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Re: Hare Krishnas?

Mark Israel (misrael@csi.UOttawa.CA) wrote:
: In article <haycock-150694130117@mac76.think.com>, haycock@think.com (Anne Haycock) writes:

: > I have a quick question for whoever may be reading right now and can help
: > me out.  What exactly does the Hare Krishna cult believe?

:    They believe in the Hindu gods.  Krishna is their primary deity, the 
: Bhagavad Gita is their primary scripture, and Srila Praphupada (who died
: recently) was considered the only authorized interpreter.

Srimad Bhagavatam is also very important for the Hare Krishnas. Actually, I
believe they accept the Vedas also. You are not correct when you say that
Swami Prabhupada is the only authorized interpreter. Actually, the Hare
Krishnas accept the interpretation of scriptures by anyone who can trace
his/her disciplic succession all the way back to Lord Krishna. Swami Prabhupad
founded ISKCON, so naturally the Hare Krishnas have the highest regard for
him of all of the accepted swamis. 

:    They have to chant mantras some very high number of times per day,
: they forgo hair for the sake of asceticism, Western members forgo their 
: Western names and take on Indian names, they're vegetarians, they believe
: in reincarnation, and they have to wash after every bowel movement.

It isn't just Western members. All devotees who enter into the priestly life
drop their old name and adopt a new one that reflects their devotion to
God. Adopted names like Vishnu Das, or Krishna Kripa Das, for example, are

The tone of your reply here suggests that you do not have much respect for
them. I don't know what experience with them you had, but I do know that
the Hare Krishnas in general try to follow the Scriptures as closely as
possible. Unlike other Hindu schools of thought, they do not try to 
'interpret' them to satisfy their own personal biases. They try to interpret
the scriptures literally. I think that shows considerable humility on their
part, when they do not try to change the meaning of the slokas which were
recorded by spiritual masters. I find that this sort of humility is lacking
in many other Hindu philosophies. 

:    Mainstream Hindus tend have a low regard for the movement.  I've heard
: they regard the members as untouchables, and don't allow them in the 
: temples.

Mainstream Hindus don't follow what is prescribed in scriptures. I don't think
that being looked down upon by meat-eating, impersonalist, Hindus who claim
to be devout but also try to interpret the word of God and His disciples as
allegorical is cause for concern. 

-- Krishna

- Hari Krishna Susarla  - "I define evil, then, as the excercise of political -
- Rice University       -  power -- that is, the imposition of one's will     -
- Class of 1995         -  upon others by overt or covert coercion."          -
- Biochemistry          -                     -- M. Scott Peck                -

Conservatives want government to be your Daddy.
Liberals want government to be your Mommy.
Libertarians want it to treat you like an adult.

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