Taking the Guru Hoax to Television


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 78, 2023

ecently, a TV programme titled "Krishnas: Gurus. Karma. Murder" was broadcast internationally by Peacock, which is a major streaming service with 30 million paid subscribers. The programme is advertised as being about "Krishna devotees who discover their movement has been corrupted by greed, lust for power, and vengeance." The quotes in the shaded boxes are taken from this programme.

Lying about the Guru Hoax

"Everyone was always wondering what happens after Prabhupada passes away. [...] On his deathbed, he said, "I will name some of you to be gurus.""
(Episode 1, Bhagavan Dasa)

The above statement is made by Bhagavan Dasa ("BD"), one of the original 11 "rtviks" who then became a "zonal acarya" guru and usurped Srila Prabhupada's position as ISKCON's diksa guru after Srila Prabhupada's physical departure. And this statement is an outright lie. Srila Prabhupada never stated on his "deathbed", or anywhere else, that "I will name some of you to be gurus". Nor did he in fact ever name any gurus. He did name devotees on July 9th, 1977, to specifically be his representatives (rtviks) who would accept all future persons who join ISKCON to be his initiated disciples. Thus, by this act, Srila Prabhupada actually continued to name only himself to be the guru for ISKCON.

Guru Hoax self-contradiction

HH Hridayananda Dasa Goswami ("HD") is another one of the original 11 rtviks cum "zonal acarya" gurus who usurped Srila Prabhupada's position as ISKCON's diksa guru. HD claims:

"I literally got a letter in the mail, and suddenly I was a guru."
(Episode 1, HD)

Thus, HD claims that he became a guru "suddenly", and this was due to getting a letter in the mail. But HD's own statements would contradict this. For HD has already claimed that he became a guru via having been voted to become one by the GBC at the 1978 Mayapur meetings:

"In the 1978 Mayapur GBC meeting [...] the GBC voted that I should serve Prabhupada as a bona fide guru"
(HD's personal website, 18/4/14)

However, the facts about this event are that:

1) HD himself attended this meeting as a member of that very same GBC.

2) Thus, according to HD's account, HD, as part of the GBC, voted that he should become a guru.

Thus, his guruship came about due to a vote and not a letter.

Being on Prabhupada's level

"I never thought I was on the same level as Prabhupada. I never thought that for a second.
I was constantly teaching the opposite."
(Episode 3, HD)

After HD became a guru:

a) He adopted the honorific title "His Divine Grace". The GBC accepted that this title implied a status on the level of Srila Prabhupada because they passed a resolution that this honorific should no longer be used by any ISKCON gurus (GBC Resolution 406, 1999), whereas it is the title that had always been used to address Srila Prabhupada.

b) He adopted the honorific title "Acaryadeva", which Srila Prabhupada explains can only be used by one who:

"always engages in unalloyed devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By this test he is known to be a direct manifestation of the Lord"
(Cc., Adi-lila, 1.46, purport)

This qualification is so exalted that it is not enough that one engages in "unalloyed" devotion, but one must also do this "always", and thus one is a "direct" manifestation of the Lord. Srila Prabhupada is clearly such an exalted personality.

Thus, through the adoption of such honorific titles, HD was communicating to his disciples and the world at large that his "divine" position as a "direct" manifestation of the Lord was on a similar level to Srila Prabhupada.

"Ex-Nazi" gurus

"I became a villain because I'd been one of the original gurus. It got to the point of being a guru was almost like being an ex-Nazi or something. Like, where were you, you know, when Hitler was in power? [...] I just thought...I'm out of here."
(Episode 3, HD)

Kirtanananda ("KID") was one of HD's original 11 rtvik cum "zonal acarya" colleagues, who, like HD, also usurped Srila Prabhupada's position as ISKCON's diksa guru. By the end of the programme, KID's crimes and conviction for them – including conspiracy to murder and sentencing to 30 years in prison – had been documented. The above statement was HD's final statement in the programme and he complains bitterly about the "guilt by association" with KID's crimes. That just as people challenge those who were Nazis regarding what they were doing and how implicated they were when Hitler was in power; then as a fellow "zonal acarya" guru colleague of KID, HD is also similarly challenged. Well, we know exactly what HD was doing whilst KID was in power and doing all his criminal nonsense. HD was actually glorifying KID in the most sacred place possible – HD's version of the holy scripture, Srimad-Bhagavatam:

"we are happily resting in the New Vrindaban community, founded by His Divine Grace Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada"
(HD, Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.7.6, purport, 1st printing, 1982)

Kirtanananda Swami iskcon

The GBC resolution 406, 1999 mentioned in the last section also banned all honorific titles ending in "pada". Thus, they accepted that such honorific titles implied a status on the level of Srila Prabhupada, since this honorific is how Srila Prabhupada had always been addressed. Therefore, by honouring KID with not one but two titles, "His Divine Grace" and "Bhaktipada", which were acknowledged as being applicable in ISKCON to Srila Prabhupada, HD broadcast to the world that KID was supposedly a most exalted devotee on the level of Srila Prabhupada.


To know the truth, one cannot rely on ISKCON's leaders. ISKCON members, like those who watch this programme, will continue to be duped in regard to the details of the guru hoax. Whereas those who read BTP will live in the truth as the IRM continues to remain vigilant to stop people being misled.

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