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Servant of the Lotus Feet: A Hare Krishna Odyssey Paperback – February 12, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

In 1984, Sidd legally changed his name to S Gabriel Brandis. While living in Colorado, Gabriel enjoyed some of the best times of his life. In the shadow of the Rocky Mountains he was inspired to write this book. He is back in Philadelphia, working as a freelance writer and actor. He relaxes by tango dancing and skydiving.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (February 12, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595312640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595312641
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,463,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By David B. Gould on July 19, 2005
Gabriel Brandis's book is paradoxical - he gives in many ways a very intimate look into the life of a Hare Krishna temple resident in the 80's - the rituals, chanting, temple worship etc. He also portrays accurately the focus of that era on fundraising, and the questionable morality employed by some devotees. He accurately portrays his spiritual master. He fails to tell us enough about his inner struggle with his sexuality, with his comprehension of bhakti-yoga and instead resorts to discredited anti-cult stereotype responses. In addition, referring to a devotee as " Asti Spumanti das " or "Rasta Farian das " is insulting to Hare Krishnas - as is his failure to note that in the 20 years since he left the movement, that the guru excesses have been eliminated, that his spiritual master Bhavananda Goswami is no longer a guru. The Hare Krishna movement is mainly composed of congregational members (like me) who have often never ben in a temple ashram to live. We aren't brainwashed zombies. The saddest indictement of this book is the acquiescence to the abusive and illegal kidnapping that he suffered at the hands of deprogrammers whose triumph in ripping off his neckbeads and getting him to eat chicken is appalling. Hare Krishna's do not need to answer forever for the sins of the few who abused the responsibility that His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada gave them before he died. We are a legitimate spiritual tradition, recognised by Hindus across the globe, committed to inter-faith dialogue, committed to respecting the rights of all people. Gabriel's deprogramming was an act of violence - physical, spiritual and psychological abuse, far worse than he experienced trying to deny his sexuality as a Hare Krishna monk.Read more ›
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne Hlzel on January 23, 2005
Like any book dealing with experiences in a counterculture, Gabriel Brandis' book Servant of the Lotus Feet is worth reading to gain insight into a way of life so out of the ordinary and otherwise concealed to the general public. However, to my personal perception as an ex-Hare Krishna sympathizer, for a book examining the community from an ex-members' point of view, the book comes along oddly uncritical and un-distanced, without suggesting any process of detachment, which, for a four years membership within the movement, certainly must have been long, painful and complicated. On the last pages, Servant suddenly comes up with some rationalist analysis on mind-control, probably a result of some hastily-undergone process of de-programming, which contrasts drastically with the book's overall sentimental style. Great parts of the book are written in a narrative style which either shows that the author might not have really dealt with his cult experience or reflects it in some dream-like, hallucinatory way. The book's greatest plus is its strikingly detail-rich description of Hare Krishna rules, behaviours and prayers, thus catching well what being a Hare Krishna feels like.
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Verified Purchase
In a memoir that reads like a novel, Gabriel Brandis recounts his experience in the Hare Krishna Movement, aka International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), from 1980 to 1984. The story begins at the end of his freshman year at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania. He travels to Boston College, hoping to transfer there for his last two years. Instead of college counselors and grant administrators, he meets Hare Krishna devotees, joins their temple on Commonwealth Avenue, and drops out of college.
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