Vraja Kishor Dasa

I'll tell you what really rocks my boat: seeing devotee kids trying like anything to deny their involvement with Hare Krsnas.

The whole thing hits right around the early-mid teenage years when they're bombarded from all sides with tremendous pressures to conform to mainstream society. Fit in. Be "cool." Man, it stinks.

One of the most rewarding parts of my devotional service (playing in a punk-rock band called Shelter) is making it "cool" to be into Krsna consciousness. And it's not that hard, because there's a whole worldwide youth subculture out there that's blatantly against all intoxication, meat-eating, and casual sex. I'm talking about thousands of kids. At least forty percent of these kids are to some degree into Krsna consciousness,

Not a bunch of nerds either the cutting edge. There are hundreds of "cool" bands literally screaming against the pillars of sinful life.

Shelter is easily counted among the top five most influential bands in this youth scene. Because of Shelter, more and more young people are seriously adopting the principles of Krsna consciousness.

So now Krsna consciousness is getting cool. So what? It used to be cool to be a dirty high school drug head. What's so exciting about turning Krsna into another one of these endlessly mutable fads?

But it's not like that. You don't "make" Krsna cool. He's already genuinely cool. You just let people know.

With all this other bogus fad-stuff, you have to hype it up. It's not cool on its own. It has to be made cool, artificially.

I mean, let's face it, what's so cool about taking a bunch of dried-out brown pieces of lettuce, putting it in a piece of paper, lighting it on fire, and sucking in the smoke?

What's so cool about this whole ridiculous high school dating scene? It's cool to be a babbling idiot? A remote control robot repeatedly driven into a wall at the hands of puberty? It's cool to treat another living being as a trophy, a bull's eye?

What else do they hype in high school these days? Oh, yes, sports. It's so ultra-cool to stand in front of your locker with a big number on your chest and crazy astronautesque plastic things sticking off your shoulders like you're Bozo the clown. That's real cool. That's the goal of life. Let's all put on these hysterical Halloween costumes and run into each other on a field all day long chasing some inflated piece of leather.

This stuff isn't cool. It's stupid. But you get a whole bunch of cheerleaders together, rustle up some Marlboro men, hype it up to the max on TV, in textbooks, and up and down the high school halls all of the sudden you've got hundreds of thousands of gullible kids all across America who actually belive that it's cool to suck smoke, run into each other, and become mindless slaves to their genitals.

Because it's artificial, it can't last. We throw away our lives chasing an endless train of disappearing fads.

But you don't have to hype Krsna consciousness, because it really is cool. Standing up against all these trends based on sense gratification. Refusing to waste your whole life imitating everyone else. 100% intense dedication to exploring your real self. That's true cool. That's Krsna consciousness.

The whole Shelter project bands, magazines, programs is presenting Krsna consciousness to the youth, and intelligent kids are responding with unbelievable urgency.

When I went to high school, not a single class would pass without me daydreaming of getting all the kids together and having a massive revolution. Now it's starting to really happen. Kids are standing up against outside pressures that drive them to give up their inconceivable great fortune of coming into contact with Krsna. And if you're a "kid," don't be a fool. Don't be a dancing dog on the leash of popularity. Put your foot down firmly and take a stand for Krsna consciousness. The time is fast coming when being a Hare Krsna will be looked up to and admired. To be honest, it's already happening.

Bhakta Vic Shelter joined the Hare Krsna movement about a year and a half ago. He and the Shelter band are based at the Philadelphia temple.