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Where did all the Hare Krishnas go?

Back in the 1970s, robed members of the sect were frequently seen on street corners, chanting the “Hare Krishna” mantra, with their hair shorn.

So, whatever happened to the Hare Krishna movement?

Back in the 1970s, robed members of the sect were frequently seen on street corners, chanting the “Hare Krishna” mantra, with their hair shorn.

These days, you are more likely to see robed Anglican bishops occupying a corner of Bay and Front streets and passing out literature.

Krishna devotees haven’t gone into hiding, but they have toned down the missionary zeal from those crazy days of counterculture movements.

As one senior devotee says, “We are now more interested in quality than quantity.”

Formed by his Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1965, the Hare Krishnas of the time were full of brashness and ideals. Now, you see a gentler side, with mostly South Asians attending the temple with their young children.

This fresh injection of Hare Krishnas has brought to the temple the most affluent and educated members in the movement’s history. They are young bankers, computer consultants, software developers, dentists and PhD students. They drive Mercedes, Audis, BMWs, wear Western clothes and live in opulent homes, some with altars built so they can worship at home.

In Toronto, there are believed to be 300 to 500 hard-core members, although leaders say actual numbers around the GTA are much higher.

 
 
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