After Hare Krishna visits ‘Mad Men’; Hinduism enters American mainstream

Frank Ockenfels AP “Mad Men” cast members Christina Hendricks, left, John Slattery, Jared Harris, Vincent Kartheiser, Jon Hamm, Robert Morse … Continued

Frank Ockenfels

AP

“Mad Men” cast members Christina Hendricks, left, John Slattery, Jared Harris, Vincent Kartheiser, Jon Hamm, Robert Morse and Elisabeth Moss.

Paul Kinsey re-emerged in Sunday night’s episode of “Mad Men” after a long absence — if only to remind the Heinz-hawking ad execs at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce about life’s spiritual side. (For a Mad Men recap, check out Jen Cheney in Celebritology today.)

So the former copywriter Kinsey is a Hare Krishna devotee. What is the Hindu spiritual movement and why did it surge in popularity during the 1960s and ’70s?

It’s not all Beatles songs and airport evangelizing: “Hare Krishna followers worship the Hindu god Vishnu in his earthly manifestation as Krishna,” the religion Web site Patheos explains in their religion library. Writing for Newsweek, Michael Kress explained the popular movement’s millennia-old roots in Hinduism:

The Hare Krishnas may have been seen as a highly visible, though fringe, movement in the ’60s, but today the ideas they worked to popularize are as mainstream as ever.

Writing for Newsweek in 2009, current On Faith columnist Lisa Miller suggested that it’s Hinduism, a 5,000-year-old tradition that teaches a cycle of rebirth and God’s many manifestations — and not Christianity — that best captures the religious beliefs of most Americans:

And the 50 years since Hare Krishnas invaded popular American culture have also seen marked transformations in American religion.

Kress in Newsweek, again:

About

Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

Read More Articles

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_37148347
What Is a Saint?

How the diversity of saintly lives reveals multiple paths toward God.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.