27 Years of Deception:
Case Study of the Guru Hoax Founder

Summer 2004

In this article we trace the sad history of Satsvarupa, once a leading disciple of Srila Prabhupada who performed great service, but who later became the founder of the great Guru hoaxes parts 1 and 2 (as described in BTP 1) Recently he was forced to publicly admit to an illicit affair with a married woman, yet, as we shall see, is so deluded he still feels fit to act as a Guru.
This article proves what a disaster ISKCON's unauthorised Guru system is, both for the disciples who waste their entire lives worshipping a mundane person (rather than the bona fide representative of Krishna Srila Prabhupada), and for the bogus Gurus themselves, who invariably end up at the fag end of their days exposed as lying charlatans.

Architect Of Great Guru Hoax Part 1

Straight after Srila Prabhupada's physical departure Satsvarupa, who was one of the eleven devotees selected to act only as ritviks (officiating priests initiating on Srila Prabhupada's behalf), declared that he had actually been appointed as a fully fledged initiating Guru to whom all worship and wealth must be directed.
Satsvarupa and the other ritviks thus all became 'zonal acharyas', carving up the world between them. He publicly announced this hoax in his capacity as editor in chief of ISKCON's worldwide magazine, Back to Godhead:

"Srila Prabhupada selected eleven senior disciples to act as initiating Gurus who could accept disciples after his disappearance. In this way he insured the continuation of the parampara."
(Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, Back to Godhead, 'Notes from the Editor', #1301/02 1978)

The result of this initial deception was unmitigated catastrophe, candidly summarized by one of the second wave of unauthorised Guru successors, HH Jayadvaita Swami:

"FACT: ISKCON Gurus have usurped and misused money, and diverted other ISKCON resources for their own personal prestige and sense gratification. ISKCON Gurus have had illicit sexual intercourse with both women and men, and possibly children as well"
(Where the Ritvik People Are Right, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996)

Deteriorating Health

Practically from the moment he founded the Guru hoax, Satsvarupa began to develop all types of strange illnesses including migraine, anxiety attacks and physical exhaustion. Some have suggested his continually declining health is a direct reaction for his offences to Srila Prabhupada.
Whatever the case, he is surely the only member of our disciplic succession who has required professional psychiatric help.


Architect Of Great Guru Hoax Part 2

Satsvarupa is very proud of the role he played in assisting with the second phase of the great Guru hoax, where the initial eleven hoaxers made way for dozens more, as he reveals in the following letter:

"I was one of the pioneer revolutionaries in giving up the wrong "zonal Guru" system, allowing devotees to choose bona fide ISKCON Gurus as they wished, recognizing that others could become Guru and removing the heavy control of the "zonal Guru" even over his Godbrothers."
(Satsvarupa dasa, June 2, 2004)

In reality Satsvarupa only became a 'revolutionary' once he saw that he could no longer hold back his many ambitious Godbrothers from forcing their way into the elite Guru club. Otherwise he had been very happy to be one of the only eleven 'Gurus' for almost an entire decade.

Guru Needs Therapy

In one letter to his followers, Satsvarupa admits he is so mentally debilitated that he is "under the care of an expert psychiatrist MD and an authorised counsellor who is helping me with my anxiety issues." Which makes one wonder how such a person could be spiritually qualified to lead anyone. After all, Srila Prabhupada tells us that:

"If you chant Hare Krsna mantra without any offense, then immediately the stage will be that you are freed from all material anxieties. That is the test. How I am advancing in chanting will be tested how far you are free from material anxieties. That's all. Ceto darpana marjanam bhava maha davagni nirvapanam ."
[Cc. Antya 20.12].

The initiating (diksa) Guru is meant to be completely liberated from all material anxiety, fully self realized, and experiencing the transcendental, blissful association of the Supreme Lord at every moment. Why would such a person require professional counselling and psychiatric treatment? Later we learn that some of the treatment he received from his female therapist was somewhat less than professional.

Nightmare Visions

Satsvarupa then started to display to the world some of his art work on an ISKCON related web site. These ghastly, nightmarish visions revealed a mind wracked with fear, doubt and anxiety:  Below is Srila Prabhupada's opinion on this type of art:

"This is not a good style of painting. It is an artistic style for sense gratification only. I cannot encourage this style it should be stopped immediately. Paintings should be like the Deities, formal and worshipful. This type of painting is sentimental and not authorised.
Paintings should be as our artists in New York are doing. Do not introduce any new styles."

(Srila Prabhupada letter to Madhudvisa, 8 December 1973)

Valentine Hodge Podge

More alarm bells sounded when Satsvarupa sent the following letter to his disciples regarding a bizarre lecture he had delivered three days before:

"I think my main point and theme was empathy. I want you to love me despite my faults, as detailed a disciple should do in the Nectar of Devotion verse I read. By playing this song "My Funny Valentine", I pledged that I want to see you with a loving heart despite your faults just as we know Gaura Nitai loves us despite our faults… I spoke of changes in myself and in ISKCON, in a positive way, my use of creative innovation and that I am doing that in the way I write and paint… to demonstrate this kind of innovation I played a Coltrane composition intending you to see it as bhajana as pure and even superior to most bhajana music…"
(Letter to Disciples, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, 20/8/2003)

Above we see Satsvarupa admits to:

1) Playing a mundane pop song to his hapless disciples: 'My Funny Valentine';

2) Comparing the mundane love song to injunctions in the Nectar of Devotion and the divine love of Krishna's incarnations, Gaura Nitai;

3) Playing mundane jazz music; again to his 'initiated' disciples;

4) Claiming this completely mundane, sense gratificatory music was 'superior to most bhajan music'. It should not really be necessary to point out how incompatible the above behaviour is with that of bona fide Vaishnava Gurus in our line. But inspite of all this he carried on accepting good as God worship.

IRM Issues Warning

In light of Satsvarupa Maharaja's obvious mental and spiritual breakdown, we issued the following warning in a previous article (over and above the usual warning that none of the current 80 ISKCON Gurus are authorised to initiate):

"Obviously he (Satsvarupa) needs help, and fast. Our prescription is that he publicly admits he was never authorised to do what he is doing, that he renounce his disciples and give them back to the person on whose behalf he was meant to be initiating all along Srila Prabhupada. At least his disciples can never say we did not warn them."

Needless to say the warning was not heeded.

Satsvarupa's Affair is Exposed

Predictably, just as the Riviera Guru Harikesha (highlighted in BTP 2) became attached to his female therapist, the same thing happened to Satsvarupa. Just as with Harikesha, the truth was hidden for as long as possible.
In a letter to his hapless followers (sent on May 10, 2004) Satsvarupa admits that he has been 'physically initmate' with his married female therapist and also explains what finally prompted him to publicly admit to an affair that had taken place a full year and a half previously:

"An anonymous letter was sent to the Sannyasa Minister, who began an investigation. Dissatisfied with the pace of the inquiry, the anonymous author posted his story on the Internet."

So Satsvarupa's public admittance was entirely due to his being exposed by an 'anonymous' writer, not because Satsvarpua thought he should come clean. He rationalizes his cover up in the following way:

"We did not see the need for it (revealing the affair publicly) since the relationship had been completely closed. My disciples and many others could suffer because of just one incident. To broadcast it all over would simply cause more harm than good. Those who theorize about the truth and say that anything other than broadcasting is a "cover up" have a technical and theoretical definition of truth, which is not necessarily absolute."

In other words, had he told his disciple's that he had been physically involved with a married woman they might have lost faith in him, so better to cover it up. Obviously it did not occur to Satsvarupa (or his GBC cohorts who aided and abetted the cover up) that once the story got out the whole thing would look even worse, since then his disciples would realize that not only did he have the illicit affair, but that he had boldly continued posturing as a bona fide Guru and sannyasi whilst keeping them totally in the dark.
According to Satsvarupa we are meant to see this as being more absolutely truthful than simply telling the truth. No wonder he needs counselling. One would have thought that at the very least Satsvarupa would have stopped 'initiating' new disciples once he had had the illicit affair with a married woman, but apparently not:

"I actually declared an event that would be the very last initiation. Since then because I am soft hearted, a few people have "snuck in." These devotees were highly recommended and in some cases had been waiting for years."

Perhaps now that the cat was wholly out of the bag, Satsvarupa would not carry on the charade any longer. In answer to the following question from his followers: 'Are you still our Guru?' Satsvarupa's answer is quite unequivocal:

"Yes. I am happy to be Guru of the family I have."

Forced Climb Down

After the IRM exposed the whole story in a previous article, the GBC tried to pressurize Satsvarupa into allowing his 'disciples' to seek shelter elsewhere. Satsvarupa was initially not too happy about his diminished status: "When I first read this order, I felt a bit angry." But then, no doubt realizing he had absolutely no choice, he firstly points out that Srila Prabhupada is everyone's siksa (instructing) Guru and then generously concedes the following:

"So if some of you who I have initiated have lost faith in me because of my fall… I hereby bless you to choose another ISKCON Guru and approach him and ask him to become your siksa Guru."

So his poor, bewildered followers are apparently still his initiated (diksa) disciples, despite all his nonsense, but they are now 'allowed' to get siksa (instruction) from Srila Prabhupada or the other bogus ISKCON Gurus if they really want to. In other words essentially nothing has changed since this was always the case. In this way the Guru hoax nightmare continues year after year, and Satsvarupa clings to his false status for as long as he can.