Hare Krishna temple offers a Sunday dinner alternative

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Hare Krishna devotees, BYU students and other guests join together at Spanish Fork’s Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple on Sunday evenings for learning, dancing and feasting as a part of the temple’s weekly “Love Feast.”

The Love Feast, a part of traditional Hindi culture, has been a weekly event at the Spanish Fork temple since it opened in 2001, according to temple worker and Krishna devotee Vai. She said the event is directed mostly toward visitors.

“The purpose of life is to learn to love God,” Vai said. “We don’t care what religion people are.”

Attendants of the Love Feast receive both spiritual and physical nourishment. The event begins with Kirtan, or a traditional music performance. This leads into the lecture by temple president Caru Das, who has been a member of the Hare Krishna faith since 1970.

“So the paper’s due tomorrow, huh?” he jokes as he begins the lecture, referencing the large number of BYU students in the crowd.

Brian Patrick, a sophomore from Springville studying information technology, is one of these students who attended the event as an assignment for his world religions class.

“I’m so amazed that there is so much culture right here in our backyard,” Patrick said.

The lecture during the first week of the month was centered on happiness and God’s love.

“A smile is the greatest tool for taking greater ground for the kingdom,” Das said. He said smiling makes one more trustworthy, makes the brain think more clearly and makes you live longer.

Das also emphasized God’s love for all His children. “Even though he’s got so many engagements going on, he still misses what you and you and you bring to the table,” he said, pointing to members of the congregation.

“I really do love coming to stuff like this,” said Diana Brown, a senior from Ogden studying sociology. “It made me really happy. I love the energy in it, and it helped me to let go of crap I have been hanging on to today.”

BYU professor Alonzo Gaskill requires his students to attend a worship service of another religion as a part of his world religions class.

“I don’t know how you can possibly know what you know, until you know what you don’t know,” said Gaskill. “I think we owe it to ourselves and other people to sincerely understand them, and the only way we can do that is to engage.”

After the lecture was the Aarti ceremony, which involved worship and offerings to Krishna, and a traditional Hindi feast in the temple’s vegetarian buffet.

“We want the religion to be predominantly focused on making spiritual progress,” Vai said. “Whatever they can glean from our teachings, they can add it to their own culture and benefit.”

Spanish Fork’s Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple is famous for its annual Holi, an ancient Indian celebration to welcome spring, according to Utah Krishna’s website. Caru Das said the Spanish Fork temple has the largest color festival in the world.

This year’s Festival of Colors will take place on Mar. 29 and 30. More information can be found at the Festival of Colors’ website.

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