News coverage of Srila Prabhupada and his movement.
This article, "Noise Prompts Soglin to Close Mall Festival" was published in Wisconsin State Journal, October 11, 1974, in Madison, Wisconsin.
By PATRICK B. BARR Of The State Journal Staff
Mayor Paul Soglin acted upon telephone complaints Thursday afternoon to put a premature end to what should have been a day-long Hare Krishna festival on the State St. mall.
He previously had endorsed the festival of the Chicago-based group of Bhakti yogis, as well as loaded them the city's showmobile. However, he instructed the Police Dept. at 2:30 p.m. to close down the festival which began at 9:15 a.m.
This not only put a stop to the festival but to the hope of the yogis that Soglin would visit and chant along with them.
Cindy Baker of the mayor's office said telephone complaints trickled into the office before noon, but increased after the lunch hour. Calls came in from students, and workers, she said, complaining about the noise from the amplifying system.
She said that rock groups that played at the same location in the past did so during the lunch hour and as a result did not disturb anyone.
It was one of a series of festivals at major college campuses throughout the Midwest intended by the painted-faced devotees of His Divine Grace Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to spread Krishna consciousness.
Earlier in the day, with the showmobile and 42-foot multi-colored tent from Mayapura, India, as a backdrop, members of the group engaged in chanting and meditation.
Kailasa Chandra Dasa, festival organizer, explained that the goal of the festival was to try to awaken knowledge in people of their true existence. He said no one can understand the philosophy unless they perform pious activities in the code of goodness which will produce positive effects to both giver and receiver.
Yellow, white, and pink daisies, and prasadam (round, vegetarian, sanctified food which had been offered to Lord Krishna) were handed out to by-standers and passersby alike. Long multi-colored chains of carnations were strung on the ground in front of the showmobile.
Devotees moved throughout the crowd offering books for sale and explaining their movement.
The group of 40 (including women) came to Madison in their two vans earlier this week and gave presentations at St. Francis House and Nottingham Co-op. They will leave the city today for the Kishora-Kishori temple in Evanston, III., where most of them live.
Photo: The harmonium (an organ-like musical instrument), foreground, and Mrdanga drums weren't harmonious on State St. -State Journal Photo by Edwin Stein
Reference: Wisconsin State Journal, Unknown Location, USA, 1974-10-11
This article, "Hare Krishna Movement: Mystic Oriental Religion Attracting Christians" was published in The Indianapolis News, October 6, 1973, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
By DR. WEBB GARRISON
Central United Methodist Church, Evansville
Many persons thought we had heard the last of Unidentified Flying Objects.
But the September surge into the headlines, originating in Southwestern Georgia on the testimony of "leading citizens" has shown that UFO's don't die that easily.
Scottish authorities are reputed to be up in arms over the possibility that a Japanese scientific team could have been planning to steal the nation's most famous mystery.
The Loch Ness monster, familiarly known to may Scots as Nessie, is being hunted with greater fervor than ever before. When the Japanese do anything, they usually do it well. So the team that seeks to probe Loch Ness is equipped with a miniature submarine.
That's what gave rise to fears that if underwater cameras do detect the famous monster, the money-wise Japanese might try to get out of the country with it.
Whatever the truth may be about UFOs and Scottish monsters, there's ample evidence that even in the Space Age human beings actively and eagerly want to be mystified.
Maybe there's something in us that is satisfied only when we are filled with awe and wonder.
Whatever it is, that "something" - if it is indeed a basic human quality - has traditionally found much satisfaction in religion.
But in our day, a lot of religion has gone secular. The sense of mystery has evaporated. There is no overpowering and awesome sense of wonder left.
Regardless of how many pious phrases inherited from an earlier epoch may be used, in many instances the community adventure called "public worship" is sterile in an important sense.
There is little or no life-shaping belief in the reality of divine movements that produce those unexplainable phenomena that we call miracles. Nothing dynamic is likely to happen - because nothing is really expected.
It is this climate, nurtured and fostered and carefully cultivated by innumerable bands of persons who call themselves Christians that has created a vacuum, I submit.
No other explanation accounts for the sudden and dramatic rise of interest in non-Christian religions - especially those of India.
You no longer have to go to London or Paris or New York or Chicago to have at least occasional contact with devotees of the Hare Krishna movement.
You can see them on the streets of Indianapolis and Evansville and Asheville and Atlanta and Des Moines.
Two minutes with one of the magazines published by ISKCON Press, a division of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Inc., will reveal the strong and overt appeal of the movement to man's desire to be consciously overwhelmed by life's mysteries.
From Boulder, Colorado, to Tokyo, Japan, and from Hamburg, Germany, to Moundsville, West Virginia, the Hare Krishna movement is flourishing because too many church folk have whittled Almighty God down to human size. In the process all of the wonder and the mystery of religious faith have evaporated - so multitudes seek it in UFOs, Scottish monsters, and movements like Hare Krishna.
Reference: The Indianapolis News, Unknown Location, USA, 1973-10-06
This article, "Spiritual Bliss for Newlyweds" was published in the Springfield Leader and Press, October 11, 1972, in Springfield, Missouri.
DENVER, Colo. (AP) - Ambruish das and Vijaya dasi made all the preparation for the ceremonial fire which symbolizes purification in the Krishna cult wedding rite.
The fire was high point of their wedding ceremony, which began with the water ceremony. Sitting on one side of an Indian print, the priest showed the couple, seated on the other side, how to spoon water from a goblet into their palms and sip it. An hour-long lecture followed on the importance of marriage and Krishna consciousness.
Spiritual bliss is more important than physical bliss, the priest told them, and sex is only for procreation.
"I accept Vijaya dasi as my wife," Ambruish said, "and I shall take charge of her throughout both our lives. We shall live together peacefully in Krishna consciousness and there will never be any separation."
Ambruish and Vijaya exchanged garlands and places. Covering his wife's head with the loose part of her sari, he then streaked the part in her hair with red, signifying that she is married.
Then the fire was lit with a candle. When the flames reached two feet, rice soaked in clarified butter (ghee) was thrown into the fire by the wedding party. The ghee brightens the flames and makes them leap higher.
Ambruish and Vijaya placed bananas on the fire and were told to tie their clothes together. The knot must remain one week.
Music and dancing, with cymbals, drums and chants of Hare Krishna, ended the ceremony. A vegetarian feast for almost 400 guests followed.
The two members of the Denver chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Inc., are now at home in the Krishna commue at New Vrindaban, W. Va.
Up left: A marriage of Krishna followers will emphasize the spiritual. The couple exchanges garlands during the ceremony.
Down left: The uncovered head of the bride, Vijaya dasi, means the wedding ceremony is not over.
Middle: A wedding guest plays a small set of cymbals as music chanting and dancing are as important part of the ceremony. The long robed outfits are worn by all strict members of the cult.
Right: The newly married couple put bananas on a fire at the end of their wedding ceremony, as a priest looks on. The priest gave an hour long lecture on the importance of marriage.
Reference: Springfield Leader and Press, Denver, USA, 1972-10-11
This article, "Sometimes Krishnas get a little pushy, people complain," was published in The Miami News, September 16, 1977, in Miami, Florida.
Jan Kroesen of Panama City complains she was hassled by six Hare Krishna devotees looking for handouts at Miami International Airport. One, she says, threw a body block to impede her movement while another grabbed her by the coat to pin a flower on her lapel.
Richard Nalichowski of Philadelphia says one of the Krishna men at the airport gave him a "free" book but became belligerent when Nalichowski refused to give him a donation. "He blocked my way and tried to force me to give a donation," Nalichowski said.
"Eight beggars solicited my donation at the airport on behalf of the Society of Krishna," huffed J.T. Hodges of Witom, Mass., in a signed complaint. "And they state they are authorized by the airport to solicit money."
In the last two years almost 300 travelers have gone to the trouble of calling on the fourth-floor security offices of the Aviation Department to file written complaints about being annoyed, harassed and bullied for money by Krishnas.
"There are thousands more who wouldn't file written complaints," said Robert Diaz, who supervises security at the terminal.
Richard Judy, director of the Aviation Department, says his men can't do much about the situation. Federal courts - in a series of opinions - have ruled the Hare Krishna and other religious groups can pass out literature and ask for money in public places.
Monday, U.S. District Court Judge James King of Miami ordered the state Department of Transportation to leave the Hare Krishnas alone and let them solicit at turnpike rest stops.
Florida has an elaborate solicitations law that requires solicitors to register with the state and show the money raised is for a legitimate purpose.
King's ruling would appear to knock the stuffings out of Florida's attempts to keep fund-raising orderly.
In the case of the Hare Krishna, Aviation Director Judy said, "they violate other people's rights to the extreme. They believe they can do anything they wish as long as it benefits Krishna. They are like the Mafia and other racketeers. They work at the fringe of our constitutional rights."
Judy said he tried to make the Krishnas solicit far enough away from the ticket counters that they would not to impede traffic flow, but security man Diaz says he can't do much when they break their agreement with his office.
In less than an hour yesterday I was approached by five Krishna people at the airport and watched four others in action.
The airport fund-raisers are clever. They don't wear the saffron costumes of the Krishna street dancers and their shaved heads are covered with wigs. In civies the men look like crusaders for Christ. The women look a bit frumpy.
David St. Stevan had a flower pinned to my lapel before I could say no and we chatted amiably. He said he wanted money and I asked how much? "A million dollars," David said. I gave him back the flower and started walking away. "A penny," David said. "Can you spare a penny?" It was so ridiculous we both laughed.
Peter Nikoloff was a bit smoother. He had me pinned with the flower in about three seconds and was promoting me for a student loan in the next breath. I asked about the location of the "International School." Peter's reply was vague.
Gary Alseiewicz, whose Krishna name is Grahila Das, meaning unyielding servant of God, joined us and explained Krishnas wear civies at the airport because shaven heads and exotic outfits turn off would-be donors. Scowling at us while we talked was Carana Padma (Lotus Feet). He sported a pigtail and was identified as the airport solicitations boss.
I asked Pete and Gary if they realized numerous complaints had been lodged against the airport Hare Krishnas by the traveling public, who called them beggars and worse. The two shrugged.
But Sandra Elsey and Barbara Jacobs said the most important holy men in India were beggars. I said we weren't in India and the women gave me a spiel about Krishna Consciousness. I said some of the complainers said the money solicitors pronounce Krishna like Christian and that's why people give automatically. There was a giggle and something was said to the effect that I ought to come to temple.
Suddenly I had an attack of seriousness. Travelers complained they were told a broad variety of lies by the Krishnas in their fund-raising efforts. And the Krishnas annoy people with luggage in hand and kids in tow trying to catch airplanes. Did the writers of the constitution really intend this to be so?
Why can't judges do something simple like read what the public thinks about the Krishna people before giving them carte blanche to annoy and harass on turnpikes and at airports?
Photo: Krishna Sandra Elsey fashions a flower to the shirt of airline passenger M.J. Barton of Houston, then accepts his dollar donation.
This article, "Judge Rules Out Some Curbs On Hare Krishna At Airport" was published in The Pittsburgh Press, September 24, 1977, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
By MIKE ANDERSON
A federal judge here has yanked the teeth out of a county ordinance designed to restrict activities of the Hare Krishna religious sect at Greater Pittsburgh Airport.
U.S. District Court Judge Hubert I. Teitelbaum yesterday in an 11-page opinion ruled unconstitutional some sections of the county ordinance, which went into effect Sept. 1, saying the law restricts First Amendment freedom of religion rights.
The ordinance required any group desiring to solicit at the airport to get written permission from the airport director and pay $10 a day for a permit. Only two permits would have been given to a group.
The regulation also confined any soliciting of money to booths in certain sections of the airport and prohibited soliciting during rush hours and holidays.
Two Hare Krishna followers were arrested at the airport Sept. 2, and the sect immediately went to court.
Teitelbaum removed the most controvertial parts of the ordinance. While allowing written permits, the judge eliminated the $10 fee and increased the number of permits from two to six per group.
He ruled out the collection booths as unreasonably restrictive.
"The prohibition of solicitation on holidays and during rush hours is patently unreasonable," the judge wrote.
"It is precisely at these prohibited times that (Hare Krishna) religious activities are likely to be most effective."
Teitelbaum added a restriction "prohibiting any physical contact by the (Hare Krishna) follower with the prospective donor unless said donor has either consented or already agreed to make a contribution."
A favorite tactic of the group has been to pin a flower on a person and then ask for a donation, the judge noted.
An airport spokesman said the Hare Krishna members have been less aggressive this month and the number of complaints about the group has declined.
Reference: The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, USA, 1977-09-24