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News coverage of Srila Prabhupada and his movement.

Eastern Religions

This article, "Eastern Religions" was published in San Antonio Express-News, November 21, 1971, in San Antonio, Texas.

By John Dart 

LOS ANGELES - Jesus talk is "in" today in many youth circles, but that hasn't forced the gurus to unfold themselves from the lotus position, pack their chanting beads and head back to Asia. 

Eastern religions - whose practitioners demonstrated amid public attention in the 1960s that bored middle-class people could be engrossed by spiritual matters - still find adherents in America.

Three groups showing particular growth since their U.S. debut during the last decade are the chanting Buddhists of the well-organized Nichiren Shoshu sect, the yellow-robed devotees of the ascetic Hare Krishna movement and the transcendental meditation followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

THE LOS ANGELES area serves as U.S. headquarters for Nichiren Shoshu and the Maharishi's following, and is considered an important religious center for the Hare Krishna movement. 

Southern California has proved hospitable in the past, of course, for such Orient-oriented groups as Self-Realization Fellowship, Vedanta societies and Zen Buddhism, which continue in comparatively quiet ways. 

And Los Angeles is still a "must" stop for most touring gurus

A 13-year-old guru - Balyogeshwar Shri Sant Ji Maharaj of Dehra Dun, India - visited his band of a dozen Los Angeles devotees last summer at a house near the Hollywood Bowl. 

In publicity releases stamped "Top Sacred," the sponsoring Divine Light Mission described the young master as "empowered to impart the imperishable Word of God to all sincere aspirants who seek for perfect tranquility of mind through spiritual insight.

A larger group, the Ananda Marga Yoga Society, which has established an ashram (retreat house), also hopes to bring its spiritual leader from India to the United States. He is Shri Shri Anandamurtijii (known as Babajii). 

"But Babajii does not just go around zapping everyone with bliss," cautioned the society's local newsletter, displaying the same mixture of seriousness and humor shown by the Divine Light Mission. 

Teachers appointed by Babajii have toured the United States since 1969. One teacher known as Dadajii initiated 60 persons during a three-day stay here last August, bringing the number of Los Angeles area disciples to more than 200. 

Despite the Jesus Revolution,

the mystic religions from Asia

still find adherents in America.

TIBETAN BUDDHISM also began developing footholds in the United States in the late 1960s. The major impetus came from refugee lamas and sympathetic Westerners who wished to preserve the religion from extinction - a threat in Tibet where Communist Chinese dominate. 

Most of the lamas are in cooler parts of the country - such as the monasteries in Barnett, Vt., and Boulder, Colo., under the guidance of Chogyam Trung pa. 

The Oriental religion that has attracted the largest following since its U.S. introduction in the 1960s is based in Santa Monica, Calif., and is Japanese rather than Indian or Tibetan in origin. 

The Nichiren Shoshu sect of Buddhism, most commonly called the Sokagakkai in Japan, claimed about 25,000 U.S. followers in 1965. Now an estimated 200,000 persons are active members. 

In Nichiren Shoshu, the priests perform only traditional religious functions such as weddings, funerals and conversion ceremonies. Only two priests are assigned to the United States: one based at the four-year-old temple in Etiwenda, 45 miles east of Los Angeles, and another at a temple in Hawaii.

Active members are urged to do three things: 

- Chant "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" and read 1.5 chapters of the Lotus Sutra for one hour each morning and evening. 

- Attend discussion meetings at homes of members and strive to meet monthly quotas of converts. 

- Subscribe to the three-times weekly World Tribune, edited at the U.S. headquarters building fronting the beach in Santa Monica. 

"The first several years the membership was practically all teenagers and those in their 20s," said Joanne Murad, a headquarters staff worker. "In the last couple years, we have been getting more and more people in their late 20s and 30s as well as older persons - usually parents and grandparents of young members.

The object of worship is a paper scroll, the Gohonzon, which each new member receives to place in his home. 

The results of worship are greatly enriched lives, both spiritually and materially, according to testimonial after testimonial printed in the World Tribune

Aside from contacts made through proselytization efforts, Nichiren Shoshu seeks public visibility through its musical and marching groups, particularly its all-girl fife and drum corps. The sect had a winning entry last April in Washington's Cherry Blossom Parade. 

EVEN GREATER public recognition has been obtained by the Hare Krishna movement, though their style of life has kept their numbers smaller than the pragmatic Nichiren Shoshu sect. 

The robed, shaven-head followers of the Hare Krishna movement can be seen on busy sidewalks of major U.S. cities - singing, dancing and passing out information about the movement. The chant - which uses the words Hare, Krishna and Rama - became familiar to many through the rock musical "Hair" and popular records. 

Founded in 1966 by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prahupada, the movement, formally called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, has grown to more than 32 chapters in America. 

"Some people who see us on the streets think we are idlers," said Karunasindhu Dasa, 23, the name taken by the financial secretary of the Los Angeles temple. 

"But we sleep only six hours a day," he said. 

The devotees rise at 3:45 a.m. each day for the first worship of the Deities at 4 a.m. The doll-like figures avid painted Deities are offered foodstuffs, incense, flowers, a waving handkerchief, a fan and a lamp. 

"Not everyone who wants to join has to shave his head or wear robes," said a Hare Krishna spokesman, "but there are four prohibitions: no intoxicants, no illicit sex, no eating of flesh and no gambling.

THE THIRD major Eastern movement that has demonstrated staying power in America is the transcendental meditation teaching of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who has included the United States on his world tours since 1961. 

The Maharishi himself, with his long, wavy hair and beard presenting an unusual sight, was a newsmaker in the 1960s, including the time actress Mia Farrow and members of the Beatles were attracted briefly to his techniques. 

Two organizations devoted to teaching the Maharishi's technique have their headquarters in the West Los Angeles area. 

A practical, nonreligious approach is taken by the Students International Meditation Society, located near the University of California at Los Angeles. It claims chapters on 300 campuses. More than 65,000 persons have registered their names upon learning the technique, which is offered for the health and well-being of the student. 

The religious approach is used by the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in Los Angeles. Its president, Charles F. Lutes, who is also a vice president of the Maharishi's world movement, said about 75,000 persons have received training in 32 U.S. centers since SRM's founding it: 1959.

Jerry Jarvis, national director of the student movement, spends most of his time traveling with the Indian guru or raising funds for a training center to be built on land purchased 17 miles north of Santa Barbara, Calif. 

THE EASTERN religions predominantly attract non-Orientals. Nichiren Shoshu has a high percentage of Japanese who have been members for five or more years, but 90 per cent of the membership gained in the last four years has been non-Japanese. 

Why are Eastern religions continuing to interest numbers of young people? One reason may be the attention to environmental crises, says Mokusen Miyuki, assistant professor of religious studies at Southern California's San Fernando Valley State College. 

"A sense of totality - that everything is related to one another - exists in both Hinduism and Buddhism." Miyuki said. "This is very different from Christianity, which distinguishes between creator and created."

Concern for the ecology has made the Oriental concepts that an individual "is one with the entire environment" quite acceptable today to Americans, perhaps even desirable. 

Another attractive feature of the Eastern religions is the comparatively loose organizational structure (except for Nichiren Shoshu). 

Many guru-led groups are drawn together for the specific purposes of achieving a level of understanding or experiencing something of the transcendant, but otherwise are relatively unorganized, according to a researcher who has studied the Meher Baba. 

JAMES F. COTY of Heidelberg College, Tiffin, Ohio, said in a recent paper for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion that the guru's authority is limited. 

"The individual follower ... is expected to choose and to follow a particular guru only to the extent that it helps him in his spiritual progress. There are other gurus available if he deems his progress unsatisfactory," Coty said. 

Coty indicates that the lack of formal organization will not necessarily lead to such groups fading from the U.S. scene. 

For one thing, the teastern teaching masters try to satisfy a widespread desire today for "authentic" mystic or spiritual experiences. 

Some sociologists and psychologists have said that new religious groups often tend to attract persons who have become alienated in some way - from family, friends, coworkers or society as a whole. Most religious groups would dispute that, however, naming followers who lead rather ordinary, content lives. 

The growth of Eastern religions in this country, however, is given an added dimension by a recent number of books about absorbing elements of Oriental religion into Christianity. 

Western man has become "impoverished" because "the contemplative life is fantastically underdeveloped in the developed and affluent nations," writes the Rev. William Johnston, a Roman Catholic priest who has worked in Japan for 20 years. 

In his book "Christian Zen," Rev. Johnston said Zen meditation could mean the recovery of the contemplative life without giving up Christian theology. "I can't help feeling That Western Christianity is badly in need of a blood transfusion," he said.

Photo: Sidewalk Chant. Santanandi (Mrs. Stephanie Andersen) tries to sell the Hare Krishna magazine as others in group sing, dance and chant.

Reference: N/A

Hare Krishna, religion and way of life

This article, "Hare Krishna, religion and way of life" was published in The Journal Herald, October 4, 1975, in Dayton, Ohio.

By Carrie LaBriola 
Journal Herald Religion Writer

It might have been the Berkeley Quad or Harvard Square, except it was McKinley Park behind the Dayton-Montgomery County Public Library. 

A van pulled up Tuesday afternoon and six members of the Hare Krishna movement piled out. A few passersby paused to watch while they unloaded a portable altar and an assortment of instruments. 

All had shaved heads, save for a long strand at the middle back, called a flag, representative of their belief in God, explained their spokesman Brahma Das - Servant of God.

They were dressed in loose trousers and simple cotton shirts. All wore necklaces of beads and several had strips of paint down the forehead and nose. All are symbols of renunciation and devotion to God, Brahma explained. 

"IF YOU walk down the street of a city, there is nothing to remind you of God," he said. "They show people we are cultivating spiritual knowledge. The social norm is not like this. Within modern, materialistic society, we are deviants. But, within our society, modern materialistic society is deviant.

When the altar is arranged, with two oriental rugs on the grass in front, it is unveiled and the six bow to the ground in reverence, then begin the concert. Two play small cymbals, one a harmonium, another a a long-necked stringed instrument, the fifth claps and Brahma plays a drum. 

As they play, they sing the familiar chant - "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare." Both are names of God - Krishna means "the all-attractive person" and Rama means "the supreme enjoyer.

THREE YOUTHS stop to watch and listen. A drunk recalls being on the Burma Road in '42, "so I know what it's like." He says when they are finished playing, he plans to cut their hair, then laughs and says he is "only kidding.

Another youth and an older man also pause to observe, then two women with shopping bags. An older woman crosses the street, listens for awhile, then asks, "What next?

Brahma, formerly Robert Jancula, 23, is a native of Pittsburgh. He was a student at the University of California at Berkeley when he met some disciples of the movement playing music. He notes that "chanting has hypnotic effects," indicating a pair of well-dressed businessmen who have paused to listen. 

"I FELT the philosophy they were giving me was more complete than anything than any other I had heard in life," he says. That philosophy was "the convincing understanding of the existence of God and our relationship with him.

Brahma says he dropped out of Berkeley after two years and joined the movement, because "real knowledge isn't just a matter of data. Education comes from the Latin word educare, to lead out. Real knowledge leads out of unhappiness and the problems of life and gives a realizaton of a higher nature. University education is only data. Most of them only forget it when class is over," Brahma laughs. 

And he laughs often. He is not at all solemn or pious, but spritely and very outgoing and enthusiastic. He was given his Indian name by his guru when he was initiated. 

HIS MOTHER likes to chant and dance, he says, and is pleased with his choice. But his father isn't sure; he's disappointed. Brahma points out that "he can't go down to the bar and tell his friends his son has joined a crazy group that shaves their heads. He's a nice man, but he's set in his ways." Everytime he calls home, his father asks when he will leave the movement. 

A long-haired youth has joined the small band sitting on the rugs. As they play, he listens raptly. At last, one of the monks takes him aside to a bench and talks to him about the philosophy. This is the spider, a role usually played by Brahma. 

"The chanting is like a web," he says. "People get caught in it. The spider goes out from the web and takes the tastiest morsel, the juiciest, the most likely suspect.

LATER, Pete Houvouras, 17, who was on his way to visit a friend when he stopped to listen to the chanting, says he has "read all about this" before. "I guess you could say I'm into it." The philosophy appeals to him "very much," he says, but he goes on his way rather than joining the group. A couple of people came back to Ghetto's Palace Yoga Institute, where their bus is parked, after an appearance Thursday afternoon, but Brahma says they may not move on to Columbus with the group. 

A Dayton Fire Dept. crew stops at the curb, watching. Brahma says they rarely have trouble with the police, although they occasionally run into some restrictions. 

Members of the movement are vegetarian and follow the Bhagavad Gita. They believe that "chanting helps develop spiritual consciousness," Brahma says. When they are not singing and playing the instruments, they chant silently on beads in a small pouch slung over the shoulder. 

THE TRAVELING program was started a year ago with one bus and 17 men. There are now six buses and 125 men. Brahma is leader of a group of 15 who are visiting college campuses. They spent two days lecturing and chanting in philosophy classes at the University of Dayton. Yesterday they left for Columbus, where they will spend about a week. They came to Dayton from a week in Cincinnati. 

As they go, they invite people who are interested in their philosophy to travel with them. The others at McKinley Park Tuesday were from Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Kansas City. 

They tell their listeners that "the goal of human life is not simply economic advancement," says Brahma, "but they're conditioned to that by the media and the aristocracy.

Their bus, a converted Greyhound, is outfitted with an altar. The monks sleep on the floor. 

"YOGA MEANS to only accept what is necessary for maintenance," Brahma explains. They receive donations from bystanders and sell literature and incense. Sometimes they may give a concert for a well-to-do man, who will give a donations to show his appreciation. 

"We are dependent on God," says Brahma. "The point is we're trying to preach a spiritual philosophy of self-realization. If we worked in the factories, how could we preach?

One of Brahma's companions, Dirshta Das - Servant of the Opulent One - is a political science graduate of Amherst College. Formerly David Maclachlan, 23, of Erie, Pa., Dirshta joined the group in Portland, where he was doing social work with alcoholics on skid row. He had been looking for "a philosophy I could plug into," he recalls. 

"FOR SO long, I thought philosophy was very dry; religion was very unbelievable to me. I was ripe for a philosophy which embraced religious ideas, but not sentimental religious ideas, that could be backed up by philosophy.

Photo: Hare Krishna members chanting 

Reference: The Journal Herald, Unknown Location, USA, 1975-10-04

Commentary on splitting some 'hares'

This article, "Commentary on splitting some 'hares'" was published in The Daily Cougar, November 2, 1971, in Houston, Texas.


As president of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in Houston, I wish to express my disappointment at the coverage which we have received by the award-winning Daily Cougar. We are presenting a spiritual movement for intelligent men and women who have sufficient brain substance to understand a simple philosophy. 

Our simple philosophy is that every living being is not his material body but is pure spirit soul, part and parcel of Krishna or God. If we are thinking that we are Americans, Chinese, Russians, black or white, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.; that is called Maya or illusion. Due to this misidentification of ourself as either the gross bodily machinery or as the subtle mind, each of us is suffering the three-fold miseries of material existence and additionally, we become vulnerable to the cruel laws of material nature in the shape of birth, death, disease and old age. 

In this bewildered bondition, each of us is struggling very hard for existence, although the cruel laws of material nature will not allow a single one of us to survive. This illusory struggle, however, can at once be stopped by revival of our dormant Krishna Consciousness or God Consciousness. In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, this consciousness is most easily aroused by chanting the holy names of God; Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. 

We are presenting behind this chanting, a post-graduate philosophical study of God, as is contained in the voluminous Vedic literature, especially the Bhagavad-Gita. Those who are serious about utilizing this human form of life for elevating themselves beyond the animal platform of merely eating, sleeping, mating, and defending like the cats and dogs, should finalize their intentions by determining to go back to Home, back to Godhead where life is eternal, full of bliss and full of Knowledge. We are simply trying to present this ancient Vedic philosophy for the highest welfare of all living beings. 

Unfortunately, we must make the following corrections on the article about our movement which appeared in the Cougar on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 1971. 

• Hridyananda does not mean "blissful heart." Hridyananda is any name and it refers to an expansion of God within the heart of all living entities. 

• Devotees do not "kiss the wooden floor" upon entering the Temple Room. We are offering our respects to our Spiritual Master who is a bona fide representative of Krishna or God. 

• Hridyananda is not the spiritual master of the Krishna Consciousness movement. I am the president of the Temple in Houston. Our Spiritual Master is His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 

• Hridyananda does not "interpret the actions of God." All devotees in Krishna Consciousness refrain from giving their own opinions of what they think God or his activities are. 

• The Hare Krishna Mantra is not a "motto," it is the holy name of God. 

• The handerchief is not soaked in water, it is touched with a drop of water for purification. It, as well as all other articles, are offered to the Spiritual Master, not the Supreme Lord. They are offered because they are nice. The article is of no importance, the sincere devotion with which it is offered is what counts. 

• We do not "blow a few notes through a large sea shell." We sound a conch shell because its sound vibrations are very pure, and the pure sound reminds us of Krishna or God who is All-Pure.

Reference: The Daily Cougar, Unknown Location, USA, 1971-11-02

Krishna singers brighten city

This article, "Krishna singers brighten city" was published in The Sydney Morning Herald, November 13, 1972, in Sydney, Australia.

By NORMAN EDWARDS, Senior Lecturer in Architecture, University of Sydney

For some months, groups of saffron-robed, chanting, jingling Hare-Krishna devotees have been enlivening Sydney's otherwise unatmospheric footpaths. 

Call this a gay scene, colorful and swinging or dismiss them as a bunch of nuisances, they are in any case fundamental to the Sydney City Council's new Strategic Plan. 

This plan sets out to make the center again a place for people, to revive its once rich quality, to bring back atmosphere. In the light of this, it is sad that the continued activities of these people are threatened.

The Krishna singers, the newspaper boys, and a few fruit barrows are the only signs remaining in Sydney of a life-pattern traditionally rich in human variety. Pushing these people out of the way would seem to me to be a product of (a) puritanical beliefs (clean the place up); (b) a business mentality (they get in your way, these people, it's inefficient), and (c) a distinctively Australian intolerance of outsiders and of non-conformists. 

Tidy attitudes like these underly the nature of many of our so-called civic improvement schemes: impressive buildings set in plazas, grand boulevards (Sydney's tower-lined William Street, hardly another Champs-Elysees), zoning of "undesirable" uses away from "desirable" ones. A tidy, homogeneous, artificially ordered ideology, finally boring and vapid, and nothing at all to do with the real order of life. 

The best cities are the most vital, not those with the most in beautiful monuments. James Boswell in 1791 gave a good definition of cities; in speaking of London, and of those whp possessed attitudes such as these: "... whose narrow minds are contracted to the consideration of some one particular pursuit, view it only through that medium ... But the intellectual man is struck with it, as comprehending the whole of human life in all its variety, the contemplation of which is inexhaustible.

City centres which lack the variety and the rich, dense diversity of different people doing different things are indeed cold affairs. In Sydney, which is no exception, there are no sounds, only the noise of cars and construction sites in action, and few sights apart from the merchandise in the shop windows of a diminishing retail area steadily being displaced by more and more vertical acres of glass and concrete. 

Where is the swinging set and where are the eccentrics? Where is the special flavour that makes London such a beaut place? Locally, this sort of behaviour is seen as intrusive. 

The interesting fact is that the more dense and diversified are the public footpaths, the more crowded they are, the more people will want to walk there. The notion of wide spacious boulevards and of generous plazas may be fine visually but is a myth if one is talking about quality of life in downtown areas. 

Sydney and Melbourne in the 1800s had the right quality. Life then was a pageant, with bootblacks and fruitos and pimps and pickpockets and clerics all jostling one another along the crowded footpaths. No doubt it had its seedy side, but it worked.

Isadore Brodsky paints the scene in "The Streets of Sydney": "The old sounds have gone - such sounds as the tramp, tramp of redcoats, the hum of the (tramway) cable beneath the road ... the precise whirring rhythm of the printing machines, the snorting of the horses over the nosebags, the loud 'Fisho! Fisho! Alivo!', the thin pipings of the penny whistle outside the public houses, the chatter of children going off (to school)..."

Even the smells (in Rome, smells are an acceptable part of the atmosphere; here, we are far too puritanical about such things): "... of hot tar in the woodblock, of curries and spices, of scented tobaccos, of peppermint sweets, of chaff, of fresh printer's inks, of water from the watercart spouting on the hot road and conjuring little stream eddies, of John Chinaman's vegetables and fruit baskets ...

It would seem that this rich quality can no longer be, that economic forces which are too big to handle are going to go on changing the nature of the city centres from intricate human little worlds into one of giant filing cabinets, devoid of love. If in such a world there are still a few gay and innocent individuals left to lend a little sparkle to the scene, let them stay.

Reference: The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 1972-11-13

Hare Krishna: A chant to God

This article, "Hare Krishna: A chant to God" was published in The Ottawa Citizen, November 6, 1971, in Ottawa, Canada.

Story by Mike McDermott, Citizen staff writer 

David Minor's father wanted him to be a doctor. His mother saw him as a dentist. 

It was a little disconcerting when he changed his name to Dharmarja Das, shaved his hair to pony tail and took to singing in the streets dressed in a peach-colored robe and tennis shoes. 

But that was almost three years ago and now they're happy with their son, the head devotee in the newly-opened Ottawa Temple for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

It's just a humble place, half a red brick double at 69 Elm St., but for Dharmarja, his wife, another devotee and a student, it's plenty. 

The couple came from Toronto two months ago to establish the fifth such temple in Canada since 1966 when the Hare Krishna chant was first heard in North America. 

Now there are temples in 55 cities around the world and from them each day come the monks, dressed in the costume worn by their beloved Krishna when he first preached his teachings 5,000 years ago. 

Things haven't changed very much since then. 

Today they're up about 4 a.m. to bath and paint the tilaka markings on their foreheads. The tilaka, made from wet white clay, is described as the "ornamentation of the spirit soul". 

Then comes the preparation of the morning meal which must first be offered to Lord Krishna in the aratrika ceremony. The diet is strictly vegetarian - rice, vegetables, dahl, a lentil soup, chapatis, an Indian unlevened bread, milk and small round short-breads called simplies. 

On the Mall

Then it's outside, down to the crowded city core to preach the word of Krishna to the bustling workers and shoppers and the idle, the hippies, the unemployed and the pensioners. 

Today it's John or by his Krishna name, Hiranyagarbha, who is swaying down the centre of the Sparks Street Mall clanging his little hand cymbals in the rhythm of the Hare Krishna chant, recommended in the Indian scriptures as the most effective means of God realization in this age. 

Hare, pronounced har-ray, is an address to the Lord Krishna. Krishna or Rama means God. 

The rhythm is addictive and forces passersby to listen and watch even for a few seconds before they hurry about their business. His rich voice echoes off the stone and plastic facades that house the materialistic treasurers from which, Krishna says, our troubles come. 

He sings for 10 or 15 minutes, the tempo slowly rising as the crowd builds up in curiosity. 

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

Then he speaks, in the clear, articulate tones, lacing his sentences with the poetic images of Krishna and the youthful vernacular of the times. 

"People can't understand why, even after they have almost every material thing money can buy, they still are not happy. That is because material things cannot bring you perfect happiness. Everybody is striving to enjoy life but can't reach it," he tells the noon-hour crowd. 

"They keep trying to find it but they can't because they don't know where it's at.

The chanting, the cymbals and the dancing make up the sankirtana celebrations, spreading the word of Lord Krishna to the ignorant, the public. 

"By this process of dancing, feasting and chanting this devotional seed can sprout into the seed of eternal happiness. This chanting is a process of purification and can lead us back to our original existence and out of this darkness and illusions of material wastes. Only through Krishna Consciousness will we attain real happiness.

He is an artist, a painter to be exact, and was in an engineering course at McGill University when he found Krishna Consciousness.

An invitation 

He and Rick, called Brahmachari for student have been on the Mall for two hours and now they invite the crowd to come to the temple Sunday for "a very, very nice feast". 

In his days as an arts student at Carleton University Rick had 15 hours a week in courses. The curriculum to become a Krishna devotee calls for 40 hours a week during the two-year reorientation. 

Now it's time for prasadam, the evening meal, usually light, sweet and satisfying which has been prepared by Dharmarja's wife, Gunamai, whose name was Georgine Jensen when she was an art student in Los Angeles. 

Her marriage to Dharmarja was arranged in Krishna tradition and they were married in the Toronto temple a year ago. 

They will offer the meal to Lord Krishna in the ceremonial room after removing their shoes and socks and praying face down before the portrait of Krishna. 

The room, formerly a living room in the two-storey house, has been cleared of western furniture and contains only a small altar and pictures of the Lord Krishna and His devotee who represents Him today, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Pradhupada, who introduced Bhakti-yoga to the western world five years ago. 

Now it's Sunday and the people begin to arrive about 4 p.m. There are the regulars who come for the chanting and dancing every Sunday, and the cautious newcomers driven by curiosity. 

Things get underway with a short play, a parable depicting some religions adventure in Krishna's life. 

It is acted out by the devotees, sometimes using several guests as props with simple homemade costumes. A toy bow and arrow may represent an archer. A devotee with a flower in his car would play the part of Lord Krishna. 

After the play there is a short discussion period where the devotees explain to their guests the meaning of the parable and the lessons therein. 

Then comes prasadam, usually eaten from paper plates with the fingers, although western utensils are available to those who want them. 

Always the dinner conversation concerns Krishna and His teachings and the devotees sit among the guests discussing that topic.

No alcohol 

Even among themselves conversations on subjects other than Krishna consciousness are frowned upon. 
The use of alcohol and narcotics is forbidden and medicinal drugs may be used only when absolutely necessary to prevent serious illness or death. 

Many devotees maintain celibacy. When a couple does marry it is more of a working partnership than a love affair. He is the household master and she is the cook, housemaid, childbearer and confidante. 

Each devotee has duties in the upkeep of the temple. One will handle cleanup chores, another will do the bookkeeping and purchase of food and clothing materials, while a third may look after the incense and booklets sold to the public as part of the temple's income. 

This plus any donations is the usual method of financially supporting the devotees and their temple. In hard times they may take menial jobs but this is looked upon as a form of failure. 

But back in the temple on Elm Street the chanting has started and the ringing Hare Krishnas stray through the old walls to the commune in the other half of the double. Several young neighbors come in and join in the swaying, hand-clapping chant. 

Almost everyone is on his feet now drawn by the magnetic force of the chant, the inquisitive high school students, several long-haired youths from the Mall, two rubbles who came for the food and got caught up in the festivities. 

The throng swirls around the small room shaking the floors in the old house. Faster. Louder. Losing the stranger's shyness in a ritual that makes them momentary brothers in their common enthusiasm. 

It will go on for some time, this dancing and chanting and feasting, and the newcomer wonders why there aren't more people there, why the hundreds from the Mall that noon didn't show up, how they failed to understand the invitation of Krishna, why they didn't come and enjoy. 

But the taxi driver who picks him up later shows him why. 

"What are you doing in there with those weirdoes?" he asks. 

And you know Lord Krishna has his work cut out for Him.

Photo at right: The temple altar
Photo down: Krishna devotees preach the word on the Mall

Reference: N/A

U.S. Krishna Chanters Tell It to the Hindus

This article, "STAGE NEW DELHI REVIVAL - U.S. Krishna Chanters Tell It to the Hindus" was published in The Los Angeles Times, November 21, 1971, in Los Angeles, California.

BY WILLIAM J. DRUMMOND - Times Staff Writer

NEW DELHI - The Hare Krishnas have put on an old-fashioned, gita-thumping revival here in bustling Connaught Circus in an attempt to sink some roots in their spiritual motherland. 

During six years of existence, the Hare Krishnas, whose holy book is the Hindu Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord), have spread like brushfire through the United States, California in particular, but are virtually absent from India.

Of the 34 centers of the Boston-based International Society for Krishna Consciousness, not a single one is in India. Seven are in California. 

Indians in general are skeptical of the Hare Krishnas. Many Indians think of them as American hippies in Hindu clothing. 

Know Scriptures 

However, the Indians learned during the 10-day festival that the American gurus know their Vedic scriptures. 

Inside the vast multicolored tent a few days ago, a thin, elfish-looking young American in a saffron robe sat crosslegged on a stage and answered questions from about 400 Indian listeners. 

"When did Krishna Consciousness begin?" a listener asked. 

Answer: "Because Krishna Consciousness is eternal, it is impossible to trace an origin. This means that there never was a time when Krishna Consciousness did not exist. So it can be said there is no point at which Krishna Consciousness has come into being from not being."

New York Accent 

And so it went for more than an hour. The Hare Krishna guru spoke with a New York City accent right off the East River, but he knew his Sanskrit and the Indians were no doubt impressed. 

Like most converts, the Hare Krishnas tend to have greater zeal than people who were born into the religion. Also, they tend to read the original holy book - the Bhagavad Gita - rather than someone else's interpretation of it, and therefore they exude a confidence that comes from their conviction that they are the depository of truth. 

However, right now what India wants is not a purer form of Hindu religious thought. 

It is a country that is trying to export more machinery in terms of value than cashew kernels. It wants technology, not  theology. 

Reject Materialism 

On the other hand, if one listens to the Hare Krishna guru, one hears the urging to reject materialism, competition and technology. 

A guru was asked what he thought of the American moon landing. He replied that it was simply a waste of time. 

"If you want to transfer yourself from this planet to another planet, then you must follow the principles of the Bhagavad Gita," he answered. 

"Krishna says that, if one goes back to my supreme planet, which is called Goloka Vrindaban, he will never have to come back to this miserable condition of life.

Many Adherents 

This religion of all-embracing spiritualism has found many adherents among Americans of the lost Berkeley-Woodstock-antiwar generation. 

On street corners of most major American cities one sees them in their robes chanting the Hare Krishna mantra: 

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

According to their doctrine, "Hare" is the supreme pleasure potency of the Lord. Krishna is the original name of the Lord. "Rama" is another name of the Lord meaning the enjoyer, because Krishna is the supreme enjoyer. 

The society was formed in New York in 1966 by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is now 76 and is addressed as "his divine grace" by his followers. 

According to the swami's authorized biography, he was born in Calcutta, educated at the university there and was a manager of a large chemical concern for a time before turning to the spiritual life. 

He is called Prabhupada by his disciples. He claims a direct line of disciplic succession back 500 years to the time when Lord Chaitanya appeared in India, and from there back 5,000 years to the time when Krishna first spoke the Bhagavad Gita to his disciple Arjuna. 

Some of Prabhupada's most memorable moments have come in San Francisco. It was there that he lectured at the Family Dog Auditorium. 

Ride to the Sea 

And, of course, it was there on July 27, 1969, that his followers staged Lord Jagannath's triumphal ride to the sea. 

Prabhupada, accompanied by about 10,000 persons, rode in a 35-foot-high. brilliantly decorated cart from the Haight-Ashbury district through Golden Gate Park and finally to the ocean.

No comparable spectacle has occurred during the festival here in Delhi, which is to end Thursday. The tent in Connaught Circus holds perhaps 8,000 persons, and has occasionally been filled. As much as religious interest, curiosity is a main reason for the crowds because just as in Los Angeles, Boston or Honolulu, white men who shave their heads and wear skirt-like dhotis are thought of here as a bit odd. 

Reference: The Los Angeles Times, New Delhi, India, 1971-11-21

Hare Krishna

This article, "Hare Krishna" was published in The Star Phoenix, October 2, 1972, in Saskatoon, Canada.

Vancouver members of the Hare Krishna religious sect added color to downtown Saskatoon last weekend with their street corner rituals of music and chants and distribution of literature. The group says the purpose of its anti-materialistic religion is to love God through constant praise.

Reference: N/A

Krishnas are back

This article, "Krishnas are back" was published in The Tampa Times, October 17, 1974, in Tampa, Florida.

Times Staff Writer

The Krishnas are back in Tampa. 

In their loose, flowing Indian garb and shaved heads, the Krishnas are once again chanting, dancing and spreading their spiritual word. 

At a new Krishna Center opened this week, the devotees of the Hare Krishna faith will offer yoga, meditation and spiritual teachings in addition to the traditional vegetable dinners on Sundays for the public, they said. 

"The thing that causes misery is that man forgets God," said Brisakapi, a devotee of the religious sect as he strolled among surprised picnickers at Lowry Park. 

"If man would remember God, he could have all happiness. We're here to remind people to be God-conscious. We're here to show them they can be happy and live eternally," he said.

Hare Krishna, however, is not new to Tampa. A sect of about 30 devotees operated out of another center through 1972 and early 1973. But the more visible adherents of Hare Krishna disappeared about a year ago. 

"We were sent here," said Brisakapi, whose name stands for "servant of God." "In Miami, they decided that Tampa needed to be organized, so we came here.

Eight followers of the ancient Indian religion came from Miami to operate the center at 1204 142nd St., which also functions as their temple. There they pray, meditate and study the holy book, called the Bhagavad Gita

When they are not doing that, you might find them chanting and singing on the streets of Tampa, passing out "blessed" flowers and beating a drum. 

The Krishnas chant in public to purify those around them, they said. 

Brisakapi says he has 'seen eternity' 

Times Staff Writer 

He gave up a booming construction business and a fancy house in the Chicago suburbs to devote his life to Hare Krishna. 

But Bill Bowes, now known as "Brisakapi," or "servant of God," has no regrets. 

"My construction business was going very well, but I wasn't very happy," Brisakapi, 32, said. 

"We lived just like normal people. I drove a big car with a telephone in it, and got drunk and did all the things people do, but it just wasn't making it," he said. 

"When I took up Hare Krishna, I became happy. It really works. We're not doing anything phony - we're actually trying to know God.

The son of a prominent lawyer, Brisakapi was raised in the Catholic Church, but became "kind of an atheist" during college, he said. A friend introduced him to the Krishna faith five years ago. 

His wife of 11 years also joined Krishna Conciousness, and they are raising their small child into the faith, she said. 

Dressed in a long sari and nodding in contented agreement through the conversation, she seemed very far away from her wealthy Chicago family and its American way of life. 

The couple lives in a sparsely-furnished home at 1204 142nd St., Tampa, which also serves as a new Krishna Center. 

"We could see how unhappy most people are, and we saw them getting cheated every day, ripping other people off, the fake joy and the false values, the ugliness of modern life - and we wanted something better," he said. 

"It's like we're all ants living in an ant colony. Someone waters and feeds the ants, provides light and dark, but none of them are aware of the colony's keeper.

"We're the same way. God provides the whole cosmos, but we're oblivious to it. I wanted to know the source of this world, the intelligence behind creation - I wanted to know the source of the cosmos.

Briskapi's All-American face and lively sense of humor ruin all one's carefully constructed stereo-types of the Krishna.

Photo: Brisakapi, formerly a contractor, adjusts his son's garment and beads.

Reference: N/A

You'll recognize a Krishna by his garb and shaven head

This article, "You'll recognize a Krishna by his garb and shaven head" was published in Courier Post, October 9, 1975, in Camden, New Jersey.

Hare Krishna! The words are a greeting from a young woman in a flowing white sari, sitting in a pickup truck outside a Hare Krishna temple. 

Inside, an odor of incense fills the air as a young man in jeans and a light-colored shirt kneels and touches his head to the bare, tiled floor. 

"Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna…

THE WORDS are also a mantra, required to be chanted by devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness 1,728 times a day. 

But the unusual clothing and shaven heads of some members are not requirements of the religion, said a temple official, Mathuranath das, 25. 

They are worn much of the time by those living in the temple because "it's a practical type of dress for the type of life we live," he said. 

"Also, people notice us," added Mathuranath, in white dhoti with pouch to match, along with strings of beads on a clay-daubed neck and a thin topknot of hair. "We want to be noticeable because we are trying to remind people of Krishna."

PART OF the reason for the Krishna attire is to mark those who are teaching, those to whom the public may turn with questions about Krishna, much as a policeman wears an identifying uniform, Mathuranath explained. 

However, those in the group have discovered that many people "are taken aback by the way we dress," he said. 

So they sometimes wear ordinary clothing to make it easier to approach people. he said - for example, when they are distributing literature and seeking donations.

"It's not a trick or anything," Mathuranath said. "but a way of getting to know people easier so they can find out we're really nice people.

Reference: Courier Post, New Jersey, USA, 1975-10-09

Noise Prompts Soglin to Close Mall Festival

This article, "Noise Prompts Soglin to Close Mall Festival" was published in Wisconsin State Journal, October 11, 1974, in Madison, Wisconsin.

By PATRICK B. BARR Of The State Journal Staff 

Mayor Paul Soglin acted upon telephone complaints Thursday afternoon to put a premature end to what should have been a day-long Hare Krishna festival on the State St. mall. 

He previously had endorsed the festival of the Chicago-based group of Bhakti yogis, as well as loaded them the city's showmobile. However, he instructed the Police Dept. at 2:30 p.m. to close down the festival which began at 9:15 a.m. 

This not only put a stop to the festival but to the hope of the yogis that Soglin would visit and chant along with them.

Cindy Baker of the mayor's office said telephone complaints trickled into the office before noon, but increased after the lunch hour. Calls came in from students, and workers, she said, complaining about the noise from the amplifying system. 

She said that rock groups that played at the same location in the past did so during the lunch hour and as a result did not disturb anyone. 

It was one of a series of festivals at major college campuses throughout the Midwest intended by the painted-faced devotees of His Divine Grace Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to spread Krishna consciousness.

Earlier in the day, with the showmobile and 42-foot multi-colored tent from Mayapura, India, as a backdrop, members of the group engaged in chanting and meditation. 

Kailasa Chandra Dasa, festival organizer, explained that the goal of the festival was to try to awaken knowledge in people of their true existence. He said no one can understand the philosophy unless they perform pious activities in the code of goodness which will produce positive effects to both giver and receiver. 

Yellow, white, and pink daisies, and prasadam (round, vegetarian, sanctified food which had been offered to Lord Krishna) were handed out to by-standers and passersby alike. Long multi-colored chains of carnations were strung on the ground in front of the showmobile. 

Devotees moved throughout the crowd offering books for sale and explaining their movement. 

The group of 40 (including women) came to Madison in their two vans earlier this week and gave presentations at St. Francis House and Nottingham Co-op. They will leave the city today for the Kishora-Kishori temple in Evanston, III., where most of them live. 

Photo: The harmonium (an organ-like musical instrument), foreground, and Mrdanga drums weren't harmonious on State St. -State Journal Photo by Edwin Stein

Reference: Wisconsin State Journal, Unknown Location, USA, 1974-10-11