evj banner
"For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not of ourselves."

My Search - A Prelude to Finding God

Jesus Revolution, Part 5, by David Hoyt

by David Hoyt

One windy evening I headed down a side street, making my way to my flat on Clay Street. Noises of the city and colored posters on storefronts and walls lined the route. As I turned the corner, someone put a small flyer in my hand. To my surprise, it had a picture of a Swami from India, with a short story about him on the back.

He was coming to set up a Krishna Temple a few blocks away in our neighborhood. This could be worth looking into – a  bonafide Swami from India. Could he be the answer? At least he wasn’t like the street messiahs.

swami baktivedanta
Swami A.C. Baktivedanta

It felt like I’d been in a searching process forever and I was ready for some tangible spiritual direction. After years of looking on my own, I wondered how long it would take to get a break-through. Feeling impatient, I wondered what this swami would be like.  Would he be the real deal?

For work, I did part-time jobs doing manual labor, and some volunteer work. I worked for a local emergency housing and food program with the ‘Diggers’ and the ‘Summer of Love’ as a volunteer, meeting a lot of people—but friendships were scarce.  People on the streets could be as superficial as any.  Fortunately I had two friends.  One was a disciple at the Zen Center. He and I would share meals – discussing spiritual truths. The other was a Christian girl I’d met who taught Sunday school at a local church. Over time I also became friends with her family and although my way of searching for God was strange to them – they still accepted me.

One afternoon, while at the park, I ran into some followers of the new swami. I talked to them and listened as they sang their chants. I was moved by their sincerity. Later, I followed them back to the storefront they had turned into a temple on Frederick Street. They seemed to be doing the right things, providing free meals for the needy, and appeared to be dedicated to God. The teaching was a type of yoga, similar to what I’d read about – and this new group in the Haight-Ashbury intrigued me.

Getting involved in the temple was of interest because I wanted to meet and interact with others who were seekers, so I began to attend the 7 a.m. worship gathering called "Kirtan." It was a good discipline to get up early and start my day.  They also had a late afternoon worship which I attended, and usually there was food at both.

The swami had been out of town and upon returning – I was impressed. Swami Bhaktivedanta dressed in light orange, spoke good English and was extremely knowledgeable in the ancient teachings of the Hindu religion.  The temples he’d opened nurtured a teaching called ‘Krishna Consciousness’ – and he taught in understandable terms at the end of each worship gathering.

Entering a Krishna temple was like taking a step into another world. The disciples were feverishly chanting on large wooden red or blue beads the mantra given by the Swami.  As the worship time began the mantra would take on melodic form as a hand organ, cymbals and drums were added. I remember a young Jewish convert chanting his mantra and playing cymbals next to me. The intensity of his passion for chanting and dancing spurred me on. Quickly the room would fill with incense as the devotees rose and danced into a frenzy until near exhaustion over the course of a twenty minute period. It was a spiritual natural high.

[ To be Continued ]

Read previous articles in David Hoyt's "Jesus Revolution" Series:

Part 1: Jesus People Days

Part 2: A Cry Rushed Upward to a Place Called Heaven

Part 3: Ripe for Change and Heart Revolution

Part 4: Recollections of My Search for Truth

David Hoyt

Dave Hoyt and his wife Ginny reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He grew up a troubled teen in Los Angeles. In 1966 he moved to San Francisco’s ‘Haight District’ seeking truth and God. Reaching a crisis of belief in Eastern Religions – he turned to prayer and came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. He went on to be an early participant in the Jesus People Movement in the USA and Europe. He continues as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Bookmark and Share

Last Update: 2017-07-24 17:20