The fellow at the U.S. Customs at the Toronto Airport asked my purpose in going to Miami.
“It’s for a spiritual function,” I answered.
“Miami? A spiritual function? I used to live in Miami. It’s a sinful place,” he answered in humour.
“I guess we have to give it a chance to be spiritual,” I said.
“I used to see you guys all over at Miami Beach.” He stamped my passport and gave me an unusual customs officer look. He smiled.
I do have a different opinion about Miami. I like its people. There is a large pool of potential bhakti, devotion. Speaking of pools, it’s more like lakes here. With aggressive monsoons, floods are occupying spaces in the state of Florida. For Miami, it’s pretty clear of flood waters. Anything could happen though. After all, this is the material world with all its fluctuations.
Time here was extremely limiting for any trekking. I spent several hours with Murari Gupta, a local surgeon, at a TV/radio studio. Nairobi was the name of our interviewer who expressed fascination about the lifestyle of a monk and his meditation. She admitted to attempting meditation at times, but she gave up on it. She was told to empty her mind in order to accomplish meditation. I offered the explanation that to meditate you don’t have to make vacant the mind. “What you want to do is eliminate negative thoughts with positive pensiveness and positive imagery.” Nairobi already understood that yoga is “not meant for getting skinny,” as she put it. She knew that yoga has a deeper purpose.
In the interview we dwelt on this point for a bit. Yoga means to link up with the Divine. It is a spiritual connection that yoga pursues and was never intended to be a physical practice as such. Also in the discussion Murari Gupta contributed so well by clarifying that meditation and yoga are not just reserved for people in robes or in black tights. Being a physician, he finds the layperson’s role to not be such a great challenge to spirituality. Reaching the Supreme destination is available to all regardless of vocation. Murari also explained the particular function of mantra meditation and so he delivered, on camera, the maha-mantra, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
At the Coconut Grove ISKCON Centre, three persons stepped into the formal vows of bhakti yoga. Alex accepted the name Aja. Nelson accepted the name Nanda Suta. And Mukunda Datta accepted a second initiation. Congratulations!