Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
He’s A Trip Monk
From the News Tribune an article appeared, authored by Ben Hohenstatt in the city of La Salle, Illinois.
He’s a Trip Monk
If you saw a man with a shaved head in orange robes in the Illinois Valley Thursday that wasn’t an oddly dressed flagger.
A walking journey from New York to San Francisco took Bhaktimarga Swami “The Walking Monk”, a Hare Krishna monk originally from Canada, through Ottawa, Peru and La Salle Friday.
“I’ve been to Chicago, but I’ve never been here,” he said. “We’ve met a lot of nice people…There’s a lot of sweet people…People in the Midwest carry some good values”
In the past, he has crossed Canada four times and walked across Guyana, Ireland, Israel, the Fiji islands and Trinidad and featured in documentaries.
Swami said this walk was to promote physical and spiritual health as well as to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada incorporating the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
“The walk is to encourage people to have a workout and a work-in,” the 63-year-old monk said.
Around 11 a.m. Thursday, he stopped to eat mangoes and cherries in Pulaski Park in La Salle. Swami said his day’s walk began in Ottawa around 5 a.m.
Despite covering dozens of miles a day in weather that is “almost never perfect”, encountering bears and schlepping through the Appalachians and downtown Gary, Ind., Swami said sometimes it can be tough to pause his journey.
“It gets to the point sometimes where it’s hard to stop,” he said.
Swami said he would follow U.S. 6 toward Peru before continuing west toward Davenport, Iowa, and he will be excited to continue westward and cross the Mississippi River.
“I might swim it,” he said. “We’ll see if I can swim it.”
He said he thinks he will be able to make it to the middle of Nebraska before other commitments will cause him to put his walk on hold before being resumed next year.
“Next year, I’m hoping to finish walking to San Francisco
Swami said during his cross-country trek he expects to wear out about four pairs of shoes and several robes, which become faded from sunlight.
While marathon walking, he said he encounters people, wildlife and all manner of weather and tries to engage with his surroundings.
However, the rhythm and repetition of walking also makes it easy to get lost in thought.
“It’s an everyday experience,” he said. “You are very much present, but you’re also someplace else; it’s a great time to dream. Your feet are on the ground, and you’re head definitely isn’t in the clouds.”
May the Source be with you!