JKP Tries to Spin-Doctor and Distance Itself from People Who Did Nothing But Give — Their Faith, Their Money, and Their Lives
There are so many sad stories that have come out of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat — stories of young girls being raped, people abandoning their families to join JKP and serve the fake gurus full-time, and people giving up their life savings to Kripalu Maharaj’s insatiable corrupt operation.
Among the never-ending trail of stories of exploitation in JKP, some tragic stories get lost. I’m going to share three of the forgotten stories of JKP devotees who suffered greatly at the hands of this dangerous organization.
These are the stories of people who attempted to commit suicide as a result of the actions of JKP. One successfully killed herself. Another is believed to have been successful. And one was not, but suffered tragically for the rest of her life.
These stories are difficult to tell, because they make you realize how different these people’s lives could have been if they had never gotten involved with JKP. But they are important stories to tell because they show yet another side to this greedy, cold-hearted, self-serving corruption factory, which takes people in, chews them up, and spits them out.
Lesley — The Girl Who Wanted to Be a Preacher
A rare photo of the woman believed to be Lesley, who attempted suicide after being sexually abused by Prakashanand and others in India while studying to be a preacher.
When I joined JKP (called ISDL in the U.S. back then), I heard hushed stories about a girl named Lesley who had become a quadriplegic after leaving Prakashanand Saraswati. Like a few other young Western women in his small band of followers, she had been training to be a preacher. Part of the training included a trip to India to study in Prakash’s ashram. Included in the trip Lesley went on was the woman who came to be called Prabhakari (aka Priya Dasi), and the woman who came to be called Nikhileshwari (aka Hari Dasi).
The rumor coming out of JKP was that Lesley had become sexually involved with young Indian men while in India. Allegedly Prakash had called her father and told him to fly her back home. When she returned, she began indulging in the material world. On a skiing trip she had an accident and became a quadriplegic.
However, that was just the spin-doctored story JKP wanted people to believe. It put fear in several devotees I knew, because they believed that Lesley’s indiscretions and spiritual transgressions led to her horrible accident.
Later, when I left JKP, I learned the truth. While in India studying to be a preacher, two men lured Lesley into their beds: Prakash and the father of one of Kripalu’s preachers. (Note: This was the same trip where Prabhakari was infamously lured into Kripalu’s bed and came out of the experienced in shock. She searched her soul to decide whether she should stay or leave. She decided to stay. Her action resulted in the proverbial “selling her soul to the devil.”)
Lesley was so upset by the sexual experiences that she became anxious and despondent. That’s when Prakash set her home, effectively washing his hands of her. Her depression continued when she returned hom to the point that she attempted to kill herself by driving into a brick wall. But she didn’t die. She lost the use of her legs and arms instead.
The last time anyone I know saw Lesley was when she showed up in a wheelchair at a lecture Prabhakari was giving near her home in Central California. Prabhakari barely acknowledged Lesley’s presence.
If anyone knows how to contact Lesley, please let me know.
Atsimba — The Woman Who Loved God too Much
For a period of time, the preacher known as Nikhileshwari was studying Spanish and planning trips to Mexico to recruit followers. During this time, she met a Spanish woman in California named Atsimba. The woman usually accompanied Nikhileshwari on her trips to Mexico, trips which rarely netted any new blood.
The woman was married to a white man and had no children. She was deeply religious and once she got in deep with JKP through Prakash, she brought her mother and friends to him as well. Her husband was slow to get on board, but eventually did — especially after her death.
Atsimba was one of the people who went on several trips to India. I guessed that she was “in love” with Kripalu from a video I saw, in which she was dancing for him in some prayer hall in India.
She frequently visited Barsana Dham, where I lived full-time. When there, she spent a lot of time with Nikhileshwari.
In the beginning, Atsimba was a very healthy woman who could be described as a little plump. She was by no means fat. But she began to drop weight and soon became extremely thin. One day Prakash asked her what diet she was on. When she told him what she ate, which was mostly just beans, he said jokingly he was going on the same diet.
On one trip to the ashram, I couldn’t help but notice how upset Atsimba was. She seemed to be “wrapped too tight,” as they say about people who see to be extremely mentally troubled. At one point, I was talking to Nikhileshwari in her bedroom and there was knock on the door. It was Atsimba. Her eyes were wide and she couldn’t focus. She was visibly upset and seemed ready to jump out of her skin.
“I have to talk to you,” she blurted to Nikhileshwari.
“Karen, please go. We’ll talk later,” Nikhileshwari said abruptly and ushered me out of the room quickly, closing the door after I left.
I remembered this incident clearly the day Prabhakari gathered the ashram devotees together in Prakash’s sitting room for an important announcement. She proceeded to tell us a convoluted story about how Atsimba had been a troubled woman since childhood, because she was a victim of sex abuse.
Then she said that Atsimba had died by the ocean near her home in California. Prabhakari said that Prakash said to tell us she “fell off of a cliff.” But the erratic delivery of the information and several strange comments Prabhakari made, led me to only one possible conclusion. Atsimba had jumped off the cliff and killed herself purposely.
After I learned the truth about JKP, the fake gurus, and their obsession with sex, and after I came out of my cult reality-distortion fog, I could easily see the facts for what they were.
Atsimba had been having sex with Kripalu whenever she visited India. She had lost so much weight because all the women involved with Kripalu know that he prefers skinny women. So she lost weight to please him. He may have even called her fat, since this was a common commentary he would make about women who were not rail thin.
Since she was a good person at heart, Atsimba felt extreme guilt about “cheating” on her husband. Nikhileshwari was in charge of trying to calm her down and make her understand that it was not like sex with a worldly man. It was sex with her “divine husband,” Krishna, who appeared on earth as Kripalu.
Shortly after her death, Prakash convinced her husband to move to Barsana Dham, thereby seemingly making an effort to mitigate any future issues if he were to ever learn the truth about the secrets that drove his wife to suicide.
Abe — A Man Who Placed His Faith in Two Conmen Posing as Gurus
(Note: This story was written by Fionn O Grada, an ex-JKP devotee and a long-time friend of Abe’s, with the approval of Abe’s family members.)
Abe Donovan (in striped shirt) and Fionn O Grada. Abe is believed to have killed himself after learning about Prakashanand Saraswati's conviction for child sex abuse.
Abraham Donovan (“Abe”) has been missing since April 18, 2011. Many of us will remember Abe as a kind-natured Irish man who loved music and unfortunately put too much faith in the “gurus” of JKP.
Abe had been a faithful devotee of JKP for over 20 years. He was the kindest, most sincere spiritual seeker you could meet. Abe was not feeling well (mentally) in April 2011, right after Prakash’s trial. There is strong evidence to suggest that he took his own life.
Abe’s family and friends believe that the harm caused by his long association with JKP adversely affected his judgment and ability to make sensible decisions affecting his own safety and interest. Like so many others, Abe’s trusting nature was exploited, and JKP fleeced him of his financial resources. When he disappeared in April 2011, he was virtually penniless and in debt to JKP who continued to make utterly irresponsible financial demands of him.
Abe was a highly accomplished classical guitarist. He taught the guitar in many institutions such as Walton’s School of Music in Dublin and in recent years in The King’s Hospital School in Dublin. Due to his skill, wonderful humour, and unique patience, Abe endeared himself to his many students. Abe devised his own method to teach the guitar. Abe was friends with many other musicians and was a member of the short-lived Guitar Orchestra of Dublin in the 1980s.
His own recitals were a joy to attend due to his musicianship, communication skills, and warmth. Abe admired all great guitarists. He attended concerts by great players such as John Williams and Segovia. Treasured memories of Abe include going with him to two Cooney and Begley concerts in the Harcourt Hotel in Dublin. Abe introduced me to the virtuoso guitar playing of Steve Cooney, which enthralled him, and he was also a great fan of Rory Gallagher.
Abe was 50 in 2011. From his 20s Abe was a committed vegetarian. He made the first of many trips to Barsana Dham U.S.A. in 1996, and from 2004 onwards he made several trips to Mangarh, India. On his last trip to Mangarh in late 2010, instead of giving him practical advice to get his life in order, JKP continued to relieve him of his money and to subject him to intense “love-bombing.”
In Dublin, shortly before he disappeared he told his brother-in-law Glen that a visit to a cyber cafe had greatly upset him. In tears he told Glen that he had discovered on the Internet that a lady devotee of JKP, who had been a friend of his, had taken her own life (note: I am not sure who this person is). In March 2011, shortly before he vanished, Abe had become aware of the criminal conviction of Prakash. He made a few comments to a couple of people that indicated his confused state-of-mind.
Abe’s family regrets deeply that he ever came under the influence of JKP. However, his family knows that their dear Abe was a sincere lover of God who never harmed anyone. They are grateful for all the expressions of solidarity and sympathy following his disappearance. They will continue to draw attention to his missing status and are planning to organise a gathering of family and friends at a future date.
Abe has been officially registered with the Irish Police as a missing person. His family and the Irish Police continue to appeal to anyone who might have information on his whereabouts to telephone Store Street Police Station in Dublin at 353-1-16668000 or to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.