Friday, 24 June 2022

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Assiniboine Park Zoo

With the Animals

Out of the courtesy of the ISKCON youth, I had the pleasure to spend time with them at the zoo. Now what can anyone learn from gawking at creatures that you can get fairly close to and admire like anything? Well, one perspective is you can see yourself in the various species that are exhibited. Yes, we were all there before; karmically engrossed in the eating-sleeping-mating-defending engagements. What unique experiences or stages we have gone through before reaching this human platform!

I asked the group about their highlights after viewing all that the facility had to offer. At the top of the list were the bison grazing (one of which was an albino) and the polar bears swimming in their preferred frigid water.

This visit gave the opportunity to be with our younger Vaishnavas. We picnicked and also engaged in meditative kirtan. One fairly eccentric lady, also a zoo visitor, heard and saw us drumming and shouted, “When does the belly dancing begin?”

While we are on the topic of music, Vrnda had arranged a gluten-free dinner for Emily, who has a family of musicians. Also, Greg, a music teacher, and Daniel, who conducts a choir at the Lutheran church, came for company and feasting, after which we all got to singing in front of Vrnda’s deities of Krishna at her address, 108 Chestnut Street. We delved into some melodies, some which are practically becoming extinct. There’s a concern there. What to do about the dying tunes?

May the Source be with you!

5 km


Friday, June 17, 2022

Ritchot, Manitoba

Dreamy Day

Abhi is my stalwart helper. He accompanies me on the morning walks and takes me around to various locations, all places for speaking, chanting, associating, and honouring prasadam, sacred food.

Today, my first visitation took me to the residence of Aravind, a Punjabi Sikh gentleman, kind and caring and involved in business. Members of his family relished the kirtan. One of the women asked me, “Please give us some jñāna (wisdom).”

My short version answer was, “We are gifted humans, so we must be in service to others and also to ourselves, by cultivating our spiritual side.”

Abhi was great to arrange for my final stay for the day, but only after I had an hour with Carolin Bund, a friend for some years. We met at the downtown Millennium Library, the outside park, and she treated me special. As a professional baker, she provided me with bread from ingredients of ancient grains, bread from Ethiopia, Egypt, Turkey, etc. what a treat! We are looking at portions of hearty and nutritious bread that are hard to secure. Thank you, Carolin.

Finally, Abhi and I piled into a vehicle for the final destination of the day at St. Adolph, just a ten-minute drive from Winnipeg’s city limits. and a home situated on the bank of Red River. This is a dreamy setting with trees all about and a fast-running body of water. Loads of people came to the home of Somesh and Puja for kirtan, a talk on 1.1.5 from the Bhagavatam, and an evening meal of love.

Abhi, as usual, tackled my feet with a welcomed massage. Responses from every place I visited were phenomenal.

May the Source be with you!

3 km


Monday, 20 June 2022

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Home Visits

Visvambhar mentors international students from India and they are receptive, indeed, to Krishna Consciousness. Each morning while in Winnipeg, being accommodated in a quaint temple at 124 Hazelwood Ave., a portion of those students embark on a walk in the area of St. Vital. It is one of those sections of Winnipeg settled by the French.

My meals are provided by congregants, which I am grateful for. The zonal supervisor within ISKCON Zone 1 (Canada and six northern states) is Vrnda, a sincere and competent manager and devotee. She is steering people in the area in a good direction.

Kirtan is something I do in practically all the households I visit. In one home we were without musical instruments, so we innovated and I used the refrigerator as my drum. It worked quite well. I could hit different intonations due to the different compartments within, the highest pitch coming from the freezer compartment up top.

The final visit today was at the home of Philip Wilford, whom I haven’t seen in thirty-nine years. His home is one he seriously and artistically works on. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a haven of a place within seventy trees planted on a small lot, resembling a solemn and meditative cave. St. Francis is there in wood, as an inspirational deity.

Conversations went so fine at all the home visits.

May the Source be with you!

3 km


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Transcona, Manitoba

Reunited with Billie the Parrot

It was with great pleasure that I could see Daruka, my support person for my fourth walk across the country, and also the second half of the third trek. This meeting with Daruka was very special, in his home area of Winnipeg/Transcona. His parents, especially his mother, wanted to meet me. Sometime in the past, I prayed for her when Daruka told me of her physical challenges. That touched her, even though I never met her. Although skeptical about her son getting “involved in a cult” years ago, she warmed up to Krishna to a degree and got curious, so Daruka drove me to their home along with Billie Jean, his blue-fronted Amazon parrot.

Here’s what I wrote about her in the book, The Saffron Path:

“When Daruka joined me on my third Canadian walk, Billie Jean came along too. It was not my intent to interfere with their strong bond, but since we were going to be travelling companions, I thought I would offer a gesture of friendship by petting her head. My attempt failed and I became a regular beneficiary of serious “kisses” from her sharp beak. My attempt at having her perch on my shoulders was also met with defeat, as the darling usually gifted me with her posterior blessing. I forgave the aggressive behaviour because she played a key role in our efforts to share the message of simple living and high thinking.”

I re-tested Billie Jean in seeing if she remembered me. Indeed, she did. On the backyard patio of Daruka’s parents’ home she climbed on my arm and rested on my shoulder for a good hour. What a trooper she is!

I want to thank the Winnipeg students for taking me on that Bishop Grandin Greenway for a walk.

May the Source be with you!

4 km