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April 08, 1986 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-04-08

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 8, 1986 - Page 5

Apurva-das, Barry, and Anthony prepare presadam at the co-op. The
devotees of Krishna consider cooking and eating spiritual experiences
which are done for the pleasure of Krishna.

NIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN California's Robert Ellwood
believes "no group breaks more thoroughly with more Amer-
ican values - religious, social, dietary, material-than Krishna
Consciousness." Many are offended by the public image that
devotees portray: shaven heads, orange and white robed men and women
dancing and chanting in the streets. A deeper look reveals a group of
serious, devoted followers of an ancient Indian religion.
For devotees of the modern Hare Krishna movement, one sacrifices
during life in order to be reunited in the after-life with their god, Lord
Krishna. Dating back thousands of years, the movement teaches that the
soul is eternal and journeys from body to body continually. To become
spirtually free one must develop a loving relationship with Krishna by
leading a pure and devoted life, eventually one's sould will be accepted
into Lord Krishna's paradisal world, where "every step is a dance and
every word a song," according to Kamalini-dasi.
All activities of the devotees, whether handing out books on the Diag,
cooking, reading or chanting, are done for Krisna's pleasure. Rising daily
at four a.m., devotees hold a three-hour program of offerings to Krishna,
prgmRincluding dancing, chanting, and study in the ancient writings of Krishna,
the Vedas. These are all intended to help the followers understand their
relationship with Krishna.
Mantra meditation, a form of prayer characterized by the continual
w4> chanting of Krishna's name (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare
Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare), is practiced by
Ax ~an effort to commune with Krishna. Devotees follow four regulatory
; principles which prohibit meat eating, gambling, the taking of intoxican-
ts, and illicit sex. Since they believe that all living creatures contain a
living soul, the devotees are strict vegetarians. Cooking is a spirit'ual ac-
tivity, where all the food is prepared for the pleasure and love of Krishna.
Before eating, the food-called prasadam-is offered to Krishna for his
pleasure. This ritual takes place six times a day. All activities are done
for the "loving devotion of God", the head of the Detroit temple,
Vicitravyirya-das, explains.
An interpretation of Hinduism, the Hare Krishna movement came to
the United States in 1966 when AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
started the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
Many of the 1960's counter-culture youths were attracted to the religion
and found happinessin the teachings of love for one another, reincar-
nation into another form, and trust in Krishna. Twenty years after its in-
troduction in theUnited States, members say that ISKCON is growing
rapidly. Temples can be found in over 40 cities, with self-sufficient far-
ming communities in twelve others. As devotee Svravananda-das says,
"the best thing is to know Krishna Consciousness. Before criticizing, try
to understand."
Tomorrow: Hare Krishna family life.
Photostory by Pete Ross
The Hare Krishna movement

At the Osterweil Co-op, Kamalini prays before the co-op members eat.


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