My Oregon Liberty Torch Experience 1976

My Oregon Liberty Torch Experience, 1976

by: Dharmaja

Back in the day, we had a music group in the Sri Chinmoy Centre in
Eugene, Oregon.

We called the group Sattva.

One guy played sitar, another played tamboura, I played tabla, and we
all sang. This was a total blast for me. When we practiced or
performed I was in my own heaven-world, singing and playing Guru’s
songs. I enjoyed imagining that I was in a group of Hindu dudes,
playing on the banks of the Ganges.

Our typical gig was to play one evening a week at a local vegetarian
restaurant called Honey’s. Even though the standard of our
performance was not fabulously professional, the people who owned the
restaurant were utterly compassionate to us. They gave us free food,
and we were allowed to play there for two or three hours. One time we
met the actor/comedian Steve Martin there! He listened to our music,
then he sat with us at dinner and was quite supportive and loving and
affectionate to us. His hair was black in those days!

When the Liberty Torch runners were approaching the state of Oregon,
we all wanted to do something to contribute in some way. All we had
was our music. So we decided we would go to greet the runners, and
play for them.

The Liberty Torch route didn’t go anywhere near Eugene, it went
through the far reaches of eastern Oregon (hint: cattle country, no
vegetarians out there, folks!). So we packed our equipment into a
van, and cruised out to the boondocks. We were lucky with the timing
of our journey, arriving at a point about two or three miles ahead of
the torch bearer and support vehicle . . . unfurled our carpet right
there on the pavement, set up everything, prayed and meditated for a
bit, tuned up, and started cranking out some of Guru’s tunes, as
soulfully and as loud as we could.

When the running entourage arrived, (I honestly can’t remember if it
was Arpan carrying the torch at that moment) they were all surprised
and delighted to see and hear us.

This is one of many fond memories I have of my beloved Eugene Centre.
Ah, well, O God, I’m getting a bit teary-eyed, so I’ll have to tell
more later.

– Dharmaja
San Diego, California