Current Date: Thu, 23 May 2013 13:24:16 -0400
For many students, the weekly, vegetarian Hare Krishna meal in McCorkle Place represents a free dinner. But for others, it is much more.
Every Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., hundreds of UNC students line up for rice, curry, beans and cream of wheat, served by members of the New Goloka temple in Hillsborough.
Sophomore Josh Sydes was one of those students last year. He began asking members of the temple questions about their beliefs, and soon, he was volunteering himself.
“If I hadn’t gone to the dinner and a couple other events, I would not have known what it was, and it has changed my life dramatically in a positive way.”
Sydes said he now studies the Bhagavad Gita which is the primary text of the practice.
Jagadguru das, an organizer of the dinner, said more students have told him this year that they have begun meditating as a result of the dinners.
“People like you very much when you distribute free food,” he said. “But the food is spiritual.”
Hare Krishna is a spiritual practice that originated in India. Followers believe chanting connects them to Krishna, or God.
Members of the temple serve an estimated 300 students each week, das said.
He said the people who prepare the food don’t taste it, and cook with the idea that it will be enjoyed by Krishna.
“By sharing food, we can begin to share ideas and dialogue and make available to them this spiritual knowledge from the ancient cultures of the East,” das said.
Anadi Krishna dasa, another organizer and server, said members hope students will use the food as an opportunity to find out about the Hare Krishna beliefs, which he said will make students happy.
“Everybody knows that most students are more stressed out than you can imagine, but the way of Krishna consciousness is full of bliss, and with this food hopefully they’ll get an opportunity to experience what Krishna consciousness means,” dasa said.
Senior Stephen Bisher said he has been coming to the dinners for a year and a half.
“It’s like having an alternate Lenoir experience, like Lenoir outside essentially,” he said.
Graduate student Laura Benton said the dinners are a great way to do outreach.
“It’s a great way to talk about their religion and the principles they hold,” Benton said. “Clearly, they believe in hospitality and giving, and it’s a beautiful thing.”
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