Friday, May 04, 2012

Is Kripalu the incarnation of the Sahajiya bogey man?

Jagadguru Kripaluji dressed as Radha.

Not so long ago I published an interview on Vrindavan Today with Karen Jonson that was timed to coincide with the opening of the Prema Mandir in Vrindavan. Karen has been outspoken and eloquent and her book, Sex, Lies and Two Indian Gurus, promises to be another important addition to the growing literature on the psychology or psychopathology of gurus who engage in abusive activities.

It should be noted that the article was by far the most read ever on VT, accumulating several thousand hits. As always, sex and -- better yet -- sex scandals are the subject that attracts the most attention of the public.

The article was followed by the expected outcries from disbelieving disciples of Kripalu, who find it impossible to imagine that one with the personal charisma and ability to create a monument like the Prema Mandir could be anything other than his publicity machine states. Long experience with the phenomenon of sex abuse makes us quite familiar with such reactions. There are two short articles on this blog that were written in the wake of "sleazy sadhu" incidents (here and here) as well as another discussing the work of Henri Jolicoeur (Hanuman Das).

There are a good number of gurus who have engaged in sexual liaisons of one kind or another with their disciples and the list seems to grow longer day by day. Searches on the internet reveal that there is a growing body of popular as well as academic work related to cults and cult leaders. In one of the excerpts Karen has published on line from her book, she writes about the psychopathic personality, and indeed one sometimes wonders whether all such mass movements are not led by people with a tendency or susceptibility to psychopathic delusions of grandeur, extreme self-centredness and ambition, a utilitarian approach to other human beings, a complete lack of ability to truly empathize, and a devastating ability to act and dissimulate their true nature. And they don't have to be engaged in sexual abuse for this to be so.

Bob Altemeyer's The Authoritarians is the result of fairly recent research, but the subject has been of great interest ever since the Nazi phenomenon in Germany, which led to Eric Hoffer's influential post-WWII work, The True Believer. These books, available on the internet, should be required reading for anyone involved in religious or political action. They describe the gullible person who easily accepts and unquestioningly follows authority. Altemeyer's contribution is to show how those with a "social domination orientation (SDO)" exists in a symbiotic relation with such "authoritarians" to create destructive and regressive social dynamics.

Altemeyer's primary interest is the political arena, especially that of right-wing conservatism in the United States, but his findings are easily applicable to religion as well. Indeed, the American right wing social dominators have their packs of authoritarian followers culled from the fundamentalist Christian churches. But the phenomenon is certainly wider and can manifest in other circumstances, especially religious cults. All of which seems to fit the model of "a society of the cheaters and the cheated" (andhair yathāndhā upanīyamānāḥ) as neatly expressed by Srila Prabhupada.

Prema-dāna

I do not wish to rehash all the material related to Kripalu here. Karen has done a good job of that. What I would like to do, however, is relate this phenomenon to the fundamental meaning and evolution of the Radha Krishna theme as an evolving archetype of romantic love or divine love. It is my feeling that Kripalu so neatly fits a particular model of the "Sahajiya" as critiqued by orthodox Vaishnavas in general and Srila Prabhupada in particular, that it is necessary to inquire into the phenomenon of sexual abuse in and ask whether it is a necessary consequence of Sahajiya sādhanā as I believe it is meant to be understood and practised, or whether it is inherently inimical to the very principle of prema, which is the stated goal of that practice.

Kripalu exploited his female disciples by using the euphemism prema-dāna, "the gift of love," to describe his various kinds of sexual activity. Touching a devotee is mentioned in numerous places in the Bhāgavata and elsewhere as a powerful devotional act, and certainly to be touched by one imbued with the spiritual power of divine love should be considered a blessing. But as even the Devil can quote scripture to further his own ends, so do unscrupulous persons in the guise of spiritual guides misuse even the most perfect teachings.

Kripalu is now 90, but still uses the pretext of caraṇa-sevā to solicit genital massaging. Other reported activities he engages in include touching and digital penetration, etc. Many of the accounts indicate that such activities took place in almost anonymous silence, in the dark. When younger, though, he would engage in complete genital intercourse with disciples with apparently superhuman stamina, which some attributed to various herbs and treatments, and later to Viagra.

An account from 1991, when he was accused of rape in the Nagpur court, an investigative article in Hindi appeared that contained the following passage:
Kripalu learned tantric knowledge, gave eloquent speeches, got a reputation for miracle working. made a following. But apparently his usage of his position to elicit sexual services started very early. He announced himself to be the descension of Bhagwan Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. "I am every man’s father and every woman’s husband," he said. "Whatever I order, you have to accept. Otherwise it will be meaningless."

While giving this lecture he saw a beautiful girl in lecture hall. He told his servant to take that girl to his bedroom. When she was in his room, Kripalu closed the door. He ordered the girl to take off all her clothes. She got scared and asked why. Kripalu said, "I am giving you prema-dāna. All your disease, misery and pain will be gone." She said, "No, I will not do that."

Kripalu said, "If you don’t do it, something bad will happen to you. Think about it. Whatever I’m ordering, you do it." Then she got scared and took off all of her clothes. He raped her. This was in 1970. In this way, Kripalu gave prema-dāna to many young girls. (Rangeen Mizaz Sadhu an article from Sept. 1991. Dead link)
Kripalu created a team of enablers. In another account, one former disciple tells how she was solicited by one of Kripalu's senior women disciples:
A Didiji whom I was very close to came to me with a "divine proposal." To meet Kripalu in absolute privacy, and if he were to touch me, take my clothes off or even kiss me, I was to let him do so. At that moment, I was completely shocked but managed to hold myself together, concealing my reaction and simply asked her, “Didiji, wouldn’t that be wrong?” To which she replied, “Of course not, what is wrong about that?! He is Lord Krishna himself! You better think about it quickly as Maharajji is here only for a few more days.” (Testimonial by Maya Kapoor)
Of course, it is almost impossible to get an accurate picture of everything that went on since there are no public accounts or testimonials of women who are willing to state the positive or beneficial aspects of intercourse with Kripaluji and defend his actions on that basis. No doubt those Didijis who became enablers for the guru could cast some light on the prema-dāna, but they seem to have decided to either dissimulate or remain silent. Nevertheless, in private it would appear that plenty of women were complicit and even welcomed the chance to be touched sexually by this "saint or avatar." One American woman said, “The only excuse I have is that I honestly believed he was a God-realized saint and in my mind at the time I convinced myself to feel lucky that I was able to be that close to him.” (The above citations were all linked from Karen Jonson’s Facebook page, but these have since gone down)

Though it appears that there is a great belief in the potency of the sacred touch, the first impression is that it would be much vitiated in the circumstances described by the various informants. Groping in the dark? Doesn't sound much like prema. Were there any value to the act, it does not seem to have been accompanied by any specific teaching in either precept or example, no attempt to show married couples how to have satisfying, sacralized sexual lives through which their own loving relationships and spirituality could be enhanced. Indeed, the impression is of acts that are emotionally impersonal and sexually mechanical. No wonder so many of the "blessed" women felt distrust and betrayal.

More importantly, if this is what Kripalu and his followers believe is the most intimate gift of divine love, then why are they not open about it? Most of the disciples are completely in the dark and scream with indignation when they hear the victims make their accusations. I know people who were longtime disciples who had great faith in Kripalu until they came to learn of these abuses or were directly affected by them, completely surprised and devastated at discovering something of which they had had no previous inkling.

Somewhat facetiously, I wrote to Karen's FB page imagining how Kripalu should really advertise himself as "a sacred sexual stud with magical erotic powers, capable of performing eighteen different Kāmasūtra postures in one marathon session!"
It is said that Kripalu charges 500$ for an 2-minute darshan, so why not charge 1000$ for a sacred grope and 2000$ or more for a sacred penetration. And even more if he should impregnate you! Why not have all the women disciples pay astronomical sums to give birth to Kripalu Junior I, II, III, IV... ? Now that would be prema-dāna! If you are going to be brazen, why not go all the way? God-men gigolos for the good of humanity! After all, if Lady Gaga can charge two million$ and Kim Kardassian 125,000$ just to show up at your party, it seems like it would be an incredible bargain to have sex with God Himself and have his baby for a mere five or ten thousand.
What unfortunately seems to be lacking is any self-aware commentary by Indian women on this phenomenon. But most of all I would also like to hear from Kripalu's enablers who justify this behavior is alright when the repercussions are so damaging to disciples' faith and consequently destructive to the society itself.

Nothing new here

Though it is my assumption that sexual abuse is as old as humanity, it is certainly something that Vaishnavas were particularly known for. I have heard of Brahmins so convinced of their own sanctity that they could visit prostitutes and believe that the woman is spiritually benefited. The Vaishnava gurus of the Vallabha sect made their disciples' brides "prasadi" by deflowering them, leading to the notorious "Maharaj Libel Trials" in Bombay in 1862, exactly 150 years ago, and creating scandal across India.
The defendant was one Karsandas Mulji, who edited a newspaper in which he wrote a number of articles, exposing the abuses that, according to him, prevailed in the Vallabhacharya sect. It seems that something akin to what was known in Roman Law as Jus Primae Noctes, was claimed by or accorded to the religious heads of the sect; and their blind votaries, in their ignorance and credulity, sacrificed young women at the altar of a foul superstition. The articles created a great stir in the community, and threw the parasites of their temples, and the worshipers of the "holy" religious head, into consternation and fury. The hold of spiritual superstitions was so strong upon ignorant people in those days, that it demanded great courage and determination to expose and denounce practices which, if essentially lewd and repulsive, were sacrosanct in the eyes of the ignorant and orthodox classes. Bombay Libel Case of 1862, or see here.
And of course, Bhaktivinoda Thakur had his episode with Bishikishan on the opposite coast of the Indian subcontinent only a short ten years afterwards. As Srila Prabhupada put it with justifiable contempt:
And there are many rascals. He says that "I am Krishna's incarnation, and rāsa-līlā." This rascaldom is going on, rāsa-līlā. And people are so foolish that they send their wife and daughter for performing rāsa-līlā.
And many more such statements can be found in the literature of the Gaudiya Math.

Akinchan Krishna Das in his Bibartta-bilāsa, a Sahajiya classic from the 18th century, glorifies his guru towards the end of his book, in the course of which he relates the following anecdote:

eka dina prema dilā eka prakṛtire |
rūpera lābaṇya tāra bāḍaẏe śarīre ||
hāsi pāẏa kānde mukhe balaẏe kiśorī |
asthira ha̮ila sthira ha̮ite nā pāri ||
tāɱra goṣṭhī kahe eṭā pāgala ha̮ila |
bātika baliẏā bahu cikitsā karila ||
tāra pare tāra prema kāḍiẏā la̮ila |
pūrbba prāẏa yathā rūpa śarīra ha̮ila ||
nijaguṇa sabākāra biśbāsa lāgiẏā |
eteka kahilā nija śarīra dekhāiẏā ||

One day [my guru] gave prema to a girl, which made her physical beauty increase. She was simultaneously laughing, crying and talking, completely uncontrolled. She could not calm herself. Her family said she had gone crazy and took her to a doctor to cure her of a wind disorder. The cure also took away the prema and thereafter her body appeared as it had before. In order to make everyone believe in her virtue, she also said only this much, showing her body. (Chapter 4)
Although the passage is admittedly a little obscure, it is not hard to read between the lines. Putting the most negative slant on it, which unfortunately seems the most likely, the much older guru was given a young girl – of what age we can only estimate, in her early teens or even younger – to engage in his sexual sādhanā. She was in a state of shock afterward, which the guru and his partisans called prema. The family did not fall for it completely and had her treated. When she calmed down and the prema subsided, she went back to her previous physical and mental state.

The last line is somewhat difficult, what did she have to make people believe? What was she showing her body for? And what does that mean? We can only speculate, but it could perhaps mean that her virtue was intact. At any rate, it looks to me like a case of abuse that was legitimized by Akinchan Krishna Das and, very strangely in my view, given as evidence of his guru’s greatness!

At any rate, what is the value of a prema-dāna that can be so easily lost, simply by the administration of some Ayurvedic medicines? It seems that if one is giving "love" that the receiver should have some knowledge and recognition that love was indeed received. And if they cannot, then what is the meaning of prema-dāna?

The Victorian British and the Christian missionaries were appropriately horrified by these and this resulted in a reactionary movement in Hinduism, which made attempts to root out such behavior. Much of modern Hinduism has been affected by this reaction, and part of that is the current imbalance toward a sannyasi leadership of the Indian religious world, which I feel only leads to more hypocrisy.

Whether it is prema-dāna or something else, the use of God as a tool to manipulate children, the weak or the innocent, is a time-honored ploy of the psychopath, no matter what the tradition. So one witness in the trial of a priest accused of child abuse recently reported that he was told "God loves me, this is what God wants, and it was time for me to become a man." And a former Dallas Gurukula student gave an account of his sufferings which included being told that Krishna hated him and being beaten with a "Nrisingha ring." Such examples could no doubt be multiplied thousand-fold. The young, the gullible, the weak are preyed upon in the name of God.

Justifications

In most cases where accusations of abuse arise, the same sad pattern arises: there is either denial of the wrongdoing and demonization of the accusers and blaming the victim (e.g. "She is only seeking to enrich herself by blackmail."). For those who have been trained to accept the divinity of the guru, it is exceedingly difficult to disbelieve him.

Even when the guru's defenders admit the wrongdoing, they attempt to minimize it by highlighting the good he has done, either by building schools and hospitals or by giving spiritual guidance that has benefited the disciples. They legitimize or rationalize his actions in other ways, characterizing him as beyond worldly morality and acting for some greater good that no one with mundane eyes is capable of perceiving, "humbling their stubborn egos to help them reach enlightenment faster."

For instance, Kate Tonnesson, one of the accusers in the trial of Prakashananda Saraswati, said that she was told "an act could not be sexual if there were no sexual thoughts in the mind of the person committing the act," and that Kripalu was on this level.

Muktananda's followers found ways to rationalize his bizarre abusive behavior by saying he wasn't really penetrating his victims, or he wasn't ejaculating - an important distinction to some, since retaining the semen is supposed to be a way of conserving the kundalini energy. In Swami Rama's case, one person made light of his guru's abusive activities by equating his abusive act with the sexual activity of his parents, "My father certainly had sex, and that's why I was born, so will I lose faith in my father?"

One commenter and supporter of Kripaluji, Stephen Perino attempted a defense in the thread to the above-mentioned VT article, with regards to the rape accusations leveled against his guru in Trinidad. He wrote, "There was no denial of an intimate relationship between the two girls and Sri Kripaluji. The two [underage] girls admitted they had felt as if they’d been intimate with Lord Krishna. It was the girl’s father that brought the accusation of rape. What we may find as objectionable and 'morally reprehensible' in the West is quite customary in India."

Then in another post,
If Ms. Karen Jonson believes she was once part of a dangerous cult, and now has the authority to condemn people who still follow this path, then perhaps Ms. Jonson could write a commentary on the Mahabharata, and condemn nearly one billion Hindus that follow a path of devotion to Sri Krishna (who, as we all agree, lived on this earth and had 16,108 wives and a multitude of offspring)? Why does Ms. Jonson not condemn the entire Hindu religion outright? After all why does Ms. Jonson stop with condemning His Saints? (VT thread)
Of course, this argument is complete drivel, but it is useful nevertheless in pinpointing errors. By equating Kripalu to Krishna with his 16,108 wives, Perino places accusers of Kripalu in the same box as critics of Krishna, as though there were no difference. Moreover, in a tour-de-force of bad faith argumentation, he and others equate criticism of Kripalu to an attack on Hinduism itself. More and more of India is being converted to what has become common sense in the West, but clearly in this area work is to be done.

Perino equates the sexual acts of an aged man in his 70's with teenage girls to normal sexual relations in marriage. Kripalu was not married to the girls and women he coerced into sexual relationships. Even should some of the women have found the experience pleasurable, for others it was displeasurable enough to have become publicly vocal about it despite the inherent difficulties in doing so; for yet others -- probably the majority -- it was too embarrassing and confusing to say anything.

It is easy to understand why. Katherine Webster writing in the Yoga Journal (1990) on the “case against Swami Rama”, refers to Peter Rutter’s book Sex in the Forbidden Zone, where he explains that
...a sexual relationship between a man in a position of power-doctor, psychologist, mentor, or priest-and a woman who is dependent on him-as patient, student, client, or troubled soul-almost always involves an element of coercion and a betrayal of trust. Such a relationship, instead of giving the woman the healing or validation she seeks, reinforces her feeling that the only thing of value she has to offer a man with worldly power is her body.
Indeed, this is the crux of the matter: In nearly all justifications of such sexual abuse, there is a diminishing of the woman as a person. Indeed, the very essence of all abuse is the depersonalization of the other, the objectification and marginalization of the person as a disposable source of selfish gratification. It is sex in the mode of ignorance. Those who justify such behavior, for any reason, perpetuate that same dynamic.

The Rāsa-līlā

Now most devotees are familiar with the Bhāgavata verses that conclude the Rāsa-līlā, and this appears to be a text book case for its citation:

naitat samācarej jātu
manasāpi hy anīśvaraḥ
vinaśyaty acirān mauḍhyād
yathārudrābdhijaṁ viṣam

One who is not a master (īśvara) should never, not even mentally, behave in this way. He will be quickly destroyed if he foolishly does so, just as a non-Shiva drinking the ocean of poison. (SB 10.33.30)
The word īśvara can be interpreted to mean the Supreme Controller, or merely a master of yoga or any other powerful person. For instance, an “Oriental potentate” (īśvara) would have had a large number of wives in his harem as a proof of his independence from the norm. Nevertheless, the warning against an overly liberal interpretation is the standard in the sampradāya for good reason. What disciple would wish to be saddled with the need to repeatedly defend his guru against repeated accusations of this sort, or have to close his eyes to them?

Chapter 16 of the Bhagavad-gītā is about the demonic nature, which might reasonably be called that of the psychopath. There Krishna characterizes the psychopath describing himself with the word īśvara:

īśvaro’ham ahaṁ bhogī siddho’haṁ balavān sukhī ||

I am Lord and Master, I am the enjoyer. I sm successful, powerful and happy. (16.14)
Clearly, when one becomes convinced of his own invincibility, and manages to escape unscathed through whatever combination of good luck and expert manipulation, then he feels as though he has the right to behave as though above the law. This is precisely why antinomianism can never be acceptable or practicable even though it is repeatedly confirmed philosophically in both the Gītā and Bhāgavata: it is always going to be misused by the psychopath. It is easy enough to say, "Love and then do as you will," but you really have to have genuine prema first. A psychopath is an expert dissimulator. He gives in charity, performs rituals, does good works; in short, acts the part to perfection. (dāsye yakṣyāmi modiṣye).

But I would like to take the argument a little further. I have written before (here and here and here) about the two Rāsa-līlās: that of the Bhāgavata that of the Gīta-govinda. My point is, as always, that Krishna in the Bhāgavata Rāsa dance is still īśvara. That is why the name Vishnu is used in the last verse.

There, it is said that Krishna played with the gopis as a child plays with his reflection in a mirror.

evaṁ pariṣvāṅga-karābhimarśa-
snigdhekṣaṇoddāma-vilāsa-hāsaiḥ |
reme rameśo vraja-sundarībhir
yathārbhakaḥ sva-pratibimba-vibhramaḥ ||

And so the husband of Lakshmi enjoyed with the beauties of Vraja, with embraces, affectionate touches and glances, making unrestrained amorous gestures and laughing heartily, just like a little boy confused by his own reflections. (10.33.17)
This is the īśvara-bhāva. Since all are a part of his energy, they are simply extensions of himself. Their individual personality seems inconsequential. It is all his līlā, they are but his energies. Of course, this requires a sophisticate theological understanding, but clearly for an ordinary mortal to have the solipsistic mentality of omnipotence is clearly psychopathy.

Whatever the theology of the Bhāgavata, Jayadeva has Radha make a “man” out of Krishna in the Gīta-govinda! That which was a positive quality in the Bhāgavata, namely his ability (aiśvarya) to make out with an infinite number of adoring beautiful women suddenly becomes a defect in the Gīta-govinda. The Bhāgavata talks of Krishna's nara-līlā, but does not fully demonstrate it.

The acharyas, i.e., Rupa Goswami, then followed the evolution of Krishna's human pastimes as revealed to Jayadeva and not, strictly speaking, the Bhāgavata. For Rupa, the concept of rasameans mādhurya, love and love alone, to explain which he follows and develops the best concepts from the rasa acharyas.

Rasa means that Krishna is committed exclusively to Radha.

rādhā puraḥ sphurati paścimataś ca rādhā
rādhādhisavyam iha dakṣiṇataś ca rādhā |
rādhā khalu kṣiti-tale gagane ca rādhā
rādhā-mayī mama babhūva kutas tri-lokī ||

I see Radha in front, Radha behind; I see Radha to my left and Radha to my right. Radha is on the ground and Radha is in the sky. How is it that I see the three worlds all filled with Radha alone? (Vidagdha-mādhava 5.18)
As our acharyas have said: There is no Krishna without Radha. There is no Krishna without the full manifestation of his separated Self, who is not only his equal but his superior in love, in whom he is exclusively absorbed.

So now if we look at what Kripalu may claim – and one of my principal objections is that he does not defend his actions, but dissimulates them – that he and his disciple Prakashananda are bestowing their blessings on the women they touch sexually, these women are never in a position of true freedom. They are never equal. Even in the best acceptance of their word at face value, whatever it is, it is not truly prema. This is not rasa but rasābhāsa, even according to the poetic tradition. They, like those of modern sensibility, called it anaucitya, or impropriety.

anaucityād ṛte nānyad rasa-bhaṅgasya kāraṇam |
aucityopanibandhas tu rasasyopaniṣat parā || iti |

There is no reason for interruption in the relishing of rasa other than impropriety. The Upanishad that speaks of rasa (raso vai saḥ) is an oath to propriety. (Dhvany-āloka)
Rupa Goswami calls it an uparasa (BRS 4.9.13) (a variety of rasābhāsa) when only one of the lovers has feelings of love, or if one of them has an attraction to many objects, or if they are mismatched in some way, such as one being old and ugly when the other is young and beautiful, etc.

dvayor ekatarasyaiva ratir yā khalu dṛśyate |
yānekatra tathaikasya sthāyinaḥ sā virūpatā |
vibhāvasyaiva vairūpyaṁ sthāyiny atropacaryate ||


Although Rupa Goswami accepts the Bhāgavata version, his own writings show a Krishna who is committed uniquely to Radha. Can anyone honestly say that the kind of activities engaged in by Kripalu have any semblance to this? In the Gita, Krishna holds even the perfected soul to exemplary behavior so as not to mislead the ignorant. Has Kripalu followed that standard?

To answer the question which is given in the title to this article, I have to answer yes, Kripalu has incarnated the perfect “Sahajiya” bogeyman, not because he claims to be a Sahajiya or espouses its doctrines, but because he fulfills the need of critics of the pure Sahajiya path for a Shadow to personify the caricature and immoral abuse of the concept of sacred love.

But this is doubly sad for me, because those who oppose the path of prema and yugala-bhajana use such aberrations as the misuse of Krishna to justify sexual abuse or licentiousness to dismiss the potential of sexuality in love and spiritual culture, which is the real meaning of Sahaja sādhanā. As such, they in fact perpetuate the cycle of mystification and obfuscation, for the critics of the Sahajiyas also objectify women, depersonalize them by labeling them agents of Maya instead of seeing them as the only hope for man-kind.

The deeper a sādhaka couple goes into the practice, the greater becomes their power as a generator of love. Love, like electricity, can only be generated between two poles. When it is dissipated through contact with multiple partners, it becomes weak and distorted.

There is indeed a state of oneness with the beloved similar to that described in the Bhāgavata verse cited above. It is true that one can never really be totally one with anyone else. The difference is an essential element in the phenomenon of love itself. But the closer one gets through sādhanā, the more one becomes a mirror of the other person, just like expert ballroom dancers, or like the concentrated light of a laser. But if you are always dancing with someone new, what is the power in that? Could you ever reach the same level of harmony? The sādhaka-sādhikā couple reflect the energy of their love back into each other and that is called the generator of love.

27 comments:

Jagat said...

FB question: What is the truth about Muktananda? What is the truth about Swami Rama? I just don't know. Do we have to go into these issues or ignore them and focus solely on our sadhana ?

My answer: Yes. Short answer. Because the guru's bhava permeates the succession. It is true that exceptional successors can correct the damage, but if they ignore the defect, it is most likely to remain in seed form. It means that the original guru did not really have the solution. We cannot take shelter of the scriptures alone and think that the template is there, the guru is only a "bridge to the books." The vibration is there.

Of course, that is the direct answer for the serious sadhaka who has a practice.

But my point was really not to point fingers at Swami Rama or Muktananda except to remind everyone that the phenomenon is sufficiently widespread that we need to look at some of the basic messages that are being taught and examine them for possible defects.

In this case I was looking at specifically the problem with the Vaishnava message, symbolism and understanding, which is also recurring. My conclusion is that there are two extremes of interpretation that each lends itself to some problem -- on the one hand exploitation, etc., and on the other hand, fear and disgust.

The middle path where sexuality is concerned is based on equality of the sexes, but with a considerable nod to the feminine; making the act of corporal sharing a sacred, amative sacrament as a mystic communion in the Divine Couple. This avoids the extremes of bhoga and tyaga.

For someone who is not advanced, your solution may be the best. And of course, the humble course is to not think you are advanced. But there are many who are neophytes who are suffering from a serious "guru-archetype" possession. For them, the guru is more important as an archetype, a kind of substitute for sadhana, and then they will defend him at the cost of making further progress. This habit may be very difficult to break out of.

Another difficult situation is to completely lose faith in the sadhana because of guru misconduct. This should not be the case. All gurus are gurus. They would not have become your guru if God did not so will it. And therefore everybody learns something from every guru. God is Guru. This is a better understanding than Guru is God, though both are true.

Unknown said...

Reminded of a comment often repeated by Kripalu ji in his lectures :
Who can see Bhagavan ? Only Bhagavan .. with the eyes of Bhagavan..
Who can hear Bhagavan ? Only Bhagavan , with the ears of Bhagavan ..
Who can smell or taste Bhagavan ? Only Bhagavan .. with His nose and His tongue .. So also .. then ..
Who can serve Bhagavan (even in Madhurya Rasa)?

I say, Only Bhagavan ..
So only Radha, of course, being non-different from Krishna, can love in that bhava .. and vice versa. Gopis too have served Bhagavan in that Rasa only after they have identified themselves with Bhagavan(Divinely realized) in Maha-Raas ..

So by Kripalu's 'own' teachings,
if any devotee 'fantasizing' to be a 'gopi' to engage with the respective guru or the 'guru' receiving sexual favors from the victims is beyond any sane divotional practice in truth..

Unknown said...

Reminded of a comment often repeated by Kripalu ji in his lectures :
Who can see Bhagavan ? Only Bhagavan .. with the eyes of Bhagavan..
Who can hear Bhagavan ? Only Bhagavan , with the ears of Bhagavan ..
Who can smell or taste Bhagavan ? Only Bhagavan .. with His nose and His tongue .. So also .. then ..
Who can serve Bhagavan (even in Madhurya Rasa)?

I say, Only Bhagavan ..
So only Radha, of course, being non-different from Krishna, can love in that bhava .. and vice versa. Gopis too have served Bhagavan in that Rasa only after they have identified themselves with Bhagavan(Divinely realized) in Maha-Raas ..
So by Kripalu's 'own' teachings,
if any devotee 'fantasizing' to be a 'gopi' to engage with the respective guru or the 'guru' receiving sexual favors from the victims is beyond any sane divotional practice in truth..

Anonymous said...

Though all your posts show your proud quotations from various parts of scriptures, they are very very negative, rude and presumptuous man! No matter what happens to who, one thing seems certain, you for one, are done for!

Anonymous said...

Its so scary he way supporters threaten people. Sorry Jagat.

Rishika said...

Kripalu et al have used fear, threats, and intimidation to keep their congame running for decades -- along with other scam tactics. Meanwhile, he is increasingly afraid and hates to be in crowds of people -- especially those people who are not brainwashed, because he knows he has enemies and he knows he’s being watched around the clock. They think they can stop the truth from being stated by making anonymous threats. They are all thugs and bullies and Kripalu is the leader of the gang. There are a few completely blind people in JKP who know nothing about the inside secrets, but who also won't listen to the truth -- so they stay deaf, blind, and dumb. It's all such a cult cliche – but so sad, because so many are getting hurt by this SCAM.

analitical thinker said...

People malign maharajji, purposefully or out of ignorance.If anyone follows a guru,first&foremost he should properly understand &fully accept guru's interpretations of Vedic Scriptures.How can you follow someone without intellectually accepting his teachings?It is not very intelligent,it will never make you a strong devotee.
You should never accept someone just because you like the person.It is not enough.
Before I accepted maharajji as my guru I've done extensive search on different Vedic interpretations & by comparison,his teachings are for me personally the most complete,the most clear & the most pure.
Before I'd read few Shrila Prabhupad's books BUT there were some things in his interpretations that make no sense to me that's why with great respect to him I could never accept him as my guru.So I also have no interest in following his successors or Hare Krishna movement as it would be a waste of time & energy.
Once you have deep understanding of the teachings of maharajji,it is very easy to see how people are lying.Firstly maharajji emphasizes that your sadhana must be done by your mind,if your mind is somewhere in mayic field,no matter what you do physically will NOT count as sadhana.Secondly he explains that guru NEVER grants any material boons in any form as all suffering or comforts we experience here on earth are ONLY due to our karmas & can not be terminated by any "miracles" of a "guru"(=genuine guru NEVER performs any miracles),thirdly guru NEVER threatens anyone with any curse or other threats.So logical conclusion is that if maharajji teaches all that,he could never go against his own words(he also says that Vedas are more important than God Himself,so even if Lord Buddha was God but He disregarded Vedas,He is to be respected by Hindus but not followed)because by doing that he would give automatically a valid moral & ethical reason to his followers to leave him.So saying that maharajji would force anyone into any kind of sexual contact with him by manipulation or any other means is a total nonsense as such a person would have her mind totally in a mayic mode full of resentment so it would not be any devotion,besides promising that by such act a girl/woman would get rid of all miseries is another ridiculous lie as maharajji himself states that even Lord Krishna did not change the fate of many of His close relatives as He respects the law of karma.
There is not even a hint in maharajji's teachings that could be used by him to do such a misconduct.
If people can not see it & they still believe in those horrible lies of rape & manipulation,they are truly very unfortunate.

analitical thinker said...

Part 2)And here again we have Rishika aka Karen Jonson with her dose of ever the same lies.
From her own facebook page:
"The Truth Project for Barsana..Thank you Sriganeshji. Interestingly,I already read those book while I lived in the ashram. BUT I did so secretly, because Prakash strictly told us we could not read those scriptures or any other scriptures or books on Hinduism.He would only let us read his books.NOW i know why.His goal was to keep us misinformed and,therefore,under his control.I loved those scriptures.In fact,it startled me how much more I loved them, then I his books - which I increasingly found to be incomplete, unclear,& poorly written.However,while I was reading the scriptures,I did not have the context to fully understand them (without a good teacher).I am now starting to get a bigger view of Hinduism from people who have studied it and aren't looking for anything from me (like the fake JKP gurus were) -and it's very eye-opening.."
April 9 at 6:52am. She admits herself that she NEVER liked the philosophy as propounded by swamiji(=by maharajji),she finds swamiji's books incomplete,poorly written & incomplete?!So what was she doing for 14 years in swamijji's ashram,if she had to read "secretly"other books?Why did she not simply leave the ashram & continue her search on her own,without any pressure????
For me it is absolutely not normal.She was following someone for 14 years without understanding & accepting his teaching &actually disliking them!It looks like Karen jonson is simply a very manipulative person who misused the kindness of the ashram that gave her shelter for 14 years,so to have a free accommodation in a beautiful place she was simply pretending to be a devotee,once she could not stay there for whatever reason,she started to bite the very hand that was helping her for 14 years.Extremely unethical.As to Stephen Perino & his comments,from his way of writing,he does not look like a supporter of maharajji,he is rather someone who wants to harm maharajji pretending to be his supporter.

Anonymous said...

JKP Hospitals President, H.H. Vishakha Tripathi receiving Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award 2012 at India International Center, New Delhi on 21st May.
13th Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award Ceremony
‎21.5.12 - Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya received the prestigious "Rajiv Gandhi Global Excellence Award 2012" on 21st May 2012. The award was received by JKP's President H.H. Ms. Vishakha Tripathi.
By: Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya (100% Free Hospital)

Jagat said...

I would like to say the following to the followers of Jagadguruji. I do not have anything bad to say to those who find his teachings persuasive and do good works being inspired by him.

I am personally interested in sexuality and spiritual life, as I think there is an important connection between the two. So I am very curious about the phenomenon. I have no personal interest in destroying or building anyone's faith in any guru or teacher.

I am interested in prema. And, as we all know, there is a kama/prema nexus that needs unraveling.

Good works, some sadhanas, etc., are all bahya, as Mahaprabhu said to Ramanananda Ray, if we do not come to the essence of prema. So it is good that Jagadguru Kripaluji talks about prema.

But at the same time, is it not appropriate to examine his actions to see whether they live up to the standard?

The second thing is truth. Obviously there are many things going on in the JKP that people would rather not talk about. If there is no transparency, do you think prema is possible? Nothing is as anti-prema as lying. That is why the Bhagavata starts with dharmah kaitava-projjhitah.

I hope that makes my motivation clearer.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the 'secrecy' of their operations, JKP cleverly uses scriptural quotes to justify their unpleasant actions hiding from public view .. gopaneeyam gopaneeyam prayatnatah .. even the intimate divine leela of Krishna in Bhagavatam or other Rasik literature are not meant for every seeker .. Those saints too have some reservation in disclosing and given qualifications for eligibility. When Uddhava visited Vrindavan, he met Gopis in a secret place to give Krishna's message .. Krishna met Gopis at Kurukshetra secretly too, to console them .. of course .. yamunaa koole 'rahah' kelayah G.G. Unlike Osho, in JKP 'Truth' is never revealed to the innocent public for the fear of 'loosing' the sincere spiritual seekers.

Karen Jonson said...

Many blind-faith JKP devotees prefer to take every single thing I say out of context, so that they can make false statements against me. Their only hope for people not reading my book and believing the truth about JKP is to try to convince people that I am the problem. IF any JKP devotees commenting about me had actually read my book without their prejudices, they would actually know what I experienced and how I experienced it, instead of continuing the JKP trend of telling lies about me in their attempt to kill the messenger.

The PROBLEM is that Kripalu has been raping young girls and having supposedly consensual sex with women for decades, while robbing his followers blind. He has a long career as a spiritual conman -- and no doubt he is a very good one -- as proof by the many people who support him to the death. The truth is crystal clear for those capable of getting past their own egos, their own perversions, their own desires, and their own fears (or whatever is keeping them bound to a cult).

Here is the single greatest proof that Kripalu is not at all who he or anyone claims he is: If he were really God or a Saint, his followers would be MUCH kinder people.

I will be writing much more about these issues on www.rishikaxcult.com.

Anonymous said...

I have visited this Blog incidently while clicking on some maharaji's pictures. I am surprised to read few lines with great sorrow and tears that some one can go to this extend and put baseless allegations. To understand maharaji's philosphy based on Vedas which is the only complete one, one has to hear his lectures continiously and then form a image of any saint. I think the people who have written stupid things would not have heard him properly. As half the knowledge is more dangerous then the lie. I have been hearing different saints on Astha & Sanskar TV. I have come across Maharaji's lecture incidently and since then I magically got attracted with him and heard him continivously sinc last few years.I have accepted him as my guru without meeting him and got his darshan only very recently. I can only say that to understand who is he, the best way is to hear his lecture for some time which will be eye opener for the blessed ones.

Anonymous said...

Jagat - I had a big laugh today when I read Karen's latest blog post in which she calls ISCKON as a Cult!! Now, how does that make you feel? Lol!

Anonymous said...

By the way, Jagat, Karen thinks that you too belong to a cult (She has mentioned in her blog that ISKON is a cult). Enjoy!!

One Anonymus said...

After reading all the above dialogues and comments, I trust what the "analitical thinker" has said, SKM is a saint in our world with his perfect teachings.
I have met him twice and felt the tremendous attraction towards Lord Radhakrishna just by seeing him a glance in person and on media channels.
I think we all should stop wasting our time arguing here in this very expensive and priceless human birth and start making some use of it by giving our servies to the DIVINITY.
Remember : we are not human beings having spiritual knowledge but we all are spiritual beings having human knowledge. We have to get back to God in this limited time period.
Lord Budha:
In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.

One Anonymous said...

I trust what the "analitical thinker" has said, SKM is a saint in our world with his perfect teachings.
I have met him twice and felt the tremendous attraction towards Lord Radhakrishna just by seeing him a glance in person and on media channels.
I think we all should stop wasting our time arguing here in this very expensive and priceless human birth and start making some use of it by giving our servies to the DIVINITY.
Remember : we are not human beings having spiritual knowledge but we all are spiritual beings having human knowledge. We have to get back to God in this limited time period.
Lord Budha:
In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”
In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.

Jagat said...

All these are very nice thoughts. Personally, I have nothing for or against Kripaluji. As I have tried to state in the article and elsewhere, my concern is with the way that sexuality is problematic.

Kripalu may be whatever he is. I have no doubt that he is a great soul with tremendous knowledge and devotion for Radha and Krishna. But there is this little problem that still needs to be resolved.

I am only asking for openness. Do he and his disciples (some of whom seem to be following him in this trend) believe that this kind of sexual relation with disciples is an aspect of "prema-dana"? Are they open about it? Is it an aspect of the sadhana that he teaches? Is it an esoteric part that is only open to his most confidential disciples?

These are the kinds of questions that I think need to be answered. Clearly, dissimulation in these matters only creates confusion.

Radhe Shyam.

Jagat said...

As to ISKCON. I am not a supporter of ISKCON any more than I am a supporter of Kripaluji Maharaj.

Let them do whatever good they do. I have my own path. This blog is about clarifying that path, which sometimes requires making a distinction of mine from others'.

Jagat said...

And I thank everyone for their comments. May the divine love of Radha and Krishna pervade and bless everyone. Jai Sri Radhe.

Anonymous said...

5. If the KP followerss can refute all of my above comments and KP is in fact the second coming of Krishna and a major Guru, then I want to ask where is his Bhashya or commentary of the Brahma Sutra, Upanishads and Gita? All of the other 4 ‘Jagatgurus’, all produced such commentaries. KP followers claim that they accept the Gaudiya Vedanta conclusion as their authority. However if this is the case, I would accept KP to either write a Bhashya to explain why he agrees with the Gaudiya view point or better still, not make himself a ‘Jagatguru’ and accept diksha from a Gaudiya Acharaya. Claiming to ‘reconcile’ all the philosophies is not a small job, as he is effecting reconciling 1000 years of diverse views of scriptures that were debated after years of study of the scriptures.

6. Any respectable Guru always conforms to the norms of social conduct to set a good example to others, despite how divine they may be. For example the BAPs Swaminarayan sect consider their Guru Pramukh swami to be divine and beyond the senses, yet he lives by very strict rules of celibacy and does not preach directly to women. Married men like KP are permitted greater freedom, whoever they must always try to avoid direct contact with women who are not their direct family members. I therefore find it highly inappropriate that KP is often seen being fanned and served directly by women. Not only does this set a bad example to ordinary householders, but it this behaviour can lead to unwanted rumours.

7. The Raslila pastimes of Radhakrishna can often be misunderstood by ordinary mortals and hence the wise previous acharayas never spoke about them very openly to prevent people using it as an excuse to engage in mundane sexual activities. I therefore find it very odd and inappropriate that the ‘5th Jagatguru’ is dressing up as a Gopi and discussing these confidential matters so openly.

Anonymous said...

Though i am not strict follower of Shree kripalu ji Maharaj raj, i mean i am not so good sadhak,still i accept him as my guru. In my search of spiritual advancement for 15 years, only the Maharaj ji's philosophy gave me complete assurance. In this era of complete chaos to be in touch with Maharaj ji is really fortunate .Depression,tenson,mistrust,complete absence of love, kindness ,helpfullness,gratitude are main attributes of this era.We are so helpless like KAREN JONSON.Instead of expressing gratitude we spit on the same plate in which we just food.
However in my opinion above article is complete nonsense.Like people say little knowledge is dangerous ,same case can be seen here.I wonder what Karen did in Dham for fourteen years .If her accusations are true why she waited for so long to express.I don't find any base for these accusations.These are just prejudices.

Karen said...

To all seekers of the truth, I have some more information in case you are interested in saving your family and friends from the JKP cult - with it's sex abuse and non-stop money collection antics. I received a copy of letters written by former devotees in JKP. They spell out in detail the sex activities of Kripalu with his preachers -- and the sexual nature of Siddeshwari, one of JKP's 28 preachers. Please message me on my Facebook page if you are interested in learning more.
Best to all who are strong enough to question everything -- and use the analytical mind God gave you to keep yourself and your family safe.
https://www.facebook.com/rishikaxcult

Anonymous said...

"Like people say little knowledge is dangerous ,same case can be seen here." - Anonymous 10, Feb, is quite right here..speaking of herself/himself .. You can take a horse to the water but no one can make it drink!That is the sad state of all Cult followers.

rishabhdev tripathee said...

Anonymous:
There are always two possibilities: Either Shri Maharajji is God or divine personality, in such case: all the allegations which are presented here could be true yet, it would not affect his dignified status...Because saint and gods actions are beyond material logic eg. lord krishn had the utmost opulence, luxury, relations with females,,etc, Hanuman killed millions of innocent demons in Lanka, Shivaji is chronic consumer of drugs and mostly he walks naked,,, Bhagawan Vishnu cheated Vrinda, wife of Jalandhar and had sex with her....Even Ravan himself was a divine personality playing a negative role doing all kinds of antisocial activities during his stay in this planet........Either we should stop believing in God, Hinduism, and the authenticity of Vedas altogether or we should stop judging whether the person is divine or not based on his activities... we can not accept gods with all these fallacies and yet deny the actions of his saints...their actions are said to be neither good nor bad, they are just with out material consequences and performed by Yogmaya..So it is better for us to wait till we ourselves become divine to understand really who is the real and who is the fake guru...if not we can simply cry with sincere tears in front of God and ask for his guidance...It is just useless to interpret his actions, or try to find the reasons of all his actions..
And suppose Shri maharajji is not divine, then whatever actions he has done is meaningless from god realization point of view...and again it is meaningless to see what exactly he has done during his lifetime..
Suppose he is not divine, then it is very difficult to buy the very fact that a material person could know all the scriptures with so much detail to astound not only us ordinary people, but also those who were the renown scholars of india,,.....and also difficult to accept that he could act out his ashtasatwik bhavas everytime he did sankirtans ....And not only that he reveals the ashtasatwik bhavas, there are many followers who have reached very high level of devotional status, and the intensity of love they carry in their heart for god is too great...
If he is really an ordinary person and all the allegations stated above is true, how is it possible that a less than ordinary man engaged in sexual promiscuity so often can maintain his health even at the age of 91 years,,,how can he really have sex at this age with so many women,,,and yet not lose his vital power,,yet remember all the verses of shastras,,yet not loose his sanity... If he has been having sex with so many girls from that early age.... A sex addict could retain all the knowledge of shastras, and be unparralled even at the age of 91......Even from medical point of view, having suffered from diabetes for that long, with a pacemaker implanted in his heart,,,he could yet have sexual intercourse with more than 3 girls a day with superhuman stamina.. and it's also said from the experience of the girls who have sex that they never bleed..and the girl of Trinidad also found her hymen to be imtact...he must be a miracle maker to have sex without rupturing the hymen..And such person could yet write such glorious books, which even Shakespear, Ravindranaath tagore could nont be able to write such as Prem ras madira, Radha govinda geet, shayma shyama geet...the divine leelas explained in his padas are comparable to that of surdas, meera, tulasi dasa, and so on..and the fact that his darsan feels one's heart with so much bliss is also hard to take as psychological phenomena...becoz we are not talking about the heart of an ordinary person, but we are talking about the hearts of millions of genuine and sincere devotees....well, all these facts do not make sense when put together..

Sounder Rajan said...

No fucker can be a true spiritual and vice versa. I thoroughly condemn the practise of Vallabha sect. No doubt due to such blind faith India had to endure a millenium of slavery. My heartfelt gratitude to all those who have exposed such criminals in saffron garb. God or no God there can not be any compromise on basic human values and dignity of women.

David Charbonneau said...

Jagat,

First, I want to commend you on your patience and tolerance in allowing your comment section to be more or less hijacked by the internicine war between the most vehement followers of Kripalu and those who are his most dedicated detractors. They are both clearly quite off topic.

I came across JKP about a year ago in one of my internet searches. I started listening to the satsangs on line, bought a few books, started practicing the meditations, and eventually went to some live satsangs in my city. The meditations and satsang were quite nice and the people quite nice as well. I did come across the sex scandal regarding Saraswati but hadn't heard of the apparently much more extensive charges and rumors around Kripalu himself. But even though I knew nothing of these rumors, to be honest, the one thing that kept me from going deeper with JKP was that I could never see K. as my guru. I kept criticizing myself for my cultural prejudices against his "oily look," vaguely reminiscent to me of a Vegas lounge lizard. But there was something more than that--he didn't project, to me, compassion or kindness or even reverence to his deities. His chanting seemed both bellicose and yet off-hand. In contrast, Srila Prapubada, founder of ISKCON, whatever his naivete about Western devotees, evident in his poor choices regarding leadership after his passing, radiates a genuineness and devotion that is like a massive lodestone--and this despite his absolute lack of what westerners would generally take to be charisma. For all his fundamentalism, he feels very much like the genuine article.

I've been around "alternative" spirituality now for thirty years, and I've seen enough scandal now to just expect it as part of the inevitable story, from Muktunanda to ISKCON after A.C. Bhaktivendanta to Da Free John, Osho, and TM--scandals of power, sex, coercion and intimidation, just to name a few (and Buddhism is not free of them either).

Given the prevalence and predictability of these stories, it is hard not to feel at long last that the whole idea of the guru is bogus. That is to say, the notion of a faultless, fully realized, perfected human being who can be your perfect guide, unfailing moral exemplar, and he, or she, who should be obeyed without question and against reason. Maybe we should just say that there are spiritual teachers, some with genuinely high attainments, who can help us to travel further to God than we could ever get on our own power and leave it at that. Sooner or later, they will reveal limitations, sins even, and we will have to see that they cannot be our God on earth, so to speak. That we will have to build our own relationship with God, one not necessarily mediated by a "guru" or "lord" walking around in a fallible human form. By the way (and on the same note), the poster above me defends these behaviors by citing the apparently amoral behavior of God in the Hindu scriptures, but this begs the question, for where is the proof that Kripalu or anyone else is, in fact, God? Can he dance with 16,108 women at once and have them all believe they're dancing with him? Could he kill a King Kong size gorilla with his bare hands? Is his body made of purely transcendental substance or does it rot in the grave like the bodies of the rest of us? One can presume the morals of a god, perhaps, when one actually demonstrates oneself to be one, for then, perhaps, one's apparent violence will be a mode of salvation, and all opposites meet and cancel out in every divinity saturated gesture and every dharmically perfect act. Until then, better stick to this human round, with its human expectations and mortal, including moral, limitations.