By Rita Gupta
A few weeks ago, New Vrindaban Communications sent out a press release across the state of West Virginia regarding the upcoming Ratha Yatra. Jenny’s newspaper included Ratha Yatra in its Calendar of Events. Jenny saw the listing and drove two hours with her son to get to New Vrindaban. They spent the entire day here. Previously, all Jenny knew about New Vrindaban and Krishna consciousness was “stereotypes.” Please read the message she sent yesterday — it proves that Lord Caitanya’s mission is still going on!
I’m sorry I took so long to respond. Still working on my final project but sent you the pictures through Snapfish. Don’t buy any from there though bec/ I’ll send you a disc w/ all of them.
I can’t say thank you enough, Rita, for spending so much time w/ us last weekend. Christopher and I are still sharing w/ our family and friends. He’s been taking confirmation classes for almost a year ( just once a month). Parents make sure the children are baptized and receive first communion, but confirmation is when the children speak for themselves and “confirm” they want to be a Christian and Catholic. He hasn’t been sure that’s what he wanted to do, and it’s his decision. But, seeing your religion showed him the major things we believe in (God above all and be nice to each other, be steward’s of the gift of earth) isn’t something our religion just invented. These are universal truths. I can’t tell you how many genuine conversations we’ve had about Catholicism and other ways of living.
Sunday morning bef/ we went to church, we saw a show where Buddist monks were teaching how to meditate. Christopher asked, “Mom, is that against our religion?” I asked him, “What do you think Jesus was doing for 40 days in the desert?” We discussed your Hare Krishna beads and our rosary and other ways people choose to meditate. He bought a Jugernaut (spelling?) at the thrift store. The saleswoman (She takes care of the flowers at the palace.) told him it was holy and not just a souvenir and to put it in a good place. He not only keeps it safe in his room, but he asked me to buy him paints so he could fix the chips in the wood and freshen where the paint was faded. It may not be a typical Catholic symbol, but he understands its importance and that it represents Krishna deities.
Christopher wanted me to invite you to our WV Italian Heritage Festival in Clarksburg. It’s over the Labor Day weekend. He said, “Mom, I want Rita to see our culture. But, we’re going to have to feed her at our house bec/ she can’t eat any of the food downtown.” (Mostly steak and chicken sandwiches – but lots of good desserts.) I was proud as his mom and his Spanish teacher that he wants to share his culture but understands your practices have to be considered. If we could get all our youth to this point, can you imagine what kind of country we’d have?
When I finish my project, I’ll send you a copy of that, too. And, thanks for interviewing us. One of my classmates went to your website and found it. We drive to class together, and he and his wife wanted to check out the community. He emailed the rest of the class so they could read the article, too.
What’s funny is that you wrote Jonathan instead of Christopher. We talked so much about different names and appearances. What’s funny is my baby brother is Jonathon (w/ an “o”, not an “a”), and Christopher looks like him – you can barely tell their baby pictures apart.
Thanks again so much, Rita.
PS. When I was reading the website bef/ I visited, I read where the Hare Krishna chant means service to God. So, I made up my own chant. I’ve been using it with my rosary – I don’t think I’ll ever get to 2 hours though. But, when I need to slow down or calm down, I say either yours or mine and feel better after just a few times.
Use me, O God. Use me, O God.
O God, O God. Use me, use me.
Dear Lord, guide me. Dear Lord, guide me.
Guide me, guide me. Dear Lord, dear Lord.