The Hare Krishna Explosion (Chapter 5)

The Hare Krishna Explosion
by Hayagriva Prabhu

Part I: New York, 1966
Chapter 5

The Hare Krishna Explosion

“If Krishna sees you are taking one step toward Him,” Swamiji says, “He will take ten toward you. He is so happy to see you turn to Him. He is more eager to see us return to Godhead than we are to go.”

Back in the Mott Street apartment, I stare at myself in the mirror and repeat my new name. “Now you are Krishna’s,” I think, inspecting the new kanthi beads around my neck. “These are Krishna’s dog collars, and they don’t come off.”

We all optimistically resolve to try to follow the rules. For most of us, meat eating and gambling pose no problems. Rules governing sex and intoxicants, however, force some rapid changes in living patterns. I decide to convert the old Mott Street apartment into a brahmachari ashram. Down come the psychedelic posters, and up go pictures of lotus-eyed Krishna.

The next day at the temple, we find a new notice posted on the bathroom door. There are additional rules and regulations written neatly in ink by Swamiji himself.

NOTICE

All initiated devotees must attend morning and evening classes. Must not be addicted to any kind of intoxicants, including coffee, tea and cigarettes. They are forbidden to have illicit sex-connections. Must be strictly vegetarian. Should not extensively mix with non-devotees. Should not eat foodstuffs cooked by non-devotees. Should not waste time in idle talks nor engage in frivolous sports. Should always chant and sing the Lord’s holy names, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Thank you.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Acharya

Umapati says nothing when he reads the notice. Rayarama simply chuckles.
“No coffee, no tea,” he says, shaking his head.

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