Saturday 26 November 2016

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Toronto, Ontario
Seeing Those Before Me

In my humble opinion the following is worth repeating, an excerpt from our script, “Krishna Is” and it is a poeticized segment of the exchange between warrior, Arjuna, and wise Bhagavan (God). Author Bhaktimarga Swami.

ARJUNA:    Seeing those before me causes me to shiver.
  To lift my bow is as though I had never.

  Hairs stand on end, mind is reeling.
  I’m confused, it’s new, this kind of feeling.

 Sri Krishna, I just cannot fight.
 There’s something here that is not right.

KRISHNA:  Arjuna, you’ve lost your sense of duty.
                     A man of defense renounced a warrior’s beauty.

                     For the wise there’s a different point of view
                     Of eternity—no birth, no death—known by few.

                     Consider the world, which is full of duality.
                     Good and bad is its only reality.

                     The major point is to not lament.
                     The soul is forever, that is my comment.

                     Moving through bodies from young to old.
                     From old to young, the circle does unfold.

ARJUNA:    Krishna, what is the force that compels one to do wrong.
                     If you could please include this in your song.

KRISHNA:  It is desire, born of passion—then wrath
                    That keeps us covered and obscures the path.

                    Perform your yoga, and your sacrifice
                    For the creator and then all will be nice.

ARJUNA:   Krishna, yoga can be tried for controlling the mind.
                    But the mind is an instrument of a different kind.

                    I’m fine if asked to harness the wind.
                    But the mind cannot be anchored or pinned.

KRISHNA: Begin the process; take it easy and slow.
                    In the end, there’s freedom; the soul will then glow.

ARJUNA:   You are my teacher, mentor and guide.
                    It was no mistake to have you on my side.

                    I have come to consider about you there is more.
                    It’s your cosmic form I wish to explore.

KRISHNA: The form is manifest when we have the eyes.
                    Otherwise there’s the tendency to despise.

                    I reveal it to those whose devotion is clear.
                   When friendship is firm, I then come quite near.

                    It is surrender through service that is so sweet.
                    It is surrender that is illusion’s defeat.

ARJUNA:  Oh Krishna, my doubt is now gone.
                    I believe the fight should definitely go on.

KRISHNA: Arjuna, my song is old but alive.
                    You have your free will, but now let me drive.

May the Source be with you!

6 km 

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Parting from the Party

It is always on a tearful note that I leave the community of devotees in Buenos Aires.  It is the whole continent, South America, which seems to run on emotional fuel.  I’m caught up in it myself.

Our group that took the three and a half days to assemble a narrative dance/drama was exhausted over the hard work.  Results paid off.  I delivered two Bhagavatam classes while here, and Gaura Vani Swami, and Maha Vishnu Swami, respectively from Germany and the U.K., are monks I had a good time with.  To those whom I gave diksha initiation in the past years, I offer my deepest regards for sticking to dharma (principles).  To Maha-hari, an Argentinian native, who runs the operations at ISKCON, and Merudevi, who had done so much to pull the festival together, my dandavats (prostrations) go to them.

Actually, Balarama and I had been on such an intense program, that outside of my chanting quota, the practices, some eating and a few hours of sleep, we hadn’t visited the successful Govinda’s Restaurant, which is housed in the same complex we had been residing in.  For a send-off, we were treated to a lunch meal.  It’s a good buffet.  Spices are minimal.  We ate like kings before our final good-byes.

As in the days of our guru, Srila Prabhupada, a subtle kirtan put a closure to our devotional endeavours for this year.

Water swelled in the eyes as we parted and hugs were plenty.

May the Source be with you!

4 km

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Buenos Aires, Argentina
So Much Happiness

As the name implies this city has some “good air.”  Being near the ocean, a port city, some prana (life force) makes its way through the place.  I’m enjoying it, seated on a bench, and anticipating a high spirit festival, the annual Chariot Fest.

While fingering through on my japa (meditation) beads, I find everything rather conducive to living a ‘real’ life.  Even the local temple cat, who seems to carry on as if the courtyard is his domain, is frisking about, chasing and grabbing a fallen twig of leaves.  The air’s movement agitates the leaves and their shiver has captivated him.  He’s oblivious to my sitting there and chanting.

He’s also unaware of today’s celebration of what you’ll find in most major cities, the Ratha Yatra, a chariot festival. A re-enactment of a joy ride taken up by Sri Krishna and siblings, long ago.  The celebration includes a march of chanters down a major street and then food, displays, kid’s fun and stage events to follow.

I was involved in the stage presentation.  Balarama, who travelled with me from Canada, played the lead role in “Krishna Is…”  He did very well by incorporating his ballet-trained skill into the production.  I moved around the grounds, where the audience was sitting during the performance, with some concern.  Will the people be able to focus on some grave-to-emotional, almost stoic-in-action scenes like Krishna just talking to an old school mate during a reunion?  Fortunately, the crowd of hundreds was focused.  That same attention came during the Gita scene.  I was amazed at their amazement.

Overall, what a festival!  So much happiness!

May the Source be with you!

5 km

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Deal With the Fluff

In the Spanish world they have a saying:  Si te gusta el durazno bancate la pelusa.  “If you like peaches, you must deal with the fluff.”

A conversation I had with two young people, who shared this with me, addressed the austerity that one is obliged to do this if you really want to enjoy life.  They also pointed out a song from the 80’s “Every rose has its thorn” by the unplugged group “Poison.”

Duality is what we must live with in this world, whether we like it or not.  Sweet and sour play together in the real world.  Enough of this subject is contained in the Bhagavad-gita.

Since I arrived here in Buenos Aires, it’s been time spent in hard work, which is motivated by wanting a good result (as best as possible).  Our production of “Krishna Is…” comes with co-operation, timeliness and listening.

Unfortunately, my Spanish stinks.  I’m picking up on some words.  I’ll say, “Hermoso” which means “beautiful” when I think the actors really put forth their best at a practice.  I’m committed to encouragement to augment the performance.  The good Lord knows I raise my voice at times in order that our troupe keeps focused on the project.  Directors are permitted to do such things.  A touch of discipline can’t spoil the purchase.  It enhances.

My experience thus far in dealing with the young to mid-age in the drama has been good, except for the maƱana spirit that sometimes kicks in.  Delay, or being late in showing up is a kind of procrastination.  Being “on time” is a welcome austerity.

May the Source be with you!

0 km