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HKY Rips Through L.A.
By Gadadhara das

CHAKRA (Los Angeles, California) - TThe Hare Krishna Youth (HKY) arrived in Los Angles around 3:30 am one Saturday morning, after a 6-hour journey across hot barren deserts, through slaughterhouses, past drunk drivers, and stopping only to relieve our selves at nose grabbing truck stops. 

With one hour until mangala arati, the majority of us sought out our quarters at the ashrams and then attended the early morning service.

Soon exhaustion took hold of four of us and we lay in the back of a 15 passenger van as eight tired eyes closed into the early morning hours. Mangala arati passed us by until Nakula das roused us at 7 to greet Their Lordships Rukmini and Dwarkadish.

Stepping into the temple room was like a cool drink of water on a hot day. The Dieties were even more beautiful than I had remembered. They quenched our tired bodies and rejuvenated our enthusiasm to help prepare the 10th annual Srila Prabhupada Festival in Los Angeles temple.

The Srila Prabhupada Festival was spectacular. Srila Prabhupada disciples and devotees from around the world were there. They told stories, lead great kirtans and lectures, and did parikrama with Srila Prabhupada.

For breakfast the HKY (Hare Krishna Youth) helped serve the prasadam and then we were put to work picking 500 avocado leaves for a special decoration for Srila Prabhupada.

We helped set up a few lights on the streets and set up the stage where Srila Prabhupada's was going to sit.

In the kitchen we washed pots and on the street we swept until it was time to rehearse for our three humble offerings to Srila Prabhupada: two plays and a rock concert.

After rehearsal we ate prasadam and went out on harinama (street chanting). It was ecstatic. For some of us it was the biggest harinama we had ever been on in our whole lives.

We came back to the temple after the harinama to wash pots till 12:30 AM.

All glories to Narada dasa, who washed pots for 2 hours by himself. I was lucky enough to help him in his last 15 minutes of glory on that Saturday night.

After only 3 1/2 hours of sleeping, Nakula das jarred us awake. Soon we were off to the showers again and then to the morning program. The Los Angeles temple president, Svavasa Prabhu, greeted us.

After the morning program the HKY again served out breakfast prasadam. As the line thinned out for breakfast we, one by one, sneaked off to take our share.

With stomachs twice the size of their normal capacity, we headed to set up the booths for the festival. HKY took up 3 spaces. We had the biggest booth at the Prabhupada festival.

We presented our project, and raised funds by selling Hemaguari's famous butter cookies, and selling of our t-shirts, Lokanatha's videos, and Sudha's tapes. We also distributed our newsletters.

Many people were happy to see us and gave donations to support Srila Prabhupada's future.

While four of us managed the booth, the play crew of eight HKY members rehearsed and three other HKY members prepared for the concert.

The rest of the HKY were in the kitchen cutting up vegetables.

I learned later that Vrindabana dasa helped cut up the "biggest mass of curd" he had ever seen.

Sunday was triumphant. We performed a Krishna Rock concert and 2 plays, the "Cobbler and the Brahman" and "The Boatman and Scholar."

After the plays we helped served out the Sunday Feast. We sat together and ate until we were too full to move.

The next day we ventured off to the ISKCON Laguna Beach temple. Upon arrival, we went to the beach, played football, and did a harinama at night.

In the morning, everyone woke up for Mangal Arati and the rest of the morning program. Dvarkadish das gave the morning class and led a great guru-puja kirtana.

This trip was successful. Harinamas, plays, concerts, prasadam, devotional service, fundraising, traveling, temple programs, ashram life, friends, and more made the first HKY trip successful. Plus we all gained an experience that we will never forget!

For more information please write the Hare Krishna Youth: hky@onebox.com - email, or (510) 343-2139 x1813 - voicemail/fax



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