How inspiration to become a devotee of Krishna came from two unlikely sources: an interest in wrestling, and words from the founder of Transcendental Meditation. As a student, I competed in the sport of wrestling for eight years, from 1963 to 1971, but happiness eluded me. O son of Nanda, O Rama, You two are well respected by courageous men and are both skillful at wrestling. Since I identified myself as a wrestler, chancing upon this particular passage about Lord Krishna’s affection for wrestling—my first experience of the Bhagavatam—was a real coincidence. I left Switzerland and moved into a meditation center in Marin County, northern California, but my enthusiasm to teach meditation was waning. It was late summer, and I camped out on a friend’s wooded land in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains.
One day, shortly after the dentist treating me had given me a temporary filling, I got a severe toothache. In retrospect, I see that I was in the throes of the ultimate wrestling match, the one at the threshold of devotional life. Then the TM movement announced a special World Peace Project from October to December 1978. My volunteer group, consisting of fifty male meditation teachers, assembled in Miami to board a flight for El Salvador. In San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, we were advised to stay inside our hotel rooms because it wasn’t safe outside.
When I returned to America in December, in the middle of winter, I helped out at a TM printing press in upstate New York. Soon I was soaring above the clouds on a plane bound for Los Angeles, wondering if Lord Krishna had allowed this “calamity” to somehow bring me closer to Him. When I read Srila Prabhupada’s translation of the First Canto of the Bhagavatam, I was amazed to find that Vyasadeva, the illustrious compiler of the Vedas, the Mahabharata, and the Vedanta-sutra, told the sage Narada, “I am feeling incomplete, though I myself am fully equipped with everything required by the Vedas. At a gathering of thousands of TM teachers at Amherst, Massachusetts in 1979, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, speaking on an amplified telephone call from Switzerland, requested that as many volunteers as possible to go to Fairfield, Iowa, to help establish a meditation-based university. Maybe I misconstrued his meaning, but as I headed for Iowa, I decided that after helping in Fairfield I would study Krishna consciousness at the Dallas Hare Krishna temple. My service in Iowa was to help build a large meditation dome before the frigid Iowa winter hit. From Fairfield I wrote a letter to Maharishi in Switzerland: When the dome was finished, I wrote, I wanted to study Krishna consciousness, unless he objected.
Perhaps one reason he let me go was that although I taught TM to several hundred people and meditated for twelve years, it was a big movement and I was not a very important person in it.
Years later I found something interesting in a book of conversations with Srila Prabhupada. Satsvarupa Goswami: This boy is Bhakta Doug, and he was a personal secretary of Maharishi for two years.
Although Krishna consciousness is not always easy and there are many internal and external challenges, I feel blessed to have gotten the chance to attempt to render devotional service.
George Harrison of the Beatles, whose song “My Sweet Lord” came out in 1970 and included the maha-mantra, was a great inspiration to me, because he also began with meditation, then met Srila Prabhupada and became a devotee of Krishna. Michael Badnarik is an American software engineer, political figure, and former radio talk show host. Angelo Badalamenti is an American composer, known for his movie soundtrack work for director David Lynch, notably Blue Velvet, the Twin Peaks saga and Mulholland Drive. Ari Berman is a contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an Investigative Journalism Fellow at The Nation Institute. Writers' Voices with Monica and Caroline welcomes former Fairfield resident Jennie Rothenberg-Gritz back to the show on Friday May 23 at 1pm to discuss her recent ventures into multimedia story tellilng and her behind-the-scenes coverage of the David Lynch weekend for The Atlantic Monthly.

Jennie is an alumna of both Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment and Maharishi University of Management.
The fascinating and dream like way in which David Lynch sees the world has been infused into his unique body of creative work during his 62 prolific years.
In high school, even when I won the California Interscholastic Federation championship at 123 pounds, I felt strangely empty inside. After graduation I trained to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and taught it for a few years. Having heard of Your prowess, the King [Kamsa] has called You here, wanting to see for himself. Previously God had seemed distant or unreachable, but now at the retreat visions of wrestling with Krishna sometimes appeared in my meditations. After about a month, when I completed the Bhagavatam I began to understand that real perfection lies in devotional service to Lord Krishna, not siddhis (mystic powers), fame, materialistic religiosity, sense enjoyment, or even liberation. Meditation teams would be sent free-of-charge to international hot spots undergoing civil wars or unrest, such as Lebanon, Iran, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), El Salvador, and Nicaragua. After two months, however, just before we were to leave the country, I heard a distant “ching-ching-ching.” Following the faint sound to a park, I saw hundreds of people standing transfixed as a small group of Hare Krishna devotees chanted with fearless devotion.
Later I served at the Houston temple, and just before Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Lord Krishna’s divine appearance day, the temple president, Pandava Vijaya Dasa, asked if I would act in a drama.
Marine, started visiting the Houston temple and asked if he could move in to experience the life of Krishna consciousness.
George donated Bhaktivedanta Manor in England to ISKCON, and when he was dying he arranged for Hare Krishna devotees—his dear friends over many years—to chant near him so he could remember Krishna at the time of death. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race.
He has written extensively about American politics, foreign policy and the intersection of money and politics. His work includes Eraserhead, Elephant Man, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Straight Story, Mulholland Drive, and INLAND EMPIRE. Lynch is founder and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. She earned her masters degree in journalism from UC Berkeley in 2002 and went on to internships at Time Out London and The Atlantic Monthly. With David Lynch's birthday coming up this Sunday I decided this week's show would be the perfect time to play some songs from a compilation cd that I put together a couple years ago as a birthday present for David.
At the University of California at Berkeley, wrestling was a diversion, but I couldn’t forget the Vietnam War and the countless problems that hung over my generation.
One day at a meditation retreat in Murren, Switzerland, five thousand feet high in the Alps, I saw a two-volume, cloth-bound translation of the Srimad-Bhagavatam published by the Gita Press, Gorakhpur, India. Imaginary or real, these encounters were ecstatic, altogether different from grappling with ordinary human beings.
We were to check into a hotel and do long meditation sessions to try to reduce the tension and violence in the atmosphere.
Unable to resist, I bought a small book, while several of the TM teachers, dressed smartly in shirts and ties, looked on disapprovingly. One day, singing the prayer while carrying photographic materials over some ice, I fell hard and developed internal bleeding. When he drove up to the dome construction site where we were working, he beamed a broad smile. Pandava Vijaya agreed, but on the condition that Tony commit to stay at least one month and follow the rules and regulations. I believe my experiences with meditation helped me come closer to Krishna consciousness, but the Vedic scriptures state that silent meditation was easier to practice in earlier ages.

Even though I don’t deserve it, I hope against hope and pray that one day I may be blessed to wrestle with Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Badnarik's political philosophy emphasizes individual liberty, personal responsibility, and adherence an originalist interpretation of the U.S. Badalamenti has worked as an arranger songwriter for include Shirley Bassey, Mel Tillis, Nancy Wilson, Patti Austin, Melba Moore, Roberta Flack and Nina Simone. His stories have also appeared in the New York Times, Editor & Publisher and The Guardian, and he is a frequent guest and political commentator on MSNBC, C-Span and NPR.
She spent two years as senior editor at Moment, a national magazine founded by Elie Wiesel, before joining the Atlantic Monthly staff full time. At the same airport, I saw devotees selling Bhagavatam volumes published by Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Wanting to get out of Los Angeles (to avoid the devotees and the temple), I immediately volunteered, surprising my friends at the station. At that moment I suspected I might have more in common with that humble devotee than with the fifty men, but I pushed the thought away. I heard that when Maharishi first came to America, he spoke about God, but he was advised that more people would accept meditation if it was not presented in religious terms.
Meditation was said to reduce accidents, but the incredible news came that someone working on a similar but smaller meditation dome near Dallas had fallen to his death. During his visit, I sent a note through his personal attendant restating my plan to perform devotional service and thanking him for his inspiration in my spiritual life.
It was wonderful to use wrestling, normally a mundane activity, for the pleasure of Lord Krishna and the devotees.
Ari was a cohost at KRUU for a year and a half during the presidential primaries of 2007-08. She is currently one of two editors responsible for all web content at The Atlantic online.
Attracted by the spiritual artwork, I bought several books, and a devotee invited me to the temple. By the time I got involved in TM, he spoke mainly in secular, scientific language, often referring to physics and quantum mechanics, and his Gita translation was limited to just one third of the book—six chapters of Vyasa’s work, not all eighteen. That intensified my desire; I prayed to Krishna that I would live long enough to serve Him directly in this lifetime. It is well known that cowherd boys are always joyful as they tend their calves, and that the boys playfully wrestle with each other while grazing their animals in the various forests. When the TM movement started a TV station not far from the Hare Krishna temple on Watseka Avenue, I served as a cameraman and delivery driver.
Knowing that I was into meditation, one month, along with the magazine, she included an audiotape from the Dallas tape ministry of a senior devotee, Tamala Krishna Goswami.
Whenever an errand took me near the temple, I would try to see the beautiful deities, Sri Sri Rukmini-Dvarakadhisha, and often received maha-prasada sweets.
Whatever the truth might be, at that moment it seemed that Krishna was giving me a sign that He would protect me if I surrendered to Him.
He was doing some transcriptions on the Brahma-sutras, and he came out, and he was in a very solemn mood, . If I didn’t stop visiting the temple and repeatedly experiencing the ever-increasing charm of Krishna consciousness, I feared I would surely become a devotee.

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