the walking monk (331)

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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A Slight Mix Up by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I had myself set up at a picnic table with a majestic blue spruce to my back. I was just beginning with a Zoom call and connecting with our Ottawa admins. I popped my two-day-old walking cane on the table. Like all meetings, virtual included, we start by reciting prayers to the guru, our founder, Srila Prabhupada. 

That was completed and then a decent looking man appearing to be in his 60’s came over to grab for my cane. He thought it was his. I placed my grip on it.

“Oh!” He looked back and sa

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A New Way? by Bhaktimarga Swami

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This weekend the Scarborough ISKCON team held their Ratha Yatra, starting at 6:30 AM on Saturday and completing near midnight. What I’m hearing from some of the different centres we have is that the Covid approach to this festival may be better than the usual way of doing things. Several items make the event more favorable such as: 

1) It reaches more people as a vehicle with Jagannatha inside, goes to the neighborhoods where people get curious

2) Less-to-no permits required

3) Easier to organi

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My third visit for Physio on my left knee went well. Adam, the trainer for today was pleased. According to him there’s still work to be done even though I walked in crutch free. After the visit I walked towards home and was feeling so much appreciation for a medical system that really does care for the individual. That’s how I feel about Adam and Kathy from the week before and also Kevin on the first visit.

And, I guess, I’ll give all the thank-you’s I can when the physician confronts my right

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Chris from Hamilton had come. “I’m dropping off some kids, including my son, at Wonderland and that gives me some time at the temple. I’m up for service.”

Such a wholesome attitude, is what I thought as I expressed the nature of helpfulness to our maintenance guy from Croatia, Vallabha Hari. Help is always needed around the ashram and the temple. So, Chris came to pitch in, with cleaning mostly. We appreciate his spirit.

The mind is at ease when all is clean and orderly and the spirit is right.

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A Day of New Guys by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I’ve really relished watching Indrayumna Swami talk about the transformation of one chap that was unkept, hygienically-alien and rather drugged/high on something in Paris. He lived in the bushes with some newspaper foundation. He was nicknamed “Pig Pen” and was practically untouchable. However, by some kind of merciful act of Prabhupada, who was with us at the time, Pig Pen became transformed. He credits the ISKCON founder for changing directions for him. With a madman’s tone, “Prabhupada saved

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Cayenne In the Eyes by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Good folks came to visit me today. Lobsang and family delivered some special prasadam — wholesome, tasty wraps.

Then Abhay arrived with his wife and two energetic kids. As he walked into the room, in what we call Prabhupada’s quarters, it brought him back to his childhood.

“I remember this room. I was really young and there was a cup of cayenne and I blew into it sending the powder especially into my eyes. One devotee, Dharmaprana, grabbed me, took me to the tub in the next room to try to clear

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Delights by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It was a delight delivering a class, over Zoom to Vancouver, this morning about the pastime of Krishna being charged by all his young friends for eating mridam (dirt). His buddies, including his older brother, Balarama, were building up a case against Him, which would lead to a chastisement from His mother. This conflict does from time to time arise in the spiritual realm. Then, what to speak of the hostilities of this mundane world?

The notion that no aggravation exists in the holy dham (place

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“Hi!” Greeted the gentleman, who, along with his wife, were walking down the same trail as Paramahamsa and I. We were sitting on a stone for me to catch my breath while also catching some sun. He continued, “Do you need some help?”

Maybe I looked a little helpless? I had my crutches leaning against the boulder stone and left leg pant rolled up to expose my surgical knee for receiving sun rays.

“No! I’m fine. Recently I had a knee replacement. Just doing some Physio right now.”

“Oh! I had my hip

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All Good Stuff by Bhaktimarga Swami

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We have such a great philosophy. I am not this body. I am spirit soul. I am here to serve. All good stuff.

When this body receives pain, the pain is eased because you tell yourself, “That is not me. It may be connected to me but it is not me.” I have to convince myself of this reality from time to time. One of those times is now. Weaning off painkillers and accepting some uneasiness. That’s the way to go through the healing of my left leg.

It was so generous of my friend, Paramahamsa, to drive

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Results Will Come by Bhaktimarga Swami

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“You’re one of the top five,” said the therapist at Toronto West General Hospital.

“Meaning?” I asked.

“Of the five years I’ve looked at knee replacement patients you’re in the top five for recovery.”

Well, that certainly made me feel good. I had mentioned I’m a monk, a walking one, and I wore down my cartilage. The reaction to the marathon walks I’ve done astounded the physiotherapist, as did the Vietnamese doctor and a local assistant from Canada. Yes, I had three guys look at the leg and giv

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Bhagavad-Gita 10.7 and 10.8 offer a strong message of realizing our true position in this world; I am small and everything else collectively (God) is big. The moment this thought awakens in us then we are big — MAHATMA. This understanding of my smallness, compared to the greatness of all else, compels me to act in humility and devotion.

There’s something very attractive about humility. It means you are willing to learn, be on an adventure and ultimately crush the ego.

I would like to say that i

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I’ve walked by the above-mentioned park (actually it’s more like a sunken garden) several times off Yonge St. I never ventured inside. There are flowerbeds, trees of all kinds (northern breeds), perfect sod-lain sections for lawn bowling, tennis courts and then there is a grassy area perfect for kirtan. This very special place is tucked away from the world and is ideal for groups singing and dancing. That’s just what we did — a bunch of us — Russians, Indians, Canadians — whatever that means.

U

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I Shall Act by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I want to thank Paramahamsa, from Guelph, who came to do some physio work on me today. I’m also grateful to Jhorom, who came as a special guest when I hosted him in the sitting quarters of our guru, Prabhupada, who spent a few days there in June of 1976.

Jhorom is loving the Bhagavad-Gita, As It Is, and since reading this exceptional text he’s been asking me questions. He is just intrigued with the conversation based on a fratricidal misunderstanding.

“Most misunderstandings, if not all, have t

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Busy in Bhakti by Bhaktimarga Swami

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We have gone back, steadily, to our older program of stairway kirtan. Neighbours who pass by love it. As long as we don’t perform with symbols, drum, harmonium “in-their-face,” so to speak. Gentle, sweet and melodious is the way to go. Actually, the weather is conducive for outdoor kirtan and our group’s intent is to gain as much mileage with this presentation as possible.

In addition to the kirtan, which is now regular at night, 7 pm punctual, the morning and noon chants are also steady. I can

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I’ve known Devananda for many years. He grew up in London, Canada, area. I know little about his Jewish descent, but he adopted to eastern ways like I did. Pursuing life in India; living like a yogi/sadhu of sorts was his calling. He’s been active in China and India and teaches shiatsu and massage therapy.

It’s great when he comes around, being about the same age we have something to share about experience in the yoga field, although my chosen approach has been more in the bhakti line. There is

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It is quite the achievement, first of all, that there is a leadership college that trains men and women to be just that – leaders in a spiritual organization. I was invited to the GBC College Graduation and here’s a message from our graduate from Canada. His name is Anuttama. He sent me a letter tonight.

“Hare Krishna Maharaja (that’s me) and Prabhus (other blessers),

I wanted to inform you that I graduated from the GBC College leadership for Zonal Supervisor today. It was a longer journey than

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