Cherry Beach, Toronto
We were on our way to the Tommy
Thompson Park, a shaded-in-spots trail where cyclists and pedestrians share the
space, when a man on a bicycle stopped to ask if we had any drugs. His
articulation was weak and so we had to ask him to repeat himself. We were still
wet from the swim at Cherry Beach and in our swimwear, not recognizable as
monks. With me were Emanuel, Karuna, Ryan, and Arjuna. We didn’t really come
across looking like folks who take substance to get high. He was naturally
disappointed when we couldn’t deliver.
We had also met two young Punjabi
men who came out of the lakes’ water. Somehow or other, they could detect our
identity. “Hare Krishna,” said the stockier one. “Back home I’m involved,” he
The devotional clothing that we
normally wear, the dhoti and the kurta (or for women it’s a saree),
is a trademark for Hare Krishna devotees. The night before, when I returned
from my walk and was about to reach the ashram door, a neighbour walking his
dog asked, “How are those robes in the heat of summer?”
“Oh! Very cool and comfy,” I
said. I wanted to say more about the freedom those of us feel in our attire,
but the gentleman was on his merry way. The kind of freedom is like the
liberated mood of Narada. He moves about in light monks’ clothes, delivering to
people the sublime sound of the maha mantra. We should be like
him; travel about, hear from people and deliver Krishna in the form of sound.
May the Source be with you!