Venables Valley, British Columbia
At peaceful Saranagati Village the boys and I woke up religiously by 4 am in order to commit to our japa (mantra meditation) in the new home of Mahidhar. Then a quick zip over to Lalasamayi’s A-framed home for pancakes and blueberry sauce.
We are delighted. From this centre location in the valley, Manu drove us through mud-bound roads to the local school. Currently 14 students make it a small learning centre, but is it ever sweet. The morning session begins at 9 am with guru-vandanam, an honouring of our guru, Srila Prabhupada, followed by a song to Damodara, God as a child. Known as the month of Kartik (Damodar), devotees of Krishna fix their meditations on baby Krishna by employing candles or ghee wicks that are offered to a small deity or picture.
The students here take great pleasure in offering such flames. I was asked to comment on this pastime, which involves a frivolous but divine boy who just in general comes across as mystical in his dealings with those he adore. Naturally there is something extraordinarily mystical about Krishna and this is expressed in the very final verse of the Gita. Yogesvara is the term that implies “supremely mystical.”
As we left the school and the mystical mountain valley of Saranagati, we discussed how fortunate are these young souls who get this incredible training and who are spared of the mundane topics which may offer a practical reality but not necessarily a totally fulfilling reality. The spiritual component must be in place.
The four hour journey by car back to Vancouver is sublimely scenic, yet it left me frustrated. I managed to walk only 2 kilometre length due to time restraints. The evening was quite auspicious. Robert, who’s a great father and husband, took diksha initiation and accepted the name Ramanuja after the renowned South Indian saint.