Gold, Guns and God, Vol. 6: The Guru Business
Henry Doktorski’s landmark 520-page non-fiction book about Swami Bhaktipada and the West Virginia Hare Krishna commune called New Vrindaban, can be purchased in several ways:
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REVIEWS AND READERS’ LETTERS
June 19, 2022
FIVE STARS: Riveting, Enthralling, and better than a True Crime Documentary on Netflix!
This volume of the Gold, Guns, and God opus by Henry Doktorski is riveting and enthralling, much like a true crime documentary on Netflix (Making a Murderer, anyone?). Two chapters in and like a magic act everything around me disappeared because I could not put this down or do anything else, but keep reading! The story itself of the conspiracy to kill Steve Bryant should be enough to capture anyone’s curiosity.
The author presents detail after detail of evidence of how many participated in the murder conspiracy and how it was carried out. The more one reads the more one may find themselves in this difficult place of what is reality vs. what we all wish was not. It’s not always easy to accept this unfortunate episode in Prabhupada’s movement and especially when it involved so many “higher ups.” However, it’s too important to trace the root of the problem and it is already well known—it started immediately after November 14, 1977 after Prabhupada’s passing ISKCON degraded down a dangerous road of clashing cults of eleven personalities, or better stated—“Eleven Naked Emperors.”
Volume 6 provides details that explain the beginning of the end of Keith Ham’s reign of sex abuse, corruption, deviations from Prabhupada’s teaching, and ego centric cult in West Virginia. It’s a fascinating read when one compares to other dangerous cults that puts a flawed human being in the center of a community as good as God and calls him ridiculous names like “King.” I say fascinating because the similarities are frightening—unquestioned authority/power over others, blind followers, scriptural inaccuracies of pure teachings, the easy justification of crimes, etc. Think Nxivm, Osho, People’s Temple—the examples out there are endless yet feels like an all too familiar story.
Refreshing that ISKCON and those who follow the path of Bhakti (non-ISKCON) that I have experienced in the present have taken note. Krishna and Prabhupada seem to be at the center again, not “show bottle gurus” exalted to the point they are as good as God. In this sense there is definitely a collective maturity and intentional effort to restore the purity of the movement. The lessons here are impossible to ignore for anyone who wants to learn from the painful lessons of the past in order to avoid an encore. You may ignore this history at your own risk.
From a review at Amazon.com.
SUMMARY: Volume 6—THE GURU BUSINESS
Gold, Guns and God, Vol. 6, subtitled The Guru Business, begins in November 1977 with the passing of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), the guiding light and Founder/Acharya for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The first two chapters describe the March 1978 appointment of eleven senior leaders as successor acharyas by the Society’s Governing Body Commission. Unfortunately the eleven, including Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada, were not acharyas (self-realized souls on the highest level of God realization), but were pretenders who ran ISKCON like Mafia dons. Within a few short years, some of the so-called “acharyas” were becoming known for illicit connections with women (and men) and recreational drug use—activities regarded as mortal sins and prohibited to all Krishna devotees. Those few perceptive godbrothers who saw through the scam were blacklisted, forced to leave the Society, and even murdered.
Volume Six also reveals a never-before-released story on the plot to murder Richard “Rsi” Rose, the owner of the 132 acres of land which Hayagriva leased for 99 years in 1968 which became New Vrindaban, West Virginia.
The following ten chapters relate the story of Bhaktipada’s arch nemesis, Sulochan (Steven Bryant), a New Vrindaban resident who discovered many immoral and criminal activities at the “Holy Tirtha,” and began exposing the corruption in his book, The Guru Business, which detailed the faults of Bhaktipada (and some of the other ISKCON gurus) and described some of the criminal activities at New Vrindaban and in ISKCON. Senior leaders at New Vrindaban, Cleveland ISKCON and Los Angeles ISKCON hunted down Sulochan and assassinated him in Los Angeles on May 22, 1986.
The ISKCON West Virginia farm community, home of Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold, had become a criminal organization under the direction of the charismatic Bhaktipada, who was lauded as “King” by the New Vrindaban inmates. Did Sulochan die in vain to expose corruption? Would Bhaktipada be eventually charged, tried, and found guilty in a criminal court of law?
The author explains, “Much (but not all) of the material in this volume has already been covered in detail in my earlier-published books Killing For Krishna and Eleven Naked Emperors, but I decided to include a good portion of this information in this current volume of Gold, Guns and God because the decalogy would not be complete without including at least some of this story. For readers who want to understand the plot to murder Sulochan in greater detail and the zonal acharya era of ISKCON, please consult Killing For Krishna and Eleven Naked Emperors.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS—VOLUME 6: THE GURU BUSINESS
Chapter 56: The Zonal Acharyas Take Over ISKCON
1978 GBC Meetings
GBC consults with Bhakti-Raksak Sridhar Maharaja
Eleven “acharyas” allegedly appointed by Prabhupada
Zonal acharyas honored extravagantly
Did Prabhupada appoint eleven successors?
Kirtanananda Swami: the trend setter
Guru must be authorized
“He becomes regular guru, that’s all”
ISKCON “gurus” pretend to be acharyas
GBC should have reprimanded Kirtanananda
Doubts and questions
Zonal acharyas challenged in Vrindaban, India
Chapter 57: ISKCON gurus begin to deviate
Guru cannot be rubber stamped
Police confiscate weapons at Mount Kailasa
The Pyramid House talks
Deviant “gurus” reinstated
Hansadutta goes berserk
Bhavananda reinstated as guru
Exposed by a woman
Jadurani rejects the zonal acharyas
Jadurani is beaten bloody
Jadurani leaves New Vrindaban
Pittsburgh devotees threatened
Richard Rose sues New Vrindaban
The plot to murder Richard Rose
Politics and corruption in the Ohio River Valley
Chapter 58: A Thorn in Bhaktipada’s Side
Palace marketing manager boosts tourism
Bhaktipada: equal to Prabhupada
Palace manager defects
New Vrindaban becomes a personality cult
Bhaktipada and Sulochan
The Gopi-Bhava Club
Sulochan moves to India
Sulochan moves to England
Sulochan returns to India
Sulochan returns to England
The wife must please her husband
The husband must protect the wife
Sulochan and Jane move to New Vrindaban
Temple authories pressure Jane to take initiation
California, here I come
Sulochan abuses his wife and children
Sulochan attempts to adopt the Brijabasi spirit
Sulochan bullied by Kuladri and his thugs
Sulochan leaves New Vrindaban for good
Sons retrieved by mother and three enforcers
A wife’s relationship with the spiritual master is eternal
Sulochan acquires pirate copy of Prabhupada’s letters
Sulochan hears reports of anomalies at New Vrindaban
Sulochan advocates violence against the ISKCON gurus
Can a fallen devotee detect hypocrisy more clearly than a strict sannyasi?
Subhas Chandra Bose: Indian patriot
Corrupt regimes overthrown by violence
Chapter 59: The Kirtanananda Exposé
Kirtanananda is a “crazy man”
Sulochan made some incorrect and vicious accusations
GBC concerned about Bhaktipada
Prabhupada’s crown removed
Sulochan challenges Bhaktipada to debate
Bhaktipada threatens to resign from GBC if Sulochan is not silenced
Chapter 60: The Guru Reform Movement
ISKCON temple presidents begin organizing against the zonal acharyas
Ending the fratricidal war
Many Prabhupada disciples disillusioned
ISKCON gurus: above the law
August 1985 emergency GBC meetings
Brahmachari claims ISKCON “guru” attempted to seduce him
Bhaktipada’s 48th birthday party
North American GBC and temple presidents meeting
“On His Order”
Chapter 61: Preaching From a Jail Cell
“The Story of a Cheater”—the “real facts”about Sulochan
GBC rules in “Sulochan vs. Bhaktipada”
Bhaktipada erred by initiating Sulochan’s wife
Puranjana intercedes on Sulochan’s behalf
Chapter 62: An Attack at the Heart of ISKCON
Triyogi tries to kill Bhaktipada
Triyogi restrained, arrested by the sheriff
Jail break attempt
Bhaktipada rushed to hospital
ISKCON leaders offer support
Some want Bhaktipada to die
Bhaktipada awakens from coma
Bhaktipada returns home
The joy of reunion
Prabhupada’s crown returns
Chapter 63: He Was a Very, Very Different Person
Bhaktipada’s brain damage
Narcissistic personality disorder
The greatest disease: tasting absolute power
Disciples paralyzed due to emotional investment
Bhaktipada’s personality changed
Head injury caused increased sexual desire?
Chapter 64: Murder Conspiracy
Sulochan praises Triyogi’s assault
The alleged collaboration of Sulochan and Triyogi
Tirtha recruited as hit man
Gorby: government informant
Federal government investigates the cults
Tirtha begins searching for Sulochan
Janmastami recruited as hit man
Tirtha names seven conspirators
Scriptural justification for murder
“If the man who blasphemed . . . is killed, his sinful action may be atoned”
“One should by force cut out the blasphemer’s tongue and kill the offender”
Even a “meek and humble” devotee should “be as angry as fire”
“Saintly persons . . . take pleasure in the killing of envious living entities”
Killing for Krishna
Chapter 65: The Keystone Cops Surveillance Team
Janmastami dispatched to California
Sulochan visits high school friends in Michigan
Tapahpunja attempts to sub-contract the hit
Radhanath Swami flies to Los Angeles to meet with Ramesvara
Sulochan drives from Michigan to the Ohio Valley
Sulochan threatens to destroy Kirtanananda and New Vrindaban
Sulochan’s threats greatly exaggerated
Kuladri requests assistance from local law enforcement
Tapahpunja and Tirtha drive to Michigan
Tapahpunja tricks Mrs. Bryant into revealing her son’s location
Gorby’s story different from Tapahpunja’s story
Sulochan meets with the FBI
Tapahpunja’s story different
Gaura-Shakti protects himself
Sulochan eludes his pursuers a second time
Tirtha flies to Los Angeles to rendevous with Janmastami
Gorby reveals Sulochan’s hiding place
Gorby’s miraculous tracking ability
Warrant issued for Bryant’s arrest
Sulochan telephones tax assessor
Chapter 66: The Demon Jailed
New Vrindaban examines Sulochan’s papers
Tirtha and Janmastami remain in Los Angeles
Sulochan and Ramesvara
Ramesvara’s ksatriya disciple
Southern California ISKCON mamagers aware of murder plot
Tirtha needs constant encouragement
Mr. T and Bhakta Barney meet Krishna-Katha and Premadatta
Surveillance team examines mine shafts
The two New Vrindaban hit men leave California
Chapter 67: A Real Pain
Sulochan meets Triyogi
Something fishy in the sheriff’s office and county jail
Sulochan’s campaign loses steam
Tirtha and Gorby spy on Sulochan in Michigan
Sulochan returns to California
New Vrindaban managers attempt to procure funding for Tirtha
Bhaktipada allegedly authorizes $2,500
Tirtha receives $2,500
Tirtha flies to California
Sulochan predicts murder as his destiny
Tirtha and Krishna-Katha spy on Sulochan
Sulochan gives up his crusade, more or less
Radhanath Swami flies to Los Angeles
Murder is “a nasty thing”
Hiding in the shadows
Chapter 68: The Murder of Sulochan
News of the murder spreads quickly: New Vrindaban all a-buzz
Tirtha told to go to India
Escape money denied to Tirtha
Dharmatma refuses to give Tirtha any more money
Tirtha speaks to Tapahpunja in Columbus
Bhaktipada is notified of the murder
ISKCON leaders denounce the murder
Puranjana and Kailasa-Chandra fear for their lives
Brijabasis cautioned not to speak to media or police
A wolf in sheep’s clothing
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