for Auckland Stuff on Feb. 11, 2011
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 (New Zealand) resident first came across the religion when he was walking down a Melbourne 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 marriage.
Mr Howie is originally from Scotland and was playing for the Melbourne George Cross soccer team. He was so intrigued by the group that he became a vegetarian, 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.
To read more: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/4636523/Followers-leading-the-way