Time for some constructive sabotage

Again on the Hare Krishna thing, I just saw this message from my old guru to the people running his facebook group:

Dear Friends and Followers, please read carefully.
This is very important announcement for our group!

Our GM [short for guru maharaja] has expressed some time ago an attempt to separate names
his birth name and KKD [Krsna Ksetra Dasa, his initiated name, the respectful version is Krsna Ksetra Prabhu] on the Internet (social nets, wikipedia, …) as much as possible, and to keep his devotional activities and academic projects in media unconnected.

So they’re closing down the facebook group and opening a new one and editing Wikipedia etc etc.

My point is – how doesn’t anyone have a red flag going up? If being a Hare Krishna (and a Hare Krishna guru at that) hurts his academic credibility so much, why not do the straightforward thing and stop?

Why am I so angry? He’s only guru when it suits him. He doesn’t take any responsibility for things going wrong in his name (which I have personal experience of.) He doesn’t even take responsibility for people joining the movement in his name and destroying their lives. He doesn’t have personal relationships with all his disciples.

He’s completely selfish, and while anyone is entitled to being selfish, I’m equally entitled for speaking out on it. If he doesn’t believe in this stuff enough to stand up for it completely, he should take a stand and stop allowing young people to dedicate their lives to him as a self-realised guru and giving him all their money and their lives. But it won’t happen if everyone keeps cheering him on and people like me who finally had enough just disappear.

*edit* In the last few days since posting this I got some feedback from friends and there is a really useful point made by Steven Gelberg:

If his academic field were unrelated to his being a Gaudiya Vaishnava–such as if he were in Electrical Engineering–his devotee identity would have no relevance, no import for his work, and it would benefit none of his academic colleagues to be aware of his religious affiliation. However, in this case, his academic work (in the field of “Hindu Studies”) flows directly from his religious identity and is likely substantially influenced by it. Scholarship is supposed to be “pure” (in theory), and untainted by personal bias–a search for knowledge not constrained by personal agendas, especially hidden personal agendas. By insisting on a complete separation of his identity online (devotee vs. scholar), it seems clear that he simply doesn’t want his academic colleagues to think of him as a religious sectarian with a possible agenda, which would taint his legitimacy as a scholar. To go out of his way to try to hide his sectarian affiliation under these circumstances would have to be considered dishonest and unethical. It might be legitimate to try to hide his “baggage” were he to truly leave that baggage behind, but he’s still carrying that baggage and seems to want to make it disappear from view.

It should also be pointed out that ISKCON devotees are proud of the power and influence they have at the Oxford Center for Hindu Studies, which they created or had a large part in creating. On December 7, 2013, Satsvarupa wrote the following to his disciples online: “The leading visionary in this field is Saunaka Rsi of the Oxford Center for Hindu Studies. There ISKCON scholars go, and they earn their Ph.D.s writing on Krishna conscious subjects, and then they become professors of religion in universities around the world. And ISKCON is the voice of Hinduism at Oxford. [!!!] (exclamation points in the original). That is a statement which those folks would be extremely embarrassed to have made public within academia.

So I feel quite justified in doing a bit of sabotage keeping the internet informed. Right now, anyone googles his Hare Krishna name Krsna Ksetra Dasa or Krsna Ksetra Prabhu, [edit] or Krishna Kshetra Swami or Krsna Ksetra Maharaja, they get his birth name Kenneth R Valpey because Wikipedia. The other way around you have to go to page 2 of the search results to get the connection. Maybe a bit of constructive posting and editing will help.


2 responses to “Time for some constructive sabotage

  1. What is you problem with him? If you leave something (someone) behind, you don’t look back no more. Maybe he is not perfect, but others were worse (imagine being a Visnupada disciple). You collected lot of money for Cologne temple, isn’t it? Got the second initiation? It was your decision, remember that. I also distance myself from Iskcon but see no reason to talk bad about the experience. And I never gave any money to my Guru. I gave him a blanket once. Your ex-God sister

  2. Pingback: Open Letter to my godsisters – Anke Holst·

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