"Spiritual Slut" and Company: A Corrupting Influence


Aug 30, 2012 — USA (SUN) — [SECOND EDITION]


This article analyzes a lineage that gave birth to a contemporary "spiritual slut" [i] (Krishna Das) and his associates, who pose a threat to the purity of the most prominent branch of Lord Caitanya's movement, ISKCON. It starts with a glimpse of recent affairs within ISKCON community which highlights dealings of some ISKCON leaders with apasampradayic and asampradayic personalities and their promotion by ISKCON News. The Phenomenon section describes how corrupting influences from apasampradayic personalities is often subtle and goes undetected as it ruins the foundation of bonafide spiritual movement.

The Exposition section provides a more detailed account of deviations of some senior ISKCON leaders and their collaboration with Spiritual Slut and company, and its subsequent promotion by ISKCON News. Exposition is followed by Biosketches of Spiritual Slut and company, detailing their affliction by mayavada, sahajiyaism, and their inability to maintain regulative principles in regard to intoxication and illicit sex even after taking up (so called) spiritual life. Later sections describe why association and collaboration with Spiritual Slut and company, and inaction of GBC in regard to check this is detrimental to the purity and integrity of Srila Prabhupada's movement.

[i] The Gazette (Montreal), 22 January 2009, published an article about Krishna Das's upcoming performance, which also elaborated on Krishna Das's self-professed title "spiritual slut." The article was titled "Krishna Das is back to chant his way into our hearts; Spiritual ‘slut' stops by to share the healing power of his deep and warm musical voice." For more details, see p. 17.

This article has nothing to do with Ritviks, since Ritvikism is an abomination. [Please read "Defeat of Ritvik-vada" by Rocana Dasa for a rebuttal of Ritvik-vada.] The sole interest of writing this article is to protect and purify Srila Prabhupada's mission, which can be done from inside with no need to leave ISKCON. In this revised edition, the biosketch of Krishna Das is updated to include a transcript of a case from criminal docket at the U.S. District Court of New Jersey (Newark) wherein Krishna Das (Jefrrey Kagel) pled guilty to the count of Money Laundering — Proceeds of the Sale of Controlled Substance. Anyone who is concerned that Srila Prabhupada's movement doesn't degrade into an apasampradayic sahajiya cult is encouraged to read this article carefully and share it with others who share the same concern.

A Glimpse of Recent Affairs

  • At one ISKCON center in America, a congregational member approaches an initiated devotee and offers a kirtan album of Krishna Das, a self-professed "spiritual slut." When countered with the argument that Krishna Das is a Mayavadi, the congregational member retorts, "But he loves Krsna!"

  • And while H.H. Radhanatha Swami (henceforward: Radhanatha Swami) is collaborating with Ramesh Baba, who firmly believes that patients who are inflicted with cataracts are actually Krsna, The Bhaktivedanta Hospital pursues the mission to ensure that an entire district in the state of Maharashtra is free of cataracts. "The [Bhaktivedanta] hospital has a mission to see that the entire Thane district is free of cataracts." (Ajay Piramal, Chairman of Piramal Healthcare and a follower of Radhanatha Swami) The mission of The Bhaktivedanta Hospital seems to be coherent with that of the Seva Foundation (co-founded by Ram Dass), which is dedicated to various mundane charities, including the mission to eradicate curable blindness in India and Nepal.

  • Meanwhile, the gullible masses are receiving the message that persons inflicted by cataracts are all Krsna, and that "spiritual care" means to serve as per the likings and comforts of the conditioned soul rather than according to the direction of predecessor Vaisnava acaryas. Nausheel Unnadkat, a blog commentator in favor of an article glorifying Barsana Eye Camp comments: "Spiritual Care means sincerely trying to serve the person as it pleases/comforts him the most. Glories to Radhanatha Swami for establishing such a deep affection and caring principle in the hearts of the doctors.

  • ISKCON's official news site promotes "Kirtan Kids," a recent kirtan album of Jai Uttal, who is a disciple of Neem Karoli Baba and an ex-member of the world-fusion band Amazing Grace, wherein he co-performed with Krishna Das. Many initiated devotees follow Jai Uttal on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. [2]

  • ISKCON News promotes hip-hop ballad with Sanskrit lyrics:

  • "Stop and Talk (Hey Natha)" is a hip-hop ballad with Sanskrit lyrics, its electronic beats wrapped in futuristic synthesizer and propelled along by a rumbling bassline. "Where Was I Last Night? (Nami Danam Chi Manzil)" is an Arabic hymn with a distinctly Middle Eastern groove. "Sleeping Soul (Jiv Jago)" melds gospel harmonies in English with a sweet kirtan melody, creating an instant classic as catchy as any pop song—and one which I defy anyone with a beating heart and soul to not feel simultaneously overjoyed and deeply moved by. [3] (Review of Gaura Vani's album "Ten Million Moons" in ISKCON News)

The Phenomenon

Spiritual Slut (Krishna Das) and company have gained some popularity in the sphere of New Age, yoga, and kirtan via their workshops, kirtan concerts, and good publicity. They have developed a reputation as spiritualists and kirtaniyas, and many consider them devotees of Krsna, although they have nothing substantial to offer. Some ISKCON leaders also share this misconception, while other leaders want to bridge-preach and tap into the followers of Spiritual Slut and company with the aim of cultivating them to become bona fide Vaisnavas.

However, the outcome of all of these actions (ignorant at worst, and well intended at best) has been disastrous. Far from ISKCON leaders being able to cultivate followers of Spiritual Slut and company, the latter have managed to draw some following from ISKCON congregation and gain legitimacy and respect via their association with ISKCON leaders—who are supposed to be representing a bona fide tradition.

Even worse is that ISKCON leaders have knowingly or unknowlingly helped to promote Spiritual Slut and company, many of whom have a history of drug use and illicit sexual affairs even after having adopted spiritual life—and one having been convicted of a felony.

In his composition "Sri Guru-parampara," Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura emphasizes the need to understand our spiritual lineage: paramparā jāno bhālo mate. By reading about and meditating on the transcendental characteristics of the Gaudiya acaryas listed in the guru-parampara, one can understand their exalted statures, and also how their exalted characteristics have been transmitted from one generation to the next. Yet even a bona fide parampara is prone to corruption from pseudo-spiritual and deviant ideologies, which go unnoticed unless scrutinized and the lineage of the parampara is traced back to the corrupt origins of those ideologies. Therefore the instruction paramparā jāno bhālo mate also applies for understanding apasampradayas that could corrupt the members of a bona fide spiritual tradition.

In a vineyard of devotional creepers (bhakti-lata) there also exist creepers that appear like devotional creepers, but on closer inspection by an expert gardener the traits of weeds are detected in these other creepers. An expert can identify such traits, trace them back to the source weeds, and also determine the course of infection that corrupted the vineyard, for he has thoroughly studied about weeds and their methods of propagation. A gardener who simply has knowledge of devotional creepers but lacks sufficient knowledge of weeds that grow in the vicinity is unable to protect his vineyard from slow-but-sure corruption.

Spiritual Slut and Company: A Web of Corrupting Influences

The three modes of nature interact with each other iteratively and in varying degrees. The nature of such interactions is complex and unlimited. Similarly, members of an otherwise genuine spiritual tradition (ISKCON) are affected by a complex web of corrupting influences of Spiritual Slut and company.

The Exposition

In this section we discuss how some of our ISKCON leaders very closely collaborate with Spiritual Slut and company.

a. ISKCON leaders promote Krishna Das, the self-proclaimed "spiritual slut"

By his guest appearance, Radhanatha Swami promotes a kirtan concert by Krishna Das—a drug abuser, drug trafficker, money launderer, felon, and a self-proclaimed "spiritual slut." ISKCON's official News Site aids to the promotion of the self-proclaimed spiritual slut. [4]

b. Radhanatha Swami presents a porn enthusiast as a spiritualist

"That long gaze we shared affected my vision in such a way that at times he looked like an innocent child and at other times like an ancient, stoic sage."—Radhanatha Swami's memoir, (documented in The Journey Home) of Baba Ram Dass (aka Dr. Richard Alpert), a pioneer in experimentation with psychedelic drugs and a bisexual who frequented gay porn-houses even after having been initiated into so-called spiritual life by Neem Karoli Baba, a supposed guru. [5]

c. Neem Karoli Baba would regularly fondle the breasts of a female disciple

In the book It's Here Now (Are You?) , Bhagavan Das claims that his guru, Neem Karoli Baba (also referred to as Maharaj-ji), consumed an extremely high dosage of LSD but with no apparent effects. A reference to this event can also be found in the memoirs of Radhanatha Swami (chronicled in The Journey Home), wherein Baba Ram Dass narrates this event to Radhanatha Swami:

    "One day Maharaj-ji asked me, ‘Where is the medicine?' At first I was confused, but Bhagavan Dasa suggested that he was asking for LSD. Intrigued, I held out three pills of pure LSD and to my astonishment he swallowed them all. I was prepared to clinically monitor his reactions, but nothing happened—nothing. His consciousness is beyond LSD!"

    Having witnessed the powers of Himalyan yogis, I laughed in wonder.

Radhanatha Swami's laughing in wonder suggests that he showed approval.

A female disciple of Neem Karoli Baba recollects that Baba used to touch her breasts and also between her legs, which she considered to be like the suckling of an innocent child. Her memoir can be found in the book Miracle of Love (Dutton Publications, 1979. ISBN-13: 9780525476115), authored by Ram Dass.

Other than brainwashed disciples, any sober man can understand that such behavior is insane and far from any sort of spirituality. Yet Radhanatha Maharaja's favorable depiction of Neem Karoli Baba in his autobiography, and his continued association with Baba's disciples, suggests that Radhanatha Maharaja approves of the "breast-suckling innocent child" version of the characterization of Neem Karoli Baba.

d. Midday Meal apparently inspired by Neem Karoli Baba

"When they are hungry in school, they can't concentrate on their studies, and rather than sitting and wasting their time they rather quit school to go out and beg." This is one of the justifications provided by Radhanatha Swami for his support of the Midday Meal Scheme (now rebranded as Annamrita.) Radhanatha's Swami's commitment toward mundane food-relief programs seems to be influenced by the instructions "Love everyone, serve everyone, and feed everyone. Love like Hanuman without selfishness and greed." Radhanatha Swami received these instructions from Neem Karoli Baba (documented in The Journey Home). The motto "Love, serve, and feed," imbibed by Radhanatha Swami from Neem Karoli Baba, is strikingly similar to the motto "Love, serve, and remember," assimilated by Baba Ram Dass (one of the prominent followers of Neem Karoli Baba), who established the "Love, Serve and Remember Foundation" and "The Seva Foundation" to further the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba.

Neem Karoli Baba often talked about serving in the mood of Hanuman, although it is questionable whether he was properly fixed in Vaisnava siddhanta. Nonetheless, his disciple Baba Ram Dass established the The Hanuman Foundation to further the cause. Similarly, it seems that Radhanatha Swami also has been inspired by the instruction of Neem Karoli Baba, in having compiled a book titled Jai Hanuman, which elaborates on various qualities of Hanuman.

e. ISKCON leaders support charities of Ram Dass that promote Neem Karoli Baba

Radhanatha Swami and Gaura Vani at the Bhaktifest

Bhaktifest, the annual pseudo-spiritual retreat at Joshua Tree, CA, is organized by The Center of Spiritual Studies, founded by Sridhar Silberfein under the direction of Ram Dass. The Center of Spiritual Studies is also known as "Ram Dass' Center for Spiritual Studies." Proceeds from this event go to The Seva Foundation and to the Love, Serve, and Remember Foundation, both established by Ram Dass to promote the teachings of Neem Karoli Baba. Bhaktifest 2012 (to be held on September 6–9) will, for the first time, also include Food for Life–Vrindavana as a beneficiary of the proceeds.

ISKCON sannyasis Radhanatha Swami and H.H. Sacinandana Swami and ISKCON-based kirtan groups Mayapuris and Gaura Vani Aks attend Bhaktifest and thereby help to promote Neem Karoli Baba through organizations established by Ram Dass. Thus Neem Karoli Baba is the main inspiration behind Bhaktifest. In a video recording [featured at 1:47] of the Bhaktifest event, Neem Karoli Baba appears as a central theme of various backdrop projections (along with Hanuman). [6]

The practice of projecting pictures of Neem Karoli Baba on the backdrop was also employed by Ram Dass, Krishna Das, and Jai Uttal—key members of Bhaktifest—during the late seventies when performing in their band Amazing Grace (documented by Bhagavan Das in his book It's Here Now (Are You?) ).

f. Sacinandana Swami helps Krishna Das promote Neem Karoli Baba

A kirtan performance by Sacinandana Swami and Krishna Das at Zagreb displays a picture of Neem Karoli Baba. (Srila Prabhupada's image is conspicuously absent.) This concert was one of the many performances held as part of a Balkan Tour organized by Sacinandana Swami.

In a 2009 interview with HAYD U PARK in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Krishna Das notes:

Krishna Das performs against the backdrop of Neem Karoli Baba at the 2009 Balkan Tour, facilitated by Sacinandana Swami

    "You know my friend Sacinandana Swami, we were talking a few years ago and I knew he travels through here often and I just wanted to come. So I said "Let's go! Let's organize a tour." I didn't think about it, you know. I just felt it would be great to come here, it would be a wonderful thing, so here we are." [7]

Sacinandana Swami has formed the group Yoga Is Music (a formal alliance with Krishna Das) and Mantra Fusion Band, which was also used to promote Krishna Das's Balkan Tour. Maharaja also attends Bhaktifest, which promotes Neem Karoli Baba, his followers, and associated charities.

Sacinandana Swami and Krishna Das enjoying the sunny Adriatic coast

In Srimad-Bhagvatam (1.6.11), we find a description of how Narada Muni passed through many flourishing metropolises, towns, villages, animal farms, mines, agricultural lands, valleys, flower gardens, nursery gardens, and natural forests—but did not stop to engage in economic activities or mundane sightseeing. Nor did Srila Prabhupada, in the course of traveling across the globe to establish a worldwide Krsna consciousness movement, ever stop to visit places of tourist attraction. Yet as part of the Balkan Tour in 2009, we see Sacinandana Swami enjoying the Adriatic coast with Krishna Das.

g. Radhanatha Swami's lifelong friend believes that cataract-inflicted patients are actually Krsna

    "Along with my lifelong friend Ramesh Baba and his followers, we offer an annual eye camp in Vrindavan and perform six to seven hundred cataract surgeries each year." (Radhanatha Swami, The Journey Home)

Ramesh Baba's instructions to volunteers at Barsana Eye-camp [Fast forward to 7:10]:

    "सेवा करने से पहले सब लोग सोच लो, पक्की तौर से सोच लो कि जितने रोगी हैं यह सब कृष्ण हैं।"

    "Before serving (at the eye-camp), everyone should contemplate, should firmly understand all these diseased patients are actually Krsna."

Radhanatha Maharaja's lifelong friends include those who believe that diseased patients are actually Krsna. [8]

h. "Do not judge others"

Radhanatha Swami is often seen associating with various Mayavadis (for example, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar). [ii] Considering that Srila Prabhupada was so aggressive toward Mayavada and Mayavadis, one might be surprised that Radhanatha Swami would associate with them. From The Journey Home, we now know that it was Neem Karoli Baba's personal instruction to the author to not judge others: "People are creating a hell by their addiction to criticizing and fighting. Do not judge others or fall into their egoistic ways." We also never hear Radhanatha Swami speaking against these Mayavadis and bogus gurus in his lectures. The fact that Radhanatha Swami remembers and quotes in his autobiography specific instructions from Neem Karoli Baba received about forty years ago seems to indicate that Radhanatha Swami took up these instructions as his life and soul, so much so that he does not speak against Mayavada and all other forms of untruth, as did Srila Prabhupada and our previous acaryas.

[ii] Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (not to be confused with the famous sitarist Ravi Shankar) is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation. Only because he is widely known by the title "Sri Sri," in this article he is referred to as such despite the author's disinclination to attribute said reverence.

Radhanatha Swami with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and other Mayavadis
at the International Yoga Conference, December2011
[Photo © Art of Living.org]

In December 2011, Radhanatha Swami attended the International Yoga Conference at the headquarters of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation, in Bangalore. During the event Radhanatha Swami referred to Bhagavad-gita verse 5.18, which discusses pandita sama darsinah, or "seeing with equal vision on the basis of God consciousness." But many fail to note that Radhanatha Swami's interpretation of and reference to pandita sama darsinah is more in line with Neem Karoli Baba's instruction to "not judge others," and conveys the idea that actually there is no difference whatsoever between Vaisnavas and Mayavadis. A guru cannot preach if he obliterates the difference between devotees and nondevotees or the distinction between different gradations of devotees. Indeed, the role of a guru often requires identifying shortcomings in others. In a discussion with Indians (18 January 1971, Allahabad), when Srila Prabhupada is accused of not being sama-darśi he retorts, "But I am not in that state. I say because you don't surrender to Kṛṣṇa, you are sinful. That is my darśana." Srila Prabhupada demonstrated the proper vision of a preacher, which is far better than Radhanatha Maharaja's approach of "Do not judge others," imbibed from Neem Karoli Baba.

Radhanatha Swami with Baba Ramdeva and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
[Photo © Art of Living.org]

This intermingling with Mayavadis at the International Yoga conference was covered by ISKCON News. [9]

i. "Unselfish compassion to serve without discrimination, to truly understand the value of everyone"

"I believe it is a very beautiful concept, the Big Society. But all great concepts are really great when there is a mood of unselfish compassion to serve without discrimination, to truly understand the value of everyone. And in my experience in life, that really is so much the meaning of spirituality." These are the concluding statements of Radhanatha Maharaja's speech at the House of Commons (British Parliament), which fail to underscore that Krsna is the central figure who unites everyone and that unmotivated service is to be directed toward Krsna and His devotees. [10] Furthermore, Radhanatha Swami presents this definition of spirituality as an essence of his experiences and learning to date. That mention of Krsna was absent from the definition of spirituality provided by a prominent leader of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness should be a matter of concern. Without inclusion of Krsna, Maharaja's vision of spirituality—"to serve without discrimination"—simply boils down to mundane welfare.

In the beginning of his speech, Radhanatha Swami quotes sa vai pumso paro dharmo yatho bhakti adhoksaje ahaituki apratihata yayatma su prasidhati and translates it thus: "The supreme occupation, supreme dharma, for every living being is to serve with love. Such love for God and all beings must be unmotivated by selfishness and ego and uninterrupted by temptations or fears as they come upon us." Maharaja elaborated by giving the example of the heart serving the body unconditionally and uninterruptedly by pumping blood. He further stated that from a social perspective governments are very much like the heart of our countries in that they supply, facilitate, encourage, and empower the citizens to be the best they can be for making positive changes and contributions to the world; if a government wants to see true happiness and prosperity, it must be in this mood of seva, or selfless service—to really make the interest of the people "our interest, our happiness." (This is akin to the daridra-narayana philosophy, according to which Lord Narayana is worshiped by worshiping and serving the poor.)

Radhanatha Maharaja mostly spoke on spirituality in the Big Society. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron had initiated a series of policies, under the rubric "Big Society," that seek to nurture community bonds, civic activism, and social capital. It aims to decentralize power by transferring power to local governments so as to increase government transparency and disburse welfare provisions to a variety of delivery mechanisms. Critics see it as a cover to mask savage spending cuts. And of course, so-called spirituality in the Big Society is incapable of bringing about any real welfare for the masses. In a letter to Bhagavan (14 July 1976), Srila Prabhupada expressed his disapproval for a courtesy visit with the Pope, if the Pope was not prepared to seriously discuss how religion is becoming degraded. If the members of the House of Commons were not ready to accept the absolute truth as it is, then there was no need for Radhanatha Maharaja to address such an audience and present a diluted version of the Krsna conscious philosophy. Similarly, in June of 2011, Radhanatha Maharaja had a short "courtesy" meeting, at an event in Florida, with the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama. As per ISKCON News, the President and the Swami had a "beautiful, heartfelt talk for several minutes." [11] Maharaja's failure to discuss anything substantial in that "beautiful, heartfelt talk" was contrary to Srila Prabhupada's approach when meeting influential personalities. Moreover, Radhanatha Maharaja now uses his "courtesy" meeting with President Obama as propaganda material for gaining credibility and significance for his programs. This is a typical tactic of mundane religious institutions or personalities that cannot offer anything substantial—to try to gain credibility by relying on their allegiance with celebrities.

"Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues." (Gita 3.21) So we can expect that some common men, impressed by President Obama's "courtesy" meeting with Radhanatha Maharaja, will join the readership of Maharaja's "beautiful and heartfelt" experiences chronicled in his autobiography but, like the President, will fail to gain anything substantial.

j. Radhanatha Swami re-embraces his egotism in the form of the harmonica

While there are many intriguing aspects of Radhanatha Maharaja's journey "home," perhaps the most intriguing is his affair with the harmonica. Maharaja's saga with the harp began when he learned to play it from Jimmy the Bear, the lead singer and harmonica player for the Burning Waters Blues Band. Maharaja notes that from that day onward, the harmonica became an inseparable partner in his life.

From descriptions (recorded in his autobiography) of his playing the blues on the harmonica, one understands that Maharaja's playing of harmonica was passionate and intense enough to attract attention, often of persons in the mode of ignorance. On one occasion, the lower modes compelled Maharaja to steal a book describing techniques for playing blues on the harmonica. On two other occasions his harmonica-playing attracted women. The first was a Swiss girl named Irene, who was very gentle and whom Maharaja considered to be someone who had everything that he would ever want in an ideal life partner. The other was a Dutch seductress stationed in Kabul, who attempted to seduce Maharaja, the erotic details of which are related in his autobiography. In both instances, Maharaja was able to save himself from the allurements of those women.

Maharaja describes that he and his harmonica were in many ways like lovers. His relationship with his harmonica was so confidential that he "whispered to it secrets that no one but God and I would ever know."

Eventually Maharaja arrives in India, and one day while meditating on the bank of the Ganges he is impelled by a desire to return to his cave and play his harmonica—and then realizes that his harmonica is distracting him from his spiritual path. So he flings his harmonica into the Ganges. He refers to this act as an offering of his egotism in the form of his harmonica. Later, Mother Ganges supposedly whispers the Hare Krsna maha-mantra into his ears through the sound of her reverberating currents. Although Maharaja does not explicitly refer to this event as being his initiation by Mother Ganges into the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, the description in his autobiography gives that impression, and thus Maharaja was apparently initiated into the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra much before he met Srila Prabhupada. However, since there is no precedent within the Gaudiya sampradaya for such kind of initiation, we can be certain that this event is either factitious or a hallucination.

Nevertheless, the very offering of Maharaja's egotism via cutting off his passionate attachment for playing harmonica—which led to his initiation into the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra—was again embraced by Maharaja, by his publicly playing a harmonica decades after he had shunned it. [12] Maharaja joined Deva Premal & Miten and Manose on stage for the blues classic "You've Got to Move." This was at the "Ecstatic Chant—The Yoga of Voice" event held at The Omega Institute for Holistic Studies (Rhineback, NY) in September 2011, attended also by Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Ram Dass, and Mayapuris, among others. [iii] It is not a coincidence that the trusted guide of The Omega Institute is none other than Ram Dass. The institute also hosts the Ram Dass Library, designed in the shape of an eight-petal lotus blossom. Radhanatha Maharaja has repeatedly been seen associating with "Spiritual Slut" and company at venues either directly or indirectly associated with them. And due to that bad association, he re-embraced what he had previously renounced in pursuit of spirituality.

[iii] Radhanath Swami is scheduled to attend the 2012 "Ecstatic Chant—The Yoga of Voice" event (August 31, 2012 – September 03, 2012) at The Omega Institute. Radhanath Swami will be joined by Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Ram Dass (live via streaming video), Mayapuris, and Gaura Vani.

Unlike Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who at the age of five completely shunned mangoes—never again to accept a mango—Radhanatha Swami re-embraced what he had shunned for the sake of his spiritual quest, his egotism in the form of his harmonica. This is significant, considering the fact that Maharaja's affair with his harmonica was a confidential relationship like that of two lovers, which no one else was privy to. His re-embracing of the harmonica is akin to his breaking the vow that led to his apparent initiation by Mother Ganges into the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Also, Maharaja's performance—in perfect unison with the rest of the orchestra, after so many decades of not having played harmonica—suggests that either Maharaja never truly gave up his passion for harmonica-playing, or that he had actually practiced with the band in preparation for the public performance. Whichever the case, it is an alarmingly poor example for a guru or sannyasi to set.

k. ISKCON's official news site promotes another woman-enchanter

ISKCON News promotes "Kirtan Kids," a recent kirtan album produced by Jai Uttal—a disciple of Neem Karoli Baba and ex-member of the world-fusion band Amazing Grace, wherein he co-performed with Krishna Das. [13]

"Women just want to get near him and talk to him (Jai Uttal)." (Ila Sarley, director of communications for The Omega Institute of Holistic Studies) As documented in The Journey Home, Radhanatha Swami's passionate harmonica playing also attracted women, who approached him and talked with him. So it might not be a coincidence that The Omega Institute of Holistic Studies (guided by Ram Dass) is the same venue where Radhanatha Swami co-performed with Jai Uttal and re-embraced his passion for harmonica playing. Due to bad association with Jai Uttal, whose music is known to attract the attention of women, Radhanatha Swami's harmonica playing—which is also documented to have had a similar effect on women, and which he had forsaken prior to his initiation—was now revived.

While Haridasa Thakura's pure chanting purified a prostitute into a Vaisnavi, an ISKCON sannyasi's passionate playing of blues in association with women-enchanters like Spiritual Slut and company has the potential to attract women in an unhealthy fashion, especially when the sannyasi has a history of captivating women by his musical performance. It is also a warning to sannyasis: they should not think that they are immune to the effects of bad association, which subtly creeps in and eventually leads to a falldown, as seen time and again, and especially within ISKCON.

Jai Uttal, an enchanter of women, passes as a devotee and performs at Los Angeles Rathayatra along with his friends at ISKCON: Mayapuris and Gaura Vani. [14]

l. "Stay Strong, Keep Your Faith Alive"

During Bhaktifest 2011, Radhanatha Swami appeared with his friend Krishna Das in a shooting of a video album titled Stay Strong [iv] [Radhanatha Swami appears at 3:45 and 4:15]. [15] All proceeds from the Stay Strong Project go to Global Green USA, a non-profit organization that supports the Gulf Coast Recovery and other environmental and humanitarian concerns. As if Midday Meal programs and Eye Camps are not enough within the sphere of humanitarian activities, Radhanatha Swami has now ventured into protecting the Gulf Coast of Mexico from oil spills, and other environmental causes.

Radhanatha Maharaja is scheduled to conduct a workshop at Bhaktifest 2012, to be held on September 6-9, at Joshua Tree, CA.

[iv] See the Appendices (a) for the lyrics of "Stay Strong."

m. Gaura Vani, "Punk Monk"

Gaura Vani, the founder of the kirtan band As Kindred Spirits, regularly performs at yoga studios, ISKCON centers, and ISKCON Ratha-yatras. He is also seen performing at larger venues and festivals—Bhaktifest, Wanderlust, and The Festival of Inspiration—along with Spiritual Slut and company and senior leaders like Radhanatha Swami and Sacinandana Swami. He combines traditional Indian kirtan music with Western elements, such as guitar, gospel choruses, and hip-hop rhythms, on the pretext of introducing Krsna consciousness to Westerners in a more "palatable" form. However, his sahajiya-like performances and watered-down presentations depict a distorted view of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. In his interview with Yoga Mates, he presents Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as the predecessor of Gandhi's reform movement. [16]

    [Yoga Mates:] Where did you get your name and what does it mean?

    [Gaura Vani:] My mother gave me my name. It means literally "the song of the Golden One." My name refers to Gauranga, also called Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, whose street kirtans were a protest against India's rigid cast system and whose teachings were a predecessor to Gandhi's reform movement.

But Gaura Vani's worst and most offensive blunder is "Sita and the Hanumen," the name of his group of kirtaniyas. Jahnavi Harrison, the sole female member of the group, is referred to as Sita, and the three male members—Benjy Wertheimer, John de Kadt, and Gaura Vani—are the "Hanumen." Sitadevi, an eternal goddess of fortune and an eternal consort of Lord Rama, is always presented as such by learned persons. Yet Gaura Vani has the audacity to concoct a perverted conception of Sita in association with a group of three (Hanu)men. This is, of course, offensive, not only to Sitadevi but also to Hanuman.

The College Music Journal sums it up with an apt epithet for Gaura Vani: "Punk Monk"

    "Home to hard rocking acts such as Coheed And Cambria, Equal Vision Records has announced the creation of their new mellower sub-label: Mantralogy. Initially conceptualized by punk monk Gaura Vani and Equal Vision founder Steve Reddy at a backyard yoga retreat, Mantralogy aims to unite the punk ethos with ancient philosophies and the culture of conscious living with music. [17]

Gaura Vani's offensive concoction

Sita and the Hanumen—a meditating pose on the beach

The trio posing as Hanuman

Gaura Vani freely mixes with pseudo-yoginis at the Bhaktifest.
(In the background is the banner of the ISKCON-sponsored/affiliated Krishna Kitchen.)

Mayavadis and Kirtana

From Harinama-cintamani:

    Because the Mayavadi's chanting and worship are both offensive, the Lord never accepts his offering.

From Jaiva Dharma:

    [Vijaya:] Should Mayavadis, if they wear tulasi neck beads, tilaka, and chant harinama, be seen as Vaisnava-abhasa?

    [Raghunatha dasa Babaji:] No, they are certainly not even Vaisnava-abhasa. They are offenders, and hence they are known as Vaisnava-aparadhis. Possibly, their chanting is at best pratibimba-namabhasa, and so generously they may be viewed as on the platform of pratibimba-bhava-abhasa. In this way they may be called Vaisnava-abhasa, but actually they should not be so designated, since they are terrible aparadhis. They do not deserve the honorable name Vaisnava in any respect. They are to be categorized separately.

A song from Saranagati:

    bhaktira swarupa, ara ‘vishaya', ‘asroy'
    mayavadi ‘anitya' boliya saba koy
    dhik ta 'ra krsna-seva-sravana-kirtana
    krishna-ange vajra hane tahara stavan

    Mayavadis consider the glories of devotional service, the object of worship, and the Lord's servants as temporary. Therefore their hearing, chanting, serving, and offering prayers are felt by Krsna to be blows of thunderbolts.

From Sajjana Toshani 5.12:

    Holy names uttered by the Mayavadis are not holy names, but simply a perverted reflection of the holy names. Therefore, in spite of chanting such names, the Mayavadis are affected by the faults of namaparadha.

From Bhaktivinoda-vani-vaibhava:

    Mayavadis' glorification of Krsna in the course of their sadhana is also an offense. Pure devotees should not approve their activities, like chanting Krsna's names, because in their association one will simply commit namaparadha. Even though Mayavadis display various symptoms of ecstatic love, such as shedding of tears or standing of hair on end, these symptoms are not genuine. These are simply a shadow-reflection of transformation of ecstatic love. Hence these are offenses.

From the Padma Purana:

    avaisnavo mukhod girnam putam hari-kathamitam
    sravanam naiva kartavyam sapocchrista yatha payah

    If the nectarlike narration of the Supreme Lord is heard from the mouth of a nondevotee, the listener's spiritual death becomes as sure as a person who dies after drinking milk contaminated by a poisonous snake.

    sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te nisphala matah

    If your mantra does not come through the disciplic succession, it will not be effective.

Madhvacarya points out:

    vidyah karmani ca sada
    guroh praptah phala-pradah
    anyatha naiva phala-dah
    prasannoktah phala-pradah

    One must receive all kinds of mantras from a bona fide spiritual master; otherwise the mantras will not be fruitful. All mantras should be received through the authorized guru, and the disciple must satisfy the guru in all respects, after surrendering at his lotus feet.

Redacted from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's compositions Sri Caitanya Siksamrta and Sri Krsna-samhita:

    The Varuna-lila, the pastimes of Krsna releasing Nanda Maharaja from the clutches of Varuna, symbolizes the misuse of intoxicants. Some people mistakenly think that imbibing liquor and other intoxicants will increase one's spiritual bliss and improve one's bhajana. Such misunderstandings must be abandoned. The snake that attempted to swallow Nanda Maharaja represents impersonalistic Mayavada philosophy and other such philosophies that try to swallow up the real nature of bhakti. Thus, the association of adherents to Mayavada philosophy must be avoided.

Biosketches of Spiritual Slut and Company

Radhanatha Swami's guest appearance on Krishna Das's concert

Krishna Das—Spiritual Slut, Agnostic, Pseudo-teacher, Indiscriminate in Mixing with Women, Ex-member of a Tantric Sex Cult, Drug Abuser, Drug Trafficker, Money Launderer, and Felon

Legal Name: Jeffrey Kagel
Guru: Neem Karoli Baba
Associates: Ram Dass, Bhagavan Das (a disciple of Neem Karoli Baba; not to be confused with ISKCON's ex-guru Bhagavan dasa), Jai Uttal
ISKCON Contacts: Radhanatha Swami, Sacinandana Swami

Jeffrey Kagel was given the name Krishna Das [18] by Neem Karoli Baba in the early 70s. This new name gives the impression that Kagel has become a devotee of Krsna. Indeed, he apparently chants the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and he performs (apparent) kirtan concerts with prominent leaders of ISKCON. A poster of his performance at the Camden Centre in London on 12 Oct 2011, with special guest Radhanatha Swami, shows the Radha–Madan-mohana temple of Vrndavana in the background. Factually, Krishna Das has no connection whatsoever with Radha–Madan-mohana. But such deceptive techniques are sometimes employed for promoting oneself as a devotee of Krsna. (This is akin to the common practice within the Food and Beverage industry whereby stale products produced in an industrialized setup are packaged along with a pretty picture of a lush green countryside farm).

a. Drug Abuser, Drug Trafficker, Money Launderer and Felon

In January 2002, Jeffrey Kagel, also known as KD (Krishna Das), pled guilty to a federal felony charge of "money laundering—proceeds of the sale of controlled substances." He was sentenced to three years supervised probation, including a six-month period of house arrest, a fine, and the condition that he cooperates with the U.S. Attorney's Office in ongoing investigations. His case, in the New Jersey District, can be found in the criminal docket under 2:02-cr-00009-JWB-1. The official transcript of the case, from PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), is attached here.

In item #8, filed on 24 Apr 2003, Chief Judge John W. Bissell specifically adds a note that Kagel should "refrain from the illegal possession and/or use of drugs, etc." As per the transcript, the defendant, Jeffrey Kagel, is also known as KD.

We wanted to be certain that this KD is factually Krishna Das and no one else. Krishna Das's legal name was first verified from his own website, wherein it is mentioned that he is "known to friends, family, and fans as simply KD." [18] The Office of the US Attorney in New Jersey, where the case was filed, was able to confirm that the birth date of the defendant in this case was 31st May 1947, which is the same as that of Krishna Das. [iv-a] Thus it is certain that the defendant on the transcript who pled guilty to a federal felony charge of "money laundering—proceeds of the sale of controlled substances" is indeed Krishna Das. The fact that KD had a troublesome past with drugs is also mentioned on the website.

[iv-a]The Office of the US Attorney will not reveal personal information like birth date or address, unless approached by an attorney for legal reasons. However, when we stated that we already have that information and just wanted to check if it matches with their records, so as to be sure that the transcript that we have is not of some other person with the same first and last name, they agreed to help after initial reluctance and confirmed that the birth date that we had matched with their records for this specific case.

Krishna Das and Radhanatha Swami (note that tilaka is extremely faint, if present at all)

b. Spiritual Slut

Krishna Das calls himself a "spiritual slut":

    "Krishna Das has studied Bhakti and Hatha yoga, Buddhism and "everything I can, everything that makes me feel good." But the self-professed spiritual "slut" sees it all as part of the same journey, shared by the people he meets as he sings his way around the world." (Dunlevy)

So the self-proclaimed spiritual slut has tried out everything and anything that goes on in the name of spirituality that felt good.

Sacinandana Swami with Krishna Das

c. Negatively Opines that ISKCON Book Distributors Are Beggars

Krishna Das considers that disciples of Srila Prabhupada who distributed books at the airports in the 1970s were beggars. He also believes that the practice of performing kirtan does not require allegiance to any Deity:

    "Although kirtan is rooted in India's devotional religions and involves chanting the names of God, Krishna Das says the practice requires no allegiance to any deity or set of beliefs, and he is dismayed that many associate the chant "Hare Krsna" with people who begged on the streets and danced in airports in the 1970s." (Eckel)

d. Krsna Conscious Literature Not Part of His Recommended Reading

Despite the fact that two prominent ISKCON leaders have given their association to KD for so many years, in the latest (March 2011) edition of his book Chants of a Lifetime, not a single book of Srila Prabhupada's is featured on the list of twenty-seven titles that he recommends for reading; and four of those are Mayavadi commentaries on the Bhagavad-gita. It seems that he prefers these Mayavadi commentaries over Srila Prabhupada's devotional commentary in Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

e. Agnostic

KD was apparently initiated into the path of bhakti in the 70s by Neem Karoli Baba, and has apparently been performing kirtan for more than forty years now, yet he speaks like an agnostic:

    "And yet, as he knows firsthand, there is great healing power in the music. Born on Long Island in 1947 into a secular Jewish family—"Nobody believed in God; I still don't know if I believe in what most people call God"—Das grew up with a feeling of "tremendous emptiness and desire for something deep and real in life. That never left me." (Dunlevy)

f. Mayavadi and Atheist

In an interview with HAYD U PARK (in Sarajevo), Krishna Das states that the names of Krsna and Rama are names of our own true self:

    "Kirtan is from India. And it is specifically what is called in India divine names, the names of God or the sacred names/holy names. But the way I do it is little different from traditional because in the West we don't believe in God mostly and we don't know what God is; neither do I. So I see these names as the names of our own true self, deepest inner heart." (Das)

Krishna Das believes that Krsna, Siva, and other deities are different forms of the "One":

    "It's like water and ice: ice looks different than water, but actually it's nothing but water. Krsna, Shiva, and the other deities are like the ice, different forms of the One." (Das)

g. Ignorance About the Chants, Apathy Toward Studying Vedic Scriptures

Krishna Das is ignorant about the meaning of his chants:

    "When I sing kirtan or do workshops, people often ask the meanings of the chants: "Who is Ram, whose name we're chanting?" "Who is Krsna?" "Who is Shiva?" The reason I don't talk about the meanings of the chants is because I don't really know. When I began singing, I was singing to Maharaj-ji and for Maharaj-ji. The chanting brought me directly to that place of love, which all of these names represent." (Das)

In spite of regularly visiting India over a forty-year period, KD has never become interested to study the Vedic scriptures:

    "All of these names have come to us through the stories of the various incarnations or manifestations that the Divine has taken in order to destroy sufferings in the world. These stories can be found in the sacred writings of India—the Puranas, the Bhagavatam, the Ramayana of Valmiki, and the Ramcaritmanas or Tulsidas—as well as many others. Yet even though I've been going to India for the last forty years, I've never made a deep study of these ancient scriptures. I'm moved by their beauty and depth, of course, but it's not the focus of my practice." (Das)

h. Sings for Personal Pleasure

In the above-mentioned interview with HAYD U PARK, Krishna Das states that he sings for his own pleasure (not for Krsna's pleasure):

    "The more it became natural and less something from the outside just changed the form naturally. I really didn't think about it. What I was doing was just singing to please myself. And I still do that. Still singing primarily what I want to sing and happy that people enjoy." (Das)

i. Pseudo-teacher

    "Krishna Das is quick to state that he is no spiritual leader. In fact, he cautions against those who would look to him for answers, or revere him in any way." (Dunlevy)

KD, a spiritually bankrupt person, nonetheless assumes the role of a teacher. Although he does not have answers for those who look up to him, he conducts workshops and Q&A sessions at events like Bhaktifest:

    "Workshops with Krishna Das are like mini-retreats and typically include: Chanting (call and response) with musical accompaniment, stories about his Guru, readings from spiritual traditions, teachings, and discussions about life and the spiritual Path. This forum provides the opportunity for Q&A in an intimate setting." [19]

j. Indiscriminately Mixes with Women

Any civilized man, what to speak of someone who chants the names of Krsna, exercises restraint in mixing with women. On the other hand, in a video recording we see Krishna Das with model and actress Sonia Doubell sitting on his lap. [20]

k. Tantric Sex Cult

Krishna Das, along with Ram Dass, Jai Uttal, and others, once formed a band called Amazing Grace. Ram Dass and others from this band are documented to have been involved with a tantric sex cult in New York (circa 1974) run by Joya Sanatana. Specific details of various events revolving around Ram Dass, Bhagavan Das, and Joya Sanatana are well documented in various books. While details of Krishna Das's involvement are not documented, his presence at these gatherings is noted:

    "Sometimes we would all go to her house. Of course, I'd have to sit in the very front, in front of her, which was always embarrassing for me. I'd walk into the room and there would be hundreds of people there, and I'd have to walk over everyone to get to the front. The powerful had to draw the shakti off. There was Krishna Das, me, and four or five other people in the front." (Bhagavan Das)

Details of the activities of this tantric sex cult is graphically described in the book It's Here Now (Are You? ), authored by Bhagavan Das. Because of the explicit nature of the content, herein we will not describe those details.

Ram Dass (Dr. Richard Alpert)—Gay-Porn Enthusiast, Bisexual Orientation, Ex-member of a Tantric Sex Cult, Pioneer of Experimentation with Psychedelic Drugs, and a Disciple of Neem Karoli Baba

It was Ram Dass who introduced Krishna Das to his own Mayavadi/sahajiya guru, Neem Karoli Baba. Because his health does not permit him to travel, Ram Dass conducts workshops at Bhaktifest via DVDs. He is also featured in The Journey Home (by Radhanatha Swami).

Ram Dass is famous for his book Be Here Now, which is supposed to be a story of his transformation from Dr. Richard Alpert (who along with Timothy Leary experimented with psychedelic drugs at Harvard) to Baba Ram Dass, a supposedly spiritual person. But even after having adopted a so-called spiritual path, Ram Dass is known to have been a member of a tantric sex cult. In 1997 Ram Dass suffered a serious stroke, and therefore basically does not travel (hence we do not see ISKCON leaders associating with him at public events). However, he is instrumental in establishing charities dedicated to Neem Karoli Baba and the teachings thereof, and is also one of the leading personalities behind Bhaktifest and also The Omega Institute for Holistic Studies (Rhineback, NY)—both of which are frequented by Radhanatha Swami, Gaura Vani, Mayapuris, and other members of ISKCON.

a. Sighted at Gay Porn House

In April 2010, Out Smart—Houston's gay, lesbian, bi and transgender magazine—featured a cover story on Ram Dass, titled "Holy Man Sighted at Gay Porn House." The following excerpt quotes Ram Dass:

    "I was standing in line at the adult movie theater once. I was in Chicago. And this hippie came walking by and saw me and recognized me. He stopped and started a conversation. As we talked I could see him registering where I was and his brain was scrambling to comprehend that Ram Dass, the spiritual teacher, was standing in line at the gay porn theater. In my mind I was trying to decide whether to be honest and go into the theater or to just walk down the street with him to get a cup of coffee. I chose to go into the theater. It took a lot of courage for me to do that. My own guilt and shame were so strong. It was the perfect opportunity for me to be here now!"

Left: Picture of Baba Ram Dass featured in The Journey Home
Right: Ram Dass featured on cover page of OutSmart—Houston's gay, lesbian, bi, and trans magazine

Baba Ram Dass cracks jokes about this particular incident (which is captured on a YouTube video). Even if it is argued that he cannot be expected to overcome his bisexuality, still, his indulgence in pornography after taking up "spiritual life," and shamelessly cracking jokes about his own obvious hypocrisy, is unjustifiable.

b. Tantric Sex Cult

Ram Dass was involved in the same tantric sex cult as was Krishna Das, as described in the book It's Here Now (Are You?) , authored by Bhagavan Das. Beginning in 1974, at the height of his fame, Ram Dass spent a substantial amount of time with a female "spiritual leader" in New York City—Joya Santana, aka Hilda Charlton (now Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati), a stigmatist and fellow follower of Neem Karoli Baba—who was running a tantric sex cult:

    "She referred to [Ram Dass] as the "doorway of enlightenment for America," incarnated for the age, having once been one of the Seven Sages on the order of Vishwami-tra: a full master." (Falk)

More details of Ram Dass's involvement in this cult can be found in STRIPPING THE GURUS—Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment, by Geoffrey D. Falk (ISBN 978-0-9736203-3-7).

Jai (Douglas) Uttal—Troubles with Alcohol and Drug Addiction, Other Vices, and with Women; Mayavadi; Ex-member of Amazing Grace

Gaura Vani (left) and Jai Uttal (center) during an installation ceremony at the Bhakti Center (NYC) in 2011.

Born Douglas Zion Uttal to a Jewish family in New York, he assumed the name Jai (meaning "Excellent!" or "Well done!") at the age of eighteen after a yoga teacher had suggested it. As a child, he was not interested in music, but later took it up under the direction of Ali Akbar Khan. He became a member of the Amazing Grace band, along with Krishna Das and Ram Dass. He also established Triloka Records with Krishna Das. (Record-making seems to be his family's business, as his father, Larry Uttal, was the president and owner of Bell Records and Private Stock Records, and his brother-in-law, Jeff Gold, is known for holding the post of VP/GM at Warner Bros. Records.) Jai is a follower of Neem Karoli Baba and performs at the Bhaktifest. He also has performed onstage at Los Angeles Ratha-yatra. In the picture above, he is seen at an installation ceremony at the Bhakti Center (NYC), which formerly was under the aegis of Kirtanananda Swami but eventually taken over by Yajna Purusa, with (alleged) tacit support from Radhanatha Swami—who in the past had managed to get a foothold at Chowpatty and New Vrindavana, which were Kirtanananada Swami's "zones" prior to his expulsion from ISKCON. Based on the article "A Plea from the New York Sanctuary" (Sampradaya Sun) [21] and the YouTube video Radhanatha and Yajya Purusha, The Sanctuary Hijackers, the possibility of a premeditated takeover cannot be denied. In the video, Maharaja claims to have no authority or influence over Yajna Purusa's involvement at the Bhakti Center. [22] It is surprising that the address of The Office of Radhanath Swami in the US as listed on Radhanath Maharaja's official website is same as the address of the Bhakti Center, and at the same time Maharaja denies any influence or involvement in the takeover of the Bhakti Center. [23] [v]

[v] However, based on the article "Another First—A "Srila" Autobiography" (Item #2: Radhanath's Disciples, "The Sincere Footsteps at Our Doorstep," from a darsana with the monks of the Bhaktivedanta Ashram, NYC, 23 July 2009), it is clear that Radhanatha Maharaja is a source of inspiration behind the expansion of the Bhakti Center. See the Appendices (e) for the screenshot showing the address of The Office of Radhanath Swami in the US.

a. Troubles with Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Other Vices

In an interview with Prajna Vieira, published in the June 2011 issue of Common Ground [commongroundmag.com], Jai Uttal talks about his dark times:

    "Well, drug addiction and everything that goes with that. You know, fill in the blanks. I guess you could say it was a successful manifestation of a life that supported the belief that I was worthless, useless, and cursed!"

b. Chanting to Attract Women?

While it is not possible to control others from being attracted to oneself, if a kirtaniya attracts many women it rings of a pop star who, consciously or subconsciously, performs to attract women. If one's chanting is pure, it attracts the listeners to Krsna, not to the chanter. The South Pinellas (Florida) edition of the St. Petersburg Times of September 24, 2002 stated:

    "He's very popular and very sought after," said Ila Sarley, director of communications for the Omega Institute of Holistic Studies, a 25-year-old organization whose frequent yoga conferences draw thousands. She regularly books Uttal for the opening night. "Women just want to get near him and talk to him.'"

c. Vedic Teacher of Mayavada?

Some people believe that Jai Uttal is a Vedic scholar of some sort. The St. Petersburg Times (September 24, 2002) further stated:

    "But what Uttal is best known for isn't the harmonium, sarod and guitar. Handsome and humble, with an Indian guru, some see him as a spiritual teacher himself, who can lecture on ancient Hindu texts."

Perhaps he is a teacher of Mayavada. That is what it seems from his impersonal comments, published in the same article:

    "In Uttal's words, it's "the calling, the crying, the reaching across infinite space—digging into the heart's deepest well to touch and be touched by the Divine Presence."

d. Hybrid Kirtan of World Music

Jai Uttal's music is a fusion of different varieties, from the hillbilly music of the Appalachian Mountains to the passionate strains of Bengali street singers, from the haunting rhythms and melodies of ancient India to contemporary electric rock sounds. A review of his 1997 performance at the House of Blues (by Phil Gallo, Daily Variety, 10 Oct 1997) stated:

    "The unique hybrid of world music Jai Uttal creates with his Pagan Love Orchestra is remindful of a restaurant that offers cuisines from several different continents: As tasty as it can get, it almost always lacks an emotional center.

    Uttal, a native of Gotham, performs on a variety of stringed instruments. He initially studied with classical Indian masters, has performed with street musicians in Bengal, and sings in Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali, and English. Sometimes his music sounds like gibberish, and other times as if it were lifted from a Hare Krsna text, yet it never resembles the emotional conviction of the singers he emulates."

Picture of Neem Karoli Baba featured in The Journey Home

Neem Karoli Baba: Insanity Mistaken As Enlightenment?

In his autobiography, Radhanatha Swami depicts Neem Karoli Baba as some sort of saintly person. He narrates conversations between himself and one of Neem Karoli Baba's disciples, who goes on to describe how Neem Karoli Baba is a "siddha purusha, a perfected being" who knows the past, present, and future and can appear and disappear at any time or be simultaneously present in two distant places. Yet many others have put forth reasonable arguments indicating that Neem Karoli Baba was actually insane. An excerpt from STRIPPING THE GURUS—Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment,by Geoffrey D. Falk (ISBN 978-0-9736203-3-7), provides this alternate perspective:

    "Andrew Cohen's former guru, H. W. L. Poonja, offered a perspective on the same sagely individual which is either more balanced, or more unbalanced, as may be left for the reader to judge:

      "When I had asked [Poonja] what his opinion was of the now famous deceased guru Neem Karoli Baba, he went on to describe in detail about how he had met him and that he knew that he was completely insane and "mad," but that many people mistook his insanity for Enlightenment.… Several years later [following Cohen's and Poonja's bitter separation] when devotees of Neem Karoli would go to [Poonja] he would praise him as the highest. (Cohen, 1992)

    The following story, from a female disciple of Baba, does nothing to settle the question as to insanity versus enlightenment:

      "The first time he took me in the room alone I sat up on the tucket [a low wooden bed] with him, and he was like a seventeen-year-old jock who was a little fast! I felt as if I were fifteen and innocent. He started making out with me, and it was so cute, so pure. I was swept into it for a few moments—then grew alarmed: "Wait! This is my guru. One doesn't do this with one's guru!" So I pulled away from him. Then Maharajji tilted his head sideways and wrinkled up his eyebrows in a tender, endearing, quizzical look. He didn't say anything, but his whole being was saying to me, "Don't you like me?"

      But as soon as I walked out of that particular darshan [the blessing which is said to flow from even the mere sight of a saint], I started getting so sick that by the end of the day I felt I had vomited and shit out everything that was ever inside me. I had to be carried out of the ashram. On the way, we stopped by Maharajji's room so I could pranam [i.e., offer a reverential greeting] to him. I kneeled by the tucket and put my head down by his feet—and he kicked me in the head, saying, "Get her out of here!"…

      That was the first time, and I was to be there for two years. During my last month there, I was alone with him every day in the room.… Sometimes he would just touch me on the breasts and between my legs, saying, "This is mine, this is mine, this is mine. All is mine. You are mine." You can interpret it as you want, but near the end in these darshans, it was as though he were my child. Sometimes I felt as though I were suckling a tiny baby (in Dass, 1979).

      Of course, devoted disciples of the homoerotic pedophile Rama-krishna viewed his "divine" motherly/suckling tendencies just as positively." [vi]

[vi] During a morning-walk conversation in New York (10 July 1976), Srila Prabhupada briefly described the history of Ramakrishna as told by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura: Ramakrishna had become impotent, whereupon he began calling even his wife "mother." From Geoffrey Falk's description in his book Stripping the Gurus, it is known that Ramakrishna considered his wife as Bhagavati, the divine mother of the universe; he was terribly afraid of all women and had extreme contempt for them. Falk describes that Ramakrishna's contempt for women was basically a misogynist attitude of an insecure male, who eventually thought of himself as a woman so as to fight his innate fear of the female. Ramakrishna was actually a she-male (a bodily condition known as gynecomastia), who possessed well-formed firm breasts and exhibited monthly menstruation. He exhibited his frankly erotic behavior toward his male devotees and disciples, often posing as their girlfriend or mother and always touching or caressing them. He was especially attracted toward his foremost disciple, Vivekananda. For more details, consult STRIPPING THE GURUS—Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment (ISBN 978-0-9736203-3-7).

No Historical Precedents

It may be argued that as George Harrison helped to popularize the chanting of Hare Krsna, so also can Spiritual Slut and company. Yet there is an ocean of difference between George Harrison and Krishna Das. By reading George Harrison's note in the beginning of Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can easily conclude that he is a devotee; compare that with the Mayavada gibberish of Krishna Das. It is known that George Harrison took a subordinate position and actually imbibed instructions from Srila Prabhupada; but KD has not gained anything spiritual from his association with ISKCON leaders. George Harrison was already famous and then made the chanting of Hare Krsna relatively famous; in KD's case, ISKCON leaders are helping to make him famous. (As we learned via the interview of Krishna Das by HAYD U PARK, Sacinandana Swami helped to arrange the Balkan Tour that promoted KD and Neem Karoli Baba—and not Srila Prabhupada!)

Similarly, Neem Karoli Baba was almost unknown in ISKCON until Radhanatha Swami and Sacinandana Swami started promoting his followers. Although he was significantly more low-class than most Mayavadi gurus, he has been promoted within ISKCON.

Siphoning of ISKCON's Resources for Promoting Spiritual Slut
and Company

As elaborated in this article, some ISKCON leaders are knowingly or unknowingly promoting Spiritual Slut and company. To recap, Sacinandana Swami helped Krishna Das organize the Balkan Tour, which promoted Krishna Das and Neem Karoli Baba. Furthermore, when ISKCON leaders perform or participate at festivals like Bhaktifest or venues like the Omega Institute—both of which are run by or influenced by Ram Dass—the revenue from these events goes to charities that fund the cause of Spiritual Slut and company, but which are contradictory to the missionary activities propagated by Srila Prabhupada.

While Spiritual Slut and company are quick to discredit the Krsna consciousness movement, ISKCON leaders go out of their way to provide a helping hand to them.

Degrading into a Sahajiya Movement and Potential for Splintering

On the surface, it may seem that some ISKCON leaders are doing a fine job by collaborating with those who have apparently spurred the public's interest in the culture of kirtan. But on closer inspection, we find that the apparent devotees with whom some ISKCON leaders are associating are "spiritual sluts," or sahajiyas. These leaders are thus also being infected by bad association, and are promoting spiritual sluts as bona fide devotees.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura identified thirteen apasampradayas (apa means "deviated") that split away from the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya after Lord Caitanya's disappearance: Aula, Baula, Kartabhaja, Neda, Daravesa, Sani, Sahajiya, Sakhibheki, Smarta, Jatagosani, Ativadi, Cudadhari, and Gauranga-nagari. These apasampradayas are like parasitical growths upon the great tree of the sankirtana movement. Because they exhibit all the defects of material conditioning, they are spiritually useless. The rasa that is relished by such groups is termed prakrta-rasa by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Their missionary activities are condemned as cheating.

One should not presume that ISKCON is immune from degrading into an apasampradaya of New Age sahajiyas. If we were to take a cue from the activities of some of our leaders, who by their association and collaboration with Spiritual Slut and company seem more like disciples of Neem Karoli Baba, then ISKCON has already turned somewhat toward sahajiya-ism.

It is surprising that ISKCON's GBC has not implemented any regulations or guidelines that would require ISKCON leaders to seek approval from the GBC before collaborating and/or appearing in the public with leaders of other spiritual and religious movements, whether bona fide or otherwise. Even material corporations require their brand ambassadors and executive members to seek permission to collaborate with other entities or personalities (for the obvious reason that their collaborations may not be in the best interest of the organization that they represent). It is sad that the GBC has no provision for monitoring, investigating, or restricting/approving collaborations of ISKCON leaders with the leaders of other quasi- or pseudo-spiritual movements.

As per the response from one of the senior GBC members, when an issue is brought to the attention of the GBC, it prefers to act in such a way that while it tries to correct the discrepancy in the behavior of ISKCON leaders, it doesn't create unnecessary disturbance that becomes more of a problem than the discrepancy it is trying to correct. It is commendable that some GBC members have acknowledged that such issues as highlighted in this article need to be addressed. [vii] Of course there are various challenges in addressing any problem, but it is unjustified to delay addressing the issue or to not address the issue at all just because there is a risk of worsening the situation by attempting to correct it. If we take a cue from Prahlada Maharaja's instructions—duhkhausadham tad api duhkham (Bhagavatam 7.9.17)—the solution to any problem will definitely lead to more problems. Indeed, Arjuna foresaw that to slay Duryodhana and supporters would lead to other problems (destruction of dynasty, degradation of womanhood, unwanted progeny, and so on). Yet Krsna deemed it an impurity on the part of Arjuna to be concerned about such after-effects, and He stated that to abandon the battlefield would bring infamy to Arjuna. Similarly, the GBC is concerned that corrective actions taken against some of our discrepant leaders could cause them to splinter away from ISKCON, along with all their assets and followers. However, the alternative course of doing nothing also has the potential to cause schisms, because the current status quo is frustrating both to purists and also to the ultra-liberals on the verge of sahjiyaism. While purists warn that ISKCON is devolving toward an apasampradaya, the ultra-liberals feel that their freedom is being curtailed. [viii]

[vii] See the Appendices (c) for detailed responses by some senior GBC members to this article.

[viii] Bhakti Ananda Goswami Maharaja (who received diksa from Srila Prabhupada) was given sannyasa by Radhanatha Maharaja but operates independently of ISKCON. A quick glance at his website shows that, like his sannyasa guru, he is active in the sphere of interfaith and has written chronicles of his arduous adventures and world tours. Radhanatha Maharaja's sannyasa guru (Kirtanananda Swami) operated independently and now at least one of his sannyasa disciple is functioning independently. Radhanatha Maharaja's own programs also seem to, in many ways, convey a mood of isolation from the rest of ISKCON—which is contrary to Srila Prabhupada's intentions for ISKCON.

Summary and Conclusion

In this article we first looked at some recent events within ISKCON community wherein some ISKCON leaders were found to be collaborating and associating with personalities from apasampradayas. Then we looked at how apasampradayic influences are slowly and subtly corrupting some ISKCON leaders and congregation. We also looked at how such deviations are publicized and promoted by ISKCON News under the garb of interfaith activities and adaptations for the sake of preaching. We then looked at various quotations from scriptures that describe how mayavadis are offenders to Krishna even though they might be chanting His name, and how their association is detrimental to the spiritual progress of devotees. This was followed by Biosketches of Spiritual Slut and company, detailing their affliction by mayavada, sahajiyaism, and their inability to maintain regulative principles in regard to intoxication and illicit sex even after taking up (so called) spiritual life. We also looked at GBC's response to the content presented in this article and potential issues that would inevitably arise if the executive leadership in GBC fails to take necessary steps safeguard Srila Prabhupada's mission from the corrupting influences presented in this article.

While the GBC has various issues to deal with and it follows proper protocol in addressing these issues which often takes a sometime, it is also the responsibility of all the individual members of ISKCON to do their part and educate themselves as well as others about various deviations as highlighted in this article (and otherwise), so that the innocent and sincere can shield themselves from corrupting influences that are detrimental to their spiritual life.


a. Lyrics of "Stay Strong"

May the Grace of God bless man
and every woman in this land
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive
Whatever comes to meet us
know the darkness won't defeat us
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive

Some say the end is comin',
to set our souls a runnin' but I say…
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive
Lets all come together, take care of each other
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive

Raise Your hands in the air
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive
Take a Stand Say a prayer
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive

Hand in hand and side by side,
with our hearts open wide
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive
Help others find their way create a heaven here today
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive

Raise Your hands in the air
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive
Take a Stand Say a prayer
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive

In times like these we need
to remember what is real
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive
United in our quest, to spread love and happiness
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive

Raise Your hands in the air
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive
Take a Stand Say a prayer
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive

He Rama Rama Bolo Jai Rama Rama Bolo
He Rama Rama Bolo Sita Ram
He Rama Rama Bolo Jai Rama Rama Bolo
He Rama Rama Bolo Sita Ram

Raise Your hands in the air
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive
Lend a Hand Say a prayer
Stay Strong Keep Your Faith Alive

b. Excerpts from Radhanatha Maharaja's speech at the House of Commons

"Sa vai pumso paro dharmo yatho bhakti adhoksaje/ ahaituki apratihata yayatma su prasidhati. The supreme occupation, supreme dharma, for every living being is to serve with love. Such love for God and all beings must be unmotivated by selfishness and ego and uninterrupted by temptations or fears as they come upon us.

We are using the analogy of the body. Let us just think of the service of our heart: the heart is pumping blood, pumping life and energy, to every cell of our body. The heart serves twenty four hours a day. If it were to take a vacation, if it were to take a lunch break, if it was called by the bell to go out and vote, we would die. The heart is serving every part of the body, twenty-four hours a day. That's service. And every part of the body is serving the heart and each other. Individually, we should take this example; the heart represents life and love. We say "Get to the heart of it." The heart is very much the essence. Why? because the heart serves unconditionally, uninterruptedly. And from a social perspective, the government is very much like the heart of our countries—to supply, to facilitate, to encourage, and to empower the people, to be the best they could be to make positive changes and contributions to the world, like the heart. The government and the individuals of the governments—if we want to see true happiness and prosperity—it must be in this mood of seva, or selfless service, to really make the interest of the people our interest, our happiness. All over the world we see: if people don't get such encouragement and such facilitation there is riots, there is demonstrations, there is upheavals.

There is a beautiful verse in the Gita: yad yad acarati sresthas tat tad evetaro janah. "Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow." The future of the world is so much dependent on the leaders in every field, in business, in industry. As we are speaking there are demonstrations on Wall Street because the leaders of business, instead of serving they are exploiting. Yes, in so many ways the government is like the heart, to approach and to empower people to do good things, and to curtail those selfish elements that exploit and cause harm to any individual within the society. "Spirituality in the Big Society"—it's a very big subject. It is especially important if we can somehow or other through our examples communicate these values in our schools, in our educational systems.…

[Radhanatha Maharaja quotes his mother:] "It is not the thing that counts. It is the thought. It is the love that gives meaning to anything."

Things are meant to be used and people are meant to be loved. But unfortunately, so many times we become so distracted that we love things and we use people. Money and power and knowledge are great assets when they are used with compassion. Just like a knife: is a knife good or bad?…

From a spiritual perspective it is a gift of God. The influence that we have, the knowledge that we have, are beautiful tools to be utilized to serve like the heart: unconditionally with love.…

I believe it is a very beautiful concept, "the Big Society." But all great concepts are really great when there is a mood of unselfish compassion to serve without discrimination, to truly understand the value of everyone. And in my experience in life, that really is so much the meaning of spirituality."

c. Response of Senior GBC Members to This Article

From: " ************* Swami" <*************.Swami@pamho.net>
To: "caritra-varnana dasa"
Cc: "AC Bhaktivaibhava Swami", "Bhakti Caitanya Swami", "Anuttama (das) ACBSP (IC N.America)"

Subject: Re: "Spiritual Slut" and Company: Their Corrupting Influence within ISKCON

Dear Caritra-varnana dasa,
Please accept my greetings and the blessings of Lord Krishna. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you for the information. Let's hope that the GBC Body has the intelligence and the authority to safe-guard the mission of Lord Caitanya as given to us by Srila Prabhupada. At the same time, the GBC Body has to act in such a way that while it trys to correct some discrepancy in the behavior of the leaders in ISKCON, it doesn't create unnecessary disturbance that becomes more of a problem than the discrepancy it is trying to correct.

Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
************* Swami

From: Editor editor@*********.com
Date: July 21, 2012 9:55:00 AM EDT
To: caritra-varnana dasa
Subject: Re: "Spiritual Slut" and Company: Their Corrupting Influence within ISKCON

Hare Krishna prabhu,

I don't have questions or need for clarification. In short I have no interest in publishing this on *********. I would suggest you send it to the GBC EC, the current chairman being Bhakti Caitanya Swami.

Ys ******** dasa

d. Bhaktifest 2012: Workshops by Spiritual Slut and company, and Radhanatha Swami

e. The address of The Office of Radhanath Swami in the US is that of the Bhakti Center


1) U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey [LIVE] (Newark), CRIMINAL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 2:02−cr−00009−JWB All Defendants.

2) Gill, Harbant. Herald Sun (Melbourne), 26 January 2005, "Just don't hurry Krishna."

3) Dunlevy, T'cha. The Gazette (Montreal), 22 January 2009, "Krishna Das is back to chant his way into our hearts; Spiritual ‘slut' stops by to share the healing power of his deep and warm musical voice."

4) Eckel, Sara. The New York Times, March 5, 2009, "Yoga Enthusiasts Hear the Call of Kirtan."

5) Das, Krishna. Chants of a Lifetime: Searching for a Heart of Gold, Hay House, Inc., ISBN: 978-1-4019-3137-7.

6) Das, Bhagavan. It's Here Now (Are You?), Broadway Boos, NY. ISBN 0-7679-0008-1.

7) Dass, Ram. Miracle of Love, 1979, Dutton Publications. ISBN-13: 9780525476115.

8) Falk, Geoffrey D. STRIPPING THE GURUS—Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment" (ISBN 978-0-9736203-3-7).

From the Internet

[1] Kayare, Sunil. "Radhanath Swami's BEC: A Camp That Was a Little Different." A Camp That Was a Little Different. http://www.socialfront.in. Web. 20 May 2012

[2] Smullen, Madhava. "Grammy Nominee Releases A Kirtana Album Just for Kids." News.iskcon.com. 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 20 May 2012

[3] Smullen, Madhava. "Gaura Vani & As Kindred Spirits Break Through With New Release." ISKCON News. Web. 20 May 2012

[4] "Radhanath Swami Speaks At UK's House of Commons." ISKCON News. Editor for Www.bhaktivedantamanor.co.uk, 9 Nov. 2011. Web. 21 May 2012

[5] Twipley. "Ram Dass Goes to a Pornographic Movie. YouTube. YouTube, 13 Apr. 2009. Web. 14 July 2012

[6] Deonthai. "Nighttime at Bhaktifest, 2011." YouTube. YouTube, 17 Sept. 2011. Web. 21 May 2012

[7] Canabass. "HAYD U PARK Yoga Is Music Krishna Das." YouTube. YouTube, 28 Oct. 2009. Web. 21 May 2012

[8] Babashri. "Barsana Eye Camp_Part 1." YouTube. YouTube, 24 Sept. 2007. Web. 21 May 2012

[9] Smullen, Madhava. "ISKCON News: The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness." N.p., 28 Jan. 2012. Web. 01 July 2012

[10] HHRNSMedia. "(Full Video) House of Commons UK Parliament—Radhanath Swami 11102011." YouTube. YouTube, 19 Nov. 2011. Web. 01 July 2012

[11] Dasa, Gaurahari. "ISKCON News: The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness." N.p., 30 June 2011. Web. 14 July 2012

[12] Radhanath Swami Blues. YouTube. YouTube, 08 Sept. 2011. Web. 14 July 2012

[13] Smullen, Madhava. "Grammy Nominee Releases A Kirtan Album Just for Kids." ISKCON News: The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, 11 Nov. 2011. Web. 21 May 2012

[14] Rupagopi. "Bhajan—Jai Uttal—Govinda Jaya Jaya—LA Rathayatra (1/2)." YouTube. YouTube, 05 Oct. 2009. Web. 22 May 2012

[15] Stay Strong—Official Music Video. Prod. Staystrongproject. YouTube. YouTube, 25 Jan. 2011. Web. 14 July 2012

[16] "GauraVani.com | Press." GauraVani.com | Press. Web. 22 May 2012

[17] "GauraVani.com | Press." GauraVani.com | Press. Web. 22 May 2012

[18] "Krishna Das—About KD." Krishna Das—About KD. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 July 2012

[19] "Bhakti Fest Presents | Bhakti Fest." Bhakti Fest Presents | Bhakti Fest. Web. 22 Nov. 2011

[20] TheSecretBliss. "Sonia Doubell with Krisna Das Bhaktifest Joshua Tree 2011." YouTube. YouTube, 12 Sept. 2011. Web. 22 May 2012

[21] Das, Satchitananda. The Sampradaya Sun—Independent Vaisnava News—Editorials—June 2007. N.p., 10 June 2007. Web. 14 July 2012

[22] Narksaracha. "Radhanath and Yajya Purusha, The Sanctuary Hijackers." YouTube. YouTube, 24 May 2007. Web. 14 July 2012

[23] "Radhanath Swami | Contact Us" Radhanathswami.com. Web. 03 Aug 2012


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