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As a monotheistic Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition under the broader umbrella of Hinduism, ISKCON has signed on to support a new bill that would require school textbooks to more accurately portray Hinduism, as well as other religions and cultures.
Festival of Flowers -- 50,000 flowers showered on Sri Sri Radha Kalachandji in celebration of Radhastami.
Download: 2014-09-02 - Radhastami - 3 - Festival of Flowers.mp3
Making My Way
I was making my way westward on Davenport, the ancient trail for the Huron native people. It was once at the edge of waters called Iroquois. The water receded to where it is now. It was a major thoroughfare connecting the current Humber and Don Rivers. It’s now a narrow street. I feel honoured to be on a trail that’s thousands of years old. While trekking I met a series of guys who were, let’s say, expressing themselves individually. The first one was angry. While pushing his baby in a carriage, a person in a slick black Cadillac stopped right in front of him with cell phone in hand, oblivious to what she had done. The father demanded while having to go around the vehicle, “Stop using your phone!” He repeated it again and again as the driver of the car paid no attention. Blocks later I came to a stoplight. So did the driver next to me. With his car window open he was singing at the top of his lungs. I was trying to catch the song. It sounded like an Engelbert Humperdinck tune. Anyways he sounded happy. Some blocks later a guy on his bike going the other direction spotted me and broke into a string of mantras. I was thinking we’re not doing too bad for a Monday late afternoon. Finally I made a turn to Weston Rd., then Eglinton West until my prearranged driver came to pick me up 10 kilometres later. He drove me to his home to initiate an annaprasana, a first grain ceremony for his five month old son. Both dad and mom were thrilled. So was I. I got my walking in. I witnessed happy men and one in a drama. These things happened while walking so I could see all this and be entertained. May the Source be with you! 10 KM
I enjoy being a kid at times. Before the journey to Pelee Island, I ventured my way to the Humber River in pilgrimage style, that is, chanting mantras, but I got a little distracted. A skunk hit my trail, I started to chase him. He was a beaut with lots of white on him. I’ve dealt with these guys for years. By now I know how close I can get and be alert to watching the tail spring up in defense, which would mean a nasty spray. My motive apart from being frivolous, is to have the creature hear a Sanskrit mantra, which is pure sound and can even subliminally effect him positively.
Now, the trip to Pelee Island took us first to Kingsville, where a ferry awaits. It’s on this ferry, after boarding, that we applied the same philosophy that I did for the skunk. Only this time it was a group first. Chanting melodiously we did for human ears. I should not forget the trailing behind seagulls flying in the air as the cruiser, The Jiiman, was creating a wave behind it. The sound of mantra must have also fell on their ears.
The kirtan (chanting session) was arousing. People came from every level of the cruiser to listen – staff and passengers. They joined us in the singing and dancing.
This is becoming an annual event, visiting Pelee, while being a kid. Devotees of Krishna from both Detroit and Toronto come together to swim the water and toss a ball trying to keep it volleyed to the count of 108. Considering the long, drawn out winter as of late, squeezing out today’s wholesome bonding type of fun is most treasured.
By the way, the main portion of the Detroit contingent was a couple, Jambavan and Samvit, with their 8 offspring. How can you not be like a kid with them around?
May the Source be with you!
Going to a Fair
“Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme…”
Simon and Garfunkel.
A god brother, Kala, drove me to Scarborough, and to a type of fair. Actually, it was the 2nd annual Chariot Fest for that community. It was not ‘parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme’, but more like, ‘curry, cumin, turmeric and lime’. Actually the prasadam, (food) was very yummy.
Dr. Cho, who hails from South Korea, is a city councilor, he came to participate along with other dignitaries. Naturally, they had good things to say in support of the event.
I was also impressed with the number of Chinese folks standing by in delight as our Krishna community passed by in chanting formation. Milliken Park was the venue – a great spot. When I think about it, over the stretch of one day, I get to trek in several locations, this being one of them. Yes, it’s good to get around.
Our drama troupe did a great rendering of ‘Little Big Ramayan’ judging by the response. In my position, I can engage some people in walking, some in theatre, some in administration, and some in driving me one place to another. The diversity is sweet, variety is the spice of life.
May the Source be with you!
Rivers of People and Rivers of Water
In the course of a day I meet a good number of people, they show up at our temple ashram for a different number of reasons. People come for darshan, viewing of the Krishna deity, some sample food at our Govinda’s, a vegetarian restaurant within the building, some people come to hear and learn from classes that we offer and from seminars on the bhakti sciences. Others are volunteers who come to help with kitchen work, or cleaning, or maintenance work. The numbers add up over a day’s stretch.
So I meet these great people, but I haven’t developed the skill to remember their names very well. Today a walkers’ club came to eat at Govinda’s. They are a seniors group and they come quite regularly. One of the members has a daughter in Kelowna, BC, a place that was a stop over for me during this year’s Trans-Canada trek. I met her daughter at that time, she is a staunch mother, wife, and devotee of Krishna. As mentioned, I failed to remember the names, but I am taken by the small world in which we live – the world of knowing someone who knows someone who knows you, even if you’re a relative nobody from another part of the country.
Of course, when you meet somebody who shares the same walking passion as you, you get excited. It made my day to meet a person who has a love for pilgrimage. I was also thrilled to hear from her that the Pan Am Games are coming to Toronto next year, and will encourage the building of a Pan Am trail, which is really a series of trails that will be recognized as a unique route beginning from the northern part of the Humber River, leading to Lake Ontario, and then going east along the waterfront, and then north on either the Don or the Rouge Rivers. This is ecstatic news.
The winding down message which I slept on at the end of the day, after a gathering with our Brampton community where we indulged in the Gita’s words, was from 17.15. Here, the verse talks about favourable speech:
Austerity of speech consists of speaking words which are truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others, and also in regularly reciting Vedic literature.
May the Source be with you!
TKG Academy Upper Elementary students held a Car Wash Fundraiser in the temple parking lot on Saturday, September 6th. The weather was perfect, and guests visiting the restaurant were eager to shine up their vehicles by the enthusiastic students. For almost 3 hours students worked hard, polishing and brushing, all the while raising funds for their upcoming camping trip to Cleburne Park. Covered in soapy bubbles, and laughing with their friends, they learned valuable lessons, such as teamwork, responsibility and finances! Take a look at some pictures.
“Where does the atma [soul] go when it leaves the body? That is something that we all should consider, because we don’t know how long we will be in this body—100 years, 100 days, 100 hours, 100 minutes, 100 seconds—we don’t know how long we have. Sooner or later we must leave this body. And the duration of our life within this body is much less than the duration of our life after we leave the body, because we are eternal and will continue to live, forever, after leaving this body. So that is a question we have to ask: ‘Where do we go after we leave this body?’ And here Krishna explains that according to our thoughts at the time of death, we attain to our next position.”
TKG Academy Students sing the Bhajan "Radhika Stava" in glory of Srimati Radharani.
Download: 2014-09-02 - Radhastami - 2 - Radhastami - TKG Academy Bhajan - Radhika Stava.mp3
A recording of John Richardson from the Rubettes before he joined ISKCON and got initiated as Jayadev Das.
From Japa Reform Notebook
by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
Lecture by Bhakti Sundar Goswami given during the Radhastami festival.
Download: 2014-09-02 - Radhastami - 1 - Bhakti Sundar Goswami - Lecture.mp3