Santa Clara, Cuba
Santa Clara is said to be the cutural centre of Cuba after Habana. A three hour cab drive took Hayagriva, Sahil, our super mrdanga drummer, and I to a culture house in the heart of the city. There are actually an indoor and outdoor theatre in this facility that is frequented by liberal and free-thinkers.
Our scheduled program of mantra meditation drew 60 people to the indoor space as monsoon wetness restricted us from using the breezy outdoor area. As in the previous night questions about spiritual life came pouring like the rain and the response to what we demonstrated, said and sang was received so very well. Cuban born and now a U.S. citizen, Iksvaku, was my translator and he mentioned to me after the program that the country is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, yet somehow there is a richness in the hearts of people. If I were to compare audiences I would say that a capitalist group is inclined to be more callous. I'd go so far as to say that the so called developed world is down-right spoiled. To clarify I would classify myself as a supporter of a spiritual regime, something which currently is non-existent on planet earth.
A second program was scheduled at a doctor's home in town Rodas, population 11 000. This place is the village of Laksminath, who pronounces himself as a lifelong brahmachari or monk. Here also a fabulous response came from the host's guests. The food was sattvic (in the mode of goodness) and that gave us enough fuel for a third program, un-planned, unrehearsed and spontaneous. In the heart of Rodas was a gazebo which we took full advantage of for a kirtan that had churchgoers across the street wondering.
We were in our element, completely content as a pioneer troup, that had come to plant some seeds of bhakti, devotion to the extraordinaire: the maha-mantra.