Wow, luxury blogging time. I`ve been sitting here for a while, wondering what to write. I`m having a surreal morning, alone in my auntie`s house, while the rest of the bus tour heads to Niagara Falls for the day. Last night I got on the subway after our performance, still wearing my dance makeup, red designs on my hands and feet, lugging a violin and chanting my rounds – I got a quite a few stares to say the least. And now I`m getting some rare internet time – yay! I almost feel contaminated actually. Life`s different without the distracting world of emails and social networking, and I must say, it`s different for the better. The internet`s ability to distract is unbelievable. Last night, I was exhausted, but rather than just go to bed, I ended up staying up until almost 2am on the computer – just because I could. Ah, what to do.
Time has flown and I’ll be taking to the skies once more in eleven days, as soon as we reach San Francisco. We’re in Toronto right now, after travelling through a ‘quieter’ stretch of Canada: Halifax, Prince Edward Island, Montreal and Ottawa. Last night we had a promotional performance in the centre of Toronto at a real prime location – the huge square at Yonge and Dundas. The Toronto youth here have done an amazing job in organising the festival; arranging for some quite high profile sponsors such as the massive yoga brand Lulu Lemon, as well as effective advertising.
The Festival of India crew had set up a number of their smaller tents earlier in the day, and the site was pretty full, with many onlookers gathering around the stage area as we performed for several hours. The highlight was the final kirtan, led by the incredible Acyuta Gopi from New York. We chanted and danced, pouring out our love for the holy name as the audience responded more and more enthusiastically. These moments are what the tour is about – it`s a simple extension of a hand, or a few words, that can mean so much to someone who has never had any contact with Krishna Consciousness.
So we`re all gearing up for the big festival this weekend, as we pull Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra down Yonge Street and across the water to Centre Island. In many ways, every festival feels like deja vu on the bus tour. This is the third year that I`m attending these festivals and in some respects, nothing changes. Familiar faces, familiar places – the dance steps remain the same. Yet that only makes me realise more the uniqueness of Krishna consciousness. Somehow it really is ever fresh. In the Mukunda Mala Stotra, King Kulasekhara compares Lord Krishna to a deep lake. From the surface, we can appreciate the lake`s beauty, yet its depths remain fathomless. There is always further to dive, and it is all that will quench our thirst.
I feel ashamed sometimes to see the devotees in every temple we visit, working so hard to please Krishna, while I travel around in a fancy bus, getting to experience the fun side of everything. There is a real austerity in being able to remain in one place and execute your duty – travelling so much makes me all the more aware of it. Still, I have to trust that Krishna leads me in the right directions,and if nothing else, all of these realisations make the travelling worthwhile.
I`ve begun to see Krishna in a fuller sense I think. Not just limited to one temple, or a certain group of people. Not limited to certain days of the year or certain folds of cloth. Krishna is everywhere, always, and so are opportunities to serve him. We just need the eyes to see it. It`s so easy to do service that really serves ourselves. I can`t count the number of times I`ve volunteered to do something because I know I`ll get to be with my friends, or I know that my service will be noticed and publicly appreciated. I think there`s a glory seeker in everyone. On the bus tour we often remember Radhanath Maharaj`s analogy of salt. It is the vital ingredient in any preparation, yet used properly, it`s never noticed. However, without it, everything would be tasteless. To be a true servant is to serve regardless of people acknowledging you or not. Wow, listen to me. Talk about not practicing what you preach!
Anyway, the sun is shining, its another Canadian day outside and I`m still typing away. Perhaps I`ll write again in a few thousand miles.