the walking monk (173)

Sun and Sound by Bhaktimarga Swami

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After a good catching-up rest at the Longdenville ISKCON Centre, I, along with a good number of devotees, hopped into another one of those colourful Chariot Fest events in the downtown of nearby Chaguanas.  My dear Godbrother, Guru Prasad Swami, and I were whisked into a devotee-owned warehouse and office for quick, simultaneous interviews by two TV stations.  Another one followed after our parade.
 
It was a hot one - both the weather and kirtan.  Somehow in Trinidad, overcast conditions had p
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Anticipating Places by Bhaktimarga Swami

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The flight to Port of Spain was early, and  got me landed in plenty of time for some fun happenings within the range of devotional yoga.  I’m looking forward to the next ten days which will include a quick trip to Tobago.  We have been contemplating for years on doing a visit to this touristy island.  Also, on the list, is my second journey to Suriname where everyone speaks Dutch.
 
Google tells me that the first permanent settlement of Europeans in Suriname was established by a group of Briti
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I picked up a few sayings which very much resonated with me.  
 
Sayings such as:

“You may not always be called upon to be successful, but you will always be called upon to be trustworthy.”  Mother Teresa.
 
Another very reflective one:

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” Norman Vincent Peale.
 
I take a special liking to this one:

“You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do.”  Henry Ford.
 
Corrado and I went for
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Unpredictable by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I rather surprised myself, on this second consecutive day, with a nighttime walk.  Corrado has now moved into the ashram with us, and he and I set a spontaneous faster-than-usual pace.  Both times I returned from a spritely trek in the neighbourhood, feeling no joint issues, especially with my knees.
 
What certainly contributed to the uninterrupted speed was the no-ice factor.  We have been running on above-freezing temperatures, and I'm not complaining.  Mind you, I am a bit of a sucker for t
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People Are Problems by Bhaktimarga Swami

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 Back from the U.S.  Back to work.  Back to play.
 
My day began with the chant, a look at sastra, and then a breakfast.  Some leftovers do not intimidate me.  Warm them up, as Uttamananda did, and they can be tastier than the day before.  Then jet lag got the better of me.
 
I went for a much needed nap, and as I was about to doze off, images of the infamous New York City blackout entered my mind.  I had seen the documentary by the name "Black Out" on the plane last night.  Quite devastating!
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Our Experience by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Included in our morning sadhana, at Rockwood Manor, was a line-up of chairs, and seated upon them were the direct students of Srila Prabhupada, our Guru Maharaja.  There were six of us. We were given three questions to answer, from our personal perspective, and were obliged to deliver to the thirty or so listeners, our experiences.
 
Question One:  What encourages you to stay (in devotional life) and to keep going?
Question Two:  What fears do you encounter about the future, and also what hope
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I had been asked by organizers of these ISKCON Leaders Meetings to begin the two sessions of each day with warm-up exercises, both vocal and physical.  It worked out marvellously for me, because I felt like I was contributing something.  What I offered was much like what I do for theatre arts workshops, or what we do for warm-up exercises before we get into the play practices that I conduct.  

This is not what I do in the higher echelons of our mission.  Our twice a year meetings for the Govern
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Going Smooth by Bhaktimarga Swami

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The meals are light at Rockwood Manor, especially when you show up late like I did.  I had to catch a nap during this retreat workshop.  I'm exhausted from insomnia three nights in a row.  And when breakfast is not to my liking (there are uttapams) I'm more inclined to forgo.  I'm not complaining.  Just stating facts about the way of the world.  Nothing's perfect with these bodies. 
 
But, oh how I’m enjoying the meetings.  There are lots of young representatives from across the U.S. and Canada
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From Canto 11 of the book, Bhagavatam, I spoke on the Chapter ‘Aila Gita’, which details the teachings and realizations coming to an affluent king, Pururava.  Oh, how in love he was with his lady, Urvasi, a heavenly beauty!  At one point in the relationship, deciding to terminate it all, Urvasi left him, and the separation for him was too much.  Time lapsed and he realized just how attached he was to this world and to his body, a mass of marrow, bones, sinew, blood, etc.  "This body," he reflec
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From Plane to DNA by Bhaktimarga Swami

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 I sat in seat 16 F, on an Air Canada flight—en route to Washington’s Dulles Airport—which was slightly delayed, and outside my window was the right wing of the plane.  It was ever so inviting to walk that wing had the window been open.  The aircraft stood there so long, and I felt rather crammed in the seat with no motion happening.  A deterrent to walking the wing was the fact that it was just de-iced.  Imagine the slippery nature of that dynamic; It might be the only meaningful stepping for
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Best Breakfast by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It was at Tyendinaga, in Mohawk Territory—where in the summer of 2012, I napped in between the rows of soy beans,  and swam in a creek for a break, and where the fish bit Daruka's chest—that Jaya and I had a great breakfast this morning.  Yes, indeed, Jay and I stopped at "the Twins’ farm" (as we call it) and took food for fuel.
 
Graham and Dhyanachandra are identical twins, who used to live in Toronto, and do janitorial services at the Krishna centre.  Dhyanachandra is spending the winter in
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One of the Monks... by Bhaktimarga Swami

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One of the monks visiting at the Montreal ashram did not wake up at the usual time.  I went to him reminding him of the hour.

"It's 6:30 a.m."
 
"I was thinking to rest a little more," he said.  
 
Not argumentatively, but with a slight firmness, I expressed, "Well, that's eight and a half hours.  That's not enough, really?"  This chap is actually a good person but just once in a while…. 
 
The excuse was: "I woke up in the middle of the night so my sleep got disturbed."  

My response was: "I
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Making it to Montreal is always a good venture for me.  Like all visits to various communities, it is special being in the company of old friends, newcomers, and those growing toward new devotional potentials. 

Jay and I and a group of local devotees, including a father and daughter from New Brunswick, took to the sidewalks east of the centreville, to catch some good but cool air, and accompany ourselves with the maha mantra, and chanting on beads.  The walk was in the prime of the afternoon,
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So far - a mellow winter.  When I walk the street, temperatures are at a level that I can peel off my autumn coat and move along with enough comfort.  Of course, it's the consistent walking that sustains the ease, the warmth. 

It's evening and it's past the Christmas/New Year period.  You can still greet people with a "Happy New Year" and it won't be out of line.  Yes, folks are out and about.  Shopping never stops.  Appetites never die.  Bars and pubs are alive.  Churches, Islamic and Buddhis
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The Park Bench by Bhaktimarga Swami

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We both sat on the park bench, trying to catch our breath, after having ascended to a higher elevation at Chorley Park.  A former Lieutenant Governor's mansion had been at this spot quite a few  decades ago, but fire hit the building, and thus it is no longer.  Gaura and I enjoyed the scene looking far to the east, and although leaves have abandoned their trees, the sumac bushes near us have held onto their reddish bobs.  It really was a nice view.  

Our minutes there lapsed, and we moved on t
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I Left for Yonge by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I left for Yonge at 8:00 a.m., and walked a small piece of this longest street in the world.  You can check it out with Guinness.  It's just under 1900 kilometres long, or 1,178 miles in distance, taking you to Rainy River, where on the other side of the waterway you have Minnesota in the U.S.A.
 
Yes, I walked a chunk of it on foot.  Beautiful day.  I was en route to Scarborough to be the Sunday Open House speaker, when a driver picked me up near Eglinton.  He was quite the far-out guy. 
 
As
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A Piece of Himself by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Nirakula comes to visit us every six months, along with her husband, Vaisesika, to encourage the sharing of wisdom.  It is significant at this time of year in December, when the ‘giving spirit’ is the strongest.  Classes are lined up, beginning with today, to express the joy of giving.  Some devotees from different cities have come to hear how to best achieve the act of giving.

It was today, before I went for a five kilometre walk, that I received a call from a bhakti follower from Canada, who

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A small group of us met with the Honourable Raymond Cho, MPP and the Ontario Minister of Seniors and Accessibility, at the home of a Mr. Vijay Sharma.  I offered him a copy of the children's book, The Walking Monk, written by Anna Milagrits and illustrated by Olena Yanko, for his grandchildren whom he will visit in Houston. https://samhitapress.com/shop/138/

Nice person!  He travels.  So do I.  It's good to be back though.  The air is fresh.  Lots of real prana in the air - life force.  The sn
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Adios Amigos by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Varadero is the launching pad from which we were hoisted up in the air, to go to our respective countries: Spain (for Yadunandan) and Canada (Prana and myself).  We made sure the local Vaishnavas in Cuba were equipped until our next visit with their devotional and other needs.  A mrdunga drum is now theirs, three telephones, a laptop computer, beads and bead bags, ghee, books, and some financial backing—all generous donations from Vancouver to Brampton, Toronto, Montreal, and of course, Spain.
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Good-bye Callous by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It has been more than twenty-four years since I developed this callous and corn on the sole of my right foot.  It doesn't cause pain, but more—aggravation, from the point of view that it remains hard, and in some subtle way causes an uneven walk when I’m going barefoot. 

Personally, I have been hacking, or chiseling, away at this stubborn entity, on and off.  Today, I asked Radha Madhava, the person whom I stay with in Calgary, to finish it off.  So I handed him a rasp-type instrument suppli
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