Driving from Fort Worth to Granbury this morning, the local “oldies” station spun one of the best songs ever; George Harrisons, “My Sweet Lord.” The song, released in 1970, on his album, “All Things Must Pass” is a gleaming gem of music history. Harrison’s beautiful guitar work is a masterpiece to behold. Far better than when he was a Fab Four.
When the chorus comes around, the backup singers begin chanting; “Hare Krishna, Krishna-Krishna, Hare-Hare.” I don’t remember that part, but Harrison was extremely religious and most devoted to all things mystical and Eastern. Hare Krishna’s. I haven’t thought about those goofy folks since 1970.
The Hare Krishna movement danced into Dallas around 1969-1970; flowing robes, shaved heads, Yule Brenner ponytails and a large flock of former hippie-chicks banging on tambourines. They appeared everywhere; Lee Park, McKinney Ave, Oaklawn, the Quadrangle, downtown and especially at the cities airport, Love Field. An organized army of orange robed hippie-converts, dancing down the sidewalk, chanting, swirling in childish abandon and singing gibberish. My parents generation was terrified, believing disciples of the evil Manson family had invaded Big D. Krishna’s are prolific religious messengers, and their foremost message is, ” give us your money or we are not leaving you alone.”
On a hot August day, I taxi my Mother and a few of her relatives to Love Field for a vacation flight to Hawaii. After goodbyes at the gate, I proceed to the terminal lobby. The Krishna’s are on me like the measles; dancing, singing, chanting their gibberish, swirling around while beating their little tambourines. They are smart in one sense; they encourage the Krishna girls to approach men. The pretty ones are recruited to collect the best offerings. Capitalism and sexism seems to be encouraged in their religion of poverty. Someone has to pay for that incense and the Bentley sedans.
I am surrounded, with no way out, short of bulldozing through the throng. A cute young Krishna girl meekly approaches and ask for a contribution, a “love offering” she calls it. Their circle grows tighter; they are uncomfortably close. I can smell the Petiole oil and incense they use instead of soap and water. Short of violence, escape is futile, so I pull a five from my wallet and contribute to whatever they believe in. The circle breaks, and they dance away. No blessing, just take the money and run.
During the war, Love Field, at any time of day, or night is full of service men coming from, or going to Vietnam. Many of the returning boys are less than 24 hours out of battle and more than rattled and raw from being thrust back into real-life with no decompression. The Krishna’s, at this time, are mostly made up of wayward, converted, confused former hippies, and many of them, still possess their anti-war feelings. I can assume that Hare Krishna doesn’t teach their converts sensible logic in dangerous situations.
Two Army Rangers walking through the terminal, duffle bags on their shoulders, are immediately surrounded by the band of frenetic minstrels. Something is said, or implied, and within an instant, olive green arms and “fist of fury” fly like a Texas dust devil, and five male Krishna’s are laying on the marble floor, knocked out cold. Security saunters over, observes the damage and congratulates the two soldiers for a job well done. The young Krishna girl stands quietly for a minute, observing the scene. She drops her tambourine, removes her beads, head scarf and robe and walks away with the two Rangers. Sometimes a good dose of reality hits you like a fist in the gut. True story.