Hare Krishnas Move Into the Mainstream

September 3, 2004

Source: Chicago Tribune


On September 3, 2004 Chicago Tribune reported, "as part of the ongoing change from the austerity and cloistered life Krishnas had been known for, devotees no longer are required to shave their head, wear saffron robes or take cold showers... That small change is just one part of the transformation under way in the Krishna following, which has been stereotyped as a religion of hippies dancing in airports and street corners, singing the Hare Krishna mantra, banging on cymbals and handing out flowers... Regularly referred to as a cult until the 1990s, the changes are 'part of the attempt of the Hare Krishna movement to really attempt to belong to the lineage back in India,' said Joanne Waghorne, a professor of religion at Syracuse University in New York. 'And that's part of a larger attempt to achieve real legitimacy as a religion.' That will be on display Monday, when Chicago temple leaders expect up to 1,000 people to take part in their Janmastami festivities, which begin at 6 p.m. and celebrate the birth of Krishna more than 5,000 years ago."