When I visited my first ISKCON centre many years ago and began to show an interest in the Hare Krishna philosophy and lifestyle, I was welcomed in with open arms and congratulated on my willingness to break away. I was told how, contrary to popular belief, it was actually society at large who were doing the brainwashing. It was further explained that the Krishna’s were not some dogmatic religion, and that the Movement was ‘calling-out’ modern society for keeping the masses in darkness and oppressing people’s rights to free-thought, free-speech. I was impressed with the courage and questioning/challenging spirit of the devotees. So it’s nice to see that spirit alive and well in Dhira Prabhu’s latest thoughtful article, and I’m sure my mum will be very pleased to know that I have not, in fact, joined some dangerous cult that muzzles it’s members if they dare speak up…. right?
As a newcomer to the temple, I was quickly introduced to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, even though he had physically left the world some 10 years prior. I was taught his pranams that I recited daily, shown how to offer my food to his picture, and encouraged to repose whatever love or devotion I had in His Divine Grace as my link to Lord Krishna.