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NPR Shows a Day in a Devotee's Life

extract from an article by Barbara Bradley Hagerty, Morning Edition, National Public Radio

Posted May 30, 2008

There's not much traffic on First Avenue in lower Manhattan at 5:15 a.m., but in the building between a darkened tattoo shop and electronic store, a light shines bright from the second floor. Inside is the New York City headquarters of a Hare Krishna group. A visitor is greeted with a blast of sights and sounds: Thirteen men and one woman are twirling and dancing, playing cymbals and drums and chanting tunes. Hare Krishna monks are in orange or white robes. Civilians are in business suits or jeans. They all face an altar adorned with flowers and statues of the Supreme God, Krishna, and His female counterpart, Radha.

A little over an hour later, a 35-year-old monk named Gadadhara Pandit das blows into a conchshell and pours a water offering. This marks the halfway point in this three-hour morning worship service, a daily celebration. "I just can't think of a better way to start the day," he says, grinning. "It's such a devotional activity, so deeply moving for the soul, that the rest of your day is much more clear, because you've nourished the mind and soul from the morning."

Pandit - whose name means "saint" — sits cross-legged on the hardwood floor of this urban temple. He begins to chant the Hare Krishna mantra. He explains that repeating the names for Krishna is a spiritual event of sorts, allowing God to enter his soul.

"Our focus is on the sound vibration itself, because we know that sound is an incredibly powerful tool," he later explains. "It can cause avalanches, and sound, through music, can move our emotions in all different directions. The same with spiritual sound. When I'm calling out to Krishna, saying the Hare Krishna mantra — Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare — Krishna is actually present there."

You can read the rest of this story, view an audio slide show or listen to an audio version at National Public Radio's website. Many thanks to Chakra reader Karunamayi dasi, for sharing NPR's nice story on a a day in a devotee's life with us. The focused, thorough and sympathetic article includes interviews with congregants and is accompanied by sidebars on Krishna consciousness philosophy and a few Hare Krishna recipes (samosas, eggplant stew, vegetarian chili and pakoras).