ISKCON leaders probably didn’t expect some of their biggest preachers to be playing earsplitting hardcore punk music, doing high kicks and hurling themselves offstage into a crowd of wild teenagers. But in the 1990s, Shelter inspired countless young people to take on a sattvic lifestyle and even join the Hare Krishna Movement.
Trinidad’s first ever Rathayatra was celebrated in Chaguanas in 1991 with a flatbed truck used as the chariot. In 1994, devotees put on the first Rathayatra in Port of Spain, building a float onto a truck chassis. But it wasn’t until 2006 that organizer Baladeva Das built the first proper Rathayatra cart with the help of a friend.
An ISKCON center full of new, young American devotees, completely self-sustained through book distribution, in 2018? To some, this may sound like a pipe dream. But Philadelphia’s Mantra Lounge is proving that Srila Prabhupada’s model for ISKCON’s family business still works today – and it works very, very well.