Blogs From Around the Web

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Wed, 2018-03-28 18:21
Toronto, Ontario
A Message Came
What showed up on my phone screen was the following:
You have a new message:Via: Details:Subject - I was humbled and inspiredMessage - Greetings, I wanted to pass on my best wishes and share with you a few thoughts.  When you travelled through Jackson, California last summer I met you at the local park.  I was enthralled at your tales from the trails.  I was humbled and inspired.  Since that chance meeting I have walked in the woods weekly.  Your card is attached to my backpack and your presence keeps me grounded as I put one foot in front of the other.  Thank you.  You have added something to my life that I can’t explain but I hope someday to understand.  Safe journeys… RobertSent on: 24 March, 2018Thank you!
And thank you Robert.
What a ‘good feel’ message that was, as I was just about to board a plane at O’Hare Airport.  I wish I had some forest to walk through today, but I'm satisfied knowing that someone is doing what we all ought to do.  For the sanity of the world, let us walk.
May the Source be with you!
3 km
Categories: Personal Blogs

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Wed, 2018-03-28 18:18
Honolulu / Chicago
No Swimming, No Surfing, but Chanting
In late 2015, I trekked from Pearl Harbor to the north shore of Oahu, where waves are ideal for surfing.  However, I haven’t seen that many people are taking advantage of the waves the south shore has to offer.  It’s mostly middle-aged men who very religiously show up at that early hour to catch the best wave possible.
This year, Gurudas, Kapu and I walked along the beach at Magic Island, aka Aina Moana, where the exotic banyan trees tower above grassy domains, while the surfers pull out their boards.  Speaking for myself, I’m looking for that perfect moment when I'm chanting with clarity, and with attention.  Often I find myself missing the boat, so to speak, but making an endeavour to sound it out right, softly, while using my beads.
As we leave the surfing beach behind and pace along with more walkers, it’s a greeting of “Hello!” and “Good morning!” in mutual exchange.  Kapu and I are in traditional garb.  It catches people’s attention.
Kapu, 23, who is a native Hawaiian, was demonstrating to Gurudas and me how they used to greet one another.  “It’s rare to find someone doing it today,” he told us.  It’s interesting.  “You put your foreheads together, even noses, and take your right hand to brace the other person’s neck.”  Rather intimate isn’t it?
Kapu also told us that it was illegal to speak Hawaiian until more recently.  Rather sick, I would say.  Can you imagine living in a place where it is illegal to chant on beads, something that you’re thoroughly accustomed to doing?
May the Source be with you!
5 km
Categories: Personal Blogs

Accept guidance from others, that is true humility.

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, March 2008, Durban, South Africa)

So humility is the key element in our spiritual life. Humility means that we are ready to put our own ideas aside, and that is an essential element in humility. It is not that necessarily one is always walking with the head a little bowed down, looking at the ground with folded hands – that may not necessarily be humble. Humble is simply that we are ready to accept others as our superiors and we’re open to accept guidance from others. That is true humility. So humility must not be mistaken for externally acting very timid and keeping oneself always in the background; that is not true humility. True humility, rather, is simply submitting oneself before superior persons and ask, “What should I do?”  That is true humility. It’s not simple. To take guidance of the vaisnavas, to take guidance of the scriptures – that is humility. To hold the scriptures in such high esteem and say, “Yes, these scriptures will become the guidelines in my life”, that is humility.

We can see that we don’t have it, that rather we are practicing and under the circumstances we’re trying to have a humble attitude but it’s very difficult to take shelter of superiors – very hard, very difficult. Our independence is very great and we’d rather figure it out ourselves. “Is everything fine?” “Yes, yes, very fine…”  And then afterwards – it’s total chaos but somehow or other we’ll work it out because we rather not take the risk that someone else tells us to do something we don’t like. So humility requires that we are ready to allow others control our lives, that is a big thing.

This theme of humility is a major theme in spiritual life and that is why we are looking at it – because it can purchase the Lord.

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, March 2008, Durban, South Africa)

The article " Accept guidance from others, that is true humility. " was published on KKSBlog.

Categories: Personal Blogs

GBC College in Russia – Second Residential Session

Russian-speaking ISKCON leaders from all over the country (and beyond) assembled in Moscow, in January 2018, for continuing their Zonal Supervisor course, an offering of the GBC College for Leadership Development.

Are you convinced!?

Kadamba Kanana Swami, 21 Dec 2010, Cape Town, South Africa

Conviction cannot be based on intellectual understanding. Are we convinced that Krsna consciousness is true? Yes, I am because it makes sense. But that’s just the beginning and it is a lot more than that. It has to be experienced in the heart. It must be really felt that Krsna consciousness is the most wonderful thing. That’s living on the cutting edge and spiritual life is about living on the cutting edge!

It cannot become routine because as soon as it does then we get into trouble. We start to dry up and feel the austerity and the weight of spiritual life – the weight of the promises and the strictness because we are practicing in the spirit of routine. But each time we apply ourselves to service and give it our best, that’s when we are on the cutting edge. Then spiritual life becomes magic when we are inspired. So one has to conquer Krsna!

The article " Are you convinced!? " was published on KKSBlog.

Categories: Personal Blogs

A lifelong commitment

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 26 December 2017, Govinda Valley, Australia, Initiation Lecture)

 At initiation, one makes a lifelong commitment. But so many things happen over time and there are not always going to be great days, there will be moments of difficulty. I have experienced after some operations that it was difficult to chant. Once I was in a hospital, just coming out of intensive care and recovering, and one devotee brought me my beads, but I lost them in the ocean of the bed. They just disappeared and I had no idea what happened to them. At that stage, I did not manage to keep my vow. I could not chant sixteen rounds on that day; it was just not possible. It took me a few days before I could manage it when I eventually made up those rounds. We must understand that we wholly depend on Krsna to bring this commitment to a success, not on our own strength.

In the Caitanya Caritamrta (Adi 1.1), the opening words are vande gurun isa-bhaktan – it is beginning to glorify the spiritual master. It is saying that there are many spiritual masters but the Guru is first, as the Guru represents the Absolute Truth. The Guru is representing transcendental knowledge – dharmam tu sāksād bhagavat-pranītam (Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.19) – meaning that this knowledge comes from Krsna. He is the origin of the knowledge and the spiritual master, in disciplic succession, is bringing that knowledge to us – evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh (Bhagavad-gita 4.2).

So all the generations of previous acaryas are present at an initiation. Srila Prabhupada is there. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta is there. Panca-Tattva are also present. Many personalities are present. All the acaryas are not just invoked by mantra, but they are actively concerned with our welfare. They are supporting the whole effort. They are glancing at us and are blessing us through the vows we take. Therefore, there is a lot more going on than what we think and what we see. It is important to understand that there are higher personalities present who are looking upon us. When we have given our heart to a Personality, then certainly that Personality will look upon us with grace.

The article " A lifelong commitment " was published on KKSBlog.

Categories: Personal Blogs

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Sun, 2018-03-25 09:02
Honolulu, Hawaii
We sat in front of a statue of King Kamehameha I (approx. 1736-1819) who was King of the Hawaiian Islands.  A group of us were exploring the downtown, when we came upon his statue at the Supreme Court.  Now the king was like most conquerors, who set their own standards in order to meet his own agenda.  Now that the monarch has passed away, tourists can enjoy this facility of finely cut grass and palatial buildings.
While sitting here, after covering a few blocks by walking, we reflected on the power of chanting.  How blessed we are to have the engagement of japa.  I reminded the young men with me that the mind is either your friend or your enemy.  When we allow it to go astray, it’s our foe, and when we keep it in good direction it is our angel.
“Whatever you guys end up doing in your lives, have Krishna be there for you, and feel His presence in His name.  Never let go of your beads for chanting.  Take them with you, forever.”
For standards of chanting, I facilitated a “Kirtan Standards Seminar.”  I was so glad to see the core group of Krishna devotees, some of whom travelled with our guru, Prabhupada.  This seminar is something that is appreciated wherever we take it.  A faithful assistant, Dhruva, from Montreal, is someone who has presented this informative seminar along with me.
Guidelines for such endeavours are always necessary, otherwise it’s easy to go in a whimsical direction, and then everything can be spoiled.
May the Source be with you!
5 km
Categories: Personal Blogs

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Sun, 2018-03-25 09:01
Hilo, Hawaii
Taking Shelter
If I wasn’t a monk involved in a culture of mantras, I would likely have ended up doing rain-gazing.  It is Day #3 on The Big Island and there is a consistent discharge of water from the sky.  Practically no break.  Time, however, and commitment, allowed for some walking near the oceanside.  Gurudas and I heard the news that one fellow today had been collecting a shelled creature.  A wave pulled him in and he was found four miles from the shoreline, dead.
That’s how powerful the waves were today.  Gurudas and I observed their might.  There was lots of water and more water, and so we kept our distance.
Whoever invented the umbrella…may they be blessed.  Apparently Chinese, Roman, Egyptian, and Indian citizens, as well as royalty, have made use of the umbrella, since as early as the 4th century B.C.  Our book, the Bhagavatam, tells of one avatar, a young brahman boy by the name of Vamana, who sported an umbrella, centuries ago.  It was not used to shield the rain, but the sun.
Anyway, we benefited from the large mushrooms—our term for umbrella.  A good portion of today was spent sheltered in our rustic, cedar, resort house called, “Heaven’s Doors.”  In the comfort and protection of that home, Gurudas set me up to broadcast the morning Bhagavatam class via cyberspace.  Devotees of bhakti-yoga were tuned in from various other islands.
Today we took shelter of buildings, umbrellas and books.  By the way, you might check out SHELTER, from the hardcore punk-rock music scene.
May the Source be with you!
5 km

Categories: Personal Blogs

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Sun, 2018-03-25 08:58
Kilauea, Hawaii
Volcanic Viewing
I took to Highway 11, walking on The Big Island, aka Hawaii Island, which, being clear to us, was in the shape of a bear’s head.
No bears here—no game of any substantial sort, but they do have wild pigs.  They were apparently brought over when the first inhabitants of a Polynesian race discovered these islands.
I met a road construction fellow.
 “Where are yah goin’ to?”
“To Hilo.”
“That far?” 
A sign nearby indicated I’m 13 miles away. “I’m a walker.  Finished doing the U.S. last summer.”
“How long did it take?”
“Six months.”
We parted, but before that I gave him my card with a mantra on it.  I got picked up by Gurudas, Amala and Mayapura Lila.  We then proceeded to the volcano at the Jaggar Museum.  We just had to get away from the crowds, so we walked along the cliff of this impressive, huge crater called Halena’uma’u and finally reached the amazing steam vents.
There is something called vog, and it is the smoky substance emanating from the volcanic fires.  Also interesting is the stark black residue which are solid rocks and formerly the hot lava coming to the district.  When lava flows it destroys everything in sight, including trees, which burst into flames.
Our beautiful day of trekking, smelling, and seeing, ended with a sanga at the home of Ramananda.  There we met Go-bros and Go-sis’ (God brothers and sisters), whom we had never met before, Gopa Vrnda Pal to name one.
May the Source be with you!
8 km

Categories: Personal Blogs

Monday, March 19th, 2018

Bhaktimarga Swami, The Walking Monk - Sun, 2018-03-25 08:57
Hilo, Hawaii
Getting Around
There are numerous islands which constitute the Hawaiian Islands.  Today, Gurudas, Amala, Mayapura Lila and I made contact with the Big Island, the Hawaiian Island via Hawaiian Airlines.  A rented car took us to Hilo where we went to Mahesh and Brhan’s home in Kana.  My goodness, they are fine musicians.  Mahesh plays the flute and Brhan, the harp.  They teach music and here they chanted for us.
Altitude is rather high at mountain Maunakea.  They air was thin.  There was a drizzle and fog, whipped by a real cold chilly breeze to accompany it.  There really wasn’t much you could see, however. On the way up and down, you view these lava rocks of varying colours.  Black rock was so stark, and the gray rock, hard to traverse.  This is all lava turned hard.
The native folks have a version of the Lava Goddess, Pele, within Hawaiian mythology.  Her hair appears like the flow of the hot stuff itself.
One true highlight of the day was a visit to Urmila, my godsister.  She’s a grandmom and soon to be a great grandmother.  She’s also a scholar, actress—I have engaged her in theatre in the past—teacher and author.  Also a cook.  She cooked up a wholesome meal of bean soup, homemade bread and guacamole—ingredients all local.
The day was wet but the soul never gets that way.
May the Source be with you!
3 km
Categories: Personal Blogs

ISKCON Dallas Partners with Arts District for ‘Festival of Joy’

As an official Dallas Arts District event, Festival of Joy will be advertised on all Arts District websites, email lists, newsletters and Facebook pages. The Festival is also partnering with Fun Asia radio, which reaches 200,000 people, as well as with a number of local yoga centers and businesses.

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