The Hare Krishna Temple
Church Hopping Adventure #14
Yesterday, for my birthday, we went to the Hare Krishna Sunday Feast service. I’d always wanted to.
My friend, a devotee, wrapped me up in the shiny blue sari another friend had once brought me back from India. (It also appears on our Goddess Yemaya from The Goddess Project: Made in Her Image https://plus.google.com/107287050579003737566/posts/bmHzovZfxd3 )
I met friends outside of the temple and we went in and sat on one of the blue velvety cushioned benches along the back of the EXQUISITE and expansive room. At the front of the sanctuary on a tiered stage there are brightly colored statues of deities and framed pictures all decked out with flowers and leis. A few men were playing some hand drums and were singing and chanting mantras with the group. Some of the sari- clad congregation had little finger chimes that filled the fragrant air with sound like golden confetti. A tall young man wearing Indian linen came by each of us and holding a carnation, had us smell it and wiped the heavily incensed flower onto the top of our right wrists. Immediately, we felt welcomed.
To the right of the stage is a HUGE frame with the words to this vibrationally transformative mantra:
(A devotee once told me that “Hare” meant the Goddess & “Krisna” was Her counterpart Christ. Knowing this helped me choke down all of the masculine pronouns that would be thrown at later.) We continued clapping and swaying and singing mantras, primarily the one above.
Back in my yoga training days we’d been taught that there are SEED sounds in Sanskrit (the oldest language in the world) that activated certain energy centers in your body. This is why you stand a little taller when your yoga teacher uses the original Sanskrit name for any pose in your yoga class.
Soon a few gentlemen gave some announcements, beginning and ending their greetings with “Hare Krishna”, as you would “Aloha”. Everyone applauded my friends and I after we’d introduced ourselves as newcomers, and they were earnestly kind.
One introduced the evening’s scripture speaker who evidentially was also a teacher in their school, giving her the title “Mother” before her name. She was an eloquent, engaging teacher. That Sunday, in the Hindu faith happened to be a “CLEANING HOLIDAY”. (The power washing of the outside of their yellow and alabaster temple domes as I’d driven up, now made more sense!)
She referred to the story of the cleansing ritual from their holy book, the Bhagavad Gita. And begin to tell how the deep cleaning of your home is like the DEEP CLEANING OF YOUR HEART.
This mother teacher told us the four steps to a bright, shiny heart:
1. Make a list of all of the negative emotions/feelings that are clouding your heart.
2. Know that the Divine (as well as your higher self) also resides in your heart.
3. If something about someone else is bothering you, it’s really your own issues that you need to clean up.
4. How to clean? Chant the mantras, like the one above, over and over again. She then lead a call and response of a few mantras, especially the Hare Krisna mantra.
After this was a brief award ceremony for some of the devotees that had just completed a disciple class. The service ended with more of the chanting/singing, that they call KIRTAN.
The older gentleman that had introduced us, again greeted us and invited us to the “feast” in another part of the building. There we were joined by the principal of their school and her gorgeous young son who told us the story of the Bhagavad Gita and gave us each a copy.
We all ate together, with this school principal, from their vegan buffet. Best vegetarian food I’d ever had, I think mostly because (I hear) they bless the food as they prepare it.
Driving home, I found myself smiling and the outside world seemed more brilliant and beautiful and full of hope again.