this story to a friend
Part II: San Francisco, 1967
By Hayagriva das
1967. When Swamiji descends from the plane and enters the San Francisco
airport, he is greeted by a group of about fifty young people. As he is
questioned by the press, he extends his usual transcendental
everyone, in any condition of life, to come to our temple and hear the
message of Krishna consciousness,” he says.
include Haight-Ashbury hippies and bohemians?” a reporter asks.
including you or anyone else,” Swamiji says. “Whatever you are—what you
call an acid-head, or hippy, or whatever—what you are doesn’t matter.
Once you are accepted for training, you will change.”
“What is your
stand on drugs and sexual freedom?” another reporter asks.
four basic prerequisites for those entering this movement,” Swamiji
says. I do not allow my students to keep girl friends. I prohibit all
kinds of intoxicants, including coffee, tea, and cigarets. And I
prohibit meat eating and gambling.”
that an intoxicant. I do not allow my students to use that or any other
announcement provokes the reporters to question Allen Ginsberg, who is
first at the airport to touch Swamiji’s feet in obeisance. As poet
laureate of the beatniks and now acknowledged patriarch of the hippies,
Allen presided over the recent “Gathering of the Tribes,” when a
hundred thousand in Golden Gate Park celebrated the arrival of “the
might say that the Swami is very conservative,” Allen answers. “That
is, conservative Hindu. You might even say he is to his faith what the
hard-shell Baptist is to Christianity.”
How is that?” Swamiji asks, concerned.
to sex and drugs,” Mukunda suggests.
we are conservative in that sense,” he says. “That means we are
following Shastra [scriptures]. We cannot depart from Bhagavad-gita.
But conservative we are not. Personally Lord Chaitanya was so strict
that He would not even look on a woman, but we are accepting everyone
into this movement, regardless of sex, race, faith, caste, position, or
whatever. Everyone is invited to come chant Hare Krishna. No, we are
walks down to the baggage claims, the new devotees strew flowers before
him and garland him. While waiting for the luggage, he raises his hands
and begins to dance. Ranchor holds an umbrella over him against the
sunlight. Allen also begins to dance and chant, and differences are
forgotten. While dancing, Swamiji gives a flower to each person who has
come to welcome him.
INVITES THE HIPPIES!” the San Francisco Examiner
headlines. “SWAMI IN HIPPYLAND,” the Chronicle reports,
describing Swamiji’s welcomers as belonging to the “long-haired,
bearded and sandaled set.” San Francisco newspapers are busy creating
the hippy image. “Hippy,” a word recently popularized by the papers, is
big news, guaranteeing good street sales.
Street storefront that Mukunda rented is only two blocks from Golden
Gate Park, the world’s most beautiful arboretum. It is a small
storefront, very much like Matchless Gifts, but brighter, thanks to a
large plate glass window. Above the front door, a sign announces: RADHA
KRISHNA TEMPLE. Incense and candles burn on a small altar at the end of
the room. Next to the altar is Swamiji’s dais of purple cushions, the vyasasana,
the seat for the representative of Veda Vyas, elevated a little above
the devotees who sit on buff carpeting.
Posted on the
walls and in the front window are reprints from The East Village
Other write-up, and a reprint of the photo of Swamiji standing
in Tompkins Square Park. The caption: BRING KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS WEST.
beginning, the kirtans are more lively than in New York. The
dancing is free and vigorous, the temple packed with young people with
long hair, beards, exotic clothing, beads, Indian trinkets, paper
stars, and skin paint. Chinese papier-mache lightshades cover the bulbs
hanging from the ceiling. God’s-eye Huichol crosses also dangle from
strings. Beside the dais hangs a painting of Lord Chaitanya and His
disciples, copied by Haridas last year.
(Harvey Cohen) is president of the San Francisco temple. In his early
thirties, Haridas is a little older than most of us. He has a
short-cropped beard and sincere, inquiring blue eyes. He’s an artist
from New York. Articulate, he suavely manages to keep everyone at
peace—hippies, Hell’s Angels, straights, and devotees. I tell him that
I appreciate his painting of Lord Chaitanya and His disciples.
“Oh, when I
first saw the original, I thought they were all women,” he says. “And
when Swamiji saw my copy, he looked at the breasts and said, ‘No. This
will never do.’ I figured he liked them Rubenesque. So I made them even
artists,” Swamiji laughs when I mention this.
met Swamiji as early as fall, 1965, when Swamiji was visiting Dr.
Mishra’s upstate Ananda Ashram.
“I used to go
up there on weekends,” Haridas tells me. “You know what it’s like.
Everyone’s into his own thing. Well, one night when I was in my room
reading, Swamiji walked in and told me that there were higher forms of yoga
than Mishra’s hatha-yoga. Now up to this time, I’d been
fascinated by this little old man sitting in the corner chanting beads.
He never joined the discussions but just sat there, a great presence in
the corner, chanting a rosary. Really captured my attention. So you can
imagine the impact when he entered my room and said, “Bhakti-yoga
is the highest. It is the science of God devotion.’ When he said this,
I realized that he was speaking the truth, and it was as if I’d never
heard it before. I felt that he was reading my soul. All my questions
were answered without my even asking. And I thought, ‘Here’s my
teacher.’ As if all my life had just been preparing for this moment.”
“I know the
feeling,” I say. “Others describe it very much in the same way.”
really strange,” Haridas muses. “His words were so simple, yet they
seemed to come from the deepest wisdom. I actually lost all sense of
place and time. It was life’s focal point. After that, for the rest of
the weekend I kept looking at him. He sat so calmly and had such
dignity and warmth. He asked me to visit him when we returned to the
city, and of course I did. His room was a tiny office in the back of
Mishra’s Yoga Society in the West Seventies, and I began to visit
always travelling a lot. Swamiji was asked to speak a few times, but it
was so obvious that this was a real spiritual master that it became
embarrassing. So he rarely lectured. I would just go to his room, and
we’d sit there on the floor, facing each other and chanting. He had
only a typewriter, a new tape recorder, a box of books he’d brought
from India, and a color reproduction of Lord Chaitanya and disciples.
He looked at this picture often, and when he found out that I was an
artist, he asked me to paint it.”
Haridas seems wistfully longing to return to those days. I realize that
for him, nothing will ever quite equal those intimate moments in New
York, when Swamiji was alone and unknown. Now he is surrounded by
disciples and guarded jealously by young Ranchor, who is tactless and
sometimes even insulting.
we’re going to have to contend with him every time we want to see
Swamiji?” Haridas complains.
this to Swamiji.
expect everyone to be to your liking?” he asks, smiling.
apartment on Frederick Street, next to the temple, is a little smaller
than his New York apartment, but the furnishings are the same:
typewriter, dictaphone, books, sleeping pad, and a footlocker full of
goes on,” he says.
also managed to rent an apartment down the hall, as quarters for
himself and Janaki. Here, I meet two new San Francisco devotees
Shyamasundar and his wife Malati. They talk excitedly about the “mantra
rock dance” scheduled for the Avalon Ballroom.
bands have promised to come,” Shyamasundar tells me. “Grateful Dead,
Moby Grape, Janis Joplin and Big Brother.
mean nothing to me. I know only the Rolling Stones and The Beatles.
whole new school of San Francisco music opening up,” Shyamasundar
explains. “Grateful Dead have already cut their first record. Their
playing for us is a great boost, just when we need it.”
thinks that even Ravi Shankar is maya, “ I point out.
“Oh, it’s all
been arranged,” Shyamasundar assures me. “All the bands will be on
stage, and Allen Ginsberg will introduce Swamiji to San Francisco.
Swamiji will talk and chant Hare Krishna with the bands. Then he
leaves. There should be about two thousand people there.”
At night, I
sleep on the floor in the room behind the temple. Through the wall I
can hear a jukebox blasting rock and roll late into the night. The
Diggers—a sort of hippy Volunteers of America—are our neighbors.
Haight-Ashbury atmosphere is festive, carnivalesque. Hippydom is riding
the media crest. Thousands flock daily to San Francisco wearing flowers
and bellbottoms and shaking tambourines. “Be-in’s” abound, celebrations
of nothing more than “being there.” People are assumed to be high on
LSD, or at least pot. Corporate, middle-class America cries out to put
an end to it all. Close down the Haight before it happens!
Johnson sends more troops to Vietnam. More draftcards are burned in
protest. More longhairs flock to the Coast, many crowding the temple
for morning prasadam, looking for a place to eat and crash.
At seven in
the morning, however, there are only six devotees present.
everybody?” I whisper to Mukunda.
be in later,” he says sleepily.
around. The night before, the temple had been packed.
sleeping?” he asks. “That is not good. Too much sleep.”
He chants the
invocation (Samsara-dava) and Hare Krishna, then begins to
lecture on Bhagavad-gita.
is a combination of two words,” he says. “Man means ‘mind,’ and tra
means ‘delivered.’ So, the Vedic mantras or hymns are meant for
delivering us from mental concoctions. Our present difficulties are
experienced on the mental and psychological planes. The psychedelic
movement is on this platform. They are speaking of expanding the mind,
but you should know that beyond the mind is the intelligence, and
beyond the intelligence is the soul. So the mantra delivers us
from this mental-psychological plane and establishes us on the
A half dozen
people drift in from the street. They are disheveled and dirty,
obviously up all night in the park. They reek of pot.
speaks of the Absolute Truth. He stresses the need for tapasya,
One boy with
long, straight blond hair begins mumbling and twitching. His milk-white
skin turns almost as red as his headband bandanna.
likens human sex life to that of the animals. He points out the
necessity for purification.
finally explodes, shouting, “I’m God!” Then screaming, “Iiiiiyam God!”
I look at
Mukunda, wondering what to do. Mukunda ignores the boy and keeps his
eyes on Swamiji.
that?” Swamiji asks.
I look at
Haridas. He’s shaking his head, indicating that the boy is to be
that?” Swamiji asks again.
that he is God,” Mukunda says.
his head back, looking down at the boy through his reading glasses.
Having observed enough, he returns to the text of Bhagavad-gita
and his commentary.
accepting and undergoing some penance, we cannot purify our existence,”
he says, “and without purifying our existence, we cannot enjoy our
nature as Brahman.”
“So if we
follow the scriptural regulations, our conditioned existence will be
purified, and we shall begin our spiritual life of unending happiness.”
looks around, but no hands are raised. The boy sits before me in the
center of the temple, his face now more pink than red. There’s a long
silence as Swamiji looks about, then picks up his cymbals.
Hare Krishna,” he says.
start the morning melody. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna,
Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The blond boy
jumps up. “I’M GOD!” he screams furiously. “I’M GOD!” He beats his
chest, and the hard thumps resound like a mridanga. “I am! I
am!” The chanting almost drowns him out. Mukunda, smiling, starts
dancing, and the boy screams repeatedly, “I’m God, I’m God, I’m God!”
The rhythms blend.
He turns and
dashes out of the temple, still striking his chest. He runs down
Frederick Street, flailing his arms and screaming until he’s out of
sight and hearing.
Swamiji returns to his quarters with Mukunda and Janaki. Guests are
scheduled for nine.
I ask Haridas
why he didn’t throw out the boy when he interrupted the lecture.
Brahmananda would have removed him at the first outburst.
“You have to
be careful with the hippies here,” Haridas tells me. “Tactful’s the
word. If someone’s high on LSD, people automatically give him all the
respect of God. They come in and jump up and down and scream, but we
can’t lay a hand on them because they’re LSD saints. Had we kicked that
boy out, the whole neighborhood would be down on us. The Diggers next
door are pretty noisy, but they unplug their jukebox during lectures,
and they’ve been giving us clothing and helping decorate the temple.
Sometimes the Hell’s Angels go over there and raise a lot of noise, and
sometimes they even come in here. If they do, best to humor them. They
are always trouble.”
As if cued,
someone at the Digger’s begins to roar like an animal. Thuds, breaking
glass and screams follow. Some girls run inside, close the door and
“Oh, don’t go
out there!” one girl cries. “It’s the Angels! They’ll tear you to
serving breakfast prasadam. She sets out extra paper plates.
“There’ll be more guests,” she says quietly.
and thuds continue, ceasing only when the police and ambulance arrive.
A big black has just beaten up three Hell’s Angels.
The door is
opened, and a dozen people drift in, all talking about the fight.
Harsharani brings out more prasadam.
Janaki, and Jadurani are the first girls initiated in the movement. In
New York, people are still asking whether the temple “accepts girls,”
but in San Francisco the girls take to Krishna from the very beginning.
After all, Krishna is eternally young and beautiful. He has nothing to
do but sport and play His flute. He loves to dance. He’s the
heart-breaker in everyone’s heart. Girls naturally flock to Him.
Francisco temple certainly abounds in pretty girls. Swamiji begins
performing weddings weekly.
“Why have you
chosen the center of Hippyland for your temple, Swamiji?” a Chronicle
rent’s cheap,” Swamiji replies.
phones frequently from New York. He tells us that at first they were
wondering whether they could manage without Swamiji, but now they are
surprised by how easy it is to carry on.
chanting’s the focal point,” Brahmananda tells us. “We can always sit
down and chant.”
He adds that
Swamiji’s presence is being felt in a different and even more wonderful
beginning to understand how worship in separation is more relishable.”
San Francisco. In the early mornings, he walks past Kezar Stadium, down
Stanyan to the entrance of Golden Gate Park. We follow, chanting
softly, down the narrow trails to the rhododendron dell. Some devotees
pick a few flowers for the temple, and from time to time Swamiji stops
to ask about a flower or a certain tree.
“A tree has
to endure so much,” he says, “due to very sinful previous lives. Trees
are forced to stand many years and suffer.”
walks, Swamiji receives visitors from an array of societies, including
the Haight-Ashbury Cultural Institute, whose members want to make Hare
Krishna a prominant part of the new “Hashbury” culture that’s about to
“change America.” Swamiji even attends their roundtable meeting,
chanting his beads quietly, eyes closed, enduring the cigarette smoke
and lengthy chit-chat. When he’s finally called upon to speak, he says,
“Make Krishna your center. With Krishna as your center, you’re bound to
succeed. But if not, then what can you accomplish?”
come. And strange new LSD Christian sects. The Brotherhood of the
Golden Swan. All the members dress like Franciscan friars and chant,
“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” They call themselves yogis.
Swamiji is most gracious; he allows them to speak briefly in the
temple. The Buddhists, however, he does not invite to speak.
continues translating Bhagavad-gita. He is so eager to
print it that we begin negotiations with a local printer. Prices are
very high. In New York, Brahmananda continues his pursuit of publishers.
Payne?” Swamiji asks. “And the money? And the building? Either we get
the building or he should give us our five thousand back. And that Mr.
Kallman—where is the record he promised?”
explains the importance of the upcoming dance. We discuss the program
with Allen Ginsberg. Allen is to introduce Swamiji and then lead the
you use is difficult for group chanting,” I tell him.
Allen admits, “but that’s the melody I first heard in India. A
wonderful lady saint was chanting it. I’m quite accustomed to it, and
it’s the only one I can sing convincingly.”
joyful enough, his melody is too erratic for large groups.
think there’s a possibility of chanting a tune more appealing to
Western ears?” Allen asks.
will do,” Swamiji says. “That’s not important. What’s important is that
you chant Hare Krishna. It can be in the tune of your own country. That
more youths crowd outside the temple looking for lodging. The
Haight-Ashbury vibrations lure them out of their suburban homes and
send them hitchhiking west, often penniless, with backpacks and
sleeping-bags and dreams of adventure. What strange amalgamations!
Chinese, Japanese, Mexicans, Anglos, Indians, blacks. And now Hare
Krishna. On the wall of the Ashbury Cinema, someone has scrawled, “DOWN
WITH THE CASTE SYSTEM!”
fantasies! People can become whatever they want in Haight-Ashbury. On
the streets, they present a kind of historical pageant, looking at
times like characters from the Old West, or princes and peasants from
medieval Europe. It is strange to see them enter the temple, strange to
hear Swamiji preaching to them, dutifully reminding them that they’re
not young forever, that the body doesn’t abide, that Krishna is
awaiting us in the spiritual sky.
breakfast prasadam—oranges, farina with dates and brown sugar,
and hot milk—Haridas and I check out the stores down Haight Street,
concentrated in the half blocks leading to the entrance of Golden Gate
Park, their gaudy commercialism in stark contrast to the tranquility of
eucalyptus and oak.
We visit The
Print Mint, The Psychedelic Shop, The Omen. Every Wednesday evening, we
chant in the meditation room of The Psychedelic Shop. Hare Krishna amid
black lights, strobes, incense, Oriental tapestries, and dayglow
is a tawdry carnival of psychedelia. It is drugs deified. Yet at its
root, there’s a basic disenchantment with materialism, the frustration
of Sisyphus, tired of rolling his rock up a hill over and over, longing
instead to cast aside his burden, break the chain of conditioning, and
can liberate us from karma,” Swamiji tells us. “Therefore He is
also called Mukunda, He who grants mukti, liberation. No one
else has this power.”
So on the
racks beside the psychedelic publications, we place Back To
Godhead. “Where there is Godhead, there is light.” Although they
urge the hippies to abandon drug taking, they sell out faster than we
can mimeograph them.
January 29. The night of Krishna consciousness at the Avalon Ballroom.
Haridas, Mukunda, Shyamasundar, Janaki and Malati go early to see that
everything’s set up. The ballroom is large, surrounded by mirrors. It
boasts the latest in strobes and slides. Two movie projectors whir full
time, and the sound system shakes the floor and walls. The Avalon and
the Fillmore are the two homes of the new San Francisco rock: Jefferson
Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Moby Grape, Quicksilver
Messenger Service, Grateful Dead, Steve Miller, Janis Joplin. All
young, white, and LSD oriented.
“I think what
you are calling ‘hippies’ are our best potential,” Swamiji says.
“Although they are young, they are already dissatisfied with material
life. Frustrated. And not knowing what to do, they turn to drugs. So
let them come, and we will show them spiritual activities. Once they
engage in Krishna consciousness, all these anarthas, unwanted
things, will fall away.”
Avalon’s doors open at seven, hippies, teenyboppers, and Hell’s Angels
begin pouring in. By eight o’clock, when The Grateful Dead begins
playing, the ballroom is packed. A barrage of rhythm, shrieks, and
blasts, amplified by speakers bigger than most closets, shake the
ballroom. There’s a roar of approval, and strobes flash off and on,
illuminating a sea of gyrating, pulsating bodies.
leaves Frederick Street at 9:30. He is dressed in fresh saffron silks.
As he discusses translating
Chaitanya-charitamrita, the sweet aroma from his gardenia
garland fills the car. By ten, he walks up the stairs of the Avalon,
Kirtanananda and Ranchor flanking him as he enters through the main
ballroom doors. Cigarette smoke mingles with incense. Janis Joplin
bellows into the microphone. Steel guitars, voices, drums, and strobe
lights bombard the senses. Yet Swamiji floats through it all, making
his way along the walls of the ballroom to the stage like a swan
navigating through lotuses.
Janis ends her song, and the slide show changes. Pictures of Krishna
and the demigods are flashed onto the wall. Krishna and Arjuna in the
chariot. Krishna eating butter. Krishna subduing the whirlwind demon.
Krishna playing the flute.
spontaneous roar of approval, and as Swamiji sits beside Ginsberg on
the front center stage, the roar turns into an ovation. The bands also
come on stage. Swamiji is garlanded again and again.
his introduction, commanding attention with the expertise of a Pied
Piper. Swamiji sits quietly, his head held high, appearing like a
golden Buddha—regal, transcendental, saintly—a strange contrast to poet
how his own interest in Hare Krishna started in India five years ago.
Then he recounts how Swamiji opened his storefront on Second Avenue and
chanted Hare Krishna in Tompkins Square Park. “Now, Krishna
consciousness has come West, to the Haight-Ashbury,” he says, inviting
everyone to the Frederick Street temple. “I especially recommend the
early morning kirtans,” he adds, “for those who want to
stabilize their consciousness on LSD re-entry.“
is hardly devotional Vaishnavism, the audience maintains a reverential
silence. After Allen’s introduction, Swamiji speaks, giving a brief
description of the history of the mantra, beginning with Lord
Chaitanya. “It is particularly recommended for this age,” he says.
“Kali-yuga is an age in which men are short-lived, ignorant,
quarrelsome and always in difficulties. Yet regardless of our position,
we can always chant the maha-mantra.”
Angels stare with mute incomprehension. Wearing denim jackets, caps,
leather regalia, chains, tattoos, long, dirty hair, they seem prime
candidates for the ghostly hordes of Shiva.
doesn’t mention the rules and regulations.
chant the maha-mantra,” he says. “There are only three
words-Hare, Krishna and Rama. ‘Hare’ is the energy of the Lord. …
I doubt that
very much of his speech is understood, but everyone stands politely and
listens respectfully. As Swamiji explains the mantra, slides
flash the words on the walls. Then the chanting begins with Allen
slowly singing his hurdy-gurdy tune into the microphone: Hare Krishna,
Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. The Big Brother band joins
in, then Grateful Dead and Moby Grape. Gradually, the chant spreads
throughout the audience. People begin holding hands and dancing.
Standing in front of the bands, we can hardly hear the audience, but
above everything is Allen’s voice, shouting, his “Hare” sounding more
like “Hooray!” Swamiji stands up and starts dancing, and the chanting
builds steadily to a climax. On the wall behind, a slide projects a
towering picture of Lord Krishna, flute in His hands, peacock feather
in His hair. A maze of color whirls to the rhythm of the mantra,
a rhythm that accelerates to a frenetic presto, the words merging,
punctuated only by Allen’s whooping “Hooray! Hooray!” Through the
flashing strobes, I see people dancing and shaking tambourines.
the chanting ends, and all that can be heard is the loud buzz of
offers obeisances to the gurus. “Ki jai! Ki jai! All glories to
the assembled devotees! Ki jai!”
It is all
over. As people meander to the soda stand, Allen announces that the
rock groups will shortly resume the concert. Swamiji descends from the
bandstand and walks straight through the heavy smoke and crowds to the
front stairs. Again, Kirtanananda and Ranchor follow.
“This is no
place for a brahmachari,” Swamiji proclaims, leaving.
nets us fifteen hundred dollars, barely enough to resolve the temple
morning, the temple is crowded with celebrants from the Avalon. They
never went to bed.
lectures on the eternity of the spirit soul.
“It cannot be
drowned by water, burned by fire, nor dried up by the wind,” he says.
“And these everlasting souls are to be found everywhere—on the earth,
in the air and water, even in the sun. Souls can acquire bodies
adaptable to the atmosphere of all planets, but none of these bodies in
the material worlds can continue to be fresh. That is the material
limitation. The element of time is so strong that it breaks down
everything. Whatever you create, though it be very beautiful and fresh
now, will eventually fade away just like a flower. In time, flowers
grow very beautiful, but in due course they wither and vanish.
Similarly, you are all now young and with such beautiful bodies. And so
you say, ‘Let us enjoy.’ But your bodies will also wither and perish.
Nature’s course is like that. Therefore Krishna tells Arjuna not to
deviate from his duty by fleeing the battle.”
Later in the
morning, Kirtanananda and I drive Swamiji to the beach, where he chants
a mantra we’ve never heard before.
jai, Gopala jai jai, Radharamana Hari, Govinda jai jai.” He chants
slowly, yearningly, in a low baritone mingling with the peaceful
falling of the waves.
Krishna, who gives pleasure to the cows and senses. Gopala is Krishna
the cowherd boy, and Radharamana is Krishna as the enjoyer of
Radharani. These are the words of this mantra.”
He chants a
longing, haunting melody that seems to reach out and then fall short,
and so must reach out again, like the perpetual mounting, crashing, and
mounting of waves striving to envelop the shore.
As he chants,
he walks slowly along the boardwalk. The January breeze is fresh and
cool. I peruse some kelp washed up on the beach and decide that the
long, hollow whips with their bell-shaped heads would make good
trumpets for kirtan.
gets a blanket and puts it over Swamiji’s shoulders. Swamiji looks out
over the Pacific expanse.
is great, it is tranquil,” he says.
‘The image of
eternity,” I say.
eternal but Krishna,” he says. Silence. Then: “In Bengali, there is one
nice verse. I remember. ‘O, what is that voice across the sea, calling,
calling, Come here... come here .… ?’”
For a long
time, Swamiji sits on a boardwalk bench, looking out across the ocean
and singing Bengali songs to Gopinatha, Lord Krishna, Master of the gopis.
From time to time, he stops to translate a verse for us. “O Gopinatha,
please sit within the core of my heart and subdue this mind, and thus
take me to You. Only then will the terrible dangers of this world
Then he sings
another verse, looking out on the ocean as if it were his audience. It
is a rare, peaceful moment, beyond everything material, and I wish it
could go on forever. But after a while, Swamiji stands up, sighs
deeply, as if beckoned by duty, and says, “Back to the temple.”
End of Chapter 7
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