ISCKON’s inculturation in the West and its epic fail

img 54aa5ea36536d ISCKONs inculturation in the West and its epic fail We cannot precisely tell if ISCKON is shrinking or growing because of India where everything is so difficult to count, and even if counted, is hardly worth relying. For the purposes of religious studies we assume the number of ISKCON devotees being either at standstill or slightly moving in any way. A problem of much greater interest is profound loss of ISKCON’s positions in the West, ISKCON’s failure to inculturate into Western civilization.

On one hand, it looks like ISKCON is slowly growing due to new converts flow in India and post-USSR countries and this growth is powerful enough to substitute the losses in USA and Europe.

Another thing we can say for sure — ISKCON hasn’t passed the test of inculturation into Western World. The Hare Krishna movement’s fast rise in USA and Europe was co-working great with the 60-s’ and 70-s thrive for spirituality and counterculture, but since that times lots of ISKCON temples in USA have been closed and many will soon transform into India’s cultural and religious centers, sometimes moving far from original ISKCON theology and organization.

Globally, after its popularity peak in early seventies Hare Krishna movement becomes more and more marginal, comprehended more like a bright and recognizable cultural phenomenon with current spiritual and religious influence on global society close, but not equal to zero. (more…)

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How many ISKCON devotees are there?

IMG 1353 300x225 How many ISKCON devotees are there?

How many ISKCON vaishnavas are there worldwide? (Photo credit astrolila.ru)

So, how many people actually follow Krishna consciousness via ISCKON? A researcher who decides to go beyond usual ISKCON’s answer of “hundreds of millions people follow Krishna” has first to face the problem of whom to count – those who follow “4 regulative principles”? How strictly? Those who are initiated? Those who repeat mahamantra? Those, who repeat 16 rounds of japa daily? Or those who have pranama?

Or should we use common method used in religious studies and try to count “active believers” – those who visit ISKCON temples at least once a week (as researchers of religion usually count believers in most Christian countries) and repeat mahamantra from time to time.

English-language Internet keeps silence on the membership stats. One of the numbers easily available in  the  Internet is (more…)

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