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            <<  Murwillumbah, 4-Jul-2013  >>

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare!

2 days WWOOFing on 'Hare Krishna Farm' in Murwillumbah. Major Hindu disappointment :-)

You might remember, that I planned to go see Hare Krishna farm / community near Byron Bay. As it turned out, it is not so much near Byron, it was in Murwillumbah, some 1 hour drive from Nimbin.
I called to the Hare Krishna farm when I arrived to Nimbin, but they told me that they were currently not looking for any WWOOFers, as they were full, and that actually I couldnít get there, because a bridge leading to their farm was flooded due to the heavy rain.
So I thought that there was no Hare Krishna for me this time, but as from Nimbin I had to pass through Murwillumbah anyway, I stopped at the farm to check the situation in person. The bridge was no longer flooded so I managed to get in, and when I told them that Iím OK with sleeping in my car or tent (as all accommodation was full) they agreed and let me stay there.

As time is running high and my Australian visa is about to expiry very soon I told them that I plan to stay just 2 days and nights, and thatís exactly how long I stayed. Unlike in Tonyís place, here the daily schedule is very fixed, as this is a real farm. So work begins at 6:30 (yes, 6:30), breakfast is at 8:30, the work continues until 12:30, lunch is at 13:30 and in the afternoon everyone can do whatever he wants until dinner at 19:00 and then itís free time again, with silent mode from 21:00. Well, doing whatever one wants is not quite precise, as obviously, alcohol, cigarettes and meat are forbidden on the farm, but you can go and get your sinnerís fix in the outside world away from the farm. Apart from WWOOFing schedules, those who wanted (and really no one pushed the people to do this) could participate in Hare Krishna activities. Morning kirtan (worship by singing and chanting) in nearby Hare Krishna temple starts at 4:30 and lasts until 6:00, from 6:00 to 6:30 takes place another mini-kirtan, this one being more oriented towards WWOOFers (basically it was just singing along with guitar) and in in the evening there was another kirtan in the temple. Since my primary interest for staying here was to get back little bit of that Indian feeling, I joined all the kirtans (yes I did wake up at 4:00 just to go there) and worships. During the working hours I was mostly helping with cleaning of the farm, as they were getting ready for a festival. Hello dumpsters, my new best friends! Again I spent some funky time in the dumpsters, but this time not in search for food, but for filling them up with the trash, cleaning some abandoned junk caravan and getting all the trash to a lorry.
Pretty dirty work it was, I must say, but OK, I got the food for free, and the place was really beautiful, although horribly muddy after all that rain. I also helped with washing new-born-baby-sized sweet potatoes.

Hereís what I have to say about Hare Krishna community.
OH MY GOD! Sorry, I mean, OH MY KRISHNA!!!
Hinduism in India is super joyous religion, thatís why I like it in the first place. Hare Krishna feast which I attended in Sydney was similarly joyous, with friendly people, happily chanting and dancing. THIS PLACE is just a sad, sad dumpsite for losers. Sorry for such harsh word, but itís true. The first words that came to my mind when I saw the people was Soul Asylum. Yes, of course thatís a name of 90ís rock band, but this non-existing expression is exactly what I was thinking about this place.
It looked more like Fellowship Of Ex-Anonymous Alcoholics mixed with Brotherhood Of Sentenced Drug Addicts Who Found God While In Jailhouse. You should have seen those people. I would be probably scared if I met any of them at night. The place was really teeming with faces of ex-heroin addicts. And those who did not look like if they came here straight from the jail, looked, well, one third of them looked like half-retarded, and the other half looked fully retarded. Seriously, there were maybe 2 people who looked normal. The evening kirtans were really sad, not joyous at all, few attendees and it looked like mass therapy by chanting (well, Hinduism actually IS mass therapy by chanting, but here it was just weird). And also when this maybe 30 year old ďmonkĒ from Germany started to talk about Krishna I had hard time not to start laughing. While there is tremendous amount of dignity in Indian Brahmins or actually any other Indian while they speak about Krishna or Shiva, this German guy just sounded brainwashed. I have a lot of respect for Hinduism, I consider Bhagavatgita as one of the most influential books in my life (and for Hare Krishnas Bhagavatgita is really their ďbibleĒ), but this guy, while speaking about Krishna, took away all the beautiful metaphysical transcendental beauty of Hinduism and its subtle parallels with our daily life, and turned it into dogmatic, first-plain bullshit. Only Smurfs and fairies were missing.

Members of Hare Krishna (I saw approximately 15 of them) wanted me to stay over the weekend, because there was going to be a huge festival (I learned that the Hare Krishna community around Murwillumbah is one of the biggest in the world outside of India), but even if I could, which I couldnít because I really had to move north, I just wouldnít stay anyway. This place was breaking my heart and ripping my brain. Itís not because of any sectarian behavior of the people, actually I really donít think that they were trying to ďconvertĒ any WWOOFers, I really didnít see any pressure> at all, but simply because the people there were just WEIRD. Like, I lost everything in life, so here I am, where at least Krishna loves me.

Let me share a brief story to document this. One young Australian, who really seemed extremely plain, actually, maybe this one was really retarded, or his IQ was at least subnormal, explained me and one more Japanese guy who was interested in Hare Krishna, that before chanting the Maha (Great) Mantra (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, Ö), itís good to chant Panca Tattva (Five Truths) Mantra, because by chanting Great Mantra you can commit 10 offences, but by chanting Panca Tattva mantra first, which is known for not causing any offences , you purify yourself and you will be free from those 10 offences while chanting Maha Mantra for the rest of the kirtan. Since I could see that emptiness in his eyes I didnít even ask the obvious question, but the poor Japanese guy was more naive so he asked: ďWhat are those 10 offences? How can you commit offence by chanting Maha Mantra?Ē. The answer? Naturally it was: ďOh, I donít really know. But itís good to do it like thisĒ. Holy shit! So he does this every single day of this life, 2 times a day, his every chanting begins with Panca Tattva Mantra, and he doesnít even know why is he doing this every single fucking day of his life? This is indoctrination at its best!

2 days were just enough at that place, full of people with either emptiness in their eyes or completely stoned-look. Dear India, or Hare Krishna community in Sydney, I love you, but this place was just sad!


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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak