the walking monk (367)

It is due to Sally by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It was in two thousand fifteen

That Sally was happy to be seen

By those who admired her

At New Vrindavan it did occur

Known to be the special agent

The one so absolutely patient

In signing the fateful papers

For Swamiji to reach those skyscrapers

To New York all the way from Bharat

To tell us what we had forgot

I sat with her for an hour or so

When her pleasant words began to flow

When she put her name to submit

"I didn't think much would come of it

His picture looked quite intimidating"

But si

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The Ship Docked by Bhaktimarga Swami

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To commemorate the anniversary of the docking of our guru (Prabhupada) on American soil, I delivered a class, basically a reading of this event at Boston harbor in September, 1965. A group from the Harmony collective came to hear of this milestone. Seven years ago, I began my US walk at the pier and I followed, as best as possible, the old Lincoln Highway leading me to San Francisco. The theme of the track was “Walking for our Teachers.” For me, it was just a token of gratitude. Thank you Prabh

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Great at the Lake by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Kaustubha and I were ambling along at Lake Erie’s edge in Lakewood Park when one of the many, shall I say, “worshipers” of the water and sun noticed my garb. “Oh! Monk! Yeah! I agree!” As he gives me a fist pump. Perhaps to say “worshiper” was a trait bit over the top, but in reality, people from this neighborhood and the greater Cleveland area come to the spot where massive and smooth concrete blocks have been placed as if stairways for giants; some kind of grandstand for viewing the sun setti

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Embrace Encouragement by Bhaktimarga Swami

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This morning a handful of Columbus congregants and I took to trekking along the Ohio River on Riverside. What was to be more of a chanting walk ended up being more of a chatting walk. The conversation hovered around the direct versus indirect sending of the message of the Gita to the world. The trail along the river, with fresh air and blue skies, made for that clear head experience and so I offered my opinion; that we need both.

Boat rowing was going on up and down the current of the Ohio as w

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Finale by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It was a drizzle of a morning but that was no roadblock for some enthusiasts to circum-ambulate the lake at New Vrindavan. There has been no conversation during the strolls around the lake, named Rada Kunda. When our mantra sessions were completed at today’s half-point, I had several devotees from various locations say that it was the first time they ever walked with a swami and just chanted those mantras. It is my hope at least some of them would return to their respective places and form japa

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I spent the bulk of the day in the residence of Chandra and Kalpana with their son Gertik (it’s his birthday), 14, and daughter Dashika, 11. They live in a place called Dublin, a bedroom community to Columbus.

Ohio state university at 60,000 students has one of the largest student populations in the US. Chandra was kind to take me to several park trails. The area is just perfectly manicured with grass. The entire neighborhood, in fact, with ponds, fountains and trees, leaves one in awe of this

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The air was still and most comfortable as twelve of us were inside our Toronto ashram, when two chubby raccoons were milling around looking for food. By the time we got outside, loading our vehicle with weekend backpacks, destined for West Virginia, we saw a coyote racing down our street. He was on a similar program as the chubby ones – where is the food?

Generally, you find hungry gatherers and hunters busy in the dark but our purpose in being up so early, 4:45 am, was for yoga and a journey,

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Two Winners by Bhaktimarga Swami

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The smaller communities we have established in recent years are all doing well in terms of governance, attendance and participation. Financially things are also doing all right. Even during the pandemic, none of our places of education and spiritual wellness suffered in a major way. At least not in “Zone One” of North America, which I am responsible for. This is, by the way, the krpa of God — mercy from the Universe.

Two such centres were on my visiting list today – Scarborough and Milton. Scar

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On a Podcast by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Kushal Mehra is host to a regular podcast from India who found out about me as a Canadian monastic and marathon walker. It was this morning that he arranged for a recording on the Charvaka Project.

Our guru, Prabhupada, used to bring to our attention a person by the name of Charvaka Muni, whos philosophy propounded that you beg, borrow or steal ghee and enjoy life. Ghee, clarified butter, was a symbol of wealth, so the message was to be the mundane enjoyer. Nothing else matters too much. There’

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The Monk by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Of the saffron man

Who owns no home

No burrow or tree

 

Who speaks of life

It’s unending circle

And the option

To move beyond

 

He is poor by choice

All that’s his is

A staff, a pot

And a piece of cloth

 

There is no mistress

No fancy food

No soft comfort

And no perfumes

 

The thirst for name

In hunger for fame

Must all be behind

They have no place

 

He welcomes the wind

Heat, cold and rain

Indifferent he is

To the season’s spin

 

Declare him meek

When he’s on his feet

Touchin

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It was quite awesome to see the number of people come in the evening for prasadam and to hear about “Tales from Trails.” Radha Madhava and Svasti hosted the dozens of families in their home on the north east end of town.

I was just completing my weekly “Gita Chat” on Zoom, as we delved into chapter 3, verse 10, talking all about yajna (sacrifice) and its prevalence. Then I shifted gears to get on another Zoom call with my siblings as we usually do when there’s a birthday among us. Today it was

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White City, with a population of approximately 4,000 people, and growing, is an upper middle-class type of town. Many trees have been planted here and the urban green trails are plentiful. Poplar trees are indigenous to the area, as were prairie grasses and tiger lilies until European farmers cleared these areas. There are spots where you can sit, wait ’til the deer come, and enjoy some shanti (peace) as if you are plopped in the middle of tranquil Vrndavana.

It was in Regina at Retallack Stree

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Neat Exchanges by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I was sitting next to Gil on the Air Canada flight to Regina. He explained that he and his buddies from Hamilton are off to a Metis fest to play their music. “It’s rock, Creedence Clearwater Revival music. We go all around.” Gil pointed to his t-shirt with a logo which reads, “Mystic River,” the name of their band.

Gil was just a great dude to talk to although the chat was brief, only after we landed. The flight was tough – poor movement of air as we were in the back corner and with masks on th

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The flight from Winnipeg on Air Canada was early, at 5:35 a.m. Usually at such an hour you can bet that passengers on a full flight like this will be fast asleep. Such was the case for all, except the pilot and flight attendants. I sat at the emergency exit seat, struggling to stay awake to fit in some japa meditation. It was hard. Fortunately, we are looking at a mere two-hour flight.

Nanda Maharaja Das picked me up in Toronto and zoomed me over to our Brampton ISKCON Centre.

“Happy Father’s D

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I was sitting with monk Brhat Mrdanga and talking about the upcoming Bhakti Academy, a training for new men and women, when a call came in. It was the voice of a man.

“I am interested in a program for brahmacarya (celibate) life. I play basketball, and I really want to focus on the sport and not get distracted. I belong to a different faith than yours, but it doesn’t offer a program for what I want, the brahmacarya program.”

I was listening to his story and request for training and I turned the

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After delivering some classes on the Gita for the evening, to accommodate families that work during the day, Vallabha Hari and I took that stroll through Yorkville. The weather was just perfect. It hit twenty-three degrees Celsius. Every fragrant flower, bush, or tree is in full bloom. Lit evening lampposts reveal every colour that foliage provides.

“I am flower-bearing spring,” the Lord describes in the Gita.

People, too, are very much alive. It’s Friday. The work week is over. There are lots

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At the Montessori school in Russell, some chipper remarks came my way from the young students. One of the young boys said, “We made you,” and what he was referring to is that before my arrival, for quite some time, the kids became familiar with “The Walking Monk” through a children’s book of the same name. I guess you could say I was the special guest in three classrooms. What the boy was referring to was that the staff had the students colour Walking Monk cut-outs from paper and attached them

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Two Towns by Bhaktimarga Swami

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The Stouffville group is great; very attentive to the message based on verses 8 and 9 of Chapter Five (Bhgavad Gita). The theme established was what is good separation and what is bad separation?

First of all, Krishna addresses, through the channel of sankhya philosophy, that the body must be seen as separate from the self. For instance, He mentions that merely talking, sleeping, breathing, and even evacuating – all actions of the body – are to be perceived as aloof from the person, the soul. E

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Some Milestones by Bhaktimarga Swami

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My right knee is healing well, so I put it to the test. It was approaching midnight. I was restless and, in a way, to execute some physio therapy, I thought to go down two flights of stairs and look around to the last round of renovations being completed. I’m personally excited about having those renos done. I’m counting the days when we cut the ribbon for this new training area called “Bhakti Academy.”

I descended the stairs with my ice pack on the bad knee, the left one. I looked around and c

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I Love It by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It was dark but the night was still fairly young when Vallabha and I were strolling through a pedestrian lane in Rosedale, when three young women, arm in arm, were oncoming. One of the girls took notice of my saffron and just lit up. “I love it!” she blurted out.

And then a young man carrying his disassembled bike also noted my monastic duds and asked, “Are you a Hare Krishna monk?” And, “Indeed!” I clarified. I was happy he didn’t deliver the usual line, “Are you Buddhist?” Afterall, Buddhists

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