the walking monk (327)

Samples by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Temperatures, weather-wise, are very much moderate today to the point that it drew a crowd of people and their pets. The dog park is very popular and on the street level a shop that caters to all dog needs recently took up a rental commitment. The place is called the Dogfather and it’s just around the corner.

Next to the dog park I planted myself at a picnic table only to meet with two devotees for a chat about relationships, but yes, most definitely about honey badgers and, most of all, GOD no

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Walking is Observing by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I walked in at least two residential areas of Cleveland. I saw more blue jays and squirrels than people. People! Where do they hide? Cars, homes, gyms and restaurants, I suppose. I thought everyone was missing each other because of a long covid threat? The yards to homes here are huge. They are green but empty. I don’t get it. How about children playing in the outdoors?

With Brae we put in an hour and twenty minutes, before and after our indoor event of kirtan, Gita (8.24) and prasadam. We spok

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Poem for the Clan by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Answering to belated birthday messages is a pleasurable task, really, and in the midst of it I managed to pull together, within minutes, a poem about my still-living siblings and I. There’s no real spiritual content here. It’s light and it serves a purpose. Untitled, here it is.

We’re just a bunch of peachy, beachy kids

“Peach” because we picked them before they hit the skids

We harvested just about everything, you bet

And “beach” because our summers meant getting wet

We had a blast at playing

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Surrender Now by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Prahlad’s story is described in the 7th Canto of the book, Bhagavatam. He reveals, through the text, his high level of realizations and pandit-ism. With our morning discussion at the Bhakta Prahlad Montessori School in Russell, we delved into the topic of Prahlad’s feeling for others; especially for those who have been unable to channel bhakti through their lives. So being a scholar is one thing, but you also have to have a heart at the same time. True saints are perceptive; they see the world

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Slowly Getting Back by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It was liberating to get back to giving a Bhagavatam class and also to leading a kirtan at noon in the temple room. Varun came from Ottawa to participate, so did Krishna Chandra, our local yoga instructor. Paramahamsa was also on board. Then, to follow, was the trickle of people for Darshan, or viewing of the Krishna deities.

Covid restrictions have been gradually lifted and so now Saturday and Sunday are open for visitors and congregants to come in and benefit. However, those of us, like mysel

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One of our members expressed an apprehension about cleaning but my argument on the point goes like this: “Our whole culture is about cleaning, whether it be the heart, your temple, your house or your car. As Vaishnavas we spend, or should spend, at least a small portion of our day in cleansing.” In the context of a traditional ashram or mandir (temple), cleansing becomes a major component. Monks give considerable time to clearing and cleaning, even if it means the backyard and front yard.

And w

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There we went swiftly on our feet – Dhruva from Calgary, Satya from Montreal and I – down University Ave in the hospital district. Many of these establishments are renowned for their research on cancer, heart disease and children’s diseases. “Oh, and look, there’s Mount Sinai Hospital next to us,” I pointed out, “where two months ago I had my knee surgery.”

Our purpose for walking here was not necessarily to show the boys a haven for sightseeing. That the area is not. Rather, one of us, Satya,

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Three Reps Mentioned by Bhaktimarga Swami

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We had a nice discussion from The Gita, chapter 10, text 27, highlighting at least three representations of God. The chapter is entitled “Opulence of the Absolute.” Our Thursday Zoom group delved into the super horse Uccaisrava, the elephant, Airavata, and lastly the king.

The super horse was invoked from the event of the churning of the ocean of milk. The super elephant, Airavata, was also born from the churning. He became the chief among elephants and has Indra riding on his back. Indra is t

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My walk to the shiatzu centre was a pleasant movement through the rain under an umbrella. It was a few minutes of contemplation. I find that rain often does that; heightens the pensive nature in us. As long as it’s not too long. I recall days on the marathon walks when a full eight hours was with rain and in the rain. Few motorists stop to talk. It’s just me and the rain, or rather Krishna.

That’s always the way to think of it. It’s Krishna.

Only today I contemplated on His devotee and his pure

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Foundations by Bhaktimarga Swami

9653244665?profile=RESIZE_400xIt was rather stimulating sharing the spot by Zoom as part of a panel discussion with Vaisesika and Kalakanta, with Anuttama as moderator. We went for an hour’s duration on the topic “Books Are the Basis.” We took the time to reflect on something that is very foundational to our spiritual lives. Had we not the books to read we would be nowhere.

The angle that moderator, Anuttama, approached me on was how the books of author Prabhupada have formed the basis of my script writing. I am not a great

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Staying with the Patel family in Bracebridge for a night and pursuing that morning walk by various falls on the Muskoka River is always inspiring. What could be more captivating than moving along a clean body of water in perfect weather (2 days left for summer) with the best people? Being in such a situation conjures up gratitude.

I am reminded of a beautiful purport from The Bhagavatam 11.5.41 telling us of obligation and appreciation. “Every ordinary conditioned soul is the recipient of innum

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I look forward to Saturday primarily because in the afternoon we go to High Park for “the prime benediction for humanity at large.” That quote is from Chaitanya’s written testimony regarding chanting. Chanting is the way to approach the public for bringing about the best results.

Beginning at 1 p.m. a group of us are huddled near Colbourne Lodge for a chanting session where dancing took place, which really attracted attention. One woman was walking, stopped, came over and joined. She lit up. Th

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Nice Encounter by Bhaktimarga Swami

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“Are you a Christian monk?” is what I heard when sauntering on Cumberland St. I turned around and stopped to see four young men looking wholesome and fairly clean cut.

I responded with, “A Krishna monk!”

“Oh! Hindu!” said one of the fellows.

“That’s the kind of little box theologians like to put our group in, but in truth we represent an ancient wisdom that dates to thousands of years. I was born and raised Christian but I added onto my life more information and ways of an enhanced experience.”

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I took a stroll to Yorkville where cafes are cool and people are too. For me it’s always interesting to see people’s reactions to some monk gliding through at an early night hour. The place is pretty harmless.

Two young men were passing in front of me. One looked back and spotted me. He touched the waist of his buddy and mildly moved him out of the way. He turned around and immediately got out of the way. “Make way for the monk.”

I passed by a man and his companion dog and said to his pet, “Now

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Conversing With God by Bhaktimarga Swami

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My knee surgeon, Dr. Backstein, saw me at the hospital where I was to take the final X-ray. He confirmed I’m doing good for 6 weeks after the knee replacement. I respect the man for having done a splendid job.

I’m proud to say I walked the entire way there and back – 6 kilometers, no sweat. No cane. In the afternoon, I met Bob back outside of the ashram quarters. Bob says he was raised Catholic but never took it too seriously. He claims Krishna has been speaking to him. I won’t deny.

“What did

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Splash in the Water by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It’s only an hour’s drive to Innisfil, which is set along a southwesterly edge of Lake Simcoe. I had been hankering for being in water for my joints and for a healing left leg. Tony is fun-loving, a senior, who declares himself as Greek Orthodox and he opened up his driveway for seekers of beach pleasure. The deal was $25 dollar parking for each of our vehicles for as long as we want. Actually, he saved us from the turmoil of parking many blocks away. This was our picnic and it was the birthday

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Golden People by Bhaktimarga Swami

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High Park is currently graced with golden rod. To some people, its colour offers an exotic flair, and it is hard to control their spread.

The location where we chant weekly is at a fork in the road, at the main entrance where we are is very visible, but the golden rod is found more in the woods, however, they can be seen in all their glory. It is our experience that pedestrians and cyclists that come through at that entrance cannot but become touched by the kirtan. Perhaps that’s what is the dr

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Listing here my personal annoyances (pet peeves) and also listing what I like (soft spots) at the temple/ashram. 

Pet Peeves
When:

1) … the temple and washroom are not clean

2) … a poor brand of incense is being used for the deities

3) … there is dissension amongst resident monks

4) … we lag behind in building repair

5) … the front yard is overgrown by weeds

6) … classes are delivered without eye contact and in monotone

7) … shoes are not placed in the designated area

8) … bugs enter and we don

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Come Down My Trail by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Dr. Sunil Sachdev decided he wanted to fly in, from his home in Vancouver, for a visit to help me during my rehab. He is a specialist with eyes. He had a vision and a heart to see how he could pitch in. So, this morning we phoned an Ayurvedic clinic which offers natural healing through a system of panca-karma. He also booked me in for shiatsu. I do have friends in this field but you have to know Sunil. He gets over excited with service; either that or most other people I know usually under achi

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Adam was coaching me once again as my physiotherapist and said, “You’re doing really good.” He gave some more exercises to add onto the regimen I already have. At one point he cautiously grabbed the weakened left leg and held it to a certain angle which caused some mild spasms to arise. I knew he knew what he was doing, being an expert in the field. I’m grateful.

He knew that my home (the ashram) was 3 km away because I mentioned it last week. “Are you doing three a day?”

“I’m not there yet but

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