I had a peculiar ‘flashback’ moment this evening. We were hosting our neighbours at the Bhaktivedanta Manor Annual Village Dinner and my daughter Jahnavi was entertaining our guests with some Carnatic singing. Amongst the appreciative listeners was a guitarist from the band Yes.
Now, if you’re not British, and you weren’t a star-struck teenager in the long-haired 70s, you might not have heard of these particular gods of rock. But I have strong memories of their music playing as loud as we dared in our school sixth form common room. Along with Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, Yes were the third band in our rock god trinity of 1974. Their images adorned our bedroom walls. Of course, that is, unless you listened to Deep Purple and Black Sabbath – but that was an entirely different religion.
Being a vaguely thoughtful teenager in that period, and being into music, meant that you conversed endlessly about the ideas presented through that curiously Seventies phenomenon: the ‘concept album.’ The whole album would be songs on a central theme, often linked to the artist’s latest philosophical conceptions of reality. Kids these days won’t believe us when we tell them that albums in those bygone days used to measure more than one foot across, had amazingly ingenious cover designs, and bore spiritual writings otherwise known as ‘sleeve notes’ on them.
As such, those musicians became the spiritual messengers of the day and we longed to meet with them and be enlightened with the inner wisdom and resultant creativity they so obviously had.
And now, all these years later, and a lifetime away from cups of instant coffee boiled up in a kettle in the Newark Magnus Grammar School senior common room, I’m seated next to a rock god and he’s listening to my daughter singing? In a Harry Harrison novel, a portal would suddenly open up in the universe, allowing the 17 year-old schoolboy to view his future self in such an ironic twist of fate.
And yet it is something that has happened to me many times. I have almost lost count of the occasions in which I have met those whom I formerly treated with great awe. Repeatedly been brought face to face with them. And each of them has found Krishna to be intriguing and worthy of further discussion.
The artistic ability to make others laugh, dance, sing, cry and look on with awe must surely be a gift from God. How much more than others then, must artists themselves think deeply upon the ultimate cause of their creativity. Perhaps it is no mystery why so many of them feel drawn to the beautiful figure of Krishna. Krishna is the supreme artist, and can perfectly reciprocate the innermost aspirations of all those who aspire for the ultimate in artistic expression.