Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The Cell on The Trail

Toronto, Ontario

I grabbed him by the arm and said, “Let’s go outside.”

My dear friend whom I have chanted with at home programs for years usually comes to the temple daily but spends half the time on his cell phone. “Let’s talk about going to Cuba and the upcoming Vedic Festival..”

“Okay”, said Ajamila. He loves to sing and play harmonium and is looking forward to taking the lead singing role on a Cuban stage.

“You need a drummer. See if Jetu is available. He’s great at the mrdunga (drum). “

Ajamila calls him as we walk on. He called a sponsor for the tickets as well. The sponsor was good. We kept walking.

Four kilometers into the walk Ajamila asks me, “hey, where are we?”

“The ravine”, I said.

“All this time I was talking on the phone and you brought me here?”

“Yes, Ajamila.”

I talked with him about how so much got done on the phone; that he booked Cuba for us and got a band together for the upcoming trip, we met people on the way with questions about our robes and another student asking for directions out of the ravine. All this in the span of forty minutes. That’s pretty good Ajamila .

Ajamila realy did take to the walking.

“You’ve got to do more of this. Do office work while walking and utilize the technology in God’s service.

9 Km

Monday, October 26th, 2009

What’s Up Outside Parliament

Ottawa, Ontario

There is something very bland about any government town. Maybe it’s the conservative nature of it’s citizens. Politics seems to temper the wild and party element of any city. It’s the grave nature of hot topics discussed and decisions made and resolutions passed that gives a city like that a certain stigma.

What saves such places are their museums and galleries.

It was an early rise, a shower, then stepping onto Somerset E. along the Rideau Canal, off to the Parliament buildings and the rear of them where you catch a trail along the Ottawa River. Then go by bridge over to the Quebec side, along La Riviere in the other direction to Alexandria Bridge to Chateau Laurier and then tracing back along the canal route again. It’s real pleasant. Security police from their cars give a nod at the Parliament. The rare pedestrian does also utter a “Hello!”

Next came morning sadhana consisting of singing, drumming. “Quiet but sweet”, warned Shankar the temple facilitator. “We cannot wake the neighbours on the other side of the wall”. It’s 5:30 am

After the chanting, myself and three other men discuss a verse from the Bhagavatam followed by a talk with Casper, a husband to be.

We talk about the “Enrich” course, which is actually a pre-marital counseling procedure. Like many church groups in some more progressive parts of the world our society utilizes as they do, a pro-active program for newly weds. It better prepares them for the future. I have seen it work.

Our future groom, Casper, was not aware but now he is. Because we live in a family friendly world devoid of extended family to give support something must be in place to help young couples enter an exciting but challenging stage. It’s something that Parliament or the White house can’t pass. It’s something communities must strive to succeed in.

Congratulations Casper on your engagement with Vraja McAllister. I may be an unmarried monk, but I’m 100% behind you.

13 Km

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Wishing Richness For Others

Ottawa, Ontario

Back in the summer of 2006 I had another one of those wishes when I let my feet pass through a prairie city. It was not different from any other desire when an impulse of compassion hit me wanting to see souls have the opportunity for a better crack at life: The “better” I refer to is the practice of spirituality. How can life have any depth when devoid of a spiritual component. How can there be richness in life when there is only the mundane to contend with day after day?

What drives a spiritualist wild from time to time is when he/she sees others not having that rich experience nor the taste nor willingness to try. I was in such a mode of thinking for people when I walked through the city of Saskatoon in 2006.

I happily accepted a ride from Kasyapa, an engineer who lives west of Toronto, to the nation’s capital city, Ottawa. There on Somerset East a modest temple hosts a Sunday program and I was the expected guest speaker.

The unique thing about Kapyapa is that he had just days ago accepted an employment position in the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where we have virtually no presence of Krishna Consciousness. Kapyapa and his wife, Pancami, have been running a successful weekly Bhakti-Vrksa (a desire tree program) for spiritual education for children and adults. His accepting the job offer means a loss for Toronto West but a Saskatoon gain since the couple anticipate to introduce Bhakti Vrksa to the new frontier. Naturally the couple will leave their current devotional services for others to take over.

It is a wish fulfilled that a remote town in a vast prairie will receive the lofty teachings of the Bhagavat-Gita. I’m looking forward to regular visits there from here on. I’ll fly there of course.

8 Km

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

City Slickers react


Some of our East Indian friends have made it rather clear in the past when they say something like, “We like the city, the country is too quiet.” That was the remark by one person who hails from North India, This was in response to an attempt made by some of us seeking a resort /retreat type of property away from the city. We are looking at ten years ahead when some of us retire. It certainly makes sense to start planning.

As a spiritual leader in our society I feel I have an obligation to reveal as many aspects of the Divine as possible. In Milton, one of our young family men Savyasacin, had arranged a group of men to explore Halton Fall’s trail while his pregnant wife had the girl’s over for the baby shower. We ended up in a golden world of autumn foliage and here you can see Krishna in an all-together different manifestation. Here he is not a murti or Diety, not a book, not an ethereal being in the sky or even a blue boy lightly scampering over the forest bed of leaves. Here he is His glorious natural self. Here He is nature.

As we trekked our trail to the falls the guys- two from India, another from Guyana, another Mauritius-all having the blood of Bharat (India) were starting to comprehend the unfathomable power of the absolute just from blazing a trail through nature. At the end of the line we held kirtan in this most perfect atmosphere. Tiny birds would land on our outstretched hands as the chanting came to a close. Then the serenity took over. “God is easy to find in the country, isn’t He?” I asked.

They all couldn’t agree more.

8 Km

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Mark Again

Toronto, Ontario

Mark came to see me again. I offered him some prasadam (sanctified food) but he declined because he has already eaten. It was sausage, eggs and other very traditional German food. Of course I’ll make the pitch for vegetarian eating but not just now. I’ve already touched on the benefits of an herbivore diet and I’m confident that in time Mark will make adjustments with food. There is no need to force issues with such an analytical and thoughtful young man. After all Mark’s nature is that of a Brahmana.

Mark first was introduced to me by Sunil Ram, a young father who was formerly with the Canadian Forces. Sunil offered to suggest that Mark needs a spiritual master. I will do the best I can to offer advice, some education of spiritual topics and friendship. We have begun to meet regularly to discuss the world and how we can contribute to improve the quality of life. I have been encouraging him to read the books by Prabhupada. He has been chanting and also sharing the maha-mantra with his younger brother. All this is good.

He originally hails from Germany and naturally we had made the ties in our discussions between Aryans of North India and the German race. No one has ever been able to authenticate an invasion by Aryan Germans into that area of ancient Bharat however. The theory has been pure speculation.

In any event I joked with this tall blond-haired thoughtful person that he has brought the German weather to us. The large massive arched window from Prabhupada’s quarters where we were sitting opened up to the outside view, a wet and overcast view.

Our meeting terminated and Mark rose from his sitting to enter into the fall weather for a refreshing walk back home . I also entered into that same atmosphere of leaf-tossed wildness keeping to a commitment of meeting the elements between meeting people.

5 Km

Monday, 26 October 2009

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

The Good Past

Toronto, Ont.

I stopped by to see a god-brother at his vintage clothing shop. His name is Kuladev and is originally from Brazil. He was formerly in his pre-marriage years a brhamacari (monk) leading a strict life. In the setting of Kuladev’s store with old time clothing dating back to the twenties he got to reminiscing about life, when he was single.

“I would get up at 1:30 am each morning, shower, put on my devotional clothes and chant on my beads, study and then go out distributing Prabhupada’s books on the buses. I would give out six to seven hundred books a day. I had become the top distributor (amongst the brahmacaris) in all of Brazil.”

All this he recollects in great fondness.

“I then went to India to be a pujari (priest). In Rio and Vrindavana (India) I had the best years of my life. And I was so focused and happy .

Knowing Kuladev I have found him to maintain a level of higher consciousness over the years even though buried in business. He has three such vintage shops two of which are called, “Flashback 1” and “Flashback 2” in hipster Kensington Market.

I had been walking about searching for a cabinet for my drama scripts and other hard copy material to do with my administrative tasks as well as clippings and other related material to do with marathon walking. I ended up in this side of town and my highlight of the day was seeing Kuladev and hearing him become a child again, so to speak, telling of the good old days. He definitely went into his own flashback in recollection of his time of purity and innocence.

“Please”, I asked him, “come to the temple one day and tell all about your glorious past when you would announce in Portuguese your message of living in harmony with nature to passengers and how they took to receiving, reading and enjoying those books.”

Kuladev said he would find such time to do that. “After Halloween when my stores are less busy,” he said as he was complying to the need to recall the good stuff of the past. “I would love to.”

As I trekked back to the ashram I thought “Kuladev was caught up in the practice of remembering or as the technical term is in Sanskrit “smaranam, going back mentally to the good past.

12 Km

Friday, 23 October 2009

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Wed. Oct.21/09 Toronto, Ont.

Yesterday it was David. Today is was Mark who came to inquire. We had a great chat sitting in the room where our guru, Srila Prabhupada, had formerly sat to meet guests encouraging them in their spiritual pursuits.

I left mark with a book “Chant and Be Happy” published by Bhaktivedanta Book Trust for his perusal. We agreed to meet 2 days later and discuss the contents of the book that he has highlighted. He loves the music of the Beatles (and so do I) and he showed particular interest when he learned that at least two of the members, George and John, spent quality time with our guru, Prabhupada. Reincarnation, Karma, veggie food and other topics on the Vedic line are Mark’s passion. He mentioned that he’s dying to get to India one day. Maybe I’ll bring him there when he’s ready.

In the very same sacred room earlier on I met with a monk in the ashram who was dealing with some anger issues. These things do happen. Keshava, Dwija, Krishna Das, senior co-ordinators and I agreed that we would take a more pro-active approach to adding the personal touch, the one minute management technique and over-all apply a enhanced devotee care. Becoming more active mentors or counselors in our new thrust. Recently while In India I had learned from a person conducting seminars on the topic of devotee care that her findings revealed that many of the resident monks, brahmacaris, and brahmacarinis are lonely. This discovery came as a great surprise to me as it is across the board reality.

So some things need to change and improve and we are endevouring to make that change.

1 Km

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009


Toronto, Ontario

A student of York university came to see me to ask questions. He retired fifteen years ago and, as of late, he has gone back to school. This time he took to learning about the various global beliefs. He became very intrigued with Hare Krishna. He showed me his text book used in his class. It presents a very fair synopsis of Krishna Consciousness and it’s co-relation to Hindu Dharma.

David who was raised as a catholic was rather amazed that India’s indigenous culture with it’s high spiritual overtones has so much impacted the world. He acknowledged the more east you go with Christianity the more of a Hindu flavour it takes on.

I asked him, “ Where do you suppose such things as the rosaries, icons, singing praises of He on high, the offering of food and drink, the recitation of sacred books came from ? Who started these things?”

“The brahmans”, he guessed.

“Absolutely, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism all sprang out of India and other major brands of spirituality have had some type of merge or marriage with the path of the Vedas.”

David was getting familiar with terms like Vedas (books of wisdom) and mantras, pure sounds. He came to learn more and with him entering his mature years (I didn’t take his exact age) it comes completely natural to inquire. I imagine many people go through these periods in life when they search deeply. As you enter childhood, adolescence and old age, when you are at the brink of a new phase you tend to stop and question. In our discussion David could appreciate humans have the proclivity towards such complications.

David really wanted me to come to his class when he and three other members of his group are due for their presentation on Krishna Consciousness. I would also like that very much. It’s just a matter working out a date.

4 Km

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Biting Into An Apple

Toronto, Ontario

Cameron and I took to the ravine, leaf-laden in spectacular colours of the fall. Cameron reached over, bent a branch of a Mac Intosh apple tree so that we could sink our teeth into a delicious pesticide –free piece of fruit. As we expected the taste was fresh and tart-a crispy sweet and sour.

I was reflecting on our guru –retreat of ten days earlier in Ujjain when a number of us monks discussed when something sweet goes sour, especially in the way of a disciple or student and guru relationship. It does happen that a person initiated as a student can become disenchanted in the relationship with guru and veers off into other directions. “devastation” is sometimes the chosen word to describe a prodigal son. Our topic of discussion was what to do in such a circumstance?

Each of the members of our small group recall such instances where a follower would turn away. The consensus that we came to was to keep our doors open welcoming a return and that divine intervention by the absolute be given chance to mend ways and relationships.

In the beginning of someone’s coming there is usually a sweetness. Like in a man/woman relationship novelties wear off after some time bitterness between the two can set in. Finally through patience and prayer the sweetness can make a comeback.

By the way, the apple was delicious.

13 Km

Monday, 19 October 2009

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Blend In
Toronto, Ontario

I had been asked by temple administration before I left for India to leave a name of the person who would be your next-of-kin In case anything happened to me. This info is required for all resident monks. Upon returning from India I decided to call my sister, Connie, who is a year and a half my junior. So I called her this morning.

As is usual she tells about her grade one students and how adorable they are. She asked me, “Do you celebrate Diwali?” She explained that a woman of east Indian decent came to her school and spoke to her class about Diwali. Connie talked about dots on the forehead. Colourful beads, and lit candles. She described it quite well.

I think that it’s quite remarkable that young students at age six are taught to respect the diverse cultures out there that exist amongst us. They didn’t have programs like that for us as we were entering into the world of responsibility. In the sixties you were taken into the life of revolt one way or another breaking down walls of prejudice between blacks and whites and other bias attitudes. In Canada it became compulsory to learn some French in school as a way to bring down barriers of the bodily concept. We saw the change. Nothing helped me as much as hearing we are not these bodies which was a healthy message that kept repeating itself when I was living in the ashram.

I finished my talk today at our Brampton centre on that note-“we are not these bodies.” But not to miss the point there is a dire need to care for these bodies which are on loan to us. I took a 7 Km walk south on Avenue rd. to care for this body when a middle-aged woman commented, “those clothes look really great!” I thanked her for the remark. Back in the fifties she likely would not have said that due to the conservative and prejudice climate of the time.

I had spoken once again today at the celebration of Goverdhana Puja, honouring the sacred hill of Goverdhana near Vrindavana, India. The message was similar. Let’s get off the bodily concept and take to higher consciousness… some of the people who take hours to circumambulate the hill as walking pilgrims do.

Go ahead! Walk through the colorful autumn trees. And if you wear saffron you might blend in real well.

7 Km

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Diwali In The Air

Brussells, Belgium

Today was Diwali day. India based Airlines “jet Airways” announced it over the P.A. system wishing all aboard a Happy Diwali as we boarded and disembarked the plane. The sun was in celebration. At least he made himself available here and in Toronto.

Diwali refers to the festival of lights and represents the New Year for many residents of India, especially those from the North. In a letter from our Guru, Srila Prabhupada, sent to a student he recommended how this grand day could be honoured. He indicated many lamps or ghee wick lights can be offered to the diety of the tmple. Ram had returned to to His native Ayodiya after he conquered Ravana, a terrorist at best. Ram returned with Sita, His consort. Laksman his brother, and an entire Simian army headed by Hanuman had also come to be greeted by overjoyed citizens of Ayodiya. This is what all the lights are about. “Ram is back! Ram is here to stay!”

The citizens had remained melancholy for fourteen years when their beloved Ram was absent from His Kingdom. His other brother Bharat decided to live as an acetic during this period. His meditation was fixated on the royal shoes of Rama and now with His coming home these shoes situated on a throne were brought back to Rama indicating that the period of lament is over. All citizens could go back and get on with their lives.

Colourful leaves fallen from trees were stirring about in the air, some in dance. It seemed they too were happy for Diwali in the setting of Cedarbrae park that I trekked after disembarking.

5 Km

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Wrap Up

Mumbai, India

It was wrap up day in Mumbai for senior peers in Krishna Consciousness. In age I’m somewhere in the middle, 57. While in Mumbai a visitor to the temple, an American, Bhavananda and an early member to ISKCON turned 70. Another friend Ambarish (the great grandson of Henry Ford) turned 59 not long ago.

One of our work-in-progress committees for the week in Mumbai is a succession committee, a group working on the mechanism for smooth transfer of administrative duties to the next generation. My committee is the constitution committee and our group has been drafting a constitution for our spiritual society. Other areas of work that have been going on in committee efforts of strategic planning are Parallel lines of authority (parallel refers to guru and institution); Devotee care, Position of the Founder, Prabhupada and outreach strategies.

It’s progressive work necessary as we enter into the world of change. The worst thing is to be time-warped and try to operate exactly as we did in the sixties. We do live in a different world today and if we are smart we will examine the changes, make adjustments without compromising philosophy and tenets of the tradition.

With regards to putting closure to the stay in India I managed to secure some homeopathic medicine to address the ongoing planters warts on my right foot. And to finish the needs of the heart I was asked to lead the chanting session for the final arati (service). Once again it was a good sweaty work-out session.

7 Km

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Thursday, October 15th, 2009


Mumbai, India

Kalakantha, my American devotee friend and I took to the beach to walk at 2 AM. The sleep before this was good and necessary. The previous day I encountered dizzy spells and it meant my absence during meeting session. Now the wooziness was all forgotten being with a friend and on the beach for japa meditation.

There was a second walk planned for us retreaters. This one again hit the sand but with thirty other people –those on the retreat. People in white and shades of saffron in traditional garb, dhoti or saree, surprised the public.

My good fortune was to carry a small brass murti (icon) of our guru, Srila Prabhupada. We took the route that he took, southbound until we came to a resting spot. There, our group sat to hear about Prabhupada and his time talking to a retired surgeon, Dr Patel while on the beach in 75. Dr Patel would join our guru trekking along and engaging in philosophical debates.

In the conversation which they had (which had been recorded) Prabhupada spoke to Dr Patel about how the whole drug culture began, particularly ganja (marijuana) smoking and how it started from India. Patel denied it but Prabhupada was convincing although the doctor was hard to convince about anything.

The group of us proceeded to the quarters used by Prabhupada on the 5th floor of one of the tower building. We relished watching a DVD of him speaking in L.A. in 72 from the book Bhagavatam (verse 1.1.1).

All this occurred in the morning and you might think that it had stolen the show for the day. But no! Every hour, every minute is very special in the consciousness for Krishna.

A team building committee arranged for us to spend time away from a temple environment and have a workshop session in a hotel run by an admirer of ISKCON’s mission. I asked an assistant (a bus boy you call it in the west, or a valet) how long he’s been at the work.

“Two and half years,” he said.

“Do you like it?”

“Yes very much!” he answered.


“The main reason was that my supervisor is very friendly,” he said with a smile on his face.

That to me was a message for a leader to hear.

10 Km

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Monday, October 12th, 2009



One of the senior monks in our midst , Jayapataka Swami ,suffered a severe stroke one year ago. His recovery has been remarkable although one side of his face is paralyzed. I’m not sure of other implications physically. It so happened my room is located across the hall from him in the ISKCON Juhu building. I saw this as a golden opportunity to render some service to a great soul since he is wheel-chair ridden.

It was a few minutes prior to our meeting and I saw that Jayapataka was going to be taken down to the ground floor for darshan (viewing) of the deities of Krishna. He was okay with the offer of me taking him before each deity and diorama in the temple. He asked if I was a good driver.

“Yes Maharaja , but I let my license expire to take up walking.”

He chuckled.

From talking to him I could see his mind was crystal clear and memory was sharp while his words were slurring. I was happy to see him going through his healing. One year ago we thought we lost him forever but prayers and good wishes make all the difference in such circumstances.

There were occasions in the past when we did walk together but it was never he and I alone. He always has an entourage. Once in Dallas we walked with a group in the morning. We followed one line of walking several streets from the temple and it was time to return back. I mentioned to him that I always prefer walking in a loop and never going back the same route.

Jayapataka’s response was “Well,why don’t we just turn around and look at the route from a different angle?” I thought the remark was brilliant and had enough philosophical depth to it that it could be applied to many things in life.” Turn around and see from a different angle”, he said.

With his handicapped condition, I had been compelled to see him different from before. I appreciate him for not being tied up in self pity but being more concerned for others through enquiring about them which he did as I pushed him in his wheel chair.

6 Km

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009


Mumbai, India.

Motor rickshaws line the street parked with their drivers fast asleep cuddled and curled by themselves in each and every four foot length back seat. The rest of their bodily frame juts out of the vehicle, an arm or a leg. I don’t know how they do it nor how comfortable their sleep could possibly be. But, of course, this is the land of yogis, the land of agility and stretchability and perhaps the reason why out of all ancient culture, this one (Dharma Culture) has survived the longest. India in that sense IS incredible as the billboards read.

These rickshaw wallas (guys) work hard during the day and they make cab their bedroom at night. It seems an austere life.

By the sea traditional fishermen haul in their catch-the-fruit of the sea while up above at all hours state-of-the-art aircraft soar in the air over this water called the Arabian Sea.

One permanent fixture of the beach at Juhu is a tractor and hitched to it is a wagon for hauling garbage. Each morning as early as 2 AM young men collect the debris left by humans the previous day and all this under police supervision.

The real special feature of this beach which comes alive with people between 5 and 6 AM is that our Guru, Srila Prabhupada, took his morning walks here for many a day in the seventies. That’s what makes these sands highly favourable for stepping on. It is an opportunity that I’m taking advantage of daily.

When it is time for footwear to be cast off after a meeting or after a trip for walking on Juhu’s sands inside the ISKCON shoe stall, a very dedicated man slots your shoe in a small cubicle. This man is gifted with a good memory. As soon as he sees you coming he remembers your pair of shoes and he has hundreds to deal with. He pulls them out and sets them down ready for use.

If you have read “The Mahabharat” you will know that at the time of the Rajasuya sacrifice Krishna Himself sat by the entrance of the ceremonial hall and saw to the foot care of guests. That demonstration of service is quite amazing and so is this simple shoe man amazing because he is servicing some great people at the retreat.

7 KM

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Mumbai, India

The tide was low at 2AM. I had risen early due to early rest. I had Juhu Beach all to myself or so it seemed. As anyone knows dogs bark at anything mobile. There were a few stray ones taking note of the moving cloth of a monk. You can’t be bothered with them as they bark for no apparent reason.

The air was best at that early hour, the beach wider than usually because of the tide. I could see so much.

Later in the temple two young men and woman entered the temple’s courtyard for the first time. It was during the portion of the morning sadhana , when a selected teacher gives lessons from the book Bhagavatam. I was surprised to see these three newcomers struggling, in a way, as to where to go and what to see. I stood up from my seat to answer to the call of duty.

It turns out that they are students from Thailand and are learning Hotel Management. With Thailand having cultural ties with India, they seemed to know SITA RAM as the altar is adorned with these deities. A diorama of Ganesh seemed to be familiar to them as well. They had questions but were shy to ask. So I asked the Bhagavatam speaker for today on their behalf one question.

They wanted to know, “Why so many gods?”I asked Sesa who sat on his asana (seat for the speaker).The gist of his answer was “God has no limitations but to satisfy His enjoying spirit He expands as many.”

I’m not sure that the entire explanation satisfied them but they were fascinated nevertheless by their whole new experience. After seeing the happy trio off I wondered how often this scenario takes place. When guests come, especially from afar, do they get looked after or are they ignored?”

7 Km

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Sunday, October 11th, 2009


Mumbai, India

Chanting sessions or kirtans can only be met here. Also when you trek along the beachfront you become one with the ocean; that is you become soaky and salty. Hundreds and hundreds of walkers and joggers take to the beach and become soggy at least in certain body parts and that’s without touching the water. Mumbai is that kind of place. It’s big on the element we call water and it’s in the air. It’s also big on fire.

Great meals are served here to meet the demands of Govinda’s restaurant. It means there’s a plentiful use of fire. Below my room an elaborate banquet was arranged for an outdoor event. Food had been lined up, not macrobiotic food but cooked food. Fire!

A good section of the Juhu plot is reserved for gorgeous grassy lawn, weed-free. Earth! And in the space of it all is the precious commodity we call air which is a trite odorous with fish at times.

The elements are ever present wherever you may go. After a day of “feeling them” the source must be factored in – Krishna. Yes, it always summarizes to this point. The elements are His energies, separated but connected simultaneously. “Bhina prakrtir astada” is the Sanskrit term. Since energy is released and used (by us) there is some obligation from our side to credit the origin of this energy (the elements). That obligation is the mutual art of giving. We receive and then we must return.

The day ended with another wet Kirtan.

5 Km

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

I know how to count

Ujjain, India

I had flown from Indore to Mumbai. After deplaning I sought a ride to Juhu’s ISKCON temple. It wasn’t hard to find a cab, actually a motor rickshaw. I asked the driver, “Ketna?” (how much).
“Two fifty!” he said
“Yes! Two fifty! Two fifty!”
“Okay,” I said “let’s go!”

I loaded my travel-light monk’s luggage and took the back seat. We were on our way to Juhu Beach. Midway through, the driver started to speak again.
“Two fifty! Two fifty! Five hundred! It’s okay?”
“Wait a minute! Honesty! You said two hundred fifty rupees.”
“Ah ha! Two fifty and two fifty. Five hundred!” he confirmed.
“I do know how to count. Listen I am a swami. You must be nice. Just get me there and we’ll talk. Be honest!”

Once we arrived at Juhu’s temple I fingered through my rupee notes. I had small denominational notes which didn’t add up to much and then I had a five hundred rupee note. So I gave it to him expecting from him a smile, a gesture, a typical head waggle and then driving off. But he gave back the proper change ‘two fifty.’ I guess repeating the mantra “Be honest” had an effect.

I checked into a room, lay down and reflected on the morning walk with Floridian friend Kalakanta and the talks with guru god brothers on how to better care for our student members. It was good stalk-taking, so was the sleep. I also reflected on one of the obligations of the swami or guru is to teach morality and ethics alongside transcendence.

5 Km

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Friday, October 9th, 2009

The Swim and the Sweat

Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

From the ISKCON temple in Ujjain two monks (brahmacaris) kept in stride with me to reach the ancient ashram location where Krishna and His close brother Balarama attended school under guru Sandipani Muni. The two young monks claimed they had a monopoly on the short cut through a university campus – uneven trails and a combination of main (or mean) streets and off the beaten paths. It was a good 8 Km trek with lively conversation. I asked the men what their view of the perfect world would be.

For starters they offered to propose the elimination of certain features of our mundane world such as plastics, cell phones, cars, tvs, computers, porno books, Hollywood, and Bollywood. They chose to keep mosquitoes, sharks, crocodiles and everything natural. Moderate Islam should stay, Elvis Presley, the police force and army. Pesticides, atomic bombs and a democratic system would be replaced by nature taking charge, peace talking and a Vedic monarchy. There was more they recommended. All in all the exercise although it bore a pinch of idealism was very thought-provoking.

Once we arrived at the ashram of Krishna, a rather peaceful and mystical place, the three of us were driven to a kund, a lake excavated by a great Maharaja (king) of the past. We were met by the men on the street; all wise and a little worn from the heat of the day. Most of the men I referred to are sannyasis, monk pioneers of Krishna Consciousness.

I’m the latecomer but I quickly got caught up in re-acquaintance. My friend Kripamaya from the UK was there as well as Canadian born Bhakti Raghava Swami. I believe he is the only one without a protruding belly. As we swam in swimwear it was evident that most of us went through a body change since the 60s and 70s when we joined. It’s to be expected.

Here was the perfect example of the soul’s transmigration. The body transforms. The observer, the soul, remains constant.

The day came to a close after Kirtan, chanting, in the temple. What a work-out! What remarkable sweat poured forth! We were hard at play, singing and dancing in midst of the biggest smiles.

8 Km

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

No Grudge

New Delhi, India

A break in Brussels was great. I made friends with a Sikh family from Brampton and a young Toronto woman on her way to Vrindavan for a yoga retreat with the Sivananda group.

Back on board to Delhi I retained the same seat as before. So did the little three year old behind me. She and her mom appeared again. The little youngster had learned the hard way not to strike the swami but the warning did not deter her from being inventive. This time she would grab a hold of the back of my seat, shake and rattle it fiercely. The Sivananda woman sitting behind the girl also got the same treatment. Mom woke up and caught her little one red-handed engaged in her shenanigans. Mom really let her have it this time. She raised her voice so that hell could hear. Other passengers looked our way including the family with the twins on their laps. They rolled their eyes with the expression “Isn’t it weird?”

I see it as part of an adventure. As I have told, especially foot travelers giving me company, “There’s always an adventure. It’s God throwing things in front of you. He’s checking the response and giving you something to talk about at the end of the day or the end of the journey. He’s asking ‘Did you weather it? Did you take it as a challenge? Was it with pain that you journeyed? If so why did you allow it to be?’”

When we all disembarked at the Delhi airport I saw the young 3 year old tease-playing with the male flight attendant. She was ‘in fun’ and I hold no grudges against the little one for the former terrorism.

“Wasn’t baby Krishna a little like that?” I thought.

1 Km (inside the Brussels Airport).

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Light Flight

In the Atlantic Air

Well, before boarding a flight headed for Delhi and Indore, I had the pleasure to meander with two monks from the ashram, up and down residential streets near the temple. The ground walking is so essential to balance the air travel ahead.

Once reaching the Toronto airport and waiting I acquired a paper to catch up on the world. A front page article covered a story about a Japanese carrier that asks its passengers to take a trip to the bathroom before climbing aboard. The reason? They figure that for each flight they could reduce weight to the amount of up to 247 kilograms – the weight of 3 average men thus reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Lightness did dominate the flight in the air in another way. A couple from Toronto in front of me took with them their set of baby twins, the boy in blue, the girl in pink. Behind me a girl, 3 years old, kept striking me with force on my bald head. I didn’t think much of it in the beginning but when she applied greater force I alerted the mother who was immersed in watching the screen in front of her. Once I got her attention the woman thought that the hitting was rather cute but as the girl repeated the action I did plea with the mother for peace. I almost felt guilty about this because the mom gave fairly harsh chiding to her youngster. The couple with the twins were laughing at the episode and I also broke into, well at least smiles.

As you travel east to Brussels you skip six hours. Sleep is next to impossible so I chant and observe the passengers and I always, always try to see that these people are all spirit souls, part and parcel of the Supreme. For me that makes the plane ride lighter.

6 Km

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Urban Edge Yoga

Toronto, Ontario

This is something to write home about. We have opened another centre in Canada. That makes it our seventh in seven years. To list them there is Halifax, Scarborough, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, and Saranagati.

The grand opening for the most recent one is in Toronto at Bloor and Spadina, in the heart of the University of Toronto. And it’s called, “Urban Edge Yoga”. It’s just a twenty minute stint on foot from the temple at Avenue Rd. and Dupont. I had to put a hustle to my walk since I was the guest speaker for the evening event. My talk was called, “Attacking loneliness”.

Since Mangal Aarti, the main initiator of the project, had informed me that prior many people who had attended her bhakti yoga classes intimated to her that heartbreak and loneliness were some of the reasons they took to yoga, I thought the topic was pertinent or relevant.

The space at 700 sq. ft. did fill up and all were enthused. We premiered the play, “lonely” dealing with the same topic. In the talk as well as the drama we offered some hints as to what to do about this modern day epidemic. The main thrust was to establish your true identity and to act upon it.

One thing I realized at the end of the day is that I was not in the least bit lonely. I was extremely busy and had only enough time to walk to the Urban Edge Yoga which is 1 Km. I got a ride back.

1 Km

Monday, October 5th, 2009

A Birthday Threesome

Brampton, Ontario

I’m 57 today and there was an exuberant party. Nimai was also there. I would say the merry time was also in his honour because it also happened to be his appearance as well. As a monk living in the same ashram he follows the same regime as me though for him it has become deregulated for him lately. Nimai is having some trouble keeping up the pace. It’s understandable, he is in his 80’s.

When I asked him about his age he was unsure. “87”, he said, but other sources informed me that he is four years younger. It doesn’t matter, really. He’s getting up there in age.

And there is one other difference between Nimai and I apart from his having seniority over me. He is from Navaduip, a sacred destination in India’s West Bengal. I cannot take such credit as that. My birth has less sacred circumstances. Somehow or other by the karmic swing of things we are sharing some similar space together.

Another birthday boy emerged from the crowd-Mukesh. He is also 57 today and was born in the evening while my mother say I was out in the morning. With India’s time zone is ahead by 10.5 hours that puts Mukesh and I very close in terms of birth canal arrivals.

Mukesh, Nimai and your humble servant enjoyed the meal of our lifetime. Cake was there but I’m a sucker for salty stuff. All the great food via prasadam, food offered to Krishna.

It was just the best birthday gathering ever.

5 Km

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Valley Vaishanavas

Venables Valley, British Columbia

The third day of our annual retreat for the last few years has been just that- a retreat treat repeated. The bulk of this sunshine day was touring the valley, walking, visiting homes, viewing the sun artichoke crops and examining the water system which brings down good clean H2O from a snow fed stream. Water is a problem here if you want to set up permanent camp. We are looking at the driest part of Canada. “Where there is a will , there is a way”, Is the motto that keeps residents going at Saranagati and it’s their determination that sees them through such challenges.

I must say to you that nothing beats good company. As the great 15th century avatar Chaitanya stressed sadhu sanga, associate with saints. Well you get that here. For an hour session our peer group sat in a circle with a talking stick Only the person holding the stick which is a native tradition, could be an eagles feather, gets a chance to speak. A two minute timeline is allotted for saying something relevant to the topic chosen today as “connectedness to the spirit”

The method works well as it allows for the reserved- type of people to speak and disciplines those who speak in overdrive. Once the stick has passed through one revolution then it is repeated until one expires the topic. Basically the members of the group expressed their realizations and the idea is to stay on topic.

The evening program at the established ISKCON center drew residents from the valley. My dear friend from Windsor, Halasa Mayi and her husband, a muslim, taking interest in the consciousness for Krishna. And since it is October, the vedic calendar registers this time of the year for Damodar, a highly surcharged time of the year for spiritual introspection.

As the sun descends all sits well in the valley of devotees. Despite all the calmness my regular restlessness grips me for the night. I have come to accept this companion of mine, Insomnia, and take him for a walk. He always encourages me to do additional trekking.

22 Km

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Talk or Entertainment

Venables Valley, British Columbia

When life is devoid of television like it is at Saranagati you are not likely to stay up late at night. You will happily rise to occasions such as experiencing early full moon glow. This mornings’ clouds scudded by leaving toned down slow, no strobe light effect. The backdrop of mountain and lake were perfect for the eye entertainment. It was the ideal curtain for camera shots of our group. Click! Click! Flash! Flash!

Reps from our various centers delivered reports on what they are experiencing. Our modest monastery in Halifax appeared to get the most attention with a short film, “Big Bliss, Little City”. And Bala Krishna, the most progressive agriculturist in the valley with his own organic “Bhumi” mother earth produce, took our minds through, “Sacred Cows, Sacred cars”.

I give a bravo to this notion having meager love for the automobile.

Our evening session was an entrancement at the home of Dian and Yamuna who is the famous singer behind the song, “Govinda”. With old time friends like Kripa Nidhi and Jagadisha in our midst you make the most of endearing company. With no TV’s in your life you figure out very quickly the best substitute- you have each other, and you communicate.

Yamuna was telling me of her early days in the Hare Krishna movement. I asked her about Mukunda Goswami, one of my favorite monks amongst god-brothers, and of those times. “Mookhi”, she referred to him affectionately , ‘was a great pianist in jazz circles. “ She mentioned that he had played in a group and for people like Miles Davis. When Mookhi came to his guru, Srila Prabhupada, to give his life to a higher consciousness, he discontinued his playing the keyboard. Not that all artistic expression needs to be renounced as you enter monastic life. It appeared to be the mood and not the policy at the time. I enjoyed hearing Yamuna about her experiences at the infancy of her spiritual life. She and Dina have regular frank spiritual talks at their straw bail home on the north end of the Valley. It’s just about the best place in the world for deep conversation.

If you have that, who needs TV?

8 Km

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Weekend In the Valley

Venables Valley, British Columbia

It’s a fine mountain air that you breath here in the village of Saranagati situated in the valley. The bears are plentiful. You don’t always see them. They leave traces - dung, a reddish tone form the berries and the rose hips they consume. These are their last desperate days, efforts of fattening up before the six month sleep in their chosen hole.
Bears are one of the opulences of the rural places and the fall is the best time of the year to spot them. The human residents of Saranagati have told me that a very champion bear (as far as achieving his food goal) has been around, a 500 pounder. Another one known in the valley as Scruffy has this unusual scraggly hair which gets deposited here and there, another sign that bears are very alive and active.

There is no question, the humans here are outnumbered even with the weekends arrival of Vaishnavas from across Canada duty-bound in attending their Canadian AGM. Important matters reached the table in our indoor setting, a country-style temple built by 72 years old Kulashekar, a monk hailing from Quebec. Presentations were delivered on such topics as pastoral abuse and it’s converse the five acts of showing love.: 1) shared activity 2) words of appreciation 3) meaningful service 4) hugging 5) giving gifts.

I particularly have an affinity for any deliverables by Partha and Uttama from the Grhasta Vision Team. This outstanding couple always remind us of moral values and obligations which is the backbone of spirituality.

7 Km

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

The Man For Change

Kamloops, British Columbia

He was curious as hell. This man from Turkey was my co-passenger and I guess was not too meek to speak. So I broke the ice with an introductory weather line. “I knew it would be more dry here than in Vancouver”, I said as our plane was coming nearer and nearer to Kamloops.

“So, it’s your first time to the interior of B.C.?”

“Yes, it is but excuse me! What order of Buddhism do you belong to?” he asked.

“Hare Krishna” I replied and then the dialogue flowed from there.

He identified himself as a former Muslim, turned atheist, now agnostic.

I asked him, “why the change?’ He said he read of the life of Mohamed and that that was enough to turn him to atheism.

“What brought you to the point of becoming as agnostic?”

He then shared his explanation. “There are things in this world that cannot be explained in practical terms, things that are mystical.”

From there I presented the mysteries of the Bhagavad-Gita. He was quite taken by the Gita’s view through the eyes of the three modes of material nature, and was particularly drawn to “goodness”, the most favorable of the three.

I was happy to have made a friend who agreed that openness is the best course. The plane landed and we had to part but like great brief encounters that yearn to repeat themselves we decided to exchange phone numbers.

There is so much to talk about. Talking, like walking can change a man.

9 Km

Friday, 2 October 2009

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Good Feelings
Toronto, Ontario

I received through snail mail a Happy Birthday card from my dentist and his associates today. It was a kind gesture. Today is not my birthday in fact this message of best wishes came almost a week in advance. In it you find a quote. Smiles are the language of Love.” It’s a quote from David Hare. I don’t know anything about the author but his name certainly sounds familiar. The reminders of birth are ever apparent. That also holds true for passing on.

A mother and daughter arranged for a small ceremony at the demise of a family member. I assumed the role as priest. It was not intended as a last rites ceremony but an acknowledgment and a way of sending well wishes to the soul. I led a worship of the guru, led a chant and spoke from the Gita. Sounds, smells, tastes, and words of wisdom become components of a peaceful closure for the family. They become content and I become content. It’s a glorious contagiousness.

That’s how Krishna Consciousness works.

2 Km

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Patience and Swiftness


The flight from Florida was restful. The wait at customs was restless. The lines were long. Many flights came in at once and hence, unusual lengthy and bottle neck cues manifest. What to do? It seems that much of our life is tied up in waiting and being patient. The problem with living in that part of the world which runs on effieiency is that one is not always prepared for accepting obstacles.

In the matter of taking steps towards spiritual progression, those of us who have been on the path for some years know that if patience isn’t applied, you may abandon the spiritual pursuit altogether. As it is said, patience is a true virtue. Even God-in-the-heart is patient with us. Otherwise we would have no hope.

Since we have touched the topic of efficiency, I would like to relay an experience I had just tonight that pertains to that.

I took an evening japa walk on Toronto’s Bloor Street, and just two minutes before I reached the scene of an incident, a young man administering CPR on the victim hoping for breathing revival. I stood there chanting. From the distance, sirens sounded within an emergency’s moment. Two police patrol cars, two ambulances and one fire engine truck arrived at the scene with the utmost speed and saw to the helpless man’s needs. The service men (police, paramedics, etc.) moved with concentration on their job. It was impressive how much care was orchestrated amongst these men.

The victim remained unconscious while being swept away by the paramedics. I wish the patient well. I had to admit that the boys had come to his aid exercised cooperation, care and concentration in a way that moved me. They are well trained to become smooth operators.

Now let’s see how focused and fast those of us are who have taken the vow to save souls!

7 Km

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Fins and Friends

Niranja, Florida

Dolphins are extremely bright creatures. I had always heard that but now I saw it for myself. Doctor Murari and astrologer, Gorga, both wanted to treat me to something different and so we drove to a canal where these playful aquatic mammals literally take you for a ride. There were a number of tricks they provided us members of an unofficial fifties club. I must admit that I got a charge out of alpha male and female and their granddaughter spinning and dancing while we chanted “Hare Krishna” for them.

We danced with the dolphins, but we also danced the with humans. That was in the evening at the home of Eva, a healer who uses a technique of water therapy. Eva’s Miami Beach program attracted family and friends for a hearing and chanting session. There was a strong presence of Spanish blood in the central room where our session took place and that is always great as singing and dancing comes natural to the folks of the flamenco strain.

On a more sober note, at eating time I spoke with one person who expressed his internal joy that God was teaching him a heap of detachment from this world. Recently his father cut him out of his will, a handsome sum, because of his chosen spiritual path which was different from his ancestral religion. Upon hearing the news initially, it hit him hard but more recently, he had come to terms with that reality and has become very uncomfortable with it. He’s had to let go and accept a special kind of mercy.

I really appreciated his mood.

0 Km

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Sleeping At The Dock

Coconut Grove, Florida

The plan was to arrive in Miami and trek for a good 7 miles with a group of swami admirers. But I said, "No, thank you. It's terribly hot. It's skin cancer weather." With the humidity factor, one devotee speculated it at 102 degrees farenheit. We are talking about high noon time. Plan B was to take our time and head for Keys Biscayore and its beach for chanting, spiritual inspiration chats and a splash in the ocean. This we fulfilled.

This time in the water was extremely enjoyable, although conversational topics were mixed. A group of us men exchanged words of optimism when one of our faithfully committed people expressed dismay and disappointment at the behaviour of an outsider Vaishnava group that has been proselytizing on the grounds of our centre in Miami. Naturally, we concluded that if there is any show of etiquette at all, then the active group would see to the whole world as a marketplace for converts. The efforts by the outsider group displays not just a gesture of ungentlemanliness, but a true unholy act. It's a matter that is currently being acted upon in the way that brahmins would handle; that is with gentle firmness.

My evening shade became a surprise to me. Having no opportunity to let the legs wander today, 10:30 PM became my first chance. It was hard to sleep because of the humidity. So I ventured to Coconut Grove where some semblance of life persists into the night. I was chanting softly on my beads and I returned by midnight.

There was one problem. I was accidentally locked out of the entire temple complex. I tried to scale the eight foot wall but no way. Dhotis are not ideal for climbing walls. I headed towards the ocean and the yacht docks. There I had a doze at the end of a dock. Th breeze was cool and favourable.

I was cut off of any material ties and material facility. I had only my chauddar (shawl), my beads and the clothes on my back. For those few hours of being somewhat stranded, I felt I had touched the time of freedom.

Finally, the steward of the temple, Dakshin, a monk from Canada who resided here for years, unlatched the door to the temple compound entrance after I wandered back. I again, stepped into an altogether different kind of freedom.

8 Km

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Happily Busy

Toronto, Ontario

Everyone wants to feel good, me included! What makes me feel good is when I see a lot going on in the temple/ashram or when I see a lot of devotional activity taking place outside the temple/ashram as a result of enthusiasm to serve.

In our mission, we are poised to please the guru. The guru in our mission is Srila Prabhupada,and he has set the bar for us in the way of sharing kirtan chanting, sharing books from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, an sharing prasadam, blessed food from Krishna.

I was very happy to observe that our kirtan group, Gaura Shakti, performed at Canada’s landmark castle, Casa Loma, preceded by a yoga lesson from our very own monk, Deva Datta. Simultaneausly there were two groups of ours who organized themselves in the downtown bustling areas, sharing books and prasadam while two kirtans took place in these two vicinities. Meanwhile, I took a chef’s approach in the kitchen and the outcome was very satisfying to people who consumed with great relish.

In the temple premises more than normal attendance was found in Govinda’s vegetarian dining. The evening was reserved for a satsang at the home of a devotee, Shukadev. All in all, a lot of ‘busy like a beehive’ mobility was going on. And as a general rule when people are busy especially engaged in devotional activity the atmosphere becomes light and enlightened.

7 Km

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Two Great Souls at Wasaga

Wasaga Beach, Ontario

Dwija Gauranga is an exceptional monk who serves in the ashram tirelessly. One of his tasks is to function as errand boy. He also drives me to places if my feet won’t carry me due to the long distance involved and the short time allotted to meet an appointment.

Both of us drove off at 6 a.m., northbound to Wasaga Beach. There we met Vishnu Tattva and Bhismaka, a couple very dedicated to devotion. Although far from any temple, the two of them run a regimented program in the morning consisting of japa meditation, a pooja worship and chants. That’s early morning.

During the daytime, Vishnu teaches an assortment of martial arts. I must admit, he has a unique thing going, coaching young men and women kick boxing as well as regular boxing. He has a high rate of success at having his students cut down on meat consumption and sex. He has his pupils reciting the sacred name, “Govinda”, and giving salutations addressed as “Haribol”. Many of them are learning that Krishna was a warrior and a fighter for justice.

Vishun and Bhismaka’s real claim to fame came from being the personal assistants and cooks of our guru, Srila Prabhupada. Vishnu managed the guest house in Vrndavan, India, in the last days of our guru’s stay with us on the earth and Bhismaka cooked his last meal which was dahl (soup) and rice. In addition to this, she prepared the meal of srikand and malpoor, two yogurt based preparations which was set and buried in his samadhi, the place of his deceased body. This is, of course, all to their great credit.

8 Km

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Durward’s Dad

Toronto, Ontario

This morning we heard from Durward Allan, a professional actor who spoke to our group of monks in the ashram about the early days of his search for a father (which ends up being Krishna). It was 1967 when Montreal hosted the World Expo. At that time, as a young struggling artist, Durward, a man at a bar, a man who invited him to a Hindu temple on Park Avenue where he had resided for the time being. Durward was a hippie at the time and had no place to stay, so he accepted the offer.

“It was quite a weird experience” Durward explained. The man had constructed a teepee for himself inside the ashram and there he lived with an iguana. It was the first time he had ever seen people wearing dhotis, Indian robes. All the smells and food were so new to him. It was another world for him.

It happened that for visa purposes, Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, was coming to the city and spending some time in Canada until his visa was approved. Durward’s impression was that here was a very powerful person. When he spoke and when it came to question time, Durward took the opportunity to ask about the position of Christ, since Durward was raised Catholic. Srila Prabhupada’s answer was that Jesus is the son of God, and Krishna is the father – the father of everyone. It was an answer that satisfied him.

Durward admitted to a bad smoking habit, which made it hard for him to consider permanent life in an ashram, but for his forty two years since then, he is content to have known his ultimate father.

15 Km

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Tearing Up Your Own Roadway

Toronto, Ontario

It is not difficult to notice the surface on which you step. Naturally in a city there is asphalt, concrete and rare spots of grass. In some areas chewing gum blobs have plagued the pavement, appearing as thousands of dots of oral rejects. The street, too, loses any aesthetical quality (if every there was some) to the work of construction crews. I am aware that power, water and sewage lines under our feet need attention. It’s called maintenance. Unfortunately, the road gets broken up and then closed in and filled up, leaving an uneven surface and a patchy job. The sight is not the least bit pretty.

It just seems that someone is always working at the guts of our thruways and sidewalks. I don’t know if it is more prevalent in North America than other parts of the world. I know that in Fiji, some of the roads, even for the tourists, are literally the pits. There’s the road to Mayapura, India, which is pathetically unattended to.

As one who is fond of walking, uneven surfaces are not always so bad for the feet. It is great reflexology, and the feet are more agile at handling it than automobile tires. I must resolve within and not complain too much about the road and sidewalk state of affairs. When I see a sign that reads, “Men At Work”, I know that someone is trying to make improvement. As far as tearing up the road and redoing pipes is concerned, I guess it can be analogous to us digging inside and replacing some of our bad stuff with some good stuff. I’m referring, of course, to the chanting and the tearing into our mind that we require to purge. If we get our internal pipes and conduits clean, especially the heart, then we are doing good.

4 Km