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Talk about taking your doctor’s advice seriously!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 / Published in Reports / 2,520 views

Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Here is a newspaper article from The West End Weekly in Rainy River, Ontario (population 1,000). The media response on Bhaktimarga Swami’s 4th walk across Canada has been amazing. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to collect all the articles as we are usually past the town when the story comes out. I am going to try to collect more stories when I get back home. (Maharaj is taking a break from the walk til next spring).
Thank you,
Daruka dasa

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Jacquie Dufresne
Date: Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 8:22 AM
Subject: from Jacquie at The Westend Weekly

Talk about taking your doctor’s advice seriously!

by Jacquie

I met the most interesting person in the office on Monday morning. His name is Bhaktimarga Swami and he is a Hare Krishna Monk from a monastery in Toronto who is walking across Canada.

He said he began walking on the advice of his doctor in 1996 and the next thing he knew he was walking across Canada. Now he’s on his fourth trip coast to coast.

“Walking some distance allows you to probe more deeply inside, to get to know yourself better.”

He walks about 30 to 35 kilometres per day and spends a lot of that time in meditation. Back at the monastery he would be rising at 4 am and spend the next four or five hours with the other monks chanting and meditating, but the body is made for walking so what better way to combine the two activities.

He said he enjoys meeting different people along the way. Sometimes they give a little something to assist in the journey. The scenery is fabulous throughout the country but his favourite is the Canadian Shield and the beautiful views through our area and into Kenora.

I invited the Swami and his driver companion and friend Daruka home for a relaxing break and lunch (which they provided). They are such warm, friendly, interesting people that easy conversation followed covering a pile of topics which often returned to young people.

We talked about how sad it is that so many young people today miss out on the fun of using imagination for entertainment instead of electronics. He said that one day, on a walk through a city, he felt tired so he laid down in a park right on a tennis court. He knew he wouldn’t be disturbed there because there wasn’t a soul to be seen throughout the entire playground on that warm sunny, summer afternoon.

We reminisced about the childhood games we used to play as kids, he on the farm, me in the city. Cops & robbers, cowboys, hide and seek, all of the things bikes, trees, a good hiding place and an imagination can muster up. He said one of his favourite games was Tarzan, making tunnels in the hayloft and swinging to the ground from the rope on the loft peak. Sure we got the odd broken arm but we had huge fun and grew up with loads of creativity.

Later I said, you must have had some excitement along the way. I was thinking of wild animal encounters, scary things.

He said yes, he did have an enchanter with a black bear but that wasn’t the most exciting thing. That occurred one night. Suffering from a case of insomnia somewhere around Shabaqua, he decided to quit trying to sleep and just get on with his walk. The excitement came in the form of his surroundings; lakes all around, a beautiful crisp moon, glowing pastel shades of the Northern Lights streaking back and forth across the sky and the sound of the loons calling in the night. Now that’s exciting, he said.

While we talked, Billy Jean, the ever so sophisticated green parrot, chatted away and enjoyed a lunch of peanuts and a banana at the kitchen counter. She rides with Daruka in the car but whenever there’s someone to visit or an occasion to speak to a group, she’s front and centre.

I asked Bhaktimarga (and believe me, that’s a mouthful to say) if he had a message, other than the value of walking, that he’d like to share.

He said yes. It is that we are not our body, we are our spirit. Our bodies all differ in colour, gender, shape, physical or mental abilities, sexual orientation, physical location. We should never judge or be judged by our bodies. Our spirit is what defines us.

Walking is one way of getting to know that spirit. “Walking some distance allows us to probe more deeply inside, to get to know ourself better.”

“My firm belief is that if every person in the world just gave one hour to trekking, we would see a different place. More walking, less squawking.” Now there’s something I don’t think Billy Jean the Parrot would agree with. I mean the squawking part.

So my first encounter with a Swami was far from anything I would have imagined. It was absolutely fun and very enlightening. And another good thing….he’s going to stop by again on his next walk across the continent.

2 comments

  1. 0
    Sachi devi dasi ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Dear Maharaja,
    I very much appreciate your preaching and the publicity that you gain to spread Krishna Consciousness in Canada. There was, however, one comment that was reported in the article that seems there must have been a misunderstanding by the reporter. Surely you didn’t say the following:

    “Walking is one way of getting to know that spirit. “Walking some distance allows us to probe more deeply inside, to get to know ourself better.”

    Really? I thought Srila Prabhupada taught us about devotional service and chanting Hare Krishna was the process in this age of Kali. In fact I don’t think that walking has ever been a method for self realization.
    Obviously the reporter got it wrong. I just wanted to clarify that statement.

    Your servant,
    Sachi Devi

  2. 0
    pustakrishna ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I don’t think that I have ever personally met His Holiness Bhaktimarg Maharaj, but I do follow his activities on Dandavats with interest. He is undoubtedly not a lazy man! Eccentric, perhaps. I wanted to reply to Sachi devi dasi’s comments with some counterpoint and perhaps positive comments.
    First, in India, we see sadhu’s walking quite a bit! They seem to be everywhere. In the West, that is not the case. So, it is a welcome change to first of all even see that. It is perhaps a statement of ecology and healthy lifestyle all rolled up in one.
    Secondly, in Lord Chaitanya’s mssion, He would send out some of His stalwart preachers like Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Namacharya Haridas Thakur to go door to door canvasing for the Sankirtan mission. There is no doubt that the long walks across Canada have created some positive impression for Holy Name as well amongst the innocent bystanders.
    Third, and this is important, in Krishna consciousness we are trying our best to dovetail our propensities in serving Krishna. Not every one can live inside an ashram. Some have a more ascetic mood, more austere, some cannot take the austerity very well. Some like to be surrounded by many people, feeling safety and security in numbers, others might be put off by a crowd of people. We need to respect that we bring different experiences and different individual karma to the mix. It is most important that we remember the last rule and regulation of Srila Rupa Goswami, that sums up all of the other regulations: Always remember Krishna and never forget Krishna.
    Thus, what might work well for one person might be a disaster for another. If someone had a lusty character, then walking alone might create unsavory possibilities. The same might be true in one were in a crowd of people, stalking for victims. But, for a more austere mentality, it is sometimes easier to be reclusive. Perhaps Maharaj is dovetailing his desire for reclusiveness along with his sense of duty to try to preach Krishna consciousness. That is my current impression of His Grace, without ever having met him.

    Sincerely, and with best wishes, Pusta Krishna das

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