*Note: These pictures have nothing liminal to do with this posting
This morning I had the following email in my inbox:
Hey, we’ve been enjoying keeping up reading your blog, but I’ve been
wondering about the name Heaven’s Gate. You know it’s the same name as a
famous suicide cult?
I meant to paste this:
I hope I’m ok asking, but I must admit to being a little perplexed. Did you
know about this already? I hope my asking isn’t offensive — I never can
tell for sure on my own, and often make that dreadful mistake with my pesky
When I began this blog, I wanted to give it a name which would focus my postings to my life in Krishna consciousness and my life at Gita Nagari. After bandying about different names, none of which were memorable enough for me to recall now, I settled on Heaven’s Gate. Purposely naming my blog after castrated, white Nike wearing interplanetary suiciders was not a whimsical decision.
Ten years ago I ran away from home to join the temple, leaving a note on my parent’s kitchen countertop. As some sort of wonderfully bizarre coincidence, the Heaven’s Gate cult made it into the news the same week as a result of their mass suicide, thus thoroughly freaking my mother out to a previously unpredicted realm of hysteria.
In the little nook of Iskcon which I fell into at the time, cult mentality was all the rage. At the Towaco temple, which was mostly occupied by under 25 year old brahmacaris, this cult mentality played itself out in juvenille, harmless ways like young men arguing whether or not their dhoti should be tied or rolled or having an ice cream party amongst themselves and sending the empty Breyer’s container over to the brahmacarini’s. You know, so everyone gets their fare share.
Then, in 1998 I moved to Gita Nagari and the cult flavor, which I care not to get into here, definitely was of a varitey I had never experienced before. I stayed at Gita Nagari only a little under 2 years, leaving before the Y2K disaster that never happened. However, the impact that time had on my life, my self esteem, my intelligence and just my overal disfuntion in the world is something I am slowly ridding myself of. Over the years, living away from Gita Nagari and getting the association of other devotees, I have been able to positively decompress from that time.
Shockingly to myself, just a little over a year ago, I moved here, back to this place I once vowed never to even visit. So, when I named my blog I wanted to pay homage to the cultiness of my life, a cultiness which in a really strange way I am, in the end, able to express some gratitude for. After all, it was a factor which is still shaping me into the person I am becoming now, a person who, with a lot of effort, isn’t that bad.
There are other, less culty reasons for the blog name. In a literal context, Gita Nagari is the Holy Dhama and I am living just 1.1 miles down the road from the farm. And once I get onto the farm, it is often difficult to shake the Talking Heads from my internal radio as I ramble down the farm road, past the places “where nothing ever happens!”