The Titanic Taproots

March, 2018

First of a Three-Part Series

by Kailäsa Candra däsa

“If one always follows the orders of the spiritual master, there is no question of falling down. As soon as a foolish disciple tries to overtake his spiritual master and becomes ambitious to occupy his post, he immediately falls down.”
Çrémad-Bhägavatam, 5.12.14, purport

“So, these two things are always side by side—Maya and Kåñëa. Kåñëa is service, and Maya is sense gratification. So every moment we are prone to be subjugated by either of them. Our duty is therefore to be very, very careful. The poison is personal ambition.”
Letter to Satyabhäma, 11-1-70

“Srila Prabhupada . . . considered them to be uttama-adhikari, all highly-advanced devotees worthy to be accepted as spiritual masters. Critics may doubt whether our ISKCON acharyas are actually liberated. Do they know their rasa with Krishna, and will they be able to instruct their disciples similarly? But such questions bring one dangerously near the precipice of spiritual calamity.”
T.K.G., Servant of the Servant, original edition, 1984

Following the first two installments of this multi-part series (posted some months ago, Continuing Carnival of Corruption), now we conclude the analysis of the personalities, statements, and deeds of two titanic taproots of deviation, viz., Kértanänanda Swämi and T.K.G. This month’s three-part series centers on the Machiavellian Manipulator, Tamäl Kåñëa Gosvämé, hereinafter T.K.G.. It is a coin flip which of these two dreadful and personally ambitious men caused the most deviation and harm to Çréla Prabhupäda’s branch of Lord Caitanya’s Kåñëa movement.

First, a required overview. Prabhupäda engaged the people that Lord Kåñëa sent to him, the vast majority of them Westerners. It is safe to conclude that all of them brought demoniac qualities into the mix when they entered his Kåñëa consciousness movement. That there would naturally be a set of leaders to emerge sometime soon after he founded ISKCON, there is no question. How he would be able to shape those leaders, how he would deal with them, how he would attempt to dovetail them, and how he would manage them could only partially determine how his movement would and must progress. The proper use or misuse of their individual free wills over time—and at any given time–would be just as important. That factor would ultimately determine what was to transpire in the movement, while Prabhupäda was physically manifest but especially after his departure.

Was it automatic that Prabhupäda converted those who came to him into real devotees? No such thing can ever be automatic! Results on the existential, material level can be misleading, and a devotee’s status is not determined from that plane–at least, not completely. T.K.G. is a prime example of this principle in so many ways, and much of that will be pointed out very specifically here. By doing so, the charge will be made that T.K.G. is being blasphemed. That charge is simply emoting the issue, trying to cover it via the surcharge of fear and guilt, which was part of T.K.G.’s stock and trade, as evidenced from his quote (above).

What we say about him in this article is factual. Over and above that, there are some great truths to be gleaned in this exposition in the form of universal laws and principles applicable to who that fellow was, what his motives were, and the deeds he did. It is not that Prabhupäda’s strategy (in connection to his leaders) cannot be determined, particularly after so many events have gone down (and so much information and knowledge has been made available to us) over time. We are thus all capable of drawing accurate conclusions now, and that is just what we should do.

Yet, above and beyond that, we need the right overview of just how Prabhupäda kept his personally ambitious leaders under ultimate control, although they still did a great deal of damage to his movement, despite his (somewhat) successful tactics to restrict them. In the case of the leading megalomaniacs, Kértanänanda and T.K.G., both were ultimately frustrated. That was not accidental but, instead, it was by perfect design.

In the late Sixties and the beginning of the Seventies, book and magazine distribution in devotee apparel had been highly successful in bringing new people to the temples (and then directly converting many of them there into genuinely initiated Vaiñëavas). Later, in the early to mid-Seventies, when the ISKCON leaders and their dedicated acolytes insisted on deceptive plainclothes “saìkértan,” Prabhupäda was, in effect, forced to relent to this desire on the part of his collectors and the overlords who pushed and controlled them.

However, in so doing, he accomplished a long-term side effect, viz., massive book distribution throughout the Western world–and particularly in America. He forced them all to put the pedal to the metal, and he demanded book distribution totals which would have otherwise been unimaginable. His demands had to be met, and they were! Many of those books are still in existence, so the changed message of later years, foreseen somewhat indirectly by His Divine Grace, has this latent bulwark working against it.

The overall strategy was different, however, concerning the personal ambitions of his leaders. It entailed a two-fold tactic, viz., the G.B.C. Directive (how it was specifically worded) combined with the rittvik appointments of July, 1977. Both of these served to check his egotistical leaders, two of whom (Kértanänanda and T.K.G.) were already, in the Seventies, absorbed in self-apotheosis and feather-bedding their path to imagined greatness.

We shall now see how this played out in the life of T.K.G., leading to his horrific demise on the Ides of March, 2002. Like Kértanänanda, he always wanted to be the center of attention, the number one. Like Kértanänanda, he wanted to be the leader of everyone in the movement, his “ISKCON” movement. However, both before and after Prabhupäda departed, T.K.G. was frustrated at almost every turn, checked against his will.

Driven by his ambitious and unauthorized motivations, he accomplished one good thing while Çréla Prabhupäda was still amongst us, as T.K.G.’s RDTSKP party was the leading distributor of books and magazines in the mid-Seventies. In his own way, as described above, Prabhupäda also made that arrangement. Nevertheless, despite copious amounts of personal association with the uttama-adhikäré Founder-Äcärya, T.K.G.’s malefic “contributions” to (read, against) the Hare Kåñëa movement greatly outweighed anything transcendental he may have accomplished during the brief span when his link was still established.

Yet, even in his egotistical, calculated actions, we are now able to glean something positive. We do so by seeing them for just what they were. We do so by seeing that he was frustrated in all but the penultimate (read, 1977) of his harmful acts. That man did considerable damage to Lord Gauränga’s movement, and the flotsam from his harmful efforts has significantly delayed, in so many ways, Lord Caitanya’s movement spreading, in a pure and genuine form, to every town and village of the world. You either get this or you don’t.

Leader of What?

Prabhupäda: Now (citing three of his disciples, with two of them named) is making a clique. I can understand. What they are planning, that I also know, but I don’t wish to disclose it. So, if these things come, then how this movement will go on? Politics, diplomacy, fraud, cheating: These are the general qualification of the Western people. Do you admit or not?
Devotees (in unison): Yes.
Prabhupäda: If they are, these things come within our movement, then it will not be successful. Tat-paratvena nirmalam: One has to be purified. Even sometimes we have to . . . but that is for Kåñëa’s. There must be now checking that all these rascals may not join and spoil our movement. You should not admit.
Leading Secretary: Yes.
Prabhupäda: They can come and go.
Morning Walk, 7-13-74 in Los Angeles

And he wants to control the whole Society. He wants to be the Supreme Controller.”
Prabhupäda in a room conversation with his personal servant, 3-14-76

I should have been the leader of this movement.”
T.K.G. in a phone conversation with a former friend, November, 1997

As discussed previously, T.K.G. was a resentful man after he returned empty-handed from his truncated trip to China, where he had been, for all practical purposes, sent into exile by Çréla Prabhupäda—and deservedly so. Guru-kåpä prabhu (then Swämi), the G.B.C. for Hawaii at the time, had remarked upon seeing him in Honolulu that T.K.G. was “a broken man.” He was lamenting after having had his collection party taken away from him. Of course, that party had actuated a turn-and-burn campaign against the American temples, in effect, siphoning out their male collectors. It even took one temple completely over.

T.K.G. was down but not out, however. His resentment against Prabhupäda may have been conscious or subconscious, but that is of no concern to us. Judge by the results! Either way, his resentment played its way out. Despite being discredited in the short term, T.K.G. was hell-bent to become the leader of Prabhupäda’s movement, even if that meant doing whatever was needed (in his estimation) to be done, even if that meant converting Prabhupäda’s branch of Lord Caitanya’s movement into the fabricated, so-called “ISKCON” movement.

Through his cunning, his intimidation tactics, and his penchant for manipulation, that is exactly what T.K.G. accomplished. He became leader of his own “ISKCON” movement, but what exactly did it mean? What was this new creation?

The G.B.C. had, in 1976, voted for rotating personal secretaries to serve His Divine Grace, consisting of one of them engaging in individual shifts, usually for about a month. That did not fit into T.K.G.’s plan, however, because he foresaw Prabhupäda soon leaving the scene. Whoever was the personal secretary then would be in the catbird’s seat during that event, both immediately before but especially after. In point of fact, circumstantial evidence now strongly indicates that T.K.G. was making dark preparations for that event.

Somehow or other, through his menacing but effective skills, T.K.G. was able to change the aforementioned rotational program, and, in early 1977, he became the sole personal secretary. Quite a feat, especially since the evidence now indicates that he had hatched a diabolical plan connected to his first attaining that post. T.K.G. had previously been restored as the pro-forma leader of RDSKP, and Prabhupäda had also appointed him to run the opulent New York City temple. He wanted much more than those powers, however.

So, despite making one particularly ruthless decision there in N.Y.C. (which Prabhupäda overturned after being informed of it), T.K.G. was now well situated to daily exert his controlling tendencies in so many situations. He wanted to be the Number One: He wanted to be the Successor. In order to fulfill that desire, in order to be the leader of what was to become the future movement, he needed a better post as the final “caretaker”—and, by hook or by crook, he secured it.

After doing so, by 1978, T.K.G. would rip wide open the movement’s already cracked Pandora’s Box of politics, diplomacy, fraud, cheating. He would, for a short time after Prabhupäda’s premature departure, become the leader of a new movement, a movement consisting of new gurus (of very dubious and uncertain status) and a brand, new modality of so-called Kåñëa preaching. He would become the leader of eleven pretender mahäbhägavats, but what kind of leader was that and just what was he leading?

Whispers of Evil

“Now, after the death of Päëòu, there was conspiracy. Dhåtaräñöra wanted that, ‘Actually, this is my kingdom. Now, somehow or other, I could not get it. Now my brother is dead. So, if I do not inherit, why not my sons?’ This was the politics.”
Platform Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 1.1, 4-7-73

“Now, by the grace of Krishna, we have got sufficient properties all over the world, so there cannot be any diplomacy or conspiracy by any sane man. All these properties and opulences, whatever we have got, this will not go with me when I go away from this world. It will remain here. I am training some of my experienced disciples how to manage after my departure. So, if instead of taking the training, if in my lifetime, you people say ‘I am the Lord of all I survey,’ that is dangerous conspiracy.”
Letter to Karändhar, 10-8-74

He’s as sly as they come . . . he’s trying to trap us.”
T.K.G., whispering to one of his buddies in Prabhupäda’s quarters, 10-11-77

As it turned out, the whispers lit the fuse.

Timing is everything. There had been good times for T.K.G. There had been bad times for him. T.K.G. had many dashas (time intervals) that worked for him. During those, he saw things break his way, which he then parlayed adroitly in order to move up to higher and higher levels of the layer cake. However, with malefic Saturn in the ninth, the house of luck, he also had bad times. Arguably, aside from the night of his unexpected and violent death, the closing months of 1997 have to be ranked right at the top of his bad dashas.

Late in the Nineties, some of Prabhupäda’s initiated disciples (those not initiated by rittviks) began to listen to the tape of his final days with us. It was labeled T-46 and was a third-generation recording covering Nov. 9-14, 1977. It was appropriately nicknamed “The Last Tape.” Suddenly and unexpectedly, whispers were detected in the background on the dates of the tape covering Nov. 10 and Nov. 11th.

Poison had already entered the conversation one day previous to the start of T-46:

Personal Attendant: Çréla Prabhupäda?
Prabhupäda: Hmmm?
Personal Attendant: Çréla Prabhupäda?
Prabhupäda: Hmmm?
Personal Attendant: . . . mental distress?
Prabhupäda: Hmmm, hmmm.
Kaviräja: (Hindi)
Prabhupäda: (Hindi reply to the kaviraj, mentioning poison)
Kaviräja: (Hindi)
Devotee (1): (translating that Hindi) Someone gave him poison here.
Kaviräja: (further Hindi explanation)
T.K.G.: Prabhupäda was thinking that someone had poisoned him?
Leading Secretary: Yes.
T.K.G.: That was the mental distress.
Leading Secretary: Yes.
Kaviräja: (further Hindi explanation)
T.K.G.: What did Kaviräja just say?
Personal Attendant: He said that, when Çréla Prabhupäda was saying that, there must be some truth behind it.
T.K.G.: Çréla Prabhupäda, Sastriji says that there must be some truth to it if you say that. So, who is it that has poisoned?
Followed by THIRTEEN SECONDS of dead silence, with no reply.
Room Conversation in Prabhupäda’s quarters at Våndävan, 11-8-77

That set the stage for comprehending the meaning behind those background whispers. However, this conversation (above) was a fully audible exchange, although the Bengali and Hindi in it were less than helpful. Most of those who were curious about just what went down during the last days had heard, or heard of, or had read a transcript of this conversation before. It was a bit ominous, to be sure, but what it indicated was limited in scope and could rather easily be rationalized.

In November, 1997, all of that changed. Devotees began listening carefully to T-46 immediately subsequent to Nov. 8th, and whispers were detected, nefarious ones. Some of how these discoveries played out will be covered in Part Three. However, a prominent second echelon man in the movement has explained how he detected an evil whisper:

“I listened to Çréla Prabhupäda’s tape of November 10-11. My son, Mahäsiàha, had heard a whisper. We enhanced it and listened to it, and it really sounded strange. We thought we heard something like, ‘Let’s poison in the milk,’ and, the more we heard it—about one hundred times that night—the more it sounded that way.”
Mahäbuddhi däs Adhikäré, Founder of the Vedic College in Florida

Mahäbuddhi prabhu called up his friend, Nityänanda prabhu, and informed him of the discovery. Nityänanda fell to his knees in shock. Soon after, he verified it for himself, along with some other ominous whispers. Éça prabhu, who was a recording artist, had sophisticated electronic equipment at his beck and call. He enhanced and examined the tape recording for background whispers. His analysis verified that they were just as ominous as his friends in the movement said that they were.

Late in 1997, Balavanta prabhu, also friendly with all of these men, was deputed by the G.B.C., as a member of that body and an expert attorney, to look into the matter. His investigation ultimately did not bear anything very significant, but that is a long story (which will not be explicated here). Balavanta issued his only report late that year, and it included this:

. . . it contains a whisper which refers to poison.”

Now the ball was rolling. The detection of these whispers led to all kinds of poison discussions and further analysis. When all was said and done, there were more conspiratorial whispers uncovered, such as:

The poison’s going down. The poison’s going down.”
Let’s poison him and go.”
Poison éçvarya rasa. Take it easy. Get ready to go.”
The poison’s in you, Çréla Prabhupäda. He’s going under. He’s going under.”

An initial analysis of T-46 was bungled, but Nityänanda and Mahäbuddhi are not men easily disappointed when at first they don’t succeed. And determined they were, expenses be damned, to uncover the truth about those whispers. Nityänanda knew T.K.G.’s voice quite well, as he had extensive dealings with him back in the day, especially while president of the New Orleans yatra. At least two of those whispers he knew to be the voice of T.K.G., while one of the others he identified as T.K.G.’s closest buddy and confidante.

Mahäbuddhi submitted T-46 to a representative of the American College of Forensic Examiners, to Jack Mitchell, whose company in New Mexico was called Computer Audio Engineering. Mitchell had thirty years experience in the field of translating and de-coding background evidence and audio, mostly for law enforcement and for attorneys. After a week of analysis, Mitchell got back to Mahäbuddhi with the following advice:

You should be arranging for legal counsel.”

Using post-modern Signalyze and Soundscape software, the best in the business for ferreting out background sounds, Mitchell verified the worst. None dare call it a conspiracy, but Mitchell said that, what he detected, indicated a conspiracy to poison His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedänta Swämi Prabhupäda, i.e., Mitchell verified the whispers. For the purpose of back-up, Nityänanda prabhu submitted T-46 to Dr. Helen McCaffrey, director of the Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Texas Christian University. She confirmed Mitchell’s previous findings.

Concerning the whispers, you are free to sit on the fence as you like. You are free to voice your own opinions about the issue, as the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution grants you that right. You are not, however, entitled to your own set of FACTS. Those facts definitively and conclusively indicate that a coterie of Prabhupäda’s leading secretaries and “caretakers” knew that poison was put into his food and drink during his last days with us.

We Could Have Done That”

George Harrison: So, then there’s all a hundred translations.
John Lennon: And interpretations.
Yoko Ono: Now, what is the authority, and who has the authority?
Prabhupäda: Authority is the original text.
Yoko Ono: Yes, but everybody’s translating from the original text, I’m sure you know.
Prabhupäda: Yes.
Yoko Ono: So, what’s the difference between one and the other?
Room Conversation at Tittenhurst Mansion, England, 9-11-69

Hindu Guest: Vivekänanda also stated, “Awake. Arise. Stop not until the goal is reached.” What goal did he preach?
Prabhupäda: Ask him, I do not know. Call Vivekänanda and ask him. You are devotee of Vivekänanda. You do not know what did he mean?

Always have a Plan-B.”
Charles Barkley

Just days after Çréla Prabhupäda departed, under what could only be considered rather odd circumstances, T.K.G. granted an interview to the editor of Back to Godhead magazine, Satsvarüpa däs Gosvämé. The topic mostly concerned factors during 1977, that last year, related to Prabhupäda’s descent into infirmity, which culminated in him leaving the scene. The interview was supposed to elicit explanations from T.K.G. about factors connected to that, but only answers that could be reproduced in the magazine.

Six months earlier, these two sannyäsés teamed up to ask Prabhupäda questions, in his Våndävan quarters on May 28th, about what to do concerning initiations at that time and later, when he was no longer with us. We have previously interpreted the essential section from that all-important room conversation. We have there noted that these two men, rather than making things more clear by their questions, reactions, conjectures, interjections, and follow-up questions (to Prabhupäda’s answers), actually made things worse, i.e., they muddied the waters terribly. We are not going to reproduce any of that here, however.

The point is that they confided with one another at that time and now together delved into another raw nerve topic, viz., Prabhupäda’s death. In other words, they were prone to together discuss and confront tough issues. To broach a touchy topic with Prabhupäda personally, such as the topic of how to conduct initiations after he had left the scene was both delicate and difficult, but together they did just that back in the spring. They botched the interview, but at least they confronted difficult issues. Now, they discussed another raw nerve topic, except this one was much more centered upon T.K.G.’s interpretations of it.

And we must also interpret him, because interpretation cannot be avoided here. The conclusion as to what T.K.G.’s answers to S.D.G. actually mean and indicate in this interview—one of T.K.G.’s statements, in particular—must be subject to interpretation. Interpret it we must. You do not require exalted or rare insight in order to conclude that his answers to S.D.G.’s questions are potentially damning.

First, S.D.G. asks T.K.G. a general question about his last days with Prabhupäda, and T.K.G., as could only be expected, makes it clear, in a general way (with some details) how important he was in those last days as Prabhupäda’s gatekeeper, personal servant, and physical attendant. Then, after hesitating, he decides to go in another direction:

T.K.G.: I was going to wait for the proper time to say this, but, to me, the incidents that most stick in my mind are how, in the last few months, Çréla Prabhupäda would constantly ask to be allowed to die peacefully. . . Çréla Prabhupäda seemed to be demanding from us a different type of attitude and emotion, at least, especially from his most personal servants. . . he said “I want most now to disappear. I want to die peacefully. Let me die peacefully.” Now, on one hand, we could take it and give him that medicine or let him stop eating and fast to death. We could have done that.”

Aside from that ominous last sentence, there is a glaring inconsistency here. Medicine is given in order to help someone not to die. It is not given in order to assist in some kind of suicide. And T.K.G. says that he could have given him “that medicine.” The context was some kind of so-called medicine to assist in euthanasia. So what was that? Was it cadmium? Such a heavy metal is meant for poisoning when swallowed. It is never a “medicine.”

S.D.G.: Now a different kind of question: Right in the beginning, without too much explanation, you were talking about Prabhupäda asking for something to let him disappear, that he wanted to die.
T.K.G.: . . . We can understand that it wasn’t simply the material pain that was becoming unbearable, but that Prabhupäda wanted to be with Kåñëa and not be burdened with this physically incapacitated body. . . with this physically, you know, form.
S.D.G.: Do you think he left untimely, too soon?
T.K.G.: We should not think that he left untimely. He left when Kåñëa, and he, himself, wanted to leave.

Maybe. Maybe not. He might have left as a result of a so-called mercy killing, and, if so, T.K.G. is the prime suspect. No sane person could possibly deny that. T.K.G. was consumed with personal ambition. He wanted to be the Successor Äcärya. For him to rationalize that Prabhupäda wanted to depart would fit right into his desire to be the next controller of the Hare Kåñëa movement. He was a master at such calculations, as well as the rationalizations which facilitated them. His intentions are easy to spot in analyzing his sidereal chart, and just such a concise analysis will be undertaken at the end of Part Three.

Allowing Prabhupäda to die peacefully is not the same as force-feeding him the heavy metal poison of cadmium, which does not at all facilitate a peaceful death, but a painful one. Over and above that, it drags the dying process out. And, as has already been explained, it can never be categorized as medicine. Allowing Prabhupäda to die is not the same thing as, in effect, gradually and painfully forcing him to do so.

That S.D.G. may be an accessory after the fact would only be applicable if he actually knew that Prabhupäda was poisoned. Subconsciously, he might have known, but humans “know” many things in that way. Such subconscious awareness is not legally culpable in a court of law nor in the court of public opinion. Indeed, there was some indication that Hansadutta may have been subconsciously aware of the poisoning (and did not approve of it). When one of his recorded statements (in those last days in Prabhupäda’s room) was reverse engineered and played backwards (this is known as backwards masking in rock music, especially when done intentionally), he is heard to have said, “Why muck Pa?”

For those of you who consider this to be absurd, little can be done to bring you out of such shallow, linear thinking. That the actual and underlying intention of a conscious statement can be understood by playing it backwards was discovered in the Sixties. It is a well-know fact. The subtlety of it—and the difficulty of making use of it—renders it in the category of the occult–at least, to some extent. As another example, when John Lennon heard the ending lyric of one of his songs (after it was played backwards to him) state, in the gross and vulgar language of the subconscious, “Fuck the fucking superman,” he was ecstatic. That was always were he was coming from in his lyrics.

Returning to the 1977 tape of the interview, it was supposed to have been destroyed in a fire which had burnt down Satsvarüpa’s cabin. However, it was accidentally discovered in 1999. It was too important for the Paramätmä to allow it to merge into oblivion. It was found in the archives of a former personal assistant to S.D.G.. The interview was never published, even in truncated form, in Back to Godhead, and the reason why it was not is easy to ascertain. The tape hit the INTERNET in late March of 1999, and it can be summarized as follows:

1) Prabhupäda, according to T.K.G., allegedly asks for “medicine” to die;
2) He allegedly says that he wants to disappear as soon as possible (“now”);
3) Allegedly, he could no longer live without Kåñëa, although, as a fully established God-realized Äcärya of the highest order, he was always directly in contact with Kåñëa;
4) Some kind of assisted suicide or mercy killing was (supposedly) indirectly requested;
5) T.K.G. admits, “We could have done that.”

You be the judge. The tape was preserved (only temporarily misplaced) in order for it to re-surface at the right time. As far as this author is concerned, T.K.G. was, just days after Prabhupäda departed, making sure that he had a Plan-B. Via that interview, he was paving the way for a mercy killing defense in a court of law if the word got out that Prabhupäda was poisoned and the law stepped in. The ominous background whispers indicated that there were others either involved, or, at bare minimum, aware of the poisoning. If that was the case, at any time, one of those others could start talking and spill the beans, perhaps even engaging in a plea bargain in order to beat the rap.

T.K.G. was planting the initial seed for a way to escape potential prison time by laying out a rationalization (excuse) that he was instructed to poison his spiritual master, i.e., he was simply following orders. He did not come right out and say that, of course, but he hinted about it in the interview with S.D.G. And let us also not forget that it was T.K.G. who was most adamant that Prabhupäda not be allowed to be taken out on parikramä, but that, instead, for his well-being, he had to remain in his room . . .
. . . assisted there, at all times, by his primary “caretaker.”

Proceed to Part Two


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