From Bhagavad-gita As It Is, purport 13.8-12: “False ego means accepting this body as oneself. When one understands that he is not his body and is spirit soul, he comes to his real ego. Ego is there. False ego is condemned, but not real ego. In the Vedic literature it is said, ahaṁ brahmāsmi: I am Brahman, I am spirit. This “I am,” the sense of self, also exists in the liberated stage of self-realization. This sense of “I am” is ego, but when the sense of “I am” is applied to this false body it
The Greater Toronto Area has entered into its third phase of lifting restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. At Gage Park in Brampton, Stephen Philips and I could see how the public there was taking advantage of trees, grass, benches, flowers and the gazebo. I remember that gazebo. At eighteen years of age, a friend, Ron Casier, and I hitchhiked from Chatham, a good 300 kilometres through country roads, for an experience, and reached as far east as this gazebo. We took a nap at the shelter. It
I was ambling along, beyond The Annex, through the common neighbourhood, when I received a call from my assistant, Krishna Chandra.
“You have a zoom class, Maharaj!” He said on behalf of someone hosting.
“Oh, that is my total stupidity.” I’m routinely walking at this hour but tonight was special. I was to give a Gita class based on chapter nine, verse three, about faith. “I forgot. Is it too late?”
Thus I answered my own question. I can still try it. I’m 38 minutes late. “Send me the zoom link.
The water was great at Cherry Beach; a rather hot spot in the summertime. It’s a big draw during these sultry, sunny days. This was my first time swimming there. Parking is free. No drinking is allowed on the beach. Positive elements for a monk. Scantily-clad ladies? Not too much of that.
It was Billy who drove me there, in his fire-engine red car—I’m not sure of the make. I never took much interest in car models. Trees always got me more excited.
Billy also enjoyed the water. It was catch-up ti
To complement walking, swimming is one of those activities on the top of the list. A most pleasant person from Stratford, Jaya Gopal, picked me up from the big city to bring me to Lake Couchiching, one of three clean and tame lakes in the Orillia area. Now that was super sweet, however, the real purpose of the day was to partake in Orillia’s first Ratha Yatra festival. Done in downscale-style, the deities of Jagannath were set in the backseat of a van, and then driven to dozens of recipients, mo
Before I took my walk today I was sitting, and across from me was our senior-most monk who resides in our ashram. His name is Dakshin, a native of London, Ontario, and he became committed to bhakti, devotion, back in 1974 when he joined in Vancouver.
He’s a jolly and dutiful type of person and in the temple portion of our building he does two poojas (rituals) per day and also functions as our security for three hours. He can look mean with his stick and bears a grave persona, however, deep down
Judging by the amount of people in cafés and outdoor bars, things are opening up. At least that’s what Jivan Mukta, my walking companion for tonight, and I were observing. The problem with one, or two or more drinks is that you leave your guard down, and then social distancing can easily turn into social mingling. It looks like you could call it “opening up for trouble.” Oh well, I’m glad I don’t drink. I can’t, I’m a monk. Drinking toxins is a major taboo for us on the bhakti-yoga path. Drinkin
Sanjit and I decided to take a night walk going north to the Yonge and Davisville area, where walkers, runners and cyclists know the Beltline only too well. It was a former railway track and is now a trail used voraciously by feet and wheels—of a gentler kind. I mean to say no motorists here. The Beltline is characterized by a generous tree line on both sides, which is so much needed for a city like Toronto. I imagine many deer roamed here centuries ago. Not anymore.
I relayed to Sanjit that som
“We have some questions,” asked a curious young couple, modest in appearance and child-like in inquisitiveness, as I sat there in the centre of the park. I slid over on the bench to make room for them.
“What do you believe?” they persisted.
“We follow an ancient way from India called bhakti, it is a form of yoga-devotion.” I replied.
“You’re not a Buddhist?”
“No, we follow Krishna.”
“No, Krishna, the speaker of the, Bhagavad-gita. Do you both live here in Canada?”
“We just arrived.
Raccoons can be seen during the day or night, but, like most party animals, they seem to prefer the nocturnal time of a twenty-four hour cycle. On my return journey from Bellevue Square Park, I heard the familiar sound of scratching claws against the bark of hardwood trees. There, at George Street, my eye captured three little guys at the same tree, each on different levels.
Partying? I guess. Exploring? For sure.
Anyway, I had just come from the park and was personally disgusted with what hum
I was on two zoom calls this morning with Trinidad, Tobago, and Guyana as the first, then a second call with Brampton. During both online communications, I presented details of the first Ratha Yatra (or Festival of the Chariots) five millennia ago when people from all over Bharatvarsha (Greater India) converged at Kuruksetra during a solar eclipse. It was a massive familial reunion of the Yadu Dynasty.
That presentation, in many ways, was supplementary. The main focus of each conversation was wi
Within one hour of the start of my walking, the classic question came my way, first by three Chinese-Canadians.
“Are you a monk?”
The second time the question was posed came from a Black Canadian standing at the corner of Yonge and Dundas. I wasn’t sure if he was poised to cross, but when I began answering, he remained planted right there, eager to listen.
“I am a monk. It’s a good life,” I said.
“So you’re celibate? You don’t have sex with your wife?” was his curious question.
I walked northbound through three boroughs on a nineteen kilometre stretch beginning at 5:30 a.m., to the home of a very active member of our community. Rupanuga turned seventy-three today. It was his birthday.
Halfway through I realized I was trekking in the neighborhood of Pauline, my sister, a hairdresser. She wasn’t going to do my hair. However, I did want to drop in and say “Hello!” if not a “Haribol.” I wasn’t that early, once I reached her home off Bathurst. However, no one answered my
I had crossed the bridge over the ravine, carrying my meditation beads in my left hand while fingering each bead. A local person on his bicycle noticed them. He stopped and asked, “Is that a rosary?”
Now, this occurred shortly after I passed by a home with several people gathered on an extensive veranda who had also noticed my dangling strand of 108 beads. They seemed to be a bit ‘tipsy.’ I guess they were all friends—drinking buddies. They got kind of excited by my appearance. They approved. A
I did walk a piece today. I did wait a piece today—in the dentist clinic waiting room. A woman in front of me, age sixty, brunette to red hair—ponytailed—at the inquiry desk, left her queue to sit down. I followed.
“So you’re a monk?” she began.
“Oh yeah! Why the colour?”
“This saffron tone is reserved for celibate monks. It’s a colour worn before one’s married, and after retirement. I never got married. I’ve had this colour all these years.”
“When did you j
This particular cyclist really gets around. I’ve met him now on so many different streets. I guess it’s mutual. I also get “out and about,” as the expression goes. My friend, on his two wheels, was telling me of his new program—a fast consisting of only water. He also mentioned a second abstinence—violence.
“I’m not listening to the news and not watching violent films like Thor or Captain America,” he said.
I assumed he feels light-hearted and more at peace with himself. He concurred when I aske
I’ve known Corrado for a number of years, since he first started coming to our temple/ashram. He first met one of our exemplary devotees, Shyama Mohini, who has a passion for distributing the books of our guru, Prabhupada. This happened on a street in Toronto. Corrado is indebted to her for being his initial contact.
From then on, Corrado began attending bhakti-yoga gatherings, held at the Bhakti Lounge. He experienced a growing interest in the process of chanting, philosophizing, eating grea
What I’m going to say I’m sure will sound familiar to you.
Someone I hadn’t seen for a while entered my mind view.
I reached Kensington on foot and the dude-in-thought manifest.
His name is Hanuman and it’s here that he rests.
“I’m glad to see you,” he said, “I like it here. I even kicked the habit of drinking beer.”
I cheered the tall but disheveled Hanuman, who has no home and no coins in his palm.
I gave him a pair of gloves last year for the winter.
I’m sure he forgot as his life has no ce
I broke away halfway through our morning sadhana while our monks were engaged in chanting, mantra-hearing and bhakti discussion, to meet and visit with a first cousin. Her name is Corry and she’s a social worker. Her husband, Eric, with similar credentials, also came by when we rendezvoused in Ramsden Park. We caught up on life, did some reminiscing and also discussed the world situation, which is far from bright. One area of total agreement within our discussion was the human need for a spirit
There are three reasons for my being very content today. First of all, my brother, Jerry, drove an hour and a half from his home in Peterborough to drop off two boxes of old family photos for me to browse through. These pictures will go back a hundred years to my father’s childhood. There’s a substantial amount of stuff to go through. Another beautiful project to embark upon.
Secondly, a student/disciple, I hadn’t seen for years, showed up. Mahamantra is from Pickering, east of the city. He cam
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