The Danger of Deranged Devotion
a book by
© 2018 by Henry Doktorski
Purchase Killing for Krishna
Purchase Killing for Krishna
Henry Doktorski’s landmark 660-page non-fiction book about the 1986 murder of the former New Vrindaban resident and Hare Krishna member Steven Bryant (Sulochan dasa) can be purchased in several ways:
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Killing for Krishna—The Danger of Deranged Devotion by Henry Doktorski is a nuanced, intelligent, and impeccably researched work on events and developments which continue to haunt ISKCON to this very day. The author writes from a unique perspective: he has methodically studied the Keith Gordon Ham/Swami Bhaktipada Archive for fifteen years, and as a former inhabitant of the New Vrindaban Community, he is both personal witness and chronologist of most of the events described in this book. Additionally, and in contrast to former accounts of the decline of the New Vrindaban Community, Doktorski refrains from oversimplifying an inherently complex narrative. Rather, he acknowledges ambiguity where appropriate and clarity where it is possible. The outcome, then, is an extremely well written, and important and timely work—and while it is foreseeable that its publication may not be welcome by everyone within ISKCON, one would hope that it nonetheless will be instrumental in opening an honest and unbiased reflection within a movement which so far has been somewhat reluctant to meet up to its past and responsibility.
—Professor Dr. Alexander Batthyany, the Viktor Frankl Chair for Philosophy and Psychology at the International Academy of Philosophy in the Principality of Liechtenstein
Killing for Krishna—The Danger of Deranged Devotion will go a long way to reconcile ISKCON’s most notorious crime, the murder of Sulochan dasa (Steven Bryant). Henry Doktorski bases his treatise on years of research. In the spirit of the biblical quote, “The truth will set you free,” Killing for Krishna offers ISKCON followers the truth about their organization’s dark history.
—Nori J. Muster (Nandini devi dasi), former disciple of Ramesvara Maharaja, executive secretary to Mukunda Goswami in the ISKCON Public Affairs Office, associate editor for ISKCON World Review, and author of Betrayal of the Spirit (University of Illinois Press)
5 stars. Want the truth about perhaps the most pivotal event in the latter day history of the Hare Krishna movement? Researched to a degree that defies the imagination and painfully objective, as well as completely free from mudslinging and sectarian agenda! This account goes miles beyond Monkey On a Stick in regard to the facts and strenuously avoids its sensationalism. Equally interesting to Krishna devotees and non-devotees. Despite the grisly subject matter, the book presents Krishna consciousness as it is. The book is as independent as anyone could want—it was not filtered through any institutional leadership and represents no one’s vested interest. All my respects to all the devotees who contributed. Srila Prabhupada said that brahmanas adhere to truth. This book cannot, therefore, be displeasing to him.
—Bhakta Eric Johanson (formerly Vrindaban-Chandra Swami), former ISKCON member and former disciple of Hamsadutta Maharaja, Moab, Utah, from a Customer Review at Amazon
5 stars. Primarily Killing for Krishna—The Danger of Deranged Devotion is based upon meticulous observation, research, and reporting. Henry Doktorski has kept his eyes on the evildoers for just what they were (and probably still are), and he exposes them by hitting his targets smack dab on the sweet spot. As formerly an insider within that cult, he knew all of those good fellas. He thus makes such deranged practitioners of pseudo-bhakti uncomfortable in his book, a discomfort they all most fully deserve. The manuscript is cross-referenced and presents different possible explanations for many secondary but related events from different perspectives, but without losing sight of the chief thread, viz., the ruthless assassination of a dissident who was ultimately proven right. This voluminous work is a real page-turner, as there is enough tension created in each sub-header (of each chapter) to keep the reader interested and intrigued. How could it be otherwise? The whole account is loaded with deadly accurate descriptions of a peculiar cult combination of intrigue, treachery, and betrayal—the worse variety of the triad. This great book has multi-episode television series written all over it.
—Kailasa Candra dasa, ACBSP (Mark Goodwin), Vaishnava intellectual, thinker, sidereal astrologer, author and founder of The Vaishnava Foundation (Jasper, Arkansas), from a Customer Review at Amazon
5 stars. The missing years of Radhanath Swami in [his autobiography] The Journey Home exposed. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Superbly researched and well documented sequel to Monkey on a Stick: Murder, Madness, and the Hare Krishnas, by Henry Doktorski (Hrishikesh dasa). The involvement of insidious Radhanath Swami, the author of semi-fictional The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami in Sulochan dasa’s murder laid threadbare. Turns out that the Swami is well and truly a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and should prepare for his “Journey to the Penitentiary” (preferably in a cell next to killer Thomas Drescher’s) in this lifetime and to purgatory in the next. Count on Radhanath Swami’s brain-dead bots (not unlike Kirtanananda’s) to swamp this page with 1 stars without even procuring or reading this book.
—G, from a Customer Review at Amazon
(1) Is this book relevant? (2) Should ISKCON devotees read this book? (3) Are the conclusions presented in this book truth or reality?
(1) Although the events described in the book happened thirty years ago, the book is very relevant because it talks about a current leader of ISKCON, one of the most popular gurus in ISKCON. I heard about this murder many years ago. I knew there was a devotee, Sulochan, who was killed. I knew he was killed by Tirtha dasa, who is currently in jail. This information is available on the Internet. What makes this book different? This book describes the whole background, the whole arena, in which this murder happened. It describes the people who were involved. It describes the way of thinking of devotees at that time. It describes the arguments presented by the conspirators of this murder. It’s a very detailed account of one very important event in the history of the Krishna consciousness movement. . . . I think this book is very relevant.
(2) Is this book good to read? Should we read it? Is there anything we can learn from it? Sure. There is one very prominent deviation that is currently still present in ISKCON and that deviation is called [the] “Guru-List” theory. . . . The origins of this “Guru-List” theory—which is currently still present in ISKCON—and the consequences that you can have with this kind of crazy blind following; these consequences are described in this book. . . . The same principles are present even today in ISKCON. So it’s a very good book to read.
(3) Now, let’s talk about the conclusions of the book. Basically, in a subtle way, [the] author of the book claims that Radhanath Swami was actively involved in Sulochan’s murder, and that he’s criminally implicated up to his neck. . . . You should read this book and get yourself educated.
—Hanuman dasa (Hrvoje Marjanovic), Zagreb, Croatia, from Review of book Killing for Krishna by Henry Doktorski on YouTube
5 stars. Excellent, important, timely. This book is an incredibly well researched, nuanced and intelligent treatise on one of the more notorious chapters of ISKCON’s history. In contrast to earlier accounts (such as Monkey on a Stick), this book offers an insider’s view on ISKCON, New Vrindavan and Swami Bhaktipada. Indeed, Doktorski references sources only an insider can have access to (he had access to the Keith Gordon Ham/Swami Bhaktipada Archives), and the story he tells is a story to be heard. All of this, and the lucid style of the author, adds up to a highly recommended book—for both devotees, former devotees, anyone ever touched by, or interested in ISKCON, and, above all, for researchers. A new standard work on ISKCON and its history. Perhaps, just perhaps, this book will ignite the open dialogue the movement so sorely needs. Let’s hope.
—Zinnober, from a Customer Review at Amazon Germany
5 stars. Fair, balanced and very thorough.
You would think this is a screenplay for a murder mystery or mafia movie, but sadly it is all real-life. There is so much on the Internet describing this time in the Hare Krishna movement that it is nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction. This book does the best job so far. All sides are covered; no one is short-changed. Everyone’s story is heard and the reader is left to make up their own mind. As far as criticisms, some aspects should have more details given, such as the murders prior to the main character, but the author did a very good job nonetheless. Really eye-opening stuff about the people who inherited and almost squandered the legacy of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
—KingSonal, from a Customer Review at Amazon
5 stars. Informative, accurate, well written, and powerful book! Beware of false gurus! And false book reviews too!
Informative, accurate, well written, and powerful book! Many accolades to Henry Doktorski for the courage to do this work. Definitely worth reading, especially if you have anything to do with the Hare Krishna movement (ISKCON). Unfortunately one high level Krishna leader will likely spend upwards of $250,000 to slander this book in various ways (on Amazon and Google) as he has thousands of disciples who will leave poor reviews. This same person launched a similar campaign to boost sales of his own book(s) so that they would reach the best sellers lists. That being said, take each single 5 star review to count for about 500, just to level the playing field to some degree.
What’s even more interesting is that I’ve heard this man in question lecture and he states, “I have no money.” This is further dishonesty, to add to what is in the book. He has millions but the rationalization of institution gurus alongside him is that the money is Krishna’s (God’s) money. Therefore they can claim that they have no money. Meanwhile some of them have well over a million in the bank, which is against many scriptural injunctions for sannyasis (renounced monks).
Anyway, this is a wonderful book accounting the details of the famous New Vrindavan murder. I hope it will lead to a further level of institutional integrity and honesty among the leaders of ISKCON. When it comes to ‘preaching’ or education, Srila Prabhupada, the guru of the Hare Krishnas once explained that “preaching is like throwing a brick into a pack of dogs. The one who gets hit yelps the loudest.” What this analogy means is that the person whom truth hurts the most is most likely the one to go on a campaign against it.
—Vaishnava Dasa, from a Customer Review at Amazon
5 Stars. Detailed Journey to the Past.
Killing for Krishna tells the story of the most notorious crime in the history of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON): the murder of Steven Bryant, aka Sulochan, on May 22, 1986. The murder conspiracy grew out of a culture of violence in New Vrindaban, the largest ISKCON center in America, located in the back hills of West Virginia. The guru and king of New Vrindaban was Kirtanananda Swami, also known as Bhaktipada, and whose real name was Keith Ham. Over the twenty-six years of Kirtanananda’s reign, none of the ISKCON leaders anywhere in the world could stand up to him.
ISKCON has had a half-dozen murders and other crimes, but the Sulochan murder stands out because it was a carefully planned crime, for which the gunman, the guru Kirtanananda, and others served time in prison. The gunman is still serving a life sentence.
Doktorski traces every thread of the murder conspiracy, beginning when Sulochan joined ISKCON, to when he is murdered, on to how the conspirators fared in court, and ending with the aftermath up to the present day. Much of the later history, as cited in e-mails and other online exchanges, describes the internal bickering over who was the most to blame for the murder.
Doktorski concludes the book with a warning about deranged devotion, citing tape-recorded conversations and published statements, where the ISKCON founder explained why it was okay to kill for Krishna. He never advocated killing anyone, but in his teachings, he compared it to soldiers killing for a country’s military. If killing is authorized, it’s okay. That leaves the question, who can authorize a murder for Krishna? Fundamentalist religious cults often adopt twisted understandings of their own dogma, and given a deranged leader like Kirtanananda, and blindly devoted followers like he had up to the end of his life, the Sulochan murder makes perfect sense.
Doktorski concludes: “the tragic yet heroic saga of Sulochan serves to enlighten us as to why we should not encourage nor participate in those charismatic cults. Instead, to whatever extent possible, we can work to curtail those cults from ever again gaining the momentum they did in the nineteen-eighties.”
Killing for Krishna is just a slice of the ISKCON history Doktorski plans to document. He published this story first, since it answers a lot of questions about ISKCON’s controversial past. Unfortunately, the murder, and the culture behind it, remain taboo subjects within the ISKCON organization. By maintaining silence, they risk their reputation because the truth has its way of coming out. For one thing, books like Doktorski’s will not let ISKCON completely forget.
Killing for Krishna relies on court records, media accounts, interviews, and the author’s own memory, since he lived through that era as a Kirtanananda disciple in New Vrindaban. The book includes a sixteen-page, detailed New Vrindaban timeline that covers the years 1974 to 2018. People who grew up in New Vrindaban or lived there during the seventies and eighties would gain new insights into their own experience from reading this book, and studying the timeline.
—Nori J. Muster, former associate editor of ISKCON World Review and author of Betrayal of the Spirit, from a Customer Review at Amazon
5 Stars. Filled in many gaps!
Well researched, written and better than most fictional crime thrillers. Authenticated testimonies leave no doubts. Filled in many gaps and exposes just how many were aware of, or were actually involved with this and other crimes. The irony is that now many of these criminals are controlling the Hare Krishna society.
—Bala, from a Customer Review at Amazon
5 stars. Thanks for writing this book! I look forward to reading your next books on the Zonal Acharya System and the full biography of Kirtanananda Swami. Actually, despite the difficult truths, Killing For Krishna increased my love for Krishna, ISKCON, Prabhupada, even Sulochan dasa, Tirtha Swami, Radhanath Swami and Kirtanananda Swami.
As Prabhupada said most of his initiates were 3rd & 4th class people, this book glorifies Prabhupada’s ability to take all sorts of people, bring us together and try to make devotees out of us. This process of Bhakti Yoga is the hidden theme all throughout this book.
Much blessings, and certainly there are many people more interested in the other forthcoming books, than the unfortunately events in this book, but possibly by separating these unfortunate events into a separate book, the other two books can focus on more positive aspects, without seeming fake and ignoring the truth, and we can remember Kirtanananda as Prahbupada’s top disciple.
As an American I never believed the “Pure Devotee” theory, but did not let that get in my way from the amazing accomplishments of devotees, and considering the state of consciousness of the world, we should try to objectively look at the facts, the good and bad. For those who believe in the process of Harinam Sankirtan and the teachings of Lord Chaitanya and will still see the overwhelming greatness of these fallen people who committed great crimes, but at the same time were able to accomplish spiritual miracles through the belief in Krishna and the teachings of Lord Chaitanya! Hare Krishna!
—David A. Carlton, Detroit, Michigan, from a review at Killing For Krishna on Facebook
5 Stars. An insider’s view into a strange place and time.
Extremely well researched and well paced, this book offers an insider’s view of one of the more bizarre chapters in the story of the Hare Krishnas. The author maintains a “professional distance,” so this is no lurid hit piece nor common true crime thriller. Rather, it’s a focused, yet engaging history of the Hare Krishna’s New Vrindaban community that tells the full story of what was covered in the more sensational Monkey on a Stick of the late-1980s. Even if your only recollection of the Krishnas is their omnipresence in airports decades back, this book is worth diving into as the story is representative of the fallout of the social and religious commune experimentation that began in the 1960s, flourished in the 1970s, and largely came to an end in the 1980s.
—HonestJoe, from a Customer Review at Amazon
This book reveals some of the personality cult dynamics within the Hare Krishna movement and how these dynamics lead to the murder of the Hare Krishna dissident, Steven Byrant. The book recounts how Byrant’s death leads to the fall of Bhaktipada (Keith Ham) who was a leading superstar and charismatic leader within the Hare Krishna cult. Bhaktipada, a paedophile, is a fascinating and clearly deranged character. However, more fascinating are the descriptions of his followers’ insane devotion to him. The level of fundamentalism described in this book are frightening. Even after it is revealed that the emperor has no clothes, the level of devotion given to Bhaktipada and his associates is staggering.
Bhaktipada’s associate Radhanath Swami, currently a leader within the cult, is possibly the most intriguing character in this story. His Machiavellian ascent to power is remarkable. . . . Bhaktipada clearly uses A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami’s teaching to con his deluded followers. Bhaktipada’s power and abuse stem from A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami’s endorsement. . . . I hope the people behind the incredible Netflix series Wild Wild Country, about the Rajaneeshi cult, read this book and make a series about the characters and events in this book. The betrayals, lies, delusion, fundamentalism and cover ups are laid to bear in this book.
—Noddy, from a Customer Review at Amazon.UK
I would seriously recommend everyone to read this book. Packed full of factual references. Mr. Doktorski has put a heck of a lot of research, time and effort. A real eye opener.
—Michael Kieth Powell, from a Customer Review at Killing For Krishna on Facebook
I’m a former devotee myself and couldn’t put this book down. I hope I hear about your next book when it comes out. I would like to preorder it.
—Joshualee Guillim, from a Customer Review at Killing For Krishna on Facebook
The book was well-written and engaging throughout. More than just reporting on the conspiracy to murder Sulocana, this book describes the culture of Kirtanananda’s New Vrindavan during the 1980s. It is eye-opening and clarifying to get a clear account of the dysfunction in that corner of space and time. It is a must-read for ISKCON members who want to learn from the past so there is no repetition of the deranged devotion under Kirtanananda and the Zonal Acharya system.
—Makhana Cora Das, from a Customer Review at Killing For Krishna on Facebook
The somewhat recent publication of the book . . . [Killing For Krishna], has both sides talking. And boy can they talk!
—Priitaa devi dasi, from a review at Bhakti Yoga at Home.
Until I read the book by Henry, I wasn’t sure that Radhanath had a hand in it [the murder of Sulochan]. I trust Henry. I have communicated with Henry. I trust his sincerity. I trust his research. He is a very brave soul. He was a member of the New Vrindaban Community from 1978 to 1993. He gave fifteen years of his life. He has absolutely no interest in lying or deceiving people. As far as I can see, he is telling the truth. And as he mentioned in the Introduction to his book, the most important [factor] is the truth. . . .
One of the most interesting parts of the book Killing For Krishna, is when Henry, in 1993, finally went and asked Kirtanananda if it was true that he was molesting boys at New Vrindaban. Was it true that he was a pedophile? And Kirtanananda said he had never broken any principle of being a monk since he had joined the Krishna movement in 1966. But Henry had done his research, and he knew for sure that his guru was lying. So that was the end of accepting Kirtanananda as his guru.
—Henri Jolicoeur (formerly Hanuman Swami—ACBSP), from a review (part 2) at YouTube.
Do not follow anyone because someone is telling you that this guy, or this lady, is a very spiritually-advanced person. You have to use your heart; you have to use your brain. You have to investigate. You have to ask questions. Otherwise, it is easier than you think to be brainwashed by a cult. . . .
I really recommend people to read the book by Henry, Killing For Krishna. Henry was in the Hare Krishna New Vrindaban Community for fifteen years, and I sincerely believe that writing this book, researching this book, has been a great therapy for him. It might be a deep therapy and a deprogramming process [for others also], if you feel that you are following some sort of spiritual authority, some sort of a guru, that is telling you that you should obey because he knows better than you do.
So pick up the book and get informed. There’s no better way to learn about brainwashing than from someone who admits that he was brainwashed for fifteen years.
—Henri Jolicoeur (formerly Hanuman Swami—ACBSP), from a review (part 4) at YouTube.
Killing For Krishna by Henry Doktorski is scholarly, and extremely well-researched.
—Steven Hassan, the Founding Director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center, from a review at YouTube.
March 15, 2019
I just finished reading the book Killing for Krishna, by Henry Doktorski. This in depth book exposes the intricate, yet haphazardly executed assassination of Steve Bryant, a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, in 1986. . . . I managed to read this 662 page book in just four days, it was quite honestly that intriguing.
Doktorski himself is a former member of ISKCON, and indeed a former disciple of Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada (Keith Ham), the rebellious and perhaps quite insane ruler over New Vrindaban, an ISKCON farming community/ashrama Kirtanananda helped to found.
Doktorski is able to tell this story in a way that no other author possibly could. Why? Well Doktorski has first hand knowledge of the goings on at the community during the period, and he possessed thousands upon thousands of pages of personal letters, official documents, and even secret materials that were taken from New Vrindaban after its collapse, and subsequently given to the author. These unique conditions put him in a position to give invaluable insight into the group think that prevailed during those years in ISKCON, and may continue even to today.
Kirtanananda Swami was anything but the advanced spiritual master his disciples believed him to be. In fact, as Doktorski proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, he was a child molester and active homosexual who craved cocaine and indulged in gay orgies in his private quarters at the ashram. Steve Bryant, who had a grudge against Kirtanananda regarding his having initiated Bryant’s wife without his permission, as was the custom, and for then marrying off his wife to another man and helping to obstruct his access to his children, began to expose the various rumors he collected regarding Kirtanananda’s very un-guru-like behavior. As Doktorski explains, ISKCON’s theology renders any criticism of a guru as a major offense, as it is viewed as insulting a person who is considered to be “as good as God.” As one might imagine, to those living in such a fanatical cult of personality atmosphere, Bryant’s actions were taken as the gravest of grave offenses. In fact, they launched what became a systematic surveillance of his movements which finally resulted in his murder by Kirtanananda’s “enforcer” at New Vrindaban, Tirtha dasa (Thomas Drescher), who is today serving a life sentence for the murder of Bryant and one other disciple of Kirtanananda who crossed the line.
In reading this book I found several things of interest. First, the cult dynamic that grew around Kirtanananda Swami to such an extent that he could literally do nothing wrong in the eyes of most of his disciples. Doktorski accurately calls this “deranged devotion.” It would be very easy for me, as a Christian, to sit back and point the finger at such groups as ISKCON for being infected with such deranged devotion, but we’ve seen it in Christian circles as well. There are many popular evangelists, etc. who have significant followings which will defend their chosen one with all the fervor of any Hare Krishna devotee. I myself was personally the target of one such charismatic “apologist” who posted lies about my education, my personal life, and even at one point claimed my name was fake. He personally engaged in harassing me online, sending me multiple threatening messages on a daily basis, sometimes four and five times a day. His faithful followers, who obviously believed anything he said to be absolute truth, also harassed me and re-posted his calumny on other websites at his request. I had to literally threaten litigation to get him to stop sending me threatening emails. All of this anger and hate directed at me simply because I dared to disagree with him on a theological topic in a forum. It was revealed upon his death that he had been arrested numerous times for public intoxication and domestic violence. Some of his followers, still loyal to him no matter what, actually claimed he was “taken out” by some secret nefarious forces due to his prophetic insight. No, deranged devotion isn't limited to groups on the fringes of western culture like ISKCON.
Another thing that struck me about the details of the plot to murder Bryant was the lack of clear, definitive connections to Kirtanananda Swami himself. While it is abundantly clear that Kirtanananda was anything but what he professed to be, the murderer, who at first implicated the Swami directly in the plot, later said he really had no firsthand confirmation of any such directive coming from Kirtanananda. One is left with a tiny hint of doubt as to whether Kirtanananda was actually directing it or not, as he is reported by multiple sources as having made statements defiantly against the crime. Whatever the case, the Swami’s closest confidant, and lifetime homosexual lover, made it clear to the members of the murder plot that Kirtanananda wanted Bryant dead. Add to this confusing mix of finger pointing what appears to be an underlying plot-within-a-plot, possibly engineered by local law enforcement officials to take the Swami and the entire community out, and you have a truly intriguing web of lies and conspiracy. Let me be clear though, Doktorski leaves very little doubt that Kirtanananda Swami was aware of the plot and did nothing to stop it, even if he didn’t openly encourage it. He was reportedly a very tricky, manipulative personality who would have been careful to make it seem he wasn’t at all supporting it just to save his own skin if things went wrong.
And they did.
In 1996, though indicted on conspiracy to murder, six counts of mail fraud, and five counts of racketeering, the Swami went to prison with a sentence of only 20 years, but not for conspiracy to murder. You'll have to read the book to find out what sent him there. Almost all of his disciples had by that time finally realized he was not what he seemed and had abandoned him (again, read the book to find out what finally broke the spell. Hint: It wasn't his conviction). A small enclave of the most ardent supporters relocated to New York, starting a tiny center known as the Sanctuary/Interfaith League of Devotees. He was paroled on June 16, 2004, and joined his disciples in New York. Not long after arriving there he was accused of fondling a boy’s genitals and was evicted by his own disciples who had believed in him all this time, but now had finally seen the light. He then flew to India, where he still had a significant following comprised of people far removed and ignorant of his criminal activities in the U.S., where he died several years later.
All in all, this book is a fantastic glimpse into the world of ISKCON, the theology of Gaudiya Vaishavism, and the dangers of deranged devotion. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in comparative religion, psychology, theology, world religion, or just true crime. This book is, in my opinion, a must have in any apologists library.
—J. Davila Ashcraft, from a review at Paleo-Orthodoxy
The 1986 murder of Steven Bryant (Sulochan dasa) was arguably the darkest moment in the fifty-two year history of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness—a new branch of the Chaitanya-Bengali-Vaishnava religion founded in New York City in 1966 by an Indian spiritual teacher and guru, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977). A mere nine years after the disappearance of this beloved spiritual father, one of their own was hunted down and assassinated. This brutal killing was achieved through a cooperative effort by “spiritual” leaders, senior managers and hit men enforcers from West Virginia, Ohio, and Southern California ISKCON temples.
The murdered whistle-blower had discovered many secrets and threatened to reveal to the world the immoral acts and criminal dealings of a set of self-appointed, illegitimate successors to Swami Prabhupada: a corrupt oligarchy of new ISKCON “gurus.” He had also, perhaps foolishly, advocated using violence against the gurus to evict them from their posts. ISKCON leaders took his threats seriously, and they hunted down and assassinated the passionate reformer. How did the peaceful, shaven-headed, saffron-clad Hare Krishna devotees regress from their blissful activities of chanting, dancing, and selling incense in the streets to this?
The author, himself a former ISKCON devotee, probes deeply into the disturbing direction of a new religious movement. In this book, he exposes the danger of philosophical errors and deranged devotion that practically ensured that bloody tragedy would eventually occur. The author has engaged in years of painstaking research by poring over tens of thousands of pages of trial transcripts, newspaper and magazine articles, ISKCON publications, and confidential ISKCON documents, while also interviewing dozens of eyewitnesses. His effort culminates in a thoroughly-engaging and extremely well-documented thesis exposing the hidden inside story of the conspiracy to murder Steven Bryant, including its genesis, development, blunders involved in it, execution, cover up, as well as a stunning aftermath after the deed was done.
The reader may wonder, “Can this happen again in ISKCON?” The answer, unfortunately, must be in the affirmative unless measures are immediately instituted to discourage the abuses and atrocities connected to mindless worship of unworthy, bogus gurus, which often characterizes charismatic cults.
Chapter 1: A Thorn in Bhaktipada’s Side
Chapter 2: The Kirtanananda Exposé
Chapter 3: The Guru Reform Movement
Chapter 4: Preaching from the Protection of a Jail Cell
Chapter 5: An Attack at the Heart of ISKCON
Chapter 6: He Was a Very, Very Different Person
Chapter 7: The Cast of Characters
Chapter 8: Murder Conspiracy
Chapter 9: The Keystone Cops Surveillance Team
Chapter 10: The Demon Jailed
Chapter 11: A Real Pain
Chapter 12: The Murder
Chapter 13: The Cavalry Comes to the Rescue
Chapter 14: The Rats Jump Off the Sinking Ship
Chapter 15: It’s Persecution, Pure and Simple
Chapter 16: Trials and Tribulations
Chapter 17: The Cover Up Continues
Timeline of Important Events
Excerpts from Killing For Krishna
The author reads the Dedication and Preface
The author reads the Introduction
The author reads Chapter One, Part One
Bhaktipada: A Star in ISKCON
Kirtanananda Swami Ruled New Vrindaban with an Iron Fist
Steven Becomes Sulochan
Subhas Chandra Bose: Indian Patriot
Janmastami and Tulsi
Images from Killing for Krishna
“These rogues [so-called acharyas] are the most dangerous elements in human society. . . . These pseudo-religionists are heading toward the most obnoxious place in the universe [hell] after completion of their spiritual master business, which they conduct simply for sense gratification.”—His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), the Founder/Acharya of ISKCON. Photo taken during his fourth and final visit to New Vrindaban (June 1976).
Steven Bryant as a young man in Royal Oak, Michigan (early 1970s).
“Since I was approaching Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s topmost representative, Srila Prabhupada, for guidance and inspiration, I knew the outcome would be auspicious, whatever it was.”—Sulochan dasa Brahmacari (Steven Bryant) on the altar offering aroti, perhaps at Detroit ISKCON (late 1970s).
“We just became friends. Everybody liked him [Sulochan]. He was just a very affable kind of guy.”—Puranjana (Tim Lee), long-time critic of the zonal acharyas and Sulochan’s life-long best friend (passport photo, early 1980s).
“Look at me now. My heart is devoid of life, and I’m simply the servant of my tongue, belly and genitals—literally a dead body flapping.”—Sulochan dasa Adhikari with his two sons, Nimai and Sarva (c. 1983)
“We [Sulochan and I] were ill matched. Definitely no attraction on my side of the equation. I had no idea what a fiasco it [our marriage] would turn into.”—Sulochan’s divorced wife, Jamuna dasi (Jane Seward), holding her first child by her new husband, Raghunath (Ralph Seward) (c. 1988).
Cover of Sulochan’s book, The Guru Business. Notice the three images on the cover representing: money bag, official ISKCON guru rubber-stamp, dhoti-clad ksatriya bearing an automatic weapon. Sulochan selected the title The Guru Business from a passage by Prabhupada: “Sri Isopanisad confirms that these pseudo-religionists [so-called acharyas] are heading toward the most obnoxious place in the universe after completion of their spiritual master business.”
“If Tirtha [Thomas Drescher] takes the whole thing, and no other boys get caught, then he’ll go back to Godhead at the end of this lifetime.”—“His Divine Grace” Kirtanananda Swami “Bhaktipada” (Keith Gordon Ham), the ISKCON zonal acharya at New Vrindaban, known as “Number One.” Here on his vyasasana (throne) at the newly-dedicated RVC temple at New Vrindaban. Publicity photo (1983).
Bhaktipada supervises a road-building brick-laying marathon near New Vrindaban’s RVC temple complex (summer 1985).
“I felt I had to either kill myself, kill Bhaktipada, or leave.”—Triyogi (Michael Shockman), the mentally disturbed visiting devotee who tried to kill Bhaktipada on October 27, 1985, by smashing his skull with a three-foot-long steel rod reported to weigh twenty pounds. Here at the Marshall County Jail in Moundsville, West Virginia (undated).
“Every doctor that I talked to said it [the blow on my head] was enough to kill a hundred men. When I was attacked, Krishna absolutely incarnated to protect me. The brain scan, the X-ray, taken just after the accident, showed an unmistakable image of [the half-man/half-lion avatar] Lord Nrsimhadeva [the Great Protector of the devotees]. Krishna incarnated to protect me from the blows of that man.”—Swami Bhaktipada, speaking of the MRI image of a cross section of his brain, which, when turned upside down, resembles a ghastly face.
“The assailant [Triyogi] was a crazy madman . . . who had been influenced by Sulochan.”—Bhaktipada, ambulating with great difficulty using a walker, in the temple room at his home (December 4, 1985). He had been ten days in a coma, three weeks on the critical list, and 26 days in the hospital.
“Mark my words! I’m going to ruin Ham’s reputation, and if that doesn’t work, I'll use a high-powered rifle! And I wouldn’t mind going to prison for it.”—Steven Bryant (Sulochan). Photo taken during a television interview with WTRF Channel 7 (Wheeling, West Virginia) at the Marshall County Jail in Moundsville, West Virginia (September 1985).
“This guy [Sulochan] is getting out of control. It would be nice if someone would silence him once and for all.”—Hayagriva (Howard Wheeler), Keith Ham’s college roomate, lover, best friend, and co-founder of New Vrindaban. Here with his life-long buddy at a Labor Day Festival at New Vrindaban (September 1984).
“We have to finish this thing. As long as that guy [Sulochan] is walking around, he’s a threat to Bhaktipada. He won’t be thinking anyone’s after him out in California. At least no one from New Vrindaban. If something happens out there, there won’t be as much heat on us. In time the whole thing will blow over. If everything runs smoothly, they won’t be able to prove anything.”—Kuladri (Arthur Villa), New Vrindaban’s temple president, known as “Number Two.” Here officiating as a priest at a New Vrindaban fire sacrifice (1984).
When asked if he had been “involved with the killing of Sulochan,” Tapahpunja Swami boasted, “I engineered it. It was completely Vedic. He offended Bhaktipada.”—His Holiness Tapahpunja Swami (Terry Sheldon), the president of Cleveland ISKCON, at New Vrindaban (undated).
“That son of a bitch [Sulochan] is . . . going to have to be killed, and I am the one that is going to do it.”—Tirtha (Thomas A. Drescher), New Vrindaban’s chief “enforcer” and hit man, in court (undated).
“Even if Kirtanananda Swami had . . . full sex with ten thousand children, he’s still the guru of the universe, and if you don’t accept that, you’re going to hell.”—Janmastami (John Sinkowski), Tirtha’s partner in crime, chanting japa on the sidewalk in the front of the RVC temple (September 1991).
“Gorby was more fired up to destroy Sulochan than any of the devotees.” Russell “Randall” Clark Gorby, retired steel worker, longtime “friend” of New Vrindaban, vocal advocate for the murder of Sulochan, and government informant (undated).
“What was I supposed to do under those circumstances? We were convinced that Bhaktipada was a pure devotee and that Sulochan was determined to murder him, so we thought we were obligated to stop some demon from killing a pure devotee by any means possible.”—His Holiness Radhanath Swami (Richard Slavin), “gentle and humble” sannyasi dearly loved by the Brijabasis (undated).
“Radhanath Swami won’t like all this coming out. Too bad. I had to be responsible for my transgressions [and go to prison]. He should do the same.”—Dharmatma (Dennis Gorrick), Director of New Vrindaban’s multi-million dollar “Scam-Kirtan” panhandling operation. Image from Brijabasi Spirit (January-February 1977).
“He [Sulochan] should be transmigrated to his next body.”—“His Divine Grace” Ramesvara Maharaja (Robert Grant), the ISKCON zonal acharya for Southern California and head of the North American BBT, during a rare visit to New Vrindaban. Photo from Brijabasi Spirit (summer 1985).
“My guru, Ramesvara, said: ‘K. K., if you ever see Sulochan, call New Vrindaban.’ And because I heard that Sulochan may frequent the area, I kept an eye out for his vehicle.”—Krishna-Katha (Jeffrey Breier), head of security at Los Angeles ISKCON and Tirtha’s assistant. Breier helped hunt down Sulochan and was with Tirtha until moments before the murder. Some say he witnessed the murder. (Undated Linkedin photo, c. 2010)
“They are constantly watching me. I know some morning I will go to sleep and not wake up.”—Sulochan (undated)
“Upon my death, that’s when everything will unfold. When I die, then everyone will see.” Sulochan’s lifeless body at the Los Angeles morgue (May 22, 1986).
Hrish, I have finished your remarkable book and I have to say it is a job well done, sir. It appears you have left no stone unturned. For someone such as myself who not only indirectly lived through those times but has heard much of the information before, it really puts the pieces of the puzzle together effectively. I found it to be thorough, objective, and compelling. It was no doubt difficult trying to extract information from persons who had to avoid veracity for various reasons, including maintaining their standing in secular or Vaisnava society. The only term I can think of for your effort to compile 108 chapters of this sort of info in your forthcoming biography of Kirtanananda Swami and history of New Vrindaban is MONUMENTAL. Keep up the good work. I think many people will very much enjoy your book as I did.
New Vrindaban resident and godbrother
Dear Henry, Your book speaks for itself. It is a cleansing mechanism for anyone who has been associated with Srila Prabhupada’s movement. Because you have been so strenuously objective, it is completely non-sectarian. I see this as perhaps its greatest strength. It is very hard to associate it with one camp or another, although I can think of some who will seize on it for their self-interest. Anyway, devotees need to again become cleansed of the misapplications of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings that lead them to consider such bare truths as offensive. Many are so blind or ignorantly attached to some misplaced idea of anything hinting of criticism as blasphemy that they will be fearful of the book. Truth thus becomes the enemy of such people. How they can consider themselves fixed up devotees is a great feat of mental gymnastics. Unfortunately deviant leaders of so-called Krishna consciousness have driven many into such a ‘spiritual’ cul-de-sac. Srila Prabhupada used to use the example of the owl being afraid of the sunshine. Those who would fear the book thus practice an owl-like form of something that is only so-called Krishna consciousness.
adharmam dharmam iti ya
sarvarthan viparitams ca
buddhih sa partha tamasi
That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion and religion to be irreligion,
under the spell of illusion and darkness,
and strives always in the wrong direction,
O Partha, is in the mode of ignorance. (Bhagavad-gita 18.32)
Bhakta Eric Johanson (formerly Vrindaban-Chandra Swami), former ISKCON member and former disciple of Hamsadutta Maharaja, Moab, Utah
Respected pranams from ex-ISKCON member.
Sir, I received diksa from Bhagavan’s “Prince,” Brian Tibbits (Indradyumna Swami). Was personal secretary to Indradyumna Swami. Left in 2000. I’m half-way through your amazing book, Killing for Krishna. I have to honestly tell you that I’m on page 242; in 10 hours almost straight reading. You sir, do certainly have cojones. I really appreciate your work and already feeling like it’s healing; not only my wounds but many, many more souls across our planet.
Perhaps I could assist with your upcoming work in any way. I can help your mission by distributing your book in Europe. I was very good sankirtan devotee. We need to cover Poland first, Germany since I’m here presently and then Russia. I speak fluent Russian. It’s my great honour to be at your side on this quest. I have no wife or children. Single warrior, on your side. You have awoken your sleeping soldiers, prabhu. Again, I’m by your side. Will recruit more sincere soldiers soon. Already spread message to ex-ISKCON members in Poland. However, on a serious matter, please take care of yourself. You are most welcome to come here to North Germany. I’m surrounded by very few good friends. Deep regards and please kindly keep in touch. Om shanti.
Former disciple of Indradyumna Swami living in Germany
Hello Henry, I just got to Chapter 2 in your book, and it is an interesting read so far. It’s pretty well explained even for people who never were in the Hare Krishna movement, so I don’t have any major questions right now. I keep a bookmark in the back too so I can check each footnote. Anyhow, I like what I’ve read so far, and I’ll eventually get through the whole book and likely have more to discuss with you about it as well.
Pretty well explained, and neither Sulochan nor Kirtanananda really look like the “good guy” here, and even though I can understand why Sulochan was upset and wanted to take down the corrupt Swami Kirtanananda, the violent threats on the Swami’s life seem a bit extreme and over-the-top, though Sulochan obviously knew he would be in danger by making such accusations anyway, though I can also understand why people at New Vrindaban thought their Swami was in peril because of the threats and, not knowing the extent of the Swami’s corruption, they were interested in protecting him and dealing with the threats that Sulochan had made against their Swami.
So far, your book does a good job of highlighting the obvious problems of blind faith and, as you said, “deranged devotion.” I’m looking forward to eventually reading through the rest of your large and detailed book, and when I do, I’m sure I’ll have more to comment on and discuss with you then.
Gene Isner, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
I have not been able to read your entire book yet, but I’m working on it. So far, so gripping and insightful! You have done an amazing job at presenting a complex time and place in all of our lives. You have done such a wonderful job. It’s inspiring.
Former New Vrindaban resident living in Long Beach, California
Hare Krishna! I feel privileged to write to you and hope we can keep in touch. I pray to Lord Krishna to keep you safe, not that I’m a paranoic person but the miscreants within our movement are capable of anything in order to keep and fulfill their crooked agenda. I wish all of us in the movement were sincere and had an affinity towards truthfulness. You are an asset and you are setting the bar quite high. I guess sincere devotees are looking up to you and will follow your example. I am, to a certain extent. I convey my best wishes to you, dear Prabhu. I am your humble servant.
ISKCON devotee in Sweden
I wrote to you years ago when I had just graduated from university and was very puffed up thinking I was some kind of scholar! You sent me your manuscript about New Vrindaban that you were working on at the time and I read it and commented and sent it back to you.
Anyway, many years later I came across your new book Killing for Krishna on Amazon and immediately purchased it for my Kindle. Having recently finished it, I just want to thank you immensely for your hard work in writing and publishing this fantastic book. The style of writing and the balanced approach to the subject is so good and perfect for what you are trying to achieve. It makes me sad that so many of those involved are still high up in ISKCON and unable to admit to their roles in the Sulochan murder (Radhanath in particular) and the other unsavoury activities of New Vrindaban. To think that so much of the place was built with drug money and illegal merchandising is completely mind blowing.
I would love to pass the book on to the devotees of Wellington who are totally under the spell of one Devamrita Swami but I know there would be no point as they would refuse to either read it or discount all the information contained therein, as you are obviously a huge “demon.” (Hahahaha.)
All these so-called “renounced” men, flying around the world in business class, with iPads, apartments around the world, Apple watches, credit cards, property investments and who knows what else are an absolute joke and a complete mockery of what a Sannyasa/Sadhu is meant to be. I can only hope that many read your book before they get sucked into that world.
So once again, thank you so much for writing the book, I really enjoyed it and look forward to the full New Vrindaban history!
Rory Nelson Moores, Wellington, New Zealand
Correspondence with a former New Vrindaban resident:
August 18, 2010: Hare Krishna, Hrishikesh prabhu. Regarding your recent Sampradaya Sun article, Radhanath Swami's Alleged Involvement in Sulochan's Murder, it appears to be 100% on. I was there, on the fringes of management and all the details you so meticulously corroborate fit into my memories like a glove. Ever since the murder happened we all knew Kuladri & Radhanath were involved. I remember the following morning well. I was shocked that they finally did it.
When I was back at New Vrindaban for those few years around 2004, Tapahpunja cornered me & for some reason chose to recount his involvement in the whole sordid mess in detail. I did not prompt him. His account does not fit the evidence, but it certainly protects Radhanath Swami. I was confused about his account because it didn’t fit in with what I knew (which was all second hand info). I implicitly trust Dharmatma and think Janmastami is probably being honest too. Their accounts line up with each other’s and with what we do know. TP’s account is contradictory, I do not believe him.
And last, not that it really matters, but I remember you & I having a conversation in front of Prabhupada’s Palace some years ago and you asked me why I left New Vrindaban. I answered that I really didn’t know; I just kind of drifted away. Well I can tell you that when the drain got plugged and all the sewage started coming to the surface, I was praying to Krishna to take me away from New Vrindaban. When the accusations of child molestation and other criminal activity started surfacing I just wanted out, but I could not give up my service. Very soon after that (was it in 1989?), Srila Bhaktipada sent me out on the traveling sankirtan “pick” with Rama-Chandra and I ended up at the Minneapolis center with Krishna-Katha (Carl Carlson). I never moved back after that.
Over the years, I have had one lingering, unanswered question that nagged me even when I knew the murder was in the planning stage, and during the stalking of Sulochan. WHAT IF Bhaktipada was really Jagat Guru? You see, I was and am a Prabhupada disciple first, I never bought into the Bhaktipada Jagat-Guru propaganda. But what if? Would the murder then be justifiable? Would Radhanath’s involvement have been justified?
I suppose this talk won’t go away as long as Radhanath is a leader in ISKCON; but personally, I am neutral in the whole finger-pointing, hate-mongering, envy-filled arguing. I am simply trying to chant Hare Krishna. If we just sincerely try to serve Srila Prabhupada, everything will take care of itself. If we can just get back to that simple goal, trying to satisfy Srila Prabhupada, then our lives would be perfect. When death comes our devotional service will be all that matters.
March 27, 2018: Hare Krishna Hrshikesh prabhu, I just downloaded Killing for Krishna for my Kindle Fire and started reading it. It’s OK so far, I’ll let you know as I progress reading it; just wanted to let you know that as long as it is accurate I do not have a problem with it. I heard some negative speech about you and the book while I was visiting New Vrindaban recently, but so far I do not share the opinion.
April 7, 2018: Haribol Hrishikesh! So I’m about halfway through the book. So far I find it brutally honest and accurate (as far as I can tell). I can see why some don’t like it and some are calling it an exposé. To me, if nothing inappropriate happened then there would be nothing to expose. Personally I think it is a wonderful service to tell the entire story. It is sometimes painful and embarrassing to remember that I was there. As I read, scores of forgotten memories and feelings gush from my being. I would like to share some of my feelings with you because I as everybody else, had my own experiences with events. If you are inclined hear them, do you have an email address that I can send some written memories to? I can understand how difficult it was for you to push on with this project. I never really did understand it all, when I first left I was obsessed with finding out what happened but as the years went on, I gave up and put it away in my archival memories. Glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Jyotirdhama dasa, ACBSP (Joe Pollock, Jr.)
Former New Vrindaban resident
I just received your book in today’s mail. Your writing is spectacular, erudite, balanced, and above all else: couth! I sat down to glance through it, and found that in a remarkably short period of time I had read almost 100 pages! One thing I like is your narrative which weaves the story together. Your consummately sane and balanced viewpoint further offsets the essential horror that builds as the deluded murder plot develops in the restricted narrow minds of the perpetrators who start off with the incredibly flawed “credo” of the perfection of Kirtanananda Swami.
Naranarayan dasa Visvakarma (Nathan Zakheim) (ACBSP), initiated in San Francisco in 1968
Best book I have ever read from a devotee who lived amongst the fanatics of New Vrindaban. I have been reading the letters to Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and he (Srila Prabhupada) repeated countless times that his devotees must strictly follow all the regulative principles, chant 16 rounds without fail and avoid the ten offenses to the Holy Names. Seems like these fools in the garb of Vaishnavas forgot to adhere to these instructions. Don’t be a fool. Always look deeper, don’t accept the external form of so-called devotees.
Martin Davidson, from a post at Killing For Krishna on YouTube.
Just received your new book, Killing For Krishna, yesterday and have started to read and look through it today. I was a good friend of Chakradhari. I knew him in California in 1972 before moving to New Vrindavana with my family in 1973. . . . Chakradhari and I were friends. He followed me after a year or so from California to New Vrindavana. . . . Then disappeared. He would have said goodbye [if he had left on his own accord]. . . . I moved away from New Vrindavana in 1981. . . . I remember seeing Kirtanananda Swami with his crew of about five men at The Higher Taste restaurant in San Francisco in 198, after I had been gone from New Vrindavana for a [couple] year[s]. I only spoke with them for five minutes. It was awkward and I left. At that time I was working with Atreya Rsi. . . . You’re a fine, talented writer and you’ve successfully put down a parcel of rascals. Good for you. . . . You’ve done a very nice job of exposing the rascals and destroying their credibility.
Janahlada dasa (ACBSP) (Gene Braeger), former New Vrindaban resident (1973-1981)
Thank you for writing this [book: Killing For Krishna]! I’m over halfway done and can’t put it down. I lived in New Vrindaban and the Cincinnati temple when they were outside of ISKCON. This is such a compelling read and the story needs to be told. You avoid the sensationalism of Monkey On a Stick and let the facts speak for themselves. Your endnotes are phenomenal. Again, thank you, Henry. Your years of research has turned out a stellar work for the annals of history. God bless you!
Giuseppe Gingricharoni, from a Visitor Post at Killing For Krishna on Facebook
Killing for Krishna is amazing in its detail and documentation. In my opinion it treats all characters fairly. The 1,300+ endnotes make it a credible history. Paid $7 on Kindle for Smart Phone which makes searches simple.
Hamsagati Das, from a comment at Killing For Krishna on Facebook
I bought Killing for Krishna. Wow. What an eye opener.
John Gennaro, from a comment at Killing For Krishna on Facebook
Hey Henry, I really appreciate your book, Killing for Krishna. The subject matter is simply interesting from my days associating with ISKCON. However, it was very unexpected to read in the Introduction your premise of revisiting this unfortunate incident to help heal. I’ve spent a great deal of time (last 7 years) doing the same thing for my own healing within my own family and related to past events. I’ve often felt alone and misunderstood in my attempts to discover facts surrounding so many facts of my history or family history. It’s plain for me to see that most people want to forget a painful past. But I’ve found so much comfort and peace in knowing the facts, the truth, and the issues surrounding my painful past that I felt an immediate connection to your book. This with no relation whatsoever between the book contents and my story. So, I’m so grateful to have read this premise for the book as confronting these difficulties head on has been so significantly life changing for me. I sincerely hope that it has helped you even more as I believe your pain runs deep after living these experiences in New Vrindavan. Best wishes always.
Pedro Ramos, Atlanta, Georgia, from a Facebook message to the author.
I just finished reading in its entirety your book Killing for Krishna. I do appreciate all your research and as you said in the Introduction, this book for you is also a healing process, having served Keith Ham for so many years and then realizing what a cheat he was, and how much time and energy you had invested in believing that KEITH was your spiritual master: your guide to go back to Godhead. Then finding out that this guy was a sex addict before coming to the Hare Krishna movement (even having sex with strangers in the New York subway), on top of having Howard Wheeler as his primary lover and then having all kinds of hush hush sex even as a sanyasin, with men and boys. He was not only a homosexual, but also a prolific pedophile. This was supposed to be a BHAKTI YOGA path to God: a love path, a heart path, and it was twisted to the maximum by a psychopath full of LUST and hungry for powers and money.
The Hare Krishna movement was until 1977 a ONE MAN SHOW. Swami Bhaktivedanta was the supreme authority; his words were as good as God (he even said so himself) and as you rightly noted he did affirm that KEITH HAM was a pure devotee; that he was pleased when people were serving KEITH HAM. The regular simple devotee had to rely on the words and visions of Swami Bhaktivedanta, and OBVIOUSLY he made a big mistake in assessing the qualifications of KEITH HAM, and he is partly to blame, in my view, for misleading hundreds of devotees to believe that serving KEITH HAM was what he wanted. Your book is very well-researched, but all this knowledge should, in my view, be warning to all the little gurus of now ISKCON and the multitude of Hare Krishna sects that are now working on the planet. If you do not learn by theses experiences, the same mistakes might repeat themselves.
Number one: to have blind faith in a guru because he just says “HEY, I AM A PURE DEVOTEE!” is extremely dangerous, as we have seen in all the blind followers of the so called 11 Ritviks that took over ISKCON after Swami Bhaktivedanta left the planet. May your book be a warning that absolute demands of blind following should be avoided at all cost. Every guru and all that he says and do must be questioned at all time. Bhakti Yoga must also be Jnana Yoga, as you said in your Introduction. THE TRUTH, THE TRUTH, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, devoid of BULLSHIT, LIES AND DECEITS.
I am looking forward to your next book.
Henri Jolicoeur (ACBSP) (formerly Hanuman Swami), Montreal, Quebec, from an e-mail to the author.
Hare Krishna. Wow, just received your book in the mail today. Started reading it this afternoon and it’s honestly been really hard to put down! The storytelling is so riveting, exciting and palpable. I really appreciate your voice as a writer and your amazing ability to write from a place of such objectivity, which I would imagine took a long time and lots of healing due to your intimate and direct involvement with Kirtanananda & all the other New Vrindaban residents and concomitant dramas. Congrats on this big achievement and I look forward to your subsequent publications.
Hoping to get through all or most of it on my upcoming road trip. I think it’s of utmost importance for devotees to know the factual history of the ISKCON movement in general, including the “dark stuff,” otherwise we’re simply living in a grand lie and completely wasting this ephemeral & precious life on dead end “spirituality.” Unfortunately the majority will not be interested in knowing or hearing about the facts because of the heavy indoctrination into the cult of personality, that Srila Prabhupada’s precious mission has now become. However, there are many others who desire truth and transparency. I have friends and acquaintances on both sides of that spectrum, I will most definitely share this book with the level-headed sincere ones.
Name withheld by request, Southern California.
Hare Krishna, Dear Prabhu! I’ve finished reading Killing For Krishna, your masterpiece. It’s a mind blowing book. I’m not so good with words to express fully my appreciation. I saw the interviews on YouTube as well. I really like that some devotees gathered and had a Sulochan memorial service. I guess things slowly but surely go in the right direction. If you write the other books I would like to order them as well. Thank you kindly!
Best regards & my humble pranams! Your Servant.
Ananta das (Edward Contis), Vällingby, Sweden
Hare Krishna, Hrisikesa Prabhu! All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Dandavats.
Mahatma Prabhu (Mario Pineda) visited me recently and I acquired your recent book. I’m enjoying slowly reading it. I’m amazed at the detail you provide. Surely, you are empowered by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to produce such a masterpiece. Thank you very much. I was thoroughly estranged from ISKCON during 1980s so much of the facts that many devotees probably knew were unknown to me.
My last visit to New Vrindaban was in 1978 when K swami asked me to leave. I had been stealing un-offered honey and asking unmarried women if they wanted “go for a walk.” Seems pretty funny to me now.
Thank again for your truly wonderful book. I am continuously astounded by your attention to detail. I love detail as you obviuosly do. As they say, “The Devil is in the details.” Don’t let the critics bother your mind, even one tiny bit. You are doing a very valuable service. If Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada went through your book and just counted all the various names of Krishna, it would be astounding.
Gadai dasa (David Shenk, ACBSP 1973)
First of all I want to congratulate and thank you for your excellent book, Killing for Krishna. I read it very carefully and today I listened to your interview on YouTube. I’m also a firm believer that the truth shall make us free. . . . I know your book is gonna shake ISKCON and some leaders in particular. The time has come for everyone to face their dark side, both individually and collectively. This purification was much needed since a long time. Thank you again for your hard work.
Your subtitle was very appropriate as it pointed to the big problem of deranged devotion, idolizing an ordinary devotee, considering any guru absolute in everything he says or does, choosing—more or less unconsciously, to be blind to his mistakes, weaknesses, or even abuses in the name that “the guru is absolute” and “don’t criticize and commit offenses.” A lot to say on that topic of absolutism and blind followers, features we can find in all the infamous dictators, Stalin, Mao, etc. Even Prabhupada did not pretend that everything he did was absolute; he asked advice from his disciples for practical matters and if something did not work he tried another strategy. As Hridayananda Goswami says, “Thinking is a sin in ISKCON. Just Serve and Shut up!”
I’m sure that Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya are pleased with you.
Gaurangi dasi (Genevois Josette)
Former disciple of Ramesvara Maharaja, current disciple of Lokanath Swami
I lived there [at New Vrindaban] August 1972 - September 1977 and was there about two weeks in 1979 for the Palace opening. . . . Henry Doktorski has bravely exposed the truth. I hope this will continue.
Ellie Krishna Jaya Singer-Clark (Vajresvari dasi), from a comment on a Facebook post by Chaitanya-Mangala dasa.
Dear Hrishikesa Prabhu,
Please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
I recently visited a temple where I talked about your book, Killing for Krishna to a few devotees, only the ones I knew well. I got several reactions:
—The majority of devotees: listening attentively to what I said about the book without protesting, but showing no interest to read it
—One Vaisnavi: not wanting to hear about the book at all, so I did not insist
—Another Vaisnavi was more appreciative of the contents (the dangers of deranged devotion), especially of the fact that you were presenting what really happened, even if it is not very pleasant or glorious for some devotees involved. She was the most receptive.
I also asked the devotee in charge of the book stall there if he had read your book. He said he had read some of your articles on Sampradaya Sun some years ago and could imagine those were the basis for your book. He did not want to be selling it at his venue as it might be a bit too much controversial for him, even though he never saw the book. He concluded by saying that those who are interested can always buy it on Amazon, where you are advertising it so he doesn’t need to get involved in it.
Not an easy book to sell, for sure, all the more because of its size. Maybe the subtitle The Danger of Deranged Devotion could have been the main title as Killing For Krishna scares many devotees. Anyway, those who want to read this book might not be numerous, but they can talk positively to others about it. At least they will have a good impression, that it is a serious book, very well researched and documented, meant to make people think and not to attack or destroy ISKCON.
ISKCON devotee currently in India, Name deleted by request, e-mail to the author
Killing For Krishna tells the story of the monumental saga of the killing of Sulochan dasa, which delves deep into each participant’s segment of the story. It has the makings of a movie. With the religious and cult aspect, it would make for a compelling presentation.
Elizabeth Heather Cagle, Los Angeles
Yesterday, I was with someone who bought your book, Killing For Krishna, here in England. It had a powerful effect on him. He was impressed with the amount of research you’d done for it.
ISKCON devotee (ACBSP), England
“By the time Sulochan was murdered, we all knew that Radhanath and Kuladri were involved in the planning. After Bhaktipada was assaulted, the buck stopped with Kuladri and Radhanath. It’s just how it was, no speculation necessary.”
The quote above is from a letter to the author (January 9, 2019) from one of persons who supported the conspiracy to murder Steven Bryant.
Hare Krishna, Hrishikesh prabhu.
Please accept my humble obeisances.
I come to you with a straw between my teeth begging your forgiveness for the abrupt break in communications. [I haven’t responded to your messages in almost a year.] I will tell you why I quit communicating and I think you can feel confident to publish any communications we have and use my name. What I have to tell you is simply: the problem is with me. I got to a point in reading your book, Killing For Krishna, that it became too painful for me to continue. The thing is, I visited Gaura-Shakti [Greg Carlson] prabhu at New Vrindaban in 1993 (I had left New Vrindaban in 1990). He was preparing to go to India and recited to me the history of Kirtanananda Swami’s legal problems since I had left. When I got to 1993 in your book I couldn’t read any further. It was the same exact story Gaura had told me in 1993. Something hit a nerve with me and I became emotionally distraught. I haven’t read another word of your book since. But as I said, it is because of me; not what you wrote. It took me a long time to figure out what upset me so badly.
How to verbalize what I was upset about after reading your book? Was it because I was cheated by my guru? I guess in one sense, but I took first initiation from Srila Prabhupada and don’t think I ever gave my heart to Kirtanananda the same way. I don’t feel that Srila Prabhupada ever cheated me, but Kirtanananda did. Anyway, to me it’s just splitting hairs; the fact is we let ourselves be cheated.
What upsets me most is that I was involved in the murder of a Vaishnava. For years I was in denial about my involvement, but after making it through your book all the way to the year 1993, the weight of what we did came down on me. I didn’t pull a trigger and I wasn’t involved in the conspiracy or stalking Sulochan. I was just the Telecom Manager at New Vrindaban, maintaining the community telephone system and whatever primitive computer network we had back then. But I was a willing participant in aiding and abetting the murder in whatever way I could. I helped coordinate communications between conspirators when they were stalking Sulochan in Ohio and West Virginia in February 1986, and I knew they planned to kill him. That was my most active part. There were no cell phones in those days. So some of the communications went through the main New Vrindaban telephone switchboard of which I was supervisor. Numerous times I had specific instructions from Kuladri where to direct specific incoming calls. Very important, not to be missed.
For years afterward I rationalized that, well I wasn’t really a Bhaktipada disciple and I didn’t have any first hand involvement. But as I read your book I more and more realized that I WAS involved. Factually, how much blame lies with whom? Only Krishna knows for certain.
The interesting thing about my position in the community is that I dealt with everybody there in one way or another. At the time I heard some of the inner workings of the plot. What you write, what Dharmatma, Janmastami, Hari-Venu; what they all say are the same things I remember. As far as Dharmatma, I had frequent personal interactions with him starting in 1976 and I always found him to be honest and straightforward, even brutally so. I doubt very much he suddenly started lying. Besides he had already taken the fall and done jail time by the time the question of who he gave the hush money to became an issue.
By the time Sulochan was murdered, as I said before, we all knew that Radhanath and Kuladri were involved in the planning. I knew of others too, but I didn’t know about all the players and how it went down until I read your book. After Bhaktipada was assaulted, the buck stopped with Kuladri and Radhanath. It’s just how it was, no speculation necessary. Personally, I have no qualification to comment on Radhanath’s position as guru, nor do I have any ax to grind. I only know that you have brought to light the details of the murder; you put the many jigsaw puzzle pieces together which, in your book, reveal the big picture. I had (others too) some of the pieces of the puzzle—we knew some of the story; but you hunted down the missing pieces and put everything together. Thank you for this valuable service.
Jyotirdhama dasa, ACBSP (Joe Pollock, Jr.)
Former Telecom Manager at New Vrindaban
January 5, 2019
Hare Krishna. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga! I just recently saw an interview with you on YouTube. I felt that your responses and explanation on your writing this book were balanced and free from envy. There was no offensive dialogue or vindictiveness in your words. Therefore I felt compelled to order a copy. Apparently you placed much energy and research into this endeavor with no ill will. Enclosed is a money order for your book.
G. B. dasa, Dallas, Texas
January 23, 2019
Dear Hrishikesh—Hare Krishna!
I have finished reading your book Killing For Krishna. Once I started to read it, it was difficult to put down. The book is an exhaustive, comprehensive and very objective analysis of the unfortunate murder of Sulochan. You definitely are a writer and you are a “writer” with a purpose: to shed light on things which are usually “beyond the veil.”
As I read your book, this is what I constantly felt on a more subtle level: your deeply felt disappointment and frustration with the way that things transpired. I did not detect resentment but rather a profound “wound” left by Kirtanananda’s actions.
I do not feel that you are on a “crusade” to pull down anyone or an organization. Your personal feelings about ISKCON have some merit; I just hope that things will be better—for everyone involved.
Once again, thank you for your diligent and resourceful book. Yes, I felt a deep frustration and pain within its pages.
G. B. dasa,
January 26, 2019
Hare Krishna, Hrshikesh prabhu,
So I’m once again struggling emotionally with this entire sordid affair, and having been a part of it. I’m still struggling with the fact that I went to New Vrindaban to serve Srila Prabhupada and ended up involved in criminal activity, including murder. I have unplugged from social media to avoid dealing with it. But I stand by what I said in a previous message to you.
I will just tell you that when Sulochan was being stalked much of the communications went through my telecom systems. At some point I was told directly that “they are going to kill him.” I don’t want to go into any more details, you’ve got all the players right as far as I know and you know more details than I at this point. Besides it was so long ago that details are getting harder for me to remember.
I was surprised to hear that you didn’t know beforehand, about the murder conspiracy; to me it seemed common knowledge at that time, but thinking back, this may be blurred memory. But just like the morning after the murder at mangal-aroti there was like this electricity in the air and a buzz of whisper, “The demon was killed!” This was only hours after the murder. Who told whom?
Anyway, the thing is that you have put it all together, and as I have said numerous times, that the accounts in your book are as I remember them. I haven’t started reading it again but I may soon. And as far as why I am saying this now there is no specific reason. Maybe because I need to get this off my chest before death. Mostly I want to defend my fellow devotees who have spoken the truth about this and have been discredited as liars.
Jyotirdhama dasa, ACBSP (Joe Pollock, Jr.)
Former Telecom Manager at New Vrindaban
February 3, 2019
I’ve just finished your book Killing For Krishna. Having been at the scene of many of the events you depicted I found your book fascinating. Excellent job of research and analysis.
I interviewed Sulochan shortly before he was shot in his van at the end of Watseka Avenue. I was also there at the emergency New Vrindaban GBC meetings, not so much for the meetings but to catch as many Prabhupada disciples as I could and get their remembrances of Prabhupada. Apart from my service in doing interviews for the Lilamrta, I was also production manager for Gita-Nagari Press a number of years and worked closely with Satsvarupa dasa Goswami. I can’t wait for your next book, Eleven Naked Emperors. I’ve read the timeline you have given, that timeline alone is an eye opener.
I’ve no axe to grind. I’m not in any camp one way of the other. I’m just interested in seeing that whatever went down in our history is open for all to see.
I’m looking forward to the next book. You’re on a roll. Keep it up. Hare Krishna.
Vidura dasa (Brendan Greene)
February 16, 2019
Hare Krsna, Henry Prabhu! I have not been able to read your book as of yet, but you are very brave for telling about the dark side of ISKCON. There are many demons in the dress of Vaisnavas in this Hare Krsna movement. By reading Srila Prabhupada’s books and following his instructions we can develop the discriminatory powers to avoid them. You are always welcome to visit our Prabhupada-based community in Spain.
Purujit dasa, Fuengirola, Spain
March 15, 2019
Hello! Just wanted to send word to you about how much I enjoy your book and how much it has helped me on my path to true Krsna Consciousness. I came upon Krsna Consciousness back in 1994, when I’d talked with a devotee on Venice Beach, California. He gave me the Krsna Book and advised me to follow my family’s religion (which was Christianity) until I found I needed more, then seek outside that realm. Little did I realize at the time how important that advice was. I put the book he gave me on the shelf and forgot it was even there. I did exactly as he suggested. My husband and I converted to Catholicism. I got deeply involved with the church until 2002 when I hit the wall in my faith with the revelation of the priest scandal. (Yes, rascals are everywhere!) I floated around for 13 years looking for the true path of faith and explored many paths with nothing really catching my interest. Judaism, New Age, other Christian faiths did nothing for me. I was ready to throw in the towel and declare that God was dead. For me, anyways...
Finally in 2015, while sitting in our home library, gazing at the books there on the shelf, my eyes landed on the Krsna Book. I took it down and opened it. And the rest, as they say, is history. After my experience with other faiths, and closing in on 60 at that time, I was very much aware that there are phonies and pretenders in every faith. Upon discovering what had happened to Srila Prabhupada, you can imagine how heartbroken I was to find out that his own devotees had killed him. But I was not deterred. I believe in Srila Prabhupada and I believe in God, Lord Krsna. I realized that in order to follow Prabhupada's true path, I would have to figure out who were the rascals and who I could trust in the movement as it stands today. It would be an over simplification to say combing though all of the information out there has been as tedious and harrowing as searching for a needle in a haystack! Your book has been invaluable to me and a great boon in helping me to find my way through the labyrinth of information.
I just wanted to let you know how much I value your book, your writing and what you are doing to aid in the healing of not only yourself, but all true followers of Krsna as well as Prabhupada in this modern age. Even though I was not formally initiated by Srila Prabhupada, I have accepted him as my spiritual master and follow only him, not some show bottle person who claims he’s this and that. By sharing your research, your experiences and the truth, I feel you have done a great service for Prabhupada, for Krsna and for all true followers of the movement that Prabhupada has envisioned. For that I wish to thank you and let you know that at least one person appreciates everything you have done. I will continue to sing the praises of your book far and wide! Thank you for writing it! Thank you! God bless you! Hare Krishna!
Leslie Kiang, Daytona Beach, Florida
March 26, 2019
I just wanted to thank to you for writing this book, Killing For Krishna. I read it all. I also think that the topic of deranged devotion has to be addressed in a very urgent way. You did this as a service to Prabhupada’s Movement. Thank you. Your sincerity for Truth touched my heart. Nothing should be hidden.
I also joined more than 30 years ago and served as Bhakta Leader and also as Temple President in ISKCON for many years. After a time, I started to address these kind of dysfunctional dynamics, and then they asked me to leave. (They do not kill anymore).
I spent two years alone in the forest only reflecting and chanting, and then opened a contemplative Vaishnava community in the Swiss mountains. One has to walk 3 hours to get there and there is no street at all to go there. We live very simple there and produce our food ourselves.
I just wanted to give you an echo on your book. Thank you.
Your Krishna Chandra
May 12, 2019
Subject: Iron Law of Oligarchy
Dear Hrishikesh dasa,
Thank you for all of your thorough research. Your book titled, Killing for Krishna: The Danger of Deranged Devotion is a valuable reference. Also, I like how well-rounded and balanced you are!
ISKCON is basically a case study of the Iron Law of Oligarchy, articulated by Robert Michels. Organizations must create bureaucracy in order to maintain efficiency as it expands. Every group contains individuals that are more committed, motivated, and skilled, both technically and/or politically. This “inner circle” functions as paid administrators, executives, spokespersons or political strategists for the organization. Centralization inevitably occurs. A relatively small number of individuals become highly influential.
The objective of this ruling class is to preserve and increase their power by controlling bureaucratic procedures and decision-making processes. It is unlikely that the rank and file members of the organization would have the ability to hold their leaders accountable—the ruling class controls access to information while creating an incentive structure aimed at rewarding loyalty. In fact to obtain accountability, members would be obligated to appeal to a judicial and prosecutorial system that is external to the organization.
Moreover, it is unlikely that members would even be aware that the inner circle is abusive of its power. Charismatic leaders are often skilled at uprooting their followers’ sense of right and wrong to create a compliant set of disciples, while creating a group mind within their organization. Groups are capable of rationalizing far more heinous crimes than any single individual, were he in a state of isolation.
The behavior of the crowd is emotionally determined, not logically or philosophically determined, allowing a leader such as Bhaktipada to convince his followers that even the most improbable statements are true, or that the most egregious deviations from Srila Prabhupada’s principles are bona fide.
Although ISKCON was not organized as a democratic entity, it is my understanding that ISKCON was intended to be decentralized with local temples wielding considerable autonomy. And strictly speaking, the words “decentralized” and “democratic” are not interchangeable. Nevertheless, the factors that drive an initially democratic organization towards oligarchy are the same factors that transform an initially decentralized organization into a concentrated power structure dominated by a ruling class that becomes increasingly corrupt.
I look forward to hearing from you, and I hope this letter finds you well.
Yours in the Service of Krishna,
Chand Prasad Maryland, United States www.biodynamictheology.com
May 19, 2019
Dear Hrishikesh Prabhu,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my respectful obeisances. Jaya Srila Prabhupada!
Thanks for sharing the message of Chand Prasada on the iron law of oligarchy. Prabhupada was warning us of the dangers of bureaucracy, bureaucratic procedures and decision-making processes. Yes, ISKCON was intended to be decentralized with local temples wielding considerable autonomy, but the GBCs misinterpreted the mandate to be the “ultimate managing authority” to become the collective acarya, as Hridayananda Goswami pointed out in his long GBC essay. In at least one country in Europe I hear we are still under the rule of 2 authoritarian GBCs. One of them recently admitted “having done some mistakes” but the meeting when this was spoken was coming to an end, and there was no time for anyone to ask him what were these mistakes, and how he planned to rectify them.
One of the merits of your book, KIlling For Krishna, is to warn disciples and followers, especially those of a charismatic leader, to be observant and careful, not blind followers, in other words to think for themselves, a thing which is not encouraged too much in ISKCON. One problem is the guru seen as absolute in all areas and the other, as Chand Prasada, noted, the fact that the behavior of the crowd is emotionally determined, not logically or philosophically determined.
I was also reading again the 420-page book, The Guru and the Disciple, by Kripamoya dasa. In a very open, honest and tactful way, he discusses many important issues, many of which still largely unresolved in the circles of the Krishna Consciousness movement: the mistakes made by ISKCON leaders and gurus, guru and disciple in therapy, testing the guru, when to leave a guru, etc. I attended the seminar he gave in Mayapur a couple of years ago, and was happily surprised that he was allowed to openly speak on such “sensitive” topics.
I see your book as a healing agent for ISKCON, forcing it to look at its dark side, both collectively and individually. Painful, but necessary. Your hard work did not go in vain, even if it will take much time for its contents to filter through layers of fears, misconceptions, untruths, lies, conditionings and deranged devotion.
Anonymous ISKCON devotee in India.
May 22, 2019
Hare Krishna, Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I have been reading your book, Killing For Krishna, and following your Killing For Krishna page on Facebook. It is one of the best written and honest piece of ISKCON history.
I’m from India but have spent most of ISKCON days in the U.S. I came in contact with ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada’s books while I was in U.S. I’m back in India now and find that most Indian-bodied devotees are being misled by corrupt GBC and false GBC-approved gurus. Some of them have interest in reading but they don’t have access to Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and conversations because of language problems. The same goes to the history of bad things happened in ISKCON after Srila Prabhupada left this planet. Most of it is on the Internet but the problem is, it is all scattered here and there. And it is in English. I admire your effort to consolidate the information along with providing genuine references.
I recently saw your post about Killing for Krishna being translated in Spanish. India is where these bogus gurus have made their hub and looting innocent Indian-bodied devotees. Your books need to be translated in Indian languages; especially Killing For Krishna. I have experience in translating books from English to Hindi. I translate and a scholar friend reviews it for me. He has Ph.D in Hindi. I would like to offer my services to translate KFK and other related media to Hindi. Attached is my translation of your Dedication.
Thank you for your valuable service to Srila Prabhupada.
An aspiring servant,
Name withheld by request
April 12, 2019: Henry, I just came across your Hare Krishna book, Killing For Krishna. Looks wonderful. I was involved with ISKCON for twelve hears. Went directly from graduating high school to moving into a temple. Glad you’ve gotten all of this information.
April 13, 2019: I ordered your book at Amazon. Sounds great. About time someone exposed what was actually going on there and it sounds like you’ve done a wonderful job at it. The bit I read last night, online, was absolutely intriguing. . . . Anxiously waiting for your book. Talking about ISKCON opens a valve. I could keep writing and writing.
April 18, 2019: I’ve read 199 pages at first sit. Interesting. I never really thought of “behind the scenes” at ISKCON. This gives a view of the movement that I never suspected.
April 21, 2019: Have read to the Addendum. Absolutely outstanding. Many, many things come to mind reading the book. I, too, have spent years getting over ISKCON. I quit years ago but, hey, it was a big deal in my life.
May 17, 2019: I mentioned to you that I’d completed the book. Exceeded any expectations. . . . Overall, I found the group practices the very things it preaches against. But, in the end, I’ve suffered years of that group nagging me internally, in my mind. Your book helps me get over that hump.
May 29, 2019: Every three to four weeks I go and see a counselor. During the last three weeks I’ve had some wonderful realizations regarding my life. I’ve had much pain in my life. Luckily, I’ve made it through. I told her that reading your book was a liberating experience for me. I feel so much lighter now. Again, I thank you for the book. It played a large part in freeing me from the horrendous pain of my past.
Mesilla, New Mexico
June 10, 2019: Namaste, Dear Prabhu.
I hope that more devotees will understand the serious defects some of these ISKCON gurus have. Your eye-opening book can be another torch light, guiding us away from deranged devotion and back to Krishna consciousness. Prabhupada said that Krishna consciousness is 80% common sense and the rest is devotion.
Before reading your book I had a general understanding about what had happened to Sulochan, but by reading it, more details and unknown facts were revealed. One German devotee told me she wasn’t going to buy K4K, because she already knew all those things. I am convinced that she would get some new insights, too. But what can I do? For some strange reason conversations between devotees, at least in my experience, don’t last very long in Germany. And there seems to be little time for clearing up important issues. I hope this will improve in the future.
Name withheld by request
June 19, 2019: Hi Henry.
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your book, Killing for Krishna and the insight on ISKCON it has brought me. I’m from Vancouver and a older friend of mine was unfortunately abused during his time at ISKCON as well back in the day. Physically and mentally it has taken a toll on him. I very much appreciate your work and exposing the truth for what it is.
I have a background in Hindu practice myself, that is in the lineage of Shiva/Divine Goddess which of course is pretty different than Hare Krishna, but I never imagined things as crazy as the stuff in your book were possible. Very eye opening and I’m looking forward to your next book, Eleven Naked Emperors.
Vancouver, British Columbia
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