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The Hare Krishna sect

 
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What are your opinions about this group? Some people dislike them, some ignore them, and some just don't understand them...
In India, most of their temples are architectural masterpieces, visited by people of all faiths. They are seen merely as a sect promoting worship of the Hindu God Krishna.
Elsewhere they are seen as mysterious, and often called a 'cult'. Most don't know much: My coworker said, Oh yeah, they hand out flowers in airports.
So, seriously, what do you think?
 
mister krabs
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A friend of mine had a son who was a member. The son tells me that they use mind control techniques to get you to join their cult.
 
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you're on rocky ground guys .. tred very carefully!
 
Thomas Paul
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See: http://www.xrefer.com/entry/505451
Also: http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/iskcon.html#controvers
[This message has been edited by Thomas Paul (edited July 03, 2001).]
 
Nanjangud Nanjundaiah
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Yep, they've been into many controversies. They started out with a noble intention, but got mired somewhere on the way.
Nowadays they have cleaned up quite a bit... most visitors to their temples, in the US, UK and elsewhere are Indians. The locals who visit are either devotees, or scholars studying Hindu or Vedic traditions, or just curious folk who love the prasadam (which is delicious food/sweet, first offered to God, and then distributed to the temple visitors).
There's always a sense of serenity in the temple, and anyone seeking a peaceful moment, away from the bustle of daily life, can come in, sit down and relax. The chanting is usually melodious, and can bring a feeling of tranquillity - it's a different world inside.
That's been my experience - I am not associated with them in any way
 
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From what i have heard of them(and the few times ive seen them in public) i have to say that there is something wrong with them. They just dont operate like normal people. They might have a bad rap for no reason, but generally everyone thinks they are messed up in the head. What else could explain the things they do.
But i would be interested to know what they are really about.
 
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I spent a few days at a Hare Krishna ashram in Madrid,Spain. I came upon them at one of the city squares. A group of them were singing and collecting donations. There wasn't a single Spaniard among them they were all Americans. One of them who seemed to be the leader of the group came up to me and spoke to me (he was one of the Brahmins of the group). Asked me if I was from India. Then he invited me to the Ashram. At the Ashram the Brahmin (I forget his name) and I had some spiritual discussions. It was mostly one sided with him talking and me listening. I was amazed that this guy (he was an American!!!) could speak fluent Sanskrit and seemed to know the vedas like the back of his hand. And embarassed that, me, the Indian knew diddly squat of the Vedas or Sanskrit (but what the heck I know Object Pascal). I returned to my hotel that night and went back to the Ashram the following evening. Mostly because I was sick of hearing Spanish, and English sounded like music to my ears. This continued for three days. Finally after three days he invited me to leave the material world and join the group. Joining Hare Krishna is not for the faint of heart. They are strict vegetarians. They have a rigid cast heirarchy but obviously it is not determined by accident of birth but on what mental plane you are on. When you join the sect you start out as a Shudra (even if you are a Brahmin by birth) which is another word for domestic help . You are supposed to cook and clean and sweep.Meanwhile you keep learning the scriptures to better yourself and when the guru of the ashram is convinced you deserve a promotion you become a Vaishya , that job involves managing the financial affairs of the ashram. The guru was the only Indian at the place, he was a Tamilian. The guru being such a hot shot spiritual guy, a raw recruit like me meeting him was out of the question. Becoming a Brahmin is like becoming one of the board of directors. I was sure a dumbo like me will never make it. You are the king of the heap. You spend all day lecturing other people. There were a lot Gopikas at the ashram. Let me tell you something. There is nothing that takes your breath away like a blonde dressed in a saree (worn properly like a regular Indian girl) with a bindi on her forehead. Words fail me. If one of them likes you she may ask you to marry her. That marriage is final and irrevocable. Divorces are not allowed. There is strict male female segregation at the ashram and the only time you can meet a Gopika is when you go out singing and chanting to collect money. Hardly an atmosphere conducive to proper courtship. On top of all that you are not allowed to smoke or drink. For the above reasons I declined his offer.
I hope the information I have provided helps.

[This message has been edited by Sahir Shibley (edited July 03, 2001).]
 
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Joining Hare Krishna is not for the faint of heart. They are strict vegetarians


Hey, u r offending the sensibilities of the meat eaters,boy....the 'bravehearts' among them would get at U.
 
Nanjangud Nanjundaiah
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>after three days he invited me to leave the material world and join the group
That intrinsically is not a bad thing. You get to sing and dance with blondes in sarees
>is not for the faint of heart
Definitely, every sect member would have his/her share of hardwork to do. A life of austerity makes you disciplined, and toughened. And I think sacrificing common pleasures leads to spiritual elevation - it gives a sense of inner strength and joy.
Most parents already know this feeling... they sacrifice so much for their children, doing everything they can to make them happy. It gives them a great sense of satisfaction, right? It's the same actions directed towards God. When everything you do is in His service, you will be happy... that's the general principle. (Gosh, do I sound like a preacher!)
Quoting Russell: To abandon the struggle for private happiness, to expel all eagerness of temporary desire, to burn with passion for eternal things--this is emancipation, and this is the free man's worship.
Coming back to the topic of blondes in sarees, I have had some close encounters My girl-cousin married an Australian, and all his close relatives had come to India for the marriage. And all the ladies were decked in sarees on that day; it was funny, some of them had to hold on to it, to keep it from slipping off. Now, the groom's sister was a blonde... very pretty. She looked so cute, with the bindi on her forehead... I couldn't take my eyes off her belly-button
 
Eager Beaver
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Hey Nan,

My girl-cousin married an Australian, and all his close relatives had come to India for the marriage


Was this a celebrity wedding AND was the groom a sportsman....tennis player or something.....oh no, seems I am mixing up things....I guess the one I saw in a news mag was an italian. The bride certainly was of South Indian descent and much acclaimed for her contribution to the fashion industry.

[This message has been edited by Eager Beaver (edited July 05, 2001).]
 
Nanjangud Nanjundaiah
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>Was this a celebrity wedding
No no, they met as students in an American university.
>Defamatory post content removed by moderator
Tatae, you are welcome to express your views. Just do so civilly.
 
Desperado
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"What are your opinions about this group? Some people dislike them, some ignore them, and some just don't understand them... In India"
I speak not for India but as a former air frequent traveler in the USA.
Really they were not a pest but for a few times.
My standard answer was (since I was always in a hurry): "I am a Communist and I Don't believe in God!".
They would immediately move out of my way!
 
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My impression is Hare Krishna or similar groups get people to leave their current life as it is and join them in their cause of worshipping the maker on their terms and in their environment.
I think it takes a spiritually strong person to have a family, take care of the family and worship the maker as well. I can't imagine that my maker will love me more if I show my love for him/her by escaping from my current responsibilities and promise to serve him/her only or the leader of the whatever group.
I hope I wasn't too controversial. No attack meant on any person(s) or group(s).
 
Nanjangud Nanjundaiah
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>I am a Communist and I Don't believe in God!
Wonder how they ever got established in the Soviet Republic?
You've raised a good point, Shama. It is quite heart-rending to hear the parents of youngsters who get drawn into such groups. The common refrain is like: I took such good care of my son, I brought him up so well, I had such high ambitions about him, and now he's given up everything and joined this group. As far as I know, with the Hare Krishnas, an alternate lifestyle is only offered, and there's no coercion. They fully encourage people with families to stay that way and participate in their activities.
Ofcourse, a monastic life has its advantages. I like mentioned elsewhere, from self-denial grows selfless joy. If that's all you care about, then that would be the best path to take.
 
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Originally posted by Shama Khan:
My impression is Hare Krishna or similar groups get people to leave their current life as it is and join them in their cause of worshipping the maker on their terms and in their environment.
I think it takes a spiritually strong person to have a family, take care of the family and worship the maker as well. I can't imagine that my maker will love me more if I show my love for him/her by escaping from my current responsibilities and promise to serve him/her only or the leader of the whatever group.

I hope I wasn't too controversial. No attack meant on any person(s) or group(s).


I totally agree with you.

[This message has been edited by Aamir Khan (edited July 22, 2001).]
 
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I think that there may be a difference in the same religion when it is in different countries. If in india, all members are indian descend and that religion has existed in india for 5000 + years then in india it may be a normal religion, but in US, the religion may be different, the differences depend on the leaders personality greatly, to a point in which any normal religion can become a dangerous cult.
[This message has been edited by erich brant (edited July 22, 2001).]
 
Eager Beaver
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I can't imagine that my maker will love me more....


I have quite a few comments to make, so hold on..
First the above quote, what I find queasy about such stmts is the
apparent naivety about the idea of GOD. HIS is an impartial love for all without any distinction because there doesn't exist any in HIS realm. HE is omnipresent and all pervading, HE is right within us all. Remember 'Blessed are the pure at heart, for they shall see GOD'. 'Know thy self' and you would have known HIM.
Now,the rest of your post....I seem to fairly agree with you. In india we have an age old concept of life being divided into 4 diff stages and each individual is expected to go thru all these stages in life discharging his/her duties toward family and society. At the same time let it be remembered that there have been great souls who where never enamoured by the kaliedoscope of life and flung themselves on the path to realisation of the Supreme.
Amen.
 
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Does anyone know the Centers in UK ?? I would like to Visit one, prefably near London.
 
Sahir Shibley
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I like your spirit. Never ever say die. First it was the java jumpstart CDs then it was the postcard scam. Now the quest for a blonde Gopika. Good luck Mr Patel.
PS.
It is normal to be overwhelmed by the urge to reproduce. Now dont get uptight, this is just a suggestion. Have you considered artificial insemination?

[This message has been edited by Sahir Shibley (edited July 30, 2001).]
 
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Every time I see a Hare Krishna I'm reminded of my mother-in-law's reaction to them.
She was walking to the subway after work and a group of Krishna's surrounded her, banging their tambourines and waving her towards a toilet-bowl that was sitting in the middle of the sidewalk.
She edged away shaking her head and politely telling them "No, thank-you". When she got home she asked me what I knew about them. Told her they were a religious group. Then she wanted to know why anyone would want to belong to a religion that expected you to use a toilet in public!
Killed myself laughing. She had no clue they wanted another type of donation
 
Badriprasad Bumbabol
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It always pains me to see people like Sahir talking rubbish abt things they dont know nothing about. Pains me to think why God didnt give brains to some people.
1.I have been away from home(Some of us do work, Sahir)for a long time and just got back this week and have sent the CDs to whoever requested it.
2.The Post Card thing was hijacked by some self-proclaimed Guardians of this Forum. My only intentions were to have an interaction in the direction where my interests lie and I posted my address to show my Interest. How u can proclaim it as a scam is beyond me.
3.We(normal and sensible) people go to temples to worship(and Krishna IS God for us). Dont know abt your reasons of going to a temple but now I have a fair Idea.
Sharad
 
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I hear from some Indian friends that they are a legit. group.
 
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