Hare Krishna in the Modern World
To most people, the words “Hare Krishna” conjure images of robed monks with shaven heads singing and dancing, or selling copies of the Bhagavad Gita in the streets. These were indeed iconic of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) in its early years. Over the nearly half-century of its existence, however, the organization has changed considerably in an effort to overcome the loss of its founder, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and to remain relevant as the world around it has changed. In this volume, nine scholars, all of whom have had many years of first-hand experience with ISKCON, discuss its situation today, evaluating its successes and failures in adapting to new social and demographic circumstances while struggling to remain true to Prabhupada’s original intentions, and offering insights into new directions that it may take in the future. “Hare Krishna in the Modern World is a deeply reflective, caring, and updated probing into various aspects of the history and development of the worldwide Movement. Its scholarly authors seek to examine personal-experiential, socio-cultural, and philosophical-theological themes for purposes of addressing the challenges of the Movement’s future growth. The editors of this volume are to be commended, for they tackled the difficult and delicate task of bringing together effective discussions that are both sensitive and critical, empathic and sympathetic, mindful of the past and forward looking, embracing strengths and urging correction or change, with the intent to nourish a tradition originally from sacred India that has now laid permanent roots in the West. This book should be read by students and scholars of religion and, perhaps even more importantly, by any seasoned practitioner within ISKCON, and especially by its leaders, for the words herein provide a resource of exigent wisdom that is all too needed.” – Graham M. Schweig, Professor of Religion and Director of Asian Studies, Christopher Newport University in Virginia; author-translator of Bhagavad Gītā: The Beloved Lord’s Secret Love Song Graham Dwyer is currently Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, University of Winchester. He has done research on various topics related to Hinduism, and has authored both articles and a monograph on the topic, The Divine and the Demonic: Supernatural Affliction and its Treatment in North India (2003). He has specialized in the Hare Krishna movement since 2002, and helped to produce a documentary film about it which was released in 2012, Leap. Richard J. Cole (Radha Mohan Das) is Secretary of ISKCON’s Communications Department at Bhaktivedanta Manor, and specializes in writing and performing dramas based on India’s Vedic scriptures. He has also helped with the publication of a number of children’s books. Previously, they have edited and published the book, The Hare Krishna Movement: Forty Years of Chant and Change (2007).
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Graham Dwyer, Richard J. Cole, Michael J. Gressett
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Arktos Media Ltd