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News coverage of Srila Prabhupada and his movement.

Worship Service In Krishna Temple: Perpetual 'High' Love-In

This article, "Worship Service In Krishna Temple: Perpetual 'High' Love-In Without LSD" was published in The Gazette, September 2, 1967, in Montreal, Canada.

A small group of Montrealer!, some of them one-time drug-users, now are getting their "high" from an Indian chant to the Indian god Krishna.

Operating from the Radha-Krishna Temple, a former bowling alley near McGill University, their day-long service is a sort of perpetual love-in-without LSD. 

While LSD "leaves you clouded," says Banamali Das Brahmacnary, 20, who has used LSD "chanting puts you into a natural state where you associate love with love and not love with color.

Banamali - his real name is Chaim Propitiator - quit Sir George Williams University in the third year to join the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which has several members in Montreal. 

"Chanting brings an overpowering feeling of love you might feel for someone which makes you want to scream or cry," he says. "But it's all directed toward Krishna, and through Krishna towards everyone.

Like the other devotees, Banamali goes through the simple chant at least 1,728 times a day - 16 rounds for each of the 108 cult beads he carries with him. This is the ancient chant: 

"Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Not everyone in the cult is a former drug-taker. But of those who inhabit temples in New York, San Francisco and Montreal, devotees here can name only two they think have never taken drugs. 

Banamali stumbled into the cult after becoming "socially disoriented" by LSD. 

Two of the cult's devotees, Banamali and Janaddan Das Adikary, 23, a McGill graduate student in French literature, are Canadians. 

Hansaduta Das Adirkari, 26, is one of three Americans who opened the Montreal temple last March. He was introduced by a friend in New York to A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, spiritual head of the cult, became interested and joined. 

Swami, 72, is the guru, holy man - from India who founded the first Krishna-Consciousness Temple in New York's Lower East Side in July, 1966. The second was established in San Francisco's Haight-Asbury district last January and the third in Montreal. 

Devotees are taught by Swami to shave their heads each month, leaving only a top-knot on the crown which they paint white and call a "flag" or "lightning rod.

They streak white paint trom the bridge of the nose to the hairline.

They wear yellow dhotis, which look like an Indian sari, and cook vegetarian Indian food. Even their names come from Swami. Janardan, still called Janis Dambergs outside the temple, is the only Montreal devotee who has kept his hair and Western dress. He says he made "concessions" for the university and for his wife, who is not a devotee. 

Women are considered equal to men in the cult, Hansaduta says. His wife, Himavatie Dasi, is a devotee. 

A dozen or so observers attend chanting services each evening, sitting cross-legged around the chanting devotees who perform an uncomplicated, solitary dance in time to tambourines and hand-cymbals, mumble incantations and discuss the words of Krishna. 

The chanting ritual, called samkirtan, was started in India 480 years age by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a disciple of Krishna. 

Most visitors to the Montreal temple come on Sunday when devotees hold the "prasadam live feast," Sometimes as many as 50 attend to chant and to eat Indian food. Most are of Indian background.

Only the feast is money solicited. Revenue for the temple also comes from boarders who pay $10 a week. 

Up to 20 a night, usually transients, have slept behind the curtains. 

Photo: KRISHNA WORSHIPPERS: With rhythm supplied by Janis Dambergs, Pradyumna Das Brahmachary chants and dances in praise of the Indian god Krishna in the Radha-Krishna Temple in Montreal. Over Pradyumna's right shoulder, a painting of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, spiritual head of the cult, is partly visible. 

Reference: The Gazette, Montreal, Canada, 1967-09-02

A Krishna returns to fold, says deprogramming failed

This article, "A Krishna returns to fold, says deprogramming failed" was published in The Boston Globe, September 3, 1974, in Boston, Massachusetts.

By Robert J. Rosenthal 
Globe Staff 

With a touch of indignation showing through his normally anxiety-free Krishna consciousness, Edward Shapiro yesterday discussed his attempted deprogramming by anticult crusader Ted Patrick. 

Shapiro, 20, has been a member of the Boston Hare Krishna Movement for 18 months. On Aug. 6, he went to his parents' home on Commonwealth Avenue, Newton, and found about 20 persons, mostly relatives and friends, along with Patrick and some of his aids. 

According to Shapiro, a sturdy 6-footer, he was subjected to "intense psychological torture" during the next few days. He spent three days at his parents' home, then traveled to Albany, Montreal and Toronto with Patrick and his aids for further deprogramming.

"They broke me down after a certain point," Shapiro said, as he sat cross-legged on the immaculate wooden floor of the Boston Krishna Center on North Beacon street, Allston. He wore a long loose-fitting orange garment called a dhodi, and occasionally rubbed his hands over his shaven skull. 

A short stump of hair at the rear of his skull was all that remained of his sikah, a topknot of long hair that male followers of Krishna wear to show their devotion. 

Shapiro said that his sikah had been cut off during his deprogramming period. The deprogramming had worked for a while, Shapiro said, but it failed after he realized that he was slipping back into a "material, false life of glitter that I had chosen to leave before.

The deprogramming, according to Shapiro, included being locked in rooms, and constant verbal pressure, telling him that he had been brainwashed by phony followers of Hare Krishna. Shapiro said he was never physically assaulted but that he was violent on more than one occasion. 

Nine days ago, Shapiro said, he was allowed to travel alone for the first time. He was flying from Toronto to visit his parents in North Carolina and had to transfer planes in Washington. While waiting for a flight, he met a Hare Krishna brother and decided to come back to Boston. 

Soft-spoken Shapiro says he hopes to be a preacher of the Krishna faith and finds it incredible that he could be taken from the life he was trying to lead, a life he describes as "holy and moral.

"Those people psychologically tortured me," he said. "They kept me confined. Finally I just cracked and went along with them. In Canada they would take me out to bars for intoxicants and I would smoke cigarettes. They had me breaking my vows.

There is some anger toward his family, who could not be reached for an interview. 

He said that he had long talks with his 18-year-old brother. "I asked him the purpose of life and he couldn't tell me. I'm interested in his welfare, but he is not following a worthwhile existence," Shapiro said. 

Shapiro, who dropped out of Brandeis University after a year, says: "We are here to spiritually inquire why things are happening. Why is there birth and death? By questioning life one can get the impetus to get out of the entanglement of the world.

The Krishna center has 32 residents who share food and raise money by selling flowers and incense, which they make. Men and women live in separate quarters. 

The only decorations in the Victorian style house are paintings and tapestries depicting Krishna's activities and the glorification of other Indian gods. 

Shapiro said: "I wasn't satisifed with my education and college situation. What I wanted to know was the purpose of life, and no one could tell me that. This is the first thing I've found that I've been wholeheartedly involved in. There is no anxiety here, no disharmony, no rivalry, only goodness.

Photo: Basu Copal, formerly Edward Shapiro, poses in the Boston Krishna Center on North Beacon street in Allston. (Globe photo by George Kizer)

Reference: The Boston Globe, Boston, USA, 1974-09-03

Tears and Rose Petals - Chanters Welcome Swami

This article, "Tears and Rose Petals - Chanters Welcome Swami" was published in The San Francisco Examiner, September 9, 1968, in San Francisco, California.


The devoted chanters who have found Krishna Consciousness are at their blissful peak here today, for their spiritual advisor - Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta - is in town to grace their temple at 518 Frederick St. They were awfully happy - and emotional - yesterday, when the holy man from India flew in from New York. 

They were awfully happy - and emotional - yesterday, when the holy man from India flew in from New York. 

Wearing a beatific smile, an orange gown, hush-puppy shoes and white socks, the Swami silently, but clearly, expressed his pleasure at the greeting offered by the 45 active members of the local temple. 


They fell to their gown covered knees as he arrived through Gate 24 at San Francisco International Airport, but never let up on the "Hare Krishna" chant. 

This chant is said to be the key to Krishna Conciousness. Constant repetition, members of the International Society for Krishna Conciousness believe, allows the chanter to transcend the material world and achieve the love of God. 

Krishna, who is also a Hindu church Deity, is considered the Supreme Personality of God. Devotees at the front of the receiving line kissed the Swami's shoes and place sizable garlands of roses around his neck. 

All the young women, and most of the men, shed ecstatic tears. 


The 73 year old Swami stood smiling hugely for a few minutes. Onlookers stood wide-eyed and open mouthed, and wondered what they were missing. 

Then the Swami, still silent, led his still chanting followers down the airport halls and outside, where a car was waiting. 

Young women gracefully floated rose petals a step ahead of his paths. When they were out of petals, the sprinkled water from the roses' containers. 

The Swami founded the first Krishna temple in the U.S. two years ago. Today there are 10 temples with 450 active members in this country and one in Montreal. Disciples spoke yesterday of plans for more temples in Australia, Germany, and London.


The Swami will deliver a sermon here at 7 o'clock tonight and plans to remain for three weeks before departing for Seattle, where a temple has recently been established. 

The oldest member of the local temple is 36. Most are between 16 and 25; about two thirds are male. 

Most of the local male devoteees have shaved their heads - for cleanliness - leaving only a "sika" to protrude from the rear of their heads in pigtail fashion. 

The Swami's teachings restrict his students from partaking of many insidious goodies of contemporary society - such as all narcotics, including tobacco and coffee, meat and premarital sex. 


Students attend three prayer meetings a day, but said the non-sectarian temple meetings do not demand a participant sever his ties with, say, the Catholic Church. 

Several of the devotees said they had been retrieved from lives of crime, drug dependence, or general degeneration by the discovery of Krishna Conciousness. 

How does one make this discovery?

Simple, they said. Keep chanting: 

"Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Reference: N/A

Youth turns to spiritualism as hippies, radicals fade

This article, "A large, exotic shift - Youth turns to spiritualism as hippies, radicals fade" was published in The Idaho Free Press, August 8, 1973, in Nampa, Idaho.

By Robert Strand

SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) - With hippies nearly extinct and radicals fading on the campus, vast numbers of middle class youth are turning their search for a changed word to a new spiritualism. 

In a shift as large as it is austere and exotic, the talk of the day concerns yoga, meditation and the contemplative life. Drugs and easy sex are out, mysticism is in. 

Mantra prayers begin at 4 a.m. A ritual master teaches walking on hot coals. Devotees spend hours in Asana postures. 

Bald, chanting dancers jump up and down in a trance lofting rose petals over idols of Hindu Deities.

Christians adopt the lift of St. Paul, and Jews return to the mysticism of the Sterm and Pious Hasidim. 

Astonishing though the switch to spiritualism may seem, serious scholars see the impact on national life to be as potentially substantial as that of the Haight-Ashbury and the Students for a Democratic Society. 

Just as most people knew somebody's son who turned bubble blowing flower child or shouting activist, so soon many may shake their heads over an acquaintance with a shaved skull, new turban or pajama pants. 

The eastern mystical discovery by the young perhaps started with the trips of the Beatles and Mia Farrow to India and Maharishi Mahesh Yoga, mentor of the transcendental meditation technique. 

Now TM, as it is called, is practiced by army generals, Wall Street brokers and California legislators. Its teaching has been proposed for the San Francisco school system. 

Gradually since the Haight Ashbury turned from love to terror in 1967, Gurus, Dervishes, Roshis and Swamis came to lecture American youth. Lamas, driven out of Tibet by the Red Chinese, brought a Buddhist discipline new to the United States. 

One rock star after another cried out messages of an Aquarian age to come, messages incomprehensible to youngsters' parents. 

The list of all-out new spiritualists includes Alice Coltrain, Carol King, Clint Walker, Kate Taylor, John Fahey and Mahavishmu John McLaughlin. 

In Berkeley, a recent dope-smoking audience was stunned when acid rock king Carlos Santana, known for hair to his waist, emerged on stage in a pow cut and an Indian shirt. He set up an altar with a photo of his guru, SRI Chinmoy, and gave a spiritual concert. 

Jerry Rubin, one of the Chicago Seven activists, and Yippie co-founder, is very mellow these days experimenting with EST seminars, a synthesis of eastern techniques. 

Another of the Chicago Seven, Rennie Davis, gave a Berkeley speech last April that shook the new left from coast to coast. He announced his adoration of a 15-year-old boy, the Guru Maharaj Ji whose devotees are expected to fill the Houston astrodome in November. 

"If I didn't believe with my entire soul that Guru Maharaj Ji is going to save the planet, then I wouldn't be placing myself so far out in a limb." Davis said. 

For three hours the SDS co-founder spoke softly and sweetly in the face of shouted obscenities from a furious audience of 1,000, mostly radicals. 

When Davis allowed that President Nixon has good in him, too, a flurry of tomatoes flew, screaming youths rushed the stage, and Davis responded, "I love all of you very much.

Hippies and activists long were divided over whether the world can best be saved by changing the social system - or by changing one's self. Davis spent years storming the system, then switched. 

The numbers involved in the Eastern and Christian varieties of the new spiritualism are impossible to pin down. 

The Mandala, a Berkeley store dealing exclusively in the metaphysical and mystical, sells 75,000 books annually. 

"Be here now," a book by Dr. Richard Alpert now known as Baba Ram Dass, has sold 300,000. 

Alpert, a former Harvard professor who with Timothy Leary was a pied piper of LSD, returned from India as a spiritual teacher. He dismissed drugs as unnecessary. 

"Spiritual Community Guide," an underground paperback, lists 371 Ashrams and related activities in California alone. 

One scholar guesses the nation now has 500,000 practicing members of various Eastern religious groups, not counting TM enthusiasts and persons simply using yoga to limber up. 

To that number may be added youthful thousands of the Jesus Movement with similar mystical impulses, and perhaps an estimated 300,000 neo-Pentaoostalists active in mainstream Catholic and Protestant churches. 

Neo-pentacostals, born in the United States roughly at the same time as the flowering of Eastern groups, involves the entire age bracket in Glossolalia, or speaking in tongues. Pentacostalists seek personal experience of God. 

In the new spiritualism of youth, almost everyone is under 30, comes from middle and upper class families and is college educated. Eastern groups attract youths of all religious backgrounds, but Catholics and especially Jews appear in disproportionately high numbers. 

Most have been heavy drug users, and all proclaim drugs are not needed to get high. They say righteous life can keep you high all the time. 

Given their background, the significance may not simply be the new spiritualists' happening - as much as what they dramatize about doubts and hopes among young millions who never will go so far as to carry a dhoti or paint their foreheads with a tilak

All respect Yoga and meditation, and practicing Christians and Jews still find appeal in the central thrust of the various oriental faiths, the changing or elimination of desire. 

All seek joy and ecstasy in daily religious experience, and, with some exceptions, all think each major religion offers a true path to the same reality. Some paths, however, are held to be straighter. 

All find American society degrading and corrupt from top to bottom, and all believe man - and his world - can be vastly improved, quickly. 

New spiritualists firmly believe humanity verges on a quantum jump forward. It is called the NEW AGE, THE AQUARIAN AGE, the dawning of a new consciousness, or the coming of the Messiah. 

Ivan Finmay, 21, former atheist and son of a Newark, N.J. liquor salesman, explains: 

"Our parents worked hard to be middle class, and God was excluded from our life. He was cut out of the deal.

"Our generation seeks to experience the oneness of the world, to improve the planet, God promised to send us a Messiah, to show us how to improve ourselves and the world. We all feel he is coming in our lifetimes.

Having gone to the mystical roots of his own cultural background, Finmay lives in San Francisco at the House of Love and Prayer with the Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. The rabbi is widely admired in guru circles. 

Finmay is a Hassidic Jew, but wears jeans instead of a long black coat and Williamsburg hat. He calls himself orthodox, but with his friends he rejects Hassidic sexual strictures and old world ways. 

At the Healthy Happy Holy Organization (3HO) Ashram in San Rafael, Baba Bert, 33, onetime manager of the Grateful Dead Rock group, says, "There are only two directions to go. Either we are going to radically change the world, or we are going to blow it up.

Bert's Ashram, a 25-room mansion in an exclusive section, is one of 100 claimed operated in the U.S. under the teaching of Yogi Bhajan. 

His followers, considering themselves sikhs, wear white caftans and turbans, and do not cut their hair. 

Several hours daily are spent in meditation and kundalini yoga, but devotees work hard to live, as taught, "By the sewat of the brow.

In San Francisco, Norah Whiten, 24, education at the University of California and the Sorbonne, practices chastity at the Integral Yoga Institute which operates a dozen ashrams dedicated to Swami Satchidananda. 

As usual, the building is sparcely furnished and immaculate - in sharp contrast with communes of hippies and activists. Potted plants and guru pictures are everwhere, even on the floor where devotees sit cross-legged for their vegetarian meals. 

"May the entire world be filled with peace and joy," goes the Mantra they chant over and over awaiting everyone's presence before eating. 

Miss Whiten, a San Jose businessman's daughter once arrested for her activist activity, has given up "the hate trip" of radical politics. 

"When you spend all your time thinking of 'us' and 'them,' you get very paranoid," she says. "You spend so much time thinking of 'them,' you come to resemble 'them.'"

A pretty 18-year-old girl from Seattle, Carol Bollinger, daughter of a YMCA director, explains she has close-cropped her hair in the hope of becoming one of the swami's nuns. 

"It always meant a lot to be to be popular with boys," she says. "But now I want to be able to love everybody.

The U.S. operation of Maharaj Ji, the boy god, is the Divine Light Mission whose 150 centers are linked by telegraph and telephone lines. Its new quality color magazine, "And It Is Divine," has a press run of 130,000. 

In the Divine Light's two-tone Victorian house in San Francisco, Lynn Domenico, 24, former Golden, Colo., Catholic, hippie and activist, says, "Man, the Guru Maharaj Ji is the hottest guru on the guru circuit.

Her Ashram sends $5,000 a month in earnings to the Divine Light headquarters in Denver, and gets back $150 a week for food and other expenses of 18 residents. The $5,000 goes to financing the Astrodome event, a new city to be built in California, and evangelistic activities in the seven-story headquarters building. 

In the past the young guru's devotees around the world have bought him a Rolls Royce, a Mercedes Benz and two private airplanes. 

"My father says anytime I want a psychiatrist, he will pay for it," laughs Ryan Reisman, son of a Los Angeles corporation lawyer. But young Reisman says he has found peace, and "the only way to have peace is to have God rushing through your veins.

Faith in Maharaj Ji is absolute. Miss Domenico believes the guru will convert Mao Tse-Tung by 1975, and "in the next five years our organization will be feeding and clothing the entire world.

Divine Light followers, seeing their guru as "the perfect master," and are prone to argue that their's is the only true path. 

Like the Hare Krishnas, they keep apart from the meeting of the ways, a local group bringing Eastern, Christian and Jewish mystical organizations together. 

The Hare Krishnas, whose devotees renounce sex except for procreation, now have saffron-robed chanters on the streets of 65 cities. These followers of Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta predict the spread of their chant "to every town and village on the planet."

Among other mystic groups are the Sufi order, in the Islamic tradition, and Tibetan Buddhists, both gaining attention in intellectual circles, and Arica, a synthesis of oriental methods. 

In San Francisco, American-born master Subramuniya offers disciples a 2,000-word language received in a vision, and Dr. Neville Warwick of the Kailas Shugendo sect teaches fire yoga

The movements join the Zen Buddhists whose influence in the U.S. grew large in the 1950s, and Vedanta and Theosophical socieites, both of which have operated here for generations. 

Among those involved in Eastern groups and practice are students of the Jesuit Theological Seminary, Berkeley. To concerned parents, the Rev. Michael J. Buckley, the rector, would say: 

"If a person becomes more loving, more gentle and more peaceful by standing on his head, you should be delighted.

Father Buckley cites historian Arnold Toynbee's belief that the most important 20th century development will be, rather than technology, the confrontation of Christianity with Eastern religion. 

Christianity, he says, is turning East where it will absorb new religious ideas and techniques - just as the early Christians assimulated Greek philosophy in the Mediterranean world. 

Edward Espe Brown, a Zen Buddhist priest, comments: "The way Americans live hasn't satisfied young people. The standard way of relieving suffering - a well-paid job, a family in suburbia - hasn't worked." 

"People seek something to improve their life - not the philosophy of Sunday go-to-meeting religion - but something that works," says the Rev. Earl W. Blighton. "There is a handbook for what works, the New Testament.

Blighton, who also sees the coming of a new age, is director of the Holy Order of Mans, a mystical group which has grown in a decade to operate 81 "stations" manned by 1,000 black garbed persons under life vows, mostly youths. 

Jacob Needleman, author of the "The New Religions." says the notion that the intellect, through science and psychiatry, will solve all problems has soured. 

"We have all we wanted - cars, TV, money, a sexual revolution, women's liberation - and it doesn't make people happy. The quality of life has not changed.

"Real religion is based on hard hitting psychology, telling us what is wrong with us, how we sell ourselves short. Ancient religion had this, and saw everything Freud saw, and more.

"Real religion has a practical method for changing the psychological structure of man. That, to me, is the religious core the west has lost.

Needleman and Father Buckley suspect the spread of Eastern practice in the U.S. will force a new Christian understanding of its own mystical traditions. 

Among the young, hopes run far higher. They will ask Mayor Joseph L. Alioto to proclaim San Francisco a world spiritual center on the occasion of the autumn equinox. 

Sam Bercholz, 25, Berkeley publisher, predicts that America will become "a beacon for the rest of the world" because "spiritual experience comes in desperation, and people are very, very hungry.

The forecast from the old red factory housing San Francisco's Sino-American Buddhist monastery - founded by young Americans who spend their time studying Sanskrit and Chinese texts - is more guarded. 

Bhiksu Heng Ching, 29, formerly Steven Klarer and son of an air force colonel, leads a life so austere he sleeps sitting up, and has not lain down in four years. He says: 

"A lot of it is faddism. But the time certainly is ripe for the real McCoy."

Reference: The Idaho Free Press, San Francisco, USA, 1973-08-08

Nonsectarian Heaven? Nope, Fair

This article, "Nonsectarian Heaven? Nope, Fair" was published in The Tennessean, September 21, 1973, in Nashville, Tennessee.


The Churches of Christ are giving away Bible lessons, the Mormons are selling cheeseburgers, and across the aisle the Seventh-day Adventists are teaching folks how to stop smoking. 

Outside, the Hare Krishnas are selling incense and beads, and in another shed the Cumberland Presbyterians are serving up barbecue and beans while the Lutheran men fry cheeseburgers and the Pentecostal Tabernacle members dish out chitterlings and fish. 

IT SOUNDS like some dreamy theologist's view of the nonsectarian heaven, but actually it is better known as the Tennessee State Fair. Up on the hill between the grandstand and the livestock barns are several buildings dedicated to food concessions and non-agricultural exhibits, and it is within this area that all the different religions, for at least one week out of the year, can flourish in harmony. 

A visitor to the exhibition hall can gather up fistfuls of literature such as the United Methodist's "Upper Boom" or the Salvation Army fact hook without making any group feel left out. 

Perhaps the most unsual religous booth is the one outside the exhibit hall, run by the flare Krishna religion, where copies of the group's "Bible," the Bhagavad-gita, are sold alongside exotic-scented soaps, and perfumes, vegetarian cookbooks and Indian garments. 

ONE OF THE Hare Krishnas who calls himself "Swami" said he had traveled the fair circuit throughout the summer, trying to make money for the religion as well as spread its doctrines. 

"All the products that we sell are made in spiritual communes in this country, of which we have 80," he said. 

"We haven't had any trouble here, even though we look strange. We have really liked all the people in this city, and we hope to start a temple here to teach people yoga and self-realization.

The men in the Hare Krishna group all wear robes and sandals. Their heads are shaved, except for a small pony tail coming from the middle of the back of their heads. 

WHILE HE spoke, Swami ate with his fingers a vegetarian meal of fried potatoes and stew from a silver tray. He explained that silver is considered "a pure metal." He said the Hare Krishna communes have no problems with divorce or drugs. 

"None of us get a salary," he said. "It's all communal.

Special events at the fair today include the jack and jennet show at 9 a.m., the Middle Tennessee and State Future Farmers livestock and dairy judging contests from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m., and free variety shows at 2 and 7 p.m. in the grandstand. 

Photo: 'Swami' and Vegetarian Meal (Sheree Short, left, and Rita Savage, both 14, of Celina, Tenn., watch "Swami," a member of the Hare Kishna religion, eat a vegetarian meal at the sect's exhibition booth at the Tennessee State Fair.)

Reference: N/A

Hare Krishna Sect Thriving in U.S.

This article, "Hare Krishna Sect Thriving in U.S." was published in Galesburg Register-Mail, August 27, 1973, in Galesburg, Illinois.

NEW YORK (UPI) - The Brooklyn temple of the Hare Krishna is alive with the odor of incense and the murmur of trance-like meditation to the Hindu god, Krishna. 

Krishna worshipers, mostly under 30, are becoming a familiar part of the American urban street scene. They dance, chant, clap and ring bells to the throbbing rhythm of drums, their robes flowing, Shaved heads shining in the sun and makeup streaked across their foreheads. 

The sect spread quickly across the country after it was introduced into the country from India in 1966. It has outgrown its temple and living quarters in Brooklyn, one of 45 in the United States, and is seeking a new building in midtown Manhattan. 

Members - they call themselves devotees - and visitors remove their shoes in the temple to keep the floors clean. They often bow with forehetads touching the floor. 

Artwork adorns the temple walls. "It's amazing the talent that Krishna gives these artists," a female devotee said during a recent tour. 

She pointed to a painting of five wild horses, each a different color, pulling a carriage with two passengers. The horses represent the five senses with the mind at the reins and the soul in the back seat "being taken for a ride.

On Sundays, visitors to the temple are treated to vegetarian cooking, and introduced to the religion. Tosan Krishna, who changed his name from Thomas Allin when he be lame a member, said the desire to expand the Sunday program is one reason the sect wants a new building in Manhattan. 

The Hare Krishna have another reason for wanting to move - an unhappy relationship with their neighbors, mostly Italian, in Brooklyn's working class Cobble Hill neighborhood. 

"They're just not cosmopolitan," Tosan Krishna said of the neighbors. 

The sect seems to be well off. It runs a profitable incense factory in California. Its centers sell incense, suntan lotion (organic tangerine or strawberry), religious books and a vegetarian cookbook. It operates a printing plant in Brooklyn. 

"We focus everything on service to God," said Tosan Krishna. 

Reference: N/A

Krishna Ultimate In Happiness, Say Devotees

This article, "Krishna Ultimate In Happiness, Say Devotees" was published in Corvallis Gazette Times, August 4, 1973, in Corvallis, Oregon.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Do you really want to be happy?

Dinabandhu Das, 23-year-old leader of Portland's followers of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, says it's not hard. 

All you have to do to sweep away your sad illusions, says Das, is to chant: 

Hare Krishna 
Hare Krishna 
Krishna Krishna 
Hare Hare 
Hare Rama 
Hare Rama 
Rama Rama 
Hare Hare 

"When I was young, I was an altar boy," said Das, who dropped out of Notre Dame four years ago during summer vacation after devotees of Krishna approached him on a Boulder, Colo., street. 

"By the time I got through high school and college, I was pretty much an atheist, but I was searching for an answer," he said. 

What he found were the teachings of his spiritual master, called Sriprabhupada for short. 

Sriprabhupada came to the United States via New York six years ago from India to spread Krishna consciousness among the English-speaking. 

His teachings, contained in several books, are not readily condensed. 

But he says Krishna is the appropriate name of God in this time and place and only Krishna can satisfy the longings all persons feel beyond their sensual desires. 

Material things are illusory and the body is merely a vehicle for the soul, he says. 

Sriprabhupada also teaches reincarnation, with a twist. 

Instead of coming back in the form that befits your past state of sinfulness, he teaches, you will come back best equipped to do what you want to do. 

Suppose you like to eat meat, something disciples of Sripradhudapa do not do. Krishna may bring you back as a lion. 

Best of all is not to come back at all, and the only way to do that is to do everything for Krishna. 

Initiated disciples of Sripradhupada number some 3,000 in the United States, says Dinabandhu Das. 

They live in about 50 temples, he says and there are another 50 temples outside this country.

Sriprabhupada's followers, who can be seen in Indian clothing on the streets of most American cities, live on selling incense they make in a Los Angeles factory and books and magazines about their cause. 

When an altar boy turns into a young man with a curious haircut beating a drum and dancing at a downtown bus stop. what do his parents think? 

Dinabandhu Das, once Don Romeo of Los Angeles, has little hope his parents will follow him into Krishna consciousness, although he said his father accepted his choice. 

"He said that I was an individual and I had the right to make my own decision," he said. "My mother was unhappy.

"I keep hoping my father, who is very intelligent, will study the books I left.

He and others his age have turned to Krishna consciousness and other religions, he says, because they have learned that "all material enjoyment is false.

So he, for the sake of Krishna, is presiding over a community of about 12 men and three women in a comfortable but chairless house in a middle-class Portland neighborhood. 

Why the Indian clothing and the haircut, which leaves a topknot but little else? 

"With the devotees who are living in the temple, their main business is preaching," he said. "These things remind people of Krishna. It's also a sign of renunciation. We don't have to worry about our wardrobe.

Among the devotees in the Portland temple is 21-year-old Bhakti Michael, only four months a follower and still without a new name. He was Michael Ottenbacher of Portland until he began going to the fest the temple holds every Sunday. 

"It's really bliss," he said. "This is the spiritual world.Bliss was far from his lot in the past, he said. 

"In looking for happiness, I tried anything that alleviated the pain," he said. "I took drugs for a few years, LSD and things. They almost put me under the illusion that this was the ultimate.

After he found devotees of Krishna dancing on a downtown street, came to their fests and began lessons in the Bhagavad-gita, a Hindu scripture, he decided to stay in the temple. 

"From the first night, I was intoxicated with Krishna consciousness. I found nothing attractive in the world. It was only this that was satisfying, that was beautiful, in the whole world.

Kuvera Das, 22, is an insistent, articulate black man from Chicago who handles incense sales in Oregon. He said he had a business degree from the University of Illinois and a job offer from a major corporation before he gave it up for Krishna. 

Few black persons have become disciples of Sriprabhupada. "I'd say there are 10 to 15 or 20 in the whole movement," he said. 

Why? Kuvera Das, who used to be Dwight Jones, says black persons have not yet realized that material things won't satisfy their longings for liberation. 

"There are four stages of development," he said. 

"First there is economic development.

"From there is religiosity.

"After that is sense gratification, and when you come to the conclusion of sense gratification, then you desire liberation."

"They're just now going through sense gratification.

Sikhandi Dasi, an 18-year-old San Franciscan who used to be known as Sherri Theall, said she joined the movement about a year and a half ago. 

Like Kuvera Das and Dinabandu Das, she was sent to Portland to strengthen the temple population. 

She said she grew up without any religion and was doing whatever she could to make herself happy - without success - before she learned about Krishna on a Berkeley, Calif., street. 

"I tried to do so many things...get high, go to dances, sex life...something seemed to be missing.

"When I came to the temple, it just hit me.

Single women are equal to men in the Krishna community, she said, but married women must be subject to their husbands. 

"Their husbands are kind of like spiritual masters," she said. 

She said she used to be interested in yoga and even studied the Bhagavad-gita before she actually came to Krishna. 

Those and other attempts to transcend her unhappiness were futile, she said, because she was not ready. 

"If you want a cheap god, Krishna will give you a cheap god," she said. "Krishna will give you anything you want.

Reference: Corvallis Gazette Times, Portland, USA, 1973-08-04

Hare Krishna-Objective is to achieve elevated blissful life

This article, "'Hare Krishna' Objective is to achieve an elevated, blissful life" was published in The Brandon Sun, August 25, 1973, in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.

By George W. Cornell - AP Religion Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - A high, weathered wall ringed the garden behind the big, red-brick building in Brooklyn. A sign on the front door admonished: "Srila Prabhupada needs quiet!

Inside the front hallway, the air piquant with incense, another penciled sign advised: "Please walk softly and talk softly...Srila Prabhupada is here!

The object of this concern was, as he is formally titled, "His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada," 76, founder and spiritual master of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

"He's napping," whispered a devotee, Panchartna Das, 22. "He cannot be disturbed.

That apparently scuttled the interview, which had been scheduled in advance, with the elderly religious teacher from India who seven years ago started a movement in the West that has sung and danced its way across America. 

In almost every major city nowadays you spot this followers, young men with shaven heads and topknots wearing saffron, wrap-around dhotis and tunic-like sirtas, sandal-footed young women in flowing saris with painted marks of dedication, the tiakas, on their foreheads. 

"Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna," they chant, swaying along. "Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

They thump their twin-headed drums, the kjol, and ring their brass hand cymbals, the kartals

"It's great to go out on sankirtan - a chanting party in the street," said Omkama Dasi, 19, a young woman devotee operating the switchboard at the movement's temple on Henry Street in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

All the Western followers, many of them young people disillusioned by hedonism or affluence, take Sanskrit names with various religious connotations symbolizing their change from "material" pursuits to a new "spiritual" path. 

"We are vaishnav - lovers of God," said Goswami Bali Mardan, 26, an aide to the spiritual master and director of the New York temple, one of about 50 in the United States. 

Most of the closest adherents - estimated now at 4,000 - live communally in the temples and surrounding apartment houses, going through their daily routine of chants, classes, work and vegetarian meals taken together. 

"Our objective is to develop greater love of God and to achieve a platform of elevated, blissful life full of knowledge," Goswami Mardan said. 

When people are out of touch with that reality, he added, they "think of themselves simply as bodies, but our real identity is spiritual - as souls, as eternal servants of God. If we don't understand who we really are, it is not possible to be happy.

The basic method of attaining this spiritual self-understanding is by chanting the name of God, called Krishna, and other sounds or "mantras" believed to release the mind from material concepts. 

"Everything else follows naturally," said Goswami Mardan. 

Studies are centred on the ancient Vedic literature of India, chiefly the Bhagavad Gita, which the group publishes as a source of financial support. They also sell incense, "Spiritual Sky," produced at their Los Angeles centre. Their monthly magazine, Back to Godhead, has a circulation of 300,000. 

Members who hold jobs are enjoined to contribute 50 per cent of their income to the movement and members also accept donations on their musical expeditions into the streets. 

In the temple altar room, as lunch neared, a dozen barefoot devotees swayed before a bright, decorative altar, while candles glowed throughout the room, bells tinkled, smoke rose from censers and Indian music came from a recorder. 

For their highly flavorful vegetarian meals - "prasadam" - devotees sit on the floor, men in one room, women in another. 

"We try not to have too much association between men and women," said Omkama Dasi. "We want to think only of Krishna, and if we're together too much, that's hard to do until you reach a higher level of development.

Rules of the movement prohibit illicit sex, gambling, the taking of coffee, tea, alcohol or any intoxicant and the eating of meat, fish or poultry. 

The spiritual master had been welcomed the day before at Kennedy airport with an outpouring of song, dance, showers of flower petals and garlands hung over his neck. 

But there were no prospects in sight for the interview. 

A smiling devotee, softly chanting as he counted out the chants on his beads, paused long enough to pass along the information that "the master" was having a backrub in the garden under the flowering magnolia trees. 

Reference: N/A

Shadyside Neighbors Complain Hare Krishnas' Drums Stir Ire

This article, "Shadyside Neighbors Complain Hare Krishnas' Drums Stir Ire" was published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 30, 1972, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

By VINCE GAGETTA - Post-Gazette Staff Writer 

The quiet, calm and serene atmosphere of a Shadyside neighborhood is being shattered, some residents complain, by a group of people who are supposed to be more quiet, calm and serene than almost anyone else in town - the Hare Krishnas. 

According to complaints filed with the city's Bureau of Building Inspection, the young, barefoot, yellow-robed disciples of Hare Krishna are holding early morning worship services at their residence, 5135 Ellsworth Ave., and the "chanting, ringing of bells and drumming of drums" are causing neighbors to lose both their sleep and their tempers. 

Others have complained that the many buses, cars and other vehicles bringing visitors to the house - once the home of long-ago Pittsburgh Mayor Edward V. Babcock - block Colonial Place near the house and generally disrupt easy traffic flow. 

STILL OTHER NEIGHBORS are openly hostile to the group, which has leased the home for less than a year and has an option to buy it. They use adjectives such as "weird-looking," "odd," and "extremely different" when discussing the group. 

The object of all the attention and complaint are members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Most Pittsburghers would best remember them for their chanting, dancing and magazine-selling on Downtown street corners. 

The Hare Krishnas, as most laymen refer to them, are followers of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. Their teachings are Eastern and their aim, simply put, seems to be to bring peace and happiness to the world. 

They appear never to be ruffled or upset and it was in this tranquil manner that some of the members discussed their neighbors' complaints yesterday. 

MAHENDRA DAS, a spokesman for the group, just smiled when asked about the complaints and said, "Some of our neighbors are against us but many more are for us. Some people simply do not understand why we are here or what we are doing.

The neighbors are more than welcome to visit the house, partake of the vegetarian feasts held regularly and participate in the Sunday afternoon services "which are not really services but more like a joyful celebration," Mahendra Das said. 

Another member, Rupanuga Das, said complaints about the crowds should diminish as soon as the scheduled visit of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami is over. He will arrive here for his first visit today. 

There are only eight full-time residents of the house, the members said, but many believers from all over the country stop by when they are in town. Yesterday a car with Texas license plates and a truck from the Hare Krishna group in Denver were parked nearby. 

"Our missionary work causes us to travel a lot," Rupanuga Das said. "We rely on our wheels very much.

The area where the house is situated is zoned for single family occupancy and, according to Edward J. Miller, code enforcement administrator for the Bureau of Building Inspection, only one family lives in the house and the rest are house guests. 

"There's no law in the United States that says you can't have house guests," Miller said. "In order to prove anything else we'd have to have surveillance on the house 24 hours a day and we don't do that sort of thing.

The neighbors' complaints will be heard Sept. 6 in Housing Court. 

Photo on the left: The "Hare Krishna" house, seen here from Colonial Place, is center of neighborhood dispute in Shadyside. 

Photo up right: MAHENDRA DAS - "Some people don't understand.

Photo down right: RUPANUGA DAS - "The crowds will diminish soon.

Reference: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, USA, 1972-08-30

Hare Krishna 'Life Is the Soul, I Am Not My Body'

This article, "Hare Krishna 'Life Is the Soul, I Am Not My Body,'" was published in The Palm Beach Post, August 17, 1971, in West Palm Beach, Florida. 

SAN FRANCISCO - It was an unusual dinner party. 

"We've been cooking for days," one of the hosts said.

"How many people are coming?" I asked. 

"About 60,000," the young man answered. 

Take that, Pearl Mesta! 

The young man and his fellow disciples of the Krishna Consciousness movement were putting on a festival and a feast. The Hare Krishna Rathayatra festival was the fifth such annual gathering in the San Francisco area. The yearly celebrations are also staged in London, Tokyo and India. 

Four thousand people actually showed up. but of these, only 300 were "devotees" of Krishna. The rest were onlookers invited to come if they wished. 

A "devotee" wears saffron-colored robes and his head is shaved except for a lock of hair remaining at the back. One of them explained. "If I spend my life keeping up hairs, this is a waste of time. It is better spent in the service of the Lord.

The Krishna Consciousness movement was discussed by a devotee. "How can I enjoy THINGS?" he asked. "That's what this world is all about. Krishna worshippers want to counteract that. We must all give up the illusory struggle for happiness...along with the bodily conception of life. Life is the soul. I am not my body. People confuse themselves with things. Have you ever noticed when one car hits another? The man jumps out of his car and yells, 'You hit me!' The man was not hit... it was his car.

I will tell you this: If anyone got hit by one of the three mammoth juggernauts the Krishna people pulled 2.5 miles through Golden Gate Park, he would not get up and yell anything. He would simply not get up. 

The three "rothas" were like giant parade floats with huge 10-foot wooden wheels. The rothas were covered with silks and flowers and carried incense burning pots. On each of the three gigantic carts was a wooden Deity form of their Lord. A devotee said the idols were "authorized worshipable forms of the Lord," Not exactly like the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost...but rather, Krishna, his sister and her husband. 

During the march and at the feast, members of other persuasions got in their innings. Hundreds of "Jesus freaks," the fundamentalist youth who say, Jesus is their biggest "trip," distributed literature and rapped with the crowd. 

One slightly older Jesus person repeatedly yelled at the entourage his allegiance to Jesus. Perhaps he felt it was necessary to shout in order to be heard over the chanting of the Hare Krishna. 

Another group worked its way through the crowd asking registered San Francisco voters to sign petitions against a transit fare increase. 

It's a miracle that women's lib and the black pride groups weren't there, too, because in the play the Krishna people presented, the "demon" was in blackface; and a devotee revealed that women were expert at cooking, but not quite so expert at explaining philosophy. 

The police were there, though. They were on motorcycles, motor bikes, horses and in squad cars. But the gathering was not unruly, and about the only need for police was when a television crew inadvertently locked its equipment inside their truck and the cops picked the lock. 

Anyway, the Krishna people really did serve 4,000 guests. Their dinner was organic bread, which tasted like a gingerbread brownie, cherries, grapes, and sweet little balls of honey, nuts, and sugar they called halvah

By the way, there were no place cards. But the food was pretty good. And so what if 56,000 of the expected guests didn't show? Leftovers are to be anticipated at any party, right? 

Reference: N/A