Sunday Extravaganza: Karma-free feast and mantra-rock dance at the G.I.G. on the Strip

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The poster of the historic 1967 show at the Avalon in San Francisco...

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... and now in San Antonio.

Tonight, March 20 at the Gig, the Hare Krishna devotees (known locally as "the Ashram-5 monks") of  San Antonio are organizing a free gathering of local musicians and distribution of spiritualized vegetarian food (prasadam, a Sanskrit word that means "the mercy of God"). The devotees cooked the food without tasting it, then offered it to Krishna on an altar with ancient mantras. The food then becomes "spiritualized," as if one was eating Krishna's remnants. It is a practice based on the famous 9:26 verse of Bhagavad-gita ("The song of God," one of the key Hindu scriptures) in which Krishna says, "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." The eating of prasadam and the practice of kirtan, the devotional style of call-and-response chanting, go hand-in-hand, and that's what the devotees will try to revive tonight, after movement founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada started the tradition in the 60s, first in New York, then San Francisco and Los Angeles. When he left his body in 1977, Srila Prabhupada (as he was known by his disciples) had initiated more than 10,000 disciples and opened more than 108 temples throughout the world. "For the first time in more than 30 years, San Antonio musicians will be reviving the Eastern mystical spirit of the past," said Advaitacarya Dasa, the head of the local Hare Krishna temple. "A group of modern practitioners have prepared a spiritual selection of ancient chants to invoke auspiciousness in the hearts of all who are exposed to the vibrations." Besides the kirtan (mantra meditation) led by the devotees, the local musicians will perform their usual sets. Everybody is welcomed, regardless of religious beliefs (or non-beliefs). The schedule is as follows: 7 pm: Kirtan led by the devotees 7:30 pm: Damon Best 7:45 pm: Allison Alonzo and Jeff 8:05 pm: Belukhas (George Garza) 8:25 pm: Heavenly Junkie 8:45 pm: Kim Cotton 9:05 pm: Flaco Chango 9:25 pm: Kirtan led by the devotees "Audience participation is heavily encouraged," said event organizer Bryan Hamilton, who will be distributing a 45-minute mix of Krishna-inspired music. "Bring shakers, bongos, drums, etc." And be hungry: the vegetarian feast is also free. The Gig is located at 2803 N. St. Marys.

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