Sunday, April 10, 2011

Turning Hippies into Happies

...On the riverbank, sitting cross-legged, Shyamsunder rocked slowly back and forth."It was in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, January 1967. My friends and I had put together this big rock and roll dance at the Avalon Ballroom. We called it Mantra Rock Dance. Everyone was there to welcome 'The Swami' to the West Coast - the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Quicksilver and Moby Grape, they all played. Even Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey were there. All the hippie heroes came."

Shyamsunder became excited and his body rocked faster. "Picture this scene. The whole place is pulsating with strobe lights and rock and roll, packed with wild, long-haired kids, most of them on acid. Then, about midnight, Srila Prabhupada walks quietly onto the dark stage and sits down cross-legged on an elevated seat. The place falls silent. Srila Prabhupada begins humbly chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. A spotlight finally locates him, and gradually the crowd joins in the chanting. Then, one by one, the rock groups come on stage to join him, and the rest is history. For two hours, Prabhupada led the most incredible kirtan you can imagine. When he danced with his arms upraised, he won the hearts of thousands. Or as he put it later, "I have turned hippies into happies."

- from The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami by Radhanath Swami

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:58 am

    Thanks for the delightful story. People instinctively recognise spiritual honesty when they are in the presence of it.

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  2. Anonymous3:29 am

    Very nice post, indeed :). Thank you. - Shival

    ReplyDelete