London | December 07, 2004 1:34:47 PM IST
Anyone who has ever been to London’s West End will remember the sounds as well as the sights of Britain’s capital city: the piercing drone of pneumatic drills as yet another road is dug up, the cacophony of car horns in the traffic jams caused by such drilling, the clatter of police helicopters monitoring the traffic jams caused by the jams that were caused y the drills, and so on. And one other sound: the gentle rise and fall through the din of chanting; to be specific the sound of the call of Krishna, Hare Krishna.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, the Hare Krishna movement in Britain was derided as a hang out for the drugged out, spaced out hippies. Not any longer, as more and more Indians are joining the movement.
Indians like 28-year-old accountant Sumeet Khullar who told Britain’s Eastern Eye newspaper:” When I first joined and started going on harinama(the parade) my parents were absolutely adamant that it was all nonsense. But once they saw the level of devotion, they were very impressed. Now, even my mum comes with me.”James Edwards, an American whose initiated name is Jay Nitay, is the head of the community development at ISKCON or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness’s temple in ondon’s West End.
He feels that Indians previously considered the Hare Krishna movement to be simply some obscure sect. But all that is changing; “Over time Indians can see that the movement has lasted. This is part of the reason why more and more are joining us”.And devotee Vibha Patel, initiated name Varsana Devi-Dasi, agrees; “In the past, it has suffered prejudice from the Indian community, mainly through misunderstanding. But people are now seeing that the philosophy that we follow is rooted in a tradition that dates back thousands of years”.
The growing number of people joining the Hare Krishna movement in London has meant that enough money has been raised to refurbish the Soho Street temple, and the twice – daily harinama through the streets of London has continued to raise awareness.
As one recent Indian adherent said: “People are inspired at the devotion shown by white people to a spiritual belief that stems from India. My friends at university have got into it, and my wife is very devoted as well. It just gives me a deeper sense of identity”.
And another devotee summed it all up nicely when he observed: “It is a peaceful philosophy that is not associated with the colour of your skin or your background”.
And that is a pretty good basis for any faith. (ANI)