From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

Fourth of July 2008, Wash. DC

ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) is a decentralized new religious movement whom you know as Hare Krishnas. In the mid-1970s they became famous for proselytizing in airports, but the "anti-cult" movement turned public opinion against them, and because they aggressively sought donations in return for the books, pamphlets, and flowers they gave away, their First Amendment justification became more murky. Now they aren't in airports anymore and the world is a slightly less interesting place.

When I was in Washington DC on the Fourth of July, 2008, I discovered Hare Krishnas had reserved part of the National Mall and were giving away free vegetarian food there, showing religious movies, and playing Indian instruments. I helped myself to lemonade* and bought a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita from an Indian lady who then told me I had a "spiritual aura". All in all it seemed more lively to me than the evangelical Christian group next door who were kind of stealthy about their religious message and less fun. So, I had a good impression of ISKCON at first. Unfortunately, like most NRMs, they have authority and centralization issues, and that translates into very bad things like child abuse and misogyny.

* This is completely irrelevant, but if you ever go to DC on the 4th of July, bring water bottles because otherwise you will be sold water for $2 or $3 a bottle.

ISKCON was founded by an Indian guru, Swami Prabhupada, who came to the United States with the noble goal of spreading the purest form of Indian religion (Vaishnava) here. It was the first such movement and many hippies in the 1960s found it quite exciting.

ISKCON, like everything else, is on the Internet, but they use their own mix of Hindi and cultspeak vocabulary that is difficult to decipher. This is especially difficult because ISKCON is just part of Vaishnavism, which is a decentralized tradition with no links to any organization. One thing I have determined is that you will not find a member count of ISKCON anywhere anymore. In recent years ISKCON has fragmented into several organizations:

Jesus and Krishna are bros

Best part of Hare Krishna websites

Vegetarian Indian food.

Note that Swami Prabhupada taught that Krishna consciousness should come first and vegetarianism later, but reading all these Indian websites made me hungry, so...

Retrieved from ""

This page has been accessed 5,335 times. This page was last modified on 6 May 2009, at 20:18. Content is available under Attribution 2.5 .