I just received the following email and I didn't know what to make of it:

From: NitaiGouranga@aol.com
Subject: Gouranga
Date: January 25, 2005 11:13:50 AM MST

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

A Google search turned up the following:

1 - a Grand Theft Auto News & Resource Site

2 - an entry at Urbandictionary.com that reads:

1. gouranga
A word that appears on moterway bridges in north west UK. It's only purpose to annoy drivers who are left with a nagging curiosity for the rest of their day until the next day when it ceases to become important ever again.

for god sake why did they have to colour it in. Now it's more noticable and more annoying
2. gouranga
A feeling of happiness stemming from running down an entire column of Hare Krishnas in your car, as first invented in GTA1.

Splat! splat! splat! splat! splat! splat! splat! GOURANGA!
3. gouranga
is a word that is used by Hare Crishna monks meaning be happy!

EG 1.
happy monk guy- how are you today friend? are you happy?
guy- no! now go away!
happy monk guy- say gouranga it means be happy it will cheer you up
Guy- humph! gouranga............... hey you're right i feel happy already!

when you play gta 1 you can usually find a line of monks (the orange guys) if you kill them all at once gouranga apears in big letters across the screen

3 - An article at "Richard's Dish" from 2001 commenting with a trace of annoyance on the appearance of a bunch of stickers in Scotland reading "Call out Gouranga and be happy!"

4 - A post from a few days ago at "theOTHERblog" talking about the same email I just received. I'm closing in on an answer, I can feel it.

5 - And finally, an answer of sorts that seems to tie it all together here.

I had totally forgotten about that "event" in GTA1. I didn't know they were monks at the time. I thought they were joggers in orange jumpsuits that ran in a line. Now it makes more sense. I got quite a few GOURANGA!s back then, but it was tricky. You couldn't even let one get away and they ran like the dickens.

So if you find this odd bit of spam in your email, this should give you some idea what it's about. Also, in the last link they mention the Scottish branch of ISKCON as possibly being behind the spread of Gouranga, and Rockstar North (the devolopers of the GTA series of games, and originally named DMA Design) is based in Leith, Scotland.

I'm still not sure if the email is the result of one lone loopy spam punk, a viral ad campaign – which would be odd since the GTA games since GTA3 haven't mentioned it (that I've found) – or a concerted effort by the Hare Krishnas. But whatever.

Gouranga! (doin' a dance of happyhappy)


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