Everything I’ve ever done in my life to date has led to my being in Budapest right now. Difficult to imagine that each little decision I’ve made in the course of my life has somehow contributed to my today – my present – my reality. I sometimes wonder where I’d be if, say, I’d been accepted to teacher training college or if I’d not applied for a US Green Card. But only occasionally. I spend way more time marvelling at how I end up doing what I do.I met LS at a Toastmaster’s meeting. We got chatting. I’m naturally curious and him being the first Hare Krishna devotee I’d met in person, I had plenty of questions. I’d just learned, too, that I needed to mentor a new starter as part of my ACG and he seemed ideal. He invited me to visit the temple at Csillaghegy. And so began our friendship. I was at the TM meeting because of WB and met WB through ESz and met ESz through BC… and the line goes on. Had any link in that chain been broken, I doubt I’d have seen the marvel of the Sweet Festival earlier this month.
Celebrating Krishna’s lifting of Govardhana Hill, the sweet festival is quite simply amazing. Over the previous two weeks, 900 kg of sugar went into making 1923 kg of sweets which are first offered to Krishna and then distributed amongst the villagers down in Krishna Valley. The ceremony has happy, joyful, and full of energy, in sharp contrast to some of the Catholic and Protestant services I’ve been to. The cake replica of Govardhana Hill alone weighed 400 kg.
After the ceremony, we were invited for lunch. The miracle of the loaves and fish came to mind as hundreds of us sat down to eat and were fed with great efficiency. Plates piled high with vegetarian food, each spoonful tastier than the one that had gone before it. Everyone in good humour, a kindness radiating throughout, a true sense of community.
I was struck, once again, at how varied and interesting my life is; at the diverse nature of the people I meet; at the strange situations I find myself in. This week, I am grateful for the curiosity gene I’ve inherited, the one that keeps me asking questions and wondering why. The one that opens doors and unveils new experiences. The one that makes memories and keeps that sense of wonder alive.
Note: For a reminder of what the Grateful series is about, check out Grateful 52