Book Review: Miracle On 2nd Ave
By Kavicandra Swami
Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada
After a long time we have MIRACLE ON 2nd AVE Mukunda Goswami Maharaja’a account
of the establishment of ISKCON and Krsna Consciousness in New York , San Francisco
The book was recentely published by Torchlight Publishing in Mayapura and was
available at the Gaura Purnima Festival I just looked for it on Krishna. com and
could not find it.
I had a hard time putting it down and was feeling lost when I finished
reading. I gave my copy to one devotee who had lost his enthusiasm for
preaching. He got so excited and claimed it had changed his life. He has
recommended it to his friends and is reading it again.
The writing is so personal that it is hard to describe. The descriptions of how
they started the movement in San Francisco I found to be most “miraculous”.
Shyamasundara, Malati, Yamuna, and Guru dad, except for Yamuna cooking for
Janaki’s wedding, had not even met Srila Prabhupada, but just by hearing about
him from Mukunda, became empowered to work tireslessly to spread Krsna
Consciousness and to attract Srila Prabhupada to xome to San Francisco.
All I can say it that all devotees should do whatever they can to get this book
and read it.
Hare Krishna Arrives in New York, San Francisco, and London 1966-1969
By Mukunda Goswami
The year is 1965. An elderly Indian swami arrives in New York City determined
to start a worldwide spiritual movement. After a harrowing sea journey on a
freighter, where he suffers two heart attacks, his only possessions are a few
cases of books and eight dollars, he meets a few people willing to help him.
From a small storefront on Second Avenue in New York’s East Village, a
worldwide spiritual movement miraculously takes form.
In a vividly personal and up-close account of the beginning years of the Hare
Krishna movement (1966-1969) in three cities: New York, San Francisco, and
London, Mukunda Goswami, one of the first members of the religious group,
describes the optimism and energy of those early followers of His Divine
Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, whom they affectionately called “the swami.”
Mukunda Goswami takes us to the Bowery where he first helps the swami move
from a dingy rented loft to a small Lower East Side storefront in
Manhattan—thus founding the first Krishna temple in the West. Gradually the
number of followers increases and includes many icons of the sixties such as
During the “Summer of Love” (1967), after opening a temple in San Francisco’s
Haight-Ashbury neighborhood (the center of the hippie movement), Mukunda and a
handful of followers bring the swami from New York to join them. They host the
Mantra Rock Dance concert, where the swami appears along with some of the
biggest names in rock music. Thousands chant along with the swami, and cement
the small movement’s importance to the American counterculture.
In 1967 this same small group of spiritual pioneers heads to London. There
they befriend George Harrison and John Lennon of the Beatles. George helps
them open a temple and produce the Radha Krishna Temple album. One of the
recording’s tracks is released as a single and quickly rises to the top of the
charts, turning Hare Krishna into a household phrase.
Success in these three cities catapults the small spiritual movement into a
worldwide phenomenon. Mukunda Goswami brings the reader along with him to
those years and those times. One feels the intimacy the early followers had
with Srila Prabhupada, and we experience the movement’s formative years in
those unusual times.
“Miracle on Second Avenue is the best description yet of those fine days of
endless horizons, when everything was possible…” — from the Introduction by
Shyamasundar Das Adhikari
6×9, 452 pages, 92 photographs
Hardbound, ISBN 978-0-981727249, US $24.95
Coming May/June 2011