgrims who came from Detroit, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even Canada, like us.

Our group was comprised of four vanloads of the members of our troupe – set for a performance of the drama, “Krishna Is”. We are set for a weekend of practice and fun for our unique presentation to honour Mothers’s Day.

May the Source be with you!

0 km

Thursday, May 5 th , 2016

Thursday, May 5 th , 2016
Toronto, Ontario

Hint of Happiness

I took a delicious walk after which both Jonathan and I enjoyed some nutritious compressed juices.


I also set my eyes on a new book by a friend, Mohan Asthakala, AKA, Hari Mohan. It’s entitled, “The Yoga Zapper.” May I share an excerpt of this excellent read, about the hint of happiness through personal transformation for some American tourists in India?

The casualties littered the road side; huge lorries lay flipped over at depressingly
regular intervals along with broken cars and an occasional dead goat.

At night the traffic became even more hair raising making no concession to darkness,
navigated by fatalistic drivers with no fear of death. The trucks, with 6 or 8 headlights
blazing, their sides painted with fierce female divinities carrying swords and axes,
careened down dusty, country roads at break-neck speed. But the next morning, away
from the large metropolis, came scenes of great beauty; hills garlanded with
shimmering green rice fields, snow-capped mountains reflecting in their blue waters.
In the evenings, they rested in tiny villages where small wiry men of the hills returned
home from fields, their lives following the timeless, primordial cycle of seasons, rains,
and crops. Stopping in these hamlets, we sensed the simplicity of the inhabitants
lives. Despite the poverty of their possessions, they showed little anxiety. Genuine
warmth filled the evenings; villagers shared songs and what little food they had
unhesitatingly. ‘What does it take to be like them’, he wondered, ‘What makes them
happy with what they have?’

May the Source be with you!

5 km

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Wednesday, May 4 th , 2016

Wednesday, May 4 th , 2016
Toronto, Ontario

Some Thoughts

That term we sometimes use, budding artist; came as a reminder from actually seeing the spring buds on my walk this morning. It became relevant in this way. Our evening rehearsal of our drama, ‘Krishna Is…,’ revealed a star to be born.

Vicky is a fairly young guy who is shy on the stage. But with a slight twist of the arm I convinced him to give it a try and he ended up having a good presence there. A budding artist perhaps?

It was at a park that we particularly noticed a lot of bird sounds. It’s inspiring, as the vibrations are awesome - very optimistic. One sound that was a little off-track was that of a woodpecker drilling against a lamp post. It really appeared like he was ‘barking up the wrong tree.’

The above scenario reminded me of how many people put themselves at their own disadvantage, simply by not doing what they ought to. Everyone should be following their natural codes. It’s what we call dharma, but how often do we find the opposite to be true? It is like the idiom of a ‘square peg in a round hole.’

What did concern me most about any oddity or victory of the day was the news of 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray fleeing for their lives. Raging fires are consuming this Canadian city in Alberta. I’m happy to see that our temple in Edmonton is stepping up and doing something to help some of these folks who have had to abandon their homes and jobs.

I feel for them. Hare Krishna!

May the Source be with you!

8 km


Thursday, 5 May 2016

Tuesday, May 3 rd , 2016

Tuesday, May 3 rd , 2016
Toronto, Ontario

The Path

I often tell people that they should explore their own city and that if you want to know the land you must walk it.

I then had to think, “Do I know my own turf?”  It surprised me when I came upon the PATH, an underground walkway leading to the world’s largest world of shopping and thruway. It’s seventeen miles of this and it’s called a marvel of subterranean engineering. The reason for this to exist has to do with the quality of soil. The rock floor that gets removed to create the PATH is something called, simply, till.

To me it was quite the discovery and it could be a great break for when the weather becomes icy and messy on a winters day. I do admit a slight claustrophobic feel. The air quality isn’t what you get outside, but I do like the fact that there is no hindrance by automobiles, no street lights and stinky garbage trucks. You can just zip right along on your feet.

Anyway there we were - Jonathan, Durjoy, and myself - breezing through the maze. The only minor hurdles are the push-bar doors that you come upon occasionally. The population of this underground is about the same as above-ground. As soon as we took that escalator to take us to the street level we felt the same density of corporate/shopper pedestrians.

To top off our experience, I met Billy James singing and strumming on guitar. Billy, with a golden voice, I‘ve known for years and now I found him singin’ away in the netherworlds, nay, the underground Path. I asked him for a request, “Please sing George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’ You know, it’s got the chanting in it!"

We had to run/walk. I hope he got to it after we left him.

May the Source be with you!

6 km

Monday, May 2 nd , 2016

Monday, May 2 nd , 2016
Toronto, Ontario

Full Day

It was a full day of service - devotional service. The clock struck at 10 pm and I suddenly realized that I devoted no time to walking. By now I should be asleep, but no, I have yet to walk.

Balaram, who was sitting at the front steps, at his cell phone, noticed me making my way for that important daily mission.

“At this hour?”

“Yes, there was not the opportunity earlier, so now I’m off!”

I went south, towards Queen’s Park where big decisions are made for provincial matters. I paced by the hospital district and by the building where Dr Fleming discovered penicillin. I headed west on Wellesly and then to Yonge St, the street that becomes the runway for the three chariot festival every year. On Yonge there is also the Gay Pride Parade, and from Yonge I make my turn onto Bloor – where the St Patrick Parade takes place.

At Yonge & Bloor a woman crossed and offered her pranams upon seeing me. Nods and smiles from pedestrians continued to come my way which to me is an indication that life isn’t totally dissatisfying for people even for a Monday night. I like the fact that I can walk the street in safety and see some signs of life amongst the humans.

There appear to be people prowling, strolling, or pacing with great purpose. Few, I assume carry the pilgrim’s mind. It’s an observation and not a judgement because all the folks out here are actually spirits. They (we) are currently wanderers in the wilderness.

May the Source be with you!

4 km

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Sunday, May 1st, 2016
Toronto, Ontario

The Beggar Who Wanted More

The beggar, a young man, had his cup in his left hand as he sat on the cold concrete. As I walked by him, his eyes looking upward, I could see a movement of lips, but his voice was muffled. Traffic noise restricted my hearing. I responded with a, “Sorry, I don’t have anything.”

The beggar retorted, “I didn’t ask for anything.” I stopped, and then said, “Well, then, how can I help you?”

“Are you a real monk?” he asked.

“For 43 years.”

“That’s awesome,” he said, “can you tell me about it?”

“Well, I’m committed to a lifestyle of higher consciousness – addressing the needs of the spirit, the soul. Essentially, we are the spirit, we are not this body.”

“What do you do and how do you spend your time?”

“I have a few things on the agenda which includes pilgrimage.”

With curiosity still kindled he inquired, “Can you explain about that, and what do you get out of it?”

I conveyed it involves walking, meeting people, getting very much in touch with the elements and getting in touch with yourself. “You begin to see in these travels that sacredness is behind everything. Where are you from?” I asked.


“I mean, where were you born and raised?”

He said, “Lindsay.”

“Your name?”


“Darcy, please chant this mantra (I gave him a card with the mantra). Come over some time to our ashram. We can have a great meal together.”

“I’d like that.”

May the Source be with you!

6 km

Friday, April 30th, 2016

Friday, April 30th, 2016
Bracebridge, Ontario

25 Years of Together

It was when I was a young teen, one Saturday afternoon, while I was sharing the washroom with my dad. He was shaving and I was taking my bath in the tub. A conversation began that he started. I don’t recall all of the contents, but I do remember how he said, “Don’t get married, John,” (referring to me).

He did not give an explanation to the remark as to why, when I grew to maturity, that this would be my best course. I did not respond. I do remember internally, however, being somewhat surprised by what seemed like an ‘out of the blue’ comment. Somehow I accepted the advice and responded within with an, “Alright.”

The above small tale of truths I conveyed to a wedding anniversary crowd. The lucky and happy couple of 25 years of togetherness is comprised of Rajasuya and Surabhi. Their two sons, whom I addressed in the crowd as princess due to their spiffy attire, were also there engaged in the celebration. The anniversary included a renewing of vows.

So, here we are – a couple of the tightly-bound kind juxtaposed against a lifelong monk, but we work well together. Rajasuya does my secretarial work, shared by a dedicated person from Vancouver, Nitai Priya by name. Surabhi helps me with donations in the matter of keeping expenditure receipts together. In this way we are serving together in the mission that promotes higher consciousness.

May the Source be with you!

12 km

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Friday, April 29th, 2016
Norwood, Ontario

Two Bulls and Two Angels

Jonathan and I were strolling. A man and his dog went out of their way to catch up to us, pursue us might be a better phrase, out of curiosity.

“What sect do you belong to?” asked the man.

“Hare Krishna.”

“Oh, yes, I was in India, in Varnasi, last year.”

“That’s one of the few places I’ve missed on my travels there.”

The middle aged man continued, “The first day I got there, I shook my head and said, ‘Boy, oh boy, what a mess this place is.’ But on the 5th day there, I was enchanted. I don’t know, there’s something about India that’s magical.”

And that’s still the attitude that most visitors have about the land of Bharat (India).

Jonathan and I had been in the ravine when we had the brief encounter with the man who visited India, but it was our visit today to the Norwood Hastings area that took us to India. There, along the Trent River, an hour and a half from the city, is Govardhan Farms, a 50 acres haven of grass, hills, a house, and a newly born set of bulls sweet like anything. Their names are Gopinath and Ananta.

What gives the place the spiritual magical feel is not just the Sanskrit names and the peaceful atmosphere, but the presence of a set of twins, two little angels, and for the love of me, I just can’t remember their names. I know that this forgetfulness is merely a display of ignorance, but the proud parents are Fil and Sukhayanti. You can catch a photo of the two little darlings whose names I can’t remember on Instagram, ‘thewalkingmonk’.

May the Source be with you!

5 km

Thursday, April 28 th , 2016

Thursday, April 28 th , 2016
Toronto, Ontario

Forces of Nature

Today’s hike was in a different ravine from yesterday’s. The creek, at its base, goes underground at one point beneath Mount Pleasant Cemetery. During my last venture here, and comparing it to today, I am clearly reminded that nature shifts big time, meaning the water within the creek desires to change course. It’s not as drastic as the erosion that I’ve seen by the Ganges water in India, but it’s noticeable enough.

This just reveals to me the forces of nature and how powerful they can be. Man’s attempt to check a deliberate whim of a tiny rivulet such as this one doesn’t always work. Fair sized boulders have been laid out to make the creek behave, and planted trees of various sorts have their roots planted trying to keep soil in place. But here again, it’s not going to be a cent percent job. I can’t help but refer to a line from the Gita where Krishna says,

daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā

(Material energy is very forceful. It is Divine, and it is an emanation from the Divine).

“Keep that in mind,” I have to convince myself. The winds of nature can change in any direction, and at any moment. Be fully aware of its ever altering ways. We also seem to swing from moments of joy to moments of melancholy and back again. That is the pattern set by the Creator, and there’s often times so little you can do about it. It’s almost futile, like trying to stop death itself.

May the Source be with you!

5 km

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016
Toronto, Ontario

Two Talking

Jonathan has been living in Edmonton and recently spent some quality time at our ashram in Montreal, for some training in devotional life. He is now slowly making his way back to Edmonton as a more experienced man after having lived like a monk. His stopover in Toronto is for seeing family and a chance to see our humble self. He agreed to join me on a trek down the ravine – a mere 7 kms after his 5 hour bike ride from Kexwick.

I was impressed with his physical output.

As we pulled along we talked much about food and healthy eating. He recently just came off a master cleanser, a popular fast. And so, our parlance was rather typical of what you would expect from anti-pesticidal, anti-genetically modified food fans.

Let’s agree that the quality of food today leaves much to be desired. Considering we live in the age of Kali (age of deceit), we can expect imperfections, and we shouldn’t harbour on food forever, so let’s get beyond that.

Let’s talk of sadhana, spiritual things, mantras and such which serve to liberate. After all, a conversation needs balance. Jonathan was happy to oblige me. The trek through the raving went speedily, or so it seemed, because our talk was very engaging.

May the Source be with you!

7 km

Tuesday, April 26 th , 2016

Tuesday, April 26 th , 2016

The Experts Were All Wrong

Once in a while I’m compelled to insert an article from a good old fashioned newspaper such as The Globe and Mail, especially when it has relevance to our lifestyle, and when it takes you home. The excerpt has to do with food, and food has much to do with walking, and vice versa. The article is called, “Pass the Butter, the Experts Were All Wrong” subtitle – “For Decades We’ve Been Told a Healthy Diet is a Low Fat Diet – Not So, Research Shows” by author Margaret Wente:

“When I was a kid the milkman came right to our back door. He brought us white glass bottles of rich whole milk, and thick sweet cream… That was in the 1950s. Nobody was fat, except for one lone girl at school who everybody picked on. Most kids ate like horses and were as skinny as rakes…

Then experts came along and declared that all that fat was killing us. Whole milk was banished from children’s diets so they would not develop clogged arteries and heart disease in later life…

The results were not what they had hoped. Obesity rates soared but heart disease did not subside. The biggest villain of modern diet isn’t fat, it’s sugar and carbohydrates…

There is the investigative work of journalist Mina Teicholz (author of ‘That Big Fat Surprise’ who is persona non grata among the nutrition establishment), but the establishment is still deeply embedded in the status quo. Reputations and careers are at stake; plenty of leading doctors have diet empires of their own… “

Food for deep thought – thought on how we get duped.

May the Source be with you!

5 km