Feature Article~ Nov/Dec 2013

Krishna Lounge Opens in Bellingham!

The Krishna Lounge opened last month in Bellingham.  I have to admit that I had some miss understandings about what the Hare Krishna movement is about.  When I think of Hare Krishna the Hollywood images of people dancing, singing and handing out flowers at the airport come to mind.  I have had the opportunity to meet and work with the founders of the Bellingham Association for Krishna Consciousness, Sadhu and Sudevi.  As I have gotten to know them, I realized that I had some pretty poor stereo-types about the Hare Krishna movement.  What I experienced was a very welcoming and heartwarming practice.  They both are great about sharing their philosophy without preaching or making me feel ignorant.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness or more commonly known Hare Krishna movement is a holistic philosophy that inspires the mind, body and spirit.  They have their roots in the ancient teaching of the Baghavad Gita and have had famous followers (bahkti) such as George Harrison of the Beattles.  They have inspired great community projects such as Food for Life, a project to “liberally distribute pure vegetarian meals (prasadam) throughout the world”.

Here in Bellingham I have participated in the Kirtan and feast offered by Sadhu and Sudevi and would highly recommend both.

KirtanThe Kirtan or chanting meditation is a uniquely beautiful experience.  The music and chanting bring you into a deep state of meditation and sense of peaceful bliss.  I was apprehensive at first about chanting with them (stemming from a fear of singing in public), but what I experienced was very powerful.  The combination of feeling the music, the others chanting and my own voice created a resonance in my body that was out of this world.

The feast that followed was a delicious vegetarian meal.  They explained that the food is prepared in a practice called prasadam, which is a sacred meditative process of preparing and offering the food to Krishna.  By offering the food to Krishna first the food is transformed into a pure form that will in turn purify you.

I asked them to share more about who they are and what they are doing.

What is Krishna Consciousness?

Krishna Consciousness is a state of awareness where one is fully conscious of the existence, nature, activities and presence of the Supreme Absolute Truth.

Chanting (kirtan), dancing, feasting and philosophy are the mainstays of this blissful and fun spiritual culture.

What is bhaki-yoga?

In the full state of Krishna Consciousness one realizes their original relationship with the Supreme Person thus endeavors with love to cultivate that relationship. Simply put, bhakti-yoga mean to engage in the transcendental loving service of the Supreme Soul. The definition is given in the ancient Indian scriptures.

The supreme occupation for all humanity is that by which humans can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.6

What is kirtan and how is it beneficial?

Kirtan means to chant in glorification of or to connect with the Supreme.

Kirtan is beneficial when a person chants with love. It is a limb or a part of bhakti-yoga and when performed properly, meaning service with a pure loving heart, God or the supreme source of everything becomes attracted by that person’s love. The benefit is that you get the all attractive, all blissful source of everything – Krishna.

How is feasting a spiritual experience?

Eating becomes spiritualized when the food is made and eaten is connection with the satisfaction of Krishna or God. When you water the root the whole tree is satisfied, in the same way when we serve the source of all life, we too will become fully satisfied, just like the leaves of the tree.  So, by eating in the association of spiritual people on food that has been made with love and devotion, we feel our connection to each  other and to God so acutely that sometime we are filled with spiritual feelings of satisfaction, jubilation and love.

What is the Krishna Lounge? 

Krishna Lounge is multi-faceted spiritual and social center. Our goal is to have regular classes, workshops and social events meant for nurturing the spiritual inclinations with in everyone.  Thus far we have three facets that are currently running:

On Sunday Krishna Lounge is an all inclusive lounge, tea bar and yoga studio. The space is student and volunteer run with the intention to create a healthy and sustainable atmosphere. All of Bellingham is invited to be part of a community engaged in a spiritual revolution.  The Sunday Krishna Lounge offers a wide arrangement of tea and whole food baked goods. Ultimately, Sunday is all about catering to a community need for a peaceful daytime lounge.

Thursday evenings Krishna Lounge offers kirtan, philosophical discussion, a vegetarian meal, and a cool place to meet new people seeking a broader and deep perspective on life. It is very peaceful, fun and the food is great!

Saturday morning Kerri Burnside offers guided mediation for deepening and exploring your own journey into spiritual life.  Kerri also offers guided mediation for reducing stress and improving memory Tuesdays evenings.

Visit the Krishna Lounge website: www.lounge108.com

By Kerri Burnside

 

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