Chakra Discussions

From the Columbia University Press: A New Book About ISKCON

Posted July 5, 2004

"The Hare Krishna Movement. The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant", edited by Edwin Bryant and Maria Ekstrand, has come out in June 04. From CUP's presentation:

"This book constitutes a unique contribution to scholarship on ISKCON. There is a thorough recounting of ISKCON's history and development, beliefs and practices, and internal struggles, with a focus on developments since the passing of the movement's founder. But what makes this collection so extraordinary is the blending of voices -- scholars, movement defenders and opponents, current members and former members -- in one volume. Together the contributors create a rich, nuanced understanding of a significant religious movement."

David Bromley, Virginia Commonwealth University

"This volume of splendid and uncensored reports and reflections from the front lines of the Krishna Consciousness movement contains a degree of intelligence and wisdom unexpected, and in my experience, unprecedented for a "movement" that still actively propogates its teachings. Almost all of the contributors are devotees, many of them still active, who have become scholars, and have both the temerity and a ruthless commitment to honesty to look upon not only the Krishna Consciousness movement with equal degrees of passion and dispassion, but at their own lives as well. This is as clear a window into the trajectory of a modern spiritual movement as we are likely to see."

Frederick M. Smith, University of Iowa

"This excellent study balances the views of scholars and participants in a long-needed assessment of the Hare Krishna movement's evolution since the death of its charismatic founder in 1977. As a fascinating portrait of a young religious community's internal and external struggles, the collection should appeal to both supporters and critics of the 'Hare Krishnas' while more general readers will enjoy the wealth of detailed real-life religious history."

Thomas J. Hopkins, Franklin & Marshall College

Dancing and chanting with their shaven heads and saffron robes, Hare Krishnas presented the most visible face of any of the eastern religions transplanted to the West during the sixties and seventies. Yet few people know much about them.

This comprehensive study includes more than twenty contributions from members, ex-members, and academics who have followed the Hare Krishna movement for years. Since the death of its founder, the movement, also known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), has experienced debates over the roles of authority, heresy, and dissent, which have led to the development of several splinter movements. There is a growing women's rights movement and a highly publicized child abuse scandal. Providing a privileged look at the people and issues shaping ISKCON, this volume also offers insight into the complex factors surrounding the emergence of religious traditions, including early Christianity, as well as a glimpse of the original seeds and the germinating stages of a religious tradition putting down roots in foreign soil.

Contributors: Larry D. Shinn, Berea College; Guy Beck, Tulane University; Graham Schweig, Christopher Newport University; Kim Knott, University of Leeds; Ekkehard Lorenz, University of Stockholm; Burke Rochford, Middlebury College; Kenneth Valpey, University of Oxford; Thomas Herzig (late), Cambridge University


Foreword -- Larry D. Shinn

Introduction -- Edwin F. Bryant and Maria L. Ekstrand (Madhusudani Radha dd)

Part 1. Krishna Consciousness in the Context of Hindu Theology

1. Krishna, the Intimate Deity -- Graham M. Schweig
2. The History of Indic Monotheism and Modern Chaitanya Vaishnavism: Some Reflections -- Neal Delmonico
3. Hare Krishna Mahamantra: Gaudiya Vaishnava Practice and the Hindu Tradition of Sacred Sound -- Guy L. Beck
4. Krishna in Mleccha desh: ISKCON Temple Worship in Historical Perspective -- Kenneth Valpey (Krishna Kshetra Das)

Part 2. Bhaktivedanta Swami and His Predecessors

5. Who Is Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? -- Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Das)
6. Charismatic Renewal and Institutionalization in the History of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and the Gaudiya Math -- Jan Brzezinski
7. Bhaktivinoda and Scriptural Literalism -- Shukavak N. Das
8. The Guru, Mayavadins, and Women: Tracing the Origins of Selected Polemical Statements in the Work of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami -- Ekkehard Lorenz
9. Bhaktivedanta Swami's Preaching in the Context of Gaudiya Vaishnavism -- Paul H. Sherbow (Pradyumna Das)

Part 3. Post-Bhaktivedanta Controversies of Lineage

10. Cleaning House and Cleaning Hearts: Reform and Renewal in ISKCON -- William H. Deadwyler (Ravindra Svarupa Das)
11. The Guardian of Devotion: Disappearance and Rejection of the Spiritual Master in ISKCON After 1977 -- Swami Bhakti Bhavana Vishnu
12. The No Change in ISKCON Paradigm -- Krishnakant Desai, Sunil Awatramani (Adridharan Das), and Madhu Pandit Das
13. The "Routinization of Charisma" and the Charismatic: The Confrontation Between ISKCON and Narayana Maharaja -- Irvin H. Collins (Srila Das)

Part 4. Heresies

14. Doctrinal Controversy and the Group Dynamic -- Conrad Joseph (Kundali Das)
15. Heresy and the Jiva Debate -- Howard Resnick (Hridayananda Das Goswami)

Part 5. Social Issues

16. Airports, Conflict, and Change in the Hare Krishna Movement -- E. Burke Rochford Jr.
17. Healing the Heart of ISKCON: The Place of Women -- Kim Knott
18. Life as a Woman on Watseka Avenue: Personal Story I -- Nori J. Muster
19. Child Abuse and the Hare Krishnas: History and Response -- David Wolf (Dhira Govinda Das)
20. Fifteen Years Later: A Critique of Gurukula: Personal Story II -- Gabriel Deadwyler (Yudhishthira Das)
21. Race, Monarchy, and Gender: Bhaktivedanta Swami's Social Experiment -- Ekkehard Lorenz

Part 6. Reevaluations

22. On Leaving ISKCON: Personal Story III -- Steven J. Gelberg (Subhananda das)
23. On Staying in ISKCON: Personal Story IV -- Michael Grant (Mukunda Goswami) and Anuttama Das Adhikari
24. Re-Visioning ISKCON: Constructive Theologizing for Reform and Renewal -- Thomas Herzig (Tamal Krishna Goswami) and Kenneth Valpey (Krishna Kshetra Das)

Concluding Reflections -- Edwin F. Bryant and Maria L. Ekstrand

ISBN: 0-231-12256-X
496 pages
Columbia University Press