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Newsgroups: alt.hindu
Path: vivekpai
From: vivekpai@watson.ibm.com (V. Pai)
Subject: Re: Hare Krishnas?
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Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 17:43:06 GMT
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In article <2to71o$ssb@ucunix.san.uc.edu>, misrael@csi.UOttawa.CA (Mark Israel) writes:
|> 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?

I don't think "cult" is the proper term, since the sankirtan movement
(which is what became known as the Hare Krishna movement) has been
going on in Bengal and other parts of India for about 500 years.

|>    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.

I think they regard all the non-Vishnu gods as demi-gods.

|>    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.

Which all seems to be traditional hinduism to me. Perhaps not
"mainstream" any more, but everything you've mentioned is pretty
much in keeping with tradition.

|>    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.

It depends on who you ask. As far as I know, all of the Indian-born
Hare Krishnas have access to all Hindu temples. Many of the temples
that don't allow Westerners or tourists do allow Hare Krishnas. I'm
not sure where you got this bit of info.

In Houston, the Hare Krishnas seem to be highly regarded, or, at the
very least, just seen as another Hindu temple. I've also
visited their temples in Boston and NYC, and they seem to have quite
a following. From what I hear, the city council in Dallas is quite
favorable to the temple there.

|>    I've heard that members have to donate 50% of their income to the
|> movement.

Nobody has to donate 50%. Some people do so willingly, and I think it's
recommended that members donate between 10-50%.

Before engaging in this sort of speculation, I would recommend that
you take the opportunity to visit a temple. I have, and I've found
that the Hare Krishnas are much more "Hindu" than the "mainstream"
Hindus. For example, they don't eat meat, drink, or smoke. Furthermore,
all of them seem to know the major prayers, and they even know the
less-well-know bhajans.

The only main difference is that the Hare Krishnas are clearly
Vaishnavites, which isn't too uncommon in parts of India.


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