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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New Varshana – ISKCON eco-farm in Southern Ukraine

Image000311 New Varshana   ISKCON eco farm in Southern Ukraine

New Varshana — ISKCON eco-farm somewhere between Odesa and Vinnytsa, Ukraine

New Varshana, Hare Krishna nama hatta and farm community of ISKCON in Odesa region of Ukraine was established in 2010. Ahamot.org decided to check out how this interesting project combining religion, agriculture, and eco-ideas develops in a remote region of Southern Ukraine.

After the ordeal by Ukrainian system of public transportation (Kyiv-Kotovsk-Balta-Evtodiiv), although there’s a simplier way, (which requires long walk and good orientation skill), we finally got to New Varshana in Karmalyukivka village.

We found 7 hats, several acres of land, 15 Hare Krishna people, living in the “eco-village” constantly and dozens who had come with a visit for a holiday and yagya. (more…)

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10 Most Famous Temples of the Himalayas

top 10 Most Famous Temples of the Himalayas

Himalayas seem charged with “spiritual energy”. Their hidden valleys and caverns have served truth-seekers for ages and ages. Discover the most famous temples of Himalayas and their sacred history and mythology

Indian Himalayas have been home to intensive religious life since times immemorial. Sages, rishis, yogis came to hidden places to meditate. Indian sacred texts and epics tell stories about miracles and revelations that have happened here. Explore 10 most famous temples of Indian Himalayas with us. (more…)

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Revolution and Religion: 12 best images from Euromaidan

Connections between religion and society in Ukraine worked really good during the times of  Cossacks. Russian Empire and then the USSR did their best to tear those connections up. They’ve failed and now Euromaidan shows first sign’s of ancient church’s functions return, and the society’s acceptance of it. Most Ukrainian churches have clearly supported Maidan, and its quest for justice and the idea of ​​non-violent protest to bring changes into society.

+уніан 11 грудня Revolution and Religion: 12 best images from Euromaidan

1.Hand with a cross on the frontier between barricade defenders and riot police. This is the most famous photo that has become a symbol of resistance Euromaidan’s resistance and it’s support by traditional religious institutions.

 

(more…)

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Kumbh Mela 2013 – living with mahatiagi

941738 393262024115724 1363670131 n Kumbh Mela 2013   living with mahatiagiBelow is our movie about the greatest human gathering in history — Kumbh Mela 2013, at holy Triveni Sangam, Allahabad, India, where more than 100 million people gathered to take part in the greatest festival ever. This event is interesting not only for a triumph of religious consciousness in the XXIth century, but for the spirit of tolerance and non-violence, all the Hindu denominations had shown during the 55-day event. The Kumbh Mela pilgrimage and event takes place every 12 years at a holy site near Allahabad (Prayag) for at least 15 hundred years (documented), maybe many-many years more. Ukrainian practical religious studies expedition had spent a month in a Mahatiagi camp, living with SitaRam saddhus, trying to follow them in all the saddhu ways, practices, and observances,  exploring the wonders of Kumbh Mela. This documentary explores the complexities of Hindu saddhus life and the meaning of Kumbh Mela — the most sacred event for hundreds of millions Hindus Living at Kumbh Mela-2013, part 1: (more…)

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Why do indians litter so much?

19nblKalim1 184314 Why do indians litter so much?

All the travelers to India in their first days in the country are horrified, of an awful, in terms of Western culture, custom — why do Indians litter that much? Why the streets of India are so dirty? Not even the uneducated, but even members of higher castes, who don’t tolerate a single spot of dust in their homes, can throw garbage on the streets, just near the high walls of their estates.

For a couple of weeks travelers, if not fleeing home, get used to trash around, but the question remains. Typical situation: talking with a Hindu about terrible pollution, drinking chai with seagulls around, your Hindu friend shakes his head “yes, yes,” and agrees — that we do so poor job with our ecology, we need to be more conscious about environmental conservation (it’s better not raise at all the questions of esthetic side of garbage piles), and then, after another “yes, sure, you’re right,” your Hindu friend will throw the plastic cup from his tea down to street, and go on.

Why? – Such an ancient culture, developed religious, emotional, social, scientific “spheres”,  etc… But why there’s so much garbage on the streets of India? (more…)

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Kumbh Mela — expedition in search of Nectar of Immortality

13471 385992851509308 1631055136 n Kumbh Mela    expedition in search of Nectar of ImmortalityKumbhamela (Kumbh Mela)  is the greatest religious festival in the world. It takes place every 12 years at the banks of the sacred Triveni Sangam, near Allahabad for at least fifteen hundred years (perhaps much longer). Year 2013 celebration was attended by more than one hundred million people. That is, every seventieth inhabitant of the planet. The festival has become the largest documented gathering of homo religiosa in one place in the history of humanity.

The myth of Kumbh Mela

Once the gods have decided to churn the Primordial ocean to extract  the elixir of immortality from it. But the gods had become weak and unable to complete this feat themselves and they asked help from Asuras (demons). For a thousand years they churned the Ocean, using the serpent king Vasuki as a rope wrapped around the axis of the world, a gigantic mountain Mandara. The first to appear from the foam was a terrible poison that threatened to destroy all the worlds. Then Lord Shiva drank the poison to save the universe.

After that there appeared various miraculous creatures and treasures, and finally the bowl (Kumbh) with the nectar of immortality, Amrita. For possession of Amrita a terrible war crashed out (more…)

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Kumbh Mela 2013: a taste of things to come

strange man Kumbh Mela 2013: a taste of things to come

May-be fake baba

With this gallery we begin to publish a series of text, photo, and video materials from Ahamot.org’s expedition to Kumbh Mela 2013 – the greatest event in the history of humanity.

Every now and then people ask us: “what did you do at Kumbh Mela”, “so, how was it at Kumbh Mela”, “did you take bath in dirty Ganga?”, “what made you live there for a month in cold, wet, and Indian antisanitaria?”

In fact everything was just great. Our expedition collected lots of ethnographic and religious studies materials, on which we do work and which we will publish soon.

At this time we put here a small photo-teaser of what used to happen at Kumbh Mela 2013. This gallery includes photos from our old compact camera, and we are waiting for good quality shots gallery from Sagita.net

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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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Karma-Sutra III: Karma, God, Destiny, And The Laws Of The Universe

chakra www.clear vision.org  Karma Sutra III: Karma, God, Destiny, And The Laws Of The Universe

Lets consider now the common concept, according to which “karma” is “destiny.” In fact, the relations of fate and karma is a question to large extent, not for the scholars of religion, but for the psychologists. Someone of them has formulated it as follows: “sow an act — reap a habit, sow a habit — reap character, saw character – get your destiny” — a good illustration of the law of karma in application to human life.

All the creature’s actions, even the smallest and the simplest, automatic and unconscious (on the levels “of each chakra”, or, simpler, at the level of the body, emotions, and mind) affect its fate, but do not determine (more…)

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