the walking monk (334)

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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Changes by Bhaktimarga Swami

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One of my dear friends from the area, Mr. Prasher, gave me good news. In India, Vrindavan and Varanasi, two sacred places in the state of Uttar Pradesh, are going back to old ways. Restrictions on animal slaughter and, according to him, liquor sales are now implemented. Good news indeed.

Now, how far such restrictions are enforced is another matter. India is traditionally the land of dharma, meaning a place of high principles, but with a thousand years of invasion, influences are such that it h

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I walked again, to the park, for the purpose to light a little spark. I’m not the only one. There are many who come to lay out a blanket and then lay themselves out on it. Tennis balls are flying from within the court fence. There are lineups. The playground is vibrant with kids and their guardians; parent or nanny. Young men hop, bounce and leap balls through the hoops. The dogs are frisky while owners look on with care.

Benches get occupied fast. As soon as one occupant leaves another slides

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Hey! I made it to the park, but on crutches. David, who lives in the ashram with us, accompanied me. I couldn’t have done it without him. We sat at a bench bathing in the sun. People walked by, many of whom were wearing green. Yes, of course, it’s St. Patrick’s Day and those who take to the green carry the spirit.

David and I were talking and wondering if anyone really knows much about him aside from him being some very kindly man from Ireland. “I think he has something to do with a shamrock, o

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A bit of a mile stone for me: I managed to walk fairly straight along the not so trustworthy balcony, without crutches. Yahoo! Perhaps Jayho! Which means pretty much the same thing. A sigh of relief, victory and healing. It tallies at 1 km.

Cameron is just a great help to me. He is with the Red Cross, does mostly construction work but took time off to take care of matters in the temple, and me. I’m grateful.

He brought up my lunch — a plate laden with asparagus, curried veggies, exquisite dahl

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Productivity by Bhaktimarga Swami

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The Lotus Foundation is an initiative of learning about basic principles of dharma. As one of the directors, I was asked to promote the initiative, which has been up and running for its third year now. The participants are young and it is attracting families who want to gain some insight into Vedic culture. Some of the subjects learned are hands on yoga, nutrition, plant-based diet and the values behind it, gardening, chanting mantras, basic elements of etiquette and even learning of the three

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Blessed by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Cameron, who comes over to check on me quite regularly, took a lotus position and within that safe six foot distance, mentioned to me, “This room has a powerful energy.”

I agreed. “Why sure. This is the place where our guru, Prabhupada, stayed. Right where I am laying now (recovering) was the location of his bed. To my left is the washroom and tub he used and next to us, behind you, was the greeting room.”

“The vibes are good,” Cameron reiterated in his Aussie accent.

It has been a week since I

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Our roofer, Victor, did make it up above me. I could hear his clumping on the flat roof overhead, the very place where squirrels race back-and-forth; never on a schedule. It’s just frivolous, whimsical play. Their footsteps are light compared to Victor’s firm and less speedy moments.

Below me, on the main floor, is Sri the Pea (that’s what he calls himself) getting already for Govinda's take out. It Involves mostly the use of water, the washing of trays and laying out of the day’s spread of tas

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I am sorry but I won’t be able to report any kilometres (or miles) these days. I’m off my feet. My mind still races, though, and in merely a flash, I’ll be in Mayapura, India, hurriedly moving from my room to the Samadhi Auditorium and back, or walking on a trail by the Assiniboine River in Manitoba. I am covering many miles, mentally, each day but I would have difficulty nailing down an actual record, really.

In any event, one of the physician friends of our ashram, Jagannath Misra, came over

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The Crawl by Bhaktimarga Swami

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A poem sent and written by an anonymous follower
 

Walking has ceased

Reduced to a crawl

Services change

That benefit all

A sacrifice made

Traversing great lands

Causing tide’s change

From feet to head and hands
 

Though a temporary tide

We share in the pain

For knowing the love

Of this kindly Saint

Is on earth and land

And lake shore pretty

Or on cement’s soil

Gardening souls in the city
 

“Hang tough!” We cry

It won’t be long

Before your feet

Resume their song

May your mind be light

Your pain

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At the Pots by Bhaktimarga Swami

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There is bliss in service. That bliss is demonstrated by those in the devotional realm of bhakti. One person, whom I snuck up on, who characterizes this joyful practice, was a person in the kitchen of our ashram. Uttamananda is a kind soul — and a kind soul is usually a happy one — and in the early hour of 6 a.m. he was immersed in pot washing. That’s how I was able to get in from behind him. The pot sinks are against the wall, so anyone who has that designated role of pot washing has a wall in

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8570569489?profile=RESIZE_584xThe message came from Ohio. It came from a fine fella who considers himself a punk, perhaps an X. His name is Kaustubha and it is good news — I’m sure he doesn’t mind me sharing the message regarding a new trail. Seems like he would go for trail blazing it. That’s his offer. He’s wondering if I still have some steam in my tank for a marathon. My answer is “Yes, most probably, but after some work is done on the knees.” Here is his message:

“Just saw a wonderful article about a new walking/biking

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In the Jaws by Bhaktimarga Swami

8502271057?profile=RESIZE_400xThe king of elephants, Gajendra, found himself in a difficult spot. After spending some leisurely time in the water with his female friends, the fun stopped when one of his legs was locked by the jaws of a menacing crocodile. Recalling his habit of prayer from his former life as a human, he suddenly took to such supplication, calling on help from Vishnu. Vishnu responded to the devotional plea of the elephant and set him free from the perilous mouth of the reptile.

The above story, outlined in C

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8492961272?profile=RESIZE_400xThe corner of Avenue Road and Roxsborough is notorious for auto accidents. I was sitting at my usual corner, inside what we call Prabhupada’s quarters, when I heard a slam/bang sort of sound. I looked outside to what I perceived as the source of sound and sure enough two vehicles clashed. Sad! Damage was done. Both motorists appeared unharmed. Police came very fast and efficiently. Paramedics too, just to see if there was a need.

From my view, glancing through the third-floor arched window, I co

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Walking Reflections by Bhaktimarga Swami

8488387484?profile=RESIZE_400xEsa had his cremation today in Philadelphia. Memorial events will take place in both Philly and Port Royal, more specifically Gita Nagari, a rural community in Pennsylvania.

Thats a state I really enjoyed walking through. Lots of farms, lots of hills. The Appalachians. The Amish. It was in 2015 in the autumn, so the colors were just stunning. Temperatures were just perfect — a bit on the cool side in the morning but that is ideal for walking. New England was pretty too.

In reflecting on the rest

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Some Talk In the Night by Bhaktimarga Swami

8478099656?profile=RESIZE_400xTuesday afternoon is a fairly bland time and the evening can be even more so. I had the fortune to at least get some walking in. That in itself is an adventure even though minimal.

Midway through my walk a call came from Texas. The caller was reaching out with some questions. That alone put a little spark or sparkle into the night. Questions are always welcome. They stimulate the brain or activate the intelligence.

Now, I’m not going to tell you what those questions were because our conversation

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A Walker Gone by Bhaktimarga Swami

8442899078?profile=RESIZE_400xIt appears to be the month of death. Not Covid related, however, another case of someone I know passing, was a young man from Philly who gave up his life — suddenly. I got to know him on my walk across the U.S. He joined me at a few spots on the east coast. It rather choked me up to hear about his ending.

After some time of grievance (it hit hard for a few hours) I thought less about the loss and his challenged upbringing. Rather, I focused more on his positive contribution. A man with a big hea

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8432175453?profile=RESIZE_400xI called my sister, Rose Ann, whose husband passed away from cancer. “Jim was a fine man,” I told her, “therefore he is fine,” implying that his destination was a good one according to the laws of karma. I was impressed with the way my sister was listening. Words of comfort and assurance are what she really needed to hear.

Another sister, Pauline, had joined in on the call over speakerphone, as she had come to visit and spend some time with Rose Ann to console her. She was keen to listen, as wel

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