Black Rock City, Nevada Desert, “The Burning Man

Here we are now, entertain us.

Hare Krishna’s at The Burning Man!? Brahmacaris at The Burning Man!? ‘If you go to Burning Man, prabhu, you’ll become the Burning Man…’ I took these warnings to heart. Would I cut the grade? Would I take birth in a family of wealthy merchants or a family of pious brahmanas if I spontaneously decombusted? Who knows?
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Well, I did not really know quite what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. 40,000 liberal-minded, boundary-stretching artists, new-age types, old-timers, yippees, party-animals and just downright crazy Americans revelling in the sand, letting go of all restraint and convention.

There are pros…and cons.

Rave music, nudity, art constructs, gift-giving, stream of consciousness, portable toilets, camp/glam culture, bicycles, fire-dancers, mock-fighting in the Thunderdome, artistic freedom, yogi wannabees, ethereal types and Californian hedonists…

This is the way…step inside…

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But hold on. Snuggled in the midst of all this post- or pre-apocalyptic culture were a band full of hard-working, dedicated devotees sharing what they know best with their fellow Burners – Lord Jagannatha, the maha-mantra, spiritual reverie, Vaishnava hospitality and devotional charity. Sura prabhu was infiltrating the playa (the stretch of desert where the event takes place) with his bhajan group. Harinarayana was dazzling the crowds with his acrobatic feats. And Jagannatha graciously allowed the Burners to pull Him along the playa.

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This is Burning Man. Krishna Camp at Burning Man. An oasis. And – for many Burners – a shelter from the extremity of the event.

Perhaps the Burning Man is a manifestation of Babylon. Or is it Dante’s Inferno? Dante’s Paradise? It all depends on how you see things. It is a trip…even if you’re sober. A waking dream. A surreal, live art installation. Burning Man is an opportunity. It is the techno-culture’s answer to the Summer of Love.

As the poet William Blake wrote, ‘The road of excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom.’

Some found their Palace of Wisdom at Krishna Camp.

Jaya Prabhupada! Jaya Jagannatha!

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