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Performers spread message of spirituality to students in Bruin Plaza

If you passed through Bruin Plaza this afternoon, you might have heard the sounds of Hare Krishna, a musical group that performs Bhajan, a type of Indian devotional song.

The group, which travels around the world, is centered in Culver City. Tuesday, they played on a corner of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica; Wednesday, they are in Bruin Plaza.

“We’re here to share music, which is one of the best ways to become happy and elevate the soul,” said performer Syaan Priya. Priya, 53, chants a special mantra and plays the harmonium, a type of keyboard instrument.

Around 30 students approached the group within the first hour of their arrival. Most asked questions about the instruments and the meaning behind the chanting, Yasodeva Das said. Das, 25, plays percussion for the group.

“People are very busy, and college students are no exception,” Priya said. “But students are generally very curious and willing to open up their ears to new music.”

Early in the afternoon, a female student approached one of the musicians, Sudarshan Pitts, 19, and asked him about the drum he was playing, called a Mridunga.

“This campus is very lively, full of friendly people,” Pitts said.

Pitts first visited UCLA with the group at age 17. He said Janss Steps is one of his favorite places to play music because of the peaceful atmosphere.

“But the best place to be is right here (in Bruin Plaza), talking to people,” Pitts said.

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