What You Can Learn from Hare Krishnas

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Day 309: Lima, Peru

The only thing I knew about Hare Krishnas was that they appeared at airports to give you flowers and I’m pretty sure I learned that from the movie Airplane.

Religion aside, I learned a lot during my nine days staying at the Eco-Truly Village.

The greatest lessons weren’t about the religion but about how we can all be happier.

hare krishna truly

The world will not crumble if we are late

Thanks to my mother, I’m compulsively early and it really bothers me when people are late. 

I’ve become more relaxed about time from traveling but the Hare Krishnas made me question why I need to be bothered at all.


I was given a schedule my first day but nothing came close to being on time. No one rushed around or wondered when lunch would be, they knew the bell would ring when it was ready.

No one was stressed about time. I realize that we have enough issues in our lives that we need to worry about, why do we need to stress about being on time.

baked stuffed zucchini with salad

Food is not just fuel, it brings people together

I already knew this but I had always eaten with people similar to me: friends, family, travelers.

This was the first time I was with a group of people I had nothing in common with – or so I thought.

The meals are leisurely and I got to understand a very diverse group of volunteers and the residents as people and not just the ‘Hare Krishnas.’

We all talked about food, music and travel and I learned how people grew up and what they loved about their home.

Helping in the kitchen was just as rewarding.

I worked with Madre Santa who had been at the village for 12 years and as we peeled potatoes she told me about where she grew up, her extremely large family and how her mother language is actually Incan Quechua.

hare krishna statue

There is no one right way to be happy in life

One of the most interesting aspects being in Eco Truly is that you can learn as much or as little about the Hare Krishna religion as you want.

Perhaps they are sensitive to many people’s perception that they are weird or wacky but they are very careful with comfort levels.

We could all learn from this: why do we force any of our beliefs on other people?

Instead of trying to recruit or teach me that the Hare Krishna life is better, they just allowed me to experience as much of it as I wanted.

Other than volunteer work in the morning, everything was optional, including temple. 

They never once told me about their beliefs without me asking.

If we stopped spending so much time judging instead of listening we’d all be in a better place.

Join the Conversation

  1. Sounds like a really amazing 9 days, Ayngelina. Amazing how much of the world’s nonsense complexities can melt away when we allow them to. Lovin’ the redesign, btw!

  2. Lauren Rains @ TheMadtoLive says:

    Hey Ayngelina!
    This was a really cool post b/c I love the lesson you shared in it… I’m all about life lessons…
    “We could all learn from this: why do we force any of our beliefs on other people?”

    I’ve thought a lot about this kind of topic. It all kind of started several years back when my closest cousins became born again Christians and started to try to force their beliefs on me. I mean, one of my cousins was about 6 at the time and even he said I was going to hell because I was drinking a beer haha. He was serious. No but in all seriousness, they were very very serious. And I’m sad to say that in the end it actually distanced us b/c there was no such thing as a conversation about anything be it life in general or what we should do that day without it involving their beliefs.

    And this goes on to much more wordly and complicated issues bigger than my personal life, of course.

    So, what I’m saying is agree with you 110%. It is WONDERFUL if people have a believe system that makes them feel whole and brings them happiness, but let people enter your beliefs with open arms that which they can come & go as they please, and not with a cage you’re trying to capture someone in or a piece of bate you’re trying to lure someone in with. Everything in moderation, ya know?!

    Anyway, long comment! But it’s wonderful you took away such a great lesson from your time here! I hope you really enjoyed it as it seems you did. 🙂

    – LAUREN 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You know I think we often view religion as being quite judgmental but then have no issue telling people how they should live, the right way to dress, the most authentic way to travel…. you get the idea

      It did inspire me to be a little more open to ideas that contradicted my own.

    2. Justin Hamlin says:

      L –

      I have seen many of the same things. My wife and I are both Catholics and would only go to a Catholic Mass, if we went to church.

      We have gone to those other services, non-denominational worship. Really, they are HUGE business. Its amazing how rich God is making people.

      My point is that with those non-denominational, “born again Christians” if you will, is that those churches push and push and push their followers to witness to others, to inflict their values on others, to tell others that they know the way to Christ, etc. When in reality, they are trying to get more people through the doors and more money into their pockets.

      To me, that is really sickening.

      I am in agreement with you and Ayngelina. A religion seems so much more genuine when it is experienced, and not forced. A balance of letting others see how you experience your religion and beliefs, and leave it up to them if they want to experience it as well.

      Anyhow, just wanted to add to that line of thinking, as I am 110% with you on that one!

  3. Glen Abbott says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience; my only experience with Hare Krishnas was from the Airplane movie also so this helps dispel some preconceived ideas!

  4. I love the way that you’re losing your Western stresses. In particular, time-keeping.

    Were there any other stressors you managed to discard?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      On the Facebook page I will post the bathroom, which was nice enough but the toilet is a rubbermaid container with a toilet seat on them. Apparently they invented these things that you put sod on after going and they compost the matter.

      I also learned not to waste but the bathroom pushed my comfort boundaries.

  5. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    These are definitely some important messages!!! I can’t stand it when people are late either. I think I could probably stand to learn to chill out about it, but when someone is constantly late it’s like they’re saying their time is more important than yours, you know? What a cool experience, how great that you put aside any ideas you might have had about this group and went into the experience without any judgments.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I once dated a guy who was always late and it drove me nuts. I lost it on him and he realized that I thought his behavior was a reflection of how he felt about me and was more conscious to be on time or at least call.

  6. Lovely post. It’s so nice to hear a different perspective about a group of people who very often get the ‘cult’ label thrown on them. People are people, no matter what they believe.

    I’m curious though – how did you end up staying there?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      These eco villages are pretty well known in South America. I think I found them by searching yoga Peru but all the hostels know about them. There is at least one in each country and I think they plan to expand.

  7. Brilliant stuff, Ayngelina. I put together a small interfaith (I wish I’d had a better term so agnostics and atheists didn’t feel excluded!) group back in the US for a time. It was really nice to just have people express their beliefs without judgment or an attempt at being “right.” Sounds like we could all learn a bit from the Hare Krishnas. 🙂

  8. Like you I am compulsively punctual and even after having lived and worked for nearly 10 years in the south of Spain I’m still uncomfortbale with people who are an hour late. Your most important message however is the last one: don’t force your opinion upon other people. Everybody has a right to find happyiness their own way. And thanks for your lovely comment on my article for The Travel Belles. That was very sweet.

  9. Sounds like you had a great, eye-opening experience there! It’s fantastic that you opened yourself up to the possibility of viewing the world in a new way. I tried the same when I attended a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat in India, and it truly was life changing! I’m glad you walked away from this experience with a new perspective on things!

  10. Love it!

  11. What a wonderful post. I plan on passing it along so that the message grows.

  12. Sounds like a brilliant adventure. I always thought that if I did ever pick a religon it’d be the Hare Krishnas. If anything, the food is yummy 🙂

  13. Cathy Sweeney says:

    Like many others, I’ve had a lot of preconceived notions about Hare Krishnas – thanks for bringing some real world perspective. What is that wonderful-looking dish?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Cathy the food there was amazing, I didn’t miss meat at all. In this case it was half a zucchini stuffed and baked.

  14. I find the time thing really interesting–I’m also compulsively early, but I remember learning in international marketing that the concept of time is just DIFFERENT in South America and other cultures. They’re more concerned about the relationship than the time–it’s one of those things that I just can’t wrap my head around because of the culture I was raised with, so it’s interesting to hear how you’re starting to settle into it. Interesting post, and interesting experience 🙂

  15. Nice post Ayngelina; and some revelatory comments by a few of the other women bloggers above : Its pretty obvious to me NOW what was wrong with my past girlfriends : they didn’t travel !! and hence could not possibly ever know anything about the PRINCIPLE FOR BEING ON TIME!!! – especially after a year of going out!!! Thank you Ayngelina & Co. for the enlightenment!! What a fool I’ve been …!!!

  16. Ayngelina,
    Nice post – I did not know that there were Hare Krishnas in Peru.

  17. islandmomma says:

    That concept of time is pretty much the same here in the Canary Islands (there are many ties with S America, so maybe that’s why!), and it doesn’t bother me too much – so long, out of respect, that if someone is late they let you know!

    This is a wonderful life lesson to learn, shame more people don’t have access to it, or aren’t open-minded enough to give it a try.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  18. Interesting observations. I pretty much knew about the food and don’t like it when people try to push beliefs on me. Re the late thing, I second what Andi said about respect; but living in Australia with -ish time has made me a bit more relaxed about it.

  19. I love it. What great lessons to carry around in life.

  20. monette | fliptravels says:

    amazing revelations! our lives are too short to be bothered by complexities in life. truly, our lives are less complicated that what we think. thanks for sharing!

  21. simply beautiful, lifes’ rhythm-

  22. What an inspiring post about a transformational experience. I’ve always thought you can learn a lot from peeling potatoes with someone! Great to have the time to catch up on your travels at last.

  23. Absolutely incredible. So inspiring. That kind of inner reflection is just what I need. Like you, I’m always worried about schedules and timekeeping and really need to learn how to relax and get rid of tension.

  24. My fave part of this post: don’t force your beliefs on others.

  25. There’s no way I’m shedding any habit of being punctual. When I acquire one, I mean – I’m *never* punctual. But when you’re travelling, being punctual is a survival technique. Nothing quite like the self-recrimination that comes as you watch your ferry/bus/[other] head off without you…

    I’m a big believer in no. 2, which has historical precedence as “feasting rituals” (Celtic communities, etc). Break bread with someone and you’re friends. And food is a good way to get you to sit for an hour or so and really open up. (So it’s a shame the modern Western meal can be such a rushed, Microwaved, disjointed affair. “Can I take my food up to my room, I’m watching TV?”, “Yeah, whatever, I’m doing the same…”)

    I’m fascinated by religion. And entirely irreligious. I do want to know how other people live their lives through religion, but to date I don’t want to join in. Just understand. We don’t have to believe to gain worth from an experience. And I’m not alone.

    And it’s sad that the forcers, the “find [religion] before it’s too late, yes, I’m talking to YOU” people, can’t understand this. Show, don’t tell – as Eco-Truly did with you. That’s the only way.

    Also, I tend to think the Forcers are so vehement and animated because they’re trying to convince themselves. We all rant hardest when we do that. 😉

  26. Beautifully said, Mike. 100% agree!

  27. Wow. You’re really having an amazing adventure, aren’t you.
    Good on you for challenging yourself and reflecting on things.

    I didn’t know the Hare Krishnas hung out at airports. In Australia they wander the streets. I remember being completely freaked out by the Hares when I went to the city for university. But once I got used to them, their happy chanting and dancing always made me smile.

  28. Glad you had a great experience. It’s good to know that they don’t force their beliefs on people that go to the retreat. It makes me more open to doing something like this in the future.

    What I want to know is how did you handle not having internet for so long?

  29. I’m loving your approach to life and travel as of late. y=You are on the right path for sure.
    that eco-village looks nice. Maybe when I make it down there I will stop by.

    p.s. your new blog format is fresh, yo! im diggin’ it.

  30. Really keen to learn more about your time there Ayngelina. Yeah, religion is a pain at times.

  31. Great post and good lessons!
    I’m pretty sure that this is something I wouldn’t have done but it sounds as if I would have missed out.

  32. Matt | YearAroundTheWorld says:

    This sounds like a great idea. I’m not a religious person, but I love learning about religions!

  33. When I first saw the title of this post my first thought was about happiness. In my limited contact with Hare Krishnas I have always been struck at how happy they are. It cracked me up when you made this point in your second paragraph.

  34. Great post. I love the thoughts about not forcing beliefs on people. This community sounds really welcoming and beautiful.

  35. I just love these pictures!! So glad you encountered people who are secure in their faith yet loving and accepting of others. That is a rare and beautiful thing. 🙂

  36. Ayngelina,

    So great you have learned all this. The difficult part is to practice it.

    I also get mad when people are late but I think that I actually get mad not because they are late but because I get desperate if I wait for something. Even in the doctor’s office. Sometimes the things that get us irritated are the smallest things (like people making unnecessary noises) but like you said no reason to worry. I just try to stay calm and think that what bothers me is going to pass.

  37. so …what you are saying is that all your bad traits (ie. being on time) are my fault? Oh, the horrors of childhood!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Just being compulsively early, if I think I may be even slightly late I have anxiety. But I think if that’s the worst thing I learned from you then I’m doing okay.

  38. Sounds like you had a great time, I would definitely like to try it at some point. I also have cliche dreams of going to Nepal and shaving my head and being a monk for a few weeks 🙂 At some of those places not only is there no technology but also no speaking for extremely long periods of time.

  39. Those are some interesting point you point out girl. Like you say life has so much to worries so why should we worry about the smallest thing that we just may forget in the next hour or so (ie : being late). Great read!

  40. Hi Ayngelina, This post had some wonderful messages, esp the last one… Absolutists religious thoughts are quite unsustainable and unreasonable I think. Hey I am often someone who gets annoyed when I am on time and others aren’t because you can’t afford to be relaxed for certain things. Thanks for the post! 🙂

  41. DTravelsRound says:

    Wow. I would love to experience this.

  42. My family is very devout Mormon so when I left the church they were bewildered and would send the missionaries over to my house every weekend. While they are good people, I never understand why they felt the need to push their beliefs on me. If I believed, wouldn’t it mean more if I came to the conclusion by myself?

    I think the way the Hare Krishnas are going about it is awesome. If you are curious, explore, if not, enjoy our company and this beautiful day.


    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah the way they approached everything was pretty cool. They didn´t preach vegetarianism they just gave us great veggie food. I wish more people were like that.

  43. I just stumbled upon your blog today and it’s quite entertaining. And I have to admit you’ve got beautiful teeth! 🙂

  44. It’s wonderful that you had the opportunity to experience for yourself the pure lifestyle of gaudiya-vaisnava devotees. Hare Krishna!

  45. Aristophlos Avgerinos says:

    God, help me to appreciate the
    sacredness of every path, albeit different from my own! Ps. 107


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