Hridayananda Das Goswami: 8 Reasons Why Hare Krishna Movement in America has Collapsed

Hridayananda-ISKCON-America

1. Basically, ISKCON changed and the world changed.

2. The world changed in that people lost their extraordinary interest in “Eastern” spirituality, utopian communities, the “back to nature” movement etc. This is because the Vietnam war ended, our generation gold older and less wild, and the next generation, having had enough of their crazy hippie parents, went straight again.

3. Because young people stopped giving up the world, and joining ashramas, and because the first gurus after Prabhupada had many problems, ISKCON itself went thru many struggles and shrank.

4. The shrinking ashramas presented a grave economic problem to the temples, that had always depended on sending young devotees out to the street to sell something — books, incense, candles etc.

5. This temple economic crisis coincided with a change in US immigration policy that allowed many thousands of Hindus to emigrate to America. Thus Hindus became the new temple economy.

6. In order to please their new donors, temples reinvented themselves as Hindu-friendly, thus becoming less and less attractive to westerners.

7. Much of ISKCON is stuck in a time warp, preaching to a world that stopped existing over 40 years ago — i.e. exotic dress, “love feasts” etc.

8. History and reliable social science show that a new religious movement can grow into a major religion only if it achieves sufficient cultural integration with the host culture. This does not mean “compromising” our basic principles, but rather that we must give up our belief that advanced spiritual life requires immersion in Indian ethnicity, or that all things Indian are superior to all things Western, even if, as we find with dress, cuisine, music etc, the Indian styles actually come from Muslims, or are heavily influenced by them. Rather than trying to make Westerners Indians, we should just try to get them to follow Prabhupada and love Krishna.