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Institutionalisation Of Charisma

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains the Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda's life prior to his arrival in New York. It provides some illuminating background information on Prabhupāda's character and the type of religiosity he exemplifies. The proselytising activities during the first decade of the movement's history in the West are examined next. International society for Krishna consciousness (ISKCON) is known internationally for its colourful and sometimes aggressive street proselytisation techniques and such practices for long constituted the primary source of income for the movement. The chapter is devoted to the issue of the "routinisation of charisma", that is, the institutional structures that Prabhupāda developed for the maintenance of unity in the movement he had founded. Preaching was indeed included in Prabhupāda's methods, but preaching in the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement included elements that one would hardly recognise as such. One of the first practices he instituted in the West included public preaching tours called saṇkīrtana.

Keywords:Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda; charisma; Hare Kṛṣṇa movement; institutional structures; International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON); saṇkīrtana



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