20 Feb Give Us The Tools And We Will Finish The Job!
When Guru Mahārāja was young he read the Memoires of Winston Churchill. Churchill mentions there that one should travel when one is young. Together with his friend Sarvabhavana Prabhu they decided: “Let’s go and see the world”. And they travelled to Europe by hitchhiking I think. Guru Mahārāja loves so much travelling, he never stopped travelling anymore! Last summer Vrajendrasuta Prabhu expressed his worries how exhausting it must be to travel so much etc. Guru Mahārāja cut him: “I love it!”
Travelling is also important for sannyasis. Staying too long in one place bears the risk that one develops all kinds of attachments. Śrīla Prabhupāda set the standard at his advanced age by circling the planet fourteen times in a span of about eleven years… It is the Hare Kṛṣṇa Movement. Things will move!
About one year ago I discovered similar value in walking and doing Parikrama in our Radhadesh project in Belgium. I was teaching in a Brussels school, leaving home in the dark winter mornings and coming back in the dark evenings… When I started walking in spring time I could not believe how wonderful the hilly Radhadesh surroundings are. Light, open space and fresh air, I felt like walking above all the grey of this world! It is a mini-Switzerland here!
In our current world situation Japa-Walking is a powerful tool with tremendous benefits. From the perspective of health alone it does an amazing job. His Holiness Prahladananda Swami, ISKCON minister of health recommends a daily walk of about half an hour. Śrīla Prabhupāda, the perfect Paramahamsa pure devotee of the Lord, he started himself his famous morning walks after he was advised to do so by a drunken doctor!
Walking brings one to the mode of goodness. One perceives things in a complete different way. It opens new pathways in life! Last December while waiting to receive Guru Mahārāja in Calcutta Airport, Avanish, another prabhu and myself went off for a short JapaWalk in that airport area. To Avanish Prabhus’ surprise we discovered right in the airport area a new built type of parc-garden he had never spotted before, with at its end a statue of Chandra Bose, India’s freedom fighter.
Guru Mahārāja further mentions how we should push out the modes of passion and ignorance by the mode of goodness and then come to pure goodness. JapaWalks really fit into that purpose.
In our ISKCON Radhadesh I introduced the JapaWalks as a fixed item of our Sunday preaching programs. Attendees now really look forward to such walks. On Sundays I have JapaWalk or Parikrama in the mornings and a more relaxed (Japa)Walk after lunch prasadam. In the beautiful Belgian Ardennes those Sunday Love Feast walks really make a difference. Some participants openly talk during the afternoon walk. I always JapaWalk but I am open to them when they talk to me. One of the first walks we did last summer, I took all of the visitors to a nearby forest with small rivulets etc. They liked it so much that when I asked them to go back home [because I still had to prepare other things], they refused and we walked on for half an hour more!
The memories with Guru Mahārāja doing morning walks here are also very powerful. I remember feeling really ecstatic. When during one such walk Guru Mahārāja saw the many horses in the fields nearby, he remarked: “They all have tilak!” To my surprise Guru Mahārāja kept on walking past the apartment he was staying till the previous home of Visakha Dasi, one of his disciples who used to live there before. This touched me very deeply. Guru Mahārāja remembers and prays for his disciples. Who can ever estimate the value of such remembering and prayer by a pure devotee like Guru Mahārāja?
It’s amazing how a simple JapaWalk or Morning walk or Parikrama can make such a huge difference in one’s life! “Simple Living & High Thinking” Śrīla Prabhupāda mentioned. So wonderful those simple tools we received from Krishna through our Guru- parampara.
Another famous quote of Winston Churchill : “Give Us The Tools And We Will Finish The Job” Whenever I do Parikrama or JapaWalk in the morning here, I finish my rounds before the greeting of the Deities. The walks tremendously help me to build determination. Joyful and powerful, simply wonderful! Hare Kṛṣṇa!