Krishna Tried to Steal My Dolls

I once belonged to a cult.  Are you picturing Jim Jones?  Not quite, but I was once a Hare Krishna.  Do you remember them?  Think finger cymbals, saris, bald men, flowers, airports???  Is it coming back?

Well, for those of you that don’t here is a little background.  A religion based on ‘select’ (by select I mean they picked what they wanted from the original) Indian scriptures dating back to the 15th century.  In 1966  Swami Prabhupada founded The International Society for Krishna Consciousness aka the Hare Krishna’s.  They were huge into bhakti yoga.  The whole premise was to dedicate their thoughts and actions into pleasing the Supreme Lord, Krishna.  To worshippers Krishna was the highest form of God or Godhead (to this day that word is funny to me, say it “Godhead”).

Swami Prabhupada first created the religion based on seven purposes, that were pretty much all the same thing: go out and enlighten people on Godhead and to create a society that is about real unity and peace.  Pretty much to hang out in airports and chant their Mantra:

“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Roma

Rama Rama Hare Hare”

Even for a little kid who didn’t understand a word of it, it was relatively easy and kind of fun to chant.

Prabhupada also had four principles as the basis for a spiritual life:

No eating of meat, including fish and no eggs (this was the only one that I remembered since by biggest goal up to that point was one day to eat a McDonalds)

No Illicit sex: only between married couples and only for the procreation of children; only at the prescribed time of the month, with the permission of the couple’s spiritual superior.

No gambling

No intoxication to include: alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, or any kind of drugs.

So my Mom’s 3rd husband jumped on the Hare Krishna band wagon and my mom followed willingly, it made her feel important to talk about how spiritually enlightened she was compared to everyone else.  I was young enough to think the sari was princess clothes and not to realize that the cool white mark on my forehead shouted to the world of my PURENESS. I don’t recall a whole lot of what went on at the temple, I do remember that women and children were always separate from men, and that the women cooked and cleaned and served the men. We never ate together.  You would think it was the 50’s and not the age of enlightenment (and disco).

Me getting ready to go to the Temple

Me getting ready to go to the Temple

We were aspirant Hare Krishna’s, to become a full-fledged Hare Krishna you had to give up all of your worldly goods and move into the temple.  Furniture, cars, clothes, bank accounts were all surrendered to the temple.  Because while you were not allowed material goods, the church was happy to take them off your hands all in the name of spiritual illumination.  I wasn’t too thrilled when my mom told me that we were getting rid of all of my toys.

Luckily, for me right before the BIG MOVE she changed her mind.  She really was never going to do it, there was no way she was giving up smoking and drinking her Pepsi’s while she baked in the sun.  I hugged my precious dolls to my chest and rejoiced at not losing them.


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