Thursday, 29 November 2012

Wednesday, November 28th 2012

A Little Friend
Varadero, Cuba

Little 6 year old Kiran, seated in front of me had an on-going conversation with me in the bus.
"We're going to our hotel" he determindly said.
"Oh, so you own a hotel, do you?" I questioned him about his proprietorship.
"Yes, we are booked there."
"Well, if you own a hotel you don't have to book yourself, right." I teased, testing his logic. Kiran's parents didn't seem to mind. "We don't own anything. But I know someone who does."
"Who?" asked the curious boy. And then I told him. As we neared our destination at "Memories Resort" Kiran challenged me, "You can't make me laugh.". I took up the challenge.
'Yes I can. Knock, Knock!"
"Who's there?"
"Harry who?"
"Harry Krishna!"
"Harry Krishna? That doesn't make me laugh", he quipped with a smile.
"That's true. The joke's on you. Maybe God is laughing.".

Our tour guide was quizzing all the passengers, "What three memories will you most likely have of Cuba? Guess!"
"Cigars!" said one man.
'You're right. What else?"

No one could guess the rest , so she revealed the remaining two. Rum and coffee. That was a disappointment. It wasn't even funny. The bus pulled up to the exotic outcome of the hotel and the thirteen of us pilgrims from Toronto stepped out along with the rest of the passengers including Kiran and his sister, Mum and Dad. Kiran gave a farewell wave to me and so did the parents. I went through an inside toss about feeling for the day fulfilled versus unfulfilled.

I had made friends but hadn't met a quota of kilometres on foot. Only the inside of two airports from Canada to Cuba permitted room for my legs to sway on the granite floors. Sometimes I"ll meet maybe one person within 30 km walking. But here I met adorable Kiran after approximately 1 km walking for the day and sitting patiently at the rear seat of the bus. I hope he'll remember me, especially as an agent of Krishna.

1 KM

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Tuesday, November 27th 2012

Charge Yourself!

Toronto, Ontario

“Charge your batteries!"

This may be a common enough saying in reference to your engine, as in the mechanics of your car. Or it could be a remark to address one's need to get excited about something, to raise the enthusiasm and get out of the doldrums.  Lest we forget the departed meaning, facetiously, did your soul die and should we not revive it?

Can the soul die? According to the Gita, it would be impossible to kill the soul because of its resilience. "It cannot be cut to pieces by any weapon, burned by fire, moistened by water nor withered by the wind." Indeed the elements cannot destroy what is anti-material. It may be considered, however, that one's "umph" for doing the spiritual thing could be lacking. The illusions of the world beat us down real hard depriving us of the will to do anything that's spiritually devotional.

This mood of being invested of energy, whether material or spiritual, is reflected in the character of Arjuna. He set down his divine weapon, the Gandiva bow, out of sheer loss of eagerness, and losing the sense of purpose. Indeed his battery needed charging and his life long companion, Krishna, was there to help. A few words of encouragement was all that was necessary to lift the spirit of Arjuna. It's often through hearing or simply by doing that an automatic recharge can take place.

I noticed on my recent visit to Montreal that throughout the course of the day people come to make their few minutes stay in the temple to pump up their spirits by sitting there and chanting or by offering some selfless service in some way. Here, also at base - Toronto, I observe the participation of individuals who come to do some menial activity such as cleaning floors or pots. This kind of stuff brings out the meekness in someone. I also get a "zap" from the daily walks through forest or concrete-and-lights while doing the mantra meditation. We all have our own version of boosting.

So figure out what that is, your approach, but do take some approach for the sake of the soul. Hustle for the soul. It's worth it. Don't deprive it like the bird in the cage that's not feed. Don't just notice the cage and neglect the bird.

Someone might argue that the soul should be self-stimulating and should not require our mastering of zeal. No! We've buried the spirit with our indulgences. It's time to go deep.

I hope you can dig it.

8 KM

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Monday, November 26th 2012

Reflect on Tulasi

Toronto, Ontario

Two trees were planted this fall at the Brick Works, a popular destination for walking lovers. The labels wrapped around each of this young growth reads "Thornless Common Locust." I feel a bit guilty. I should know all my trees by now. I pass by them everyday. If you can't tell the model of a car in this modern age due to a certain disdainment towards them, then at least you should know your ever present trees, by name.

Now with leaves of trees, having taken to the descending process, it becomes somewhat more difficult to discern whatever I can identify as far as these large plants are concerned.

Tomorrow will be the day to honour a certain sacred small tree known as Tulasi. She grows not in the ravine that I've currently taken to walking in. The temperature is far too frigid for this sensitive growth of green also known as a member of the basil family. She likes the climate of India and other such warm places.

In the purport of verse 11.55 of the Gita, our guru Srila Prabhupada, comments on how one can get close to the Divine by showing a sensitivity and love for the Tulasi plant. "One can  cultivate a garden. Anyone who has land in India, at least, any poor man has a certain amount of land - can utilize that for Krishna by growing flowers to offer Him. One can sow Tulasi plants, because Tulasi leaves are very important and Krishna has recommended this. Krishna desires that one offer Him either a leaf, or a flower, or a fruit, or a little water - and by such an offering He is satisfied. This leaf especially refers to the Tulasi."

Someone might argue her relevance if the plant can't naturally grow in one's climate. The answer could be that as an indoor plant she can do well. Her aroma is something else. If anyone would like proof of her ability to take to an indoor or greenhouse environment then I suggest to go on foot (pilgrimage) or otherwise to visit ISKCON in Burnaby, British Columbia where they have perhaps the healthiest growth of this sacred green anywhere in the world.

For those who want some auspiciousness in their day taste, smell, water or reflect on Tulasi this day.

8 KM

Saturday, November 25th, 2012

Chant While Walking

Scarborough, Ontario

" I could pray while I was walking." is a quote from Dorothy Day (1897-1980) a philanthropist who spent much time in New York city. I read these words and it inspired me. I could say that too but replace the word "pray" for "chant". Essentially, the two words mean to say: a calling out or a celebration of the Divine. In her autobiography "The Long Loneliness" Day recalls the happy ambling times along the shore of States Island and how in the course of her helping the poor she could not get down on her knees but begin praying while in motion.

I have mentioned in the past that a motionless posture for me to chant is a challenge and that walking and chanting are most compatible. In '96 I initiated the first long walk across Canada and since it averaged out 8 hours a day of stepping (sometimes more) I might as well move the mouth at the same time and turn the walk into a pilgrimage.

Others have endorsed this notion of meditational strolling. For instance a writer Linus Mundy authored two books "Slow-Down Therapy" and "The Complete Guide to Prayer-Walking)". I did some of this prayer (chant) walking in the evening after giving two talks today. I discovered lots of people walking on the streets. Cars were honking like crazy. Of course, the local team won the Grey Cup Tournament. Quite reverentially, rowdy fans were chanting "ARGOOOO!" in pride of their team, the Argonauts. Not a terrible amount of spiritual benefit can come out of this but one thing is proven that simultaneous walking and vocal expressions go hand-in-hand.

Actually, before I heard and saw the commotion I came upon a pensive man standing on the street and he asked me, "Who won the game?". I expressed that I don't follow sports much at all. He was tricked especially when I asked him innocently, who's playing who? I just kept walking. I found since I was 5, doing that long 1 mile to school, that there's something about the movement of the body that makes you sensitive to your spirit. That's why some walkers often pray (or chant) while the feet are gliding over the earth.

8 KM

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

An Evening of Bhakti

Toronto, Ontario

We are looking at a monthly program of kirtan (the New Age/Yoga Buzz word) held at 243 Avenue Road, the Hare Krishna Temple. The gathering goes by the name "An evening of Bhakti" and it highlights this ancient method of kirtan or receive-and-respond chanting.
The ambiance at Govinda's Dining Hall is just perfect for this ancestral practice. Although the styles of kirtan may have altered over the years still the principle remains - give your heart out to the sound of spiritual excellence.

Frankly the majority of those in attendance could not claim that the mantras we chanted on this evening were personal hand-me downs through the generations. Most of us at the event came from a Judeo/Christian/Buddhist background. Most of us have adapted to or adopted to the method.
"Gaura-Shakti" the bhajan band with Dhira Grahi, taking the lead on vocals, set a beautiful tone in the cathedral-like hall of Govinda's with an initial relaxed lotus posture on a cushioned floor. This eventually sprung into get-off-your-butt scenario with everyone dancing with stretched limbs.
Keshava Sharma emceed the occasion while I was asked to explain between takes (or mantras) the significance of the ancient way and how it is beneficial. Naturally I had to say that the practice rivals watching the Grey Cup Game, in ecstasy. (The Grey Cup football is at it's 100th year and faithful fans are getting a special rush from the sport this year).

I had a great time with the vocal sound and physical movement of kirtan and to top it all off evening of bhakti extended itself with a trek through downtown when at the end, the last street block of walking, I was greeted by the season's first crystal snow flakes. They were just a teaser and vanished in the air but they were most definitely a grand finale to the night.

7 KM



Monday, 26 November 2012

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

 It Was An All-nighter
Montreal to Toronto
It was an all-nighter… and it wasn’t a party. I took the Megabus ride from 9 pm to 3 am between the two cities. Sleep is not possible on this conveyance for me. I did some reading and writing until bumps made it impossible to scribe, so I started reading the signs for the exits off the 401 Highway, our route. As the headlights beamed onto the signage, names came up that pulled on my heartstrings – Cornwall, Brockville, Kingston, Trenton, Brighton – all names of places that I walked through the summer. It’s quite different when your feet meet the places and when your eyes meet the faces. I won’t forget the speaking engagements at these various junctures along Highway 2 and the joy it would muster. I was actually feeling a separation for the road and the adventure it brings.
The trek I did make after arrival was down University Avenue and onto Simcoe Street to visit Devamrita Swami. He’s in town to speak at various spiritual engagement and to run a retreat over the weekend. At lunch it became irresistible to speak about the summer’s road adventures. The topic was light; how to handle mosquitoes, snakes, bears and cougars in the Canadian wilderness when you’re doing the trek. After lunch the topic was more grave, how to handle the illusory energy –the temptations of the mind, the flesh?
Frankly, encounters with beasts and wilderness are perhaps easier to handle than the power of maya, illusion.
8 KM

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Early Risers
Montreal, Quebec
Early risers can be appreciated. They have what it takes to live long. Recall the saying, “early to bed early to rise…”
After a full one hour of sadhana at which time ten of us stalwarts attended, Raul and I took to Pie Neuf Blvd, and then a side street. Our whimsical navigation had our feet vie for this side street where we came to a place of early risers. The building that was teeming with energy, of human movement, was a massive building called “Pro Gym”. The massive place with its expansive window panes made our temple room look like the size of a match box. The key to the door of Pro Gym must have opened at 5 AM because by the time we walked by at 5:30, tread mills and such were in full swing. The place had outnumbered our temple attendance by double and club members were continually trickling in. I could see clearly inside with the sidewalk right next to the building.
It’s my habit to at least nod to everyone I see and I made a point to make eye contact with all those that were inside. Sadly, 90% of those persons I wished to connect with were non responsive, although they noticed us walking. I know that my robes may tell that I’m not an athlete and that it’s a giveaway appearance of alien status, but hey, let’s just be a little human. What are you pumping that heart for anyways? Show you have one, or is it just biceps building that counts?
Anyways, here I go, I’m being critical. I’ll go to the reverse and think, “good work out, guys, at least you’re up and enthusiastic about something (early bird gets his worm)” and all that. According to Vedic philosophy, you have lots of rajas, passion, it’s a sign of life. One day you may be able to strike a balance in your schedule and give some attention to the spirit. I believe the ancient Greeks had it right. They balanced their time with philosophizing with time at the gymnasium.
In India, the great Avatar, Prince Ram rose early and did a workout with weapons, but only after a bath, prayers, ablutions and mantras. He set a good standard for the physically fit.
In any event, on my next visit to Montreal I’ll likely trek to Pro Gym again and try to ‘connect’. As a sanyassi (monk) in a mission oriented community, it is an obligation to make contact with people, even in a meagre way on a daily basis. I did by some good fortune meet with the nicest couple who came to visit our ashram. The Varmas are a sweet couple that own a gallery for Inuit and Native art in posh Old Montreal and they came to visit us on their wedding anniversary. They were keen to hear of my devotional life and pilgrimage culture. It really makes your day when you meet fine human beings; not that the folks at Pro Gym were not, I’ll just give myself another chance with them in the future.
6 KM

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

The Joy of the Gita

Laval, Quebec

A young couple, Damodara and Radha, had invited me for a small gathering at their home. We lit candles to honour the gracious month of Kartik. The circular motion of each flame (clockwise) is the standard way of honouring the deities. We also enjoyed light food and light conversation (never do the opposite, heavy carbs mixed with heavy subject matter wreaks havoc, prepare for tummy troubles).

Upon returning to the ashram, Jambhavan, a well built Russian master of massage, was waiting for me to attend to a serious mustard oil job on my machinery. All was good – the visit to D and R’s and J’s great grip. Despite the wonderful hospitality and the relaxed treatment, with body and mind at ease, sleep was not to be that evening. The creative juices were stirring up inside which compelled me to put pen to paper to script a first draft on a Gita synopsis. Inspiration I guess you would call it.

All this occurred the evening before. I plied through this morning’s sadhana and then squeezed in some sleep prior to noon (not a yogi’s preferred program), be that as it may.

The balance of the day which included a stroll through Le Jardin Botanique, was haunting because of the incomplete job on the Gita’s script. By evening however, satisfaction seeped into the recesses of the heart when reflecting on 18.74 of the Gita. To those who listened to my delivery on this text, I believe their hearts warmed up as well just on the strength of the verse itself. In the text, Sanjaya, secretary to the blind King, Drhitirastra, declares that he is exhilarated at what is perhaps the most famous dialogue of all times, a conversation between Krishna and Arjun. This exhilaration brought him to the point where roma-harshanam, his hair was standing on end. There was contagion in Sanjay’s words (verse 74). We all felt a kind of ecstasy. With the anniversary of the Gita’s being spoken a month away on December 23rd, it gives good reason to give attention to these words and to share it.

9 KM

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Shoes in Order
Montreal, Quebec
Surya visits us again, it’s been a consistent stream of sunny days and we are happy. Temperatures are just above freezing during the day. Just socks and crocks do the job for foot protection when outside.
At the school’s day’s end, kids notice the funny man, the guy in the orange whose companion is Raul. The kids take a 2nd look along with parents who have come to bring ‘les enfants’ home. You sometimes forget when you’re in the crowd that you stand out. My dhoti, kurta, chadar (my robes) and I are one. It becomes so much a part of you, yet to others it’s a sensation.
The other day a dog ran at haste in curiosity towards me in a park. Once he got close he barked like crazy. His owner who quickly ran to appease me said to me, “You know I think he’s not used to the colour.”
“Hey, he’s alive,” I thought.
Once Raul and I arrived from our 2nd trek of the day, I noticed the street shoes strewn about at the foyer’s entrance of the ashram where I’m staying. This is a pet peeve of mine. I take it as a service wherever I go to establish a neatness, placing everything in the provided shoe shelf. Perhaps the standard retains itself for a day or two after I’m gone and on to the next destination.
Reservedly, I mean to say, I likely won’t make the public statement at a next teaching on devotion declaring, “When we as a community can get our foot wear placed in order then it will be possible for us to make positive inroads into society with our message of devotion.” Ahhh! There I go, I said it, it slipped out of my thoughts and onto the internet world, so I might as well continue. I declare it boldly now, “Get your shoe act together!” After all, humility, the basis of all success, starts at the feet. Shoes. Boots. They matter. Unless, of course, you’re on a bare foot kick. That is practically extinct in November in Canada. Those tootsies will freeze off.
Every now and then, especially on the marathon walk, I’m reminded of the old Nancy Sinatra song, “These boots were made for walkin’”,people love to sing it and make a point about protecting the feet and using them. Although I think it was more of a fashion statement in the 60’s.
But for now, I’ll stick to crocks until the snow flies.
9 KM

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Firm and Free
Montreal, Quebec
Raul and I took to the residential streets at Montreal’s downtown east end for a japa walk. He admitted to me that chanting japa has been a struggle for him. “Just to sit down quietly to chant” was tough, he told me. When he heard about going pilgrim style, that is moving and praying at the same time, then he could identify with the practice.
Raul is from Peru and graduated from Concordia University with theatre arts as his major. Recently he received a kidney transplant, so he went through an interesting life experience. It just so happens that spirituality comes across as important at this stage in his life. Since the spirit is within, somehow or other we all have an innate desire to go deeper into life. It is natural. It is no wonder that those who suppress a calling to God are experiencing a ‘missing link’. To those who are pondering why they are undergoing some form of loneliness, vacuum and lack of fulfillment, then may it be suggested that they take the trail down the metaphysical path.
Raul and I and a few others looked at the verse 18.73 from the Gita where you find a most reassuring statement coming from Arjuna. This great warrior friend of Krishna, after having tread the path of learning, of going inward, and kindling the flame of devotion, a confidence was restored in him. From confusion Arjuna journeyed to clarity and then to confidence. Some of the phrases used in this passage which amplifies Arjuna’s position of confidence and firmness are ‘free from doubt’ and being ‘prepared to act’.
As expressed in the purport of the verse, when there’s a release from illusion and one steps into reality, that brings about ‘the understanding that every living being is eternally a servitor’. As soon as we admit our actual status in this world, that we are a helper, a server in this world, then much reassurance can be realized.
9 KM

Pics from Boynton Beach, Florida - Nov. 10 -11, 2012

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

I Hanker
Montreal, Quebec
Along with Dr. Pandith (spiritual name Jagannatha Misra) we went by a calmed water beach and then to the end of a pier. We then turned around and went back to his home just as the eastern sky was about to brag its hot pink colour. Jagannatha then drove me to Union Station to catch the 9:25 AM train for Montreal. Trains I can handle, if it can’t be on foot. What I mean to say is that I am a sucker for trains. Riding them is pleasant. Bus is a prison, an automobile is a drag. My preference is walk or take a train.
The landscape is a bit dull for lack of lushness and green. It’s winter coming on, yet it is country-ish and so you feel a kind of freedom. At one point I viewed thousands upon thousands of geese set upon a placid pond. They were the regular brown and black geese, but also an abundance of pure white ones.
I could also see trails and dirt roads running parallel to the rail tracks, but each one I saw over the 5 hours came to an abrupt end. This is irritating to me as I long for endless trails to explore in the future. I would also like to see for the benefit of others as well – the walkers, runners, and cyclist – the opportunity. I believe that people have a better chance to be spiritual in such a setting, going down a trail. When a trail appears to be an endless ribbon, then you have ample time at which to dream, to contemplate, to meditate, to chant.
That’s what I hanker for, not just for myself but for others to explore the glory of pilgrimage. It would be so nice. When I reached Montreal and the AICK (Association Internationelle Pour le Conscience de Krishna) I was asked to lead a chant and speak to the crowd of enthusiastic bhaktas (devotees). That was nice.
7 KM

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

It Wasn’t Too Pretty
Burlington, Ontario
It wasn’t too pretty what I saw, and I hestitate to say this, but I hope we can all learn from it.
A pujari priest was scolding a man for using the wrong white cloth for an accidental spill on the floor. The man wiping the floor on his knees in the temple is a daily visitor. I happened to walk in at the time when I saw the man taking the chastisement quite well, but I wanted to say to the pujari that the devotee serving the deity is as precious as the deity on the altar. I thought the chastisement was rather severe, but I couldn’t really begin to say much because the pujari in a fury walked away. The man excused the priest saying to me, “No, he is sincere, you don’t need to defend me. “
It was an intense moment and I knew eventually emotions would die down within minutes given the humble attitude of the visitor. In any event the man impressed me. The incident did leave an impression on my mind as to how important it is to nurture considerate dealings with each other, especially in a spiritual setting. Care must be taken at all costs as we move along in devotion. We should avoid becoming too dogmatic when it comes to faith dealings. It’s like a walk that you take in prudence when stepping one foot forward and you release the opposite one. That happens quite automatically. Walking is so natural. That mechanism moves so smoothly, save and except for when there’s an obstacle. Then, the test is how do you dance around it? Devotional dealings are like walking.
Ironically, I have nothing really to report about trekking today. In the evening I was chanting and speaking at a function at one family’s home in North York. From there, the Goyal’s residence, I was driven to Burlington for a planned next morning’s early strut along the beach on Lake Ontario
0 KM

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Heavy and Light
Toronto, Ontario
It is a joke to think you can repay the guru for all he’s done. He’s changed your heart, given you a purpose and with his words you continue to be steered in a progressive direction even years and years after he’s passed on.
On November 14th, 1977 (by the solar calendar) our guru, Srila Prabhupada, passed away in Vrindavan, India. Today we celebrate globally with some abivalence, a mix of gravity and lightness, the journey of His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, to a supreme abode. The gravity aspect of this event was well expressed by a visiting monk, Chandramali Swami, a student of his and my godbrother. He bagan this evening, a 6 day seminar on Prabhupada’s achievements. It was well attended. I can see that this seminar very much establishes the preeminent position he deserves.
On the lighter side I would like to share something I read to a gathering at noon time in the ashram, and it is a recollection by another of his students, Hridayananda Goswami, relaying a joke by Prabhupada.
“An Indian servant of a British Lord had to leave his service and convinced a friend to take over for him, the friend protested. ‘I don’t know English, how can I serve this British lord?’ The servant said, 'You only have to know three words – 'yes', 'no' and 'very good'.' He said, ‘If you know that, that’s good enough.' So the friend took the job and one time there was something missing. The British lord confronted the servant and said, ‘did you take this object?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ ‘So, will you give it back?’ ‘No.’ ‘So, I’m going to call the police.’ ‘Very good.’
9 KM

Friday, 16 November 2012

Thursday, November 5th, 2012

Thunder Bay, Ontario
Two deer, a doe and a buck, were as curious of me as I was of them. I was trekking along Ford Rope Street when the lovely couple at predawn made their appearance from the trees. I got closer to them and the couple surprisingly stood their ground until it was too close for them. First, she dashed off, then he, into the forest.
And what about trees? I came upon one, a birch. The surface has a gloss to it which is interrupted in spots with a crusty roughness. I felt a little like a kid exploring. I ran my hand over its bark with my eyes closed. It was a texture test. It felt good. I approached the next tree, not a birch, but some other deciduous tree. Here it felt raspy and rough. On I went to play this little exploration game. Yes, it felt good. I got into that tree hugging mode, running the hand over an assortment of these natural giants, but just for a short time. Out of it, I developed an enhanced appreciation for these fellows. Feeling is believing.
The bulk of today engaged me in spending time at the new Vedic cultural centre, doing some writing and reading from the Gita, chapter 10. As a teacher of bhakti, devotion, one should religiously familiarize oneself with shastra, sacred texts. This is another way of feeling or perceiving.
“Of all trees, I am the banyan tree… Among men, I am the monarch… Of weapons, I am the thunderbolt…Among subduers I am time… Among beasts I am the lion… Of all sciences I am spiritual science itself.”
The finale of the day was a welcome to those who are eager to hear from the Gita, chapter one, text one. Students from the University came by to listen to the beginning of the dialogue that changes hearts. They were there to perceive something different.
10 KM

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Spiritual Centre
Thunder Bay, Ontario
What does it take to open a spiritual centre? I’m not talking about opening chakras, key spiritual points that exist within the body and that run from low to high along the meridian, I’m speaking about physical space that people can sit in and can spiritually evolve within the parameters of its walls. I’m talking about a spiritual space.
I flew from Toronto to this remote city situated at the peak of Lake Superior. Today, this city which is harbored with a view overlooking the rock formation called the Sleeping Giant, became the sight of a new oasis ofbhakti, devotion. This former music studio at location 1206 Victoria Avenue East, modest in size but mammoth in heart space, has an Indian Bazaar joined to it. The sight is called the Vedic Cultural Centre, a 700 square foot space with gorgeous brass and marble deities set up on one end on a curved based shrine. The Bazaar is called ‘Sanskriti’ which is similar in size and shape, is shelved with aromatic spices, grains, chutneys and snacks exclusively from India, while fixtures are flanked with exotic colourful clothes (mostly female wear) from India also. The profits from the sales of the store will support the cultural centre. It’s ingenious – the arrangement – and credit goes to Sneha and support from her husband Prem Kishor, Dr. Prashant Jani. They worked effortlessly to see the project get on to its feet. Mrs. Agarwal who’s been a resident of this northern city for decades is thrilled about this landmark. Local residents of Caucasian background some who are followers of Paramahamsa Yogananda, and local craftsman on the project came to partake in the ribbon cutting ceremony and fabulous vegetarian feast of 108 preps. The buzz was on and so were the mantras, the rituals, a drama, and overall good cheer. Most appropriately, even visually you’ve got an east meets west situation, the shrine is adorned with maple and lotus leaves combined. Much credit goes to students of Lakehead University and Confederation College, who assisted in the physical labour voluntarily.
I had first walked through the downtown district of former twin cities, Port Arthur and Fort William, now Thunder Bay, on my first cross nation trek in 1996. I then wished for a centre to come, a centre that would be a haven for the soul right here near the centre of the country. Now the prediction that every town and village will have a place for the sound of the soul has come to pass, at least here, located at the top of the top fresh water body of the world, Lake Superior.
To repeat the question, what does it take to open a spiritual centre (and in a seemingly middle of nowhere place)? We have to ask the doers, Sneha and Prashant. My assumption is a will, a way and maybe a walk.
9 KM