Monday, February 28, 2005

Gouranga? But I just met her!

My Gmail spam filter recently picked up the following message:

Call out Gouranga be happy!!!
Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga ....
That which brings the highest happiness!!

Whoa! Not your typical Nigerian 419 scammer or penis enlargement advertisement. What gives? So I googled "Gouranga" and found the website of Joe Wein, who has also received this mysterious spam and offers a possible explanation for it:

Gauranga (Gouranga) was a nickname of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, a monk in India who 500 years ago founded the branch of Hinduism that during the 20th century was brought to the west by ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness, better known as the "Hare Krishna" sect).

Years ago the name Gouranga appeared on motorway bridges in the North of England and on various stickers, causing people to wonder what it was all about. It has been rumoured that the Scottish branch of ISKCON has been trying to spread the name of their spiritual ancestor through a guerilla-type campaign. We have no idea if there is any substance to these rumours. It's equally plausible that this is just somebody's sense of humour. Hare Krishna-related jokes in popular culture are not unkommon, such in the movie "Airplane" or the "Gouranga" references in the Playstation videogame "Grand Theft Auto".

Pretty esoteric for spam, but hey, it's better than unsolicited porn offers. Or is it?

p.s. Joe Wein's homepage has an eclectic bunch of links, including poetry from his native Bavaria and a short quiz illustrating the absurd harshness of Singapore's legal code.

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