After an early morning swim in the placid Charleston Lake at our campground, we began the day with a short drive over the border into the United States to make a special trip to the historic Vivekananda Cottage in Thousand Island Park, New York.
Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) came from India to participate in the 1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, where the Peace Run is now headed to participate in the 2023 World Parliament of Religions.
130 years ago, Vivekananda took the stage in his exotic turban an ochre robes and began his opening address with the words, “Brothers and sisters....”
After a round of applause for those simple three words which brought everyone together in oneness, he mesmerized the audience with his eloquence and respect for all religions. “Almost overnight this unknown young monk of India shot into prominence as a great world teacher. His stirring message of the basic truth of all religions gave rise to the interfaith movement.”
In the summer of 1895, Vivekananda spent several weeks at Thousand Island Park in a cottage, imparting his teachings to a number of earnest devotees.
The cottage is now a place of pilgrimage for many people around the world, and visitors can go inside and tour the dwelling and meditate, with a special shrine in his attic room.
Vivekananda Rock is on a trail that leads from the cottage into the woods.
It marks the spot where he meditated the last day he was there in August of 1895, itting still through a thunderstorm and downpour for hours, unfazed by the harsh weather.
Thousand Island Park is on the beautiful St. Lawrence River, where some boys managed to sneak in a swim.
After our contemplative visit to the cottage, we were treated to lunch by Anjali, who was joined by Pragati who drove up from New York City with her.
Anjali told stories of when Sri Chinmoy, the Founder of the Peace Run, visited the Vivekananda Cottage in 1972. Sri Chinmoy had such reverence for Vivekananda and wrote books, plays and songs about him.
We then traveled back to Ontario, Canada to put on a ceremony to camp kids at Frontenac Arch Biosphere (FAB) in Landsdowne.
The next ceremony was at the Nike sports camp in Gananoque.
We later had a short run through downtown Gananoque, through Confederation Park, then Joel Stone Heritage Park.
Nayaja was reminded of the food in her home country.
We were provided a wonderful meal at the Sri Chinmoy Kingston Centre.
After dinner, we had a meet and greet with condo residents outside the front entrance.