Saturday, July 9th, 2016
Taking another one of those breaks became another reality today, as my trusted team, including Gopal and Uttama, drove north to Minneapolis for a speaking engagement on “Tales from Trails.” Seventy to eighty people showed up. These talks also assist us financially towards the walking cause. Donations came our way.
Before it becomes forgotten, I will happily report another newspaper reporting, this time from the Chicago Tribune News, author Urvashi Verma.
Chicago, Il: Bhaktimarga Swami, a 63 year old Canadian born monk has embarked on a transnational walk of 3,000 miles across the United States from New York City to San Francisco to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the coming of the Hare Krishna Tradition to the West and to promote a more green style of living in America.
Swami who has arrived in Chicago, IL on June 11 has traversed open plains, highways, and landmarks. For the general public, Bhaktimarga Swami is best known as "the walking monk". To share his message of peace and gratitude he has already crossed Canada four times covering over 17,000 miles on foot.
The Swami is walking to draw attention to the contributions of his own spiritual teacher, or guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada arrived in the USA 50 years ago, on September 17, 1965. He came practically penniless from India at the age of 70 on the order of his teacher to promote God consciousness, or devotional bhakti-yoga, to the English-speaking world.
"In the broader sense I'm walking to honor all our teachers," Swami says. "Our teachers open the doors to the world for us, and to other worlds as well. I hope to remind us all how grateful we should be to those who give us knowledge, especially knowledge about our inner potential,” he says.
Each day Swami, donned in monastic orange garb and his favorite crocs he walks 20 miles each day along path chartered by his companion assistant Gopala and returns to the same spot where he left the next day to complete another 20 miles.
"Generally it takes about 10 to 12 hours to complete the days walk, because often we have to start from the same spot where we left last day, and many times we get up by 3:30 AM to be able to back to the location where we left off. On the way we find accommodation is spiritual places and often have meetings with others on the path of spirituality. The time it takes to complete the 20 miles is not important what is important is make sure that you take every step," shared Swami in an interview with Desi Talk Chicago.
(Bhaktimarga) Swami, whose name coincidentally means the "path of devotion," took up the monastic lifestyle at the young age of 20 and since then has dedicated his life to teaching of spiritual knowledge and devotional arts and theater.
“I knew was meant for sanyaas, (monastic life) even at a very young age, and I always knew deep inside that I had already fulfilled my worldly commitments in my past life and that for me this life was supposed to spiritual," said Swami.
Swami who has traversed more than 1,000 miles in the US so far made his first walk across Canada in 1996. Since then he has walked across the world's second largest country four times going both east to west, and west to east and has also trekked across Ireland, the Fiji Islands, Mauritius, Trinidad, Guyana, Israel, and other countries.
"More relevant that the distances covered are the people I encountered," Swami says. He reflects on his experiences and adventures in his daily blog, which he calls "Tales from Trails." Sometimes we meet the kindest people who provide us food and shelter, we have enlightening conversations about Krishna consciousness, and most are very intrigued for the reasons of the walk."
Traveling on foot is a common practice in various spiritual traditions, and the walking monk believes that it's an effective way to reach out and communicate the importance of morality and ethical priorities.
Swami says that when you walk, "You learn to take it all in. The heat, the wind, the rain, the traffic, the cold, the black flies, the mosquitoes, the public attention or none. With all of that you learn detachment from externals and how to go within to be happy."
Thank you, Urvashi, for the article.
May the Source be with you!