Free festival to seek unity with Krishna in Stratford

Hare Krishnas will bring their festival to Stratford, with free food for all

Hare Krishnas will bring their festival to Stratford, with free food for all - Credit: Archant

Shaved heads and saffron robes are set to descend on the borough to a backdrop of music and dance that aims to spread “Krishna consciousness”.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKC) has recruited local Hare Krishnas to promote the movement’s ancient teachings of devotional yoga in Stratford at Leyton Road’s Nagrecha Hall.

Nathan Hartley, spokesman at ISKC, says the festival will offer the alternative to 21st century materialism with a unifying message of love.

“Our philosophy is very rich and attractive to many people,” he said. “In a world that’s becoming increasingly competitive, and has people believing they’ll only be happy through material gain, we’re showing a deeply positive alternative.

“The Krishna consciousness message is for everyone – a universal, non-sectarian message of love, simple living, service and, above all, connecting the self with the original spiritual source, Krishna.”

The festival’s organisers hope to follow the example of their founder A. C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, a guru who left India aged 70 to spread his religion’s message in the United States in 1965.

Within a year of arriving, he had created ISKC and now there are more than 400 Hare Krishna centres worldwide, including 90 restaurants, 60 farm communities and 50 schools.

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Festival organiser and Hare Krishna monk Giridhari Das said the key aim of the event would be to connect with the community.

“Whether it’s local carnivals, theatres or town halls, we like to be with the people,” he said. “We’re probably best known from the Glastonbury Music Festival or for singing in the streets of central London.

“As the Hare Krishna Festival Team we tend to appear all over the place.”

The festival, which is part of ISKC’s build-up to celebrate the religion’s 50th anniversary, begins at 7pm on October 29.

Entry and vegetarian food is free for all.