Daruka and I left for a month’s journey on the road. It would be Highway 2 that I would trek. To arrive at its beginning point at Ontario’s eastern most end, Daruka’s ’93 Mercury would take us eastbound on the 401, the country’s busiest thoroughfare. To get to the 401, we routed our way north on Bayview. Here was my only opportunity to get a little walking in as Daruka pulled over to a store to get my current favourite, cold coconut water.
Yes, we were leaving the city. We were taking the advice of Prahlad as outlined in the book, Bhagavatam. This morning I had the honour of delivering the morning class, sourcing the 7th Canto segment wherein the young saint recommended strongly in his straightforward way that his father should retreat to the forest. He urged him to leave his palace, to leave the throne, to leave the city as a gesture of kindness. He indicated that the affluent life was damaging to his father. City life can be very contaminating and the journey to the countryside can be very therapeutic for body, mind and spirit.
It’s good advice, no doubt, for all of us to be in a conducive atmosphere for transformational experiences. Our dear guru, Srila Prabhupada, also left the larger cities, including Kolkatta, his birthplace, to enter into a more slowed down pace of life. Everyone has heard of monks who have retired to the mountain caves and hermitages. Once having gained inner strength from the tranquil surroundings, it becomes obligatory on the part of the monk to reenter cities and areas of population and passion in order to offer encouragement and enlightenment for those who are still entangled.
Daruka and I passed our first evening near the starting point in an Econolodge, primarily to address the recovery from pain from lower back spasms. I took a hot shower and applied some balm. I woke at 3:30 am the next morning to embrace a new adventure on a new leg of the walk. Highway 2, here I come!