I have been anticipating a connection with Hansadutta dasa ever since I re-awakened my interest in the controversial philosophical issues that deeply concern many of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. Over the last two years, I have spent uncountable hours studying, hearing, writing, and conversing with my Godbrothers in a serious attempt to bring myself up-to-date on the current thoughts, opinions and conclusions shared by the devotees regarding the desires of our Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada, for His preaching mission after He entered into maha-samadhi. The Godbrothers who have devoted the time to actively participate in these discussions come from an amazingly wide spectrum of unique circumstances. Many devotees have stayed within ISKCON due to their genuine conviction that Srila Prabhupada expected and desired all His disciples to remain, regardless of the difficulties. Others had been assigned particular services by Srila Prabhupada which would be almost impossible to perform outside the institution. Some just couldn’t face the prospect of struggling in the outside world. On the other hand, many disciples over the years since Srila Prabhupada departed have left ISKCON for an equal variety of real and honest reasons.
By my particular fate, I was enthused by the devoted Rtvik exponent, Yasoda nandana dasa, to again re-involve myself in my previous quest for uncovering the truth of what Srila Prabhupada actually desired for His disciples and His society. A personal dilemma quickly arose when I discovered that Hansadutta dasa was now an outspoken advocate of the post samadhi Rtvik system. I was embracing this same hypothesis, in comparison to the past and present ISKCON initiation policy. It was my conviction that if the senior disciples had been humble enough, they would not have changed anything Srila Prabhupada had established.
Being one of the very early victims of the tragic introduction of the zonal acarya system, I maintained a deep-seated resentment towards the whole bogus system. This was the system that had previously authorized the sacrificing of the Seattle Temple, deities and gurukula, what to speak of the expulsion of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, all for the sake of preserving the external image of the imitation acaryas purporting to be uttama adhikaries. To this day, I consider this traumatic circumstance to be the most devastating thing I’ve experienced so far in my lifetime.
That whole shocking incident did not cause me to lose my faith in Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, nor discourage me to the point that I would leave the movement. But after a series of many disappointments, stretching over 10 years and culminating in the undermining of our attempts to reform the zonal acarya system, I finally took my leave.
For me, Hansadutta dasa personified everything that was wrong with that era. For the many thousands of other devotees it may have been discouraging encounters with the other power intoxicated autocrats participating in this deceptive hoax. After Seattle, I went from the frying pan into the fire, again and again without relief, for 10 years. I traveled from Jayatirtha’s zone in England, to Kirtanananda’s tyranny in Eastern Canada, then seeing him replaced by the second wave of imitators, like Gopal Krsna Swami. But Hansadutta and that first shocking year of hell in 1978 has remained vividly within my memory to this very moment.
This writing exercise is not only made in order to preserve a piece of the history of ISKCON as I experienced it, but it is also an attempt to purge from my consciousness the burden of painful memories and anxiety I have carried with me since then. Since I began writing down my realizations, I have been undergoing a purification. Through this therapeutic process, I have experienced beneficial effects mentally, spiritually, and even physically. Since I began, I knew that I would one day have to deal with the awkward situation in regards to Hansadutta dasa.
I have been lead to believe by some of my associates, and by reading Hansadutta dasa’s own admissions, that he has become a reformed and repentant man.
During my first writing project, “Srila Prabhupada’s Perfect Plan”, I touched upon the events surrounding the dismantling of the Seattle center. In that paper, I declared that in the foreseeable future I would expand upon the details during that one year of intense melodrama which ended in shock and disappointment. For the last year, I have been looking for some divine indication that would shed light on how I should deal with this delicate situation. I felt I must personally come to grips with the need to understand how it was possible that something as fundamentally wrong as what happened in Seattle in 1978 was allowed to take place within Srila Prabhupada’s society - and so soon after His departure. And, I wanted to understand how Hansadutta dasa, who was for many years so seemingly intimate with and fond of the Founder/Acarya, Srila Prabhupada, could manifest such demoniac symptoms and perform such horrendous actions so quickly after being placed in this responsible position.
Following my direct involvement in the recent activities of Jagadisa dasa, another participant and subsequent victim of the “let’s pretend we are diksa gurus” game, I now believe Srila Prabhupada has revealed to me an insight into this phenomena, which I have appropriately entitled “the acarya syndrome”. It has taken me some 20 years since Seattle to finally come to this point of focusing on the disease that killed the Hare Krsna Movement. With the dust now settling after the Jagadisa whirlwind, I feel it is time to begin tackling my illusive ghost, Hansadutta dasa.
Over a year ago, I began petitioning my friend, Yasoda nandana dasa, to mention to Hansadutta dasa that I was interested in discussing this entire matter with him. He reported that he had brought up the subject of Rocana dasa with Hansadutta dasa on a number of occasions. Each time, Hansadutta promised that he was planning to definitely contact me and attempt to make amends. So far, I have received not a phone call, e-mail, or visit from this strange individual. I’m convinced that it is not my responsibility to directly approach him, as I have already sent sufficient signals in his direction. His silence has symbolized the whole problem with him and the leaders that usurped the position of the founder acarya, Srila Prabhupada.
While I was attending the Los Angeles Ratha Yatra this summer, I was being billeted at Nara naryana dasa’s home, along with many others, including a nice couple and their young child. He was from Singapore [Chinese origin] and his wife was an American from Seattle. I learned that he was an ex-diksa and now Rtvik disciple of Hansadutta dasa. Inquiring from them, they revealed their strong allegiance and attachment to Hansadutta dasa. It was amazing how their emotional attachment was similar to that found in most diksa disciples in ISKCON. A few days after the festivities, I answered Nara naryana dasa’s phone one day to find the old familiar voice of Hansadutta dasa on the end. He immediately asked to speak to his disciples and inquired who I was. When I answered Rocana dasa he replied, “Oh, I remember you”. I couldn’t believe my ears. I hung up the phone in disgust.
My service prior to 1978 was in the proverbial backwoods of ISKCON. Before Seattle, I was running the Bridesville Farm in the hills of British Columbia, and afterwards I served as the Temple President of Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Toronto. I had very little association throughout that period with the GBC elite, with perhaps the exception of Jagadisa dasa. Like many of the out of the way devotees, our main contact with the society was through Srila Prabhupada’s books and the BTG. Of course, I had the opportunity to travel to Mayapura and Vrindabin every year, where mainly the Canadian Temple Presidents would hang together. Therefore, I had a fairly naive and idealistic conception of the seemingly advanced devotees in the powerful positions within the GBC, and in important positions such as in the BBT and BTG publishing centers. I would hear the occasional rumor of disturbances in Germany, Hawaii, Japan, India, New York City, etc., or reports of this or that sannyasi falling down, but by and large I was insulated and isolated. The GBC would come and go like migrating birds, staying only a few days out of the year. They could hardly remember your name, let alone understand what was going on in the temple and your life, what to speak of your heart and mind.
Just prior to Srila Prabhupada’s physical disappearance, I had been struggling for almost two years with the GBC’s experimental “women’s party”. Just prior to my taking over the Seattle temple after closing down the Bridesville Farm, Jayatirtha dasa rearranged all the devotees, sending all the men from Seattle to Vancouver and bringing an equivalent number of women from Vancouver to Seattle. It was his idea that Seattle should become exclusively a women’s temple with a girl’s gurukula, staffed solely by ladies, with Padyavali devi in charge of the women and me in charge of the temple. This was a recipe for disaster, as any sensible Vaisnava would know. But the infatuation by the leaders with this bogus concept, borne from the twisted mind of Kirtanananda Swami, the homosexual woman hater, was picked-up by the mercantile GBC’s like Ramesvara Swami and Jayatirtha dasa because good financial results were the primary consideration. All the devotees in Seattle were sacrificed like laboratory rats in their lusty experiment, for the sake of making more money. After a short period of actually trying to get along with this concoction, the predictable flaws and deviations became obvious. I personally realized that I either had to abandon the program or risk a serious falldown. From that point, I began what was a real struggle to correct the natural balance within the temple. With the help of Kurma Rupa dasa, a staunch brahmicary, we managed to recruit and train some bhaktas. With Bala Krsna dasa’s assistance we started a boy’s gurukula, as well. Padyavali devi was overseeing the women’s sankirtan and the girl’s gurukula. The relationship that began to develop between Padyavali devi and myself was unhealthy, but due to the unusual circumstances, was unavoidable. At least I didn’t have to deal with all the young single women, but my wife, Svahna devi, didn’t see it from that angle. She eventually left Krsna consciousness because of the pressure of having to accept the awkward arrangement of having Padyavali devi as an interim adhoc co-Temple President, and the resulting constant association between us. When Jayatirtha dasa was replaced as GBC by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, I made an attempt to explain my delicate situation to him, but he was incapable of handling these types of circumstance. I also attempted to expose the women’s parties’ hidden agenda to him, but all this complication simply baffled him.
We continued to work, and nearing the end of 1977, we were well on the way to recovery, and had achieved the honor of being the leading mid-size temple in book distribution. Generally, all departments of the temple were functioning very nicely. The main problem facing us was the need to acquire the proper facility to house all the devotees and children. The State authorities were threatening to close the gurukula due to the improper buildings. Our appeals to the GBC fell on deaf ears, and the GBC for Education, Jagadisa dasa, had just disappeared and apparently blooped. Then, in November 1977, Srila Prabhupada left us to enter into maha-samadhi.
As I remember before going to India in early spring, there were rumors that we were going to be given Hansadutta dasa as the new GBC. Back room discussions amongst the elite had definitely leaked out about who was going to get what at the next Mayapura conference. We were to be told by the chosen ones how and by whom the movement was to be run now that Srila Prabhupada had left us. In Seattle, we were far off the beaten track, so we were not privy to all the rumors circulating in the big centers of Los Angeles and New York City. The year prior to this meeting, we had Satsvarupa dasa Goswami as the GBC, and with Srila Prabhupada in the condition He was in, there were very few visitations by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami to Seattle. He tried to deal with the Women’s Party issue, but he soon revealed his ineptitude at dealing with anything controversial which required fortitude and political savvy. I wondered at that time why he had even accepted the position of GBC, because he failed to display any aptitude for this service. He was constantly bewildered when it came to practical matters.
I had attempted also to confide in Satsvarupa dasa Goswami concerning a chronic personal dilemma involving my relationship with Padyavali devi. I found myself in an extremely awkward circumstance being a grihasta with a wife and young child, while simultaneously having to keep close association with Padyavali devi. She possessed excellent motivational and organizational abilities compared to most of the devotees at that time. These professional skills, when utilized in organizing the women’s affairs, brought good results. She also had many other good qualities and her sincerity was unquestionable, but as time went on, it became more than obvious to myself and everyone in the community that she had developed an unnatural and unhealthy attachment for me which far exceeded the relationship of temple president or siksa guru. The exhibition of this emotion on her part was the cause of disturbance within the minds of many of the devotees. Because I was in a position of authority at the time as Temple President, and because many devotees were adversely effected by this situation, I feel that it is appropriate for me to come forward with this part of my history, as well.
I was admittedly attached to the results of Padyavali devi’s service, so I was reluctant to send her to some other center. From my point of view, she virtually saved me from sexually falling down with any number of the young ladies who were part of the Seattle sankirtan team. Jayatirtha had instructed me earlier to become intimate with these brahmacarinies as part of the over-all strategy in the Women’s Party concept he was promoting. Padyavali devi’s unique personality was such that some devotees were very much appreciative of her, but on the other hand, there were some who seemed to strongly dislike her style. Understandably, my wife fell into the latter category. This dysfunctional dynamic was definitely a “sand in the sweet rice” scenario. This aspect of history at the Seattle temple is connected to Hansadutta dasa, in that Hansadutta, being the expert politician he was, tried to exploit my situation with Padyavali devi both before and after the crisis.
As I understand Srila Prabhupada’s managerial master plan, especially as it applied to the duties of the GBC, Srila Prabhupada expected his GBC representatives to establish close trusting relationships with the Temple Presidents in their zones. Within this relationship, many such personal predicaments could be resolved. I know of many other friends who were Temple Presidents at that time who found themselves in similar circumstances that required the help of a confidential friend. In my situation, the previous GBC had created the mess in first place. The next GBC, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, was essentially useless at dealing with this type of problem, and then along came Hansadutta dasa, with his strange solution for both Jiva dasa in Berkeley and myself. His solution was for us both to take sannyasa. My wife had departed a few months previously, so I was not legally involved with anyone except, of course, Padyavali devi. There was no possibility of open discussion with someone like Hansadutta dasa. In fact, he forced Jiva dasa to take sannyasis at the point of a gun, literally. I personally begged off the instant the sannyasa solution was suggested, and instead donned the brahmacary garb. Soon after Hansadutta’s arrival on the scene, I came to the conclusion that it would certainly be a mistake to try to confide in such a madman. To try and take shelter of this GBC in an attempt to find a common-sense solution to my relationship problem with Padyavali devi was useless and dangerous. I realized that I was on my own. I felt I had made some headway in convincing Padyavali devi that if our relationship were to continue it had to take on a mother-son mood. But the reality that I faced with the Hansadutta solution was that I was expected to cut a celibate profile in the middle of a still out-of- balance temple consisting of women and children. This personal circumstance made an already difficult situation even more confusing. As the situation at the temple became critical, this unresolved personal dynamic contributed to my acquiescence to the GBC’s drastic solution to their guru image problem. Rather than trying to fight the whole GBC and their new zonal acarya system in order to secure justice on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, I felt I had no choice but to surrender to their irrational arrangements.
In retrospect, I suppose it was a blessing from Krsna that I was removed from my position of power and prestige. My little temple fiefdom wasn’t much compared to the grandiose situations my greedy Godbrothers had usurped for themselves as zonal acaryas. But when my position, and the many loving relationships that accompanied it, were all suddenly ripped away, I instantly became a mouse again. It was like dying, and taking another body. Padyavali devi, in her unhealthy obsession with me, had artificially inflated my spiritual position in the minds of the devotees in Seattle. She had almost insisted that I be treated in a similar manner to the zonal acaryas. The exaggerated profile that these acarya imitators were cutting was so out of proportion to their actual spiritual qualities that it opened the door for those under them to fill the vacuum. Previous to Srila Prabhupada’s leaving the sannyasis and GBC filled that space, but with them ascending to the lofty heights of absolute acarya, those who were closest were also instantly elevated. In any hierarchy or institution, there will always be someone underneath you who wants to be elevated into your place, and will therefore help to push you up. That is the dangerous nature of this material world. Everyone is struggling to be come God, somehow or other. In my new start in England, I was a nobody again. Jayatirtha, either out of guilt or perhaps because I had acquired some skills, soon saw that I was elevated to a relatively prestigious position in his corporate hierarchy. Still, it was nothing compared to the Seattle situation before I had been “excommunicated” by Hansadutta dasa.
So, it was with mixed feelings and apprehension that I attended the 1978 annual GBC and International Temple President’s meeting in Mayapura. At that meeting, all the normal concerns were naturally over-shadowed by the obvious developments and arrangements being discussed in relation to the initiation issue. Frankly, most of the Temple Presidents didn’t seem to be aware of the potential dangers involved in these decisions. There was an amazing degree of faith in the concept that the GBC were empowered and pure, that Srila Prabhupada was going to act through them, and thus the correct and proper conclusions were going to be properly arrived at by our trusted senior Godbrothers. I had meet with Hansadutta dasa briefly during the meetings, which this year were unusually secretive and particularly less heated than in the past. During our get together, I explained to Hansadutta dasa the problems that we were having with the women’s party issue as well as the need for better facilities for the gurukula. He was charmingly understanding and reassuring about his abilities to correct all these wrongs. He was, of course, preoccupied with the discussions taking place regarding the creation of the zonal acarya system, and elated at how his fortunes had dramatically changed for the better. He had gone from being corralled down in Ravana’s old kingdom, Sri Lanka, to now being given one of the most productive zones in North America, as well as being ordained as the exclusive initiating guru for the Pacific Northwest of America, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Sri Lanka. His feet were not touching the ground. He was in bliss. He was back in the saddle again, a position he had sorely missed since his “hay days” in Germany before the “dung hit the fan” and the police busted him with guns, illegal cash, and a dubious and deceptive collections program going on in full swing. I remember how Srila Prabhupada was very embarrassed and disappointed with his antics, and removed him from any direct important responsibility, but then compassionately re-engaged him in his own little kingdom in Sri Lanka, far from anyone else. I assume it was because Srila Prabhupada included his name on the Rtvik appointment letter that the others were compelled to share the pie with Hansadutta dasa, because they knew very well that he would have caused havoc if he was excluded or short changed in the take-over arrangements.
There was little or no chance for the Temple Presidents to have input into these arrangements that year, due to all the GBC being in such an elated mood, all complimenting one another and presenting such a united stand. This was to be interpreted by the devotees to mean that we were now entering into an enlightened period of love, trust and cooperation. This would result in an amazing degree of preaching success due to Srila Prabhupada having expanded himself miraculously, eleven times over!! To show anything but total acceptance and enthusiastic approval would have been interpreted as tantamount to treason and blasphemy. It was evident that if you had any doubts, you had better keep them to yourself and think positive. I have to admit that I was taken in by all the hype, and returned to Seattle with what I thought was good news and with an up-lifted heart, thinking that all these promises made by the GBC and our own new GBC zonal guru, Hansadutta dasa, were going to be fulfilled. Our problems were now over. Little did I know what was in store for me over the next year. My fate had been indelibly cast as a key member of a new, strange and sinister cult led by the master cult leader from the Germanic tribes, Hans the Hun. I was entering into the worst year of my life. To this day, nothing can compare to the anxiety I and the other’s in Seattle experienced during what seemed to be a lifetime, but actually lasted less than a year. By next December, I was driving through a blizzard with Kurma Rupa dasa to an unknown destination with my set of Srila Prabhupada’s books in the truck and a few dollars in my pocket, trying to figure out what had happened, and why.
Hansadutta’s Rise to Power
Hansadutta dasa was well practiced as a flamboyant leader. He had the fine art of being a cult leader down pat from his years of autocratic rule as the GBC in Germany and England during the mid seventies. After having been an independent Temple President for years, his domineering style was a little hard for me to swallow. Hansadutta was unquestionably totally intoxicated with his new found power, and was absorbed in the myth that he had overnight being benedicted with the causeless mercy of Srila Prabhupada, which had instantly transformed them all into transcendental uttama adhikaries, free from any hint of material contamination. I am now convinced that at that time, he actually believed it to be true, which only indicated what his false ego conception of himself was long before Srila Prabhupada departed. The other participants infected with the acarya imitation disease (AIDS), were soon regretting that they had let this genie out of the bottle. Hansadutta dasa immediately started politicking to increase his zone. He visited both Toronto and Vancouver in hopes of persuading Visvakarma dasa and Bahudak dasa to accept him as their GBC guru. He insisted that I support him by having me phone my friends in Canada in an attempt to have them convince the GBC to have Canada included in his zone. It soon became evident to me that Hansadutta dasa expected me to have the same outlook towards the rest of the ISKCON leaders as he did, namely that they were all fools and that he was the real Acarya. This attitude especially applied to the local GBC, Ramesvara Swami, and his long-time buddy, Jayatirtha dasa. Before long, I was receiving many harsh, threatening phone calls from these other pure devotees, who were putting pressure on me to side with them in the little wars that immediately broke out between these long time adversaries. Hansadutta dasa created a cult-like dynamic amongst his temple leaders based on the fraternity that we all had to share, that of being the misunderstood sincere ones, standing against the rest of the envious rascals. We were absolutely right and they were completely wrong. As I mentioned earlier, I was a backwoods Canadian who had a naive conception of these other leaders, thinking that they were bigger than life even before the transformation, so Hansadutta’s attitude towards the “enemy” was difficult to handle. It was especially difficult when you couldn’t trust that if you confided in the others, they would believe you or keep your confidence.
If Hansadutta ever suspected you of being disloyal then you could expect to be out in short order. He required this level of complete allegiance to him, and one was required to overlook the most glaring discrepancies in his already bizarre behavior.
His visits would completely disrupt the smooth running of the temple activities, especially for the children. Hansadutta dasa had no regard for regulation, and prided himself in being spontaneous. Whimsical would be a more appropriate word to describe what we in Krsna consciousness might easily refer to as heavily influenced by the mode of passion. At Seattle, we had earlier rejected this influence via the women’s party policy that was still going on in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New Vrindabin. We had introduced a high degree of organization, scheduling, and regulation so as to keep the diverse programs of gurukula and sankirtan working smoothly. Hansadutta dasa would simply throw that concept out the window and demand that everyone be put on hold, awaiting his bidding. He would have everyone staying up late in the exclusive guru apartment we had to rent for him. He would let the morning program continue on endlessly, with his class cum darshan. He would have us engage in the most absurd endeavors, like finding out how to establish the Hans Bank. He had us spend a great deal of time and money locating his ex-wife, who had blooped a few years earlier. We had to pay her way to move from the east coast back to Seattle, and put her up in a nice apartment. She was completely out of Krsna consciousness and kept to herself. We hardly ever saw her because she did not participate in any temple activities.
His illusions of grandeur took on grotesque proportions, and his insistence on creating his own separate identity from that of Srila Prabhupada was unabashed. He wanted everyone to don his new style of kurta with the sinister hood. Everything had to be in the color black, reflecting his fixation of himself as being the “black sheep”. He would proudly claim that his father had been Hitler’s cook, and that he honestly believed himself to be the reincarnation of Hitler. His peculiar style of kirtan and bajan all took precedence over Srila Prabhupada’s original program. He was consciously out to eclipse Srila Prabhupada, and he did not seem to have any qualms about it. I was personally put in a very awkward position because he was politically astute enough to realize that he had to keep me closely aligned with him, so he would always insist that I come down to the Berkeley temple, which was his headquarters, and where thank heavens he spent most of his time. This proved very costly as well as distracting, but it did allow me to get an in-depth look at his psychotic personality.
Meanwhile, we continued to struggle with the problem of pressure from the state to upgrade our gurukula accommodations, with little hope of anyone else within the society coming forward to help, since Hansadutta dasa was separating himself from the rest of the organization. Instead, he often had me waste much valuable time looking at buildings, without any tangible plan on getting the money together to acquire such facilities. On the other hand, he had what seemed to be unlimited funds for guns, ammunition, cars, and whatever his heart desired. It became apparent that although he purported to be concerned about the children, his only real concern was for himself and his selfish, erratic sense gratification. All this was combined with an amazing ability to act. Hansadutta dasa would have taken an Oscar for his performances. He could change from tears to laughter at the twirl of a japa bead...something he didn’t do very often. His irrational preoccupation with firearms was his claim to infamy, and it wasn’t a joke, nor were the stories exaggerated. I was given enough first hand experiences with this macabre behavior to speak with authority, and I wasn’t even around Berkeley that often. If I had more psychological training, perhaps I could come up with an appropriate term that would fit his particular type of psychosis. Below are two definitions that seem to fit. Those who know him can decide for themselves:
Schizophrenia: severe mental disorder, or psychosis, characterized by faulty thought processes, bizarre actions, unrealistic behavior dominated by private fantasies, and incapacity to maintain normal interpersonal relationships. There may be a hereditary predisposition that makes some individuals likely to develop the disorder when exposed to particular environmental stresses.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder: type of psychological disturbance marked by repeating unwanted patterns of thought (obsession) coupled with repetitive, ritualistic behavior (compulsion). The individual may recognize the ideas and rituals as unrealistic or even repugnant, but still be unable to control them.
There are a number of gun related episodes that I was unfortunately a witness to, which convinced me that Hansadutta dasa was beyond reality and in need of serious professional help. Mount Kailash was Hansadutta’s usual shooting range, where he engaged in most of his orgasmic shooting pastimes. I use the term orgasmic figuratively, because that was exactly what they were like. He wouldn’t target practice or anything that would resemble sanity. Hansadutta would empty his firearm continuously without stopping to even inspect the target. He would have everyone else reloading his variety of guns, while he would empty them as fast as two or three men could load them, until he had shot hundreds of dollars worth of ammunition. The most shocking experience at Mount Kailasa that I witnessed was when we were sitting on a wagon pulled by a tractor. Many small children were on board along with Hansadutta dasa, who of course was holding a 12 gauge shotgun. Suddenly, without warning, Hansadutta emptied the gun. The noise and the hot shells falling all over the children created instant pandemonium. Hansadutta dasa was unfazed. He showed no remorse nor expressed any emotion. I realized then that I was involved with a very dangerous individual.
The second experience doubly confirmed my fears. The two of us were returning by van from having looked at a potential gurukula site near Santa Cruz. I was driving on the freeway through Oakland when a car full of teenagers pulled up alongside us. The kids were making some jeering expressions, and then they pulled in front of our vehicle. In my mind this wasn’t a serious situation at all, but when I looked over at Hansadutta who was seated beside me, he was removing a powerful handgun from his case. He rolled down the window and as the car was exiting on an off ramp he started shooting at it. In a panic I took the next exit, turned down a lane, and told him to get rid of the gun, because they might have phoned the police and reported the incident. But Hansadutta dasa was too attached to the gun and wouldn’t dispose of it. He wouldn’t explain what came over him and why he felt compelled to do such an irrational act.
These incidences I observed, along with many of Hansadutta dasa’s other psychotic behaviors and activities, convinced me I had to seek help. I discovered that he was taking a concocted mixture of prescription drugs and over the counter pills that Jiva [Swami], the pimp who was previously running the women’s party, had been using on the women to get them to perform their miraculous sankirtan feats. Along with this witches brew, Hansadutta was drinking this so-called Auyervedic medicine that contained a high alcohol content. The whole mess was too much for my mind to handle. I had serious doubts about his sanity, and I knew that if I confided in anyone and it got back to him, that my life was in danger.
Hansadutta dasa had isolated himself from the rest of the society and was constantly putting his fellow leaders down in the most un-Vaisnava like terms. I didn’t have a strong relationship with any other GBC at the time, with the exception of Jagadisa dasa, who had disappeared. I had been coerced into joining Hansadutta dasa’s around-the-world preaching tour to the Philippines, Hong Kong, Ceylon, and Germany. To describe the absolutely bizarre activities that took place during the two weeks I spent with this strange company would make this paper voluminous. The experience totally confirmed for me that it wasn’t just an envious attitude on my part that allowed me to see the insanity surrounding Hansadutta dasa. I jumped ship in Hong Kong and returned to Seattle.
Upon returning, I decided to take shelter of Ramesvara Swami, who at that time was visiting the Chicago Temple. This way I could give the appearance that I went not to speak with Ramesvara, but simply to visit my friend, Uttama Sloka, the Temple President of Chicago. After I explained what was going on he looked and sounded very sorrowful, and told me that the other GBC had been well aware of the situation long before I added my confirming statements. He agreed that Hansadutta was a very dangerous character and cautioned me to keep everything quiet until the Mayapura meetings, and then the GBC’s could collectively do something. I had no choice but to agree, and returned to Seattle. A few weeks later I receive an ominous phone call from Germany with Hansadutta dasa on the other end. “Rocana, tell me what I have been hearing from Harikesa Swami is not true. You are not saying all these untrue things about me are you?” I couldn’t believe my ears! Ramesvara Swami did exactly what he told me not to do. He had immediately returned to Los Angeles and proceeded to tell Harikesa Swami, the GBC for Germany what I had revealed confidentially to him in Chicago. Harikesa Swami, obviously oblivious to the danger he was putting me in, immediately confronted Hansadutta Swami during his visit to Germany.
The gig was up. I was finished. I was in the middle of the Christmas marathon. Laxmimoni devi, who had been living in Seattle for the last six months had just found Jagadisa dasa, who had blooped and was attending some university in Texas. She had insisted on going to pick-up Jagadisa. They had just arrived back in Seattle, and were embroiled in trying to sort things out between the two of them. On top of that, I had to deal with Hansadutta, who was now on the rampage, vowing to get back at me for being a traitor. Fortunately, Hansadutta had no choice but to stay in Germany for a while, due to having to prepare for the big criminal trial there dealing with the last big mess he had created, years before in Germany. After I did some pleading, an emergency GBC meeting was scheduled for a couple weeks hence in Detroit. I was to be given a chance to meet with the GBC and tell my story. They would decide what to do with this madman. I was given assurances that I and the Seattle devotees were going to be protected, and justice would prevail. Jagadisa dasa was asked to attend, and the GBC would also discuss his problems.
The GBC meeting was held in one of the opulent bedrooms in the Fisher mansion. I was told that I had to wait outside the door. There I sat for three days, with no chair, on the floor. I was never given a chance to present my case, and I was told nothing of the discussions that took place inside. Instead, I was eventually ushered into another room and informed by Bhagavan dasa that it was the decision of the GBC to leave Hansadutta dasa in power, for the sole reason that his removal would send a signal to all the new disciples of all the zonal acaryas to beware of their new gurus, and that one of them had already gone mad. He quoted Canakaya Pandit, that one has to sacrifice the village to save the country. All the Srila Prabhupada disciples would have to leave Seattle, as well as the 45 children in the gurukula, who would be transferred to Philadelphia. They were sending out Jayatirtha dasa to be the “mediator” and oversee the transfer, which would happen immediately. Jagadisa dasa would also go, as he was forgiven and was reinstated with his GBC portfolio, as GBC Minister of Education. Hansadutta dasa would have to stay in Berkeley, but he would send his representatives, Bhudhimanta dasa and Yudhamanu dasa. Bhudhimanta was a well known crazy, muscle-bound fanatic, and Yudhamanu dasa had just been removed as the long standing women’s party leader in Los Angeles, where he still had a few wives.
By the time we returned from Detroit Hansadutta dasa had beaten everyone to the gun, and had his men waiting for us. They had already spoken to all of Hansadutta’s disciples, claiming that I was an envious snake and had been thrown out. The GBC had warned me not to tell the disciples what I knew about Hansadutta’s idiosyncratic behavior. Laxmimoni devi, who had decided that she and Jagadisa dasa would take over the school when it moved, had taken advantage of the chaos, spoken to the teachers against the relationship between Padyavali devi and myself, thus creating even further chaos in the ranks. Hansadutta dasa found out about the rebellion in the school, and then demanded to have the school remain in his zone. Jayatirtha dasa, in his usual weak and compromising way, was entirely bewildered and did not have enough common sense to know who to believe. He didn’t want to give the impression to Hansadutta’s disciples that the GBC was siding with the rascal Rocana, because he wanted them to stay and continue collecting for the temple. I was locked out of my room/office, and treated like a criminal. All the Srila Prabhupada disciples were put on the spot and individually asked whether they wanted to stay or leave, without being fully informed as to the truth behind the sudden upheaval. The disciples were totally bewildered. One minute I was their siksa guru, the next I was a demon envious of their diksa guru, His Divine Grace Hansadutta Swami.
There was great discussion going on about what was going to happen with the school, and if the school was going at all. I was not allowed to be involved in any of these conversations. I was confined to a room and was called in whenever the GBC’s, Jagadisa and Jayatirtha, needed to tell me something. After a few days I was told to take Kurma Rupa and a small car, my clothes and books, and head out to Philadelphia where I would await further orders. We were give a small sum of money for gas and nothing for motels, even though it was a several day journey in the middle of winter. We had to stop at Kurma Rupa’s brother’s place in the mid-west for a shower. Once we arrived in Philadelphia, we found there were no preparations made for the school. They had no money, and the building was in very bad repair. Hansadutta was already politicking to get the car returned, and was making various ridiculous accusations about myself and Padyavali devi. Kurma Rupa dasa and I were then told to go to the New York City temple and speak with Adi Kesava Swami. It had been already decided by the time we arrived that Kurma Rupa dasa would stay in New York, and that I was to be sent to England. There was no discussion. We were just shuffled around like new recruits in the army. I later discovered that the GBC wanted me out of the country because they were afraid I would talk too much about Hansadutta’s activities. Divide and conquer was the motto. Make sure the leaders were separated. No consideration that my daughter was part of the exodus of students who were finally set free from Seattle by Hansadutta’s men. My wife had left the movement a few months before, leaving me with our only child, then eight years old. So, Bhakti Mati lost her mother and father within a few months. In my estimation, this traumatic set of circumstances has caused her permanent psychological damage.
It certainly wasn’t like the days when Srila Prabhupada was present. Things like this could never have happened without His knowledge, and one would have the final recourse to approach Him directly or through the mail. The zonal acarya mentality was so infectious that it quickly spread throughout the second echelon leaders like Adi Kesava Swami, a sycophant of the powerful zonal acarya, Tamal Krishna Gosvami, his sannyasa guru. The way these individuals treated their Godbrothers was so offensive, condescending and autocratic. They were puffed up with false prestige, egotism gone wild, especially those trained up by Tamal Krishna Gosvami. Their smiling faces revealed iron teeth when anyone disagreed with them. Manipulation was their trademark, and their bidding was done by mindless strongmen carrying guns - the final persuasive power. If all else failed, they simply used brute force.
In retrospect, it would seem that there were other options for me at the time, but I was a “wet behind the ears” type of devotee, like the majority of disciples at that time. We had been serving in isolated areas with very little association with the GBC. We had been idealistically following the perfect philosophy with the perfect Spiritual Master for years, and as far as we understood, we were doing everything correctly - following the principles, chanting our rounds, attending the full program, and making all our personal considerations secondary. So, we were naively expecting that Krsna was going to protecting us from being exploited, and that everything both good and evil that happened to us we should blindly accept, without protest, as Krsna’s mercy. This innocent, childlike attitude on the part of grown men was a contributing factor in the all too easy takeover of the movement by those who, for years, were perfecting their skills and taking advantage of our misconceptions of the philosophy. It’s not that this surrendered attitude isn’t part of our Vaisnava philosophy, but it applies exclusively to the sastras and the completely purified guru. We learned hard lessons from such mistakes, and experienced the direct effects of un-harnessed power and overwhelming greed. Prudence is also a virtue, as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur so eloquently stated:
Should man the Lord of all around
from common sense depart?
Man's glory is in common sense
dictating us the grace.
Was it common sense to go against our internal intelligence on the dictates of those who were just a few years older in both devotional service and life? Now I think not, but then I was admittedly confused. So, I ended up in a drafty, damp brahmicary quarters at the Bhaktivedanta Manor, 10,000 miles from Seattle, with no service, no friends, and no explanations. I eventually got over it and I gradually regained my composure, only to have to go through it all over again with Jayatirtha dasa.
There are two obvious areas of analysis: 1) Hansadutta dasa, and 2) ISKCON and its governing system, post Srila Prabhupada’s maha-samadhi.
As I mentioned earlier, I am not a professional psychologist or psychiatrist, so my abilities are limited and somewhat speculative. I believe, however, that I am correct in assuming that this individual has serious mental problems which were exasperated by the AIDS (acarya imitation disease). In Hansadutta dasa’s case, I am of the opinion that neither the original psychosis nor the AIDS have been dealt with sincerely, properly or professionally. In fact, there is every indication that Hansadutta is still in deep denial in regards to his dangerous condition, and should not be trusted until such time as these problems are admitted to and dealt with in the proper manner.
I have studied his written material, “Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You”, as well as “Where’s the Mercy”, “Uncommunicated Incommunicado”, “Where’s the Honesty”, and other information on his website. Although he is well versed in Krsna conscious terminology and a practiced preacher of the philosophy, the dishonesty is evident to those who have had close association with this individual and observed his expertise at putting on a wide variety of personae at the drop of a hat. Hansadutta dasa has perfected his skills and his characters to near perfection. I have witnessed him crying real tears of humility one minute, and as soon as the person he wanted to impress left the room, the tears immediately ceased and he was cursing them out. I can recall when the GBC sent their great sentimentalist, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, to Berkeley to try to talk sense into Hansadutta dasa. I happened to be visiting at the time, and had an opportunity to secretly view the meeting. I saw Hansadutta work his magic on the unsuspecting Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, who left thinking that he had penetrated his consciousness. But no sooner was Satsvarupa dasa Goswami out the door than Hansadutta was bad mouthing him and swearing a blue streak. I was dumbfounded. What seemed even more amazing is that his longtime associates on the GBC didn’t seem to recognize this level of deception. But, people believe what they want to believe, and it served them to believe that he’d had a change of heart. As he wrote in his apology letter to Urdhvaga Prabhu:
“I did not write, because before doing so, I wanted to fathom the actual depth and cause of my complete degradation and disgraceful behavior after the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, especially in connection with illegal assumption of the initiating zonal Guru Acarya activities in which I played such a destructive role.”
“Although I see everything in a sane, sober and proper perspective now, it has taken me more than 10 years of painful, anguished and repentant soul searching to understand my problem....”
Within my own mind I find some major discrepancies with the letter itself, as well as it’s contradictory contents. Firstly of all, why just copy a brief letter written to one follower? Why not write a far more detailed and descriptive letter to all the “kidnapped” disciples as well as all the Godbrothers and sisters, including Srila Prabhupada. He caused immeasurable pain and anxiety to everyone inside and outside the movement. But as he puts it, “I caused the spiritual ruin of hundreds and thousands of sincere, aspiring devotees, whom I stole away (kidnapped) from Srila Prabhupada (the Founder-Acarya) by presenting myself as a bonafide acarya, spiritual master, when in fact I was not even able to control my senses any more than an ordinary karmi.” The fact is that his activities were far more degraded than that of the normal behavior of a common karmi.
The accumulated anxiety, pain and suffering of all the innocent devotees, both those who he deceptively initiated as well as the many young children, exploited women and Godbrothers, what to speak of the offenses to the maha-bhagavata Srila Prabhupada, not to mention the millions of innocent karmis who were negatively infected with doubt about the validity of Srila Prabhupada’s message. All this reaction as a result of his nefarious activities was a million times greater than he is admitting to here, and a million times greater than his own suffering to date. When we read carefully, we observe that Hansadutta dasa is mainly emphasizing his own suffering and trying to convince the reader that he has been cured and is now sane, sober and fully rectified. He tells us he is seeing from the proper perspective now because he finally recognized, after 10 years, that he had the acarya imitation disease. Seeing that he was instantly manifesting the symptoms after accepting the bait of being a zonal acarya, we can only assume that he was badly infected well before Srila Prabhupada departed. In fact, this was also the cause of his and ISKCON’s problems in Germany. He tells us that he has been cured, but this letter indicates that he is still badly infected. Hansadutta dasa still hankers for the title of Rtvik-acarya, the only straw left to grab. This 10 year silence was not due to the purification process taking place.
Now, after getting married and running a trailer court for 10 years, he is still looking for a way back to fame and fortune. He is thinking, “if I support and back-up the Rtvik proponents, who are putting forth the appointment letter as their main piece of evidence - which happens to have my name on it - then at least it is better than remaining in obscurity and boredom.” In reality, there hasn’t been any true penance or austerity. There have been no signs of renewed enthusiasm for preaching single handily on the streets or door to door. Hansadutta has spent no time chanting and walking on parikrama, or living in Srila Prabhupada’s austere quarters at the Radha Damodar temple for a few years, eating only rice and dahl, constantly reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, serving and begging forgiveness from Srila Prabhupada in this humble manner. No, instead he has been living comfortably off the money of his wife, an ex-disciple, in sunny California. She probably thought she was joining Srila Prabhupada’s sankirtan movement, and instead was duped into accepting Hansadutta dasa as her guru, and on the basis of that relationship a bond was established that was exploited by Hansadutta. As we are taught by Srila Prabhupada, “everything belongs to Krsna and should be used in His service”, especially the money of the surrendered disciple of the maha-bhagavata guru. Hansadutta admits he kidnapped these disciples, which I assume includes her and her moneys, which he used exclusively in his own service and sense gratification.
“Why has it taken me so long to write this frank and honest letter?"
So, we are now supposed to unconditionally consider his letter, which took 10 years to write, to be both frank and honest. Hansadutta dasa claims that he knows that Srila Prabhupada has forgiven him based on his admission, that he has been chanting the holy names attentively for an undisclosed length of time, which has resulted in all the pratistha being removed, which can only mean that he is a pure devotee again. This letter, on face value, is supposed to stand as the only evidence of his complete reformation. We are expected to take his trusted word that he is now purified again, willing and ready to assume his rightful position as a Rtvik acarya. The position of being Srila Prabhupada’s representative, according to his definition, is an exalted position held only by an advanced disciple who has the developed the qualifications to be a siksa guru. It was Srila Prabhupada’s causeless mercy to include Hansadutta’s name on the official list in the first place, but keep in mind that the names were selected on the basis of geographical considerations and that it was Srila Prabhupada’s arrangement to banish Hansadutta dasa to Sri Lanka, Ravana’s kingdom. Srila Prabhupada then could give another chance to this troubled disciple. Srila Prabhupada was well aware of his ambitious nature and therefore aware that if he left Hansadutta’s name off the list he would be discouraged. We can only assume that Srila Prabhupada was fully aware of Hansadutta’s inability to work cooperatively with his Godbrothers, so Srila Prabhupada sent him to a far distant place so that the other Godbrothers would not have to deal closely with him, but he could still have a territory in which to develop for the satisfaction of his guru. It was a perfect arrangement. The inability of the GBC to learn from the past by recognizing Hansadutta’s limitations and psychological condition is inexcusable. More important is the fact that Hansadutta himself was in denial and had not been able to learn anything from his past mistakes. This obvious observation could have been analyzed to be a result of his chronic psychosis or, from a spiritual viewpoint, a lack of sincerity resulting in a lack of surrender to Srila Prabhupada and Krsna, therefore he was unqualified to be an authority outside the boundaries set by Srila Prabhupada.
Hansadutta dasa’s inability to change is certainly not due to a lack of brain power. He is a very intelligent fellow, but he has no control over the dark side of his multifaceted, bizarre personality. Extreme selfishness, a lack of sensitivity to the feelings of others, and an inability to discern the difference between right and wrong are common symptoms of the psychotic personality, and these behavior defects are obviously present in Hansadutta dasa’s nature. Irrationality and uncontrollable anger are also evident in his character and are exhibited in his writings, which are liberally sprinkled with capitals and verbal “in your face” finger pointing statements. It is very evident that his lower nature has not transformed, as he indicates. Hansadutta certainly doesn’t display much humility, nor is there the evidence of deep realization that his previous nefarious activities have ruined his reputation, probably beyond repair. As Canyaka Pandit states, “when one looses his money he looses nothing. If one looses ones health one looses something but if one looses ones character one looses everything”.
Srimad-Bhagavatam, 3.29.8 Purport
“One who approaches the Supreme Lord to render devotional service, but who is proud of his personality, envious of others or vengeful, is in the mode of anger. He thinks that he is the best devotee. Devotional service executed in this way is not pure; it is mixed and is of the lowest grade, tämas. Srila Visvanätha Cakravarti Thäkura advises that a Vaisnava who is not of good character should be avoided. A Vaisnava is one who has taken the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the ultimate goal of life, but if one is not pure and still has motives, then he is not a Vaisnava of the first order of good character. One may offer his respects to such a Vaisnava because he has accepted the Supreme Lord as the ultimate goal of life, but one should not keep company with a Vaisnava who is in the mode of ignorance.”
Bhagavad-Gita Class, Los Angeles, 12-13-68
“So good character is immediately there. That is the test. How one is spiritually advanced will be tested how he has acquired all the good qualities.”
Srimad-Bhagavatam Class, Tehran, 3-13-75
“So this is not a sentimental fanaticism, religious movement. This is scientific movement for the good of the whole world. That we have to convince by our character, by our behavior. Then people will accept it.”
For someone of Hansadutta dasa’s dubious character to suddenly come out of embarrassing seclusion with both fists swinging, all based on his new found realization that all along, he was supposed to be a Rtvik acarya instead of a zonal acarya, then to make the claim that if the Rtvik option had taken place instead of the zonal acarya option then all those demoniac qualities that he immediately manifested would not have surfaced, is simply nonsense. Rtvik, diksa, GBC, BBT trustee, Temple President - whatever the position, Hansadutta dasa’s history shows that he becomes intolerably intoxicated by false prestige. There is no indication that he has changed. His writings, his printed materials, his activities indicate otherwise.
All the whirlwind of accusations hurled around surrounding Hansadutta dasa’s discovery that the excommunication resolution he assumed took place in the eighties, at the height of his debauchery, wasn’t actually on the books, was blown way out of proportion. So what, that there wasn’t a GBC resolution? That doesn’t erase the fact that there should have been an excommunication resolution back in 1978, but due to the cover up program in place back then, he was permitted to continue his rampage for years with the tacit consent of his cohorts. Justice would have it that he should have been thrown out on his ear and stripped of all institutional powers for his grotesque actions as soon as these insane symptoms became known. Instead, the GBC tolerated it for years.
Hansadutta also tried to make a come back by taking shelter of another psychotic, Kirtanananda dasa. Birds of a feather flock together. Kirtananda Swami was still in ISKCON at the time, in fact, it was around the time the reform meetings were taking place at New Vrindabin. Hansadutta, at this time, had become pro-Kirtanananda soon after Tri-yogi had whacked Kirtananda on the head and had almost killed him. Kirtanananda's birthday came at just about the same time as Janmastami and Srila Prabhupada's birthday, so New Vrindavan was into merging all three into one great love festival. Hansadutta dasa attended and apparently also spoke, trumpeting the glorious accomplishments and personal glories of "Bhaktipada." The peak of the festivities occurred when there was a kirtan, with Kirtanananda on his opulent throne, and his disciples and followers and well-wishers glorifying the birthday of the Acarya. Perhaps Hansadutta led this kirtan; I do not know. But I do know what he said about it. He said that it was the loudest and most enthusiastic kirtan he had ever heard or seen anywhere at any time. He compared it to kirtans done in the presence of Srila Prabhupada on his vyasasana and said that the intensity and potency of those kirtans for Srila Prabhupada was dwarfed by this ultra-ecstatic kirtan for Kirtanananda. He said that if Kirtanananda was not a pure devotee, it would not be possible for a kirtan of this overwhelming exuberance to take place. The kirtan proved that he was a pure devotee.
Later, in 1991, Hansadutta dasa tried to make another comeback, this time within ISKCON, ostensibly for the good association with (strangely enough) those GBC members who were fanatically anti-Rtvik. His attempt to get in their good graces and thus be permitted to re-enter the original organization was almost successful, except that some sane members of the GBC wisely specified that certain pre-conditions be set on his behavior, which seemed to me to be overly reasonable on their part. But again, as predictable, Hansadutta hit the roof with ridiculous accusations of unfair treatment and exclamations that the GBC lacked the compassion exhibited by Srila Prabhupada. These conditions included that he couldn’t just go into ISKCON temples and attend ISKCON festivals, and presumptuously start leading kirtans and giving classes. This was obviously due to Hansadutta dasa’s well known prideful tendency to egotistically take over, assuming that he was the greatest kirtan leader since the advent of Lord Caitanya. He tried to make out that the GBC was forbidding him from chanting or preaching at all, which was understandably not the case.
I was personally dumbfounded when I came all the way from Canada to attend a Los Angeles Ratha Yatra in the early 90’s, only to have to tolerate hearing Hansadutta leading the main kirtan party, throughout the whole parade. It brought back a flood of bad memories. I was trying to forget not only the horrendous experiences perpetrated by Hansadutta, but the fact that ISKCON had allowed him to continue on for so long, and now they were again allowing this spiritual criminal to jump back into the middle of the limelight, a place where he constantly hankers to be. The GBC’s tacit consent reinforced my mistrust of ISKCON’s ability to police itself.
With their long-standing, albeit highly selective, policy of forgive and forget, ISKCON seems to have forgotten the atrocities committed by Hansadutta dasa, along with the crimes of their other senior members during the infamous zonal acarya era. It appears that they have now forgiven even the well known child molester, Bhavananda dasa, who is being shown preferential treatment in Australia to this very day. I was shocked to discover magazines that resembled BTG’s, recently printed by Hansadutta dasa, that have a large picture of Hansadutta on the inside cover with a completely sanitized history of his past activities. On the following page there was a smaller, less flattering picture of Srila Prabhupada, with an inadequate description of his qualities and achievements. The same was found on Hansadutta’s webpage early last year, where the homepage picture was a shot of a beaming Hansadutta, sitting with Srila Prabhupada.
Basically, I am claiming that Hansadutta dasa is incorrigible, and that unless he seeks professional help or undergoes an extended period of true spiritual purification, based on austere penance as described above, then he should be avoided and no respectable devotee should try to befriend him for fear of being negatively influenced by his devious mentality. He is a very dangerous individual who can easily and expertly contaminate the neophyte, thus causing serious damage to their bhakti lata bija. ISKCON is seemingly still bewildered on how to deal with him due their own past compromises in regard to other senior members of the ISKCON elite, the most recent example being their handling of the Gopi Bhava Club fiasco.
It is a fact that many of the original plunderers of Srila Prabhupada’s assets left while the going was good, and many of them reportedly departed with large sums of money, but that none of these individuals were legally pursued, even though ISKCON has their own in house legal council made up of initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada. On the other hand, anyone who is perceived of as politically dangerous due to promoting a conspiracy theory or demanding justice or investigations is legally harassed for even using the name Hare Krsna on pamphlets or signage. Yet those who support ISKCON’s diksa guru policy, but at the same time relegate Srila Prabhupada to a minor spiritual position below his Godbrothers, like Tripurari Swami, are given permission to print whole lectures and articles of Srila Prabhupada’s along with advertisements for ISKCON authorized and sponsored programs such as ITV and tape ministries. Who is making these decisions? What are their policies and criteria for taking legal action?
I am only giving my own opinion, which is obviously influenced by the traumatic experiences I had with this individual, as well as other psychotics disguised as leaders within ISKCON, but I speak for thousands like me who have experienced similar shocks. The reader can come to his own conclusions, but I feel that at last my experiences have had a chance to be aired in public, and from now on I can ask people to read this essay, instead of feeling obliged to have to repeat this story over and over again, something that I have done many times in the last 18 years. If anyone feels moved to add to these accounts or has some other opinion in regards to my statements, please feel free to write. There are many more separate incidents that I have chosen to exclude from this paper, for fear that it become too voluminous: Hansadutta dasa’s involvement with the women of Berkeley, his alcohol and drug taking, the murder of Jiva dasa, as well as his notorious pre-samadhi pastimes - they’re all there for someone else who has direct experience to expound upon. I am just giving my personal first-hand accounts.
The fact that others have not come forward to tell their stories, both in the case of Hansadutta dasa and the other monsters created by the AIDS epidemic that swept through Srila Prabhupada’s sacred mission, is partly responsible for this disease moving forward unchecked, where it is infecting more and more innocent devotees. I challenge all devotees to do some soul searching in an attempt to detect and then root out any telltale symptoms of this disease, that eats away at the very fabric of Vaisnavism, namely Humility. Hansadutta is just a unique and extreme example. Jagadisa dasa is the most recent example, but there have been many past examples and I anticipate many more high profile victims, what to speak of the many thousands of unknown victims who have left Srila Prabhupada’s service for this very reason, and will continue to suffer until they cure themselves.
We could adapt the famous Yaksa Prasna verse from Mahabharata, what's the most wonderful thing?
ahani ahani guravah andha kupe patantyadhah
sesah sthavaram icchanti kim ascaryam atah param
"Day in and day out the Gurus are falling into the deep dark well.
But the rest are thinking they will never fall. What is more wonderful than
For all abuse victims to honestly tell their stories, regardless of how painful it may be, is the first step towards recovery. In recent sociological studies of abuse, the first member of the family who reveals the “family secret” is looked upon with abhorrence by the other members, who are shocked that one of them would dare tell the secret to someone outside the family circle. In all dysfunctional, abusive families, the truth is sublimated and in it’s place the secrets lie. Illusions replace reality. Everyone becomes involved in the disease. In ISKCON, since the time the GBC allowed Hansadutta dasa to continue his diabolical abuse to this very today, this dynamic is taking place. As time goes on this denial has become harder and harder to defend, so the stone walls of censorship become higher and communications with the outside world become more controlled through PR departments and GBC committees. The rigid rules and regulations made by the GBC become more voluminous, and the penalties for non-compliance more severe. The bureaucracy has to increase so that all the rules can be implemented and enforced. All this, because there is no love, trust or co-operation. Was Srila Prabhupada in favor of all these arrangements? I don’t think this was his idea of the happy Krsna conscious family, all living blissfully in the house that He built.