Growing up in a religious sect

Jahnavi Harrison, 27, grew up in a Hare Krishna community in Hertfordshire where her father is the priest.

A musician, she still lives at home:

I grew up in a Hare Krishna community called Bhaktivedanta Manor, an 80-acre estate that is the biggest Hare Krishna community in Europe.

My parents and younger brother and sister all live in a house nearby, and growing up we spent all day, every day at the temple.

I had an incredibly special childhood. We’d start every morning with worship and would dance and pray several times a day. Most meals were eaten communally with the 300 residents of the community.

A lot of the produce for our meals came from our own farm. The estate is a very beautiful place and includes extensive woods and a lake, and there was a primary school on-site.

We were raised communally with the philosophy of simple living and high thinking. Growing up, we didn’t watch TV or listen to pop music and were aware that popular culture was something that didn’t sit well with our value system.

The Hare Krishna movement, based on a strand of Hinduism, was founded in 1965 by AC Bhaktivedanta. The ultimate goal of Hare Krishna devotion is to attain Krishna Consciousness through ethical living and spiritual devotion.

Devotees do not gamble, ingest alcohol or drugs, including caffeine, and restrain from sex except within marriage for the purposes of procreation.

I was a really happy child cocooned in this perfect world until my parents decided to send me to the local school when I was nine to prepare me for senior school.

I found the experience intimidating and a huge culture shock.

I was extremely worried that people would find out I was a Hare Krishna. Continue reading

Article and Image: The Telegraph

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