Thursday, 30 July 2020

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

University of Toronto


Change by the Public


In the early days of the Hare Krishna movement, with us chanting on the street, we were regarded either as a sensation or in agitation. It all depended on an individual’s judgment of things. Naturally our attire and our activity of making fairly exotic music appeared out-of-place. For some we came across as a nuisance because we were clearly not ‘in sync’ with the business pulse. For others, they found our counter-cultural display to be ‘cool’ and definitely radical—challenging the status quo. A quiet whisper in the wind was snaking its way in an urban navigation around the imposing buildings saying, “The chant and beat is a shake-up and break-up. It’s good for you.”


Now, years later, our street chanting isn’t as frequent, yet progressive countries have embraced old/new ideas, allowing the Hare Krishnas to fit in to the slot of acceptance. My observation is that the person who stirred up the movement, who has since departed decades ago—Prabhupada—was personally absent from the public view. He was ‘underground’ in the sense of being quietly in the background, despite his mission being meant for being shared boisterously like a brhat-mrdunga, a big drum. In any event we had made inroads.


I was at a pond yesterday and a jovial Polynesian man stopped riding his bike and began singing the great Krishna mantra. “I’ve been to your temple. A few times. I like it.”


Tonight, finishing my walk on my second-last block, I heard a positive “Hare Krishna! Dealing with the heat?” It’s been more than acceptance for us. For many, we are liked. What a change it has been over the years.


May the source be with you!

4 km

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Brickworks, Toronto


Beware: Poison


It happens just about every summer, I give a warning to the walkers, runners, campers and outdoor folks to be aware of the Covid-19 among plants — the dreaded poison ivy.


I personally know someone who mistakenly took these darlings to be encroaching weeds and begin to pull them, as best can be done, at the roots. Lo and behold the rash invaded the skin and has become a nightmare for her.


Anyway, enough for cursing the innocent-looking plant. Let’s get to terms with the solution. Experience tells that the Earth locks within herself many secrets. Take some mud from a good source and apply it to the infected areas before resting. Be generous with it. By morning time you’ll already see an improvement. Less itch and less leakage from the rash.


Shower again in the morning and apply more mud where it might be concealed by your clothes, unless, of course, you’re on a holiday and then, who really cares what you look like.


For those of us who follow the bhakti tradition we may use tilak, and earth from sacred places. It does miracles more than regular mud does.


When I walked the U.S., from coast to coast, I came upon a place in Utah, the town of Delta, where an amazing lake had this incredible silty bottom. My small team of two monks, Hayagriva Marshall and I would go daily to this lake in the hot afternoon hours, when we were in the area, and take a full mud bath, all for the purpose of taking care of our God-given bodies. It was sublime.


May the source be with you!

4 km

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Annex, Toronto


Lake to Lake


Every alternate Monday I am scheduled for a philosophy/family/friend session at Ramsden Park. Corry, my cousin, her hubby, Eric and young Victor come together. As I was making my way to the picnic spot a falcon swooped down and then swept up to perch on a convenient, substantial tree branch. He got our attention. If it was a hawk, it’s known to be a good omen. It represents focus and is regarded as a sign from the spirit world. Hopefully a falcon carries similar good fortune.


It was suggested that he finds the park favourable due to the big number of squirrel habitats. This conclusion is probably right. Our youngest monk, Krishna Chandra, saw a hawk tearing at the entrails of a squirrel the other day. “Gross“, he thought.


I found out that my God-brother, Radhanatha Swami, is grounded in Chicago, which is one Great Lake away from my ball-and –chain, Toronto, on Lake Ontario. I called the Swami and we chatted for some time. We were reflecting on the Covid-19 deaths and our lost loved ones, including Bhakti Caru Swami. Sad! But we also spoke about trying to see what divinity the virus has brought. We must always look at the right-side of all that comes our way.


In any event, I was tempted to kayak (although I never tackled it before) across the lakes and rivers across Canada one day, at least to reach Chicago and see the Maharaj standing on Lake Michigan’s shore. Such a journey is merely an adventurous dream. I believe a good day, or night, dream can bring about major peace within.


May the Source be with you!

4 km