Nine bananas went into the fire. The reason for that figure could have some connection with ‘Cloud Nine’ which usually refers to cumulonimbus, those fluffy, white, heavenly clouds that can rise to ten kilometres up in the air and denote happiness.
It was actually nine happy people who stepped forward this morning for initiation into the bhakti culture. The largest contingent of the group was from our Brampton community—three couples in fact. Along with the commitment each member makes, they also agree to vows of dharma which are no meat eating, no gambling, no intoxication and pre-family planning. The positive injunction is to practise chanting every day.
In fact, I emphasized in my talk at the havan (fire ceremony) that initiates are expected to share three things with the public—wisdom, sacred sound and sacred food. The Vedas of India have so much to offer for our wellness, what to speak of mantras for purging a polluted ether, and the radical change to healthy devotional food.
Three single women also came forward—Anne Lisa of Toronto, now Amala Purana, Mylene of Montreal, now Madri, and also from Quebec was Priya Radha, who sat at the fire on behalf of her guru, Gopal Krsna Goswami.
The elderly couple from Brampton, Satish and Prem Lata, are now Shyam Das and Prithvi. Manish is Murali Manohar Das. His wife, Deepa is now Dhrti. Finally Umesh is now Ugresh. His life partner, Usha is now Urvi. These three last female names are celebrated ways of addressing the goddess Earth. In total, nine people gave nine bananas to the fire which represents God’s tongue.
May the Source be with you!