bhaktimarga swami (91)


I had been asked by organizers of these ISKCON Leaders Meetings to begin the two sessions of each day with warm-up exercises, both vocal and physical.  It worked out marvellously for me, because I felt like I was contributing something.  What I offered was much like what I do for theatre arts workshops, or what we do for warm-up exercises before we get into the play practices that I conduct.  

This is not what I do in the higher echelons of our mission.  Our twice a year meetings for the Govern
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Going Smooth by Bhaktimarga Swami

The meals are light at Rockwood Manor, especially when you show up late like I did.  I had to catch a nap during this retreat workshop.  I'm exhausted from insomnia three nights in a row.  And when breakfast is not to my liking (there are uttapams) I'm more inclined to forgo.  I'm not complaining.  Just stating facts about the way of the world.  Nothing's perfect with these bodies. 
But, oh how I’m enjoying the meetings.  There are lots of young representatives from across the U.S. and Canada
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From Canto 11 of the book, Bhagavatam, I spoke on the Chapter ‘Aila Gita’, which details the teachings and realizations coming to an affluent king, Pururava.  Oh, how in love he was with his lady, Urvasi, a heavenly beauty!  At one point in the relationship, deciding to terminate it all, Urvasi left him, and the separation for him was too much.  Time lapsed and he realized just how attached he was to this world and to his body, a mass of marrow, bones, sinew, blood, etc.  "This body," he reflec
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From Plane to DNA by Bhaktimarga Swami

 I sat in seat 16 F, on an Air Canada flight—en route to Washington’s Dulles Airport—which was slightly delayed, and outside my window was the right wing of the plane.  It was ever so inviting to walk that wing had the window been open.  The aircraft stood there so long, and I felt rather crammed in the seat with no motion happening.  A deterrent to walking the wing was the fact that it was just de-iced.  Imagine the slippery nature of that dynamic; It might be the only meaningful stepping for
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Best Breakfast by Bhaktimarga Swami

It was at Tyendinaga, in Mohawk Territory—where in the summer of 2012, I napped in between the rows of soy beans,  and swam in a creek for a break, and where the fish bit Daruka's chest—that Jaya and I had a great breakfast this morning.  Yes, indeed, Jay and I stopped at "the Twins’ farm" (as we call it) and took food for fuel.
Graham and Dhyanachandra are identical twins, who used to live in Toronto, and do janitorial services at the Krishna centre.  Dhyanachandra is spending the winter in
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One of the Monks... by Bhaktimarga Swami

One of the monks visiting at the Montreal ashram did not wake up at the usual time.  I went to him reminding him of the hour.

"It's 6:30 a.m."
"I was thinking to rest a little more," he said.  
Not argumentatively, but with a slight firmness, I expressed, "Well, that's eight and a half hours.  That's not enough, really?"  This chap is actually a good person but just once in a while…. 
The excuse was: "I woke up in the middle of the night so my sleep got disturbed."  

My response was: "I
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Making it to Montreal is always a good venture for me.  Like all visits to various communities, it is special being in the company of old friends, newcomers, and those growing toward new devotional potentials. 

Jay and I and a group of local devotees, including a father and daughter from New Brunswick, took to the sidewalks east of the centreville, to catch some good but cool air, and accompany ourselves with the maha mantra, and chanting on beads.  The walk was in the prime of the afternoon,
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If rain is clean, clear and cooling, if the sun is bright, bold and benevolent, then snow is white, wet and wonderful.
Jay and I drove through the white stuff, as it fell lightly upon us, our moving car, Highway 7, and the surrounding countryside.  It was a quiet ride, and in this area from Toronto to Ottawa, you travel through the edge of the Canadian Shield, earth's oldest rock.  The rock is embraced by a boreal forest.

We arrived at ISKCON Ottawa, at 212 Somerset, and were greeted by Ma
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So far - a mellow winter.  When I walk the street, temperatures are at a level that I can peel off my autumn coat and move along with enough comfort.  Of course, it's the consistent walking that sustains the ease, the warmth. 

It's evening and it's past the Christmas/New Year period.  You can still greet people with a "Happy New Year" and it won't be out of line.  Yes, folks are out and about.  Shopping never stops.  Appetites never die.  Bars and pubs are alive.  Churches, Islamic and Buddhis
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The Park Bench by Bhaktimarga Swami

We both sat on the park bench, trying to catch our breath, after having ascended to a higher elevation at Chorley Park.  A former Lieutenant Governor's mansion had been at this spot quite a few  decades ago, but fire hit the building, and thus it is no longer.  Gaura and I enjoyed the scene looking far to the east, and although leaves have abandoned their trees, the sumac bushes near us have held onto their reddish bobs.  It really was a nice view.  

Our minutes there lapsed, and we moved on t
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I Left for Yonge by Bhaktimarga Swami

I left for Yonge at 8:00 a.m., and walked a small piece of this longest street in the world.  You can check it out with Guinness.  It's just under 1900 kilometres long, or 1,178 miles in distance, taking you to Rainy River, where on the other side of the waterway you have Minnesota in the U.S.A.
Yes, I walked a chunk of it on foot.  Beautiful day.  I was en route to Scarborough to be the Sunday Open House speaker, when a driver picked me up near Eglinton.  He was quite the far-out guy. 
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A Piece of Himself by Bhaktimarga Swami


Nirakula comes to visit us every six months, along with her husband, Vaisesika, to encourage the sharing of wisdom.  It is significant at this time of year in December, when the ‘giving spirit’ is the strongest.  Classes are lined up, beginning with today, to express the joy of giving.  Some devotees from different cities have come to hear how to best achieve the act of giving.

It was today, before I went for a five kilometre walk, that I received a call from a bhakti follower from Canada, who

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A small group of us met with the Honourable Raymond Cho, MPP and the Ontario Minister of Seniors and Accessibility, at the home of a Mr. Vijay Sharma.  I offered him a copy of the children's book, The Walking Monk, written by Anna Milagrits and illustrated by Olena Yanko, for his grandchildren whom he will visit in Houston.

Nice person!  He travels.  So do I.  It's good to be back though.  The air is fresh.  Lots of real prana in the air - life force.  The sn
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Adios Amigos by Bhaktimarga Swami

Varadero is the launching pad from which we were hoisted up in the air, to go to our respective countries: Spain (for Yadunandan) and Canada (Prana and myself).  We made sure the local Vaishnavas in Cuba were equipped until our next visit with their devotional and other needs.  A mrdunga drum is now theirs, three telephones, a laptop computer, beads and bead bags, ghee, books, and some financial backing—all generous donations from Vancouver to Brampton, Toronto, Montreal, and of course, Spain.
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Good-bye Callous by Bhaktimarga Swami

It has been more than twenty-four years since I developed this callous and corn on the sole of my right foot.  It doesn't cause pain, but more—aggravation, from the point of view that it remains hard, and in some subtle way causes an uneven walk when I’m going barefoot. 

Personally, I have been hacking, or chiseling, away at this stubborn entity, on and off.  Today, I asked Radha Madhava, the person whom I stay with in Calgary, to finish it off.  So I handed him a rasp-type instrument suppli
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People are Important by Bhaktimarga Swami

Sanjaya had a successful business and his family was doing well.  Then ten years ago, he suddenly was hit by a stroke and hasn't been able to physically do much since.  It has put a strain on the family financially, and his good wife is working extra time to compensate. They do receive some income due to his disability.  He has had time to think over the misfortune and has come to a redeeming conclusion. "Had this not happened I would not be spiritual.  It brought me closer to Him," he told me.
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Time In Two Places by Bhaktimarga Swami

Chandan is an enthusiastic and energetic fellow, father, husband, bhakti-yogi.  He took a forward step this morning by sitting at the fire for his diksha (initiation).  His new name is Chandramauli, in reference to Shiva, who carries the moon.  He's happy.
My walking time was under the moon in Calgary, after the sangha program, the Sunday Open House.  My dear Dhruva came out to see me as i was leaving the building.  He came in his flip flops with snow all around.  Luckily for me, the temperat
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Spiritual seekers at Southminster Steinhauer United Church (my venue) were my audience for a talk on "Tails from Trails".  That was last night.  The congregants who came were really sweet.  I think they found the life of a mendicant walking across Canada very interesting - everything from the practical aspects of trekking day to day, without stoppage, to the theology I've adopted, which drove me on with a passion.  Mantra meditation followed the talk, with a slew of questions.  

Tonight a prog
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George Harrison Wrote by Bhaktimarga Swami

 George Harrison passed away eighteen years ago.  He was not only a great musician but a good human being.  He attracted thousands of people to the lifestyle of bhakti/devotion, through his music.  He once wrote:
Everybody is looking for Krishna.  Some don't realize that they are, but they are.  Krishna is God, the Source of all that exists, the Cause of all that is, was, or ever will be.  As God is unlimited, He has many names.  Allah-Buddha-Jehovah-Rama.  All are Krishna, all are One. 
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The decorated Christmas tree came crashing down.  A metal barrier at a construction site also collapsed to a horizontal position and lay there.  Clear plastic bags flitted in the air, here there.  It was surreal and it was happening within a certain solitude.  A strong gale whipped through the downtown where I was walking.  It was 3:30 a.m.
I needed that walk.  It has been a sleepless night.  The hike through the gale inserted energy while I held onto my dhoti (lower garment). 
I entered th
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