I really love that song from the Nicole Kidman / Ethan Hawke  – oops, I mean Ewan McGregor, sorry guys 🙂  –  extravaganza ‘Moulin Rouge’ …  I hope I’ve got the words  in the correct order…    “We Are The Children of the Revolution…  Truth Beauty Freedom Love… !”

Speaking of Freedom:   We all know that freedom isn’t free…  although, paradoxically, at the core of our deepest, truest collective Self, the essence of Freedom is who we really are.  The first Day of the First 18 days of the last Underworld of the Mayan Calendar started with the Japan earthquake / tsunami / nuclear disaster; carried through with the governments of the Middle East toppling like dominoes;  and ended with the fall of the Conservative Government of Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper being the first government in the entire history of the entire Commonwealth to ever be declared in contempt of Parliament.  Which in layman’s terms, I believe translates to an abuse of power, but don’t quote me on that, I don’t know much about the workings of parliament.   Besides which, the radiation levels at the reactors in Japan keep fluctuating  from extreme highs that ‘miraculously’ drop right down  –  while much of the concurrent UFO footage over Japan has been pulled from youtube.

Before I go any further I want to apologize for the embarrassingly gigantic lettering of my blog title, I have no idea how to adjust the font, if anyone out there knows how to fix above, please advise. And speaking of embarrassment, I have a small anecdote to share:

On my 40th Birthday my husband and I were returning to the city from a drive in the country, when at the side of the highway an amazing sight appeared before our eyes:   A golden turreted palace of white marble, full of crenellated spires festooned with multi-colored pennants floating on the breeze.  The giant courtyard before it was absolutely full of people.  What in goodness name was going on??  My husband humored me, took the next exit ramp and found the side street to get us to the festivities.  While my husband parked the car, I walked over to the gated entrance, the sound of the wildly chanting mega-crowd loud enough to drown out the noise of the highway.   Immediately I was waved to the side by a gaggle of  East Indian men quite beside themselves with excitement:

“He is coming!! He is coming!!”

“Who is coming??”  I asked, consumed with curiosity.  “Pramukh Swami Maharaj!!! ” they answered in chorus.

Right then a limousine dressed in flowers turned in the gate, slowing as it passed us to accept the adulation of the waiting men before before being engulfed by the pulsing throng at the end of the drive.   “You have heard of our Guru?” one of the men asked me, as my husband joined us.  “No… We just saw all the people and since it’s my birthday I wanted to see what was happening…”  “You are very lucky,” the man said wistfully.  “The Guru has come to open our temple.”  Indeed he had;  Pramukh Swami Maharaj was to conduct ceremonies and prayers all week and and since at the time I lived just 15 minutes away I decided to devote the first week of my fourth decade to God and was there every day from dawn to dusk.   The devotees were totally welcoming,  the food was amazing and the spiritual energy all the way down from the lineage founder Enlightened Master Swaminarayan was palpable.

I even went to the Grand Opening, with many dignitaries and Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper in attendance.  The day was swelteringly hot, the almost all-Indian crowd enormous.  With Pramukh Swami Maharaj standing at the top of the Temple’s Grand front staircase,  courtyard bedecked with flowers,  dancers and drummers all  in readiness to welcome Prime Minister Harper with the biggest red carpet I’ve ever seen (and I’ve stood on quite a few)   –  the spectacular setting looked like something out of India’s distant past.

I found a quiet spot near the road but still on the red carpet, with a small group of women waiting for the dignitaries to arrive.   When Prime Minister Harper’s cortege pulled up,  we had been standing in the broiling sun for some time.   The moment was brief, but historic, as we got to welcome Mr. Harper and watch him climb up the stairs to be blessed by the Guru.  If memory serves,  Pramukh Swami Maharaj placed a stunning garland of flowers around Prime Minister Harper’s neck, before disappearing with him inside the golden spired marble temple.  I wonder if once inside, Mr. Harper walked in circles around the golden ‘wish granting’ statue of  Lineage Founder Bhagwan Swaminarayan.  Perhaps not.  Mr. Harper is a devout Christian, certainly not a believer in Vedic ‘mumbo-jumbo’.  It was not until after the well over an hour long public opening prayer ceremony held in a massive tent, with Harper and presiding Parukh Swami Maharaj and other dignitaries on a stage in front of all the devotees, that the rest of us were allowed inside the new Temple of exquisitely carved white marble.  Men and women entered  and exited through separate doors as is the custom of this particular Hindu Lineage, a custom very much out of its original context of early 1800’s Gujarat India.  But, in the era of founding Guru Bhagwan Swaminarayan this was an appropriate tradition for the protection of women and their rights.  The Vachanamrut also approved the spiritual education of women, allowing them to read and study the same sacred texts as the men.  Swaminarayan was thus one of the first male Gurus to acknowledge the enlightenment of women; apparently the Dalai Lama has only recently entertained the possibility.

Anyway…    Back to the Grand Opening…  From my vantage point at the foot of the red carpet that day, I honestly felt as if I was going to pass out in the heat.  Before joining everyone for the rest of the ceremony in the big tent, I gingerly made my way along the unfinished dirt road that led behind the Temple, toward the outdoor washstands  –  and portopotties set up outback.   It was then I noticed a caucasian man dressed in a dark suit – he must have been far hotter than I was  –  headed to the same place.  Absolutely no one else around, it did not immediately dawn on me why he was following along at rather an uncomfortably close distance.  Did he have to pee too, I wondered?  No.  He did not.  Nor was he there to make sure that I made it back without fainting.  After splashing water on my tomato red face and neck, with as much dignity as I could muster, we walked back in silence.  Oh well.  There wasn’t much to say.  Nice day for a ceremony??  The poor guy was just doing his job.  Not quite what he’d signed up for, ‘accompany lone blond woman to porto-potty and stand by’…   What I really really didn’t appreciate was having a my photo taken by a female security detail while I was waiting in line to go inside the big tent.  Had I known, I would have prepped for my close-up.  Alas I what little make-up I’d left the house with that morning had long since evaporated.  Conservatively and simply dressed, spectacles, hair up in a bun, I guess I stood out too much…  Tall blond lady, glaringly out of place, one of probably only three or four non-indian people  (aside from the official invited politicos)  in the crowd of several thousand.  However ‘out of place’, the ceremony was open to the general public.  I had every right to be there.   I would have been happy to introduce myself.  Tell them my name.  My address.  My telephone number.  My education.  My profession.  My family history.   That I was a good person, who’d spent most of the previous ten years looking after an elderly granny and writing a never-ending mystical book.  In spite of being made to feel like some sort of criminal by Prime Minister Harper’s Security Detail (nothing compared to the human rights violations that peaceful Canadian citizens were subjected to during last summer’s Toronto G20 Summit, hosted by you know who)  I was very happy to spend the first week of my 40th year in the presence of Pramukh Swami Maharaj and share in the opening of the stunningly beautiful Swaminarayan Temple, built to last for a thousand years.

Coincidentally, Harper kicked off his electoral campaign in Brampton, very close to the location of the Swaminarayan Temple.  I wonder if he dropped by again to see the golden ‘wish-granting’ statue of  Bhagwan Swaminarayan.  I can only guess what he might have wished for.

My wish is that the Enlightenment Principles   –   Truth   Beauty   Freedom  –   And above All   –   Love!   –     illuminate the lives, hearts and minds of All Canadians, All Americans, All people everywhere.




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