Sunday, August 26, 2007

Another Sunday in New York

Sundays are a bit more reflective than other days for me. I don't know why, except it's quieter, the official day of rest, although in America all the shops are open. This morning i walked down Central Park West to Whole Foods to buy my groceries. A cop was giving a ticket to a poor black guy sitting on a park bench. I don't know if he was drunk or jonesed or why the cop was giving him a ticket. But i thought it strange that, in this country, even sitting on a bench can be a criminal offense.

Further on, a fat guy was sitting on another bench. He had two handwritten signs saying something about helping him out, and he was holding a rosary in one hand. I felt sorry for him. No one in New York pays attention to someone like him. Even i was skeptical of him. Beggars in America are untouchables. No money, no respect. After shopping, i decided to walk back instead of catching the bus. The beggar was still sitting there. Now he was looking more depressed, not fingering the rosary any more, his head down. I walked past him, then stopped, took a dollar out of my wallet, turned around and said: "Here, friend." He looked up, took the buck and said, "God bless you." "Hare Krishna," i responded, and he easily repeated: "Hare Krishna." I smiled and turned to continue walking. I was happy he chanted. Maybe he had heard Krishna's name before or maybe it was the first time, but he was totally open and had no trouble to say Krishna's name. Shows how akincina, to be possessionless, is a great qualification for spiritual life. Unfortunately, in this society, to be akincina you need to be completely down and out.

Now i'm back in my little bubble, the condo. Another week ahead of hassling with the realty company and condo supervisor, contractors and workers. And another week of hassling with my own mind which is always trying to find sense gratification, always searching out another face of maya, rather than submitting to and taking shelter at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

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