Chant Hare Krishna, Be Happy

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. -- Sujoy Bhowmik lives in two worlds.

On most days, he is a pharmacist at a CVS in Columbus. Other days, he is Narottama Das, a devotee of Hare Krishna, who finds peace in West Virginia at the Palace of Gold.

Once a religion whose members gave their life to the movement, the Hare Krishnas today welcome the most devoted people and the casual follower. In the 1970s, many of the members lived in communes. Now many, like Bhowmik, have careers and live outside the movement but are still devoted to their religion.

The West Virginia temple, called New Vrindaban, is a place to focus on Krishna and leave the outside world behind.

"We're all trying to become more conscious -- conscious of Krishna," said Bhowmik, 32. " 'Always remember Krishna and never forget him' is what we're all working toward."

Devotees are initiated and study under a guru. Other people are followers of the religion but do not take vows or go through initiation.

Like many of the devotees, Bhowmik grew up in a Hindu family but was later introduced to the Hare Krishna movement, which is a branch of Hinduism more formally known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. While in college, Bhowmik visited a Hare Krishna temple in Dallas and was fascinated by the chanting. He made up his mind to live a more serious lifestyle as a devotee.

iskcon news