Service is my passion and life mission. I have been a monk and student of Vedic literature since the 1980s. Bhakti yoga is my lifestyle, kirtan my song, vegetarian cooking my art, and creating a safe place for others to feel received, accepted, and loved is my soul’s clear purpose.
Missionary calling has been inside my heart since childhood. From a very young age I was a seeker, searching for the deeper significance in life beyond what my eyes could see. While I knew that there was more to life, I had no guidance or understanding of what it could be. No teacher could answer simple questions like: “who am I?”, “what is the purpose of my life”, and “how can I make sense of suffering?”.
In teenage years, my parents were horrified that I didn’t believe in the life they were living. I knew that the purpose of life wasn’t a good job, money or material happiness. So I experimented. I was eagerly searching for higher realization and to know myself. By the age of twenty-five, in the late 80s, I had experienced so much illusion of happiness: a beautiful living situation, exciting recreation, fantastic hobbies, an endearing partner, financial security, and still I wasn’t satisfied. I yearned for more.
With courage and honesty I decided to embark on a quest. I believed that through travel I could unravel and discover the answers to the burning questions in my heart; find a genuine teacher I could trust and sincerely follow. I set upon the journey with few possessions, taking just a backpack. For two years I traveled the world by foot and boat. I ventured high and low and met all kinds of people, from the wealthiest in mansions to the poorest in slums; I sailed from France to Africa, crossed the ocean to the Caribbean Islands, Venezuela, the US and landed in Canada. Unknown to me I was looking for bhakti.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami introduced to the West the timeless practice of mantra meditation. In a bhakti-yoga ashram in Montreal, mid-1989, I absorbed myself for the first time in two hours of mantra meditation on beads. I realized that no other happiness I had experienced could match even a fraction of a percent of the joy of immersion in authentic mantra. This is the nectar for which I’d always been anxious. I feel so privileged to receive this gift from Bhaktivedanta Swami, whose association I so much cherish.
Reading Bhaktivedanta Swami’s The Science of Self-Realization, I experienced strong deja vu, like my inner knowing was validated, like I was coming home. Thus I dedicated my life to this practice, lifestyle and spiritual science. For more than a decade I resided in ashramas around the world, including the Far East, India, Europe, and North America, serving with commitment and enthusiasm the mission of Bhaktivedanta Swami.
In 2003 I founded a nonprofit organization offering programs to support self-empowerment and self-realization. Also, I created and facilitated personal development seminars internationally, witnessing thousands of people transform their lives through these workshops, while I also led communities and movements for expanded consciousness. I felt content with my position in life, including my daily spiritual practice, until everything I created was unexpectedly destroyed when I discovered I had cancer.
My diagnosis was a complete shock. I have always been an avid holistic healer, living a “non-cancer” lifestyle, convinced that cancer wouldn’t happen to me. Having cancer was surreal. Worse was realizing there was no natural cure for it. Despite my extensive knowledge of natural medicine, I got the inner guidance to go toward the nightmare of chemo and radiation. I have no doubt that it was somehow part of my journey, part of taking away the inner cancer of my soul covering my ability to serve with more purity. I can’t imagine hell being worse than the ordeal of my treatments.
I am profoundly grateful for the experience, and for the grace and shelter that my years of sadhana (spiritual practices) gave me. My chanting/mantra meditation was the only refuge. Moments when I experienced silence and serenity holding my japa beads became the only respite from the torture.
Soon after the end of the treatment, I realized the perfection of it all. Connecting with gratitude for the inner guidance I received, I felt seen, loved, and understood by the One who knows me at my core, beyond this life and including all other lives. This deep tenderness was well worth all the suffering and hardship. Cancer was truly a blessing, not a curse. I felt ripped apart, and at last reborn. I am trusting that the next chapter will be even more amazing than what has passed.
My vision now is to create a spiritual oasis for people to feel loved and supported to fulfill the purpose of human life, following a process given by the direct successor of a long line of teachers and disciples dating to the origin of time. I feel urgent to serve and be an instrument to help free the Western world from the complexities of modern existence and the prison of material entanglement. Our spirit shines and finds fulfillment in the spiritual atmosphere. A fish can only be happy in water.
I invite you to join me. Whether you’re in a dark and depressed state, or feeling inspired and fulfilled, I welcome you to visit for a day, a week, a month or more. Perhaps you’re an experienced bhakti-yogi, or a curious newcomer. I will be glad to share with you this ancient process of self-realization. My intention is to create a safe, sacred space for your natural self to radiate, for you to experience healing, discovery, wonder and transcendental adventure. I look forward to serving you, and serving with you.