ABSTRACT

I opened this study by describing the curious scene of ISKCON-London’s annual Jagannātha Rathayātrā, raising questions about the meaning and significance of such a spectacle of Hindu tradition-come-West. I noted that Kṛṣṇa has apparently come West to stay, in ever-increasing numbers of physical manifestations – mūrtis – now being attended to throughout the day, seven days a week, in all of the world’s continents by devotees of all different backgrounds. And to each temple come so many guests annually – to some, like Bhaktivedanta Manor, many thousands – to see these images, see the worship offered to them, offer prayers to them, hear about their divine qualities, and receive their food remnants. The seriousness and dedication shown by these devotees indicate conviction that these practices are an affirmation of a profound truth, one that we can reasonably call “religious.” This study has been an attempt to discover and articulate what sort of religious truth this might be.