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aEloquently written. . . . Highly Recommended.a--"G.R. Thursby,
aLongtime Hare Krishna observer Rochford shows that devotees,
formerly known for their public chanting and controversial
fundraising practices, have largely moved out of the temples, taken
jobs, and established nuclear families. Using survey data and
extensive interviews, Rochford investigates the attitudes of the
original members' children (some of whom suffered abuse in the
early Hare Krishna schools), the changing roles of women, differing
modes of affiliation with the organization, and the increasing
influence of Indian Hindu immigrants in what is formally known as
the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). His
findings are generally clear and convincing, and he lets the
devotees speak for themselves in frequent quotes. . . . This story
of accommodation within a movement that forged its identity through
strict rejection of secular culture provides valuable insight into
how new religions evolve.a
"Burke Rochford is the most notable scholarly interpreter of
Krishna Consciousness in America, and Hare Krishna Transformed is
the most insightful and informative book written on the
organizational evolution of the movement."
--David G. Bromley, Virginia Commonwealth University
Most widely known for its adherents chanting "Hare Krishna" and
distributing religious literature on the streets of American
cities, the Hare Krishna movement was founded in New York City in
1965 by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Formally known as the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or ISKCON, it is
based on theHindu Vedic scriptures and is a Western outgrowth of a
popular yoga tradition which began in the 16th century.
In its first generation ISKCON actively deterred marriage and
the nuclear family, denigrated women, and viewed the raising of
children as a distraction from devotees' spiritual
responsibilities. Yet since the death of its founder in 1977, there
has been a growing women's rights movement and also a highly
publicized child abuse scandal. Most strikingly, this movement has
transformed into one that now embraces the nuclear family and is
more accepting of both women and children, steps taken out of
necessity to sustain itself as a religious movement into the next
generation. At the same time, it is now struggling to contend with
the consequences of its recent outreach into the India-born
American Hindu community.
Based on three decades of in-depth research and participant
observation, Hare Krishna Transformed explores dramatic changes in
this new religious movement over the course of two generations from
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