Sunday, 28 November 2021

Wednesday. November 24, 2021

Montreal, Quebec

Sweet Etiquette

We had such a sweet time with sadhana in the morning. Thanks to our guru, Prabhupada, who brought a morning program into our lives. It starts at 4:30 AM with singing. We are swaying. We are playing our instruments. Three hours later, we sit for a grave discussion on the book Bhagavatam.

This morning we dwelt on the beautiful story of the Dwarf Avatar and his encounter with King Bali. Bali was a generous type. He had all the protocol down, just right, when the very tiny Vamana came to his presence. It started off with the phrase “svagatam,” which means welcome, or in this province you say “bien venue.” Bali then offered kind words, some praise and a seat that was comfortable. His etiquette was perfect.

Anyway, we were a happy batch of devotees relishing the warm and yet reverential exchanges of these two souls together. Breakfast followed with fruit and kichari. Yummy!

When I arrived at the Montreal train station, I was greeted by a VIA Rail attendant. She could have been trained in the school of Bali. I could see her smile beyond her covid mask as she spoke, “Comment allez-vous?” which means, “How are you?”

Knowing I’m an Anglophone with language she continued, “You are Hare Krishna?”


“The world needs more people like you; to enlighten.”

She continued with her sweetness and made sure I was in the proper queue, destined for my home. I witnessed the perfect behaviour. It was great.


May the Source be with you!

4 km



Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Montreal, Quebec

Some Warmth in the Cold


Dark, ominous clouds set in and at the corner of Guy and Maissoneuve Streets in downtown Montreal, thousands of Concordia University students were making their way to destinations – classrooms, apartments, or coffee shops. Snowflakes hit our faces, but just momentarily, at this busy student hour as we chanted away letting the nippy nature of the night not bother us too much.

Students were curious. With a big percentage being from India they are indeed familiar with the sound. We received smiles from many. I believe that some appreciated our presence in braving the cold. One person did not. She undid her covid mask and shouted repeatedly, “Repent! Repent!”

I guess we sinners, who were chanting, will try to do that – repent.

Our group needs to be vigilant about some guys on the streets who ask our girls (chanters) for their phone numbers. Nandini Radha played harmonium. Then did Tulasi, who also is adept at leading the chant.

Indoor mantras continued back at the temple on Pie IX Boulevard. In honour of Chaitayna, the monk from Bengal, we sang again, followed by a second lesson of the day from Bhagavad-gita 2.21. Through Zoom, devotees from Ontario also listened in.

To remind all the verse goes as follows, “O Partha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and immutable kill anyone or cause anyone to be killed?”


May the Source be with you!



Monday, November 22, 2021

Montreal, Quebec

In Separation

I wanted to offer my congratulations to the four new initiates from Mauritius. This last Sunday, we got plugged into the Zoom system with the community in Bon Accueil, in that country which apparently holds the post of having the most covid deaths per capita in the world at present. There is no way that I would be physically present in this otherwise lovely nation with the virus being too infectiously in the atmosphere. Things are done in separation these days.

Kudos go to Akilesh who received the name Akilananda, Arvind as Achyuta, Yasna as Yasoda Mayi, and Sweety as Sarsti. May Sri Krishna bless them with the good life of honesty and sensibility, straightforwardness and purity. Three devotees at the event took their second initiation – Danapati, Maha Laksmi, and Divya Jnan. May you all prosper spirituality.

While I was physical apart from this devotional group in Mauritius, I committed myself to visit another French-speaking community – Quebec. It was time to visit Montreal. That I did via the railway line that goes by the name Via Rail. I was happy to see renovations completed at Toronto’s Union Station. It looks really good.

Travelling by train is always a pleasure. The only thing is I was lusting over being in the outdoors. From the window there is more forest, rivers, lakes, swamps and farmland than concrete and glass condos. With the sun shining and all the rural niceness I really did wish to exercise my limbs in the shape of walking. Walking only transpired after I de-trained. I put in a humble 2 kilometres.


May the Source be with you!

2 km.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

Hamilton, Ontario

For Kali It’s Kirtan


One very hip street in Hamilton is called Hess Village. It’s trendy and it is natural to have a few yoga studios in the area. One such place is in a loft. “Church 444,” for some reason or another, is the name of the place. Monica runs the place. Shawn is the handy man around. Chris, a local barber, co-ordinated the event this afternoon for kirtan, chanting and dancing.


Chris has a bad cough and declined from coming, but Monica, Shawn, Ben, Kartik, Rahul, Zak, Henry, Jyoti, Aindra, Dhruva, Roman, Katie, Karuna Sindhu and Allison all rose to the occasion for mantra power and dance. The dance isn’t always part of the repertoire, but it evolved anyway.


Ben expressed, “This is the kali yuga (dark age)” and indicated that the chant was necessary to challenge the ills of the world. Allison is a bit shy to sing when it came to her turn, but she really got into the dance at Dhruva’s drum beat and Karuna Sindhu’s harmonium playing.


I took the liberty to announce dedicating the kirtan to Madurya Lila, most beloved by our Brampton community. She passed away this morning at 12:55 from cancer. Devotees in the area have come forward to morally support the surviving family members – Abhijit, her husband, and their two children. Her pain is over now. It was hard.


Thank you for reading, please pray and chant.

May the Source be with you!


Saturday, November 20, 2021

Ramsden Park, Toronto


Marvelous Moments

Two young students from the Toronto Film School lined me up for a documentary assignment interview. The questions included, “What is Hare Krishna?”, “Do you believe in an after-life?”, etc. The filming went well.

Many marvelous moments filled my day. Then I came up with a poem inspired by phrases spoken by Prabhupada. In bold, Ill relay those messages. In lower case is my contribution.




They come in many cases

And go to different places

Contents evoke happy faces

Leaving many holy traces



Taking us to the Great Source

It is something to endorse

Can't learn it from any course

Lose it, and you will remorse



Reaching young, old, adolescence

A service of super-excellence

Gaining Krishna's acceptance

In giving we feel His presence



The state of being useful, sensible

Practical and comprehensible

Balancing maximum, minimal

The key to reaching the pinnacle


-Composed by Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk


May the Source be with you!

3 km


Monday, 22 November 2021

Friday, November 19, 2021

Ramsden Park, Toronto

Raised in Lebanon

“I was raised in Lebanon” said the 25-year oldish woman when she saw me and only after she told of her religious affiliation with Islam. “There was a lot of anger and hardness, so I got very discouraged.” She really did want to talk after seeing my apparel, so she went on.

“Then I went to a Christian church. People were quiet, friendly. They were singing and doing it so sweetly. I felt very welcome.”

I told her of my involvement in a tradition which has roots from India. “Since 1973, I’ve been a monk and, in our culture, we concentrate on meditation to do with mantras. It’s a true peaceful approach to life.” I gave her my card with the maha-mantra on it. It reads, “Please try the following MANTRA and SHINE: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. TRANSLATION: O Awesome Creator, allow me to be of blissful service to You and the world.”

The young woman glanced at it and wanted to continue to speak, but in a somewhat hurried way. “Maybe I should look into this?”

“Yes, we have a temple and a restaurant.”

“I think meeting you was meant to be. Maybe this is my next phase?”

“I believe you,” I said. “I wish you the best. Don’t hesitate to contact me.”

“I will,” she remarked with anticipation all over her face. 

May the Source be with you!

4 km