Perhaps no contemporary "New Religious
Movement" has had more bizarre or splintered politics than those
succeeding the founder of the so-called Hare Krishnas. Prabhupada /
Bhaktivedanta did create a succeeding org, but the shenanigans around it have been
extreme, including murder.
The material below points to the tip of the
tip of the iceberg, and serves also as an object lesson of the futility
and hypocrisy of a restrictive sexual moral system. The abjectness
and terminology of the apology alone is simply
ISKCON is the International Society of Krishna Consciousness,
the official movement as a whole, and
GBC is its Governing Body Commission.
IRM, the ISKCON Revival Movement is a "reform" subgroup of the
whole. There are more personalities and fabulously wallowable dirt at General
Board of Complaints, another reform site.
And for a thoughtful, well-presented assessment from an ex-member which
looks at the bigger picture likening ISKCON to a dysfunctional family,
with the org leaders and even the org itself playing the part of addict,
From that page: "One ISKCON member accused of child
molestation tried to defend himself in court by saying that the sexual
repression in ISKCON drove him to molest children. It may be true,
however the judge sentenced him to jail anyway."
NEWSLETTER OF THE ISKCON REVIVAL MOVEMENT
May 18th, 2004
[ technical problem apology]
Your servants at www.iskconirm.com
FOUNDER OF GURU HOAX FALLS, BUT REMAINS GURU
In the last IRM newsletter (No. 64, “Satsvarupa’s Valentine Hodge
Podge”) we described in detail the mental and spiritual breakdown of
His Holiness Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, citing his attraction for
mundane literature, pop music and the production of his nightmarish
‘artwork’. We ended with the following prophetic warning:
“Obviously he needs help, and fast. Our prescription is that he
publicly admits he was never authorised to do what he is doing, that
he renounce his disciples and give them back to the person on whose
behalf he was meant to be initiating all along - Srila Prabhupada. At
least his disciples can never say we did not warn them.”
(“Satsvarupa’s Valentine Hodge Podge”, IRM Newsletter 64)
Unfortunately, our prescription was not accepted, and now it has been
publicly announced that HH Satsvarupa dasa Goswami (SDG) has been
asked to stop initiating further disciples, due to a falldown he had
with a female about one-and-a-half years ago. [HH Satsvarupa dasa
Goswami was the lynchpin of the Great Guru Hoax in 1978 which resulted
in the Zonal Acharya system, where Srila Prabhupada was removed as the
Guru of ISKCON by 11 bogus self-appointed ‘successors’, led by
Satsvarupa Maharaja himself. He was the ‘saintly’ devotee who gave
the system credibility and kept it afloat]. The announcement from the
GBC and SDG is given below:
Concerning Satsvarupa Maharaja
Posted May 11, 2004
GBC Executive Committee Statement
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
The following statement from the GBC Executive Committee represents
ISKCON's official position on the subject at hand.
At the end of this posting you will find a candid letter from
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami about a falldown that occurred in his
spiritual life about a year and a half ago. This took place within the
context of his ongoing endeavors to serve while struggling with
The GBC Executive Committee would first like to express its deep
gratitude toward Satsvarupa das Goswami, a much loved devotee in the
Hare Krsna movement, and acknowledge his career of dedicated
devotional service, exemplary sadhana, and inspired literary preaching
on behalf of Srila Prabhupada.
As a GBC Emeritus, Satsvarupa Maharaja holds no official position in
the management of ISKCON and is unlikely ever to do so.
In consultation with the GBC EC, he has agreed to retire from
initiating; he will not initiate any more disciples.
His present disciples are encouraged to go on steadily in their
devotional service to ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada, and he will
continue to offer guidance and care as they so desire.
As Srila Prabhupada writes in Bhagavad-gita (9.30): "Sometimes it
may be seen that a person in Krsna consciousness commits some act
which may be taken as most abominable socially or politically. But
such a temporary falldown does not disqualify him. The material
contamination is so strong that even a yogi fully engaged in the
service of the Lord sometimes becomes ensnared; but Krsna
consciousness is so strong that such an occasional falldown is at once
rectified. Therefore the process of devotional service is always a
Satsvarupa Maharaja has re-dedicated himself to his vows and asrama
and is committed to his full recovery and service to Srila Prabhupada.
We offer him our wholehearted affection, encouragement, and support.
Out of respect for Satsvarupa Maharaja, we request all devotees to
give him the time, space and privacy he requires to recover fully. Out
of respect and honour for the sacrifices he has made on behalf of
Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON these many years, we encourage devotees
everywhere to offer him their support, prayers, and good wishes.
GBC Executive Committee
Letter From Satsvarupa Maharaja
May 1, 2004
Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
There has been gathering exposure that I, Satsvarupa Maharaja, and a
female therapist had a short-lived romantic involvement about one and
a half years ago. As many of you may know, I have tried many therapies
over the years to try and cure what is a severe case of "anxiety
disorder anticipatory migraine." In one such effort a Godsister
was helping me as a counselor, and regrettably I held sessions alone
with her. And so the relationship developed.
I certainly committed a mistake, and I felt relieved when I wrote a
letter of confession to the ISKCON sannyasa minister. He asked me if
she and I had sexual intercourse, and I honestly said "no."
Krsna saved us from that.
I feel like I want to explain what steps I've taken to protect myself
from further problems. The saying "once burnt, twice shy"
certainly applies to me. In addition to any consequences endorsed by
the GBC, I feel great personal shame. On the other hand, this has
increased my intimacy with Krsna in prayer. I know, for example, that
a sannyasi should never be alone with a woman. I am suffering
third-degree burns by disobeying this simple first instruction for
sannyasis I'm determined to never make that same mistake again. I am
praying constantly to Prabhupada and associating with my Godbrothers
in a humble mood.
My health is not good, but I don't wish to dwell on it here. I'm under
the care of an expert psychiatrist MD and an authorized counsellor who
is helping me with my anxiety issues. I consider my status to be
semi-retired. I will not be initiating any new devotees. I am serving
the devotee community by writing books and also answering letters. I
served in an active capacity for almost 40 years and I can't keep it
up. I am not avoiding the society of devotees. I simply can't travel
in cars or planes to go to temples or festivals, to sing or dance or
give lectures. Maybe each of you will reach that stage sooner or
I am profoundly sorry that I slipped and fell on the road this way, a
64-year-old sannyasi who had no other brush with a woman. I thought
for sure I'd get through to the end with a perfect record. Krsna must
have seen I was proud. I pray He allows me to remain in ISKCON and
follow the rules and regulations to my dying day. I heard that
Sridhara Swami told a Godbrother just before he passed away, "Be
who you are and make a contribution." I think I have written this
same sentence in my books. I fall at the feet of all devotees and ask
Yours in the service of Prabhupada,
Satsvarupa das Goswami
Please note the following:
a) The falldown supposedly happened one-and-a-half years ago. Yet
action is only being taken NOW. This means that either the GBC or SDG,
or both, have been engaged in a mass cover-up, and this so-called
‘admission’ has only come to light not because of any honesty or
integrity on the part of the parties concerned, but because they were
forced into doing so due to various stories which had been floating
around on the internet for the last few weeks. As SDG himself admits,
there has been “gathering exposure” regarding his illicit
behaviour, and that is what has led to this announcement. This proves
once again, that unless you actually CATCH the GBC or their bogus
Gurus doing their cheating nonsense, there is no way on earth any
truth or justice will prevail in the current GBC-run ISKCON. That is,
SDG is now falling “at the feet of all the devotees” and asking
“their forgiveness”, only because what he did a year-and-a-half
ago has come to light now. Neither he nor the GBC made any attempt to
take any action when the incident happened, but waited until they were
forced to do so.
b) Despite all this, SDG has only been asked to stop initiating NEW
disciples. He can continue to act as Guru for present disciples. He
has not been removed from his position of either ISKCON Guru or
c) SDG also admits that he is so mentally debilitated that he needs to
see a psychiatrist AND a counselor. Which makes one wonder how he is
spiritually qualified to lead others by writing books and to also
continue acting as Guru for the disciples he has already initiated. If
one cannot even become free from continuous mental anxiety, then what
exactly does that say for a person’s spiritual advancement? What is
there to be in so much anxiety and fear about continually, such that
it leads to severe headaches, if one is depending on and has realized
d) The GBC true to form have trotted out the purport from
Bhagavad-gita 9:30. The conclusion to this purport from Srila
Prabhupada actually states:
“On the other hand, one should not misunderstand that a devotee in
transcendental devotional service can act in all kinds of abominable
ways; the verse only refers to an accident due to the strong power of
material connections.” (Bhagavad-gita 9:30 purport)
If a sannyasi having a romantic affair with a member of the opposite
sex, with him who he is not even supposed to associate, is an
accident, one wonders what lengths one would need to go to, to
actually do this deliberately! Further, the verse refers to a regular
devotee, not a supposedly fully Krishna conscious Diksa Guru. Those of
you with long memories may remember that in 1982 the GBC sent out a
letter to all members quoting exactly the same verse in regards to
Jayatirtha, after he had fallen down. Only on that occasion they
quoted that verse to point out that it did NOT apply, since Jayatirtha
was supposed to be a self-realised Diksa Guru, and not a regular
devotee. How things can be twisted to suit whatever ends need to be
suited at the time!
SDG needs all the help he can get, and we do all pray for his
recovery. But let's end this charade of devotees such as him
pretending they were authorized as Diksa Gurus. The sooner that is
done, the sooner ISKCON can return to sanity.
the picture, a small testimonial received
privately from one of Prabhupada's enthusiasts]
In response to my writing to him:
It will always be the case that people disagree with some of my selections.
So it goes. There is no universal standard, and i resist ideologically-driven one-size-fits-all solutions.
i dont want to take to much of your time....
but in the case of the gaudiya vaishnava representatives.....there is a very strong honest emphasis on universality of faith.....i experience this in my own practice.....unfortunately most interpreters misuse this teachings for worldly stuff....but this you can say about any teacher and his followers also those that you marked with 3 symbols.....
i just ask to overlook the political tensions around those teachings and look at the teachings itself.....they are universally sublime....it is all about love of god.....nothing else....many really pure saintly persons have come out of this tradition......you have to read between the lines it is not about this tradition and that sect or the our sect is the best....no it is about universal love...
i am not member of iskcon but maybe you can think over the ranking of bhaktivedanta swami prabhupada for example....he gave much more to the world than what can be seen on the first sight......i speak from experience....and believe me i
dont identify as a hindu a vaishnava or anything i consider myself a universal spiritualist....and i dont like static concepts of the absolute....just like you...
thanx for reading
AD added subsequently:
the teachings are understood by many as pure and universal despite the orthodox approach...seemingly negative statements in connection with
worldly matters can always be reconciled or relativated if the focus stays on the essence of his teachings, with is to realize love of god to the full extend and to learn to live by this love.....often the negativity of this world still visible in the community of any genuine religious group is
misjudged as an effect of the teachings of the group. by people with a negative world view. in
fact srila prabhupadas teachings represent the pure teachings of the great famous saint sri caitanya.