One time, a couple of summers ago, I got blessed by Hare Krishna’s. In the summer of 2010… Or 2011, aw heck, I forgot but anyway I went on my annual trip to Pennsylvania to visit family and while we were so close to West Virginia my Aunt thought of the superb idea of going to visit the Palace of Gold.
It’s thirty minutes out of Wheeling, West Virginia in the hills of the New Vrindaban Community. I literally felt like we were getting lost on our way up there. You traipse through the countryside on curvy roads and pass a lot of small farms. I remember we were in some small town, then turned right and then some how got on the road toward our destination.
Anyway, it took forever getting there. Once we made it, we first saw the golden arches of Mcdonalds, I’m just kidding, It was the golden arches of the palace. It literally pops up at you from the hills while you’re still driving.
We parked on a stoney road next to the entrance. I remember it was hot. It was stagnant hot, no breeze, no nothing. We walked through a wooden tunnel and read super old signs explaining the cost of tours. The next tour was in a couple of minutes so we had to hustle. We got to the palace and it was beautiful. I have no idea what the building was made out of but it was gold trimmed with a beautiful design.
Nope, I can’t take a good picture.
We could’ve been in India for all I knew. We walked inside and found it to be just as earth shatteringly beautiful as the outside. There were stained glass windows with a multitude of colors, marbled floors, inlaid walls, and little hindu relics everywhere.
Our tour was lead by this very unenthusiastic man who told us all to take off our shoes. I obliged and even though it was a little odd I always say when you’re in Rome, do what the Romans do. We were on a tour with this Indian couple who were quite rude, always standing in my way of the views and interrupting my questions, but whatever.
After the tour we just perused through the property and made our way down to the camp site. There were a few people at the temple and all their heads were shaved. Even the little kids. We just walked around then made our way up to the gift shop.
There it was, the mecca of all air conditioners. It blasted the place up and it felt like heaven would feel like in July. My Aunt bought a few things. I had no idea what to buy if I were to buy anything. I didn’t know how to make sense out of what Hare Krishnas believe in or whatever they do.
Right as we were about to open the door into the sweltering heat the gift shop employee stopped us and asked if he could bless us with a prayer for the road. My Aunt and Brother just stood there and I quickly said yes, cause why not? Now, I’m Catholic but for some reason I can’t explain I just am accepting of other religions, spiritual beliefs and lifestyles. I try not to judge, so I completely accepted this guy with his want to bless us. Granted, he was a white guy with a robe on, wearing glasses from the 1980’s but still, do what you gotta do, right?
We bowed our heads and he said a number of words that all just sounded like he was repeating “Hare Krishna” over and over again. And there you have it a blessing for the road spoken by a true Hare Krishna. We smiled, thanked him and then went on our way. Once we got in the car we laughed and cracked up but I don’t think I’ll ever forget that day. There was something about it. I guess just an experience to add to the list.