This article, "American Swamiji Raises Funds for Temple," was published in The Hindu, December 20, 1974, in Chennai, India.
Sri Achyutananda Swami of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) with his entourage hass impressed the people of Chirala wish his discourses on 'Gita' and 'Nagara Sankeerthana' so much that people flocked to hear him. To accommodate the large gatherings the venue had to be shifted to three places. The Swamiji wno camped at Chirala from Dec. 12 to 14 participated in several programmes organised by the local Prardhana Sangham.
Born in New York in 1948 Achyutananda Swami as a student majoring in English Literature and Music in New York University came under the influence of Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966. Discontinuing his studies Sri Achyutananda joined the International Society to serve Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He was sent to India in 1967 to preach and study the science of Bhakti-Yoga. His six followers include an American and a Frenchman. The rest are Indians.
"As a frustrated student of American civilization, I have embraced Hinduism which has all the virtues of world civilization," he says, "Unless there is knowledge of God, you cannot identify Him. You can see the manifestation of Krishna and identify His deeds in every walk of life and the mere chanting of 'Hare Krishna' gives the mental comfort, much sought after."
A temple is under construction at Hyderabad at an estimated cost of Rs. 10 lakhs and to meet this expenditure the Swamiji has under taken a fund-raising tour to enlist life members, who according to him number about 6,000 in India itself. He claims there are 112 Hare Krishna temples all over the world, nearly 55 of them in the U.S.A.
"Back to Godhead" a periodical is being published in 15 languages and it has a world circulation. The Works published by ISKCON in 11 languages has been in great demand in 56 countries. Many of the Universities in U.S.A. possess the Works in their libraries.
It is said the devotees are 'initiated diksha' as per Narada Panchakshari and given 'Japa Mala' for reciting Hare Krishna. A devotee has to follow a dictum and chant 'Hare Krishna Maha Manthar' 16 rounds a day. He is strictly forbidden from taking any intoxicant drink, not even tea.
The Swamiji asserts that chanting of 'Hare Krishna' alone is the salvation for 'Kaliyuga.'