We met George at the kirtan festival in Boone, North Carolina. A month later we were talking to him in Salt Lake City, his hometown. Utah has the highest population of Mormons in the world. They follow 3 of the 4 basic regulative principles of the Krishnas – no illicit sex, no gambling, no intoxication. The festival of colors originated from there where mostly Mormons joyously participate in good, clean fun.
George is a lawyer in his 60s. He grew up in NY where he always sawthe Krishna devotees chanting on the streets. He even saw Prabhupada, founder of the Hare Krishna in the West, in Trafalgar Square in 1972. Yet, he had other pursuits. In 1977 he converted to Mormon and married his Mormon born wife.
Three years ago he joined a group touring India and ended up in sacred Vrindavan, birthplace of Lord Krishna. The ongoing kirtan in the ISKCON, Krishna Balaram temple room immediately attracted him. Every day he joined the kirtan group to chant with them. Back in Utah he searched for the Hare Krishnas. An old friend of his, a devout catholic was secretly associating with the Krishnas. George longed to chant in kirtan again. It was ecstatic, spontaneous and different from church choir, because it was unrehearsed, he remembers.
Now he is in charge of the kirtans at the Hare Krishna Center in Salt Lake City. He is present every Saturday and on festival days. Though he still practices as a lawyer, he spends a lot of time with the local Hare Krishnas who readily feed him delicious vegetarian food. Kirtan captured his heart and the draw of the spiritual sound vibration drove him to frantically search for more. KIRTAN FOREVER