Sunday, 27 February 2022

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Yorkville, Toronto

Follow Sadhana

I’m getting invitations to various locations. North Carolina, Montreal, Minneapolis, the Canadian Prairies, and overseas. One friend of mine asked me to come to Florida. “Just walk all the way down from Toronto,” he urged facetiously.

“I don’t have a problem going southbound for the long haul. The issue is the border. It can get tense between Fort Erie and Buffalo.” In one sense I’m ready to go and, when and if I get to some destinations, I’m confident of the good time I’ll have because everywhere I go there will always be engagement in devotional service.

I am not a super fan of Gandhi, but I do believe he did and said some noble things, such as “the meaning of life is service.” Bang on! He was right. Wherever I go I will be routine oriented. I will follow my sadhana, my regulations, because that’s always good for the brain. The spiritual practice, in and of itself, such as chanting, is good for my soul. Besides that, it is a pleasure to execute. “It’s fun,” so says Krishna, in the Bhagavad-gita, Chapter nine.

Part of my daily regimen is to walk wherever I am; whether I’m in Buenos Aires, Hawaii, or India, I have to do my walk, even though it’s embarrassing by meagre distances these days. To wind up the day, I ventured along in the neighbourhood at, negative ten degrees Celsius. After yesterday’s melt and thaw, everything froze again. Everything glistens with sun in daylight and city lampposts at night. The ice is bumpy, dangerous, but shines like anything.

It’s always good to look at the bright-side of everything.

May the Source be with you!

3 km


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Roxborough St., Toronto


Gabriel is from a small town in Ontario – St. Mary’s – and he now resides in Toronto while making the effort to be with us on a daily basis, in the morning. He comes in through the door after leaving his shoes in the designated shoe room before entering the large temple room. He then offers his prostrations before the deity of Prabhupada, our guru.

After fetching a sitting mat, he plants himself firmly on it; sitting squarely in a close-to-lotus position. With beads in a bag, he fingers through the tulasi-wood beads, chanting japa.

Japa” is a word found in the ancient text, Bhagavad-gita, and it becomes intrinsic in the regulation of a devotee’s life. It can, in fact, be his life-line.

Gabriel was asked about his consciousness with Krishna and he answered saying, “There are many aspects to the life-style that are particularly appealing. Especially japa chanting.” With those beads of 108 in number, he focuses on chanting the mantra for deliverance.

Gabriel is a great tambourine player and, at the time of kirtan, chanting, he let’s loose with the instrument adding a great dimension to the overall devotional sound. After the kirtan chanting, he relishes listening to the daily class on the book, Bhagavatam. He always asks a question or comments on the talk, which indicates his keen interest in the philosophy. I also know that eating a great breakfast at the end of the morning program is a grand finale for him. It tops it off.

May the Source be with you!

1 km


Monday, February 21, 2022

Yorkville, Toronto

Great Sadhu

One very inspiring monk of the 20th century is our param-guru, our grand guru, the teacher of Prabhupada. His name is Bhaktisiddhanta and he did much in terms of teaching and sharing the Bhagavat philosophy through the subcontinent of India. Today is his birthday.

The areas that he concentrated on, through his sixty-four branches of the Gaudiya Math institution, were extolling the glories of Krishna, challenging caste-ism and impersonal conceptions of the Absolute. Bhaktisiddhanta was quite austere and made a life-long vow to celibacy while also making a commitment to chanting a billion names of Krishna over a period. He made successful inroads with British dignitaries, some of whom took interest in the ways of the sages. He was very innovative in his approaches; never compromising on his moral principles but definitely so on how to engage newcomers to the fold.

On a day like today, our crew of residential devotees take the opportunity to reflect on the achievements of such great a personality. One time a very important gentleman expressed that Bhaktisiddhanta should open temple ashrams in cities all over the world, and he replied, “My real business is to establish temples in everyone’s heart.”

Bhaktisiddhanta had thousands of students. He also organized walks to sacred places.

My day ended with a walk and thoughts of this great sadhu, holy person.

May the Source be with you!

3 km


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Hamilton, Ontario

Good Things Come in Three

There were three chanting sessions, with water/bio breaks in between, and it worked so well. First, Mahadev and Annapurna led us with guitar, harmonium, and, of course, the human voice. They selected a melody I’d never heard before. So serene. It was a warm up. From there it stayed warm, or perhaps got hot.

Monica’s dreamy yoga studio, in Hess Village of Hamilton’s downtown, is just the ideal escape place. So, for the second session, we used mantra once again, and also incorporated clapping and body movement from the waist up. Finally, our third session involved placing the musicians in the middle, while the rest of us, in continuing kirtan, now added dance from the feet up. It ended up being a natural build-up of devotional intensity.

The sun was streaming its rays through the skylight. Heat was rising. It was the beginnings of a good sweat.

Some of the attendees came for the first time, not knowing what to expect. At intervals (bio breaks) I explained that our technique of kirtan enjoys a history of thousands of years and, thanks to initiator of ecstatic chanting, Chaitanya, we now have this regular uplifting approach to reaching Godhead.

After the third session we mingled and got to know each other much better. To chat or not to chat – that is not the question. We are there to enthuse. To chant or not to chant – that is also not the question.

May the Source be with you!

4 km