the walking monk (173)

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When I visited the Yukon, not so terribly long ago, I received a small gift—a key chain.  Attached to this key chain is that iconic image of backpacking prospectors, struggling up a steep snowbank by way of a rope.  This represents the famous Yukon Gold Rush that took place at the turn of the 20th century.
 
I'm intrigued with that historical time, not with the lusting for gold, but for the fact that folks were adventurous and willing to take risks starting a new life in the great north.  For m
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Panic Mode by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I noticed something peculiar about some of the shoppers as I walked with Corrado to our favourite chanting park, Bellevue Square.  I spotted several people carrying toilet paper.  I believe that some folks are caught up in what some call "panic buying".  What ignited this recent practice is the awareness of the coronavirus.  People are acting in a panic mode.

Of course, it is important and intelligent to take precautions.  I just wish that the panic button on birth, death, old age and disease
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Sunday is that day of the week for spending hours with community.  It started off for me at the ISKCON Brampton Centre with everyone singing in unison, and also as far as possible, physically moving together, as in dance.

I spoke from Chapter 2.46 of the Gita where there is mention of Sri Chaitanya (in the purport) displaying ecstasies.  The greatest contribution of this great monk, who walked plenty, was leaving Himself in the form of kirtan—the sacred name.  It is the practice of sharing sac
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I was happy to be part of the wedding reception for Damodhara, Gujarati born practitioner of bhakti yoga.  He resides in Sudbury, the place where I lived when I met Krishna monks who changed my life.  I spoke a few words to the crowd, addressing my joy at his partnership, before the toast and the cake cutting.

I really support marriage and the prospect for a one-shot deal.  I expressed my wish they'll have twelve kids.  People roared laughing.

The reception was held right in Govinda's Dinning
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About Others by Bhaktimarga Swami

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When I was in Mayapura, India, I saw a piece of myself on someone's table.  I'll clarify.  An artist had a booth where he was displaying his wares—copies of painted portraits of bhakti-yogis  Well, I was in that pile of twenty or so.  I picked one up off of his display table, to have a look.
 
That's me, alright, I thought, and reasoned within.  Actually, I was separated from the portrait, just as my body is separated from my soul.  My body, a temporal object, is what some identify as me.  It's
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The Sun by Bhaktimarga Swami

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The sun was beckoning to me in the second half of the afternoon.  It shone strong like a laser from the westerly direction.  It was directly blinding me, as I ambled along Bloor Street, and it created silhouettes of moving pedestrians, some who passed me to the right, some to the left.

I took to a park bench in Queen's Park, by the war memorial plaque, and sat there for five minutes.  Inscriptions on it indicated places where Canadian soldiers fell during the last century's two wars.  Italy wa
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Back in the Swing by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Back in the swing of things.  I'm walking on the streets to be nice to this body, a vehicle of honour.  With our bodies, we express ourselves best, or worst.  At best, we serve humanity, nature and the brains behind creation.  At worst, we self-serve and indulge in that which destroys us.  Take your pick.

I walked down Roxborough.  Two young men in a parked van gave me that look of curiosity.  They rolled down the window.  I thought they wanted to talk to me.  I wasn't sure so I stopped and to
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Air Canada Flight 43 came in for a smooth landing.  We couldn't even feel it when the wheels touched the runway.  After being picked up, we saw snow around all along the 401 Highway, but our driver, Jaya, said it's been a mild winter.  Both Corrado and I were struck by jet lag, as you can imagine after a long fourteen hours of soaring in the air.  Anyway, I would rather that, than break up the journey with a stop-over somewhere.

We reached the ashram.  The deities in the temple room looked bea
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4003208094?profile=RESIZE_710xAn accupressurist, who comes around to see me in Mayapura, is actually quite good.  He is a kind-hearted person; Bilvamangal, by name.  He came to my invitation last night, and I awoke this morning feeling like a new creature.  If only I could bring him back with me to Canada.... It's a dream.  He's very much anchored here.  He has a family. 

What felt like new legs (and knees) were not put to terrific use today.  With my second last day in Mayapura, many things needed wrapping up, and a major
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Our Premiere by Bhaktimarga Swami

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"Are you excited about your debut?"  asked one of the many attendees at the Mayapura retreat, referring to our first performance of "Grandsire".

"It's in good hands," I said, meaning that our cast has put in a lot of hard work to the best of their abilities.  Cronje—who is now Karuna Avatar (initiated name)—is the lead actor.  It's a big job for him—lots of lines to memorize and blocking to remember.  He's also involved in numerous martial arts scenes in this production.  He and the other play
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Things Going On by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I had a marvelous time at the Scarborough ISKCON Centre enjoying both the soup and the company.  This should not be mistaken for a soup kitchen, (even though at meal time, a soup extraordinaire is, in fact, on the menu), but a centre of spiritual power, where people come together to hear about themselves through the message of the Gita
 
The folks here are reading and discussing the Gita's Chapter 11 which resembles, in some way, a freak of nature.  Awesome images of multi-headed forms fill the
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Nice Couple by Bhaktimarga Swami

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For a third consecutive day, our Govinda's Restaurant was put to good use.  It catered two hundred guests at the YMCA on Thursday.  Last evening, we held an appreciation dinner for our drama troops of the January 1st  "The Gita” production.  That was nice.  And then today, I sat with members of the wedding party for Narayani and Kent, feasting like crazy after marrying them.  Govinda's keeps busy.
 
Now, about the wedding, held in the temple room—it was simple and sweet.  Narayani and her famil
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Foundation by Bhaktimarga Swami

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One of the most foundational principles in the science of bhakti is expressed in a verse from the Adi Purana.  Here's the Sanskrit with Roman Transliteration then the translation.
 
ye me bhakta janān partha

na me bhaktās ca te janāh

mad bhaktānām ca ye bhaktās

te me bhaktatamāh matāh
 
“One who claims to be my devotee is not my devotee, but one who is a devotee of my devotee is actually my devotee.” 

The above verse from the text, is God speaking—the actual words of Sri Krishna.  The verse
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Lines by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I still catch myself addressing people I meet with a "Happy New Year!”  Soon, in two days only, the calendar flips a page to reveal another month, making New Year's totally irrelevant.  But you're not going to get me to say, "Happy Valentines Day."  It's just not the thing monks say to anyone.
 
To compensate for this great lack of etiquette, I can say to my fellow colleagues and community members, "Happy Nityananda's Day" or "Happy Shiva Ratri" in reference to saints in our lineage.  "Happy Ga
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Corrado and I are preparing for the India trip, and before we do so, we are needing to pick up a few things.  Yes, things like bows and arrows, and swords, and perhaps some other weaponry.  Nothing too lethal, mind you.  It's more like goods made of rubber and synthetics for a scene of conflict in our up-and-coming drama, "Grandsire."  The Vedic texts that I draw my script from demonstrate colourful battle scenes.  The story will be about Grandsire Bhisma.  We will stage it, film it, and then t
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A popular basketball player, Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter and several family friends, died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.  The gentleman sitting next to me in the Caribbean Airlines showed me the footage.  Sad!  I'm also warned about this new coronavirus going around.  At the airport in both Guyana and Toronto, people were donning masks for protection.  Expect trouble ahead as it is the nature of our dual world.

On the brighter side, I'm home.  I'm with my spiritual family, drinking
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Jaguars Protected by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I am happy to know that in Guyana the hunting and killing of jaguars is unlawful.  The jaguar is the national animal of the country and so it is with pride that conservationists keep a vigilant watch over this beautiful creature.  Now, in all my visits to Guyana, I've never come fact to face with this wild cat in the wilderness, and I certainly hope to keep it that way.  Even when I walked Guyana's coastline, I never really found myself in the thickets of the interior for the opportunity.  The
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Every time I visit Guyana, I get treated to an all-exotic meal by Paramatma.  Well, he does the planting and harvesting of the organic veggies and fruits.  His good wife cooks them, or in the case of fruit, prepares it with flair.  The year I walked Guyana, they hosted me to an unforgettable dinner.  Last year he brought me to his farm and showed me his yield.  Just this evening, after a lively padayatra procession in the streets, Paramatma told me of an incident in his orchard. 

"I was using
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In the Wilderness by Bhaktimarga Swami

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When three of us arrived at the major Suriname Airport, the official looked at my legal name which is Vis, with its origins in the Netherlands.  Because Dutch is the official language here, the official burst into a big smile.  "So you're a Vis?"  he asked. 

I responded, "Yes, I'm a fish.  I love the water." 

He chuckled. 

Santosh, who is an anthropology/archaeology student, took us to these amazing black-water springs.  Here I proved I was a fish, as my name translates.  Nearby, Santosh t
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Time to move on.  I had a great brunch with dear friend, Guru Prasad Swami.  He was also on the move.  After he left, I was left with a queue of people, each of whom just wanted to have a few minutes with me, in private.  Some advice.  Some direction.  Some blessing.
 
I could see the talent in the community.  But now, it was time to go.  Off to Port of Spain Airport where I gathered a few more souls for a few last minutes.  And as I was giving attention, I could see out of the corner of my eye
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