On Wednesday, March 29, 2000 my friendand I attended the Morning Prayer serviceat the Hare Krishna Farm. The worship began at 7:15 A.M and lasted until 8:45A.M.
Breakfast then followed. At the Hare Krishna Farm wemet Indulekha Devi dasiwho explained to us many aspects of their worship. The temple room itself wasvery impressive. On one side of the temple was a statue of Srila Prabhubada, thespiritual master who brought the Hare Krishna movement to the West. On theopposite side, there was a very big altar with the Deities. The temple room wasfilled with pictures representing different incarnations of God.
Before enteringthe temple room, a person has to take off his or her shoes. As soon as theyenter the temple room, I noticed that all of the devotees (that is how HareKrishna members call themselves) bow down. Indulekha explained to us that theyare offering obeisance to God and the spiritual master. Some of the devoteesknock on the entrance door or ring the bells above the entrance door, lettingthe Deities in the temple know that they are entering.
Women were standing onone side of the room and the men on the other side. Service started at 7:15 withDeity Greeting. The priest blew the conches and the curtains on the altar haveopened. The two big statues or Deities have been in the center of the altar. Therecorded music was playing.
Indulekha explained to us that the same song hasplayed all over the world in Hare Krishna temples at 7:15 am. It was a prayer toGod. Music was very melodic and pleasant to the ears. The altar itself seemed tobe very opulent. Beautiful flower arrangements were surrounding the Deities.
Deities itself were actually wearing a clothes. During the greeting, a ceremonycalled arati is preformed. The head priest or pujari offered incense, the firelamp, flower, water and a fan in the circular motions. That has lasted for 10minutes and at the end of the ceremony pujari has blown conchell againannouncing the end of the greeting.
The fire lamp has been carried around toeach person to touch it. Indulekha told us that that is for purification. Afterthe Deity Greeting devotees have turned towards the statue of Srila Prabhupada.
Spiritual master worship service was beginning. Indulekha was telling us thatspiritual master has a big importance in Hare Krishna religion. He teachesdevotees the Holy Scriptures and in that way brings them closer to God.
Therefore each morning they have Guru Puja or worship of Guru. One of the mandevotees has started singing a prayer for a spiritual master. He would sing oneline and the rest would follow. The similar ceremony that has been preformed forDeity greeting has been preformed for Spiritual Master Worship. Flower, water,incense, lamp and fan have been offered. During the ceremony devotees starteddancing. As the ceremony was going on the rhythm has been faster and faster anddancing was lively and lively.
Each person would go towards the statue and takea flower petals and circle around the Srila Prabhupada in that way offeringtheir obeisance and gratefulness. As the guru worship ended, all devotees(without stopping singing) turned towards the Deities and started singing HareKrishna mantra. Indulkeha told us that that is the most important mantra.Followers of the Hare Krishna chant that mantra every day. During the meditationhours they repeat it many times: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna HareHare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. After a dancing and singing hasbeen finished, everyone bowed down and prayers were said. The lecture followed.
Lecture has been give by local member of Hare Krishna. He would read a versefrom the book called Srimad Bhagavatam. Worse was read in Sanskrit, thentranslation and purport. Then lecture started.
The lecture was about detachmentfrom material body. It is said that material body does not represent us.Material body is just like a dress that we wear, and on the end of the life weleave it. When we take a birth again we choose another dress. As Indulekha toldus, morning prayers is usually only for members of Hare Krishna but everyone iswelcome. But for people like us they recommend Sunday gathering becausephilosophy is explained on the more basic level. During the morning prayers, itis more for devotees and therefore for us it may be hard to follow.
It is verydifficult for me to describe a Hare Krishna service. So many things arehappening and one would need pages and pages to present everything accurately.Some of the members were dressed “normally” but mostly they were wearingtraditional Indian clothes. Women were wearing colorful saris and men werewearing cloth wrapped around their body called dhoti and shirt called kurta. Menthat were in white were married, and in orange were in celibate order. Theycould get married but once they take sannyas (recognized by a stick or sannyascloth that they wear) they can not get married. Women could not take sannays.
Itwas only for the men. Women that were wearing completely white saris were eitherwidowed or women that are not planning to get married. Usually that is reservedfor older women. It is their symbol for renunciation.
Hare Krishna experiencehas been very refreshing. There were many young people there. Their way ofworship is full with little details, it is very joyful, lively and one could sayentertaining. Members of Hare Krishna were very helpful and very cheerful.
Ithas been a wonderful, early morning.