the walking monk (331)

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So, it’s the first day of summer but I was reminded of one other aspect of today. It’s Father’s Day. I spent the night with a family in Bracebridge. They have a gorgeous shrine in their front room. At 7 a.m., we all came together for chanting, puja, and a discussion on the Bhagavad-gita, 14.4, referencing Krishna on the topic of fatherhood, where He claims, as God, to be the ultimate Dad.

We drove south to Toronto and on very short notice I was requested to give a class for our Vancouver Centre

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Merci Beaucoup by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It’s a long day for sun endurance. Yes, we are approaching summer solstice. I enjoyed the bench and stretched my neck back to just catch some rain drops the size of tiny ants. The nostrils couldn’t help the perfumes projected from trees surrounding me. And there were people all around. I’ve never seen picnicking on the scale it is these days. 

There’s so much to be grateful for. That is the way I’m viewing the chanting I’m doing. The japa technique is soft and I like to say with it “Thank you a

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Last year my brother, Jerry, popped by to drop off vintage photographs of our biological family.

They came in two cardboard boxes with one of them labelled “Brownies,” which my sisters were members of. Likely that box contained Brownies chocolate bars or cookies, which were fundraisers for the organization. That one box, still kicking around with old pics in it, has been around for 55 years. The box itself is vintage.

In any event, I’m copying some of these photos for posterity’s sake and I’m h

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I had a great picnic with Parama, Rukmini and their young 19-month-old darling who was totally mesmerized by people, the dogs and the trees. It’s not that she hasn’t been to a park before. This one, Ramsden, according to her parents, is new and full of activity; something different.

The heat was on. That may account for the smaller than usual turn-out of people. Attendance did pick up in the evening, which was my second visit to the green space. At this point Nimai and Vishal joined me on the g

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It’s been a while since I met cousin Corry and our young Muslim friend, Victor, so we decided to meet again, as we used to before the dawn of winter and the Covid lockdown. A third person also came along; much to my surprise it was a distant relative, Jeanette. She’s not just an ordinary Jeanette. She’s “ScubaJeanette” and, as the name implies, she loves the water and has spent many seasons in clear and salty water exploring. She also has a shark scar bite on her left leg to prove her escapades

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So Happy by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I was so happy to receive another submission from a godsister in Los Angeles. She had given her story of the early days in the movement in Canada, to add to the compilation of our upcoming book Krishna in the Maple Leaf. Her spiritual journey began at the young age of fifteen, when she heard about the Bhagavat philosophy. Interesting it is that the guidance counselor at her school encouraged her in her spiritual pursuit.

For myself it was just a pleasure to deliver two classes virtually for two

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I was trying to make a point by abruptly striking just one branch of a spruce tree. Suddenly, hidden in that limb of the tree, with all its sub-branches and twigs, came a cloud of golden pollen.

My dear friend and godbrother, Ugresh, was astounded to see that pollen, appearing as a light powder, suddenly manifest. “Stay away then, if you have allergies,” I recommended. Indeed, he does have that, acting up from time to time. Now is one of those times.

That gust I brought on to create that cloud

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Three Levels by Bhaktimarga Swami

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An elderly woman came to where I was sitting. It looked like she had something to say, however, I started the conversation.

“How are you today?” I asked out of curiosity.

“Well, I’m a bit upset. The telephone company I’m with has not been giving service for five days.”

Now I don’t dress in a uniform from a phone company. I’ve donned my kurta (my upper garment), my dhoti (lower garment) and my uttariya (the third swami piece), so I don’t qualify for being a service man. I do, however, feel oblig

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We had a lively Zoom group, our usual Thursday gathering. Discussions were on chapter 9, verse 32 of The Gita. In Ranchor Prime’s translation of the verse it goes like this, “All those who seek my shelter, whatever their birth, gender, cast or status, attain the supreme destination.” It was a lively discussion.

Before that, I was soaking in the sun and, fortunate for me, people in the park were stopping to talk. One fellow goes back-and-forth on a jog for an hour each day. Today he stopped to o

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We are keeping it up. Every day Dharma Prana and I attend the noon services, called Bhoga Arati where I play the mrdunga drum and sing in a type of serenade to entertain the deities of Krishna on the balcony or altar.

My beating that drum becomes a kind of needed work-out. Also, for the Tuesday night garbage pick up, the trash must be ready for bringing out to the street. To prepare for that I saw the opportunity to crush the accumulation of cardboard boxes. Our produce arrives in those boxes w

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In the morning the sun shot out to bless the sky and earth. By noon clouds closed the doors to a usually welcome sun.

But the sun did shine on my day in the form of three Zoom talks; the first on the topic of Vedic hero, Bhishma. Truly, he is one of my favourites. Moments for honoring him was possible by the request of Kirtan Vancouver, although I expected that the request for my conducting a discussion would probably be on the Mother’s Day theme. Bhishma was one of those noble men who looked a

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Before Zoom classes began I took advantage of the beckoning sun. I was sure this was not a singular thought. Sure enough the craving for sun, green-ness and crisp air was apparent. My favourite bench was available and only good things I could see. Hither and thither: walkers. A dog park replete with happy humans and canines. Men, women and children; black, white and brown. Not one person with a cigarette. Kids playing. Adults talking.

A relatively young dad was carrying a bundle of the gathered

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It was quite the humid day; cool to the feel. The wind was up and trees were dancing with their upper bodies while their trunks, as usual, were anchored stiff.

When my services were completed for the day, which included a Zoom chat with our Halifax crew and another on plans for our next film production, I took the opportunity to walk a stretch. It wasn’t long but it was…

The other day when I did a walk the length of Ramsden Park, I took a gayatri mantra break right next to the tennis courts. I

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Gently Weeps by Bhaktimarga Swami

8898588864?profile=RESIZE_400xThe sun captivated everyone. Motorists rolled down their windows to take in the good air as they moved along slowly; as is usual on a Friday afternoon. I had my window down also. I could hear pedestrians and music blaring from the autos.

One guy did it deliberately — had his music pumped up and loud — as he coasted along near our temple. It was “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison and the boys, the Beatles. I was actually having my lunch at the time and I had an additional tantalize

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Cycles by Bhaktimarga Swami

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The day was gloomy, chili, overcast but necessary as a part of a cycle. Rain came. It’s needed. The night came in with a waxing crescent moon just as it has been some nights before in the cycle. Then we love our seasons. “Of seasons I am flower-bearing spring,” states Krishna in The Gita. This welcoming season has come full circle. There’s a pattern also with the sun. “Here Comes the Sun” (the Beatle’s song). Visible and not visible.

Then we have “The Circle of Life” (Lion King). Yes, we have o

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8830997495?profile=RESIZE_584xI would devote the day in my service to guru’s mission with a stride in the park. It was dark and some young men from the neighborhood just completed shooting basketball. I was on a bench fingering on my meditation beads and, as they walked by, they very respectfully nodded or made remarks such as, “Hi!” Or “Good night!” I was impressed. Decent people do exist.

In one conversation with a member of our community he expressed that people are having it tough, even amongst the devotional types, bein

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Kind donor, I thought, and that was my last thought (to my recollection) before shut-eye and saying goodbye to the day. A good sleep.

Our Vancouver centre received a nice donation from one admirer (anonymous) to the tune of just less than a quarter million. That’s super kind. So, I was informed. Good heart, I thought. More hearts like that are needed. Our project in the centre of the Greater Vancouver Area is in Burnaby; a great location. A new facility needs to go up and will cost 15 million.

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8792983454?profile=RESIZE_400xCalls continued to come from well-wishers. Thank you!

I spent a good chunk of the day reviewing the draft manuscript for “The Saffron Road,” which details my walking experiences throughout the US and Canada, as well as a host of other countries; mostly more tropical. Then there’s Ireland – very moist.

So, we are moving along and getting closer to the book’s release and I’m hoping you will all be looking forward to it’s reading. Frankly I feel that it was almost a previous life that I am looking

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To Get a Call by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It’s nice to get a call, like the following, once in a while (it’s paraphrased).

“Hi! I just wanted to introduce myself. I am Jorge. I live up north, have a family, work at a factory. Right now, as we’re talking, I am walking my two dogs on a forest trail that I frequent almost every day. I have a mother who is a devout Christian and, as I grew up, I would accompany her to services; so I appreciate the tradition very much.

“It was a friend of mine who introduced me to the Bhagavad-Gita. I’m rea

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Dates by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I’m going on close to one week since starting my two-week quarantine. It’s relatively an easy one to tackle. For members I also want to acknowledge that this year marks 125 years since the birth of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Celebrations have begun to recognize his great efforts and contributions to this world.

As expressed in words in a recent letter to me the other day, referring to Prabhupada as “the one who I believed radically changed American society in ways that

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