Friday, June 3, 2011

Guru Poornima is a Sacred Hindu Holiday — Not an Opportunity for Propaganda

On May 23rd, 2008, I started my first blog called “My Life in a Cult” using the nom de plume, Freedom Writer. It was my first time being completely free to speak out about my years inside the cult. After making 13 posts, I decided to block the blog until after the criminal trial of Prakashanand Saraswati. I will repost all of the blog posts here as an archive. The following was my eighth blog post on “My Life in a Cult.”

July 13, 2008 — How do you explain to the world that one of your gurus has been arrested for “indecency with a child”?

If you are JKP-Barsana Dham you seemingly make an attempt to compare him to great historical Saints. In Barsana Dham’s recent promotion for an upcoming Guru Poornima celebration, the organization appears to be trying to draw a parallel between legendary spiritual beings and its own questionable gurus: Prakashanand Saraswati and Kripalu Maharaj. It’s not the first time.

The problem for discerning readers is that the comparison just does not correlate — whatsoever. Here is the key line from its promotion:

“History tells us that Tulsidas was robbed and harassed because he showed a simple way of God realization and condemned religious imposters, Meera was nicknamed and defamed because she sang the glory of Krishn, and Haridas was nearly killed because he openly distributed the Bliss of the Divine name of Krishn.”

Imagine a scale. On one side are acts of being persecuted for showing a simple path to God and singing the glory of Krishn. On the other side of the scale is being arrested for illegal sex acts. There is NO comparison.

I can't help but believe that JKP-Barsana Dham is attempting to use Hindu scripture and devotional stories as a shield to cover up the questionable actions of its “gurus.” What’s more, the organization seems to be arrogantly assuming the public is gullible enough to believe this scheme. The sad thing is that the tactics will likely trick many unsuspecting and innocent lovers of God. It will not be the first time.

While it is customary for Hindu organizations to spend some time paying respect to gurus, in my personal experience in JKP the exaltation of the gurus is nearly to the exclusion of worshiping God. Kripalu often speaks for hours on the greatness of guru (in other words, the greatness of himself). And he cites dozens of scriptures to prove his point.

In fact, at Barsana Dham last summer (2007), just 43 days after he was arrested in Trinidad for rape, Kripalu gave a talk on the occasion of Guru Poornima that included the recitation of about 60 scriptures. This greatly impressed people. They believe that his ability to cite so many scriptural passages is one of the things that proves he is God. I don’t know about you, but I have known many people who can recite extensive volumes of poetry, legal passages, biblical chapters, or other text. Many people have great memories — that does not make them God.

But his speech did not end there. He spent several minutes telling us not to question him or his actions. His exact words were: “Just keep quiet.” It’s not the first time devotees were told some form of shut up.

No doubt it would be very convenient for him if people who doubted him did just keep quiet; if they didn’t use their God-given minds to question his questionable actions; and if God-loving people worshiped him instead of God. These are all key elements of any cult.

It’s my fate that I had to learn the lesson of false gurus the hard way. Now, I can hopefully help others learn this lesson the easy way.

The important lesson is simply this: There is only one true guru and He is God.

Happy Guru Poornima to our gracious, loving, and truly pure Radha-Krishna.

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