I'm a junior in high school and am writing a research paper in my English class on the topic "Counter-Culture/Hippies/Hare Krishna." I was wondering if you would mind answering the following questions.
1. What are the origins of Hare Krishna?
2. What is the purpose of Hare Krishna?
3. Can you think of anyone specifically who played a vital role in bringing Hare Krishna to the United States, if so how did they do that?
4. What impact do you think Hare Krishna has had on the United States?
5. What successes and failures have you noticed in the U.S.'s interpretation of Hare Krishna?
6. Are there any certain locations of great importance to Hare Krishna, any in the U.S.?
7. Has there ever been any controversy surrounding Hare Krishna?
8. How would you compare Hare Krishna to western religion, such as Protestant Christianity?
9. Besides spiritual matters, how is Hare Krishna involved in its local community?
10. Any other interesting facts about Hare Krishna you would like to share?
Answer: Krishna Consciousness is Eternal
I am very happy to hear of your interest in the Hare Krishna movement and will be glad to answer your questions.
You have asked, "What are the origins of Hare Krishna?" The Supreme Lord Himself is the origin of the Hare Krishna process. The Hare Krishna process of connecting with the Supreme Person through pure, loving devotion is known as Krishna consciousness and has no beginning point in history. It has existed as long as God has existed. It is taught in the Vedas, the world's original and oldest scriptures and is also presented in an elementary form in the Bible and the Koran. All the modern day religions are simply derivatives of the original Krishna consciousness system of unalloyed devotion to the Supreme Person.
Next you ask, "What is the purpose of Hare Krishna?" The purpose of the Hare Krishna movement is to enable those who practice it to become perfect in love of God. Plus the movement wants to awaken the entire to this most amazing original system of spiritual purification, so that the everyone can be saved from all varieties of suffering conditions.
Then you ask, "Can you think of anyone specifically who played a vital role in bringing Hare Krishna to the United States, if so how did they do that?" That person is my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He came to America in 1965 from India on the order of his spiritual master, and by 1966 he had attracted a small band of disciples in Manhattan's lower east side. He then dispatched them to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world and quickly the Hare Krishna Movement became world famous.
You inquired, "What impact do you think Hare Krishna has had on the United States?" The answer is that it has had a tremendous impact. Millions of people have heard the Hare Krishna mantra and heard of the Hare Krishna movement. Future historians will note that the introduction of the Hare Krishna in the United States was one of the major turning points in world history.
You next question was, "What successes and failures have you noticed in the U.S.'s interpretation of Hare Krishna?" The Hare Krishna people in the USA and throughout the world do not interpret the Hare Krishna process. We are following it in its original pure form that was taught by Lord Krishna in the 5,000 years old scripture known as the Bhagavad-gita. Those who strictly follow it become all successful in their lives. The only failures we have seen are in cases of those who tried to invent their own so-called version of Krishna consciousness without strictly follow the instructions given in the Bhagavad-gita.
You wondered, "Are there any certain locations of great importance to Hare Krishna, any in the U.S.?" We have hundreds of locations all over the world that are of great i important including many throughout the USA.
You inquired, "Has there ever been any controversy surrounding Hare Krishna?" The answer is that we have been a constant controversy because in a greedy, selfish world pure God-consciousness will always be controversial. This is why they crucified Jesus.
Then you asked, "How would you compare Hare Krishna to western religion, such as Protestant Christianity?" Hare Krishna is not another religious sect. The Krishna consciousness process is the essence of religion, religion in its original, pure form before it was divided into sects. A purely Krishna conscious person is the best Christian, the best Jew, the best Muslim, and the best Hindu.
In answer to your question, "Besides spiritual matters, how is Hare Krishna involved in its local community?" The practice of Krishna consciousness has a more powerful benefit on our local communities than anything else. When we water the root a tree all the leaves and branches are nourished. When we feed our belly the entire body becomes fed. Similarly when we channel our loving devotion to Lord Sri Krishna we give best loving service to our communities and the entire world. When we become properly situated spiritually everything material becomes automatically properly adjusted.
Your final question is, "Any other interesting facts about Hare Krishna you would like to share?" The answer is that there is nothing more amazing and interesting than Krishna consciousness. It brings one into direct communion with God Himself, the source of all existence, twenty-four hours a day.