The ability of a cult to camouflage itself is an integral part of its survival. Controlling dissidents and blunting the effects of criticism are also priorities. Confronted with an uncomfortable truth, cult leaders often adopt the defense strategy of a poisonous blowfish that puffs itself up to appear bigger than it actually is. In addition to blending in and trying to appear disproportionately threatening, cults have infiltrated dissident websites in an effort to control, intimidate, and learn the identity of critics. From a practical viewpoint, dissidents who limit their criticism to chatting with other like-minded ex-cult members on a website will also be less likely to engage in actions that might prove embarrassing to the cult. In this way, even the therapeutic value of discussing one’s misfortunes becomes another tool of cult subversion.
Before I discuss some of the tactics the Hare Krishna/ISKCON cult uses in this regard, I would like to take a moment to discuss a similar pattern in two other major cults that arose to prominence during the 1960's and 1970's and have remained highly influential and controversial.
The clues soon began adding up: how else can you explain the bold-faced links to ISKCON temple along with the site’s obvious maintenance and graphics expenditures? Although I contributed a few comments myself, before long I had the distinct feeling that visitors to this site were being taken for fools. Not surprisingly, in short order I learned that the website host, whom we all thought was an ex-devotee woman, was in fact a man. The website soon disappeared and good riddance. However, it was just the beginning.
Why, you might ask, would leaders—most probably initiating gurus-- of the Hare Krishna cult engage in subverting the authority of its founder/acharya in such a brazen manner? The answer is two-fold: unlike the vast majority of ISKCON devotees and the mostly Hindu community that make up the bulk of its donors, the present-day gurus of the movement are well-versed in the lectures, speeches, and commentaries of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. They also know that his preposterous and ill-informed notions about race, women, and so-called "Vedic Science" cannot survive rational scrutiny. For instance, his notion of slavery as the ideal state for blacks and women:
Prabhupāda: And the women are declaring, “independent.” They are begging door to door to a man, “Please give me shelter. Give me a child,” and they’re independent. One American woman, was…. She was speaking that “In
Taped conversation of Srila Prabhupada and disciples (14 February, 1977,
Prabhupada: Sudra is to be controlled only. They are never given to be freedom. Just like in
Of course, the swami's endorsement of slavery for blacks and women is bold-faced nonsense, good only for belly laughs and informing would-be Hare Krishna followers. If that were not enough, here's what he has to say about the brains of women:
3 February, 1975,
Prabhupada: To understand Brahman is not the business of tiny brain. Alpha-medhasan. There are two Sanskrit words, alpa-medhasa and sumedhasa. Alpa-medhasa means having little brain substance. Physiologically, within the brain there are brain substance. It is found that the brain substance in man is found up to 64 ounce. They are very highly intellectual persons. And in woman the brain substance is not found more than 34 ounce. You’ll find, therefore, that there is no very great scientist, mathematician, philosopher, among women. You’ll never find because their brain substance cannot go. Artificially do not try to become equal with men. That is not allowed in the Vedic sastra. Na striyam svatantratam arhati. That is called sastra. You have to understand that woman is never given to be independence.
So much for "Vedic science"! Srila Prabhupada followers! Next time you become seriously ill, what will you do? I bet you will run for your pitiable life to the best modern hospital you can find and eagerly submit yourself to the hands of a specialist, who very possibly will be a woman and whose medicines and therapies were developed using modern research techniques in laboratories where men and women work side by side. Mantras, Deity-worship, and other means of selectively denying reality won't help you, what to speak of your literal scripture readings. Time to wake up and clear the cobwebs off your underutilized "brain substance"!
If the swami's views about brain size were true, the sperm whale, a mammal possessing, at 7.8kg, the largest brain on the planet, would enslave all of us as one gigantic, jagad-guru:
|Sripada Whale-ji giving underwater SB lecture|
HEAD OF ISKCON? http://www.narendramodi.in/shri-gopal-krishna-goswami-maharaja-head-iskcon-meets-pm-modi-428324.
These puffed-up charlatans are fully aware that they have wasted their lives chasing delusions. Like video-game addicts who have lost touch with reality, many senior ISKCON devotees in leadership positions live like petty tyrants drunk with power surrounded by hordes of their fawning acolytes. Most of all, they fear critics who would expose their candy-coated fake Hinduism to the public (especially the genuine Hindu organizations and politicians whose support is essential to their mission).
Aware that donors continue to be cultivated almost entirely by personal contacts, fancy events, as well as invitations and newsletters sent by ordinary mail, these cultists show little concern about criticism in blogs or other kinds of social media. However, if even a few of the influential people ISKCON has spent years cultivating finds an impassioned, impeccably researched diatribe written by an ex-cult member sitting in their mailboxes, it might spark an angry confrontation with significant financial repercussions. Spending a relatively insignificant amount of money covertly funding a fake anti-ISKCON website is a small price to pay for avoiding such a disaster.
However, it is a bitter and uncomfortable truth that avoidance is the coward’s reaction to confrontation and informed argument. So is abusing the trust of others, especially when you know that they are turning to you for comfort and healing from extremely traumatic experiences. Remember that the term con artist refers to people who extract confidences from other people and then use the information for their own nefarious purposes.To exploit people who suffered in a cult and managed to extricate themselves is a grim, diabolical business.
The cold war strategy of containment is used by these so-called anti-ISKCON websites to herd dissidents together and thus keep them from disturbing the cult’s donor relations. Most of the few that operate with any form of sophistication are rife with signs that they are both funded and maintained by the cult itself. Apparently the idiots who believe that the sun is closer to the Earth than the moon have so little respect for the rest of us that they frequently overreach and engage in preposterous exaggerations that give themselves away almost immediately. My next posting will provide in great detail how I was targeted by two of these operatives and how they run their "anti-ISKCON" web-scams.
Next: ISKCON and Its Discontents, Part Two: the $46 Billion Tax Bill.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
 For an relevant example of how such con artists practice their trade, read my comment on the article entitled "Hanuman exswami on Gopal Krishna Swami" which can be obtained by using any web search.
Eventually, the bad karma catches up with them. For example, see the comments by Rick Ross on "Dabcult":