My first post in one month will be a public post, because I want to comment on the absolutely great article that was published in “The Daily Beast,” a Newsweek publication, on June 20th, 2011, called “The Fugitive Guru.” It is so rich with information and tells such a comprehensive story about JKP and the trial that every time I read it get something new out of it.
Ben Crair, the author of the article, found the story himself after reading an article about the trial and the missing guru. He began contacting people in Austin. He reached a prominent Indian community member, whom I had met late last year. He passed on my name and the names of several other people with experience in Barsana Dham. I was more than happy to talk to Ben, tell him my experiences, and allow him to use my real name. The three women involved in the trial had since spoken out publicly, and in full support of them, I did too.
As I re-read the article today, something new struck me — the three-faced nature of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat. I used to say that there are two sides to the organization: a whitewashed public face, and the dark and secretive private face. However, I now realize that there are actually three faces to JKP:
- The Deceptive Public Face. The article quotes a professor at the University of Texas in Austin, saying: “Barsana Dham was ‘very much an ecumenical mainstream Hindu organization.’” This, in fact, was a very carefully crafted image created by Barsana Dham. The organization’s leaders and devotees worked to make sure there were just enough things going on to appear to be a benevolent community member. The annual Mela and Open House was one of these events. Joining the local Austin Area Interfaith Ministries was another. And opening up facilities to some Houston-area hurricane victims was another. However, the secret about these types of activities is that they were all done specifically to project a certain image in the community. If you examine the real nature of the organization, you will find that it does not have a concrete definable community-based mission statement. For example, it only made the facilities available to people during a hurricane after being criticized for not opening its doors after a previous hurricane. Instead, JKP has a hidden agenda — to bring in more people who will donate money and eventually their women and children to the gurus’ bedrooms.
- The Holier-Than-Thou Follower Face. This is the face of devotees internally who are not part of the third face of JKP, described below. This general community of JKP followers is a great smokescreen; because they literally believe their gurus are God incarnate and therefore entitled to extreme special treatment, not only in the ashram, but also everywhere in the world, including the courtroom. As former follower and now cult-exit counselor, Joe Kelly said in the article about his years following Prakashanand: “We believed that he descended from the divine abodes onto this earth.” This thinking was pervasive during my years in JKP. I think the ignorance and arrogance of this holier-than-thou face was illustrated perfectly by this comment from a devotee who commented on the three women in the trial, but would only speak anonymously: “He would treat them like grandchildren and now they are creaking a ruckus? I have no other word than to say they are bitches.” (How do you like the attitude and language of a supposedly religious person?) The prosecutor Cathy Compton commented on the Barsana Dham devotees' attitude of entitlement: “There was an orchestrated effort, in my opinion, to monopolize the courtroom.” In describing the uncooperative nature of the devotees following the convicted Prakashanand’s disappearance, investigating U.S. Marshal Hector Gomez stated: “We haven’t had one like this that has the other elements of wealth and devotion and the cult-like mentality of revering this guy.”
- The Inner-Circle Sex “Leela” Face. There is a statement in the article that speaks directly to the inner, secretive workings of JKP and the arrogant attitude of those immersed in the gurus’ sexual activities with female followers and their daughters. Again under the cloak of anonymity, a current devotee (no doubt a female) said: “… charan seva is the ‘greatest service you can get to serve your guru … Those who see it sexually have the pollutant in their minds.’” What this person is saying is that Prakashanand and Kripalu are Krishna in his divine-love form, and they are carrying out their activities as this form of Krishna by French kissing women and young girls, touching their naked bodies, requesting oral sex, being bathed by them, having intercourse with them, and raping unwilling underage girls. I would like for someone to explain to me how these are pure religious actions, and not the dirty, depraved actions of men who used their saffron robes as “a fine disguise for scoundrels.”
While some forms of God in Hinduism have more than one face, each depicting a unique aspect or quality of that form of God, I am sure that there is no correlation whatsoever with the three deceptive, disgusting, and depraved faces of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat.
This topic will be covered extensively in my upcoming book — including the "bedroom of horrors" activities in JKP, euphemistically called "charan seva" by the participants of Kripalu Maharaj's sexual activities.