Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Have a Chance

Berkley, California

You have to put your socks on here, your tootsies just might get a little cold. That’s rather standard for the Bay Area in the summer. Our bus crew bundled up in hoodies, scarves and chaddars, and then worked on assembling the chariots for the next day’s Ratha Yatra. That’s one way to warm up – work hard.

There are few places that can boast their 45th annual. That figure actually puts the San Francisco Festival of Chariots as the first in the western world. With humble circumstances the program got off the ground in 1967 with flowers, a pick up truck, Jagannath dieties, and a group of happy bound hippies in the summer of love.

In fact, those of us who lived through that time know it to be very special. It was an epoch of openness, of welcoming new thoughts and bursting out of the box. Had it been a conservative space, Hare Krishna might not have got off the ground. When Swamiji (Srila Prabhupada) as he was affectionately called, arrived in liberal New York in ’65, and then to mind expanding San Fransciso. The timing could not have been better.

I was thoroughly tempted to get out and about, and feel whatever residual effect might be there in a part of the world that impacted the globe, that mystical north California flower power place. After Laghu Hari and Godruma Goura, performed an excellent Nandulal drama, I ventured off to Telegraph Avenue in Berkely, of the Bay Area. I took to both directions, feeling some ghosts of the past and some optimism as well. If I could share my judgement as much as it allows, I would say the drug culture has hit hard and taken its toll on those who are addicted. But fortunately, some of these folks come to visit our temple, working on their rehab through chanting. They might have a chance.

6 Km

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