the walking monk (173)

A Stop in Montreal by Bhaktimarga Swami

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From Halifax, I flew to Montreal.  It's a short flight.  Anyway, I was sad to leave our place there, but happy to be in another.
 
Every year our Montreal community holds a ‘memories of our guru event’ on Labour Day weekend.  I was invited and asked to speak about my personal epiphanies on the most import person in my life.  I first met Krishna monks in the summer of '72 in downtown Toronto, on Yonge Street.  A few months passed and I came in contact again with monastics on Vancouver Island. 
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The Slowest Team by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I was told: "When you get out of the apartment building you're on Washmill Lake Drive.  Go right, then left on Main Street." 
 
I'm often impatient about waiting to go anywhere, so I decided to get a headstart on foot.  "Please pick me up," I requested.
 
"Sure.  We'll only be five minutes," said Marshall, our driver, who was going to take us to the popular Harbourfront in the downtown.  I was skeptical about the punctuality.  Anyway, a pleasant walk it was, though the sun was a bit much.  I
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Ideal Family by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Susan is an art curator living in the Lunenburg area, known for its quaint fishing village, a popular tourist attraction.  Before she moved into the field of art, when young, she spent one year in a Krishna temple living like a nun.  All this time, she has kept Krishna in her heart.  A gracious host, she and her partner, Richard, a retired professor from the  University of Waterloo, treated us to the healthiest meal you could imagine with ingredients from their garden.

Thank you!
 
Marshall
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Chats by Bhaktimarga Swami

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A fourteen year old asked her dad, "Who are those guys in beige from head to toe?"  
 
And the dad answered the best he could.  "It looks like they're going through some Shakespearean script.  Intense monks or something!" (at Killarney Lake).
 
I was having a peaceful conversation with Etienne and daughter, Kunti—more of a pep talk about devotional service in a park—when a bunch of young boys and a girl stormed in with wheeled devices.  "Loud" would be an understatement to describe their beha
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Bridges of Consciousness by Bhaktimarga Swami

I believe most walkers love walking over bridges, especially if there's a wooden flooring which has a little bit of a spring to it.  Once a railway bridge, the Bill Thorpe Bridge crosses over the Saint John River, and is the length of five hundred and eighty-one metres, with a serious iron framing on each side.
 
A repair man on the bridge asked if we were monks, and we naturally said, "Yes." He was curious.  There were other repair crewmen ready to embark on a four-month workover of the bridge.
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Back In Time by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I had proposed to my three companion monks that we visit King's Landing, one of those historic pioneer villages where you step back in time, and see how folks of a European extract lived in the New World.  It wasn't such a hard sell.  "It will be educational, a cultural experience and in a spiritual context, we'll see people in period costume living the more simple life with organic food to depend on and a lifestyle of interdependence—all much like what Prabhupada, our guru, wanted for us."  Su
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Fresh by Bhaktimarga Swami

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To me it was just a perfect morning around ten degrees Celsius.  No jacket required or chaudar (the Indian version), but for Samuel, who is slender, Marshall, too, and come to think of it, Nicholas, as well, bundling up was necessary.  Once we all ventured into a good clip walking the trails near the St. John River, over the well-known walking bridge, and into town, we all felt we could do without the extra hides.
 
Goodness, people are friendly.  It must be because everything is smaller and d
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All Over by Bhaktimarga Swami

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Covering a two day blitz of bhakti was a fun type of back-and-forth shuttle between three cities. And below are the highlights.
 
First, our small troupe of monks drove to a region outside of Moncton (perhaps one day we could change the spelling to Monktown) and there, just off of a panoramic ridge on Indian Mountain Road, was our destination for five hours of devotion. The setting, a rustic barn transformed into a place of living accommodation, and craft and yogic functions, was the place for
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It was evening ārati time,

Which began at a clock’s precise chime

And from that gorgeous shrine

Was projected softly your voice divine.

From the modest speaker box it came,

A sound that only purity can claim.

It was the subject of ten avatars

Some who declare peace while others wars.

No vibration could dare to match

Your depth and power, the ear to catch

The pastimes of courageous heroes

And saints of softer mellows.

The harmonium you play hums through the song

Causing the listen
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Our drive to New Brunswick, a very scenic experience, allowed for a feast for the eyes. To some degree the word ‘feast’ became significant to Samuel, Marshall, Nicholas and myself.  At the stroke of midnight, we will break our full day fast on this auspicious day of Krishna's birthday.  It is not that food is on the mind, necessarily, though hunger pangs do rise. It's a dose of determination that makes for success in this realm of resistance.
 
As the day rolled out, the four of us scored wel
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A six hour bus ride on Megabus brought Nicolas and I (and seventy-nine other passengers) to downtown Montreal.  I mentioned to him that we could relax and let the bus empty out before we exit. "We don't need to be part of the stampede," I suggested.

The woman sitting in front of us was of the same spirit.  She also waited, and hearing a piece of our conversation said, "I work for an airlines as a flight attendant and I can tell you this, because I'm not in uniform, the biggest agitation is when
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After a four and a half hour flight from Vancouver, I landed back home.  Before my next trip via bus to Montreal tomorrow I had a space in the evening to stroll.  Jaya had rounds to do meaning his prescribed number of mantras for the day, and so he was a natural candidate for a walking companion.  I chose Rosedale.

You could feel that change of season in the air that late summer feeling.  Crickets, obvious by their presence of sound, are in every direction.  The breezes blowing are so awesome
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Park and Beach by Bhaktimarga Swami

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When I became a monk in April of '73 in Toronto, I met Jagadish.  He was in charge of the ashram, and was like a big brother.  I was 20. He was 26.  Well, he's still around, and fast-forward, he just turned 72 this month.  I had the pleasure to do a few walking rounds with him in Central Park, with towering conifers all around.  I guess you can say we were just catching up on news about the world, his life, my life. He's been looking after his handicapped son.
 
It was a great hour and a half
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Look At the Good by Bhaktimarga Swami

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I took a trek (a mild one) through the Riverside Neighbourhood with Prem. Harvest time is truly showing itself in this section of town.  There's that rich black soil bearing lots of veggies and fruits.  A great place to stroll through.

Some six hours later, Hadai brought me to the Fraser River for another installment. These shorter walks, executed periodically, make for a healthful experience in the day.  In our discussion together, we agreed that life need not be glum. We must extract all t
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Bliss in Vancouver by Bhaktimarga Swami

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So the procession portion of the Chariot Fest was over, went a bit overtime by usual standards (maybe a half hour) but it was good.  Strong kirtanhappened all the way along.  I'm the one assigned to pick and chose the lead singers. I gave the mic to the boys band, "The Mayapuris," and they just kept with it, to its sweet end at Stanley Park.  https://www.instagram.com/p/B1WSykZgBt6/?igshid=1v78dh33t8k8r

I made my way to my designated spot, the "Q and A" booth.  Once I took my seat there, I di
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Sunset Speaks by Bhaktimarga Swami

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There are lovers sitting on park benches and families, too people of all sorts and kinds speaking in multiple languages, Spanish, Russian, French and maybe English.  They are enjoying Stanley Park at the water's edge of English Bay.  Several of them are casually picking wild blackberries as they walk by, not initially intending to,  but upon looking, some say, "Oh!  Let me try these out."  Usually it's not just one but two, or three.  You pluck one and let it dive in your mouth.  They are soft

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A Soft Rain by Bhaktimarga Swami

A soft rain overnight made the day just right.  I've been resisting the lake swim, overcoming a cold.  It's hard for me because I always consider myself a water-baby.  However, there's plenty of engagement in just sitting down and listening to seminars on topics, "Guilt," and "Forgiveness," by Mahatma and Jahnava, a marvelous husband and wife team.  And it's always a delight to hear Sruti Kirti, speak about his two and half years in personal assistance to our guru, Prabhupada.  It's so sweet.

I
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Rest, Beans and Fun by Bhaktimarga Swami

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It was restful at the farm in Mascouche, called Nandagram.  The visionary behind this world project is a friend, Anubhava, a native of French Canada.  He was kind to take me down the rural back road along the country creek and cornfields, on foot.  It was with another Quebecois, Jagannath, who indulged in some bean harvest after the walk.
 
Yes, we got down to the humble position of bending our backs while bending the plants to expose the pods, and then pluck them.  There were two rows to ha
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It was something I had never seen before.  One calf was peeing.  It was a bull calf.  A second calf came right to his underside and began drinking with great relish the pure liquid coming out.  Perhaps to calf Number Two it must have been like a smoothie.  Incidentally, a third calf was looking on.  All three were nestled together.

 
Vishal and Yasomati, a dynamic husband and wife team, had both been telling Gaura and I—their visitors to the farm—that the cows and bulls have a different way of u
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I Awoke by Bhaktimarga Swami

I awoke to the sound of young coyotes howling in the morning.  To me it was a good sign that wildlife was comfortable in the suburbs of such a sprawling place as Mississauga.  David, Vivasvan, and Adisvar from Michigan, and I spent the night at the home of an outstanding couple, Dharma and Manasi.  From there we went to meet Fernando and Victor for an additional stretch on the Bruce Trail.  We anticipated a mere eight kilometres, which under normal circumstances, could take three hours on a usua
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