Sunday, September 17, 2017


ISKCON is building a massive "Temple of the Vedic Planetarium" in West Bengal to showcase its founder's belief that Vedic cosmology-- though obviously a compendium of ancient myths--is factual. ​
  • Any student of comparative religion knows that the cosmology of major religions share many similarities and, however ingenious and complex, are all products of the human imagination. They are all as "scientific" as fortune-telling and astrology. ​
  • It goes without saying that modern-day Hindus, who are well-represented internationally in science, medicine, and other STEM-related fields, can be trusted to know the difference between myth contained in scripture and knowledge derived from the scientific method. 
Why, then, does the "Beliefs" section of the Hindu Forum Britain's webpage contain this ad verbum quotation from an ISKCON webpage:​
When we look up into the sky we see the source of that light, the sun planet, powerful and brilliant. And if we could somehow go to that planet we could meet the sun-god, the person who rules the sun.    ​
Do the editors of the Hindu Forum Britain webpage assume that its readers actually believe in Vedic cosmology and therefore regard the sun as a planet ruled by a demigod? Clearly, something is wrong. 

The answer is obvious to anyone who has visited the Hindu Forum Europe ( and Hindu Forum Britain ( The ISKCON membership is evident from the lists of member organizations as well as the publicity materials (event photographs, etc.). Under the cover that Hinduism is primarily a cultural rather than purely religious affliation for most Hindus, ISKCON has crawled under the gate, so to speak, and has used its public relations expertise to great effect.

That the Hare Krishna cult uses the various Hindu Forum groups to promote itself as the most successful proponent of Hindu Dharma internationally is a slap on the face to any genuine Hindu. 

I have written about how the founder/acharya of ISKCON openly denounced major Hindu saints and ridiculed Hinduism itself, but if you haven't read any of it, here are a few representative essays:

What follows is the reaction of the Hare Krishna cult's founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, to the Apollo 11 moon landing on 20 July 1969:​
So they never worshipped Chandra [the moon-god], and how can they go to the Chandra planet? Then Krishna is false. Krishna is imperfect. They are defying Krishna's instruction. They have gone to the moon planet. ​    



Wednesday, November 30, 2016


If you’re thinking about joining the Hare Krishna temple in your area, you’ve probably heard about the “four regulative principles” every devotee is expected to follow. Here’s a objective look at what they involve in practice from somebody who joined as a 14 year old and followed them for the next 13 years:
1. No eating of meat, fish, and eggs. No garlic or onions or mushrooms. According to the ridiculous propaganda that newcomers are fed along with the Sunday Feast, these vegetables “grow in dirty places and increase passion.”  

Vegetarianism in various forms is practiced by millions of people world-wide for reasons that are religious or ethical, and sometimes both. Buddhists and Jains, for example, are even more stringent in their vegetarian practices than the tiny minority of Hindus who avoid the above-mentioned foods. Other than proscribing the eating of beef due to their cultural reverence for cows, most Hindus include animal protein in their diets. 

The Abrahamic religions follow a similar pattern, excluding certain foods that are deemed unclean or culturally inappropriate and including others some might find offensive. The reason is simple:  both the Vedas and the Hebrew Bible frequently mention animal sacrifice in their scriptures and in all cases, the sacrifice is eaten. Later on, various ethical and hygienic considerations crept in, but, in the main, it is hard to deny that humans are omnivorous by nature. 

Some say that Hindus who follow the Vedic diet do so because they believe in reincarnation and the karmic laws governing actions and reactions. Taking this idea to an irrational extreme has led some to subscribe to the notion that, since all animals contain a soul, killing them without provocation is tantamount to murder. This mistaken equation of human and animal life is at the heart of most religiously-based forms of stringent vegetarianism. 

Here are the facts: eggs sold on the market are unfertilized, so consuming them does not involve taking a life. As for garlic, onions or mushrooms, the truth is all of these vegetables grow in normal conditions and are extremely healthful. Using the foul-smelling resin asafoetida instead of them is unnecessary. Furthermore, passion cannot be increased simply by eating “hot” foods, if that were the case, the chili peppers that are used in most soups and vegetables in Vedic cooking might be blamed by some hot-heads for the continuing population explosion in the sub-continent. For more on this topic, please see: 

2. No alcoholic beverages and no tea, chocolate or coffee: all are intoxicants. Tobacco is also out.

The sheer hypocrisy of this so-called regulative principle coming from a cult aiming to restore the caste system is staggering! No one has condemned these practices as eloquently as B.R. Ambedkar in his unpublished treatise Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Ancient India and it is worth quoting him at length:

Drinking was another evil which was rampant among the Aryans. Liquors were of two sorts:Soma and Sura. Soma was a sacrificial wine. The drinking of the Soma was in the beginning permitted only to Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. Subsequently it was permitted only to Brahmins and Kshatriyas. The Vaishyas were excluded from it and the Shudras were never permitted to taste it. Its manufacture was a secret known only to the Brahmins. Sura was open to all and was drunk by all. The Brahmins also drank Sura. The priest to the Asuras drank so heavily that in his drunken state he gave the life giving Mantra known to him only and with which he used to revive the Asuras & killed by the Devas—to Katch the son of Brahaspati who was the priest of the Devas. The Mahabharata mentions an occasion when both Krishna and Arjuna were dead drunk. That shows that the best among the Aryan Society were not only not free from the drink habit but that they drank heavily
(Chapter 2. The Ancient Regime: The State of Aryan Society.)

Responsible adults don’t need anyone else to tell them that consuming anything in excess can be dangerous to their well-being: moderation is the key and total abstention is a waste of time. In addition, modern science has proven that wine, tea, and coffee when consumed moderately, have great health benefits. It is also patently ridiculous to view the caffeine in coffee and tea as “intoxicants,” what to speak of chocolate (coffee and chocolate were also unknown in the early Aryan civilization). 

Furthermore, the issue shouldn’t be intoxication, but what causes the tobacco or marijuana addict to seek escape in the first place; in other words, a rational person should first humanely inquire after the cause of an addiction rather than simply condemn the effect. No religious belief is necessary to inform you that tobacco and recreational drugs are poisons. Also keep in mind that the founder/acharya of the Hare Krishna movement, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, regularly took snuff and never hid his habit from the disciples close to him.

3. Only sexual intercourse between married couples is allowed and even then it must be strictly for procreation.Unmarried men and women must live as monks in ashrams.
Please note: I have dealt with this issue elsewhere and recommend that you read it to get a fuller picture of how this prohibition impacts the lives of the disciples of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 



This extremely reductive treatment of human sexuality has nothing to do with Vedic culture and was in fact an experiment the founder of ISKCON created to further his ambitions to open temples all over the West as well as facilitate the selling of his books. For a man who entered into an arranged marriage to an eleven-year old girl when he was 24, and who begot six children with her, this prohibition reeks of pure hypocrisy. Much has been written about how he openly discussed his dislike for her and how he came to believe that his dislike of her made it easier for him to abandon his family and become a sanyasi. Frankly, his own experience was the product of a culture that keeps both men and women in a state of perpetual adolescence. 

All of us remember what is was like to be around twelve or thirteen years old and just beginning to feel attracted to the opposite sex: in most cases, the ignorance of biology in the early teens results in mixed attraction and revulsion, both of which subside and are transformed when the boys and girls gradually learn “the facts of life” as well as learn mutual self-respect for each other’s intellectual capabilities. This process of growing emotionally is as important as achieving legal adulthood, but it takes time and patience. 

Unfortunately, the so-Vedic system our guru propounded disturbs this process by marrying off girls just after the onset of puberty, on the ridiculous plea that they are so lustful (nine times as lustful as men, to be exact) that they must get married to a much older man to control them. Legally speaking, this practice is nothing more than the crime of pederasty. No adult male has the right to compel a child to engage in a sexual act (the so-called “consent” of the child is a moot point). Moreover, even if the child you married is now a legal adult, your keeping her as your sexual partner is compelling her, meaning that your so-called wife is actually your sex slave. Requiring unmarried men and women to live as celibate monks in ashrams is a confirmed pervert-making machine, whether you replace ashram for convent or cave, the results are the same. 

Srila Prabhupada used to say that of all the human propensities of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, mating was optional. Sorry to say, he was mistaken in this respect, but, as we all know, he was in good company: this idea is behind most restrictions on the personal lives of monastic individuals in many faiths. As I have said before, no adult needs another adult to tell him or her how to govern their intimate lives. The notion that celibacy is better than the alternative is fundamentally wrong: men and women have strong emotional needs and these cannot be suppressed and then transmuted into a fit of “ecstatic” chanting in front of the deities or whom they believe to be a “pure devotee.” 

Furthermore, you cannot brainwash a normal adult into “renouncing” their sexual selves by treating love as a category of feeling that has been purged of “lust”: that is both puerile and self-serving. You only have to read about the horrible rapes and other perversions that accompanied the gurukula experiment to see what monsters are created when repressed, immature individuals who have themselves been denied a modicum of privacy and dignity gain access to a group of terrified innocents. Worse, many of these abusers were sannyasis, who are supposed to be exemplars of renunciation. 

4. No Gambling. 

Another example of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s attempting to create a “Vedic” society in the West that never existed in India or even in another of his Krishna-conscious fantasies. Here again I must express my gratitude to the great B.R. Ambedkar for his illuminating descriptions of the gambling habits that typified Aryan society during the lifetime of Buddha (583 BCE-483 BCE): 

Every king had a hall of gambling attached to his palace. Every king had an expert gambler in his employment as a companion to play with. King Virat had in his employment Kank as an expert gambler. Gambling was not merely a pastime with kings. They played with heavy stakes. They staked kingdoms, dependants, relatives, slaves, servants. King Nala Paskkar and lost everything. The only thing he did not stake was himself and his wife Damayanti. Nala had to go and live in the forest as a beggar. There were kings who went beyond Nala. The Mahabharata tells how Dharma the eldest of the Pandavas gambled and staked everything, his brothers and also his and their wife Draupadi. Gambling was a matter of honour with the Aryans and any invitation to gamble was regarded as an injury to one's honour and dignity. Dharma gambled with such disastrous consequences although he was warned beforehand. His excuse was that he was invited to gamble and that as a man of honour, he could not decline such an invitation. This vice of gambling was not confined to kings. It had infected even the common folk. Rig-Veda contains lamentations of a poor Aryan ruined by gambling. The habit of gambling had become so common in Kautilya's time that there were gambling houses licensed by the king from which the king derived considerable revenue.
This restriction against gambling is also particularly entertaining since obtaining money by sleight of hand is an ISKCON specialty: have you ever been to the airport or another public place and witnessed first-hand what the Hare Krishna devotees term “book distribution” or “sankirtan”? As someone who spent years participating in this charade, I can tell you that it is nothing more than a campaign of misinformation and theft. No wonder so many of these books and magazines end up in trash bins almost immediately after the unwary traveler realizes the foolishness of his or her purchase.

Let me give you a great example of what this can lead to by referring to an incident in my past: When I lived near the Los Angeles temple in the later 1970’s (just before I finally left ISKCON), I worked in their Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT), fulfilling orders for a scam they advertised in the National Enquirer: they had an ad that told people that they would sell them a talisman that would guarantee them good luck, all for $39. When the orders came in, I would send the poor fools a picture of the Jagganath deity pasted onto a round metal badge and also include a slender ISKCON pamphlet: can anything more degraded and cruel be imagined? I remember complaining about it, only to be told that it was approved by the BBT leadership.

ISKCON, truly a society of the cheaters and the cheated!



In considering the after-death fate of particularly evil people, I have often thought that some of the real soul-killers who attempt to rob others of their hopes and dreams actually lose their souls after they die. In other words, they suffer complete annihilation, a just recompense for what they attempted to do to others during their lifetimes. Another aspect of such people is that, in truth, no matter how destructive a force they were in the lives of some people, to others close to them they were often quite the opposite: loving parents and spouses, attentive neighbors, and models of ethics in their dealings with their colleagues and friends.

Twentieth-century history is littered with the bones of many such demons whose double-dealing practices with politicians and soldiers alike led to the deaths of untold millions. In our own time, names such as Kim Jong-un, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi come to mind. Each is an example of the modern day cult of personality, which differs only from older historical models in the lethality of the weapons used by its adherents. My contention here is that in cases where such cults flourish, the political aspirations of their leaders last only as long as the parasites they employ exhaust their plunder. 

Terrorists and cult leaders alike offer delusions about the hereafter aimed at their thugs and devotees in the full knowledge that such ruses will be discovered by the majority of their followers. Such short-term enterprises are characteristic of con-artists everywhere. Its formula both familiar and predicable: offer promises of long-term gains based on fighting others for half-baked claims of tribal or historical rights denied by thieving apostates and other fallen souls, and then offer the survivors the simple, contented lives of your ancestors or some people out of a mythical time or if they die in battle, assure them that they will achieve eternal bliss. In this way, grown men (and sometimes women) are taught to cultivate their lowest impulses and learn to feed on ideologies based on resentment and theft. The lofty aspirations that they initially brought to the cult or terrorist organization are soon revealed to be an imaginary set of ideals they must abandon or find themselves reviled or expelled, penniless and often without a family or even a country to which they can return.

Despite their expertise in crafting an image of themselves as threatening giants, at their core such terrorists are merely overblown con-artists and sociopaths who live by sucking out the souls of others to disguise their own lack of conscience. They are like vampires who cast no reflection. In order to maintain their disguises, they attach themselves to the throats of their followers, draining them of their funds and training them to do the same to others. Central to their deception is their substitution of victimization narratives for any dialogue based on factual evidence and the capacity for rational thought.  It is supremely ironic that many of these people exploit innocent seekers of what they themselves privately scoff at--a tight-knit, brotherly community of higher values. Instead, they treat the fools who bark at their heels like human shields, instructing them to ensnare or kill others in the most vicious manner imaginable, while hiding themselves like the cowards they are in a lair or palace teaming with sex-slaves, ample food, and more gun-toting idiots. 

Like the giant stinkflowers that bloom every few years in the fertile jungle, leaders of terrorist groups or other apocalyptic cults exude confidence and seem invested with heroic grandeur, all the while polluting the air with the stench of rotten flesh. Contrary to what some people think, a phony guru or gang leader does not gain followers by exerting some kind of svengali-like influence over them. Neither is this a case of a split personality. Unlike true psychopaths, they do possess empathy under certain circumstances, but only towards those they regard as fulfilling some aspect of their megalomaniacal aspirations. Perhaps their followers will find peace and a way forward if they pull themselves out of the ceaseless round of resentment, theft, and fawning over an inflated personality they should realize is nothing more than a loud-mouthed, insecure parasite who has built a business on ruining lives. I doubt, however, that  the so-called guru or terrorist will ever reflect on his sins and repent, having inflated his ego to such an extent that when it explodes in his own face, his insignificant, rotten soul will go with it.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016


This posting is in response to the numerous attempts at hacking that have plagued my blog and websites during the past year. Most of these appear to originate from Russia; others from various spots in Europe and North America. Regardless of their sources, these cowardly acts are clearly attempts by the disciples of Gopal Krishna Goswami to obliterate blog postings that contain potentially damaging information about their beloved guru.
Phoenix Rising from the Ashes

A few have been attempts to damage the formatting of my blog, all of which are exercises in futility since my blogs were created and updated on Google. Any attempt at interfering with Google products—truly the backbone of the Web—is doomed to failure in any case. Another more common attempt at bringing down my blogs is through submitting virus infected comments.These nuisances are easy to detect and my response is to simply press the delete key.Those of you who have read any of my postings know that they are generally full-length essays and can imagine how much time and energy go into writing each one.It has taken a great deal of forbearance on my part not to retaliate against these ISKCON-authorized hackers but I have reached the limits of my tolerance.

Before I continue with my response to the acts of these Internet pirates,one thing needs to be perfectly clear: I indeed value my privacy and thus have revealed only the incidents that occurred during my ten year long Hare Krishna arranged “marriage” to Gopal Krishna that contain acts I (and all civilized societies) consider criminal in nature. To reveal more is painful for me inasmuch as they also bring to mind how devoted I was to my guru and how strictly and sincerely I adhered to his teachings. Those of you who are former old-time devotees might know something about what I feel, but my particular circumstances do merit special consideration. My method of recollecting the indignities I suffered at the hands of my ex-“husband” will begin with a description of the incident in question and then provide some relevant background information.

FYI: dear hackers, for each of the five most recent attempts to destroy my blogs, I will reciprocate with five incidents of interest to my readers, one below and the others to follow shortly in this blog and its companion blogs: All are intended to enlighten current and prospective donors and ISKCON members, not defame or otherwise malign any party. However, the truth is the truth. The hackers in question surely understand that my essays are my intellectual property and, if you seek to destroy anybody's property, there will be consequences. So, prabhus, if you are upset at the following disclosures and want to assign blame, just go to a mirror and you will see the culpable party staring back at you.

I want to preface my description of what I am calling incident number one with an accusation that was hurled at me by someone who sent me a nasty comment on one of my blog postings. This individual declared that all of it was “lies,”a typical response from a brainwashed Hare Krishna believer. Sorry, it is all the truth. In fact, if you subjected me to the most sophisticated lie detection/polygraph systems used by any of the world’s major clandestine organizations, or injected me with one of their most effective truth serums, it would all turn out the same.


Might I have avoided all of the suffering I endured during my decade-long “marriage” if I had simply left? This was another claim made by someone who sent me a comment on one of my postings. When I read that bit of naïveté, I laughed, remembering what I and other devotee women did to that end and how we were thwarted at every turn. One woman I knew back in the day and whom I actually helped recruit wrote to me last year, describing what transpired when she attempted to leave her husband (from an arranged marriage, of course). When she fled to her mother's house, he followed her and dragged her back to the hovel they lived in near the temple and proceeded to inflict another of the many beatings she endured until she and her tormentor got a divorce years later. In my case, when I repeatedly begged Gopal Krishna to end the charade of our marriage (particularly after our guru himself informed me that he had nothing to do with arranging it), he used the following tactics:
  • He informed me that he had spoken to a devotee he knew with a legal background about my intentions and that, under New York State law, I could be sued for desertion if I tried to leave. At the time, I was 18 years old and ignorant of the law, so I was understandably intimidated. 
  • After I persisted, Gopal undertook to frighten me even further, telling me that he would inform the New York City Housing Authority that my grown siblings still lived with my mother, with the intention of having my entire family evicted and turned out on the street. 
  • Finally, after I piteously begged him to leave me alone and let me go home, he explained to me the real reason why he would not let me leave him:[i] 


Dear Readers, after you finish vomiting up your lunch, try to understand how profoundly disgusted and repelled I was at Gopal Krishna's revelation. It should come as no surprise that any mention of our marriage has been completely deleted from his official autobiography on the Internet, as if it never occurred. Was this the recompense I deserved after giving up my teenage years and educational opportunities in my quest to serve my guru and his mission? 

Some offenses are too great to “forgive and forget,” as a well-known follower of Gopal Krishna once advised to me to do, as if he could have any idea of how such maltreatment damages a life. The trauma is usually so great that it effectively silences the sufferer for decades, if not permanently. That I have chosen to speak out is a blessing that has turned the misery I suffered into a mission: I believe that my blogs have helped at least a few of the hundreds who visit them each day. May the grace of the Lord and His guidance illuminate each of your lives.

I would like to end this essay with a snapshot of the life I led as a very young devotee just prior to the catastrophe I have detailed above. Every day I would rise at 4:00 like every other devotee, shower and quickly prepare breakfast for my little Jagganath deities (usually halva and the few mixed nuts and maybe, if I could afford it, a few figs and an apple or pear). Then I would prepare the aarti, offering incense and other offerings as I sang the devotional prayers as my mother slept in the bed across from my own. Then I would draw the curtains across the tiny house where my deities waited for me until I came home. Then I would eat part of the prasadam I had prepared and pack the rest in a piece of plastic wrap and take it with me to eat during the lunch break at school. After that, I would leave the house with my books and my bead bag, and embark on the bus and hour-long subway ride that took me to school in Manhattan (New York City). While on the subway, I would discretely chant as many of my 16 rounds on my japa beads as possible. At school, I would preach as far as possible and during lunch could be found sitting by myself in the crowded, boisterous lunchroom, eating my meager meal while reading my guru’s translation of the Gita or his latest volume of the Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagwat Purana). After arriving home in the late afternoon, I would prepare my deities a simple evening meal, change their clothes, kiss them goodnight, and perform another aarti, after which I would do my homework and finish my 16 rounds. 

No friends (nor boyfriends, ever!), little contact with my family, all in the hope of pleasing my beloved guru and serving (what I believed to be) the Godhead in the form of Sri Krishna. Weekends found me putting on a sari and tilok, trekking to the ISKCON temple--then at 61 Second Avenue --and going on sankirtan on Saturday and on Sunday helping to prepare the love feast. If I couldn’t make it to the temple on Saturday, I would spend the day creating oil paintings of various aspects of the Krishna legend. All holidays and the summer vacation were spent in this way. I frequently wrote to my guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and received lengthy replies and his sincere approbation.[ii]

This snapshot of my devotional life in my senior year of high school included my receiving an unsolicited invitation from Columbia University to apply for the Fall semester, which I disregarded thinking that I would find myself living and preaching in an ISKCON temple after graduation. I had no idea at the time that I had thrown away my precious, irreplaceable teenage years chasing a delusion or of the monster who would complete my nightmare by robbing me of most of my youth and young adulthood through his grossly inhuman maltreatment. 

A final word for the ISKCON hackers whose malice caused the above disclosures: be advised that your actions have effectively cancelled any previous agreements I might have made not to directly contact ISKCON members or its leadership. Those days are over. From now on, my modus operandi will be entirely proactive. 

N.B.  24 December 2017: The recent attempted murder is the last straw and I assure the miscreants that they will be fully repaid for their foolishness. Enough is enough!


[i] The primary reason such efforts were made by Gopal Krishna (Goswami? Try “Godasa”) and others to hold on to arranged marriages that were doomed from the start or shortly thereafter is due to our guru’s absolute proscription on second marriages. Most Grihasta (the term for “householder” or married men) saw the once-a-month ritualized mating they were allowed as better than nothing and clung to their mates regardless of the misery these loveless “marriages” caused both parties. For more information about this matter, see:

It should also be noted that our guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, took great care in cultivating an image of himself as an omniscient spiritual advisor whose dictates were beyond criticism and were meant to control every aspect of his followers’ lives. Often this took the form of altering translations from the original Sanskrit to suit his purposes, as he does in the following except from his commentary (“purport”) from a verse from his translation of the Srimad Bhagavatam, 7.12.11:

Similarly, there are strong restrictions for grhasthas. Grhasthas should indulge in sex life only in accordance with the order of the guru. Therefore it is mentioned here that one must follow the orders of the spiritual master (guru-vrttir vikalpena). When the spiritual master orders, the grhastha may accept sex life.

The problem here should be obvious: the “guru” here is simply meant to signify an elder and his advice would have consisted of recommendations about the more auspicious time to conceive, that’s all. Vedic society respected the privacy rights of married persons as much as any other advanced civilization.

For more information in this regard, see my essays:


Thursday, September 15, 2016


"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana

This introductory essay is the first in a four-part series entitled, "Storm Clouds Over India." In a departure from my usual focus on the beliefs and practices of the Hare Krishna cult, these brief postings will deal with the few aberrant beliefs and practices from antiquity whose modern day incarnations threaten to wreak havoc in the Indian sub-continent. This method of treating a subject is new to this blog and I hope that my readers find it easier to digest than some of my longer treatments. Your comments, as usual, are appreciated. 

Back in the summer of 1972 and during the few weeks I spent in Mumbai (then, Bombay) visiting my in-laws, something happened that flashed in my memory like a tiny bolt of lightening when I first heard of the Bangladesh terrorist attacks of a few weeks ago. My mother-in-law and I had stopped by her tailor to pick up a choli (the short blouse typically worn with a sari) she had them make for me. It was a novelty for me, since, like all the Hare Krishna woman devotees at the time, I just wore a short-sleeved blouse or sweater with my saris. I was also about four-months pregnant at the time, so getting a properly-fitted top was especially welcome. 

To our great surprise and horror, the tailor, who was standing behind the counter, lifted up and displayed something that looked like it had been sewn by a raving lunatic: the choli had been cut in four pieces, with one arm in the proper place and the other upside down on the bottom.

To say that we were both speechless would have been an understatement. My mother-in-law, without speaking, handed him part of the tailoring fee, and then we rushed out. When I asked her why he did such a thing, her answer was simply: you are an American. Later on, when I mentioned the incident to my sister-in-law, she reacted with considerable annoyance, saying that her mother had been doing business with this tailoring firm for 30 years and now would have to find another. As for the insult, it was clearly a reaction to the support the United States had lent to Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Why, however, did the tailor feel it necessary to take his wrath out on me? When I recalled the malign expression on his face--a perfect complement to his bizarre handiwork--the pieces of the puzzle began to fit.

Next installment: Storm Clouds over India: Tribalism and the Culture of Cowardice

Thursday, January 14, 2016



Now I will show how A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami used his personal experience to teach his disciples about his notion of the “Vedic” or traditional Indian view of marriage (this is a direct quotation):
So I think I have spoken about my own life. You know that I was a married man. So after being married, I did not like my wife. (laughter) . . .So I was preparing for next marriage. . . . So my father, he was a saintly person. So he called me one day and said, "My dear boy, you are trying to marry again. I request you don't do that. You do not like your wife. That is a great fortune for you." (laughter) So I gave up that idea of marrying. Yes. So now I am realizing my father's blessing, yes, that if I would have been too much attached to my wife, then I could not have come to this position. That's a fact. So by ethical point of view, from spiritual point of view, to become too much attached to wife is an impediment for spiritual advancement.
Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.17, Los Angeles,  22 September,  1972.
This advice from the swami’s father, far from being a “blessing,” condemned his son and daughter-in-law to a loveless cohabitation that could have hardly aided the “spiritual advancement” of either party. Worse, the swami’s open admission that he never liked his wife proved in his own experience that Vedic marriage as he understood it is a farce. As Milton put it, the notion of remaining married under such circumstances, is to “grind in the mill of an undelighted and servile copulation.”[1] The swami’s making an example of his arranged marriage to an 11-year old girl he never even liked (despite her virtuous behavior), speaks volumes about his lack of character in general and of human dignity in particular.


You might now ask why ISKCON marriages took place at all if the swami had such negative views of the institution from a religious viewpoint. The next quotation and the one following it will provide an answer:
But if there is sex desire, how to control it? Women are normally very lusty, more lusty than men, and they are weaker sex, it is difficult for them to make spiritual advancement without the help of husband. For so many reasons, our women must have husband. That's all right, but if once they have got a husband he goes away so quickly, that will not be very much happy for them. 
                                                                                Letter to Madhukara, 4 January 1973
Generally, separation between husband and wife is due to womanly behavior; divorce takes place due to womanly weakness. The best course for a woman is to abide by the orders of her husband
                                                                                 Srimad Bhagavatam 4.4.3 purport

These pronouncements are typical of the unsubstantiated, ignorant drivel that the swami used to justify ISKCON’s barbaric treatment of women. Never at any time did he present one iota of evidence to support this and other blatantly sexist assertions; instead, he used terms such as “normally” and “generally” to give the impression that they are common knowledge. All of these nonsensical claims about the lust and weakness of women are transparent excuses crafted by cowardly men to justify their sexual abuse and battering of females of all ages.

Furthermore, what does a sham marriage to a buffoon so stupid as to believe such nonsense about his would-be wife do to advance her spiritually? I personally witnessed the agony of both partners when the swami performed the arranged “marriage” of two sincere devotees in the first ISKCON temple in New York City back in 1968, all for the purpose of their starting a temple in Boston. The misery and humiliation on their faces was unmistakable. 

As was soon clear, the only reason the swami advocated marriages between his American disciples--most of whom were strangers to each other--was to use them to open new temples. Soon, after it became clear that sanyasis were better suited to this task, he just as easily gave the couples a “spiritual divorce,” leaving a shaven-headed “widow” with one or two white saris toiling in a temple or hoodwinking the public in the street. This fact alone makes his comment about the distress of the wife when her husband “goes away so quickly” so ironic and cruel.


Moreover, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami did not hesitate to offer the same advice he alleged his father gave to him to a number of his senior disciples to justify their separation from their wives for the express purpose of enhancing his preaching aims and in one case, urging one of his Indian disciples to become a sanyasi like himself. The following is an excerpt from the letter dated 11 May 1972 he sent to the ISKCON guru now known as Gopal Krishna Goswami:

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.                          
Please note: I was the “wife” the swami is referring to here and at the time I was a few weeks pregnant. It is painful even now—40 years later!—to write about my reaction to reading it: I was devotee since age 14 and had passed my teenage years tending my deities at home (while going to high school) and living for the weekends when I would go to the temple. By all accounts, I was a very sincere and stalwart devotee.  In fact, although I was repulsed by the very sight of Gopal Krishna and actually fled to the protection of my sister at the St. Louis temple, I was flown to Boston to marry him under the mistaken notion that the swami had ordered me to do so.

I remember a powerful chill passing through my body as I read above letter, because I realized that Gopal Krishna had the temerity to write to our guru to defame me, all the while using me to satisfy his lust. However, what cut me most of all was the swami’s casual dismissal of me, without even as much as asking me for my side of the story. For all of my loyalty and courage in his service, I was nothing to him. At the time, I simply had no inkling of how low he regarded women (as I discuss below). Had I known, I would have never wasted a precious moment of my life serving a foreigner who believed women are nine times as lustful as men and half as intelligent.

It is interesting to note that the swami never speaks of love between husbands and wives; instead, he uses the binary terms of “attachment” and “detachment” as if the emotions of family members are as meaningful as the interactions of caged lab animals. How irrational he sounds, despite the claims that his loveless family life resulted in his “complete liberation from worldly attachment.” In truth, a miserable family life simply tends to perpetuate itself: the wife or husband might seek affection elsewhere (as the swami admitted in his own case) and the children often become abusers or violent sociopaths in their grief at their unremitting feelings of loss.


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. 
                       Lecture on Bhagavad Gita Hawaii, 3 February, 1975
It is obvious that there is no substance to the swami’s laughable claims about the “little brain substance” of women compared to that of men. His saying that “it is found” or “is not found” when dealing with matters concerning human physiology is an attempt to dupe the gullible into believing that some sort of expert is the source of this manifest rubbish. However, no evidence is offered, simply pronouncements that reflect nothing more than self-serving prejudice. Unfortunately for bigots everywhere, arguments that fail the test of rational analysis are easily defeated by simply pointing out their logical fallacies. In this case, the first is a hare-brained leap of logic: how does the claim that men “64 ounce” of “brain substance” lead to the conclusion that “they are very highly intellectual persons”? This is a patently nonsensical claim, of course. Brain size is always relative to the body weight of the species in question and even then it is no predictor of general intelligence. If this were not the case, the sperm whale, which has the largest brain in the animal kingdom (averaging 7,800 grams to the 1,300-1,400 of a human) would hold the world in thrall and subjugate even the most fanatical saffron-wearing “saints.”

Readers at this point might wonder at the sheer idiocy of anyone in the modern age claiming that “there is not very great scientist, mathematician, philosopher, among women.” It is not unusual, however, for religious fanatics to have their heads so far in the clouds that they forget that they are actually lodged securely in their nether regions. Whenever I hear such evil claims as the swami’s, I feel less sorry for their ignorance than for the tremendous harm these ideas have done to women since time immemorial. It is bittersweet to note that while 57% of college students in the U.S.are women, little girls going to school in Afghanistan risk their lives every day. It is also impossible to ignore the achievements of modern Indian women in every sphere and forget that, as BBC News reported last year, up to eight million girls were selectively destroyed in India in the past decade (using modern ultrasound and abortion) simply because families prefer boys.   

To add insult to injury, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami also advocated denying the children of his disciples’ arranged “marriages” the opportunity to develop whatever intellect they possessed:
There is no question of academic education for either boys or girls--simply a little mathematics and being able to read and write well, that's all, no universities.
              Letter to Chaya Dasi: 16 Feb. 1972.

It follows that the ISKCON gurukulas where these children were sent at the ages of four or five had no need to employ qualified teachers and, indeed, it soon became apparent that many of these roles were occupied by sexual deviants and child abusers of every description. The parents of these children were allowed to see them once a year during “parents weekend,” otherwise they generally lived separately in the ashrams at or near the temple, spending their days on “sankirtan,” which at the time (and to the present) was nothing more than an organized scheme to dupe the public on the streets and in airports to purchase one of the swami’s books. If that was a barren life for the parents, it was much worse for the children. In essence, they missed their childhoods entirely. 

To get a more comprehensive picture of the abuse these innocents suffered, I refer the reader to the many accounts of abuse contributed by the former gurukula students themselves, most of which came to light when many of them filed a lawsuit in 2001 against the Hare Krishna movement. Typically enough, after spending many millions defending themselves against the lawsuit, the ISKCON movement filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the express purpose of avoiding making settlements that would be even remotely decent. Instead, the former students were given meager financial compensation along with a lame apology from the ISKCON GBC (Governing Board Commission). Not one of the perpetrators has ever been arrested.


Now I want to address for once and for all the excuses the ISKCON management has proffered to defend their guru against any claims of responsibility for the gurukula abuse. I have already treated the low opinions the swami held of women and his habit of arranging marriages between his disciples for the purpose of spreading his warped version of Vaishnava Hinduism. How these practices led to the degrading treatment of children has always been side-stepped, often by fervent advocates of the swami who allege that the worst of it occurred after his death in 1977. 

An entire industry consisting of accusations and counter-accusations consumes many senior devotees (particularly in India), all of which derives from the notion that the original executors of A.C. Bhaktivedanta both colluded in poisoning him and then took on the mantle of guruship for themselves. There is even a very vocal faction that believes that the new adherents can take initiation from the swami, albeit in spirit. This “ritvik” controversy has continued unabated for years while the now largely Indian public attending and supporting these often extremely lavish temples are ignorant of the policies and history of a cult that in reality is far removed from Hinduism. The following quotation twists the lid off the stinking jar of excuses his followers continue to offer to defend him against the torture so many of the gurukula children endured:

Any householder devotee who is working full-time (with his wife) as a sankirtana book distributer, of temple managerial duties, artist, cook, etc. shall be provided food, shelter, and other bare minimumnecessities by the temple itself.They should not cook their own meals separate from the temple meals. If they have children, then some minimal allowance may be given according to the number of children. If they want anything extra or over and above what the temple president sees as absolute necessity, then they should work outside—the temple cannot pay for anything beyond the bare necessities.             
                                                         Letter to Kirtiraja Das, Bombay, 12 Jan, 1975
“Bare necessities” is the key term here: in practice, it meant spicy, ill-prepared food unfit for children, squalor typified by no furniture or even proper bedding—sleeping bags without pillows were the norm—and a regimen of deity worship that began at 4:30 in the morning after a shower so frigid that some gurukula students reported being cut by shards of ice.  The swami’s obsession with selling his books came at a very high price for everyone, but the already fragile marriages and the hapless children they produced suffered worst of all.Readers unfamiliar with the culture of the ISKCON movement A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami developed are probably in shock by now and understandably so. It is important to note that the swami had numerous children in the marriage I have touched upon earlier in this essay and so was undoubtedly aware of the responsibilities of a father and husband. Many of these are financial in nature and others grow from the love and security both parents should naturally provide for each other and their children. However, in his rush to market his published works to the public in the West, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami used his disciples as little more than robots, insisting that the main business of his sect was “sankirtan,” which meant hitting the streets to dupe the gullible into purchasing a book or pamphlet that was usually promptly tossed in the nearest trash can. 

He wanted absolutely nothing to do with the practical issues arising from families that were ripped apart as easily as they were formed. Extreme poverty ensued, with ISKCON parents forced to use public assistance of various kinds (medical, food assistance, etc.), with much of it subject to confiscation by temple authorities. The children in the few years they spent with their parents (before being shipped off to abuse and privation at the gurukulas in the West and in India), had few if any toys and either lived with their mothers in the brahmacharini ashram or in a shared apartment where two or three families were crammed in unfurnished rooms.

Actions provoke reactions and when the family is used to promote ideas without consideration for the parties involved, the consequences can be severe indeed. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, who we affectionately called “Srila Prabhupada,” had an ambitious plan to spread his version of Bengali Vaishnavism and carefully constructed an image of himself as a “pure devotee” whose edicts and beliefs were divine in origin and therefore not subject to challenge of any kind. His ideas about women and the roles they should occupy in the Hare Krishna movement were, as I have amply demonstrated, products of an irrational, dark-age mindset that he persistently tried to present as both Vedic in origin and scientifically valid. In other words, he was an ignorant bigot bent on using his hypnotic chanting and prasadam feasts to lure the inquisitive minds of the West into following a social model that is at root nothing more than an assault on reason and, for believers in the Divine, an insult to the Creator who so obviously endowed both men and women with unparalleled reasoning capabilities. 

What really amazes me is why his male followers—many of whom were college-educated—never confronted him about these and other blatantly absurd claims. That they fell under the spell of the swami’s self-imposed cult of personality is clear and that he inflated their egos by filling their heads with notions about the mental, moral, and physical superiority of men is just as obvious. In the final analysis, however, the passive-aggressive attitudes of the men in ISKCON perpetuated a system of abuse that they knew was rotten at the core.

Today, the ISKCON schools serve a primarily Indian population and therefore most use a standard educational scheme, all the while hiding their preposterous so-called Vedic notion of the universe from the parents of these students. It would be interesting for these sincere Hindus to investigate the cult they are supporting so generously and, when they do so, I guarantee all my readers that they will wonder at the brass statute of the founder of the ISKCON movement on the altar of the temple where they worship and start thinking about shifting their donations to another more worthy cause.

[1] The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce,” in The Complete Prose Works of John Milton, ed. Ernest Sirluck (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), 11:258.

See "India’s Unwanted Girls.” 
For a representative example, see: for a representative discussion.


A Devastating, Fact-based Critique.

“All That is Necessary for Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to Do Nothing.”
Attributed to Edmund Burke.

Readers might be familiar with the argument that the abuse of children at the ISKCON gurukulas in the 1970’s and 1980’s was due to rogue elements that infiltrated the group and that it had nothing to do with its philosophy and practices.[1]

This view is entirely mistaken. In fact, the cult's founder-guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, firmly and repeatedly stated his beliefs about the innate inferiority of women and the need for the parents marry their pre-pubescent daughters to much older men in order to contain the "lust" of the little girls. He also instituted the practice of arranging marriages between his disciples--often virtual strangers--for the purpose of opening new temples. If he believed that his preaching interests justified it, he would just as callously agree or encourage the husband to abandon his wife and children by entering into the "renounced order" called sannyasa, which functioned as a kind of "spiritual divorce. 

The children born of these loveless marriages were sent to the infamous gurukula schools  (those in Moundsville, West Virginia, Los Angeles, and Dallas, were the most infamous) by age five. In these hellholes these innocents endured harrowing sexual abuse and mental torture while their parents hawked their guru's books to the unsuspecting public. 
It is no small wonder that to date at least 25 of these children have committed suicide as youths: they never had a family, what to speak of any kind of a childhood. No love, no mother, no father, no home of any kind, and a rotten so-called education at the hands of incompetent, violent child molesters and other misfits. Based on the evidence in the guru's own words and writings, there can be no doubt that his views are the primary source of the child abuse that plagued the schools. This might come as a shock to many affiliated with the Hare Krishna sect either as donors or devotees, but the facts speak for themselves.

The best place to start is with a candid look into the personal life of the guru, beginning with his own account of his arranged marriage at age 22 to an eleven year-old girl. What follows are fully documented excerpts from his lectures and recorded conversations. Syamasundara, Tamal Krsna, and Hrdayananda were all early disciples of the swami. My comments are interspersed as necessary.

Formerly marriage, at least in India, at least up to our time, the marriage was taking place not on the liking of the boy and the girl. No. It was decided by the parents. So... Just like I was also married man. I was married when I was a student, and I did not know what will be the... But the parents arranged.
Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.46, Los Angeles, December 24, 1973

Syamasundara: Children should be allowed to have sex life at fourteen years old.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is psychological. They develop... Sex life, sex urge is there as soon as twelve years, thirteen years old, especially women. So therefore early marriage was sanctioned in India. Early marriage. Boy fifteen years, sixteen years, and girl twelve years. Not twelve years, ten years. I was married, my wife was eleven years. I was 22 years. She did not know what is sex, eleven years' girl. Because Indian girls, they have no such opportunity of mixing with others. But after the first menstruation, the husband is ready. This is the system, Indian system.
Syamasundara: So they are not spoiled.
Prabhupada: No. And the psychology is the girl, after first menstruation, she enjoys sex life with a boy, she will never forget that boy. Her love for that boy is fixed up for good. This is woman's psychology. And she is allowed to have many, oh, she will never be chaste woman. These are the psychology. So these rascals, Westerners, they do not know and they are becoming philosopher, scientist, and politician, and spoiling the whole world. They can be saved only by this Krsna consciousness movement. There is no other way.
Room Conversation, London, August 15, 1971.

First of all, why did “Prabhupada,” believe himself an expert in “woman’s psychology”? All he is doing here is repeating the woman-hating trash that men throughout history have used to excuse their abuse of under-age girls. What is more, why did his American and European disciples just sit there and lap up this nonsense without speaking up and stating the obvious? It is one thing to respect the elderly, but altogether another to idly sit by and sacrifice your values and commonsense in accepting the views of a person who is clearly and openly advocating the sexual exploitation of children!

Child marriage is child abuse, no matter where and when it has been or is practiced. Every sane and moral man or woman must agree that the proper mate for an adult is another adult. Nor can cultural or historical precedents excuse the practice: a man who engages in sexual intercourse with a child is engaging in criminal activity because no child can give informed consent. Numerous excuses for exploiting children sexually under the guise of promoting chastity and so forth are often proffered, usually by groups that otherwise appear to be models of religious piety. These claims are hypocrisy in one of its most evil forms. Indeed, the practice of marrying off girls before puberty exposes these so-called marital relationships as pedophilia in its pure form—the sexual exploitation of a little girl by a man who should view her as he would his own daughter and save his sexual urges for a grown woman.

Another excuse for abusing a girl when she starts to menstruate is that her first period makes her a sexually mature woman, a patently ridiculous idea since it is self-evident that puberty is a part of childhood and that the developing child is still a child, male or female. Similarly, the swami’s idea that a girl falls in love with any man who happens to rob her of her virginity would be laughable if it were not an obvious excuse for rape. It is worth repeating that all people, regardless of culture or circumstances, own their own bodies and have a right to refuse anyone who wants to use them sexually. In the case of children, who should be protected by their parents and every adult with whom they come in contact, there is an absolute prohibition in all developed countries (and among rational people everywhere) against using them for sexual purposes. The continuing sexual abuse of minors by rapacious adults under the guise of “marriage” is a harrowing crime against humanity that should be stomped out wherever it is practiced.
Formerly, when I was married, my wife was eleven years old. So (laughing) an eleven years old girl and I was at the same time twenty-one, twenty-two. One day I captured her hand. She began to cry. A little girl, you see? 
Morning Walk, Bombay, April 12, 1974.

It is obvious that the swami, then known as Abhay Charan De, was fully aware that he was “marrying” a little girl. Furthermore, his relating this incident to his male disciples when he was a sannyasi is disturbing to say the least. Reading it today is like overhearing the conversation of a group of adults who advocate sexual relations with children, which was in fact exactly what occurred in this case. Moreover, this was not the only case where the swami disclosed information about his marital relationship that any man with any sense of decorum would have kept to himself. To call it “inappropriate” is an understatement. However, it is consistent with the kind of emotional stunting that occurs when boys grow to manhood while retaining a view of sexuality consistent with early adolescence. Such men are perpetual 14 year old boys emotionally:  they seem to have retained a young teenager’s view of sexuality, which typically manifests itself in an awkward combination of desire and disgust.

Any parent of a teenage boy or girl knows that teaching your child to respect the opposite sex as a rational being first and as an object of desire a distant second is an essential building block of emotional maturity. Men who fail to mature emotionally are doomed to failure in romance, a sign of which is their deferring to their parents in matters better left to their own guidance. This is the prime reason why children from orthodox religious backgrounds often have the marriages arranged by their parents: they simply never learned the fundamentals of interacting with the opposite sex.

Ideas Have Consequences!

A.C. Bhaktivedanta’s cheerful disclosures are but one instance of the self-serving cruelty at the core of societies that use the cover of religion to perpetuate the abuse of underage girls. However, the psychological and physical toll from these abuses is often more harrowing. Please visit the following websites to learn more:

The misuse of ultrasound technology to abort millions of unwanted female fetuses: “India’s Missing Girls”:

Indian girls named “worthless” get new names:

The dangers of child marriage:

Coming shortly: how the swami used his experiences as examples that he applied to the lives of his disciples and eventually to their children. . .

 For an in-depth expose of the events leading to the 2001 lawsuit filed by former gurukula students, all children of devotees: For a recent instance of child abuse at an ISKCON-run gurukula, this time in India, see: