The Krishna Waltz
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare
I actually learned this melody just like this. OK, maybe they didn’t have a banjo…
In the late fall of 1972, we came down to Brindavan after spending the spring, summer and early fall at Maharaj-ji’s temple at Kainchi. At Kainchi,kirtan walas had been hired to chant the Hare Krishna mantra all day and into the night for the whole time that Maharaj-ji was there. I got to spend a lot of time with these musicians, who taught me the various rhythms and melodies. They gave me cymbals to play and every time I lost the beat one of them would reach out and take my hand and set me straight. However, through some twist of fate, they were all sent away. When the devotees asked Maharaj-ji who would sing kirtan now, he replied that the Westerners would do it. So there we were singing 8 – 10 hours a day. What’s more, it was broadcast out to the entire valley over the old P.A. system. Maharaj-ji was always creating situations like that, and when anyone would question him as to whether or not it was proper for us to be doing some Hindu ritual, his reply was always the same: “Their hearts are pure.” I’m not sure if everyone agreed with him on that point, but they knew it was futile to argue!
In November 1971, the ISKCON (Krishna Consciousness) people were just arriving in Brindavan and were invited by Maharaj-ji to chant at the temple. They came with drums and cymbals and shakers and sang with great enthusiasm. After they had gone, Maharaj-ji called me over. He reached into his blanket, handed me 50 Rupees, and told me to go buy a drum! I ran out to the bazaar and found a little drum shop. The owner only had one drum left. I gave him the 50 rupees, took the drum and went back to the temple. I didn’t play it because I wanted Maharaj-ji to be the first to do so. I gave him the drum and he banged on it a little and laughed. Then he handed it back to me and asked me who would teach me how to play it. I said “Hanuman-ji!” He laughed and nodded his approval. I still have never learned how to play the drum very well…
Maharaj-ji always said that the Hare Krishna mantra was the ‘Mahamantra,’ the Great Mantra, and it was chanted constantly in his temples whenever he was there.