Mystics in our Mist
During my cult watching activities, I investigated a slew of movements that were Hindu and Buddhist based. To obtain my information, I attended mostly public meetings held by Swamis, Yogis and Monks. These spiritual leaders of eastern mysticism were obviously promoting their doctrines and soliciting devotees to their cause. I’d cover some of these events with a camera and small tape recorder. Even my oldest son Tone, would assist at times. It’s interesting to see how Caucasian college students were so easily duped. They would bow and behave with an attitude of piousness in the presence of these eastern teachers.
In 1967, the TM movement gained enormous traction when the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi became the spiritual advisor to the Beatles.
A long running debate has been: “Were the Beatles responsible for Maharishi’s great fame and success as a meditation teacher, or were Maharishi’s achievements due to real, positive effects of TM practice in people’s lives?” Whatever the verdict, with all my other activities during the ’70s, I had limited time to monitor this eastern sect. This was already done by the SCP and other members of the Berkeley Christian Coalition.
Another time on the SJSU (San Jose State University), I covered an event attended by one of the Karmapas of the Tibetan Buddhism traditions. Next, up at UC Berkeley, I attended a Hare Krishna event centered on local spiritual leader Hansadutta das. Other gatherings focused on eastern teachers with difficult to pronounce names like: Sri Satyanarayanan and Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of the Hare Krishna sect.
Pronouncing the names of these spiritual teachers when lecturing on these movements in Spanish speaking churches, was a hassle for both me and my interpreter.
One bright Sunday afternoon I and Tone viewed a Krishna parade in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. I took pictures for the Berean News, while Tone recorded the chanting. On the way home, I couldn’t delete the mesmerizing chant of the Hare Krishna mantra out of my head. It was compared to the repetitive lyrics of Afro-Caribbean music backed by a pulsating rhythm section; sort of like being under the influence of a Voodoo spell.
The following is a YouTube video of Hare Krishna 1967 San Francisco, loaded by SecretJeevas on Jan 8, 2007 (4:48 mins):