November 2008

The following is the abstract for an article about how 2nd generation  Hare Krishna kids who were raised in isolation  adapted when they were thrust into the mainstream society.  Some excerpts appear below but best to read the whole article here.

Exploration of Self-Esteem and Cross Cultural Adaptation of the Marginalized Individual:

An investigation of the second generation Hare Krishnas

Sachi Horback

MA, PsyD Candidate

Cheryll Rothery-Jackson

Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA, USA


The purpose of this study was to explore the cross-cultural adaptation of a sample of adults raised in the Hare Krishna culture. Fifteen second generation ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) adults were asked to describe their family, peer, and social interactions and the perceived impact on their cross-cultural adaptation. An analysis of participant responses generated the following fifteen themes: (1) age and context of first contact with mainstream culture, (2) process of cultural adaptation, (3) parents’ marital status, (4) family relationships, (5) layers of marginality, (6) community norms and values, (7) identity crises, (8) self-esteem and self-esteem scores, (9) views of ISKCON culture, (10) views of mainstream culture, (11) cultural vernacular, (12) cultural emblems, (13) role models, (14) current cultural membership, and (15) future family vision. The outcome of the study was discussed with possible clinical issues which included the complexities of cultural belongingness, healthy and self-destructive aspects of adaptation, and feelings of terminal uniqueness.


Cultural diversity has been defined as “two or more distinct groupings recognizable by cultural, racial, or other socially distinctive features” (Berry 1974: 17). Among the world’s “large and complex nation-states,” there has been an increase in the population of multiple cultural groups (Berry 1974: 17). Therefore, much research has been conducted in response to this cultural expansion, as investigators strive to learn more about cultural identity and intercultural adaptation (Berry 1974).

Historically, it was believed that a healthy sense of self is achieved when one ascribes to a specific ethnicity and culture (Kim 1996). Yet, in a culturally diversified world, individuals may develop allegiances to multiple cultures simultaneously (Schaetti 2000). Furthermore, an individual may exist in cultural marginality, described by one writer as “feelings of ‘passive betweenness’ between two different cultures…and [they] do not perceive themselves as centrally belonging to either one” (Choi 2001: 193).

Cultural Marginality

The Marginal Man

The term “marginality” was first introduced by Robert Park in 1928. Park’s “marginal man” is “on the margin of two cultures and two societies which never completely [interpenetrate and fuse]” (Park 1928: 892, Brackets in original quote). Park described the marginal man as one with “spiritual instability, intensified self-consciousness, restlessness, and malaise” (893)…

One group that is considered a marginal culture in this society is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), founded in 1966 in New York City by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (Rochford 1985; McCaig 2002)…

McCaig (2002) researched the development of ISKCON’s second generation, born into the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and coined the term Krishna Culture Kids (McCaig 2002). According to McCaig, although the first generation chose to become marginalized individuals within a dominant society, the second generation could be conceptualized as having been given this status at birth (McCaig 2002)…

Krishna Culture Kids generally had little contact with outside cultures until early or even late adolescence, when they attended public school or moved outside of the community for the first time (McCaig 2002). This was in part due to the individual family’s discovery that it was necessary to interact with the outside world to financially support themselves.

So, although currently most ISKCON members live and work in the mainstream, a vast migration didn’t begin to occur in greater numbers until the late 80’s. For many second generation Krishna Culture Kids, the differences were described as a “culture shock,” as they were plucked from the confines of the inclusive ISKCON community, unprepared to interface with mainstream culture. These Krishna Culture Kids faced compounding issues of adjustment as young adults, marginalized between the culture of origin (ISKCON) and the outside mainstream culture (See Figure 1, McCaig 2001)…

2) Process of adaptation

In general, regardless of age of first interactions with mainstream, most participants described a period of adjustment. Many commonly expressed that “no one prepared me” to regularly interact within the non-Hare Krishna sphere; therefore, they had to learn the norms, behavior, and dress on their own. All of the participants described themselves in a similar fashion, using terms such as “observer, ” “shape-shifter,” and “chameleon.” However, the process and extent to which they adapted to the new environment differed among participants…

7) Identity crises

Most of the participants reported a period of identity confusion when they began regularly interacting with non-Hare Krishnas. For most, this period of confusion occurred in adolescence, although some describe a period of crisis in early adulthood…

15) Future Family Vision

When asked how they envisioned raising their children, all fifteen commented that they often thought about this issue. This did not vary based on their current marital status. Only four out of fifteen participants currently has children. All but two participants would want to raise their children with experiences from both ISKCON and mainstream culture…


Much as we love our 1990 Toyota Corolla, it doesn’t get to go to Florida with us. I have reserved a car for the trip, which is consistent with our philosophy of keeping nursing heaps for local use and put the miles on rental cars for longer trips.

The trip is my youngest daughter Vraja’s idea. The centerpiece of the trip is that we are all getting together in Atlanta, Georgia at my oldest son Madhu’s place. Vraja is coming in from Colorado with Clint and granddaughter Gracie, age 5.  Granddaughter Sydney, 2.5, will fly in from Columbus, Ohio with my oldest daughter Manjari. Tulasi, my son and youngest of the crew, will drive in with Vidya and myself from West Virginia.

This way my three granddaughters will get to be together. Mary, Madhu’s daughter, 8, will be the hostess, I guess.

The only member of the family who won’t be there will be Marken because, in his words, he doesn’t want to waste that much time with his family. He will be represented by his liver that I carry around and use.

Vraja lived in Alachua, Florida for a year or two so after Atlanta we will be driving there. We will be there for the Sunday program Dec. 21, arriving the day before.

Although at its genesis we used to refer to Alachua as New Vrindaban South due to all the ex NV devotees who moved there, this wil be my first visit.

After Alachua we are going over to Florida’s Gulf coast to spend some time with Laxsmi Honest, former NV resident and one of the Meadeville, Pennsylvania crew that Radhanath would visit when he first hit the road to start preaching. They were the ones who bought him his first car.

She thinks that her brother has some film footage from those early 1980s days and if he does my goal is to get it ported over to a DVD and bring it back.

This will be my first extended trip from home since I spent a week in Colorado after  Gracie was born 5 years ago. I have been to gourd shows on weekends and one weekend trip to NYC, but no real vacations. Lying on the couch too fatigued to do anything doesn’t count, even as a staycation, IMHO.

We will drain the water pipes in the unused portion of the house and we do have electric heat in the part we heat. We never use it but for this trip will turn it on at the lowest possible setting. Vidya has made arrangements for the cats to be fed and the plants watered so we should be good to go.

We will also stop and visit Isani on the way.  Isani did the original sets of jewelry and crowns for most of the Deities, the sconces at the Palace, the peacock feather decorations around the upper part of the temple, and lots more stuff, too much to mention. Her and Vidya still talk on the phone regularly.

by Jane Burgermeister, European Correspondent

The solution to the world’s two biggest crisis — the economic and the global warming crisis — is exactly the same: a huge government investment plan in renewable energy will not only help kick start economies, but it will also help fight global warming, according to a report by Deutsche Bank.

Investment in renewable energy would also help accelerate “grid parity,” the point when electricity generated by solar, wind and other sources becomes cost competitive with power from conventional fossil fuels.

Faced with the worst economic crisis since 1931, governments in Germany and the UK as well as the US and China are planning to use deficit spending to avert a dramatic economic slowdown.

The study by Deutsche Asset Management (DeAM), a member of the Deutsche Bank group, argues that directing any stimulus package towards the renewable energy would benefit not just the economy by boosting jobs and growth but also accelerate the creation of a booming new clean tech industry, so helping to slash greenhouse gases.

Massive investment in renewable energy would also have the advantage of establishing energy independence for countries such as US, China, Germany and the UK from oil and gas imports from crisis-hit regions.

“The current crisis is making the necessity of tackling climate change an opportunity to stimulate growth through investment opportunities,” said Mark Fulton, DeAM’s Global Head of Climate Change Investment Research.

Investments in new improved energy efficiency technologies are especially likely to benefit recession-hit economies by reducing the burden of high fuel costs, the study argues.

Additional measures to stimulate investment in “green” infrastructure and industry, such as smart electricity grids, solar thermal and geothermal power plants, could pay dividends by creating jobs in long-term growth industries…

Though wind power in some locations is already cost competitive, government investment in renewable energy as part of a stimulus package would provide much needed funds to bring down the cost of all types of renewable energy…

Moreover, a recent report by Greenpeace in Germany and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) argues that investment in renewable energy would not represent an additional cost, but would pay for itself out of savings to be made on oil, coal and gas expenditures…

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Environment Minister, recently affirmed the government’s commitment to the renewable energy sector, saying that 500,000 new jobs could be generated in the green sector by 2020 in Germany…

“Major investment in renewable power and energy efficiency could create an industry a 360 billion-dollar industry, provide half of the world’s electricity, and reduce the hefty 18 trillion-dollar bill expected to for future fossil fuel costs, according to Oliver Schäfer from the EREC.

” ‘Currently, the renewable energy market is worth US $70 billion and doubling in size every three years,’ he said. “The global market for renewable energy can grow at double digit rates until 2050, and overtake the size of today’s fossil fuel industry.”

Governments that include green energy incentives into their stimulus package will not only create jobs, stabilize the economy and protect the environment, but they will also help ensure that their country is well placed to come out of the recession as a world leader in green technology, which is set to dominate the energy market of the future…

Snowed in today as the January in November style weather continues.  Lots of outdoor work to do but I lack the will to overcome adversity so doing a little housecleaning in my photos for blog file.

Here is picture of a kirtan in NV during the robe era. That is me on the right side of the picture, only half in it. Which pretty much sums up my spiritual life. Lot of memory provoking faces in this picture for anyone who was here then.


Earlier in the year I was trying to  prep for the Transplant Games by doing laps around the lake at the temple. While doing them I took a picture of this large goldfish, almost a yard (meter) long who was slowly moving just under the surface of the water.


After I took the picture, each lap I would look to see if I could get a better shot and one time ended  up looking too long and crashed into the curb, having to leap over the handlebars of my bike to avoid injury.

Here is a picture of a dead cell phone I found walking along side the road.


I could conceive of a number of scenarios where someone would have thrown it out a window while driving (nowhere near a parking spot), any of which could have been the basis for a short story.  The least likely one would have been a symbolic gesture of throwing away attachment to technology before moving into a self sufficient, land based community.

Kuladri took me up on an offer for some bamboo plants and stopped by to dig some. Here is his car loaded for the trip home.


By the way, the offer of free bamboo plants  to start a patch stands for anyone willing to dig them under my supervision. It is evergreen in this climate, maybe 1 out of 5 winters it drops its leaves in late winter.  Invasive, but that can be good if you want a screen for privacy, shade, or a windbreak. Plus the canes are useful.

Getting back to the opening idea of nostalgia for those that were there, here is a current picture of Jiva Goswami.


If you go to the online version of the Brijabasi Spirit and search on Jiva Goswami, you will find a wonderful series of stories he wrote about the Old New Vrindaban.

By the way, Brijabasi Spirit needs writers so anyone who wants to reminisce or write about current events, please let me know.

Enough for today.


“Do you want to know God? Then learn to understand the weaknesses and imperfections of [others]. But how can you understand the weaknesses of others unless you understand your own? And how can you see the meaning of your own limitations until you have received mercy from God, by which you know yourself and Him? It is not sufficient to forgive others: we must forgive them with humility and compassion. If we forgive them without humility, our forgiveness is a mockery: it presupposes that we are better than they.”

Thomas Merton. No Man Is An Island. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1955: 163.

“A sadhu, a devotee, is never angry. Actually the real feature of devotees who undergo tapasya, austerity, is forgiveness. Although a Vaisnava has sufficient power in tapasya, he does not become angry when put into difficulty. If one undergoes tapasya but does not become a Vaisnava, however, one does not develop good qualities. For example, Hiranyakasipu and Ravana also performed great austerities, but they did so to demonstrate their demoniac tendencies.

“Vaisnavas must meet many opponents while preaching the glories of the Lord, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that they not become angry while preaching. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given this formula: trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna/ amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih [Cc. Adi 17.31]. “One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.”

“Those engaged in preaching the glories of the Lord should be humbler than grass and more tolerant than a tree; then they can preach the glories of the Lord without difficulty.”

SB 6.4.5

Here is something from my archives I worked on a while back and posted early in my blog’s history. Not too many folks were reading my blog  then so I am going to repost it.  Please click on the thumbnail to see it.


Thanks to Sakya Rasa for doing the graphics.

The idea is that life transcends matter, mind transcends life etc.

The study of matter is physics. The study of life is biology, which includes physics but transcends it, etc.

The underlying principle being that transcendending doesn’t mean replacing, or instead of, it means includes but goes beyond.

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of

I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

Next Page »