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Chapter Summary

Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda's career as a religious founder and missionary was certainly extraordinary. Founders and reformers of religions, like Prabhupāda, are very often described as possessing a mysterious aura of personality called 'charisma'. The term has been included in the standard jargon of social sciences, where it denotes a particular kind of social authority; one that is based on personal qualities and capacities rather than institutionally conferred rights and privileges. The dominant sociological and anthropological theories of charisma would locate the origin of charismatic perceptions in the needs, aspirations and expectations prevalent in the societies of the followers. Most of the studies on the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement have relied primarily on the classical fieldwork techniques of participant observation and interview. This chapter presents an overview of how the other chapters of the book are organised.

Keywords:Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda; charisma; Hare Kṛṣṇa movement; social authority



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