Just up the block on the 3rd St. Promenade, where the 16th Ambassadors’ Academy was taking place, we saw them. Whirling, jumping, bobbing. Bald heads bouncing, pony tails-a-whisking…the Hari Krishnas were here!
In most cases, people would see the kookoo Krishna commotion and give them a wide birth; but this was an evangelism training Academy. We came to herald the Gospel.
What if I preached the Prince of Peace from a perch on the Promenade to the happy hopping throng banging away on their tablas, tavils and dolaks? Would they attack? Would voices become one with the Vishnubirdonyou, shouting me down in a unified pyre of anger? Has such a thing ever been tried before?
A challenge presented itself. Then the miracle of 3rd Street happened.
This isn’t done for fun. Our preaching isn’t for the thrill of the action. It’s serious business. Devotees of this cult see themselves as monotheists who worship the Supreme Godhead in the personality of Krishna. They also believe that everyone is living in an evil age, the age of Kali, but can attain salvation and a “return to Godhead” by means of permanent Krishna-consciousness. Krishna-consciousness can be accomplished through ethical living and the “Hare Krishna” chant.
In other words, if they are good enough and do the right things, they will be saved.
As one of their own religious texts, the Padma Purana states:
All the grievous sins are removed
for one who worships Lord Sri Hari,
the Lord of all lords,
and chants the holy name,
As I preached the One True God’s standard of righteousness, as I preached from His Moral Law, the 10 Commandments, the music faded. When I warned that one lie makes a liar, one theft a thief, one lustful look adultery, things changed.
One by one, the dancers stopped dancing, the whirlers ceased whirling.
I preached Christ crucified, repentance, and forgiveness of sins in His name. His death, burial and resurrection were shouted loud and clear.
The Hare Krishnas, heads down, shoulders slumping, packed up…and left.
We searched the entire Promenade but found not a sign of the Krishnas.
When the Word of God is preached, darkness flees.
Where did these poor souls go? Were they turned into powder and scattered among the four winds? I doubt it.
You’ll see them again. And soon!
Most likely when you are running late and ready to miss your flight.
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