So I'm back with the second part of my bike adventure post: Love.
Let me start with my experience at the Krishna Temple. When I arrived it was about 20 minutes past 6. I parked my bike outside the temple, removed my shoes at the door and walked in the doors. The stone floor felt cool on my feet warm from biking. I saw no one but heard chanting coming from a staircase to my left. I climbed the stairs and found myself in a large domed room. The walls and ceiling were white and clean. There were several large carpets laid out on the stone floor, upon which sat some 20 people, many swaying back and forth and chanting along with the rhythm of the music. 3 men in Indian shirts and pants sat in one corner of the room. One was playing what I later found out to be a harmonium, another was playing a drum that he was sitting on, and the third was chanting. I sat with the people, and closed my eyes. My legs were slightly sore, and it had been far too long since I'd spent any period of time sitting on the ground. (my yoga having been left mostly untouched for nearly 9 months) Sometimes the chant would evolve into something I was at least slightly familiar with:
I had heard these words before at last years Holi fest, but I had forgotten their meaning. I rather passively joined in the chanting from time to time, stretching my legs and feeling the rhythm. The chant ended and one of the leaders stood up and began a sermon of sorts with a powerpoint. I think mp3s of his talks and also the powerpoints are available on the temple's website. I honestly didn't know what to expect at a Hindu sermon. It was very interesting, and this is where the love comes in. The man speaking was Caru Das Adikari, the Temple Priest. I was grateful when he began his sermon with a story about an elderly couple who came to tour the temple for the first time and learn about its purpose. They asked Caru why people come to the temple, and Caru told us the answer he gave them: To chant the names of God. This seemed a little overly simple to me, but he continued. I do not understand as Caru does, but I will do my best to explain what I learned. He said that they did not come to Utah Valley to start another sect or religion. There are already enough in the world, and 90 percent of the people in the valley already belong to a very good religion. He said what is missing from the world however, is a global sense that we are all God's children and as such each deserve an equal portion of what he has freely given to us all. He brought up a few points that really struck me as insightful. There are many good organizations in the world that do good things, but being limited to only a portion of the world's population, by nature, they can only benefit a portion of God's children. This is usually considered alright. I start a club, or business or religion, and i help people. I don't do anything to hurt those who are not part of my group, but the members are better off anyway. Caru asked us to think about the poverty in the world, and how much of the worlds wealth and resources are controlled by such a small group of people. Is this equal? Are all God's children receiving their basic needs? He suggested that organizations, no matter how good intending they are, exclude people by nature, and thus contribute to the stratification of the earths inhabitants. The solution? Realizing, deeply realizing that we are indeed all children of the same God, fellow sojourners on this earth, holding deep spiritual connections that we must only recognize and awaken. Once we can do this, how can we treat others poorly? How can we knowingly take more than we need? knowing that there are many others who go without. By chanting the names of God we strengthen that global awareness. We are constantly with God in us, and much more aware of ourselves as members of a human family. Universal Love.
I was fascinated with these ideas. I felt my mind very clear as I listened and began to see things a little differently than I had before. Caru continued on, speaking about many other related topics, all interesting, until he closed. We chanted again, this time standing and dancing, a few worship rituals were performed, and then we all shuffled downstairs in our stockinged or bare feet to eat a meal together.
This entire experience had a great affect on me. There are times in my life when I become excited. Spiritually and mentally excited. My mind is clear, I find myself smiling more and I feel a strong love and a passion to change my life. To take what I now know and live it. I felt this as I biked all the way home.
till next time,