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George Binning scratches the surface of the Hare Krishna movement

Written on the back of their leaflet, these are the sort of questions the Hare Krishnas hope to answer for you. It turns out, to put it as briefly as possible, that we don’t know who we are, we are in fact something higher and that our materialistic society doesn’t really matter.

Krishna Fest, a relatively low-key sort of festival, was aimed at spreading the ‘Krishna Consciousness’ to few more members of the public. Stopping just short of packing my tent, a chair and some loo roll into my rucksack I eagerly gravitated towards the promise of self-realisation.

Whatever people say about them, and people say a lot, I was not assaulted on all sides by vicious evangelism. I managed to discuss and question the religion without feeling as though I was banging my head against a brick wall of lunacy. I was grateful too that my faux-pas of wearing a leather jacket was politely not seized upon, even when discussing diet.

The average day of a Krishna Devotee (full-time monk) involves getting up at four in the morning, then meditating, chanting the Krishna mantra, dancing and playing music until breakfast at eight thirty. After breakfast its bookselling until six, then chanting, dancing and meditating until eight. Everyone is in bed by ten apparently.

The Hare Krishna movement has been known to draw people away from what they would call the ‘material world’, but they claim to be blissfully happy and “nourished’ by their lifestyle. They came across as a charming, if eccentric, group of spiritualists. I may not be clamoring to join their ranks, but I remain open minded to the transcendental glories of Gouranga.


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