Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Room at 243, Toronto

 

Panel Discussion

 

English was not her first language and she also struggled with my Sanskrit name. However, she properly pronounced the “Swami” part. The best she could come up with for my first name, Bhaktimarga, was “beautiful.” So, there you have it, “Beautiful Swami.” It was a sweet flattery. She also made mention of my intense orange top.

 

It was a Zoom call and Beautiful Swami was on the panel with other spiritual leaders represented by Catholicism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Protestant and Hare Krishna. We did speak on the theme of creation, based on what the respective, distinct scriptures have to say.

 

I would say it was fun, although, the moderator could use some training in watching the time. The program, which was meant to be of an interfaith nature, ended up being very agenda-driven. It was primarily a Christian cheerleading session. Still, I’m grateful to be involved and to quote the Bhagavad-Gita. Truly it’s a pleasure to have such a session in the middle of the day.

 

This is my second to last day for isolation, according to the Public Health Consultant who contacted me by phone. I told him I live in a monastery but I am definitely nestled away from the world. I mentioned about my mild Covid symptoms and also how my noon-time meal is made and delivered, with care, brought from a congregant who lives in the suburbs, and who leaves it at the green bin outside. They call me and wave their hands as greeting from the ground level. Such love!

 

May the Source be with you!

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Friday, April 9, 2021

Room at 243, Toronto

 

Touching Truth

 

Oh, how I miss green! How I miss us — groups chanting together in that outdoor or indoor space. Every day I reminisce.

 

My isolation will end on the coming Monday but it still won’t be normal. Regardless, we learn from our guru, Prabhupada, that whatever the circumstance, make it bhakti-centric.

 

So, I do my best. I spent quite the time today clarifying an issue. It was rumored that I was taken to the hospital. The calls came in. There is nothing further from the truth. As long as we touch an element of truth in our day then there is an ounce of fulfillment for that day.

 

At 7 pm I conducted a class with the Stoufferville group. From The Gita, 4.2, we hear about the truth and importance of parampara; exploring the roots of truth. An admission that I expressed to the group is that I joined Krishna Consciousness because it had roots that go back thousands of years. Frankly, I would not have become a member of a group from the 60s on the basis of a charismatic leader. I needed a time-tested group of people to believe in.

 

Yesterday I was on a podcast with Dr. Raj Kalram and it was an interview focused on the richness of spiritual life. Raj asked great questions that touched on truth. More specifically we spoke about the joys of not only chastity but the celebration of spiritual practice and identity as well as the cultivation of one’s relationship with the Supreme.

 

May the Source be with you!

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Room at 243, Toronto

 

New Full-Fledged Monk

 

There are few North American fellows stepping up for the renounced title, sannyas. We have a queue of people from Eastern Europe and India but it is rare to find on the list of candidates anyone from the western frontier taking this esteemed position.

 

It has been a long road for Ekalavya, born and raised in New York City in what he calls “the centre of Kali Yuga”. To go from being a talented street musician who discovered monks in Cork, Ireland to be awarded the new name of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Swami. I’m proud of him, especially since I’ve been blessed as one of his swami mentors. His being ordained happened by the side of the Ganges, just the other day.

 

He has been kind to join us in the US and Canada, having visited some ISKCON centres to deliver classes and lead kirtans. His presentations of bhakti are good, well thought out and relevant. When he visits me, he’ll trek with me down the ravine.

 

As mentioned, we don’t get a whole lot of continental receptively in North America. For Canada there has been some successful Swami’s from the 70’s who scored well — Sridhara Swami from Vancouver, Banu Swami from BC, Ganapati Swami from Alberta, Bhakti Raghava Swami from Northern Ontario, Shivaram Swami from Montreal. I’m puttering along. I can think of three more who did not stay the course as “swami” but are nonetheless still devotees on the path.

 

Congratulations to all and to our New York monk.

 

May the Source be with you!

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