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Was ISKCON's Swami Prabhupada murdered by Devotees?

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posted on Mar, 27 2012 @ 11:51 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 

I'll check out your link.

People on Swami Prabhupada's level of spiritual development are not usually very concerned about death, at least as far as its effect on them personally is concerned. In the case of the 16th Karmapa, dying in Chicago, seemed like a sign, confirming to his followers that Buddhadharma was going to come to the West, if he had anything to do with it. (Tibetans were traditionally very isolationist.)

There are interesting stories about Karmapa's passing. Undoubtedly people close to Swami Prabhupada would have stories about him.

The poison thing is a little disturbing, but I doubt that it disturbed the swami.

Edit: I looked at the link which discusses a tape purporting to contain remarks made by Prabhupada that he believed he was being poisoned. He is also quoted as having asked his students not to kill him.

If this kind of thing was going on around him, it would be very troubling to the swami and to people who were truly devoted to him. I think the swami would be more concerned for the perpetrators of an act of murder, their karmic result, than for himself as a victim.

Religious communities can be gossipy places though. A certain kind of gossip is a rarefied sort of vice for the pious.

edit on 28-3-2012 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 12:17 AM
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Originally posted by homeskillet
if you havent, you should check out the Book Monkey on a Stick. i read it years ago after familiarizing myself with the Swamis interpretations on the traditional books and i have to say it did turn me off to the whole idea. its pretty much about all the in fighting of Prabhupads main disciples fifghting over who gets what not to mention drugs, theft and even child molestation.


Prabhupada tried to graft the same kind of, "we're right, everyone else is wrong," thinking from Christianity onto Hinduism, and it is completely antithetical to that religion. Granted, Vaishnavism probably is about as close as Hinduism gets to fundamentalism anyway from what I've seen, even without ISKCON, but still.

The fundamental violation of more normal Hindu belief, was the idea that everyone should focus purely on Krishna as the only acceptable representation of God; when the idea usually is that individuals have an Ishta Deva (cherished deity) which has whatever likeness is most appropriate for said person.

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 01:05 PM
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reply to post by petrus4
 

Interesting opinion, because in SA the Hindu community are generally very active in ISKCON, mainly as congregational members, and they volunteer for feeding schemes and attend the festivals.
It is certainly not seen as phony.
Neither does ISKCON forbid or prescribe which deities should be worshipped outside the temple.
The regional deity (or expansion of Lord Krishna) in SA is Lord Jagannatha.
However, in the stories of Krishna's pastimes, all the Hindu deities are mentioned.
They just say that generally in the Kali-Yuga the easiest way is to chant and make daily activities devotional, rather than to sit on a mountain and meditate, because the vibrations of this age are too distracting.

I've seen devotees in discussion with Christians and Muslims, and not once did they say any other faith is doomed or going to hell.
Although Phrabupada was sometimes curt with his sense of overwhelming responsibility, to me his message was that Krishna consciousness was for everyone, and as a congregational member you could practice what you can as a Jew, a Hindu or any faith. He even said chanting Christ would lead to liberation.

However, not all critics agree on this, or on what he always meant.
To devotees, the hostility came from the Impersonalists in the Hindu (and I suppose Buddhist) streams.
More heated arguments would occur between Krishna devotees and those of Sai Baba (whom they considered a fraud, as he claimed to be an avatar of Lord Krishna).
Phrabupada saw Vedic culture as real, while the term "Hindu" was imposed by outsiders as a collective term for people who lived across a river.
This has led some anti-cult critics to presume that ISKCON is a religion of its own, which has no real connection to Hinduism or any other faith.
However, this is obviously not quite true either.
There are people who practice Krishna consciousness and Buddhism (see the psychologist at the bottom of the previous page) and other devotions.

I suppose, if you're going to live in a Krishna temple, then the forms of Krishna should be most appealing to you.
But they never say give up your religion or deity, or you cannot come for congregational service, or volunteer.
In fact, on one camp I made a bad remark about Christians, and they didn't like that all.

As far as "Hindu fundamentalism" goes, the recent books on parallel streams of fundamentalism in the world religions point out more violent forms, especially cases of violence between Hindus and Muslims, and recent cases of suttee (widow burning). None of these had anything to with ISKCON.

This doesn't mean that there has not been violence in ISKCON, but it's been rather insular, and about internal power struggles.


edit on 30-3-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by halfoldman
reply to post by petrus4
 

Interesting opinion, because in SA the Hindu community are generally very active in ISKCON, mainly as congregational members, and they volunteer for feeding schemes and attend the festivals.
It is certainly not seen as phony.
Neither does ISKCON forbid or prescribe which deities should be worshipped outside the temple.
The regional deity (or expansion of Lord Krishna) in SA is Lord Jagannatha.


My guess is that it has probably reverted to the norm since Prabhupada's death. I think Prabhupada tried to introduce the idea of spiritual exclusivity for the same reason that the Christians did; as a means of holding people in the group, when they might not have otherwise wanted to stay. I could be wrong about this, but my own reading of the Gita and other parts of the Mahabharata, has strongly implied to me that Hinduism as a religion is largely non-coercive.

You're told that devotion and/or asceticism has benefits associated with it, yes; but the belief in reincarnation, I think also leads to the assumption that you will eventually get to the point of wanting realisation sooner or later anyway.

There is no sin in eating meat, in (drinking) spirituous liquor, and in carnal intercourse, for that is the natural way of created beings, but abstention brings great rewards.
-- Manusmriti 5:56

So the emphasis is positive, unlike Semitic monotheism which is punitive in focus. Although Hell (Neraka) can be mentioned at times, the focus is usually a lot more on the positive alterations that Sattvic cultivation will produce in a person, rather than on the negative things which will happen to you if you are not observant. Even when Hell is mentioned, it is from the vantage point that the main reason why you don't want to go there, is because it is so difficult to leave, (which implies that leaving is possible, unlike Christianity) rather than because of the idea that God *wants* you to suffer.


They just say that generally in the Kali-Yuga the easiest way is to chant and make daily activities devotional, rather than to sit on a mountain and meditate, because the vibrations of this age are too distracting.


"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way."

-- Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.33.6)

That is the specific scriptural reference which Prabhupada used as support of that position. I believe that japa is powerful; but the sort of kirtana that I've heard of the Hare Krishnas doing, and mala japa are to an extent two different things. Sri Ramana Maharshi in particular was quite adamant that japa's effectiveness depends on the *least* possible amount of noise being made.

I also don't completely agree, personally, with the idea that japa or kirtana are the only appropriate forms of devotional activity. Prabhupada was not only adamant that kirtana was the only means of salvation, but he was equally adamant that it was Krishna kirtana specifically. He explicitly condemned other forms.


I've seen devotees in discussion with Christians and Muslims, and not once did they say any other faith is doomed or going to hell.


No, they wouldn't. Like I said; Prabhupada was extremely unusual in his thinking, in Hindu terms. That is the polite way of saying it; although I am inclined to believe that the man was a charlatan, to be brutally honest. None of what I've read him saying, to me seemed to be about anything other than him giving people reasons as to why he and he alone...his movement...was the only way that someone could get close to God. I left Christianity specifically to get away from that type of thinking; and the fact that exclusivity is not usually an element of Hindu thought, is one of the religion's greatest strengths, in my own mind.

I also want to clarify, however, that I am not meaning to accuse contemporary ISKCON adherents of having Prabhupada's own attitudes, and I am very gratified to hear it if they do not. I think the situation with ISKCON now, is perhaps similar to that with some elements of the Church of Scientology. Although Lafayette Ronald Hubbard himself was a con man, eventually Scientology attracted good people, and after Hubbard himself died, they left the group and created another movement (the Free Zone) in which the positive elements of Scientology could be emphasised, without the abuse that Hubbard's group had engaged in.

The available evidence has suggested to me, that such is the case with ISKCON; that while being a cult leader was Prabhupada's own intent, that the group is now at least somewhat populated by other people, who have much more positive and genuinely benevolent intentions.

I will also say that of the great religions, I consider Hinduism to be by far the greatest that I have encountered; and so for that reason, it is perhaps necessary to be somewhat kinder to Prabhupada than I have been here, for his work in bringing the faith to non-Indians, irrespective of his own individual frailties.
edit on 30-3-2012 by petrus4 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:11 PM
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Srila Prabhupada did provably study under a line of gurus, he was not phony.

Despite his age he translated many books, and it's known as the "Prabhupada-lila".

To many this idealized stage of ISKCON was ruined by his passing.

So I'm not sure what Prabhupada did wrong specifically, or how he was a charlatan?



posted on Mar, 30 2012 @ 05:39 PM
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Originally posted by halfoldman
So I'm not sure what Prabhupada did wrong specifically, or how he was a charlatan?


I basically just gained a very strong impression, that he was primarily interested in his own aggrandisement; or more specifically, that is message consisted almost exclusively, of him trying to tell people why he was the only person that they should listen to, and that his prescribed method was the only way to God.

That to me, is one of the surest signs of an aspirant cult leader, because it indicates that what the person in question really wants, more than anything else, is power over others. Again, I am not seeking to specifically target Prabhupada here so much, from the point of view that I am aware that there have been a number of other such individuals leading various different kinds of movements. I spent several years learning about cults, mind control, and a number of examples of different pre-existing groups; and you could say that after you've done that for a while, you learn what to look for.

I'm also not saying that the man never did good things. I'm sure he did a lot of good, in a lot of different ways. What I am perhaps really saying, is that I don't believe that he had a sufficient level of consistency in terms of positive intentions, for him to be someone who I personally would want to consider a genuine spiritual authority. I also do not believe that his perspective matched what I consider to be legitimate Hinduism.

That's me, however. If other people have been able to gain something positive from his influence, and they have not been harmed by him, then I have no right to take that away from them.



posted on Mar, 31 2012 @ 03:12 AM
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reply to post by petrus4
 

No need to be apologetic for your opinion, many people did not like him, I just thought you had some particular information or reasons.

I was not of the generation who knew him while alive, and he seems at times austere and demanding, also for himself, but he certainly never befitted personally, and lived a devotional life for his Krishna movement.



posted on Oct, 25 2012 @ 06:02 PM
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A former member of ISKCON (and now a psycho-therapist), Henry Jolicoeur, who has a range of interesting videos for consideration.

I find his clips very fascinating, since he has historical experience and an understanding of ISKCON.

He obviously still has appreciation for many teachings, but he also does not shy away from saying where Prabupada went wrong, and especially on where many gurus went wrong after his death.

It should be added however that some changes and amends have been made to ISKCON over the years, just as in other religious movements.
Here is discussion on women:



Jolicoeur also exposes off-shoots from historical ISKCON, which turned into complete cults, such as apparently Chris Bulter in Hawaii, and their attempts to enter wider politics:








edit on 25-10-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)









 
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