The year is 1965. An elderly Indian Swami arrives in New York City determined to start a worldwide spiritual movement. During his harrowing sea journey on a freighter, he suffered two heart attacks. His only possessions are a few cases of books and eight dollars. He meets a few people willing to help him. From a small storefront on Second Avenue in New York's East Village, a worldwide spiritual movement miraculously takes form.
In a vivid personal and up-close account of the beginning years of the Hare Krishna movement (1966-1969) in three cities (New York, San Francisco, and London), Mukunda Goswami, one of the first members, describes the optimism and energy of those early followers of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, whom they affectionately called "The Swami."
Mukunda Goswami takes us to the Bowery, where he helps the Swami move from a dingy rented loft to a small Lower East Side storefront, where the Swami opens the first Krishna temple in the West. Gradually the number of followers increases and includes icons of the sixties such as Allen Ginsberg.
During the "Summer of Love" (1967), after opening a temple in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood (the center of the hippie movement), Mukunda and a handful of followers bring the Swami from New York to join them. They host the Mantra Rock Dance concert, where the Swami appears along with some of the biggest names in rock music. Thousands chant along with the Swami, cementing the small movement's importance to the American counterculture.
In 1967 Mukunda and a small group of spiritual pioneers head to London. There they befriend George Harrison and John Lennon of the Beatles. George helps them open a temple and produce "The Radha Krishna Temple" album. One of the recording's tracks is released as a single and quickly rises to the top of the charts, turning "Hare Krishna" into a household phrase.
Success in these three cities catapults the small spiritual movement into a worldwide phenomenon. Mukunda Goswami brings the reader along with him to those years and those times. We feel the intimacy the early followers had with their guru, and experience the movement's formative years in those unusual times.
Hardbound, 435 pages, dust-jacket, 6" x 9.5".
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