Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hare Rama Hare Krishna

These Iskcon people are just about everywhere... I took this shot in the Main Square, Prague, and tried my best to explain them away to the Brazilian couple at the next table, who were dying to know more about Hinduism and groups like this one. Janmashtami was celebrated all across India just a few days ago. I thought of this picture and my annoyance at the parody of Krishna that was being paraded across continents by these ridiculous bhakts, distributing prasad and demanding donations from the unwary. For one, they cannot chant or sing for nuts. They are so 'besura', one cringes at the sounds they create. The women look like gora hijras clad in garish sarees and jumping up and down in an ungainly fashion to convey 'bliss'. They give the saree a bad name! Sure they attract attention - but of the wrong kind. People mock and laugh as they watch this motley group clapping and chanting tunelessly ( poor Krishna! ). What can one do with this embarrassment?
I am feeling fluish. My driver Choudhary has been felled by the virus as well. Now I am praying this sluggishness will pass and it isn't the dreaded you-know-what! I have a bhaari shoot lined up tomorrow, plus another tv interview on the same ghasaa peeta topic ( srk and his outburst). I need my customary stamina! Last week , I was in Alibag having the time of my life tucking into a traditional Saraswat feast. Today, I can't bear to look at food. One more day to go before the holy month of Shravan ends. I'm seriously considering extending my Shravan discipline by another month. It's a great way to detox and destress and all that satvik food has kept my restless mind in check!
More tomorrow. But only apres the shoot. I'll be clad in Dior and feeling rather posh!


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hey Shobha,

A bit disappointed with this post as well and I am not PC and not a HKHR disciple. I live in London and have visited thr two temples one I Soho n one in Watford. I attended the aarti at Watford Temple and it was divine and the fact a Gora was doing it made it out of the world..visit Watford aarti [please on ur next visit; I can tag along 2 :)] & eat parshad at your next may change ur mind… I agree wth the wrong display… but u know it can’t b perfect… and I pity u for speaking for SRK….bless that child of ours JAI HO !! lol

Love Gulshan


gr88 ...interview pe was karan thappar one ?

Dyslexicon said...

Isn't God everywhere, why shouldn't so be his devotee? And to pray one doesn't need to be clad in Dior and catwalk in stilettos, it's alright to be tied in a humble robe & move amateurishly. Nor does it matter to be 'besur' as long as one is 'sur' and not 'asur'.
A "satvik" mind is all encompassing with wide horizon - so more "stavik" food for "satvik" thought - love thy neighbor, all (don't worry I'm not moving into your beighborhood ;-).

Iskon view on other religion (as told by a friend) - "All rivers merge into the ocean".

Take care & get well soon from whatever little virus is doing to you !

Theyoginme said...

Shobhaa hope you feel better..I am getting into Mumbai 23rd and hoping to avoid the you know what virus.

Unknown said...

I am rather amused by HRHK devotees rather than ashmed.
I am ashamed when our hero, heroine start singing and exercising)dancing) in our amateurish movies.
I am ashamed when slums greet us when ever we land in Mumbai.
And I am ashamed of many more things than a ridiculous looking devotee.

Unknown said...

i say ban all ugly, ill-clad people from appearing in public! make ritu kumar creations and sabyasachi offerings absolutely 'de riguer'. only rajneesh devotees with all that oomph, drugs-inspired swaying and melodic chants in operatic voices, please! i don't know how complete strangers and foreigners can follow a religion that is alien to them. i wonder what the vatican thinks of indian christians and mecca think of our muslims! they must surely cringe too at cacophonic screechings of their hyms and quranic readings. next time i am at any place of worship, i will be your self-appointed Beauty Police, i promise to tar and feather all ugly devotees. i am always willing to do my bit to make this world a better place.

Unknown said...

gora hizras dancing up and down.
This reminds of our stars doing ridiculous dance steps to ridiculous songs on foreign shores while the bemused foreigners look on. The dresses they wear and the expressions they wear!

Anonymous said...

I wish tv interview on the same ghasaa peeta topic ( srk and his outburst) will be not replied with diplomatic answers.
And I have a question :
Is SRK obsessed with publicity ???

Unknown said...

Hi Shobha,

I completely agree with you as for the actions of so called devotees of Krishna from ISKON. Why do we need to show off in public and ask for donations??? Well its been happening everywhere and in all walks of life.

Hope we can keep ourselves better in this season of Flu.

Keep a good health.


Anonymous said...

"( poor Krishna! ). What can one do with this embarrassment?"
Lolz... I can totally imagine this :P

"another tv interview on the same ghasaa peeta topic ( srk and his outburst)" it that sometimes you also don't like what you 'have to' do as a part of your 'work' ? Interesting.

I'm glad to see that you manage to post regularly on your blog... which somehow I can't do even after being totally 'vella' these days.

Sandeep Lodha said...

I understand that this is your space and you are in titled to voice you views. What can be music to you ears might not be to others, similarly embarrassment to you might be pride to others. We treat Spirituality as a la carte menu, what suits us is really good and we try to see that others also see those points and what we see a ugly we want others to also perceive in the same fashion. People say that "Gita" has voice of lord Krishna and still say that they do not agree with certain points in "Bhagwat Gita", what a confused minds we are.

I am a regular reader of your blog and this one some how got me to comment. Take care.

sanju ayyar said...

Shobhaa, I bet you can't extend your Shravan by another month.
Have some pity on the poor fishermen who'll be bringing in batches of fresh catch from the ocean everyday in the hope that Shravan's ending and a certain Ms. De living in Colaba is salivating at the very thought!

PS: Sorry if I sounded cynical, I was just wanting to throw a challenge at you :-)

Harish said...

You never end up with your foot in mouth, but people fail to reason with you, so often that I wonder why?? Yours was just an observation… and had nothing to do with religion as such, but the way it’s expressed.
Yes, there is a certain way that a sari is draped; there is a certain code of conduct that we need to follow when you represent a religion or a belief so profoundly. It shouldn’t be done in a way that it irks people against it. Looking at it from your eyes, I am sure it would have looked like a big circus. Speaking about the attire, it takes the conviction of a Chidambaram Madrasi and the sauveness of Sonia Italiana to put the Indian attire of Mundu and Sari on the world map. No better mascot than them ever. The goras could have walked in their skirts and frocks and yet be seen as religious. Why “look” forced, odd and OTT. If they wanted to wear a sari, let them by all means… but if they know the right way as the occasion and the body that they are representing is so revered. If they wanted to experiment, they should take part in a fancy dress competition, not a rally for funds.
Diverting to another issue, I believe Religion has to be backed with sagacity. It’s not just HRHK or any other body that’s singled out, but I dislike any kind of extremism with no rationality. And who said religion and society is a body that is stagnant? It for me is an evolving phenomenon that mutates itself to ensure wellness with the times. We wouldn’t dare wear a mundu if I don’t know how to wear it right. I have been reprimanded many times for my revolt against bursting of crackers, or loud music during religious fests. This kind of luridness and blind faith has chagrined me enough.

Its funny that people Miss the heart of the matter, and everything is a matter that they take to heart.

Flu?? Take care de.

And the interview. Yes now I am sick and tired about being sick and tired about SRK. What clevar PR of My Name Is Khan.
I am sure yours will be an ekdam phataka interview. Itna, ke SRK hill jaayega, and your name will be deleted from the guest list of the next season of koffee with karan. Lol.

Anonymous said...

How you spoke my mind. These Devi Dasis and Dasas are making a tasteless ostentation of otherwise so good culture. Its a sheer mockery. And to my horror I saw a group of around hundered devotees in Iskon Chandigarh listening to Srimadbhagwatam (of course Iskon version of it) through the holy mouth of some gora angrez who barely could speak sanskrit properly. And if that wasn't enough they were also asking him about life and peace and how should one worship Krishna. I mean come on, Hinduism is as you feel you want to worship or for that matter not worship at all, but these imbeciles are forcing their version of Krishna on to you and expect you to forsake all the other deities. They must have a kick or two, only if I could. This was my first reading of your blog post and I must say that indeed is 'Politically Incorrect'.

parwatisingari said...

don't worry about the sari, shobha, we mess up western wear enough.
krishna, is a wily one, he'll handle his devotees.
For those who want to know Hinduism refer them Vama Shastri(David Frawley) you have redeemed yourself from the sense of shame.
enjoy yourself

NG said...

cant wait to see u in Dior... what is it ?

Raj said...

Lets give peace a chance.

I don't think these HRHKs do any harm. I don't know about those in Prague or other countries, but back here in India, I came across a couple of them and was shocked to know that they were highly educated. Yes, IIT gold medalists !

Why in the world would they leave fat salaries and dizzy career options to pursue a life style of sheer abstinence? Not unless they find a higher peace, I believe.

About those in other countries, the name of God (Krishna is universal, remember?) would surely have made a great impact to their crazy don't-know-what-to-do lives. No wonder they dance, without abandon. For Krishna.

Shobha, we must realize that there is a higher purpose to life. The materialistic lives that most of us live surely doesn't take anyone anywhere.

Possibly these people are enjoying a higher taste that they want to share.

चंद्रमौलेश्वर प्रसाद said...

"They are so 'besura', one cringes at the sounds they create. "

It is the bhakti that is important not the sur.. sur naa saje kya gaaon main..?

Sidhusaaheb said...

Well, here's a gora bhakt, who isn't besura at all, or so I think, at least. :D


Anonymous said...

they are trying to evolve into something else so why not let them they will learn sooner or later.

Unknown said...

Hi Shobha, I am a regular follower of your Monday coloumn in Bombat times and have read quite a few of your books (reading superstar india)......wanted to check with you if you are on twitter or not....if not please join in.....people would love to see you tweeting.

Anonymous said...

True. I;ve closely seen the way ISKCON works during my stay in Toronto.

I'm pretty amazed at there ability to frequently organize and manage mega events in which people come together to perform some meaningless activities and intently listen to some dull and boring discourses on the same ol' chewed cud

Latha said...

Yes I know a couple of them too - IT buffs, rather IIT geeks who made it to the top in the Silicon valley of the US & are into Hare Rama....
There is something in it that we don't know. Better not to criticise them !
BTW SS...are you Salman Salim ... by any chance ?

AMIT said...

Great post from you love to read ur blog.

Web hosting india

Gauranga Prasad Das said...

The sublime message of lord even if not presented with a gaudy or suave look is always glorified by those who are sincere and honest. People who are envious and demoniac and trying to be perfectionist will always find faults everywhere, criticize everything. They will not mind glorifying the vulgar display of obscenity if that is done in a sophisticated way. Just because the devotees of the Lord are simply interested in spreading His glories the Lord is very much pleased with them. A devotee tries to be a person of essence not a show bottle stuff. Shoba has used very offensive language here for our western devotees not knowing her future where she is going to be. I hope Krishna forgives her for her offense.

Kiran said...

Hi Shoba,

This blog is not giving any shoba to you.

Those devotees are giving Krishna's mercy to all.They are distributing Prasadam.

You could see the saree but you could not see the devotion in them,
You could felt the sound "besura",
could not hear the love in those songs...
You are spiritually blind and dump also.
Let me tell you the late George Harrison (lead guitarist the Beatles)was part of this group only.
If you have little time from your dirty work then listen "My sweet Lord by- George Harrison which He sang in one concert in bangladesh in charity with Indian Sitarist RaviShankarji"
I know you won't.
If you would have felt that they didn't wear saree properly then why didnt you help them to wear proprly. Did you feel ashame of saree in Western country??

You pretend to be spiritual by fasting for Shravan month and broke it with non-veg...How chip are you? And then criticizing devotees. cheee..

They are wearing Saree to cover their body.That is indian culture they are following nicely. But here we have some "so called celerities" wearing saree to attract males by showing their armpits and bellies etc etc.

They are following the Indian culture by following our Vedas but here you spoiling our young generation by your non-sense writings.

They were jumping up and down for Pleasure of the lord. For the Lord they are dancing and not dancing in clubs with wine in other hand.

It is similar to our "Pandarpur Vaari" in Maharashtra.

You felt embarrassment...
But We are feeling embarrassing because you are Indian woman. And dosen't respect Indian culture.

Sorry to use these words but Saint Tukaram says, you should give whatever possible in charity to right person and you should also protest the person who criticises the Lord and His devotees.

May Krishna forgives you...

Unknown said...

Hi Shoba,

As a Indian I respect every religion and culture.

I pity YOU and some fools who are FOLLOWING YOU.It is not befitting
you that you are a so called "Writer" and you are an Indian.

These foreign devotees know both western
and Indian culture.Giving up their polluted western culture they have accepted this pure Indian culture.

Now you are chewing that western culture that these devotees have chewed and gave up..."Chewing the chewed one".
By wearing a saree and flaunting like a
western culture this shows your character.

It is said that "knowledge without proper CHARACTER is useless"
Then what to speak about the person who acquires such knowledge and just writing stack of futile books posing to be a great writer and spreading sectarianism around the world on basis of caste,creed,faith,colour etc.

Learn from these devotees,they know more
than you about Indian culture.First inculcate Indian values, then try to write.

I am sure these devotees might have forgiven you as they have learnt the art of "Forgiveness".

Unknown said...

Ya, they are quite an embarrassment on the streets but boy what amazing food! yummmmm and cheap. I would often go to the lone ISKCON temple in Oslo to buy their thali. That yummy veg thali would last me for 2 meals.

Ramkumar Badugu said...

there i a saying that "befere you raise finger on someone first see what is there on you".You wrote so negetively about devotees, have you ever temple & saw them.
How you dress is that INDIAN culture(sleeveless sarees).
If their voice is 'besura' why your first husband left you with Six children? 'BESHAKHAL'(UGLY) by face & ideology.
I am sorry to your ancesters even though they are from Saraswat Brahmin family but they failed to teach true indian culture.
On whom you are comments ,they are doing the same thing what you grandparents did.
What do you call them as "conveying bliss", what do you convey "The Sexes" of the magazine "The Week".

there are lots more to say but i feel petty on my indian culture that they say sadhus & devotees hijras.i spit on the face those who supported you against indian culture.

i would have been keep quiet but there is someone called GOD who will see everyone.because of these nature of envy youre now in distress taking sleeping pills every night. good bye .ohhhh's bad bye

Sundar. said...

a mind game to you time when your mind wishes to opine on something,please imagine your mind being hollow for 10 seconds and count at the same time till 10.ThiS act of feeling "empty" at "opinion" occassions could fill your mind with wisdom and thus able to make the right path always.i wish that you forgive yourself for what has been told about iskon and the devotees.

Unknown said...

nice picture and post ....

Work from home India

Payal said...

Its a shame to see that one of India's most renowned authors is so opinionated and does not even take the time to do her bit of research before imposing a stamp on what maybe hundreds of thousands of ISKCON devotees around the world. If these goras have dedicated their lives to a faith, to an extent that they have given up their wild lifestyles, habits and taken the effort to learn the Bhagavad Gita, (we all know how difficult it is to just learn a new language) then you need to credit them for putting some thought behind taking such life changing actions. And not insult them and try to stop other inquisitive people from learning about them. This just exhibits your ignorance and pure ignorance & blind judgement are the first signs of an incompetent writer!

Patel said...

what you feel inside,you will feel same outside.It is not about dress or voice. It is all about love for fellow human being and love for the supreme who is present in each of us.chant for few minutes without caring for anything and you will feel better.