Most folks I know are pretty adventurous. Make that HIGHLY adventurous wink wink. How do you wow them in Los Angeles when they think they’ve seen it all—and quite possibly have?
You take them to the Bhagavad-gita Museum of course.
This was my second visit and I was blessed to have Chaki and Bret along for the ride. Both these guys are amongst the most knowledgeable real counterculture people I know, and they’re both Angelenos. I told them “meet me at the corner of Watseka and Venice in Palms at 11am” and… they showed up!
Now, they might have been thinking, Sean’s taking us to the Krishna Temple, when they rolled up. Which would be half-correct. We did have a lovely meal there after our adventure.
The Krishna temple (more properly International Society for Krishna Consciousness of Los Angeles or ISKCON) is well known in Los Angeles and has been place of pilgrimage for Beatles and beach bums alike for several decades.
But imagine Bret and Chaki’s surprise when I took them to a tiny entryway tucked in the middle of the ISKCON facade that leads to land of eternal enlightenment…
Admission is cheap ($10). I mean, this place has animatronic dioramas better than the Natural History Museum. The level of attention to detail in each sculpted illusion and the lighting and audio-visual complexity rival Disneyland. Hard to believe but true!
Now, rumor has it that folks who built this worked on miniatures and animatronic effects for John Dykstra for the original Star Wars. I can’t corroborate that fully but it’s believable after you see the dioramas.
It’s kind of hard to read the artists’ names. If anyone has any info to share, hit me up please.
Anyhow, doll and statue making is apparently a traditional side hustle for the Krishnas. Their skill is all-around here. Very very high level craftsmanship and deep devotion are evident.
In the museum you are taken through Krishna’s life and philosophy. Just follow the glowing path (literally—you’re in the dark so the lights show you where to go next) and you will reach enlightenment. Er, the largest diorama installation I’ve ever seen.
We even began to question the reality of our temporal bodies!
The Moog-eriffic canned music is just dripping with wet and fat-sounding analog goodness. Thank goodness the museum has never attempted to update the ’70s-ness of the music and installations. This is one case where they got it right the first time.
We also learned that the senses are like five galloping horses careening the chariot of the mind down a dark road while the soul recoils in horror.
The best room in the joint is hard to photograph. It reminds me of the cover of No Pussyfooting crossed with one of those Instagram-ready infinity/mirror rooms. But in nether of those places will you feel your ego melt away as bliss takes over like you will here. Just look at those faces!
Afterward we had an amazing veg brunch that didn’t break the bank and was really yummy. The store upstairs is great too—cool clothes!
Of course Krishna consciousness is more than clothes and robotic models. The yoga bhakti is sacred practice and takes us out of ourselves—lets us tap directly into the divine. It’s a little over my head, but I’m exploring and learning. Frankly it makes more sense than I ever would have imagined.
The Bhagavad Museum was a blast and if you haven’t been, it’s more than worth your time—about 45 minutes from start to finish.