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Background and Beliefs of The Hare Krishna Movement

Question:

Write a Literature Review on Hare Krishna movement in the east and spirituality in Social Work Practice.

The Hare Krishna Movement is the registered movement and is the most important part of Hindu religion and spirituality in east. During the time of 1960’s and 1970’s, this movement has exported to the west. Now a day, The Hare Krishna movement’s followers can be seen everywhere chanting the name of God in their saffron attires. This is not only the scene of India but can be observed in all over the world. It is basically the branch of Hindu religion that is followed by most of the population in India (Haddon, 2013). Chaitanya was the one who developed this religion by changing the name of Krishna and dancing at public places. In India, these bunches of people can be seen everywhere especially in Mathura, Vrindavan and at other places near Delhi (Nath, 2010). The Gaudiya Vaishnav School believes that Krishna is their god and is not incarnated from other god. While other Vishnu schools believe that Vishnu is the original God whose incarnation are present. All this discussio

The Hare Krishna Movement is the registered movement and is the most important part of Hindu religion and spirituality in east. During the time of 1960’s and 1970’s, this movement has exported to the west. Now a day, The Hare Krishna movement’s followers can be seen everywhere chanting the name of God in their saffron attires. This is not only the scene of India but can be observed in all over the world. It is basically the branch of Hindu religion that is followed by most of the population in India (Haddon, 2013). Chaitanya was the one who developed this religion by changing the name of Krishna and dancing at public places. In India, these bunches of people can be seen everywhere especially in Mathura, Vrindavan and at other places near Delhi (Nath, 2010). The Gaudiya Vaishnav School believes that Krishna is their god and is not incarnated from other god. While other Vishnu schools believe that Vishnu is the original God whose incarnation are present. All this discussion suggests that The Hare Krishna Movement is the movement that is based in India but its beliefs reaches to the west countries because of its attractive principles and beliefs.

The first belief of The Hare Krishna Movement suggests the followers should follow and keep their beliefs in God Krishna (Muster, 2013). Hinduism is the religion that believes in many gods. Vishnu is one of the best known in all over the world. Krishna is believed to the incarnated form of Vishnu. The image of Krishna in the minds of his followers is of a mischievous young man. The story of Krishna suggests that he is a man who is very charming in nature and thus had 16,000 wives. Worshipping Krishna is somewhat different from worshiping all other Hindu gods.

Impact and Spread of The Hare Krishna Movement


The second belief of The Hare Krishna Movement is salvation. As per this, chanting is the solution for all (Sue, Rasheed & Rasheed, 2015). If someone wants to be saved from any of the problem, he should chant the maha mantra that is “HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE. HARE RAMA HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA HARE HARE”. It is the mantra that should be chanted by all the followers of Krishna. Mantra is made up of two words that are man and tar. Man means mind and tar means deliverance. This suggests that mantra is the thing that makes the mind free from all the unwanted thoughts.

The last belief of The Hare Krishna Movement is reincarnation. This means that every person or individual have to follow the cycle of life and death to the endless times. It is basically the concept of rebirth (Moberg, 2012). 

The Hare Krishna Movement has some requirement such as no meat, no eggs, no alcohol etc. even after such strict requirements which are very different and contrasting from the bohemian culture of New York, a centre of ISKON that is International Society for Krishna Consciousness has been established (Pulla & Woods, 2014). No areas in America are left untouched from this movement and its impact. The beliefs of this movement have majorly affected the young population of the place. Slowly and gradually, the young converts have so much accepted this religion that they are ready to sacrifice anything for the sake of Krishna. Till 1980’s, ISKON has established its hundreds of temples and many communities along with various Gurukuls. Particularly in India, this religion and the services of ISKON has achieved a great success in terms of achieving high number of followers in their community (Pulla & Francis, 2014). The Hare Krishna Movement is very much related with spirituality.

The root term of spirituality is “spirit”. Spirit is the basis of human activities and life. Being spiritual means feeing powerful and energetic. Spirit is assumed to be a nascent soul that is located somewhere inside the human body which motives the human to live and it is the survival factor for humans (Crompton, 2017). Another definition of spirituality suggests that it is something that is invisible but present just like soul.

Spirituality as strength:

Spirituality is the approach that is used to integrate different aspects of life such as physical, occupational, intellectual, rational etc. The development of spirituality brings positivity in the life and thinking of the human and also brings forgiveness, love, kindness, compassion, trust, etc. Having all these characteristics in nature of human make him spiritual (Pulla, 2014). Therefore, it is the approach that transforms the behaviour and nature of the human being and makes him stronger fight with the issues in life.

Spirituality and its Relation to The Hare Krishna Movement

Spirituality in coping and resilience:

Studies suggest that, spirituality is the basis of resilience and coping from various situations. It is majorly seen in the people who are of old age. The spiritual people believe in God and have faith that God can never do wrong with them. Thus, this dependence on God gave them the power to fight and cope with the situations. God is always the ray of hope for them which act as the strength for the spiritual people (Pulla, 2013). Spirituality develops a sense of positivity in their inner soul and thus faces the issues without any bad and negative thoughts in mind.

Spirituality and its practice in social work:

Social work is very much associated with spirituality. Social work teachings are very much related with the themes of spirituality that are mindfulness, kindness etc. when an individual practice any activity of social work, he used to engage with the community (Francis, A. P., Pulla, Clark, Mariscal & Ponnuswami, 2014). When we look for the practices that are conducted in regard with social work then it has been analysed that the social work values are directly related to the concept of spirituality.

Various researches have been made in this context regarding social work and spirituality. The integration of both these concepts help the humans to fight with some of the sever issues of their lives like aging; illness etc. Spirituality in social work framework is a non-judgemental practice (Canda & Furman, 2010). This means that the practices that are conducted by the individuals in order to do something for the society then it should be non-judgemental and the intension of doing those practices should be positive. Then only the social work can be considered to be done with spirituality. It is argued that soul of the person should be pure when he is performing any of the activity related to social work (Pulla & Woods, 2014). With this framework, more opportunities of social welfare and relationship between the people can be achieved.

Spirituality in professional social work

Social work is not only about performing these activities but it becomes a profession these days. Social work is concerned with working as per the preferences of the clients. Considering the clients preferences help in developing the client engagement (Nikku & Pulla, 2014). Spirituality is very much linked with social work practices because, it is a very noble cause to do without any expectation from the society. The social workers perform the activities not for getting anything in return but this is because of their own will to do something good for the society. Only the one with spiritual values can do this (Pulla, Chenoweth,  Francis & Bakaj, 2012). Spirituality amongst the people helps them to develop positivity in their mind and remove the bad and destructive thoughts from the minds of the people. It has been analysed that people having positive thoughts about the society remains happy because they cannot see anything wrong around them and they do not expect anything from others. They do for the society and want nothing in return.

Spirituality in Social Work

The Hare Krishna Movement is helping the people to learn about spirituality. The youth is moving in this direction which is not ruining their lives but making them understand the actual situation of the world and their own self (Holloway & Moss, 2010). Learning the spiritual theirs helps them to develop their mind and soul toward positivity and happiness. Doing something without expectations is a very god feeing but is a very string practice to perform. In this materialistic world, it is difficult to live with spiritual thinking as now and then society tries to manipulate the thought of the people. But, spirituality gives that courage to stand by on those beliefs.

Discussion:

It has been discussed in the literature that The Hare Krishna Movement has affected Indians but its movement from India to western countries has proved that the impact is not limited to India but the whole world is getting affected. The Hare Krishna Movement enables the people to come on roads in their saffron attire and chant their god’s name. These practices provide power and strength to them. It is not the scenario of Indian raids but it can also be seen in America and all over Europe after the year 1977 (Pulla, 2014). This is because of the establishment of ISKON that has raised the bar for the Krishna believers and this religion. It has also been discussed that spirituality is the most important part of The Hare Krishna Movement. This movement has shown the actual meaning of spirituality to the people (Pulla, 2014). Most of the people who engaged with this movement believe in spirituality and this makes them to associate with the social work activities. Thus spirituality is considered as one of the driving force for social work.

Conclusion:

It has been concluded from the discussion that The Hare Krishna Movement has paved its way all over the world and no area is untouched with this movement. The movement has travelled from east to west and development of ISKON has enhanced its believers and its popularity amongst the people. Today many of the youths are solicited with this The Hare Krishna Movement. This movement has developed great souls among the people which create a sense of spirituality and emotions towards the society. This also leads to engagement of most of the people in social work.  

References:

Canda, E. R., & Furman, L. D. (2010). Spiritual diversity in social work practice: The heart of helping. Oxford University Press.

Crompton, M. (2017). Children, spirituality, religion and social work. Routledge.

Francis, A. P., Pulla, V., Clark, M., Mariscal, E. S., & Ponnuswami, I. (2014). Advancing social work in mental health through strengths-based practice. Primrose Hall.

Haddon, M. (2013). Anthropological proselytism: Reflexive questions for a Hare Krishna ethnography. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 24(3), 250-269.

Holloway, M., & Moss, B. (2010). Spirituality and social work. Palgrave Macmillan.

Moberg, D. O. (2012). Aging and spirituality: Spiritual dimensions of aging theory, research, practice, and policy. Routledge.

Muster, N. J. (2013). Betrayal of the spirit: My life behind the headlines of the Hare Krishna movement. University of Illinois Press.

Nath, J. (2010). ‘God is a vegetarian’: The food, health and bio-spirituality of Hare Krishna, Buddhist and Seventh-Day Adventist devotees. Health Sociology Review, 19(3), 356-368.

Nikku, B. R., & Pulla, V. (2014). Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development: Voices of the social work educators from Asia. International Social Work, 57(4), 373-385.

Pulla, V. (2012). What are strengths based practices all about. Papers in strengths based practice, 1-18.

Pulla, V. (2013). Coping and Resilience: Peoples Innovative Solutions. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 1(1), 1-9.

Pulla, V. (2014). Introduction to Strengths based Approach in Social Work. Adelaide Jounral of Social Work, 1(1), 5-26.

Pulla, V. (2014). Spiritually sensitive social work: The road worth taking. Social Work Edciation and Practice. Australia: Primrosehall Publishing, 182-200.

Pulla, V. (2014). Towards the greening of social work practice. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 1(3).

Pulla, V., & Francis, A. P. (2014). A strengths approach to mental health. In Social Work in Mental Health: Contexts and Theories for Practice (pp. 126-143). Sage Publications Ltd..

Pulla, V., & Woods, J. (2014). The resilient Chinese in Australia: Ethnicity, identity and ‘Chineseness’.

Pulla, V., Chenoweth, L., Francis, A., & Bakaj, S. (2012). Papers in strength based practice. Allied Publishers.

Sue, D. W., Rasheed, M. N., & Rasheed, J. M. (2015). Multicultural social work practice: A competency-based approach to diversity and social justice. John Wiley & Sons.

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