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Hare Krishna
Posted by: Sabino ()
Date: July 28, 2005 11:16AM

I would be extremely careful in trusting any information whatsoever from “”. It’s run by Tripurari Swami, a former ISKCON cult guru who is himself a very controversial figure, with allegations of abuse against him. Any information derived from Tripurari about the history of Gaudiya Vaisnavism would be very far from objective.

Currently, there are many dozens of ISKCON splinter groups that are circulating throughout the world. Most of these groups suffer from many of the same abusive practices that their parent organization suffers from. Tripurari’s “Gaudiya Vaisnava Society” is one of these many splinter groups.

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Hare Krishna
Posted by: natural mystic ()
Date: July 28, 2005 10:36PM

Interesting Sabino. I have never met the guy but I do know that he is a respected author. See Amazon for his books

As far as his being a leader of a cult, I would not call his folowing a cult. There are only a handful of people who don't have an organization of any type who have any close type of relationship with him, it's just a few people who look to him as a teacher of the tradition he claims to represent. Also I have never heard any rumors of abuse by him, could you tell us what you have heard? The only rumor I heard was that he has a girlfriend while at the same time being a sannyasi (a swani, someone who gives up sexual relationships)

He's harmless I far as I can know, maybe you can tell me something I don't know.

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Hare Krishna
Posted by: Sabino ()
Date: July 29, 2005 09:15AM

Dear Natural Mystic,

Tripurari is very far from “harmless”. I’ve personally known the man very well for over 25 years, including when he was with ISKCON and afterwards when he left to join Shridhar Maharaj. As you can imagine, I need to be very careful about what I discuss in too much detail, since I don’t want to reveal who I am to any potentially vengeful parties. (I currently live in California…a bit too close for comfort).

When Tripurari was with ISKCON, he was one of the most dishonest and unscrupulous “Sankirtan” collectors, originating many of the con-games and illegal money-collecting activities that later became infamous with the public, and which gave the Hare Krsnas the reputation of being dishonest, religious pan-handlers at airports. His role in this is common ISKCON history that any older Prabhupada disciple will quickly confirm.

After he left ISKCON, Tripurari engaged in many illegal and abusive practices in order to jump start his nascent “Gaudiya Vaisnava Society”. Such activities included the sale of narcotics, illegal fundraising (“we’re raising money to feed the poor children of India!”), as well as verbal, sexual, psychological, financial and physical abuse of many of his former disciples (several of whom reported such activities to me themselves).

You’ve mentioned that it is quite well known that this “sannyasi” has a girlfriend at present. For anyone on this list who was or is a Hare Krsna, that alone will set off deafeningly loud alarm-bells. As has been the case for many fallen ISKCON gurus, Tripurari preaches abstinence from “illicit sex”, while engaging in it himself for years…and not merely with his current “girlfriend”.

Tripurari is very clearly a cult leader. The fact that Tripurari now surrounds himself with an extremely tiny group of followers is clearly not due to any humility-inspired attempt on his part to keep things simple. Rather, the vast majority of his disciples have ended up abandoning him over the years, leaving him with such a small following that it hardly warrants having too official an organizational structure any more. He is living in the wooded forests of “Audarya”, not by choice, but by the default of having chased the vast majority of his followers away.

Indeed, when he first left ISKCON in the mid-eighties, he told me personally that his goal was to create a large organization that would rival ISKCON. Thus his first failed organization was pretentiously called the “Gaudiya Vaisnava Society”. He has been forced since then to abandon these plans due to lack of free labor and support from any of his disgruntled, ex-disciples.

Again, due to his very controversial history, and clear cult abuses of the past, I would not attempt to pass-off Tripurari as any sort of authoritative source on Gaudiya Vaisnavism. He is a cult leader. Honestly, I’m not at all interested in debating the merits or demerits of Tripurari with any of his (few) supporters on this list or elsewhere. I'm an ex-Hare Krsna, and firmly committed to remaining so! Thanks and take care.

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Hare Krishna
Posted by: natural mystic ()
Date: July 29, 2005 12:45PM

Thanks Sabino. I have never heard of what was going on between him and his associates or followers or whatever you want to call them. Although since you didn't really present any details or verification I can only categorize what you wrote about as rumors.

I know that there are some Ex Iskcon people on a crusade to demonize every one who has taken a position as a guru within Iskcon or outside of Iskcon, I'm sure you know who I mean... PADA etc. Their modus operandi as I'm sure you now is lying and hyperbole. PADA has espeically been consistent in lying about everyone and he has been the one to really go after Tripurari because he lives near him. So I question anyone who repeats what I can find on PADA's website. When he first started his crusade he had some credibility and exposed many people to the abuses that went on and go on in ISKCON, even though he was way over the top with hyperbole and child like name calling, and lied quite a lot as well. As time has gone on over the years he has become more and more shrill and messianic, a raving lunatic, and he has llost all credibility amongst most of the people who used to support him. It's because of his turning on anyone who questions any of his philosophical positions, foul language, extreme hyperbole, and outright lies.

So for your claims to be accepted by me, they have to have some verification other then repeating what PADA says. Maybe you are not wrong, maybe you are absolutely correct, but I won't accept slanderous rumors about anyone without verification, especially if the source is PADA. I mean I can say anything about anyone, so what? How do we know what is true and what is character assassination for some ulterior purpose. I know Tripurari has enemies and I know they seek to destroy his reputation. Beyond that whatever accusation you have or have heard of, I simply cannot accept it as factual without verification from people who were involved with him, and more then just a single disgruntled ex associate. That is only fair to the guy in my estimation.

As far as his being the originator of the airport type of book selling that gave Iskcon bad publicity, I know that. But that was 30 years ago when he was a young man. I can't hold a grudge for something he did when he was in his 20's.

As far considering him an expert on Gaudiya philosophy, I never said he was. What I said is that he has spent years of his life in India hanging out with elderly gurus of the tradition. In fact he was vice-president of the World Vaisnava Association ( [] ) which is comprised of the all the elderly gurus and others who were disciples of Bhaktivedantas Guru. So when it comes to knowing what Bhaktisiddhanta's opinion was on sex, I trust him, he is friends with all the old gurus who knew what Bhaktisiddhanta's position was on sex. I know that Narayana Swami; the 80 something popular guru who ISKCON fears and loaths because he has gained a large following from ex Iskcon members and created a very large organization, he also does not require his disciples to follow the no sex except for procreation rule.

So that was my reason for the use of Tripurari as a source on Bhaktisiddhanta's position on sex. As far as his being an authority on Gaudiya philosophy, he is a scholar and scholars do appreciate his writing. I would agree that he is not a perfect authority on all levels of Gaudiya philosophy, but he is in my opinion far more educated on Gaudiya philosophy and Indian philosophy in general then any other ex Iskcon person who has published from what I have read. academically well recieved. And that is also the opinion of the elderly gurus from the tradition. His writing is better then any other gaudiya vaisnava of this generation. If you don't think so that is your perogative, but elders in the tradition do believe that, and it is easily evident if you read his writings and compare it to the others.

As far as his character, like I said, I never met him, don't know him, don't know anyone who was in his circle. He may be what you said, or he may not be as far as I am concerned, I believe in innocent until proven guilty by a preponderance of evidence, not just he-said she-said on internet forums or webpages.

Anyways I am ready to change any of my opinions that I have just stated. If you have or come across any data that would change any of my opinions I welcome that. I don't have a dog in this race, I simply want to know the truth.

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Hare Krishna
Posted by: Sabino ()
Date: July 30, 2005 01:33AM

Dear Natural Mystic,

No, my information is not derived from PADA. The person who runs PADA is a nut-job to say the least, and is not to be trusted as a reliable source on much of anything. I'm also not a disgruntled "ex-associate" of Tripurari. I'm a former God-brother of his who has known him quite well for years (slept a few rooms away from him for quite some time in fact!). Currently, I'm not a member of any Hare Krsna faction, and no longer consider myself a Hare Krsna or a Vaishnava in any way. Thus I have no agenda of criticizing one group to the benefit of another. My sources aren't Internet rumors, but first-hand information from friends of mine who where his direct disciples, and things I witnessed myself personally.

When Tripurari had the intelligence to leave ISKCON, I and many other devotees were very happy and had a positive feeling that he would do things very differently from the abuse and money-grubbing behavior we had witnessed for so long. Many of us had high hopes that Tripurari would be successful in his attempts to build an organization that would rival ISKCON, and bring Prabhupada’s vision back to its original purity and intent. It didn’t happen. Instead, the Westcoast is now littered with many of Tripurari’s “ex-associates”, and he’s hiding in the woods.

I wish Tripurari nothing but well in his own life and personal spiritual advancement. He did have some positive qualities too. But, like so many, he fell into the “acharya” trap way before he was ready and mature enough to call himself a guru. What we need today are a lot more sincere sadhakas, and a lot fewer unqualified people posing themselves as “acharyas”.

That said, I think there definitely are some very sincere gurus and sannyasis out there. Narayana Maharaja certainly might be one of them. I don’t know. I do know that a person needs to be very careful to not merely accept the hype (accepting hype is the more positive mirror-image of accepting “rumors”, and no better) that gurus have their blind followers propagate. Rather, we need to enter any relationship with any spiritual teacher with open eyes, after having examined their character up close for a long, long period of time (the time-tested system of India).

May we all find Truth at some point in time! Take care, all.

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Hare Krishna
Posted by: natural mystic ()
Date: July 30, 2005 11:37AM

Thanks for your response, but it was still just kind of painting him negatively with a broad stroke, and saying he's not what you hoped he would have become, thats too bad, but I can't fault a person for not rising to others expectations of them. Maybe his followers were expecting too much and when he didn't deliver they turned on him.

As far as you saying that you were hoping he would have created another purer more original type of ISKCON, I would hope not. ISKCON has always been a mixed bag, I would certainly not like to see anything like it at any stage of it's existence come into fruition again.

You said:


build an organization that would rival ISKCON, and bring Prabhupada’s vision back to its original purity and intent.

Bhaktivedanta's vision was the problem and would cetainly would not be the solution. He created a sexless, misogynistic, militaristic, hierarchical mess.

If he had just stuck to the theology then that would have been fine, he is an expert on the theology. But he added things into the original teachings which were the root cause for all of the problems of ISKCON. It was always dysfunctional and a souless, sexist, socially awkward, unpleasent place to be. I am always surprised when I hear ex members speak of the "original" ISKCON as if it was any different then after Bhaktivedanta left. In both cases Bhaktivedanta did not run the society, others did, he only ran it at the very beginning. Not that it would have mattered too much if he had ran it or not, it would have been more genteel if he did, but still dysfunctinal. The same dysfunctionality was going on then as now, the same abuses of power, the same sexism, the same demand on total celibacy, the same fear and loathing of women being taught, the same insistence on giving up all and any activity which was not directly serving the society or else be asked to leave, the same demand to get up every single morning and be in the temple by 4:30 a.m or be asked to leave etc. It was always a bizarre combination of spirituality and sexless draconian totalitarianism. That's spirituality? Not quite.

So when people speak of the golden age of ISKCON I just shake my head and think "don't they see it's just a romanticized version of what really went down, that they are imagining it to be bteer then it was. They were converts to a new religion and had the fervor of the new convert, that is why they remember that time as being so special, the feeling of discovering something new and exciting, discovering god, but the reality is that it was not better then it is today, it was always a very disturbing place to live."

It was Bhaktivedanta who created the mess, it was his shaping of the dysfunctional social dynamic, it was his shaping of an authoritarian organization, it was his teaching on women being inferior and dangerous, it was his teaching that sex is inherently bad and displeases god, it was his teaching that you cannot do anything other then serve the society with every second of your time, no movies, no travelling, no anything at all accept serve the leaders, he taught that, he created that. He was the one who instilled fear into the minds of his followers that if they left his society which demanded total slavery that they may "rot in the material world for millions of lifetimes", those are his words, that was his message, tell me it isn't.

Sorry Sabino, I know that Bhaktivedanta was a great scholar of the theology, a great theologian, but he was much more then that, and he brought that much moreness and created a new religion, his teachings are a mixture of the real tradition and bunch of craziness. If he would have stuck to the tradition without adding all the negativity, all the fear mongering, all the totalitariansim, the authoritarianism, etc. Then it would have been really a good thing, not just a romanticized false memory of when you were young and exicited and naive.

It was

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Hare Krishna
Posted by: Sabino ()
Date: July 31, 2005 02:30AM

I don't really think I said anywhere that I believed there was ever a "golden age" of ISKCON. Those are definitely not my words. My simple point was that many of we true believers at the time (20 years ago) believed strongly in Prabhupada's vision. There was never a "golden age". Again, I'm no longer a Hare Krsna, and agree completely that Prabhupada himself was the ultimate source of the problems we witnessed in his organization. There was never any time in its history - from at least 1966 on - that ISKCON wasn't a destructive cult. It was a surreal authoritarian nightmare when Prabhupada was alive, and it remained so after he died.

Prabhupada was a good writer and visionary, I still believe. But he was a horrible manager; didn't know how to properly meld idealism with organizational functionality; rewarded people and advanced them solely on how loud, "charismatic", and useful they were to him (instead of on their bhakti, which seemed to matter little to him in choosing who would advance in the organization); stressed quantity, quantity, quantity over the quality of anything (he cared infinitely more about how many books were being sold, how much money was coming in, and how many temples were being open than how deeply his disciples were advancing); created a social environment that was indeed sexist, and highly dysfunctional to put it very lightly; didn’t care an ounce about who would succeed him and how his organization would function after his demise (he merely created a lunatic asylum and left the inmates in charge). I’m sure others can add much more. In any case, it was certainly a sad experience for many of us.

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Hare Krishna
Posted by: natural mystic ()
Date: July 31, 2005 08:27AM

Sabino. I apologize for misunderstanding where you were coming from. We see eye to eye.

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Hare Krishna
Posted by: maui ()
Date: October 23, 2005 10:41AM

corboy when you said this

"Oddly, he did think Bhaktivedanta's version of Vaishnavism was authentic--but Bharati wrote in 1976, the early years of the movement"

You are right, or Bharati is right. Natural mystic is wrong on several points. The points that natural mystic makes questioning the authenticity of Srila Prabhupada's implementation of the sexual and drug restrictions within his movement are in error. First he (or she) says that the sexual restriction imposed by Srila Prabhupada was his own concoction and not the traditional way. He said that Indian society and religions used to be very open about sexuality and that the later muslim and english invasions and conquest forced a sexually victorian attitude onto Hindu society and religion. It is true that the muslim and english conquest changed Hindu sexual attitudes for the masses. But it is incorrect to say it changed the religious attitudes towards sex.

The religious history of India has been split into 3 generalized paths. The first is the tantric, which promotes sexuality in one form or another as well as ingestion of drugs, usually hashish and or alcohol in order to enhance the sexual rituals. There are many varieities of tantric yogic teachings on sexuality. Some believe in having sex between yogis and yoginis as part of a process to gain mystic powers or enlightenment. Usually the sex involved was practiced so that the yogi would not pass semen. The teachings are about having sex with a powerful yogini in order to transform the essence of her release into the yogi where that mingles with the semen and is then raised through the power of Kundalini to the brain creating new mystical substances called ojas and tejas. That procees is supposed to open up the various chakras or centers of power and lead to mystical powers and or enlightenment. There are other tantric practices which are entirely different.

Another general path is the path of moderation. In that path people do not give up or obsess over any type of food or sex or drug taking. Another general path is the path of renunciation. Those that follow the teachings of the official Vedanta schools follow this path. They teach that life is short and distractions are all around and keep one from focusing on attaining enlightenment. Chief amongst those distractions is sex. They teach that sexual desire above all other distractions leads people into giving up the path to enlightenment, which is described as difficult under the best of circumstances. This teaching about the importance of brahmacharya is all pervasive in Vedantic religious thought. Not only is sex considered to be a distraction but also they believe in some ways the same thing as the tantrics when it comes to loss of semen. They teach that by ejaculation a man's spiritual ability is lessened, his ojas amd tejas becomes diminished and this leads to a weak mind, poor health, premature aging etc. This path also renounces all flesh ingestion, all intoxicants, and in general teaches that leading an austere lifestyle centered around renouncing anything that doesn't explicitly help them in their quest for enlightenment is the best life to lead.

It is true that before the muslim and english conquest of India that the tantric paths were very popular and that the path of renunciation was not as popular as it is today. But all three paths have always co-existed in India, and they still do. Although today the tantric path is looked upon with disrespect. It wasn't only the outside influences which changed the religious and social landscape of India. Beginning with Shankara (788 ? - 820 ?) there came a series of very popular Hindu "reformers" all teaching the Vedantic renunciative school of thought. Previously to Shankara Buddhism had overtaken Vedantic Hindusim as the most popular religion in India. Buddhism also had a renunciative path and a tantric path and because it came out of Hinduism it was widely accepted as an alternative to the Vedantic school.The Vedantic schools had become corrupt due to the mass of people having no real access to the Hindu scriptures which were written and spoken in sanskrit, which was only taught to born Brahmins. Non Brahmins were not given a chance to explore the Vedantic teachings without the guiding hand of the Brahmins. That is when the beginning of the caste system started to coalesce, which in turn started to corrupt Hindu society in favor of Brahminical exploitation. Buddhism rejected all of that but stayed within the basic Hindu worldview and thus it attracted the mass of disenfranchised people to convert to Buddhism.

Buddhism became dominant. Although just like in the Vedantic schools many types of Buddhism came to exist. The oldest form of Buddhism (Pure Land Buddhism) is nothing like the popular Buddhism of today. It was much closer to Hindu beliefs about a soul and an afterlife in the "Pure Land" heavenly world with the supreme adi Buddha, or original Buddha, sometimes known as Amitabha, Hri, or Lokeswara. Buddhism is no longer of any relevance in India today. After a series of Hindu reformers appeared the entire population rejected Buddhism and went back to the Vedantic paths. The most popular reformers were Shankara, Ramanjua, Madhva, Vallabha, Chaitanya, and Nimbarka, as well as numerous lesser luminaries. All of their traditions are alive and well today and comprise the mainstream of Hinduism today. All of them teach the traditional renunciative path.

Srila Prabhupada comes from the Chaitnaya tradition, which is a strictly renunciative tradition. As far as explicit teachings on celibacy being the creation of Srila Prabhupada, that is not true. The same teaching is found in all of the mainstream Vedantic traditions today. While it is true that Srila Prabhupada emphasied celibacy more so then many others in those traditions, still those other traditions and his own tradition all teach the same thing on sexuality. It is in their sriptures as well as Gaudiya sriptures that celibacy is the best path to take. For instance in the Bhagavad Gita 17.14 which is accepted by all Vedantic schools as authoritative

pujanam saucam arjavam
[b:17267e06c1]brahmacaryam[/b:17267e06c1] ahimsa ca
sariram tapa ucyate


deva -- of the Supreme Lord; dvija -- the brahmanas; guru -- the spiritual master; prajna -- and worshipable personalities; pujanam -- worship; saucam -- cleanliness; arjavam -- simplicity; brahmacaryam -- celibacy; ahimsa -- nonviolence; ca -- also; sariram -- pertaining to the body; tapah -- austerity; ucyate -- is said to be.


Austerity of the body consists in worship of the Supreme Lord, the brahmanas, the spiritual master, and superiors like the father and mother, and in cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and nonviolence.

And also in the Bhagavat Purana 3.27.7 which is also accepted as authoritative

[b:17267e06c1]brahmacaryena[/b:17267e06c1] maunena
sva-dharmena baliyasa


sarva -- all; bhuta -- living entities; samatvena -- by seeing equally; nirvairena -- without enmity; aprasangatah -- without intimate connections; brahma-caryena -- by celibacy; maunena -- by silence; sva-dharmena -- by one's occupation; baliyasa -- by offering the result.


One has to see every living entity equally, without enmity towards anyone yet without intimate connections with anyone. One has to observe celibacy, be grave and execute his eternal activities, offering the results to the Supreme Lord.

The teaching on celibacy or Brahmacharya is all pervasive in the Vedantic scriptures, I could quote numerous others sources but why clutter up this post. As far as saying that the Hare Krishna society that Srila Prabhupada started ended up being a mess due to Srila Prabhupada's teachings on women, sex, authority, etc. Again Srila Prabhupada was presenting the traditional teachings of the school he belonged to on these topics. He always gave scriptural citations for his opinions. The mess came because what worked in India amongst born hindus, wasn't necessarily going to work for a non Indian non hindu population to the same degree. A good example of this fact is how ISKCON has fared in India and amongst the Hindu nationals outside of India. In both instances ISKCON has become the leading religious institution. In England where the largest population of hindus outside of India resides, Bhaktivedanta Manor is the center of England's hindu community. the same thing goes for anyplace in the world outside of India where there is a large Hindu population.

I think the reason Iskcon has turned into a mess outside of India and Indian communities is because westerners couldn't and can't really relate to the Hindu social environment in which the religious teachings were and are presented within ISKCON. Westerners can easily relate to the religious teachings, but when they are presented within an extremely socially conservative social situation, usually the two don't mesh to well. For Indians it is no problem because they come from more or less the same social situation that ISKCON promotes. Westerners come from a completely different social situation. What has happened is in trying to integrate westerners into promoters and leaders of a traditional conservative Hindu religion is that more often then not they have not been up to the task due to ingrained western outlooks. They tend to be overly dogmatic, overly strict and judgemental, overly aggressive, all due their lack of Indian/Hindu social refinement. They are the proverbial bulls in a china shop.

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Hare Krishna
Posted by: MasterTeacher ()
Date: November 22, 2005 02:07AM

I am a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada, currently living in an ISKCON community in the USA. I have been a practicing Gaudiya Vaisnava monk and teacher, in and out of ISKCON, for over 35 years. I came across this forum while tracking visits to my website, some of which were linked from this site.

When I read this thread, I felt a mixture of amusement and pity. No one posting here, even the bushy-tailed youngster who started the thread, seems to have actually attained any degree of self-realization. You are all, pro or con, talking about the various aspects of the Hare Krsna movement in a completely external way.

My point of view is that it is impossible to actually understand the Hare Krsna movement without having attained at least some success in the practice self-realization. This spiritual cognition leads to deep insights into the nature of life and reality that are extremely valuable for everyone. Without this understanding, any attempt to evaluate the meaning and value of the Hare Krsna movement would necessarily be superficial and inaccurate.

The real message of religion in general, and Gaudiya Vaisnavism in particular, is that [b:4abe531229]our ontological conceptions of ourselves, God and our relationship with Him determine our spiritual destiny[/b:4abe531229]. In my researches of world religions, including extensive travel to holy sites, I have not found a spiritual tradition that expresses this great truth more completely or explicitly than Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

Most of you seem to be advocating various forms of agnosticism. There seems to be a deep distrust of [b:4abe531229]any [/b:4abe531229]form of religious organization running through this thread. But all human organizations are imperfect because they are composed of and run by people, and therefore embody the well-known defects of human nature.

Yes, ISKCON is imperfect. Believe me, no one is more acutely aware of this fact than myself. So what? That does not mean that we should advocate its dissolution or throw away its important and valuable message.

ISKCON is a seed. The external organization is just the shell, while the germ of a great spiritual civilization lives in its heart. When this seed sprouts, this civilization will give great benefit to everyone. Yes, most Hare Krsna devotees, including the leaders, are unaware of all this. They also need education in the deeper meaning of this movement.

In this material world, we all must face death. Death can be many different things, depending on how you look at it, and how much you know about spiritual life. ISKCON's failings notwithstanding, the Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy and practices tranform our view of death from the most dreadful tragedy to an opportunity to attain eternal existence and blissful spiritual consciousness in personal assciation with a loving God.

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