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Fieldnotes: October 8th, 2017 Time: 10:00 – 12:30 Hari Krishna Temple ISKCON Edmonton I checked out the website prior to deciding to come and attempted to call twice. However, there wasn't a lot of information available online, except to say that the temple would be open and no one answered the phone. So myself and my boyfriend JF decided just to go and see what we would find. As we drove up, there weren't many cars outside, and this added a bit to my uncertainty but we decided to go
  Fieldnotes:October 8 th , 2017Time: 10:00 – 12:30Hari Krishna Temple IK!O #dmonton I checked out the website prior to deciding to come and attempted to call twice. However, there wasn't a lot of information available online, except to say that the temple would be open and no one answered the phone. So myself and my boyfriend J decided !ustto go and see what we would find.  s we drove up, there weren't many cars outside, and this added a bit to my uncertainty but we decided to go in anyways. #$nly one way to find out% J said. &e walked in to a relatively small house sied building, modest in decor, with benches lining the wall but otherwise wide open floor space. (here was a large altar at the front with deities that I recognied as )rishna and *adha and other deities+icons I didn't recognie. (here were photos on the alter and it was lit up by backlighting and flashing lights. (here were  men on the left side, one in orange cloths, one in white seeming to denote that they were IS)-$ devotees of some sort. (here was a family of / on the other side and they left !ust as we arrived. (here was also an older Indian woman in a colorful sari. &e were invited by the manin white 0I will call him the priest from now on !ust for I1 purposes2 to come to the front. s weapproached, the other devotee walked over to us, past me and handed J a copy of the 3hagavad 4ita. Interesting that J got the book although his experience with it is far less than mine. &e were instructed not to put the book on the floor as it is holy.(he priest started reciting from -hapter 56 verse 7. He recited one Sanskrit word at a time, inviting us to repeat after him. He then increased the amount of words in a chunk until he wassinging the phrase which we then repeated. He then invited the devotee to lead the verse phrases, as we all repeated after him. (he priest then invited J and I to recite the verse. t first I declined 0as it was new Sanskrit to me and I felt intimidated to say it outloud without practice2 but was convinced to try as the priest said #)rishna doesn't care% even if we made a mistake. So I and then J took a turn leading the Sanskrit stana and we did fairly well8 wellenough to receive applause from the others. It made me smile to hear J engage in the scriptures at this level as, I've never seen him do something like this before and probably would have not volunteered to do so.(he older Indian woman who sat beside us now was not given a book and she was not invited to recite or lead but she seemed engrossed in her own prayer practice. She was reciting something under her breath and had a prayer bag with, I guessed, a mala in it. (he priest then engaged us in 9nglish call response of the stanas and had us all take a turn leading the 9nglish translation. Interestingly, where we were shy about reciting in Sanskrit, the other devotee seemed hesitant to recite in 9nglish and needed additional assistance from the priest to read the 9nglish. (his was an interesting reflection of e:uality, like #we're all in this together% kind of sentiment. &e recited ; slokas in total 07, <, =, >2 of -hapter 56.  $arti   new altar with what I later learned was a (ulsi tree was set up in the middle of the room andwe all turned to face the 9ast side of the room, where there was a large statue of '?rabhupad%their human guru, who was, I believe, responsible for bringing the teachings internationally. &e were !oined by another devotee 0so now there were 2 and the priest left the room for a while. (wo more community members !oined us as well, both men. (he two devotees led chanting with mridangam, cartals and their voices. I noticed a harmonium in the corner of theroom but it was not used. &e chanted variations of 'prabhupad !aya' and other forms of prayer I don't actually know. 1uring the chanting, I notice that I fell more deeply in to 'observer mode' becoming more immersed in the practice rather than analying it and watching. (he priest came back in and lit aarti candles which he then waved in the air in a circular motion around the statue of ?rabhupad. &e were included in all parts of the ceremony and the older Indian woman, who had not beenparticipating with us in the 4ita study, now became out interpreter of sorts, directing us verbally in what to do. She brought around and aarti candle which we were instructed to hold our hands over then bring the light over our heads with our hands. &e were all given a few small flower petals which I saw some people put with their things though I wasn't sure why. &e were invited to pour water on the (ulsi tree and walk around it in a circle individually, then we all circled the tree as a large group while chanting with the devotees leading. &e were given different flower petals, rose petals to offer on to the statue of ?rabhupad. 9veryone went up one at a time and prayed, bowed as they offered their petals. 9veryone prostrated+bowed at the end while the priest chanted several short passages ending with 'ki  !ai' 0meaning victory2.  fter the aarti, there was a break and the priest took us aside. He asked us where we were from, what we do for a living. I told him a bit about my assignment and I'm not sure he fully understood as he !ust smiled and went on to asking J what he does. He then explained some of the timings of events at the temple, 0though retrospect, he didn't really answer if there were chanting events happening each day2. He gave us a 65< calendar, showed us the library in the back and invited us to come back next time. Oct% 8 th  &ha'an and Kirtan11:00 – 12:30 &e entered the temple with one renunciate+devotee playing harmonium and chanting in almost alap, free tempo style variations on the hare krishna temple 0#hare krishna, hare krishna, krishna krishna, hare hare8 hare ram, hare ram, ram ram, hare hare2 in minor key. (hough there were now a doen people in the room, he was the only one singing 0that I couldtell2. Seemed to be a meditation time for people to be in the temple and contemplate and received #darshan% viewing from the )rishna *adha deities on the altar. Several people appeared to have mala bags and were perhaps doing !apa prayer. (here were now  white sheets on the floor, on either side of the room. J and I noticed after a while that men and women seemed to be sitting on opposite sides of the room. 0women on right, men on left2. s new people came in to the room, they would prostrate before the altar. (here ended up being > women and 5< men. (here seemed to be a variety of ages8 young  men who appeared to be in their 6's or /6's8 a mother with her pre@adolescent daughter8 a young family with toddlers8 middle age individuals and a few elders.  t one point, a construction worker came inwith the priest and they had a conversation about something pointing out one of the windows, all the while the devotee kept chanting. (o me, it seemed 'relaxed', like we wouldn't be criticied for #3lasphemous% behaviour. I have noticed this kind of thing in Indian before, with yoga teachers answering phones in the middle of teaching for example. 3ehaviour that might be seen as irreverent by western standardsA  t 55B6 the curtain in front of the altar was closed so we could no longer see the deities. (hedevotee chanted the hari krishna mantra now in ?hrygian mode 0I'm not sure which *aga this corresponds with2. (here were various percussion instruments around 0cartals, bells, a few mridungams2 and it seemed that 'anyone' could play and that perhaps these instruments werenot belonging to one person designated to lead with them. either J nor I participated in leading anything but perhaps in the future.   t 55B/6 the priest came out and blew a conch shell / times and we began what seemed like a 'kirtan' component. (here was now a man at the front of the room with a pro!ector which pro!ected the words to the kirtan on the wall. (here was a low mic set up on the right side at the front of the room. It seemed that community members could take a turn singing to 4od and leading a kirtan. t one point, a family of ; came to the front and the young children wereencouraged to lead a chant with their mother's support. (hey were :uite young 0the younger sibling didn't seem able to participate2 and it was a really sweet moment. It was a seemingly familiar chant as the lyrics were found a pro!ected and everyone responded to the call fairly loudly. fter a while, the younger sibling started to cry out and create distractions but the mother and the rest of us kept chanting, without reprimanding the child. )irtan was led by the priest when community members were not leading. He was supported by one of the devotees playing accordion and most of the music was in a ma!or key. However, iI had a hard time hearing and following the 'call' because the harmony that was being played seemed, to my ears, not to fit with the melody. ll members stood to sing the kirtan and there was moving and and dancing and clapping along8 it was relatively exuberant and felt good to be a part of. In general, the response by the congregation wasn't very loud, though people were singing. I had expected it to be louder. I have captured some of the songs on my phone. t one point they played a recording of a woman singing a chant I recognied #4ovinda hari purusha tamaham bha!ami%. I noticed that I felt more comfortable, perhaps because of the female vocal range or possibly because of the familiarity.I asked J for his perspective on the experienceB He appreciated that the priest gave us a “crash course” (referring to the conversation with us at the end of the Aarti). He said he felt comfortable, and appreciated that, when they found out he was from Quebec that they offered him a version of the hagavad !ita in rench. He felt the e#perience was “organic” and more down to earth than another (uddhist) temple we had visited in past and that the people “loo$ed more happy.” He also said this happiness was“%ontagious”, that he &ust started feeling good after a while being there and participating. He appreciated that they “didn't worry about my money or try to recruit me” and he felt they were offering “ools to feel good.” i$e me, he wondered about the older woman who didn't  participate in the !ita study, wondered if it was a gender thing. “All in all,” he said, “* would go bac$.”   +efle#ivity* observed myself to be more of a participant. At first this concerned me, that perhaps * wasn't doing my &ob. However, 'being in' an e#perience and reflecting afterwards is an approach that has been mentioned in some of the readings and can glean a certain $ind of 'lived' $nowledge.  At first * wasn't sure about bringing - in to the field with me. However, it turned out to be beneficial as it allowed me to observe aspects of gender relations and also to get feedbac$ from him, as a second observer with a different viewpoint. he layout of the temple allowed me to inconspicuously ta$e a few &ot notes while in the field. * felt ta$ing a more participatory perspective was effective, as this was openly invited by the 'natives' of the field. https:((so)ndclo)d%com()ser*+78823(mahamantraoct8thhttps:((so)ndclo)d%com()ser*+78823(children*chantin-*is.con
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