Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hungry for Love

I get it. I get why the worldwide Hare Krishna movement began in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York.

It's the people. I've noticed that in New York City, everyone is hungry. Hungry for money, hungry for power, hungry for fun, hungry for meaning, hungry for love. I look in the eyes of anyone passing by on the street and I see that hunger there.

I remember once when I went to join the harinam in Union Square. I stood back to observe the scene - the devotees seated on a mat on the concrete, most people rushing by in blurs, some people stopping to watch. I remember one man in an expensive gray business suit - he stood at a distance, just staring at the harinam party; he had this sharp look that seemed to devour what he was seeing.

Hungry. So hungry.

I guess you need to be on fire to live in this city. This place is insane. If you don't live like your pants are on fire, you will get burned up, no joke. So everyone is searching for something, something, something, what is it? Everyone is looking, wondering, will I find power, money, love?

When people walk through the doors of The Bhakti Center, I've noticed that same hungry look in their eyes, only the look softens into a sparkling curiosity, a sort of wonder and vulnerability. I experience people as open, ready and willing to embrace the Truth of what they are searching for.

The other night in the japa women's group, we were reading a prayer of surrender by Bhaktivinode Thakur. A middle-aged woman was reading this prayer, and her voice began to break. When we chanted japa afterwards, she quietly wept. When we shared our hearts at the end, she shared how when she went through hell in her life, she was realizing that God was there for her.

"Krishna was there for me," she said.

This was a woman who, before this ladies group, had never chanted a round of japa in her life.

Living in New York I am surrounded by these miracles. I get to witness that relief, joy, and peace which comes when the hunger of the heart is filled with Krishna's love. I have so much to learn from these people. I want to be hungry, too. 

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