A BIF article first posted in 2002.
DEVILS in DENOMINATION
Dear Prabhus, Matas, Members and friends,
The road to hell is paved with the skulls of clergy. It would appear from this statement that recent revelations by international media has given rise once again to the ever-growing band of envious atheists that live only to blaspheme, anathematise, and defile God's chosen. But this is not so. The quote is older than anyone alive. Long before buckled shoes were in vogue, investigators moved past the butler, maid, doctor and obvious rascal, to find sin most horrid nestled in the hearts of the clergy.
With an acute awareness for creed and its influence on common man, journalists through the centuries have meticulously chosen words to unveil los diabolos hidden in cult tabernacles, and in its highest places.
In most countries, deference to the church and the priesthood has for centuries ensured that references to their part in many horrendous crimes have been censored and historical records either glossed over or completely ignored. Nor has this folly staggered or faltered in recognition. To the contrary, it has persisted and with sanctimonious disdain for secular law. In days gone by, while others lost heads for minor offences the religious clerks (clerics) got away with bloody murder.
A popular `prayer for forgiveness,' authorised by non-secular administration, was all it took to absolve an initiated clergyman. The `prayer,' Psalm 51, became known as the `Neck Verse' for obvious reasons. Following its recital, the church appointed adjudicator would declare, `Legit ut clerius' (he reads like a clerk/clergyman). And that was that (much like the GBC's e-rectification program.) Henry VII, concerned by so many regular offenders, ordered that convicted clergy could claim the privilege only once in a lifetime, and forthwith be branded in the hand before they were released so they could be identified if they were accused again.
However, the ancient non-secular dictum: "As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be," appears to have persisted and found adoption in most denominations. Here for example is a law passed by the (some say unlawful) Governing Body Commission (GBC) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Law No: 12.8 " Resolved that "when a person becomes a member of ISKCON or assumes an office within ISKCON, he does so upon the condition of submission to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of ISKCON; and however much he may be dissatisfied with the exercise of that jurisdiction, he shall refrain from invoking the supervisory power of a civil court but shall seek redress of any grievance(s) through the ISKCON judicial process. Otherwise, he may be removed from office and/or his membership in ISKCON terminated, (88)".
Albeit, the law above specifically denies the right to invoke the supervisory power of a civil court, ISKCON has never exposed its criminals to the supervisory power of the criminal court either. With the media exposure for ISKCON's child-abuse case, some attempts have been made to rectify the discrepancy, but whether or not the rectifications will be honestly implemented?.the jury is out, and may never return.
In retrospect: Nope, they got away with that one, too. None of the pedophiles faced exposure or prosecution.
Laws such as the one above, clearly assume that non-secular management is answerable only to God. That they, as direct successors to God and his holy lineage, feel no accountability to laity or State. Such canon is carcinogenic in that it makes righteousness and its practitioners vulnerable to contamination through instability and immorality. So why is it, one may ask, that canon lawyers permit such legislation to shepherd the faithful? The answer is simply that the legislator is also the lawyer, instructor, liturgist, confessor, administrator, financial officer, supervisor of litigation, acceptor, rejecter and direct connection to God. In fact, it is only when gross iniquities are discovered that they are no more than innocent.
Even when members of the hierarchy are exposed, including those at the centre of the storm, they remain unrepentant and even defiant. Almost in every case, whistleblowers are identified by internal affairs to be ecclesiastical opponents, and management takes a pat on the back for pre-empting a coup de tar. The criminal maintains his unholy sanctity while the ostracised informant struggles with his sanity. Hierarchy by its very nature facilitates the abuse of power; creating tin-pot- dictators with armies of marching ants, all of whom claim the high moral ground. Such is the habit donned by the hierarchical man-god.
To behold the robes of a monk or priest as signifying enlightenment, or even sanity, could prove disastrous if not fatal. Our readers may feel that this assessment of the holy garb is excessive- a ride on the back of current press. But when the truth is known, religious institutions have always been a harbour for depravity. And it should come as no surprise. In an establishment dependent on voluntary labour and donations, where new recruits are scarce, initial reasons for inception become secondary to survival, creating a Mecca for monsters. This is why religious movements dread investigation. Who knows what will be discovered. It is not that the expulsion of a felon would make a great deal of difference, but more often than not, the ogres are senior members in the most pronounced positions, with heavy responsibilities?hallowed confessors. Such exposures shake the very foundations of a temple, threatening sanctity, disrupting business, dwindling the number of practitioners, and emptying the coffers. Hence the need for concealment and confidentiality.
Felony within the revered non-secular sector is certainly newsworthy, but can hardly be blamed on religion itself. After all, criminals will exploit any pocket and sanctum. But, when a criminal's interest goes beyond picking pockets or sexual abuse, when he snatches power by murder just to tamper with the tenets and traditions of an ancient philosophy, is he in fact a common criminal or something more diabolic? Here is one such example: "But when the guru departs, sadhu and sastra can take on a new import, as those who succeed him become the new interpreters of past precedents, scriptural law, and the new set of circumstance." (A Hare Krishna at Southern Methodist University, a book by Tamal Krishna).
For those readers who are unaware of the religious system followed by the Hare Krishna Society (ISKCON), the scriptures (sastra) are reputed to have descended directly from God- Sri Krishna, via the uncontaminated teachings of His disciplic successors (parampara). With that in mind, the above declaration can't be seen as anything other than an invitation to Beelzebub's bazaar.
When, and after much crisis, the writer (Tamal Krsna) was requested by one member of management to resign, he replied: "I am sure they will all dance in the street when they hear that one of our own GBC members is now calling for my resignation. However, here is my answer to them and to all of you as well: I am not resigning! Due to the influence of raganuga bhakti, I am now twice as competitive, manipulative, nasty, and political as I was before. And it's now on the spontaneous platform!"
He went on to interpret past precedents and scriptural law by making over a thousand changes to the Acarya's Bhagavad Gita alone, all of which supported his political agenda. Finally, the good Lord took matters into His own hands and reduced Tamal Krishna to a road-kill when on 15th March '02, in Bengal (India), his car left the bitumen and smashed his head against a tree. His last audible words were to the driver of the car: "What are you doing- you fool!" Tamal Krishna did not chant or hear the Holy Name at the time of death.
With organised religion under scrutiny, many are scratching their heads wondering not so much at antithesis in the same fold as how a clergy of disguised wolves make the law, close the gates, and prey upon the lambs? No matter what conclusion one may draw, devils find sanctuary in religion. And, the facility will always be available because the faithful will follow. That is what they do- they follow.
Through powers accrued by austerity, demons annex church and temple. Implementing laws for them by them, they remove any who think outside subjection; leaving only thraldom as proof. Unknown to laity, established crossroads force decisions on all postulants to stay and accept `God's will' or leave and be damned. For most, leaving is impractical, impossible. For all, bridges to material existence have been methodically and psychologically torched. For those who remain subjected, the aisle leads deeper into acceptance and the road back to anywhere is lost in complicity. Still, some break the straps of psychological restraint and escape in spite of the mental baggage. It is to these escapees that researchers must turn for a peep into the Devil's playground. But even so, even after being witness first-hand to demonology in practice, escapees will call it anything but. Flipping away the coin of saint and conflicting demon, they opt instead for clinical diagnoses.
Schizophrenia, with all its complexities, is like an all-covering blanket offered by science as a gift to demonology: "Religious belief, and religious observance, can turn the minds of susceptible people from normal reasoning, and exacerbate the tendencies of the schizophrenics among them to confuse literal and metaphorical meaning. The saying of prayers, the chanting of psalms, the singing of hymns, the genuflecting on one knee, the kneeling on hassocks or stone floors, the repeated crossing of oneself all concentrate the brain on patterns that differ from normal everyday behaviour" (Holy Killers. Brian McConnell).
The problem is, one size doesn't fit all. Granted, sick people do seek the benediction of God, but those who reach the pinnacle of hierarchical power never manifest Schizoid Personality Disorders or paranoia prior to exaltation. Or plain and simple, they would never get there. That is where the `schizoid' blanket falls short revealing the talon'd toes of the designing demon.
What brings the Devil to denomination? How is it that he flows so effortlessly into the habit of religious ritual? Why do the talismans and amulets of godliness grace him more than others? From where within the temple does he draw the power that outshines, out speaks and out does the best of devotees? Who has empowered him to expand into many? And when will we accept his unholiness for what it truly is?
Here is an analysis and report presented by Sakshi Gopal Das.
"There is no better available study of this `God-man' than in the Iskcon zoo. Yet, extremes between the Society's pure philosophy and dark history has never been examined. One reason for this is that the word `demon' although frequently used, is cliché. No one within the Society sees demonology as a reality, or directly related. Furthermore, the Society is structured much like the Catholic Church: a hierarchy. What this means is that those on the lower assembly are oblivious to everything other than re-education. They don't see hear or speak anything unsanctioned by higher command. This makes it difficult to investigate because every level is clone managed with behavioural strictures functioning as security codes.
Even if one replicates faithfully, it doesn't mean questions can be asked. Merit points are necessary to access each level and its particular code before elevation to the next. Information is on a need to know basis, and only those at the summit need to know. By the time one reaches the internal information freeway, he finds himself holding a trident, hiding his spear-ended-tail and questioning whether he was a devotee who went to sleep and dreamt he was a devil or the other way `round.
Every now and then a hierarchical floorboard snaps sending a god-man crashing through and into the media. Here below we present one such accidental fall. We hasten to add, this god-man, like all others who have fallen before him, crashed due to his own inability to debauch in secret. The Society's other god-men never pulled the plush from under him. No Sir, they would never expose one of their own. Never!
Before going any further, we must request our junior readers to discontinue from this point on. Thank you.
"The movement was founded (by His Divine Grace. A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada) with the best of intentions to preach a development of a well-known religious philosophy. Krishna Consciousness teaches us that man is not merely a body but an eternal spirit soul.... [....]....
James Immel (Jayatirtha)...was revered as a fine guru, or spiritual teacher, a worthy successor (said some) to the founder-swami. One woman disciple wanted to put his picture on a shrine immediately under that of the founder, Swami Prabhupada. To obtain the picture she followed the spiritual teacher at 5 a.m. from his bedroom at Bhaktivedanta Manor...[...]...
She knew Immel made his rounds chanting the "Hare Krishna" at this time every morning. And she probably knew he seduced any woman who was available and was a regular user of the drug LSD.... [...].... The woman who wanted Immel's photograph for her shrine was in luck. On this particular morning, his sexual peccadilloes were about to be revealed; he was chanting his way to an ancient oak behind which waited a young woman. He helped her to her feet, they danced, and as they whirled each other round, she slipped out of her sari, he let his dhoti fall to the ground. They stood naked for a moment, then she fell to her knees and took his penis in her mouth until he groaned with ecstacy, threw back his head and cried (said the observer later) like a vixen, a mixture of a baby crying and a dog howling. The couple fell to the grass where they made love.... [...]...
Because of his drug abuse, Immel was reported to the Governing Body Commission of the movement in Bombay. He was so highly regarded as a personal disciple of the founder that no one wanted to take any summary action. Members produced all sorts of excuses for him...[...]...
Eventually, at the Commission's annual meeting at Mayapur in April, 1982, Jayathirta-Immel was suspended for one year, ordered to become celibate and give up drugs.... [...]....
Nitaipada--another Englishman whose real identity had been lost in the transfer to the cult?complained that he had come all the way to Kathmandu, paying his own fare, only to discover that his guru was a drug addict. He wanted his return fare to London. Immel replied angrily that he had not invited Nitaipada to Nepal and it was not his responsibility to pay his way. When the complainant suggested that the police would be interested in his drug habit, Immel changed his tune. He suggested that Nitaipada return in the morning to see for himself how the ceremonies were conducted. Meanwhile Immel handed him $500 which would cover his airfare home.
Next morning Nitaipada arrived early and was told that there was to be a ceremony on the far shore of a lake and they would row across. When they were half way across, Nitaipada was seized, forced overboard, and when he hung on to the boat his hands were beaten until he let go, then his head held underwater until he vanished from sight. Nepalese police recovered the body when it was washed up some days later. They found the $500 in the pocket of his dhoti. Despite his broken fingers the verdict entered in their report was accidental drowning--and that was that.... [...]....
Tierney (Navaniticara das) waited in the recess behind the door and when the key turned in the lock and Immel entered the disciple plunged a knife into his stomach. Immel's blood poured onto his attacker's body and the guru fell to the floor dead. But the realisation that he had killed Immel did not satisfy the disciple Tierney. He...plunged his knife into the corpse again and again. 'I put the stake through his heart,' he said.
Even that was not enough. He grabbed Immel's hair and hacked at his throat until he was decapitated. And he was still nursing the head when police found the two 'missing' Hare Krishna followers. All Tierney could say was ' I have done my work', over and over again." (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna. Holy Killers by B. McConnell).
And so it continues, on and on. A litany of horrors. Jayapataka (another Iskcon `guru') was attacked with a razor; his neck still bears the scar of near decapitation (We hear that a woman in Bombay also wanted to carve him up during a temple lecture). The screwdriver and hammer murders in West Virginia (carried out by a devotee under a`guru's' instruction, both are serving time); The shooting murder of Sulocana Das; the grizzly killing of Chatur Bahu Das; child sex/physical abuse that make Roman Catholic priests look like choirboys, sex romps, udinism, polygamy, swindles, fraud, and the poisoning/murder of Srila Prabhupada, its founder, are all bad airs in the movements' repertoire. Yet its entrenched regime remains unmoved, unchallenged and defiant. And it has all been made possible by members who shelve reality in this life for eternity knowledge and bliss in the next?an oxymoronic co-op that accepts individual guilt while projecting unified purity. The Devil's Playground (unquote).
Only a few days ago BIF received this report:
Another Mysterious Death Grips Mayapur.
A few days ago, a leading Mayapur devotee was found strangled to death. The immediate cause appeared to be suicide, though no suicide note was immediately found, nor was any motive apparent. The article below by a leading Bengali newspaper gives the details:
'Sensational Death of ISKCON Sadhu On Monday Night'
"One devotee committed suicide at the temple at Mayapur under the Navadwip Police Station, named Nitai Gunamoni Das, aged 30. His previous house was at Midnapur Balichak Station. He had been connected with ISKCON for more than 15 years. Police sources stated that on Monday nigh at 10 '0' clock, he was found hanging in a room away from the main temple. He was the temple commander, and had recently had a by-pass operation. Despite the appearance of suicide, the Police will be investigating the matter." (Bartoman, 13/9/2002)
This of course is not the first time a mysterious death has occurred in Mayapur. We reported recently about a devotee who blew himself up constructing a bomb on Mayapur's premises. Previous to that there were other 'suicides', including one devotee who had been kept in captivity on suspicions of being a 'thief.'
Unchecked power and non-existent accountability are viaducts to the subterranean. This insight is not within the understanding of the unbeliever who scoffs at the confession: `The Devil made me do it.' For the clinical psychologists and such academia, it is easier to perceive the spiritualist as imbalanced rather than accept demons as the cause of imbalance, disorder, and moral anarchy. Had our good doctors been right, where is the bottle of pills that can remedy the affliction.
There is no history of laic cleansing, nor will there ever be. The infiltration of evil within holy sanctums can only be fought by believers who acknowledge the presence and strip it of falsity exposing what lies beneath no matter how it appears. But exposed it must be or: "That's what happens when you think you don't have to be accountable to anyone. You think you can hide your activities, and never have to account for them. It can lead to anything then, which it did." (Jeffrey Dahmer, serial murderer and necrophile). The possibilities are mind-boggling.
So then, how does one fight a force that has successfully evaded the test tubes of detection; a malignant soul that cannot be cut into pieces by weapons, moistened by water or withered by the wind? Being as sanctity is, complex and enigmatic in this age of quarrel, a fold in which both lamb and wolf look similar, there is no one answer to this question. From the ancient Vedas we hear that a devotee and demon reside in the same body. Control or lack of it dictating manifestation one over the other. In actuality, the evil confronting religion today is too ancient for modern convenience, ergo, cannot be adequately addressed, controlled, or expelled. Yet those who have been there have identified its breeding ground; its cesspool. They say:
The root of ecclesiastical scandal is the betrayal of purity and fidelity. They say honesty is the best gift a confessor could give a sinner. The most visible symbol of spirituality is its clarity, its transparency. They stress the dire need for accountability. They say that all financial, administrative, legal (and illegal) practices be brought to full visibility, and that aloofness (elitism) be shunned. Controversies be confronted directly, in the open, in collaboration with secular law when (not if) necessary, immediately, and without corporate concerns. They say policies that are prudent, courageous, and enforced, are vehicles of unholiness. Clericalism, the moneychangers, the professionals and ambitious "expect to do wells" must be uprooted, or crisis will follow crisis. Arbitrators who act according to no known parameters, universally accepted laws or diametric legislation; acting only to preserve a status quo, must be removed forthrightly, failing which, they will foster a closed clerical culture infecting the temple, isolating the preachers one from the other, and from the laity. Hierarchical arrogance, superiority complex, unchecked authority and fiscal malfeasance, cover-ups, are all alarm bells pealing demonic presence in the temple. Exploitation, thraldom, the belief that one is accountable to God and God alone, the belief that one knows best because of spiritual advancement or intellect, and the inability to recognise one's own sins, are symptoms of possession. To believe oneself chief pastor, teacher, liturgist, confessor, administrator, financial officer, supervisor of litigation, and God's direct representative, are also symptoms of possession.
Where episcopal structures have atrophied into uselessness, where governance creates crisis, where judgements are made in disinterest, where decision making begs, unshared, devoid of laity, where canonical infrastructure and cult laws exist for ministerial profit, aggrandisement and material well being, where scripture is used as a means of subjection, gain, glory, adoration, distinction, a steady erosion of collegiality evanesces morality and ethic, presenting devil as deity and demonology as doctrine.