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In the News:
Good Karma Fest celebrates good deeds

by Trent Blackman
Brigham Young University

Posted September 30, 2004

Llamas are often enough to bring large groups of people to the Hare Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork. However, Saturday evening, August 7, was a celebration of good and charitable actions through music, drama and food.

The event was called Good Karma Fest and people from all over Utah County traveled to celebrate the Hindu doctrine of karma.

"It's a music and drama festival which emphasizes good actions that bring good results," said Caru Das, festival coordinator for the Krishna Temple. "Man is the architect of his own destiny and the festival is highlighting the areas of activity in which one could increase one's future pleasure and decrease one's pain."

For the Hare Krishnas and other practicing Hindus around the world, karma is similar to laws of physics.

"It's a universal law," said Shree Sharma, a yoga teacher from Bihar, India. "Just like the law of gravity."

BYU students who attended the festival said they thought it was a way of exposing the community to other cultures and religions.

"This is an eastern religion we're not accustomed to, which is different from western religion," said Josh Everett, majoring in Middle Eastern studies from Saint George. "You meet people you wouldn't meet otherwise."

The festival began with a film about vegetarianism, which was followed by a play and three diverse bands performing inside the temple and on an outdoor stage. These groups included two local bands: After Hours, a blues and jazz group, and Two and a Half White Guys, who performed a mix of reggae and ska.

In true Good Karma Fest style, After Hours temporarily changed its name to The Good Karma Blues Band and eagerly backed up a Hare Krishna devotee as he belted out a blues version of a traditional mantra. The words, "Hare, Hare, Krishna, Krishna," filled the air along with the swinging sounds of the harmonica and guitar.

The musicians said they appreciated the idea of karma, especially when it comes to playing different shows, including the shows they don't like.

"I don't often say no," said Nathan Robinson, singer of Two and a Half White Guys. "But with some crowds you have to draw the line."

The group of visitors at the temple was a diverse group of people, including various ages, races, religions and social classes. Some said they really appreciated such a different environment for a concert.

"Look, you've got a punk-rocker over here and a grandma over there," Robinson said. "It's nice to have a place where an 80-year-old man and a two-month old baby can be."

BYU students at the festival said it was an interesting alternative to their usual activities.

"I wanted to see Two and a Half White Guys; I wanted to see the Temple," said Derek Bitter, from Santa Clarita, Calif., studying history teaching. "I wanted to do something different."