In the 1970’s the Hare Krishna Movement underwent a rapid expansion. Temples sprang up all over the US and Europe, started by sincere disciples of Srila Prabhupada. They had been inspired by him, especially during the years 1966-1970, to take the Krishna Consciousness movement to every town and village. This was a program of outreach envisioned and predicted by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Golden Avatar who appeared in the 15th century. Furthermore, Srila Prabhupada’s worldwide success in spreading the Krishna Consciousness mission was the fulfillment of the desires of his previous spiritual masters coming in the line of Lord Caitanya.
During the zealous revolutionary period that arose from the ashes of the hippie communal movement – which had been rendered disheartened and degraded by a lack of authentic spirituality, extensive drug use and extreme hedonism – real spiritual communism broke forth in the form of the Hare Krishna Explosion. Krishna communities were popping up everywhere, espousing shared assets, powerful spiritual practice and a life of abstinence and joy. This included the chanting the Hare krishna mantra, sacred dance and feasting on vegetarian prasadam – sanctified food which induced higher consciousness in all who partook.
In Florida, Janamejaya dasa and Tara dasi had organized a temple at 324 College Avenue, near the entrance to Florida State University in Tallahassee. It was there that Rupa Vilasa along with others first experienced the divine taste of prasadam, chanting, joyful spirituality, incredible smells and tastes and a profound philosophy. This potent mix overwhelmed his resistance to a life of spiritual disciple, maybe because it has everything: ideal communal life, wonderful art, a philosophy which answered all questions and above all , the chanting of the maha-mantra composed of sacred names of God.
Those days were really revolutionary. The devotees who joined the movement in the early 70s were ready to go anywhere and do anything for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada. He was the divine, compassionate, merciful and wonderful leader of the Hare Krishna Explosion. And they were part of it. What could be better?
Rupa-Vilasa dasa (Robert MacNaughton) was born in Colorado, USA in 1945. From an early age he was attracted to eastern philosophy. By Srila Prabhupada’s grace, he received an initiation from him in 1972. He is well-known as a lecturer and author in Iskcon and has written a number of books and articles on spiritual topics. He currently lives in UK with his family.