South Africa
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by Yvonne Taylor

Yvonne celebrates the Taurus New Moon by experiencing two ways of joyfully playing with life. On April 24 His Holiness Swami Krishnapada joined Yvonne’s class in mindfulness. On April 25 Yvonne took a cruise on Table Bay. She tells us about her experiences:

Swami Krishnapada has a most incredible presence. He’s so human, so humble, yet strong and peaceful; he has a marvelous sense of humor and a smile like sunshine. He was dressed in orange with two flower garlands around his neck. A group of his Hare Krishna devotees also came along. They wore their usual orange robes and strange hairdo’s.

The swami sat with his back to the windows and French doors, where the lemon curtains were drawn. He was thus framed in a wall of lovely golden light from the sun filtering through, a happening more by accident than design, but it created a perfect setting for him.

I noticed his long slender hands and even longer fingers. He’s the most intelligent person I’ve ever come across.

The Swami started the meeting with a prayer in Sanskrit, which was really more of a chant. His followers also joined in at the end. It was something very different for your group, and a most welcome change, to be exposed to the Hare Krishna way of doing things.

Then he touched on all the world’s disasters, such as war, famines, droughts, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. and how they are linked to human’s negative behavior. He went on to explain to us how we each have to get our act together, sort out our individual issues, and thereby help solve the world’s big issues—something we all know, but it’s not so easy to keep on that track.

He mentioned the enormous diversity of cultures and peoples we have here and said if it could only be integrated in a positive way, with everyone working towards a better future, then South Africa could be a world power and the sky was the limit. My private thought was, "How do we get the millions of people to clean up their attitudes? We often feel we’re battling against the tide."

But we sat dead still for over an hour, the silence was so heavy, and the room was magnetic. I can’t remember when anyone held an audience with such power—and yet he was so incredibly "ordinary" through it all.

There was a time for questions afterwards, and he gave some further enlightening thoughts. We went away sort of stunned with the weight of wisdom we’d had. His time is incredibly valuable; he usually meets with kings, queens, heads of state, so we were very honored to have him in our presence.

And what a presence then Swami was. I went home in a golden glow, feeling I’d been some place in a dream. Cape Town will be richer for having his energies here. He said every week he’s in another country, so maybe the whole planet will benefit from his wisdom.

(Swami Krishnapada is the only African-American Vaishnava guru in the world. He was born into a Christian family, and as a young man was a leader in Dr. Martin Luther King’s civil rights movements. His education and experience is very wide-ranging, and he oversees projects in the United States, the Caribbean, West Africa, and South Africa.)

(I agree with the Swami about the power of the cultural diversity of South Africa, and its enormous potential. They have a start: cultural diversity is faced and accepted there in a way which is generally very far beyond that of the United States—perhaps because there’s no choice! I find that potential exciting. Maya)

The next day Yvonne went on a cruise in beautiful Table Bay, surrounded by aspiring mountain ranges. She says:

Once we got past the breakwater and into the bay, we hit some really big swells, although the sea had looked so calm. Soon we saw some dolphins approaching from deeper waters. They were leaping out of the water, tails wiggling, then falling back in, fins slicing the waves. Soon they had caught up with our boat and they swam with us the whole trip. I couldn’t believe how close they came, within arm’s reach.

They swam so fast. They sped along just under the surface, right next to the hull, sometimes jumping out. I could see their eyes, their coloring, the blowholes. When we made a wide arc to turn back they played behind us for awhile, then moved to the bow-wave and stayed there the whole way home.

It was a magical trip, and they seemed to be having the time of their lives—showing us their joyful freedom which was completely natural and not induced as in a dolphinarium.

It’s been quite a week for exciting input!

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