Wednesday, November 30, 2016


If you suddenly had access to a time machine, where would you go? What would you do? I know I speak for many readers of my blogs when I say that I would go back to the first time I encountered the ISKCON (Hare Krishna) devotees and observe one of them preaching to a much younger version of myself. To see my face--I was just 14!--glowing with hope and wonder as I was subjected to a carefully scripted indoctrination process would be heart-breaking. Still, I know I (from the future) would never hesitate to confront the devotee and demolish each and every of the Hare Krishna cult’s repugnant and laughable beliefs.That would have been true enlightenment!I only wish someone had had the courage and knowledge to warn me and so many others. Today, that is my mission.


My blogs exist to supply the information the cult leaves out of their so-called preaching and to empower each and every one of you in the here and now.  If you hesitate, the friends or relatives you might otherwise have rescued from these pseudo-Hindu fanatics will waste their lives chasing laughable delusions and eventually find themselves wishing but unable to undo the past. Behind the promises of easy attainment of heavenly reward lies a trash heap of bigotry and pseudo-scientific nonsense most newcomers are kept from encountering until it is too late.

It has been a lonely road writing these essays for my blog during the past eleven years, but the thousands of readers from all over the world who visit it each month have convinced me that my task is worthy. I know these essays have changed lives and saved many families from losing a son or daughter to a cult that will alienate them. If I have helped save even one person from such a fate, my life is a success, no matter how much I have personally suffered.

Finally, a word for those who have escaped from ISKCON or another cult and find yourselves struggling to make up for lost time with family and friends. The time for apologies or trying to ingratiate yourselves with people who might have given up on you years ago is over. Stop blaming yourselves or beating yourselves up for having wasting so many precious years. Youthful idealism is not a crime. Waking up from your delusions is a personal victory, one you will savor more and more as time goes on. Instead of lamenting, re-discover your unique talents and regain your self-esteem by making a MISSION of your own design and one you feel restores your place in the universe. If no one else believes in you, I do.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016


What makes a guru a fake? Let me count the ways: 

Trashing the reputation of other gurus or religious figures with unsubstantiated lies and innuendo, while advancing himself as the most authentic and divinely inspired sadhu alive. 

Expertise in aliening impressionable youth from family and friends and replacing them with cult sycophants whose initial welcome turns into a hell-hole of food and sleep deprivation as well as semi-slavery.

Initiating hordes of fanatic, ignorant disciples and using them as human pack mules to fool gullible truth-seekers with get-enlightened-quick fantasies?

Gang-related activities including harassment of and conspiracy to silence dissenters, whether by beatings, threats, or murder?[i]

Child abuse consisting of, but not limited to parental alienation, loss of childhood, rape and beatings, and abysmal educational quality.[ii]

Ridiculous, contrived belief system full of pseudo-scientific nonsense and vicious, bold-faced discrimination against women and minorities. 

Fraudulent fund-raising tactics?[iii] 

If you think that any or all of these practices are acceptable so long as the guru’s followers give out free food to the poor[iv], WELCOME to ISKCON

Before you take out your checkbook or credit card, you might appreciate some background information about the grinning cultists who seem bent on convincing the public that they are “more Hindu than Hindus.”[v] 
In the words of the group’s founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: “although posing as great scholars, ascetics, householders and swamis, the so-called followers of the Hindu religion are all useless, dried-up branches of the Vedic religion.”
This essay will establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it is ISKCON, not Hinduism, which misrepresents “Vedic religion.”

The proliferation of Indian gurus in the West and the rise of the cults of the 1960’s and 1970’s surged due to the hippie culture’s fascination with Eastern mysticism. The Beatles, for example, were initially entranced by the late founder of Transcendental Meditation (TM), Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (d. 2007), and out of them, George Harrison retained his interest in Hinduism, but transferred it from TM to the Hare Krishna sect also known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). 

Other practitioners of what Meera Nanda terms “neo-Hinduism”[vi]during the same period include Sathya Sai Baba and Sri Chinmoy, both of whom still have large groups of followers in India and the West. The influence of all these groups waned considerably after the 1970’s and their international reputation also suffered, fueled in most cases by allegations of sexual impropriety. TM has been the most influential in popular culture: its practices of meditation as a religiously-neutral means of self-improvement largely fueled the West’s ongoing interest in New Age religion and disciples such as Deepak Chopra have lent it a veneer of legitimacy that continues to this day.


This year marks the 50th anniversary of Bhaktivedanta Swami’s coming to New York City in 1966 and founding the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. By registering his sect a religious nonprofit, the swami now had the means to accept tax-free donations and open temples as a means to proselytize to Westerners as well as the nonresident Indian population. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami was an unusually charismatic preacher in an age of numerous competitors. This one-time Calcutta businessman used his marketing acumen and keen sense of the spiritual vacuum affecting Western youths in the hippie era to build in little more than a decade a world-wide organization consisting of thousands of disciples and many temples on a grand scale. 

However, few of the Hindus who throng ISKCON temples and support their programs know that the sect’s founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, never considered the Hare Krishna movement to be Hindu at all. The following are a number of statements Bhaktivedanta made in reference to Hinduism:

The Krishna consciousness movement has nothing to do with the Hindu religion or any system of religion.... One should clearly understand that the Krishna consciousness movement is not preaching the so-called Hindu religion."[vii]

India, they have given up the real religious system, Sanatana Dharma. Fictitiously, they have accepted a hodgepodge thing which is called Hinduism. Therefore there is trouble.
Bhavan’s Journal. 28 June 1976.

We are not preaching Hindu religion. While registering the association, I purposely kept this name, 'Krishna Consciousness,' neither Hindu religion nor Christian nor Buddhist religion.
Lecture on Bhagavad Gita, Mumbai. 1974.

During the years following their guru’s demise in 1977, the disciples of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (many now gurus themselves), reversed his position on Hinduism as they grew more and more dependent on the wealth of the Hindu community both in India and abroad. Instead of denouncing Hinduism, they used the affection the Hindu public tends to feel for the folklore of the butter-stealing, witch-killing, and gopi-loving Krishna and conflated it with the teachings of the philosopher-chariot driver of the Bhagavad Gita. The message was clear: Gaudiya (Bengali) Vaishnavism, with its Hare Krishna mantra chanting and world-wide presence, is what Hinduism should be.


Magnifying his own role as a self-proclaimed “pure devotee” in a lineage of Gaudiya (Bengali) Vaishnava gurus from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1584) to himself was Swami Bhaktivedanta’s chief public relations strategy. The term “Bhakti Yoga” led people to assume that the swami was popularizing just another strand of Hinduism as his predecessors had done. In fact, he intended to supplant them all. For Bhaktivedanta, this meant teaching his followers that he was the latest and greatest guru in the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, which he claimed was established by Chaitanya himself and consisted of "pure devotees."

His modus operandi was to initiate as many Americans and other Westerners as his disciples and send them out to open temples where he and his followers would spread Chaitanya’s worship of Radha Krishna by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra and dancing in front of opulently dressed murtis. Yes, superficially it appears to be based on the tiny Gaudiya Vaishnava sect, which worships the cowherd incarnation of Vishnu, Krishna, and claims that Caitanya Mahaprabhu, a 16th century Bengali proponent of Bhakti-Yoga, was an incarnation of Krishna and Radha combined. What sets the Hare Krishna movement apart at first glance is its aggressive marketing tactics and habit of actively seeking converts among non-Indians

Visitors were soon thronging to ISKCON temples to be dazzled by the sheer spectacle of so many gorgeously dressed and decorated murtis of Radha and Krishna, along with the Jagganath idols of Puri and a grouping of five dhoti-clad men whom the devotees explained were murtis of the Bengali saint Chaitanya and his associates. Accustomed as they are to the profusion of murtis such as Durga, Shiva, Vishnu, and Hanuman in Hindu temples, few visitors to the Hare Krishna temples would have realized that Chaitanya, whose devotion to the Radha-Krishna legends and popularization of congregational chanting (“kirtan”) is undeniable, was also the cross-dressing leader of a cabal of Bengali Brahmins with similar practices and tendencies. If not for the reverence that Hindu culture still holds for high-born Brahmins, there is little chance of the Gaudiya Vaishnava contention that Chaitanya was the incarnation of Radha and Krishna together not having been greeted with laughter and derision as it is a transparent denial of his behavior as a gopi-bhava afflicted transvestite.[viii]


Furthermore, what would Indian political luminaries—the current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi comes to mind-- if they knew how the founder of the Hare Krishna movement derided the achievements of the Hindu saints who traveled to the West many years before he set foot in New York in 1966. His hostile and ill-informed comments about Ramakrishna Paramhamsa and Swami Vivekananda Swami are prime examples of Bhaktivedanta’s predilection to trash the reputation of the predecessors who cleared the way for him. For example, during one of his “Morning Walks” (08/01/1976), he claimed that the Ramakrishna Mission was “simply bogus propaganda” and “they picked up two American ladies, that’s all.”
A worse combination of envy and breath-taking ignorance is hard to imagine. Perhaps Bhaktivedanta Swami might have benefitted from reading the words of Dayananda Saraswati, who in the Ten Principles of the Arya Samaj wrote that “all actions should be performed with the prime objective of benefitting mankind.” As for his charge that Vivekananda “picked up two American ladies,” Bhaktivedanta could have learned from his example. In this regard, it is well-known that the initiates of the Ramakrishna Mission are all celibates, sanyasins as well women. Vivekananda Swami regarded celibacy highly and his example continues to inspire millions of Indians dedicated to a morally and militarily strong India, including Narendra Modi himself.


Bhaktivedanta Swami, on the other hand, valued quantity far over quality in the choice of his disciples and thus quickly accepted as his disciples young men and women who knew next to nothing about his philosophy or personal history. These impressionable youths were simply entranced by the exoticism of Eastern religions that was one of the many escapist fantasies popular during the hippie era of the 60’s and 70’s. That he abused their trust and held them in low esteem was apparent from the beginning.

I remember attending initiation ceremonies where mentally-ill individuals scarcely able to control themselves were initiated as disciples and was appalled at how quickly the dealings between men and women deteriorated due to the poisonous effects of our guru’s absurd and vacuous beliefs about the inferiority of women.

The hastily patched together arranged marriages the swami recommended soon began to fail miserably and the children born of these hellish relationships were taken away after a few years and dumped in gurukulas where their sufferings and abuse left many scarred for life.[ix] After he died in 1977, he left eleven of his disciples to manage ISKCON and initiate disciples on his behalf (a sure sign that he regarded those he so carefully trained as unfit to act as gurus). In short order, they and others sprang to action to take his place and all hell broke lose, with more mayhem and criminality than I can possibly treat in this essay.

Suffice to say, fraud reared its ugly head and infected the Hare Krishna movement from the schools (“gurukulas”), the abuse of government-provided welfare benefits to provide for housing, food, and medical care the cult would not provide, and a highly scripted method of “distributing books” which was nothing more than method to part fools from their cash. These books the ISKCON zombies peddled were advertised as the swami’s translations of puranic literature such as the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagwat Purana (“Srimad Bhagavatam”), but were in fact pastiches of plagiarized translations of other editions as well as the efforts of a few of his own disciples who self-taught themselves rudimentary Sanskrit.

Before long it became obvious that formal fund-raising techniques had to be employed and the main target, as I mentioned near the beginning of this essay, was and is the educated and prosperous Hindu community in India and abroad. However, this pattern of what I call “guru-faking” was not limited to ISKCON and has continued to grow, adapting itself to different conditions while the followers of these gurus have begun to appear more like nascent terrorists than the naïve thrill-seekers of my own generation.


[iv]  See also: Akshaya Patra is run by the ISKCON Bangalore faction of ISKCON, a dissident group that follows the Ritvik policy of initiating disciples on behalf of the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, who died in 1977. This food relief program dwarfs the ISKCON Food Relief program headquartered and run by their enemies from Mumbai. Regarding ISKCON Food Relief, see:

[v] The issue of whether the ISKCON sect can be considered Hindu was decisively answered in the negative by its founder/acharya  A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. For a useful summary of the supporting documentation, see the Hinduism Today Magazine  article entitled, “Can it be that the Hare Krishnas are not Hindu”?
[vi] Nanda, Meera. “Postmodernism, Hindu Nationalism, and ‘Vedic Science’.”
[vii] The Science of Self-Realization. 1977 Chapter three.
[viii] See Sri Caitanya Mangala, 2.9 and the numerous description in the Caitanya Caritamrta (2.15-16; 2.18 112-119 and 203-208. Sri Caitanya’s associates appearing on his sides in the temple murtis are Advaita, Srinivasa, Nityananda Rama, and Gadadhara Pandit, each of whom Caitanya regarded as incarnations of various members of the Radha Krishna and gopi legends.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


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 blow fish 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 UnificationChurch (“the Moonies”) has diligently worked to transform its image from a family of spiritual autocrats to all-American hyper-conservatives, founding the influential Washington Times newspaper and acquiring United Press International (UPI), among many other business interests. This is a far cry from a cult whose early enthusiasts were known for selling roses by the side of the road. The Church of Scientology, on the other hand, oversees a complex system of recruiting operations that are run as franchises by members whose sale of auditing software and courses for new recruits have made this business masquerading as a religion fabulously wealthy.  However, these public relation schemes are like a tight, gaudy costume worn by a fat exotic potentate: if he runs too fast, it rips off, exposing his hideous nakedness to the laughter of the general public. 

Examples abound: who can forget the Church of Scientology’s frenzied legal maneuvers during the brainwashing and deprogramming controversies that culminated in the bankruptcy of the (“old”) Cult Awareness Network and the filing of false Federal income tax returns and charges of conspiracy that led to the conviction and imprisonment of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in 1984? Given the literature and videos meticulously exposing the contrast between the practices and actual beliefs of these and other cults established during the mid-to late 20th century, why do they continue to attract new recruits and what can be done about it?

A few years ago I came upon a website that strongly criticized the Hare Krishna/ISKCON cult’s views about and treatment of women using direct quotations from the teachings of its founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. A few things about the website bothered me, however. For one thing, the graphics used were of an unusually high caliber and it also contained a number of direct links to a number of authorized ISKCON websites. What the hell? Apart from the quotations that were concentrated at the bottom of the webpage, most postings resembled Facebook entries written by a punk-rock addicted teenage girl. Before long, as the saying goes, I smelled a rat.


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:

19 March, 1976, Mayapura, India:
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 India, the woman are treated as slave. We don’t want.” So I told her that it is better to become slave of one person than to slave of become hundreds. (laughter) The woman must become a slave. So instead of becoming slaves of so many persons, it is better to remain satisfied, a slave of one person. . . . And our Vedic civilization says, narī-rūpa pati-vratam: “The woman is beautiful when she remains as a slave to the husband.” That is the beauty, not the personal beauty. How much she has learned to remain as a slave to the husband, that is Vedic civilization. 

Taped conversation of  Srila Prabhupada and disciples (14 February, 1977, Mayapur, India):
Prabhupada: Sudra is to be controlled only. They are never given to be freedom. Just like in America
. The blacks were slaves. They were under control. And since you have given them equal rights they are disturbing, most disturbing, always creating a fearful situation, uncultured and drunkards. What training they have got? They have got equal right? That is best, to keep them under control as slaves but give them sufficient food, sufficient cloth, not more than that. Then they will be satisfied.

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, Hawaii, (Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam)

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
Secondly, many of these gurus have amassed more disciples than their guru ever had and have also become experts at manipulating donors to enrich their coffers and fund the building of elaborate temples. In short, they have turned into self-deluded, dhoti-clad megalomaniacs bent on supplanting their guru. They want to be him:


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.[1] 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. 

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[1] Ironic, isn’t it? Yet, after many years of experience in not-for-profit fundraising, I can tell you it is the truth. 

Friday, January 08, 2016


Nothing is more dispiriting and disgusting than realizing you have donated money to an unworthy cause or to an organization you find to be dishonest.It is an assault on your principles as much as it is a form of outright theft.Rather than merely fuming and cursing yourself for being such a fool, it is far better to confront the thieves and, if at all possible,to get your money back. If this fails, it behooves you to warn others about the people who have robbed you under the pretense of philanthropy.

Cults as well as established religions often evade criticism for spending enormous sums of money on temples, churches, and other major building projects by also creating various “ feed the poor” programs. Such emotional appeals are classic examples of the diversionary tactics used by con artists everywhere. What better example can there be than the two massive ISKCON temple building projects currently underway in India, the $45 million Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir and the $60 million Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in the town of Mayapur in Bengal. These temples--the first, at 210 meters high, will reportedly be the tallest temple in the world and the second, with a dome 113 meters high and a massive footprint--are being erected by Bangalore-ISKCON led by its president Madhu Pandit Das and the GBC-governed ISKCON, respectively.

Both camps are bitter doctrinal and legal adversaries. Their battle to outperform each other is clearly reflected in the extravagant nature of these projects. Each camp also has its own food relief program, the best-known of which is the Bangalore-based Akshaya Patra and the other, ISKCON Food Relief, both serving mid-day meals to Indian school children. Despite the vermin and lizards that are discovered in these foodstuffs with alarming frequency, these ISKCON-sponsored programs do serve meals to needy children.

Unfortunately, they also serve to detract donors and prospective donors from learning the truth about the cult’s beliefs and mission. Without further ado, I wish to present the following quotation from a letter dated 31 Dec. 1972, from the founder/acharya of the Hare Krishna movement, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, to his disciple Bali Mardana Goswami, which precisely describes the guru's policy on collecting donations:

Your mentioning Bangladesh feeding of refugees, of course we are feeding sometimes the local inhabitants, up to 1,000 persons on some occasions, but there is no organized program of feeding the refugees at Mayapur. In fact, so far I have seen, all the refugees from Nadia District have gone back to Bangladesh,there are no more refugee camps. So it will not be the truth to say to people like that, but I have no objection if they give more hearing by such thing. Let them say, who will check us? We may tell any damn thing to induce people to give us money on Krsna's behalf, that is not the point.The point is that by saying lies, the less advanced neophyte devotees may become entangled or disturbed in their minds by it. Of course by their collecting more money and giving to Krsna, He will relieve them of all anxiety of telling lies. But not everyone is able to catch the big fish without themselves becoming wet. 
Moreover, on the same date he wrote to Sankarasana Das that "so the idea is not what you say, so much as how you say it."  How disgusting and evil! To claim that one becomes an advanced devotee by becoming a suave liar and that Krishna will actually aid them in this practice is simply insane. Sad to say, the import of these blatantly unethical statements was not lost on the swami's disciples and that understanding has laid the groundwork for ISKCON's subsequent fundraising practices. If the foundation of your so-called religious principles is based on lies, the temples you build on top of it--however grand and imposing--are indeed monuments to dead ideas. Shame on both ISKCON camps for perpetuating this nonsense! It was one thing during the swami's lifetime to fool hippies and counter-culture discontents outside of India, but today the vast majority of donors are born Hindus, both Indian and nonresident Indian.

To add insult to injury, ISKCON treats donors and prospective donors alike as cash cows by carefully cultivating them via lavish programs and events that both flatter them and appeal to their cultural interests. The cult's ludicrous beliefs--in particular its so-called "Vedic Science," which both temples mentioned above intend to lavishly depict and celebrate--are carefully concealed, a practice that the swami used to ensnare his Western disciples (he called it "gradually revealing the truth"). His followers have perpetuated this pattern of deception and use it to this day to ensnare donors and devotees alike. It is my mission to remedy this situation.

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Monday, August 24, 2015


ISKCON founder/acharya on rape: 
Generally when a woman is attacked by a man--whether her husband or some other man--she enjoys the attack, being too lusty.  A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Srimad Bhagavatam 4.26.26 purport.

Some years ago, during a routine purchase at a department store near where I worked, it happened that the clerk handling my purchase was a Bangladeshi Muslim who noticed my last name and asked me where I got it. I told him that I had once been married to an Indian and then noticed him looking intently at my eyes. He became furious and asked me if I had been abused by my husband. I said nothing, but by that time my eyes were full and I couldn't say anything. He said--rather almost shouted--that his people do not believe in maltreating their wives. After thanking him, I left with my purchase and went back to work, but I have never forgotten that chance encounter. What I now share with you, dear readers, is a great deal of the reason why:

The following is a faithful chronicle of an event that is part of the autobiography I have been working on for a number of years. It is also a chronicle of faith inasmuch as it marked the end of my enchantment with the Hare Krishna cult. The time is 1978 and my age at the time was 25.  My son and I were staying at my mother’s apartment and I had spent nearly two years working for the minimum wage in a factory. Although the reader will become familiar with all of the sordid details in short order, it concerns one of the final abuses I suffered at the hands of the Hare Krishna “husband” I acquired by way of an arranged marriage at the age of 17. 

He is now known as Gopal Krishna Goswami and today is a Hare Krishna guru with many disciples. It is especially ironic that he was given the honorific title “Goswami”--it is conferred on married men who have abandoned their wives and means “one who controls his senses”--when he took the order of “sannyasa” (an exalted life as a celibate monk) a few years after the events you are about to read. I hope you find this episode instructive and I apologize in advance for the repellent nature of its contents. Here we go:
No one expects rational behavior from a zombie or a dreamer. Yet both of these states describe what devotees become after years of indoctrination based on the idea that “you are not the body.” In fact, this artificial dichotomy between body and spirit had been the principal means the Hare Krishna movement used to ensnare us. In place of reason, our sincere but gullible minds had been filled with more Hindu folklore and mythology than I care to remember. Healing meant putting the pieces—body and soul—together again and beginning to think for ourselves. During the years shortly after the death of our guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in 1977, legions of devotees left the movement. Some say that the excesses of the GBC, who had usurped the whole guru business and tolerated widespread corruption, were responsible. However, I firmly believe that the real cause was the end of the cult of personality that Prabhupada’s presence had sustained. Once he died, the bubble burst. The GBC and ISKCON leaders responded to the rebellion that ensued by raising their doomsday fanaticism to a fever pitch.

Had I any idea of what Gopal Krishna had in mind when he unexpectedly told me that he would stay overnight with us en route to the New York temple, I would have told him to go straight to hell. Never in my life have I regretted any decision more and never have I paid for it more dearly.


Gopal Krishna was in full demonic mode when my son and I met him at KennedyAirport, getting off the plane without acknowledging us and looking like an enraged wart hog that had been hastily dressed in a crumpled dhoti. He walked along with his gigantic nostrils flared in disgust, as if suddenly aware of his own stench. What I am about to recount is infinitely more disgusting, however: consider yourself warned! 

It began when we took a cab from the airport to my apartment. Totally unexpectedly and in full view of my son, Gopal Krishna began to grab at me (I was sitting in the front seat next to the driver), with a face blank but for the glittering beady eyes and malicious leer of a sexual pervert. Astonished and repulsed beyond words, I tried to stop him, slapping his hand and telling him to stop, but he continued undaunted until we got out of the taxi. Ignorant of what had just happened, my mother and brother greeted him very decently, but he said next to nothing: he had something else on his mind.

Is This Your Jagat-Guru???
To wit, as soon as my son was asleep in the other twin bed opposite us, he insisted on having sex, answering my protests (I reminded him that he, a GBC member, was openly breaking the regulative principle against illicit sex) by forcing himself on me, claiming that it was his right because “married people can have sex.” I was terrified that my mother and brother might hear us, what to speak of my son. Worse, he treated me as if I were a cheap prostitute by forcing his vile tongue into my mouth and ejaculating onto his soiled dhoti. In the morning, he locked himself into the bedroom alone with me and repeated the night’s performance at least twice. He did the same thing that night.The black-hearted, evil fiend! 

This bedroom was where I used to play with my brothers and sisters as well as my dolls when I was a little girl. 

During Sunday, when we went to the Bronx Botanical Gardens with our son, he tried to grab at me again and was similarly repulsed. What a filthy, evil scumbag! He also called me a prostitute because, according to him, I should have been able to save $100 out of the $400 I earned a month.

What this worse-than-rape experience did to my soul is hard to describe. I knew that I was done with Gopal Krishna forever, but still, trapped as I was in circumstances I could not substantially change without tremendous support and counseling, I felt myself more zombie than human. Moreover, he ended his assault on my body by trying to assault my reason, telling me as we took a cab together to the city Monday morning that nuclear bombs were so freely available in New York City that the drugstores secretly carried them. I laughed out loud at this insanity and got a venomous stare in response. As the cab dropped me off near my humble job on 34th Street, Gopal Krishna, his uglier than warthog face distorted with hate, handed me $100 and again called me a prostitute.

If anything good came out of this nightmare, it was my realization once and for all that evil exists and is personified in people like Gopal Krishna, demons in human form who are devoid of all genuine humanity. Like Harpies from Greek myth, they pollute all they touch. This is undeniably what Gopal Krishna intended when he raped me in my childhood home and when he harassed me in the Botanical Gardens, which had been a beloved refuge for much of my life. Monster! 

When I think of the devotees who used to come to visit my sister and I back in 1968-1969 when we were young teenagers and how innocent and sincere we all were, I still feel blank horror at the thought of Gopal’s deliberate pollution of my childhood home. No wonder I felt I had to get out of there and, taking my son and the ever-present suitcases, flew to Los Angeles and into the final stage of my journey out of the Hare Krishna movement.

For an eye-opening account of events preceding the above horror, please see:

This essay is part of a longer autobiographical excerpt that I published on another website more than eight years ago. If you have any questions about the esteem in which my guru held me, you are welcome to look them up in the vedabase of his letters.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this essay can be reproduced in any medium without the express written consent of the author.

Monday, August 17, 2015



Although many years ago I was one of them, today whenever I see a non-Indian Hare Krishna devotee walking down the street clad in a sari, it fills me with a profound sense of disquiet. Something is clearly wrong. On the other hand, to see a Hindu woman outside of India wearing a sari in any setting--professional or just shopping with her family--seems absolutely normal. 

When I was a child, my mother always described Indians as Hindus and never failed to mention how both their men and women are intelligent and good-looking. It is also worth mentioning that these observations went hand-in-hand with the high esteem she held for Hindu philosophy, which she attributed to the radio lectures by Jiddu Krishnamurti she listened to as a child.

I learned first-hand just why the identity of Indians is intertwined with Hinduism when I visited the pilgrimage town of Vrindavan in the early 70's (shortly after the arranged disaster of a marriage to an Indian I discuss elsewhere in this blog). We had just finished visiting the "old" Govindaji temple and the newer version when I spotted an much larger, really gorgeous one nearby. Apparently a sign warning non-Hindus not to enter was posted outside, but my husband told me to cover my face with my sari with only my eyes showing.  

Well, as you can imagine, the gatekeepers saw my white skin and forbade my entrance. What is more, they  started shouting (in Hindi), "the English, the English," to my considerable amusement and surprise. Since I had just learned that the top floors of the old Govindaji temple had been razed on the orders of the infamous  Mughal tyrant, Aurangzeb, they might as well have been shouting, "the Muslims, the Muslims." However, my impression of these old, unhealed traumas seemed to make their pride in the survival of their Hindu heritage that much stronger.
Unfortunately, with the rise of the New Age infatuation with exoticism of all kinds, many Indian swamis eager to manipulate the gullible crept in and used marketing tactics to their advantage. Based on my own experience, the following sums up one of the worst offenders:

When A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada  took it upon himself to export Gaudiya (Bengali) Vaishnavism to the West in 1966, he also repeatedly denounced Hinduism. Instead, he preached that the bhakti-yoga practice consisting of chanting, deity worship, and literal scripture readings was the only path to Sanatan Dharma. To his American and European followers, it was also presented as an easy way to self-realization.

In fact, as the notorious history of the Hare Krishna cult has amply demonstrated, it was nothing but a cheap imitation. Consequently, it bred a host of contemptuous, ignorant cowards among the American followers of the Swami's Hare Krishna movement, many of whom survive to this day, using propaganda, violence, and subterfuge in their "devotional" conquests.

Moreover, despite the popularity of Yoga and Meditation world-wide, their practice does not make the beneficiaries of these ancient disciplines Hindus. Why, then, do the members of the  Hare Krishna (ISKCON) claim that their bhakti-yoga practice is an exception? Using the example of the Gaudiya Vaishnava saint Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as proof that non-caste Hindus can study Vedanta and become brahmins by virtue of their chanting the Hare Krishna mantra proves nothing.

Far worse, it treats Bhakti-Yoga as a kind of Hindu magic: simply chant the Maha Mantra, eat food offered to the Radha Krishna deity, and you too can become better than a brahmin or an Indian who by birth is a Hindu?

Thursday, August 13, 2015


I should have run outside and asked somebody to call the police, people still tell me, but I was so frozen with shock that I could hardly move my feet. Besides, it was bitterly cold outside, even for New York City in that December of 1972 and I was eight and a half months pregnant. I just stood there, looking into Gopal Krishna’s malignant, scowling face—frozen with the same fury that overtook him as he glared at my swollen belly and threw a heavy wooden office chair across the room directly at it. I am writing this today because I dodged the chair and it hit the plaster wall instead. As crimes go, this has got to be one of the worst: the attempted murder of a wife in advanced pregnancy. What an evil, disgusting monster! He should be rotting in jail.

And, no, all of you apologists of the now ISKCON guru “His Holiness Gopal Krishna Goswami,” this is not something you forget, ever. Impossible. Moreover, this so-called ISKCON guru and GBC for much of India, Canada, and Russia, whose birthday is celebrated by his reportedly 10,000 disciples during an annual “Vyas Puja” ceremony filled with tributes and lavish festivities, escaped paying for his crime in the U.S. But if you do indeed believe in the laws of karma, his punishment still awaits him. I was, after all, just like you: I thought that my guru (in my case, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) could do no wrong and I defended him vigorously and loved him dearly. It’s just that like you, I was under-informed and misguided.

This nightmare of cruelty and cowardice was the culmination of the gross neglect I suffered the hands of Gopal Krishna during my pregnancy. He never wanted a child, obviously. By the time he wrote to our guru defaming me and wanting out of our arranged “marriage,” I was just nineteen and never had a home since leaving my mother’s house two years earlier. I lived in the temple with the single women and, at Gopal Krishna’s insistence, we went to a hotel once a month to “try for a child.” Right, you heard it. During this time he had the temerity to complain to our guru about me and got this reply: 

Your wife has proven turbulent, that is the grace of Krishna. I may inform you in this connection about my family life. Actually, I never liked my wife. I was going to marry another, but my father saved me from the danger and he told me that you do not like your wife, that is the grace of Krishna. So don't be worried about your wife. If she wants to re-marry, let her do so, and you'll be free and I shall give you Sannyas [the renounced order] and you will be preaching freely. 
Letter to Gopal Krishna Dasa, 11 May 1972

Trouble is, I was a few weeks pregnant at the time. After he showed the letter to me, I informed him of my condition, much to his surprise. Shortly thereafter he casually told me that he had called our guru’s personal secretary and asked him if he should take sannyas anyway and that he was told to wait until after the child was born. Imagine! What a cruel, inhuman thing to say to your pregnant, teenaged wife. I still had to live in the temple with the women and eat the spicy, ill-prepared food. When I insisted that Gopal give me $2.00 a week to buy a few cups of yogurt to supplement my diet, he gave it to me grudgingly for a while, all the while calling me a “prostitute” for asking him for the money. 

After a few months, he decided that I should go to Indiato live with his parents until the child was born, but it was unendurable because their apartment was too small and they barely got along. (Incidently, the claim made by Bhakti Charu Swami that Gopal Krishna was “born into an aristocratic family. . . “is pure hogwash: his parents were a thoroughly respectable sort of people and his father had indeed retired from the Navy, but aristocratic they were not. In addition, the claim that their son was educated at the Sorbonne is nonsense: he took his B.S. in India and a few graduate courses at the Sorbonne in Paris and McGillUniversity in Montreal but never got a graduate degree from either place. These are the facts.)

After I returned to New York I had to go to stay with my mother because there was no other place to live. However, when I went to the temple to see Gopal Krishna, he bluntly informed me that “he had no objection if I had an abortion.” What the hell, I thought. I was aghast and told him so. The dhoti-clad goblin wanted me to kill our unborn child and I was already more than four months pregnant! I told him to go to hell in no uncertain terms. Unfortunately for me, the effects of the ill-treatment I had been suffering for so long caught up with me and before long I was doubled-over in pain, with such severe gastro-intestinal agony that I initially thought was dysentery from my India trip, but, as the tests I underwent proved, were entirely due to extreme stress and misery. It got so bad that I was hospitalized for over a week. I vividly remember how touched I was by the genuine concern and kindness of the attending physician; I simply could not believe that anyone cared about me or how I felt. When Gopal Krishna did visit me in the hospital, he flew into a massive rage, blaming me for getting sick and costing him money for the hospital stay. The nurses came running to my room to see what the matter was, but he just closed the door and continued to yell at me.

After I went back to my mother’s house, I slowly began gaining weight and feeling a bit better. Then one day Gopal shows up and says that he found an apartment near the Brooklyn temple. When I opened the door for the first time, it was clear that it was infested with cockroaches and mice. In addition, although it was a small one bedroom apartment, a sheet covered the living room, which Gopal explained was reserved for our room-mate, a young Indian gentleman. The reason for getting a room-mate was, as he explained, to recoup the cost of my hospitalization. Our room furnishings consisted entirely of one wooden desk chair and a soiled old mattress that someone had given him. No bed, no sheets, not even curtains for the windows. I lived entirely out of my suitcase and kept a few things in plastic milk crates. My mother gave me a few household items and baby clothes, but, really, I had hardly anything. A month before the baby was due, Gopal showed up with a used crib with a broken leg. 

Meanwhile, although he was working at his “karmi” job—he was a Marketing Research Analyst at Pepsi-Co and then at Bristol-Myers at their Clairol division, a junior technical position and nothing more—I never knew anything about what he earned and never saw a paycheck or was privy to any of his financial matters. Even when he filed his taxes each year, he would make me sign the form, while holding his hand over the rest to prevent me from seeing what he earned or was receiving as a refund. As far as I know, most of his earnings went to directly to our guru and some went to his parents. So, why did he try to kill me and my unborn child a few weeks before I was due to give birth? For starters, go to the end of this blog page and read the letter to me from my guru, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, at the very end. I will explain the context and offer a full answer for any questions my readers might have in an upcoming blog essay. 

Thanks for your patience and, I hope, your understanding.

Important Update! Please see:

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