Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Vishwamrita Enters Ocean Forever

Lives lived: A brother lost in life and found in death
Friday, March 24, 2006

By Gary Rotstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"My brother went by all three names, in a half-century of evolution, until his freakish death 10 days ago. A dam broke that morning at 6, and he was swept away, apparently to disappear into the Pacific Ocean forever. Six acquaintances lost their lives with him on Kauai, a tropical Hawaiian island nearly 5,000 miles from the asphalt Oakland neighborhood which he and I roamed as youths..."

"When you follow a swami, as Wayne began doing in his 20s, you are assigned a new name. He became Vishwamitra, or Vish, at a spiritual center in California and an ashram in the Poconos. He showed up unexpectedly in the mid-1980s at my apartment in Harrisburg. He had been kicked out of the ashram for disciplinary reasons I can't recall. Still, he was committed to finding a spiritual core. I can't recall what led him to Eastern religions we never heard of growing up. My guess is he knew the first decades of his life were essentially an unpleasant waste, and there had to be a path to something better.His search took him to the New Vrindaban Hare Krishna community in Moundsville, W.Va., where an immense golden temple is a tourist shrine. He built one of his fabulous gardens there, stocking the communal kitchen.

He lived there off and on for several years, though he never became a full-fledged Krishna, which forbids vices such as gambling and smoking. Wayne was never a shaved-head devotee banging a tambourine in public, though those around him were.

But my brother, the son of mixed-faith parents who never practiced religion, enjoyed being part of the extended Krishna family in West Virginia, the Southwest and Hawaii. He embraced chanting, meditation, yoga, vegetarianism, self-sufficiency and other aspects of the simple life..."

Complete Article in Pittsburgh Post Gazette


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