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Hare Krishna Religion Takes Hold

This article, "Hare Krishna Religion Takes Hold" was published in The Tampa Tribune, January 22, 1972, in Tampa, Florida.

This austere, severely disciplined movement turns away from material pleasures and relies on "Krishna," another name for the Lord. 

Tribune Staff Writer

At 4.30 a.m., two hours before the sun rises, Jeffrey Juliana, a devotee of the Hare Krishna Consciousness movement, showers, dresses, and offers food to Krishna in the Sri-Sri-Radha, or temple room.

An hour later, the broad-shouldered 18-year-old and four other Krishna people residing at 207 W. Woodlawn Ave., huddle close together in a circle for meditation.

This intense prayer session is followed by a cleaning of the temple and a breakfast of dahl (vegetable soup). After the simple meal is finished, the devotees hold scripture classes and study, the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, translated by A. C. Bkaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, spiritual master and founder of the Hare Krishna movement. 

A LUNCH OF bread sticks and vegetables is offered to Krishna at noon followed by sankiratan. During this ceremony, the devotees go out door-to-door to preach the word of God. 

Dinner, taken at 6 p.m, is succeeded by more scripture classes and an hour of free reading. The devotees take rest at 10 p.m. 

A day in the life of a Krishna person is disciplined. Their temple is a monastery and the devotees are monks who lead austere but happy lives. 

"We watch no television or movies and play no games because we're deriving all our pleasure from our devotional service to Krishna," Juliana said. "We lead a disciplined existence, but who has ever been hurt by discipline?

JULIANA, WHO has been a devotee three weeks. does not have a spiritual name because he has not been formally initiated into the religion. He will receive his holy name when he spiritually advances in the Krishna movement and is graced by God. 

Another house devotee, Pustakrishna, has been graced by God after a year in the Krishna movement. When asked what religion he belonged to before becoming a Krishna person. the 21-year-old said. "Show bottle religion. I was simply practicing religion one day a week, and only several hours that one day.

In contrast, Pustakrishna now devotees every day of the week to Krishna. When not praying he chants the sacred mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Hare means energy of the Lord while Krishna and Rama are names for the Lord. 

"The Lord is present in his name and everything relating to Krishna has the same potency," he said. "His name, his form, his word - everything is all one.

PUSTAKRISHNA WAS in Dacca during the Bangladesh uprising and believes that political strife led to the war between India and East Pakistan.

"Our view is that the politicians are not solving the real problems of life, namely birth, death, disease, and old age," he said. "No politician himself is free from these four miseries of material existence, therefore one must accept the higher authority of the scripture coming through the chain of disciplic succession.

Krishna people disdain material pleasures most other persons are accustomed to and rely on. They have no desire but to serve Krishna, and in turn, Krishna provides them with all they need to survive.

"Krishna is described as the owner and controller of everything material and spiritual. Therefore, one should accept only that quota which he requires, elsewise, who is he stealing from but the Lord." Pustakrishna said. "So this Krishna consciousness is trying to re-educate the masses to spiritual life recognizing God as the center of all activity.

THE ORIGIN OF the Hare Krishna movement, as interpreted by the spiritual master is that: "The Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the great apostle of love of God and the father of the sankirtana movement, advented Himself in the city of Navadvipa in Bengal, India. This was in February, 1486, by Christian reckoning."

"By the will of the Lord there was a lunar eclipse on that evening. When Lord Caitanya was born during the eclipse, then, the whole of India was roaring with the holy sound of Hare Krishna.

In the three months that the Krishna people have been in Tampa, they have been met with a "very nice response," according to Pustakrishna. The young devotee teaches a Krishna course at the Unisersity of South Florida which includes instruction in authorized transcendental meditation and study of the Bhagasad Gita As It Is. Every Sunday at 4 p.m., the Krishna people hold a Krishna Vegetable Love Feast for the public. 

Devotees of Krishna Conciousness pass through four orders or ashrams of life. The Brahmacari, or celibate student, has the option of marrying or remaining single. While single, the celibate student lives and studies in a section of the temple called the Brahmacari ashram.

IF THE DEVOTEE marries, he becomes a householder or grhastha. In later life he can accept varnaprastha which is a transition stage where one breaks all worldly ties with friends and family. Finally, one accepts sanyassin, the renounced order of life. The sanyassins only engagement is developing pure love for God by engaging body, mind, words, and senses exclusively to Krishna's service. 

The Krishna people realize that their appearance sometimes draws stares and jeers from people on the street, but this cajoling is taken as another material aspect of the world which is disregarded. 

New devotee Juliana, before becoming a Krishna person, had shoulder-length hair. His head is now shaved except for a small sikha, or pony tail, on the back of his head. He wears beads which signify his respect for Krishna and the traditional dotie or skirt.

"I SHAVED my head for cleanliness and because our spiritual master recommends it, and by pleasing our spiritual master, we obtain the grace of God," he said. "I am trying to disassociate with everything material; that's why it doesn't bother me when people gawk at me. I am just a spirit within a body anyway.

According to his devotees, the spiritual master predicts that the Hare Krishna movement will turn the hippies into happies. 

"The counter-culture people are changing because they're discovering every day that they cannot obtain any lasting happiness from drugs or illicit sex," Juliana said. "So, they are looking for something real and God is reality. Love is the ultimate trap and Krishna is the fountain of love.

Photo 1: Krishna children Bhaktin Juniper, 5, and Bhakta Milly, 6. 
Photo 2: New devotee Jeffrey Juliana prays in the Temple, a ritual he performs each time he enters.
Photo 3: Krishna devotee Juliana reads scriptures in the Temple.
Photo 4: Devotee Strums Guitar In Celibates' Study ... Krishna people find joy in simple pleasures.
Photo 5: Youth prepares to leave Tampa temple for travel to other cities to spread the word of God.

Reference: The Tampa Tribune, Unknown Location, USA, 1972-01-22