Bath’s popular festival scene is about to go all spiritual next week with the city’s second Hare Krishna festival, following a popular event held in the city centre last year.
Well known all over the world for their shaven heads, bright saffron robes, for giving out free food and their famous mantra, the event is expected to see hundreds attend.
ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Bath University’s Krishna Consciousness Society, and B&NES Councillor Nathan Hartley have teamed up to organise the festivities.
“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. Whether local carnivals, theatres or town halls we like to be with the people,” said Giridhari Das, a Hare Krishna monk who heads up the UK festival team.
The Hare Krishna Movement follows an ancient set of teachings which have their roots in the Vedic culture of India, dating back 5,000 years.
It became popular in the 1960’s when its message was brought to western countries by A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada – an Indian guru, aged 70, who left Vrindavan, India, and set sail for the United States in 1965 with just a few dollars in his pocket.
Within a year of his arrival he set up ISKCON, and today the movement has more than 400 temples and centres worldwide, including 60 farm communities, 50 schools and 90 restaurants.
The Bath festival, and other festivals across the UK this year, are part of the build up to the 50th anniversary of the Hare Krishna movement.
Thanks to The Beatles, and in particular George Harrison’s involvement, ‘Hare Krishna’ has become a household name.
Mona Kapuria is Chair of the movement’s society at the University of Bath. She added: “Our philosophy is very rich and attractive to so many people.
“The Krishna Consciousness Societies (KCsocs) in particular have an active presence at universities across the country, which has led to students from all types of backgrounds getting involved and finding inner fulfilment in a way they never thought they would.
“The Krishna Consciousness message is for everyone. A message of love, service and above all – remembering Krishna first.”
Bath’s upcoming Hare Krishna festival is completely free, and will include music, dance, and free vegetarian food.
Cllr Nathan Hartley added: “Faith communities add a lot to the life of the city of Bath, and the wider council area. Be they Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Hare Krishna, they are providing many services, opportunities and organising events that wouldn’t be happening otherwise.
“Everyone is invited along to this free public festival. It will be an evening to remember.”
The event will be held at the Friend’s Meeting House, York Street from 7 pm on Thursday 19th February. For more details visit www.harekrishnafestivals.com or www.bathstudent.com/socs/societies/krishna.
Guests will include Cllr Martin Veal, Chairman of Bath and North East Somerset Council; Cllr Paul Crossley, Leader of the Council; Don Foster, MP for Bath; and Cllr Sarah Bevan, the council’s Human Rights Champion.