Saturday, 23 May 2020

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Rosedale Toronto

Some Things Are Precious

It’s quite interesting to see how many roads are becoming sidewalks, places for boys at basketball and now today the road, an actual bridge arched over a ravine in Rosedale has become arehearsal site for a young women’s cheerleading team. Oh, they moved over when the rare motorist came. They pulled over when the vehicle would pass and then get right back into action.

Further on a fresh new sidewalk was laid for the concrete to harden. Being blocked off caused pedestrians to use the street. They had an excuse. I hope in some way that we could prolong the days of more feet and less wheels.

It wasn’t quite dark yet for this 8:30 pm time but a raccoon (yes, another one today) was just about to help himself to the contents of a trash can but it saw me coming. He jumped off, landed on the condo building’s lawn and stood there. He actually stood his ground. Maybe it never saw a monk before. His back curled which indicated, most likely, “I’m not moving and I am gettin’ back to my meal!”

Okay so I got going. I kept chanting softly. I came to a park, sat down at a bench and chanted the gayatri mantra. Then I called,from my cellAmala, a music teacher, and my spiritual student.  “How are you?”

“My obeisance! I’m sitting in the backyard watching a robin feed his/her young babies as they eat the worm from its beak…”

I offered some advice about life. I looked at the sky, grass, the environment around. I liked it.

There was an Englishman who came to Canada, lived with the natives and practically became one of them. He became a conservationist and fought against deforestation and the trapping of beavers. His name became Grey Owl. He said of nature, “Some things are not for sale!

May the Source be with you!
5 km

Friday, 22 May 2020

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Forest Hill/Rosedale

The Trail and the Family

Walking has become a family affair from what I can see.  On the Belt Line Trail Aisvarya and I were seeing this with our very own eyes.  People have become antsy staying at home for two months now.  Except for a young raccoon that walked solo and, upon seeing us climbed a mesh fence, was seemingly lost from his family.

With the sun at approximately 16° Celsius you couldn’t find a better situation.  Singles, couples, and families, people with baby strollers were drawn to the out-of-doors.  It was truly a happy situation.

There was one family, husband, wife and two young boys (one at 20 months), that were halted or stopped on the trail and we found ourselves having to go around.  When dad turned around to see who was passing after fussing with the youngest he stood erect, then bent forward slightly, offering palms together (pranams) and said “Haribol!”

I had to think for a minute.  Oh yes!  It was Dhruva.  I knew him last as a kid.  His dad, Balaram a.k.a. Bill Moore, is a first-class mason and did so much for our temple/ashram in the past.  This is a case of father passing down his trade to his son.  That’s quite traditional as an approach.  A great succession plan.

It was heartwarming to speak to Dhruva.  I recall him curled up like a cat in a chair, when small, while his dad was doing work in our building.  I also remember when I was having a shouting drama practice when young Dhruva burst in, feeling something was wrong, unaware of our rehearsal and demanding, “Stop it!”

Although I am a monk I am into family.  I wish Dhruva and family the best.

May the Source be with you!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Toronto, Ontario

Across From Baskin

I was inspired to walk upon the sun’s movement in the western sky.  I couldn’t see the glowing disc itself for the trees, the buildings and the time but I could perceive it through the colours it left.  It was a mix of warm colours, from reds, to pinks to an almost purple.  I wanted to gaze at it for some time but my measly mission was to walk.  And for that I must watch the sidewalk, the curbs, the traffic and the pedestrians.

Oh yes, you really have to be cautious about pedestrians.  And as they are watching your directions you must see where they angle.  It’s called social distancing.

At the furthest point of my evening trek, the intersection of Christie and Bloor, across from Baskin Robbins ice cream, I sat on a curved concrete ledge for a break.  A curious kind, a young man, sat next to me.  I slid over honouring the distance required and smiled.

“Oh don’t worry.  I’m immune!” he said.

“But I may not be!” I said in defense.

“What are you doing?”

“Relaxing.  I just finished chanting a mantra called gayatri.”

“Teach me,” he mildly asked.

“Here’s a card and on it is a mantra for peace.”

He tried.  “Hare Krishna!”

“Can you teach me another?”

“Try this one, ‘Govindam adi purusham...’ I’ll give you something more simple.  Om!”  He did well with that.  He was colourful like the sky I saw earlier.  He pulled out a can of Budweiser beer, then a cigarette and lit it.

“You’re not going to stay immune for too long when you do those things,” I advised.  He shrugged his shoulders.  I let him know I have to return to where I came from.

May the Source be with you!
7 km

"This won't help with your immunity to Covid-19."

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Monday, May 18, 2020

Cherry Beach, Toronto

It Happens 

It happens often enough that kindness comes our way, literally, at the door. Because of the continual lockdown people (the public) or congregants want to enter the premises and have a glimpse of the Krishna deities, maybe receive a little piece of prasadam, sacred food remnants or just have a brief exchange with one of the resident monks.

Today devotees from Scarborough came to deliver a prep popular on the ekadsai day (a day of fasting from grains) called gauranga potatoes. The prep is always wonderful with its turmeric golden colour and a slight sour flavor with spuds. Also what came was Dhir Nitai’s (what I consider marketable) soup.Lots of potent erbs and veggies along with a healthy salad. The best!

Unfortunately we still cannot allow for such devotional-types to enter. Indeed, no accommodating any eager beavers at this point, not just yet, however much their enthusiasm overflows. Their cup runneth over with love, for sure.

We resolve with such people who show up at the temple door with an explanation which, in a way, is neither here nor there. “We don’t know when the temple will open again. It’s out of our control. Vaccine or not.

They seem to understand. At least we exchange some sweet words.

Cherry Beach was a great destination today with Nimai NitaiIt’s a place that is reachable on foot from our ashram although we found other means. At this beach on Lake Ontario you have dozens and dozens of wind surfers. Covid 19 will not stop them. Nimai and I simply settled to watch them. Even the rain of today doesn’t deter them. Determination is applicable in devotional life also.

May the Source be with you!
0 km

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Toronto, Ontario

Took A Chance

I took a chance, a risk… It was starting to sprinkle. Tiny drops from the sky made polka dots on the stairs.

I had finished one of those live-stream presentations on Iskcon Toronto’s Facebook page on the topic of “The Art of Forgiveness,” then joined our crew for the pot-banging in support of health caretakers after which I decided to put in my allotted time for my daily trek. 

Whether those polka dots were going to stay for seconds or if they were to fill in to be a solid wetness on the concrete surface, I was determined to walk. My clothes might get drenched, my socks get soggy, it didn’t matter to me at that point. I just had to go and do myself the favour of a regular work out. It would mean a better sleep and that circumstantially would transpire into better service for the next day.

If I were to get wet due to Indra’s mercy it would mean that the god of rain was pushing me to move faster in order to keep warmer. Anyways, adventure is good. It hardly rained. As I said, I took that chance. I let Krishna do the doing and being the ultimate IN CHARGE. I felt He will roll out all things in the way He wants. It’s actually His choice. It’s simply a moment of surrender. In fact for just that one hour (of walking) that it took it was an attempt at surrender.

That is the feature of the day that should dominate. Surrender is the act of letting go. It is a very liberating mindset—one that is difficult to master. Simply the effort has to be made and then whatever is lacking from the participants part becomes compensated by His merciful contribution. He fills in but we can’t take His generosity for granted.

May the Source be with you!
6 km