News coverage of Srila Prabhupada and his movement.
This article "Who is Hare Krishna and why are they doing all those strange things on Fifth Avenue?" was published in New York, September 6, 1971, in New York, New York.
By Richard M. Levine
"... Susie found Jesus 'too impersonal,' the Maharishi a 'bogey yogi,' but with Krishna Consciousness she found the Way Out..."
All Saturday night and into the early morning hours of Sunday, devotees prepared for the Vedic marriage that would take place that afternoon between Susie and Swarup. The kitchen crew baked huge stacks of chupatties and rolled hundreds of sweetballs for the wedding feast, while the flower detail strung garlands of pink roses and white carnations to be worn by the participants in the ceremony. Two brahmacharis - unmarried men - scrubbed and waxed the linoleum floor of the temple room until they could see their faces peering into it. In the sewing room, a few girls made silk cushions and bolsters for the throne-like chair on which the Spiritual Master would sit when he visited the Brooklyn temple, as he was expected to do any day now, and talked about their hope that the more comfortable Srila Prabhupad could be made to feel, the longer he might be induced to stay. At 3:30 a.m., Rukmini rose sleepy-eyed from the floor and, taking a silver bell in one hand and a brass tray filled with fruit salad, yogurt and cream of wheat in the other, went to wake the deities up and serve them breakfast. She sanse back holding a miniature bed and smiling blissfully to announce, to no one in particular. "It's going to be a great day for Krishna Consciousness."
Outside the sewing circle, Susie gave some final touches to her wedding sari - red Thai silk with more than enough gold thread in it to satisfy the Vedic prescription that an opulent marriage is an auspicious one. She was a pretty, blond-haired twenty-year-old whose overall cookies-and-milk wholesomeness seemed only accented by the gold nose ring she wore in one nostril.
Like most of the 120 devotees living in the temple. Susie had been involved in Krishna Consciousness less than a year and was not yet an initiated member. She grew up a doctor's daughter in a pleasant ranch-house suburb of Portland with a pool down the block. Leaving her all-Oregon junior free-crawl trophy at home, she became, by her midteens, a roving flower child. With a stop-off for a year at Northeastern University in Boston. Susie has lived in half the hippie haunts from Venice, California, to the caves of Crete, knowing all the while that there had to be something more than drugs and sex and revolution now. She found Jesus too "impersonal," though, and the Maharishi, with his $50-mantras, a "bogey yogi," so it was not until she came across a group of devotees in Germany last summer that she felt she had discovered a bona fide answer ... the Way Out. She traveled on, but kept rereading an essay by the Spiritual Master called "Krishna, the Reservior of Pleasure," which promised a scientific method for leaving behind one's gross material body, the realm of the witch Maya, and reaching back to Godhead. Shortly after returning home, Susie became a devotee - much to the dismay of her parents. "Oh Krishna," she said now, smiling her little girl smile, "I can't wait to leave this rotten material world and enter the Spiritual Sky."
The false entanglements of the material world: Susie's mother and stepfather, for example. After many trying telephone calls from Brooklyn to Newburgh, New York, Mr. and Mrs. Hammond agreed to attend the wedding and even cover its costs, so long, at least, as the payment could be made in the form of a tax-deductible contribution to the temple. At the moment, Susie was more than a little nervous about her parents' visit. She and Swarup had paid a call on them a few weeks before to announce their intention to marry, and although Swarup had been on his best behavior, even letting his black hair grow in for the occasion, it had not come off too well. Susie's stepfather, a retired Air Force colonel, asked Swarup just what he planned to do in life and was not entirely satisfied with his answer, which was that he hoped to serve the Spiritual Master and Lord Sri Krishna to the best of his abilities and help his wife do the same. But it was Susie's mother who put up the real fight. She started out calling Swarup by his karmic - outsider - name. Stevie, and ended up grilling them on their sex lives, imagining God knows what went on in that temple in Harry Krishna's name. As it happened, Susie and Swarup had absolutely no sex lives at all, but Mrs. Hammond shifted gears smoothly and hit upon the clincher. "You two can't get married!" she blurted out, "Why, you've never even kissed!"
It just proved Srila Prabhupad right. Love among karmies was nothing but lust, a perverted reflection of man's true attraction for God. Not so in Krishna Consciousness. Susie and Swarup hadn't kissed - or held hands or even talked much before then - because a prohibition against sex outside of marriage was one of the Four Regulative Principles, the others being no eating of meat, fish or eggs, no intoxicants (LSD to weak tea) and no gambling.
Reference: New York, New York, USA, 1971-09-06
This article "Double Ring in the Nose and Fire Ceremony," was published in The San Bernardino County Sun, May 25, 1971, in San Bernardino, California.
This was the scene in Hare Krishna Temple in San Francisco when 300 watched President Keshava Da Brahmachari, lower left, perform double ceremony. It united Tina Korsey with Jayanada da Las Adhikari and Tamala Davi Dasi with Trai Das Adhikari, both couples right, in marriage. For many in the happy throng it was just another traditional double ring in the nose and fire ceremony carried off in routine Krishna leaping and bell clanging fashion.
Reference: The San Bernardino County Sun, San Francisco, USA, 1971-05-25
This article "Wandering Souls Chant Hare Krishna," was published in Winnipeg Free Press, June 20, 1970, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
WASHINGTON (Special-TPNS) - "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna," chant two shaven-headed saffron-robed men in front of American University.
Students stroll past or sprawl on the grass, paying little attention.
"By chant we can spiritualize the atmosphere," explains Dinadayadri Dasi, who was trying to sell sandalwood-scented incense and literature about the Hare Krishna movement.
Takers are few, and the 18-year-old, sari-clad girl speculates that the student strike has generated an especially heavy atmosphere of "maya." Maya - the illusion that the physical world reported by the senses is real and potentially satisfying - offers the same kind of challenge to the Krishna devotee that sin offers to the revival preacher.
"Krishna," to the devotee, is the name of God in his highest manifestation. Chanting his name and attributes drives away maya and is the source of absolute bliss.
Dinadayadri wears a gold ring through her left nustril. The ring is attached by a fine gold chain to a companion ring in the top of her ear. She might be taken as a religious woman of India, but her U.S. origins are betrayed by her long golden hair and milky blue eyes.
She has been a devotee of Krishna consciousness and dedicated to singing the name of God - the Hare Krishna chant - for about five months.
Before that as she tells her story, she was known as Jeanne Clansen and lived in a commune near Ann Arbor, Michigan.
"We thought we were having religious experiences. We were being misled by false rascals, people like Timothy Leary."
Until last June she lived with her parents and was a high school student in Ferndale, Mich, a suburb of Detroit. But from the age of 15, she was, she says, a user of soft drugs, principally LSD and grass (marijuana).
"They were a big illusion. I thought they would give me self-realization."
"I was a wandering soul looking for absolute truth."
That sense of wandering is past for Dnadayadri now she believes. Her days - and her future - are planned in detail.
Dinadayadri's spiritual master, inspirer of the entire International Society of Krishna Consciousness, is a 75-year-old Indian religious teacher known as His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. The swami, "Prabhupada" as his followers affectionately call him, now lives in a $250,000 former Methodist church in Los Angeles, surrounded by 75 devotees including two who wait upon him constantly.
The swami may be full of years, but most of his followers in Los Angeles, in the Washington temple and in the 20 other temples throughout the United States are youthful. Few of the 500 full initiates are over 30 and many are in their teens. A similar youthfulness prevails among the hundreds more who have a more casual relationship with the society, inquirers, temple worshippers and part-time chanters.
For some searching young people, Krishna consciousness clearly offer satisfying answers. Five years ago what is now a flourishing movment was only a hope in the heart of Swami Bhaktivedanta, who arrived in New York from India convinced that he was called to introduce Westerners to the bliss of chanting.
He believed that a proper understanding of spiritual ascetism called for men to be shaved on scalp, cheek and chin, and he was offended by the beards and flowing locks of the uptown swamis.
He saw that some accepted cocktails and smoked cigarettes, and was sure that people who live properly-regulated lives abstain not only from tobacco and alcohol but also from drugs, meat, fish, eggs and sexual intercourse (except for the procreation of children).
He took his dream in the East Village, where the hip explosion was just beginning and opened the first temple of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in 1966.
At the temple, Gargamuni Das, now in Los Angeles, then a young Jewish dropout from Mesa College, Grand Junction, Colorado, and the swami, Gargamuni's brother, Brahmananda Das, now 27 and chief of the movement's publications division in Boston, also came to the movement in those early months.
So did Damodar Das, 20, who heads the Washington Temple. All devotees take one of the divine names as their own, following it with the suffix "Das" or "Dasi," meaning "servant of " or "handmaiden of."
Gargamuni, recently explained some of his reasons for accepting the Hare Krishna way.
Four days of Mesa College, he said, convinced him that "colleges are actually slaughter houses. Pictures of nude women dangle everywhere, and an atmosphere of sexuality covers the senses."
Gargamuni regards Judaism as the height of hypocrisy: "they sing God's name in one room and get drunk in the next."
But he is equally scornful of most other conventional U.S. social institutions. He dismissed churches as a front for business and an illusory haven that "the whole society is made up of cheaters," and he urgued that most people have organized their lives around a meaningless search for transitory sex pleasure.
"Do your realize that you are composed of 90 per cent mucous and 10 per cent stool and urine? That's all sex pleasure is - mucous, stool and urine," he said.
Marriage, however, is permitted for male devotees who are unable to submit to celibacy. It is required for woman intiates like Dinadayadri, whose chief task now is to wait upon the husband the movement has given her, Nara Narayan Das, 20.
"A woman's only purpose is to serve her husband." Dinadayadri said calmly.
"Women have been conditioned to think they are equal to men, but living entities that take a female body are always inferior to those that take a male body."
"I am like a cow. But it is a very nice thing to be called a cow, because they are holy and Krishna loves them."
The movement operates a 500-acre farm called New Vrindaban 10 miles outside Wheeling, West Virginia, to which devotees' children are sent when they are six.
"It helps to diminish the family attachment between parents and children," Gargamuni said. At New Vrindaban devotees tend dairy cattle and grow what he described as "nice food stuffs."
"Nice" and "blissful" are constantly upon the lips of devotees.
Damodar dscribed the saffron dhoti, or long loin cloth he wears as "very comfortable, very nice."
Dinadayatri said that since she has begun to chant, she has built "very nice relationship" with her parents.
"They go to the temple in Detroit," she said, "Every time I talk to them, the more blissful they are."
She now is hoping that her parents will give her pearls to adorn her nose ring, which she wears, she said, "to please the senses of Krishna."
She added: "my parents by serving me are serving God."
For other devotees, however, attachment of Krishna means estrangement from their families. Damodar said that he corrsponds frequently with his mother (his father died last year). But his mother still finds it painful to address him by name that differs from the one she gave him, Daniel Clark.
He was married and a young film-maker in New York in 1967 when his eye was caught by a advertisement that Swami Bhaktivedanta could be chanting in New York's Tompkins Square.
"I took it up immediately, the experience was so ecstatic," he said. "It brought about immediate contact with God, intoxicating bliss."
It also brought about separation from his wife, who still lives in New York and concerns herself with politics and art. Damodar has dedicated himself to celibacy.
Milton McRween, 25, who lives at the Washington temple and wears Indian garb and a shaved head though he is not yet initiated, also broke with his wife over Krishna consciousness.
"She hates the whole idea," he said.
Mr. McSween, one of the few Negroes in the movement spent two years at Antioch College and three years in the marines before beginning the religious quest that led him to the movement:
"People in this age need more help than christianity is giving them," he said.
His search led him to experimentation with drugs, to the Bhagavad Gita, one of the classic Indian scriptures, and finally to the Hare Krishna movement.
Beg In Street
The financial base of the movement is unclear. The devotees depend considerably on their steet begging and publications and incense sales.
Their incense and other fragrance, which they import from India and put in to commercial form, are also for sale in some stores under the "spiritual sky" label.
Sandalwood is a favorite fragrance among those devotees, and an approaching chanting party can often be detected not only by the sound of music but by also the scent of sandalwood.
The movement also enjoys some heavy contributors, according to Gargamuni, most notably Beatles George Harrison, who has six devotees living and chanting on his estate in Devon. One of the movement's most honored items of merchandise is a record of the chanting of the devotees of the London temple that was issued under the Beatles on Apple Label.
At noon or thereabouts, they set out for up to 12 hours of chanting and dancing on the streets. If any devotee is bored by the endless repetition of the Hare Krishna chant, he does not speak of it.
"Through chanting," said Damodar, "love will emerge."
"Singing and dancing," said Gargamuni, "spread love and peace. It is better than the peace movement, which is spreading only conflict."
He added firmly: "Hare Krishna is much more powerful than any other form of the name of God."
And under his breath he softly hummed the endless chant.
Photo 1: To please the senses of Krishna...
Photo 2: ... I am like a cow
Reference: Winnipeg Free Press, Washington, D.C, USA, 1970-06-20
This article "Indian Chant Replaces LSD," was published in Winnipeg Free Press, September 2, 1967, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
By PETER SHAPIRO
MONTREAL (CP) - A small group of Montrealers, 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 Brahmachary, 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 Propinator - quit Sir George Williams University here in the third year to join the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which has six members in Montreal.
"Chanting brings an over-powering 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 five devotees, Banamali goes through the simple chant at least 1,728 limes 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."
Refuge From LSD
Not everyone in the cult is a former drug-taker. But of the 39 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, Ranamali and Janardan Das Adikary, 23, a McGill graduate student in French literature, are Canadians.
Hansaduta Das Adikari, 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 seccnd 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 while paint from 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 front Swami.
Women Are Equal
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 ago 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 at 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.
Reference: Winnipeg Free Press, Montreal, Canada, 1967-09-02
This photo was published in The Capital Times, May 16, 1970, in Madison, Wisconsin.
A member of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness carries out his Society's call to preach love of God to the people of the West by talking to two students on the University of Wisconsin campus. The Society, formed in 1966 by Prabhupada A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, who came from India, is experienced as a process of self purification. (Staff photo by Bruce M. Fritz)
Reference: The Capital Times, Unknown Location, USA, 1970-05-16