Hare Krishna Society and the Company They Keep
BY: SUN STAFF
Jun 07, 2012 CANADA (SUN) Over the years, a number of articles have appeared in the Sampradaya Sun regarding the activities of the Hare Krishna Society and its members. Better known as the 'West Coast Rtviks', this group of ISKCON dissidents led by Yasoda Nandana dasa has become the face of Ritvik-ism in North America.
The group was founded in California around 2002, when they launched their www.KrishnaConsciousnessMovement.com website. In late 2003, we ran a series of articles in HareKrsna.com about our challenge to debate Ritvik-vada with Yasoda Nandana dasa, his agreement to debate, and his subsequent reneging on that agreement. The correspondence we exchanged with HKS on the subject is archived here.
Along with Yasoda Nandana das, the founding members of HKS include Puranjana das, Damaghosa dasa, Narasimha das and Sri Mukunda dasa. The current roster of HKS members can be found here. Although HKS downplays Puranjana's role in the organization (for obvious reasons), he is widely known to be an active participant.
Indications of HKS's alliance with Puranjana, and their association with Madhu Pandit das and the Bangalore Rtviks, is easily found on the Net. For example, we note the keyword tags used on www.Prabhupadanugas.eu, a Bangalore-centric Ritvik site, in their article on the Sunnyvale Rtvik temple:
A.C. Bhativedanta swami, bangalore, ca, cancalpati, Chanchalapati, foundation, indian heritage, iskcon, ISKCON Sunnyvale Temple Tour Home of Sri Sri Krishna-Balarama ritvik, madhu pandit, Puranjana, rtvik temple, San Jose, Srila Prabhupada, Sunnyvale, Tim Lee, USA, yashoda nandana, Yasoda
Like their alliance with Puranjana, the HKS also tends to downplay their relationship with Jitarati das, a Rtvik devotee well known for his association with the Bhaktivedanta Investigative Force (BIF), which for years was actively pursuing the poisoning issue. BIF's history as a break-away faction of Krishnakant's IRM is described here.
Jitarati's founding partner in BIF, Sakshi Gopal das was in the news last year, in a report by a group of concerned Prabhupada Disciples and Followers, entitled "
BIF, Sakshi Gopal das Blaspheme Lord Krishna, Srila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita". The article describes Jitarati's defense of Sakshi Gopal's offensive denigration of Srila Prabhupada, the Vedas and the Lord Himself:
"Recently, Sakshi Gopal das's close associate and chief right (wrong) hand man responsible for also handling the correspondences in BIF, and who is aiding and abetting Sakshi, justified Sakshi's most abominable actions and treacherous betrayal statements to Srila Prabhupada. He did this by making the following misleading and diverting statement, writing: "It's just that he's (Sakshi) is not catering to the appetite of ISKCON devotees or ISKCON reformers; they are no longer BIF's target audience." Thus in his desperate attempt to justify Sakshi's blasphemous statements, at least this person confirms the fact that Sakshi now has a new audience. One need not be a rocket scientist to understand that the new audience are indeed the above mentioned materialistic personalities. Yet any sane honest devotee/Vaisnava knows that there never has been a precedence in Vaisnava history that in order to NOT cater to the appetite of ISKCON devotees/Reformers, one can make all the direct blasphemous statements to spiritually exalted personalities and scriptures, just to compromise with and satisfy the whims of all kinds of materialistic people."
The HKS continued to maintain a close relationship with Jitarati during the period when BIF was going off the rails, and to our knowledge, HKS offered no critical commentary on Jitarati's defense of Sakshi Gopal, or criticism of Sakshi Gopal's offensive diatribes, for that matter.
HKS's relationship with Jitarati had also been called to question a year prior to the BIF blowout, when the arrest and incarceration of Tattva Darshan das was making news. Among the recap articles appearing in the Sun on this story were "Bhaktivedanta Eco Village's Tattva Darshan dasa, Convicted Sex Offender" by Shyamasundara dasa (Australia), and "Tattva Darshan dasa and Pedophilia" by Mahananda dasa. In his article, Shyamasundara prabhu mentioned Tattva Darshan's relationship with Jitarati who, along with Mahasrnga dasa, attended Tattva Darshan in Cambodia at the time of his arrest.
Today, the Tattva Darshan story has again landed on the Sun's front page, this time in the context of his direct connections with the Hare Krishna Society. Earlier in this article, we mentioned Sri Mukunda dasa, the founding Secretary of HKS. You'll note that some of the correspondence we exchanged with HKS on the reneged debate was with HKS's secretary, Sri Mukunda, who was writing on behalf of Yasoda Nandana dasa.
Sri Mukunda dasa, who currently lives in Los Angeles, was "initiated" in a Ritvik ceremony conducted by Ritvik priest, Yasoda nandana dasa, in Downey California, 2003. After a decade of service as HKS's Secretary, Sri Mukunda recently quit the organization in a bitter dispute over the subject of HKS's protection of Tattva Darshan. He recently told his story to the Sun:
Child Molesters in Srila Prabhupada's Movement:
"My name is Sri Mukunda dasa and I first came in contact with Hare Krishna devotees in 1992. Since then I have witnessed child molestations, beatings, and threats and intimidation for speaking out against child molesters. I never served in any official capacity within ISKCON although in my early days I did meet many nice Prabhupadanugas at the LA Temple. I have never surrendered to anyone other than Srila Prabhupada as my guru.
I met Yasodanandan Prabhu in Badger, CA through my good friend at the time, the late Radha-Kunda das, Around 1993. In 1996, I took my first trip to Vrindavana, India with Radha-Kunda dasa, Bir Laksman dasa and Krishna-Katha Mataji. In 1996 there was an incident at the LA temple involving my daughter, that I will not go into detail about. Afterwards, in 1997, my daughter Radharani and I rented a house and lived in Vrindavana for two months.
In 2001, Yasodanandan das asked me to be the Secretary of the newly formed Hare Krishna Society and assist with the publication of the "Srila Prabhupada Siddhanta Book", which I did. I served Yasoda and the HKS for ten years, printing "Our Living Guru" t-shirts for HKS, and even traveling with Yasodanandan to Vrindavana in 2004 to distribute the SPS book and Our Living Guru t-shirts. In 2005 I returned to Vrindavana with more books and T-shirts, and stayed there for 6 weeks.
I continued to serve the HKS as Secretary as recently as 2011. In October of 2011, I found out that the Hare Krishna Society board members had traveled to India, met with, stayed with, and were now promoting and backing Tattva Darshana dasa, who was convicted in Cambodia of sex with underage children in 2008 and spent one year in jail.
When I tried to investigate Tattva Darshana and BEV, and their connection with HKS, I was met with arguments, lies and threats. When I discovered the truth about Tattva and HKS I immediately resigned. I was told by HKS leaders to accept their lies for Tattva, or I am an offender and a nutjob.
After resigning from HKS and my character being attacked by the HKS leaders, I went public with exactly why I resigned. Yasodanandan then called in his "hit man", Puranjana, to discredit me on the Internet and silence me. Puranjana happily took up the job, as this is what he does best -- lie and smear innocent devotees in public. Puranjana wasted no time in offending me, my daughter, and now my deceased wife, on the orders of Yasodanandana. This is Yasodanandan's style. He attacks his "enemies" through his puppet Puranjana, so Yasoda can appear to be above all the dirty nonsense Puranjana says. And Puranjana can at the same time appear to be separate from Yasoda, but that is an illusion only.
After ten years with HKS, I know exactly how Yasoda operates with Puranjana. Yasoda gets on the phone with Puranjana and tells him who to attack and what to say, then he sits back and laughs while Puranjana goes to work. Then Yasoda can appear to be "saintly" and "advanced."
I heard Puranjana say, while he was speaking to another devotee on speaker phone: "I cannot expose Tattva because he is helping with the poison issue.'"
The article about Tattva Darshan written by Shyamasundara dasa discusses Jitarati's defense of Tattva Darshan's sexual inclinations, and the fact that Jitarati has been a financial supporter of Tattva Darshan and a participant in the Bhaktivedanta Eco Village (BEV) project.
Just as the HKS continued to maintain a close relationship with Jitarati while he defended Sakshi Gopal's blasphemy of Srila Prabhupada and Sri Krsna, they have likewise defended him and his business investment in BEV, by virtue of their defense of Tattva Darshan. This is the crux of Sri Mukunda recent falling out with HKS -- Yasoda nandana, Puranjana, Damaghosa and company are defending a convicted sex offender because, as Puranjana reportedly stated, Tattva Darshan das 'is helping with the poison issue'.
Meanwhile, Damaghosa das wrote a recent article in support of Tattva Darshan, demonizing Sri Mukunda as a fault-finding-aparadhi-non-devotee for daring to criticize Tattva Darshan. Following his glowing report on the BEV project in January 2010, Damaghosa recently penned his apologia, entitled "A Response by the Hare Krsna Society Against the False Stories Propagated on the Internet Against Many Sincere and Dedicate Prabhupadanuga Devotees".
While Damaghosa das vehemently demonizes Sri Mukunda for criticizing Tattva Darshan and the HKS who supports and covers for him, Damaghosa fault-finds anyone who doesn't believe the white-washed version of events as he lays them down. Never mind that Damaghosa wasn't there in Cambodia, and that his version contradicts every official version on the record, from the local police, to the French NGO who was tracking Tattva Darshan's activities, to the Court that convicted him. Surely they're all wrong, and Damaghosa is right.
In his Sun article, Mahananda das reposted this report from a 2008 Chennai newspaper:
"Wayne has been in trouble with the Indian authorities in the past. By Chaithanya's own admission, Wayne was detained for questioning by the police seven years ago after a complaint of child sex abuse from an Iskcon devotee. "It was a baseless allegation for which my father was questioned and nothing came of it," Chaithanya said. However, Hari Sauri Das, head of ISKCON's Child Protection Team, said, "Wayne had been removed from all official positions at ISKCON following similar child abuse charges in 2002."
According to his website, Wayne has been travelling extensively. The president of the French NGO tracking him said, "We found Wayne's movements suspicious and our interactions with children whom Wayne had been in touch with, added to our doubt."
Media reports on Tattva Darshan are affirmed by the NGO child welfare agency, Asociación Protect, headquartered in Barcelona, Spain. This group is active worldwide, campaigning for children's rights in places where their wellbeing is at risk due to the presence of foreign sex offenders. Asociación Protect was monitoring Tattva Darshan's case as it moved through the Phnom Penh court system, and their report confirms that a Vietnamese child, 12 years of age, was involved.
Following is a collection of photographs of Tattva Darshan in prison, in transit from court, and with his helpmates during the time of his arrest.
While the Hare Krishna Society is busy protecting Tattva Darshan das, they are simultaneously evangelizing on behalf of the Bangalore Ritviks… on whose behalf Madhu Pandit is busy demonizing the ISKCON gurus for their sexual falldowns.
American citizen Tomas Rapanos, who founded a Krishna-faith-based organization in India, is held in a Cambodian jail on March 9, 2008, after being arrested for suspected sexual abuse of two Cambodian street girls aged 12 and 16 years. All three were found partially clothed in a guest house in the popular Phnom Penh backpacker area of Lakeside by police who were tipped off by investigators with the non-governmental organization APLE.
[Captioned photos copyright 2008 Tim Matsui, All Rights Reserved]
Two men, an Austrian, at left, and an American, at right, try to figure out what to do about their friend Thomas Rapanos, an American arrested and accused of debauchery by Cambodian authorities
Thomas Rapanos in a Cambodian police jail awaiting formal charges of debauchery
Thomas Rapanos is handcuffed to a police vehicle following a court appearance in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he was charged with debauchery
Copyright: Asociación Protect