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By Shii and Nel

I learned how to chant in Krishna last night. So I guess I can say that I am a mild member of the religion. I wrote this, I’m not sure if it’s a monologue or what, just to get my thoughts out, based on not only how I was led to His wisdom and away from the standards of my area, but also the aggravating community service I involuntarily volunteered for six days.

It doesn’t have a title yet, and I guess it might be a continuing piece, based on how I am in the religion of Krishna. And I needed something to post on my journal, so I guess you can read this if you want to. Oh, and like any other public piece of writing, I have to slap a warning on it. Read it. Now.

And yes, I realize how many spelling errors it has.

Warnings; mild language, and really sensitive religion topic. If you get upset over sensitive over religion, particularly Christianity, easily, don’t read it. You have been warned, don’t flame me because of my views. It won’t be pretty.

I don’t know about you, but I hate getting up in the morning. Especially if it’s early in the morning. I don’t see how some people can receive the will to climb out of those warm sheets, into cold pajamas, and go down to the kitchen to prepare real food. And if you’re too tired to make anything proper, like bacon or toast, you tend to run out of energy quite quickly in the day.

It sucks when you wake up to realize you’re running late and can only have a bite and a swallow of breakfast before rushing off. It sucks when it’s frigid and you’re bed feels cozy. But it really sucks when your first thought of the brand new day is “Holy Shit, It’s Santa.”

I’m not kidding about that last part.

For the last week, I’ve been practicing my glare. My mother decided to sign us, us being herself, my brother, and me, up for a charity/community service sponsored by the many churches of our state. For almost a week, hundreds of kids would be crammed into a Catholic Church’s gym with nothing but sleeping bags to sleep in.

Well… most of the kid’s sleeping bags looked as though they dragged their bedrooms with them rather than take a sleeping bag. But we had these flat, blow-in-air-yourself ones, that were used and borrowed from a friend of my mother’s. Joy.

The best part is the community service part. We go to these people’s houses that have been beat up and broken and we fix them for the house-owners (or trailer owners). I actually liked helping make a porch, front steps, new door, and new tar roof for poor Mrs. Betty, a friendly old widow who lives in a neat and tidy on the inside but crummy on the outside house.

But… I won’t pretend to be happy about the church. The thing is… I’m not Christian. I don’t want to be Christian, in fact I used to hate Christianity, now I… tolerate it… Anyway, my mother is a Christian whose “re-discovering religion” and is always taking me to church or church activities and then scolds me for not enjoying myself when it’s bleeding obvious I don’t want to be there. I’m not even baptized and she assumes I should go to church.

These people at the community service decided that it was necessary to pray for everything from meals to sleep. And they had activities like different prayer rituals, bible discussions, during each I practiced my glare.

Everything from “Bible Discussions” to having “Prayer Buddies” was a nightmare to me. Oh god… the Prayer Buddies. A prep with lots of makeup, a face shaped like a skull, and a tendency to talk to me as though I were nine-years-old (like almost every other girl there) jumps out of nowhere and announces that she’s my Prayer Buddy and that we’re supposed to Pray for each other. I was too scared to respond, stiffening up until she went away (luckily a guy distracted her so she only stuck around for 5 seconds).

But perhaps the worst part was… waking up in the morning… *shutter* and it’s not because it’s a Christian, any group can do what this group’s leader did.

The first day he dressed up as Santa to wake us up at 6:30 to go to the church. Hence, my first thought of the day being “Holy Shit, it’s Santa”. The second day he decided to dress up as “Black-Eye Pea” (he had a black eye and a giant P on his shirt) which luckily I slept through. The third day he put on a country hat and violin, along with a radio blasting country music… you get the idea.

Arguments with my mother were frequent for dragging me there and forcing me into her lifestyle and religion.

On the last day, we had to join them to put on a Christian shirt and walk down the aisle of the church to be ‘honored’. I didn’t pay attention to the sermon as usual, and my mind began to wander to my CD’s. I had been listening to “Concert for George”, a concert in honor of George Harrison that took place one year after his death in 2001. One of the two CD’s was Indian musics (Indian as in India, not Native American).

I guess it was ironic that I first became interested in Krishna during a Christian church service. Of all the Sanskrit phrases I could have remembered in the songs, the only one I clearly remembered was “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

I thought it was just one of the many lyrics, until I remembered a reference to ‘Krishna’, as though it were a group, and I wondered if it was a religion (yes, my mind was on religion, since I was in a church and feeling resentful of the stain glassed windows and talking priests). I was already attracted to Indian music, so I felt my curiosity rise.

The only thing I knew about the Krishna religion was that it was Indian, duh, and that composers such as Ravi Shankar and George Harrison (being a fan of the Beatles, he was my main role model of my interest in Krishna) made beautiful music about Him. I even thought His name was spelled “Crishne” instead of Krishna.

Day or two later, my aunt visited. We were discussing random topics and the conversation turned to George Harrison. I wondered if she knew what Krishna was, so I asked ‘casually’, “Yeah… he was even a part of India’s culture, not just the music… What’s the religion there, again?” When she answered Krishna, my suspicion was confirmed.

So, the next day I typed in Google “Crishne”. It asked if I was talking about “Krishna” and through that I was led to the first result of the search: a website dedicated to Krishna. It was called “www.krishna.com”. You couldn’t get more direct than that, so I looked at it.

And near the bottom of the screen were the words: “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” When I realized where I remembered them, my heart gave a leap and I immediately wanted to learn more. I learned who Krishna was, what He teaches, what the chant above means and does for one’s spirit, and, you know, the essentials of the religion that was capturing my heart more and more.

Now, you probably won’t find me at the latest Krishna festival. Trust me, I’m pretty sure that I am categorized as one of ‘Neutral Mood’ of Krishna. It’s just not me to go dedicate my life completely to mantras and His wisdom, and my place in Goloka won’t be anywhere high. But… at least I have something for my spirit to chant for now.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

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