North Shore Times : February 10th 2011
3 NORTH SHORE TIMES, FEBRUARY 10, 2011 NEWS Shop G06 Westfield Shore City, TAKAPUNA Ph: (09) 489 8461 www.fifth-avenue.co.nz Fifth Avenue Diamond Jewellers Make her day this Valentine's Followers leading the way By SARAH CODDINGTON Religion: Therese and John Howie praise their god through a chant. Inset: Unfinished carvings of Krishna called Jaganatha on their home altar. Photos: BEN WATSON FACTS The chant translates to ''Oh my lord, Oh energy of the lord, please engage me in your devotional service.'' Hare Krishna followers do not drink alcohol, take drugs or gamble. The religion came to New York in 1965 and spread through the western world. It was made popular by George Harrison and John Lennon. Sri Sri Radha Giridhari temple in Riverhead opened in 2004. There are temples in Mt Eden and Mt Albert. Bhakti Yoga is a holistic approach to living. Classes are based on a variety of topics to enhance lifestyle and happiness, including meditation, philosophy and practical skills like cooking. PROFESSIONAL soccer player John Howie gave it all up to pursue a life as a Hare Krishna. Nowadays the father of two gets up at 4am every day to meditate and then goes off to work as a primary school teacher. The Torbay resident first came across the religion when he was walking down a Mel- bourne street in the 1970s and saw a group singing: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare.'' At the time there were rumours that Hare Krishna was a sex- crazed'' cult, Mr Howie says. But nothing could be further from the truth. The religion does not condone sexual relations before mar- riage. Mr Howie is originally from Scotland and was playing for the Mel- bourne George Cross soc- cer team. He was so intrigued by the group that he became a veg- etarian, following the Hare Krishna principal of karma and not harming a living animal. When he met his wife Therese they both took the path to becoming Hare Krishna, whose followers worship the Hindu god Krishna. The pair were given spiritual names by a leader of the religion in the western world, Swami Prabhupada, when they decided to fully embrace the lifestyle. John is known as Jaya Sila and Therese goes by Vimala. In their working life they go by their given names and it is only at social occasions with other followers they are known by their spiritual names. Around the home, the couple wear painted marks called tilaka on their foreheads, which symbolise that they have been touched by god. They worship at an altar in their house in the early hours of the day. People call it an un- godly hour, but it is actu- ally one of the most godly hours,'' Mrs Howie says. The altar is filled with pictures of gods and essences from India and even includes a prayer from the Catholic saint St Francis of Assisi. The prayer belonged to Mrs Howie's mother. The couple often go out chanting with other followers or attend festivals. Their children Nandu and Saraswati, now young adults, grew up following the religion and still practise some of its teachings. We live normal lives and live in normal houses. You don't have to be living in a temple to be a Hare Krishna and I don't think many people know that,'' Mr Howie says. The couple moved to Torbay to promote their lifestyle to people on the North Shore and are teaching bhakti yoga . Go to http://bhaktiyoga. co.nz for more information on courses offered. Go to www.north shoretimes.co.nz to see John and Therese demon- strating the Hare Krishna chant.
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