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Updated: Mar 8

Sunday, March 5th, 2023

Toronto, Ontario

I met with a senior lady who lives up the street, and with her prize pet – a tiny specimen of a dog – she stopped outside our temple. She regularly takes a routine walk on our southern-bordered street, Roxborough. I was just about to take my walk when she asked a question in a sweet way.

“What did you do with the cedar branch that was hanging over and blocking the sidewalk?”

Because of the huge pileup of snow, tree branches were bending, and in some cases, snapping off. I responded, “We had to saw off the obstructive branch, unfortunately.”

“Oh well, you have to do what you have to do,” she remarked mildly.

Our conversation didn’t touch on philosophy; I feel it is more important to be a neighbour with a neighbour, and not a preacher. Fine. We became friends and that means more than anything.

My trekking in the warmth of the sun was also sweet, only to be followed by a part two with three young men of BAT (Bhakti Academy of Toronto).

Sandwiched in the middle of these two pedestrian sessions was an exhilarating fest at the temple. I had the blessing to read my poem in honour of the great walker, Chaitanya. Here is one stanza, a paraphrase of the prayer Siksatakam, stanza four:

“Oh power behind the universe

I’m not looking to be fabulously rich

Not to be overwhelmed by the lustful itch

Nor entangled in the name/fame hitch

I’ll have my bhakti list, though births persist”

4 km
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