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The Art of Satsvarupa: A Hare Krishna Monk

A Hare Krishna monk’s unique paintings find their way to small-town Shippensburg.

satsvarupa poster-web

SHIPPENSBURG–H.I. Gates, one of Satsvarupa’s disciples since 2002, admires his art enough to own some.

“As I understand it, he started doing little illustrations and doodling from a very early age. About 25 years ago he began doing paintings and he got carried away doing spiritual paintings…a lot of the ones in the show here were done when he was living in Ireland.”

Although Satsvarupa’s not well-known in Shippensburg, the town’s getting a taste of the movement through his paintings now. SHAPE Gallery is exhibiting “The Art of Satsvarupa: A Hare Krishna Monk”. He embraces his own abstract interpretations of traditional Hare Krishna art…rejecting realistic portraits of gods, saints, and demons. Satsvarupa’s paintings exhibited in Washington D.C. and New York City. He currently resides in New York and paints daily. The paintings will be at SHAPE Gallery until April 28th. The gallery is open Wednesday through Friday from 4-7PM, and Saturday from 11-4PM.


Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami

“I would like my paintings to speak for themselves, but a few words of introduction may help. I am 76 years old and have been painting for about 25 years. In contrast, I began writing journals and poems in my teenage years, although sometimes I would add little sketches along with my writing. In 1966, at age 26, I met A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, who came from India, and I became his disciple in the practice of Bhakti-yoga. The Swami began a movement which is now worldwide, popularly known as the Hare Krishna Movement. I believe two points place my art within the definition of “Outsider” art or art by persons of the “marginalized” society: first, it is self-taught art, and second, the Hare Krishna movement is often seen as a cult by mainstream society. Furthermore, even within the Hare Krishna movement, officially known as the International Society for Krishna Conscienceless (ISKCON), my work is unprecedented. So far in ISKCON only realistic portraits of Gods, Saints, and Demons constitute art. Children’s art is acceptable only if children do it and sign their name and age in big letters—“Krishna das, age 8”. This marginalization doesn’t depress me as long as I can profusely and express my visionary peace, joy, and passion in being.

Thank you for reading. Hare Krishna. Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami—(SDG)”


The International Society for Krishna Conscienceness (ISKCON), or Hare Krishna movement, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava Hindu religious organization. ISKCON was founded in 1966 in New York City by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is worshiped by followers as Guru and spiritual master. The culture originates from the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition.

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