Guru Prakashanand Saraswati, 82, Accused of 20 Counts of Molesting Young Girls

Categories: Texas

saraswati.jpg
Guru Prakashanand Saraswati is accused of sexual indecency with a minor.
Respected guru Prakashanand Saraswati is going to trial today in a San Marcos courtroom after being slapped with 20 counts of sexual indecency with a child. The 82-year-old guru, also known as Shree Swamiji, is the founder and spiritual leader of Barsana Dham, a palatial marble ashram outside of Austin devoted to the Hindu god Krishna.

Saraswati leads meditations on Krishna twice a day at the ashram. If the allegations are true, there are some interesting parallels between Saraswati and the god he extols. In case you haven't read your Bhagavad Gita lately, here's a quick and dirty biography of Krishna. Charming, jacked and a lustrous shade of electric blue, Krishna is basically irresistible to any woman he encounters. He's beloved for his stellar flute-playing, honey wine-drinking and, most of all, his passionate seduction of gopis -- young ladies from the village. Legend has it that Krishna stole hundreds of gopis' clothes when they bathed naked in the river.

An Indian god, Krishna was immune to any sort of sexual decency laws, which probably didn't even exist at the time. But a mortal -- one living in America 5,000 years later -- is not.

According to a story in the Austin-American Statesman, two women who grew up on Saraswati's ashram reported being groped by the guru in 1993 and 1994, when Saraswati was 65 and the girls were under 17.

Once they reported the alleged abuse to the district attorney a few years back, five other women came forward and said they too had been the targets of Saraswati's sexual whims. Also implicated was Saraswati's guru, Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, who is based in India. Maharaj was accused of raping a woman in Trinidad in 2007 when he was 85, but the charge was dismissed by a Trinidadian court because of a lack of evidence.

Saraswati was arrested in 2008, when his followers raised the funds for his million-dollar bond. His trial has been held off until today, due to his claim of back problems. Since that time, however, he's been traveling extensively to India and abroad, reported the Statesman. In a presumed effort to alleviate Saraswati's bad back, the judge revoked his passport in October.

If he's found guilty, Saraswati will have plenty of time on his hands to review the Gita and figure out where he went wrong, from the comfort of a distraction-free, gopi-less prison cell.

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Kris
Kris

What the hell is this article? Now I'm not sure if Prakashanand is innocent or guilty. However, I do not appreciate those terrible comments that reflect hypocracy and propaganda against Lord Krishna. You people need to be more open-minded and unbiased. Yes, we all come from different cultures and religions that we want to defend but that does not mean you should degrade others.

Rishika Xcult
Rishika Xcult

Everyone is missing the point! If you should be mad at anyone for disrespecting Hinduism, it's this fake guru. He has used the religion to say he's equivalent to Lord Krishna -- then sexually abused underage girls and had (apparently) consensual relations with female followers (among other sins). THAT is worth protesting!

BD JKP victims advocate
BD JKP victims advocate

Cunning as chameloen foxes--the Barsana Dham temple is already "rebranding" and under new management within a month of conviction:

There has been a change of name of Barsana Dham which is now called: Radha Madhav Dham.

There has also been a few changes on the board and trustee managers. (I suppose so they can advertise "now under new management"). But its foolish to think this organization is safe now. The International head honcho is the same: Prakashanands own guru in India (Kripalu) who is the CEO of JKP worldwide, and of this temple. He has his own shady history of sex abuse of women and girls in India and Trinidad.

Prabhakari, who was vice president of Barsana Dham is now thrown off the new managers and also trustee list. Not only is she no longer Vice President, she is also no longer on the board of trustees for JKP-BD. I doubt she will ever be a preacher for this temple again regardless of any name change. She lawyered up after it was pointed out in court by the prosecutor that she was an enabler of the swami's crimes. Prabhakari was Swami Prakashanand's right-hand woman in most things corrupt at this temple and within the whole USA organization. I could write a book on it. She was one of the crook preachers who attempted to shut me up (as a parent who spoke up against the sex abuse) by arranging and attempting in collusion with the swami to force myself into a mandatory 72 hour hold in a psychiatric hospital within 4 hours of trying to hold a meeting about the sex abuse. When I left that temple fearing for my life (after yet another abduction attempt to Poland with my abused daughter), Prabhakari was in collusion with this attempt, along with a male trustee from Florida, who also appears to nom longer be on the new trustee list. I said I would never go back to Barsana Dham as long as Prabhakari and her parents continued to live there and support/enable the gurus multiple crimes--dozens of which have never come out in public yet. The girls criminal case of sex abuse is just the tip of the iceberg.

Prabhakari suddenly vanished by the end of the trial and is on the US Marshal's hunt list as a suspected aider and abettor along with the fugitive Prakashanand Saraswati. Her parents, also parents of one of the victims and one witness of the criminal trial also lived at the temple, but they too suddenly disappeared before the end of the trial. Prabhakari is a half-sister of two of the criminal case sister victims. One of them was a witness in the trial.

Divarkari Devi has been demoted to Vice President.

Rich devotee Peter Spiegel is also no longer on the new board of trustees.

He too disappeared directly before the end of the trial, and was sought by the US Marshal's as a suspected aider and abettor or someone who he had knowledge of Prakashanands escape, although he denied it in court. In 2008, Spiegel signed the swami's $10M recognizance bond to ensure Prakashanand showed up at trial once he was given his passport back. The punishment phase was held in absentia. The Hays County is suing Spiegel for the money, but doubt they will get it. Spiegel never showed up in court for a hearing about a week ago, but sent his lawyer instead. Its still not known where Spiegel is hiding out. During the trial there was an internet announcement that Spiegel's business Sylmark had merged with another bigger company, Ideal Living. Strange timing. He probably grabbed cash and is on the run with the swami and/or paying for him and others enabling him to hide and travel. The US Marshals said the Swami went with a large amount of cash. Read about the temple name change and board of managers changes here: http://www.statesman.com/blogs...

Repondez
Repondez

http://www.legalradar.com/2006...

Read this too while you are at it: how people play politics with "sexual molestation charges".Remember, nothing in life is permanent. You get what you give! Your position today looks advantageous? That too will change. Vendetta, vengeance and revenge will bring all that back to you! Think about that! The time to be good is when you have a choice. Now!

It's not about religion
It's not about religion

"Guest" come on? Do you really expect the sane among us to believe if the jury knew about this anti-christian book this Hindu swami wrote, it would have changed their verdict? No way! The jury were fully convinced beyond a doubt, purely on the testimony of 2 victims and their 1 witness, while the defense had almost a dozen witnesses on the stand to give themselves a chance to prove this anti-christian point of yours. If there was any truth in that nonsense, don't you think those dozen high paid defense lawyers would have found a way to bring such mud out in the trial?

Just goes to show if anyone comes to USA and tries to promote an anti-christian book (as you are doing in your blog), he might find himself getting alienated due to his own ant-christian actions. Isn't pedophilia anti-christian? Anti-any-religion? Why would you support a pedophile because of some ant-christian book he wrote? And I'm a Hindu talking here.

This pedophile has extracted himself by his own cunning from the justice system that convicted him because he does not have enough faith in God to undergo his punishment. He lost the trial because he's been posing as a man of god while molesting, but God knows the truth and spoke through that judge and jury. So his Hindu karma will have to take care of this criminal before he reaches hell. It must be hell already running, hiding and looking over your shoulder every second of the day. He should turn himself in along with his cohorts who also ran off with him, be free of the burden, and maybe their hell wont be so bad after all.

guest
guest

Anti-any-religion. True. But as Mandy pitured Crishn, he is no less than a pedophile. So a guru hailing from a background which promotes such gods as Crishn it is still understandable. you are a product of your thought. But how does that explain pedophiles in other places of worship, like the church. There are numeroous cases being reported on newsrooms across the countries every week about altar boys being molested by the church elder, continuously for several months and in some case years. What kind of punishment are they meted out? You are right that it is not about religion or one particular god from the pantheon of a religion. Its not even about the swami. If he is guilty, he shall deserves the punishment. My objections are about mandy's comments. On humanistic ground Mandy is as big a criminal as the swami, for having 'molested' the sentiments of millions of believers. Would a hindu media person call Jesus a molester if a church priest preaching the word of god were to molest a convert boy or girl attending that church? I think no. It all boils down to the fact the we are first human beings and then belong to any religion. I am a professor of comparative religion and a biblical archaeologist. How does it matter what I have learnt to be? what matters is how I am using my learning to the welfare of mankind. Mandy has studied to be a reporter. H(er/is) reporting has to be in the best interests of all the viewers in general and report about the swami's crime in particular. To increase the rating of the show this person has stooped to the level of the swami. I don't see any difference between the two. one has molested a bunch of innocents both physically and mentally, and the other has hurt millions of innocent 'bhakts' both emotionally and sentimentally. One of the reasons I could see for this stooping is the recently released book, whether believed or not, it is still in circulation and out there. Nonsense or sense, such things appeal to as many ppl as it does not appeal to.

Bdjkpvictimsadvocates
Bdjkpvictimsadvocates

Respondez and Es Best: You dont know who you're talking to. I know the case inside and out. First I'm hindu--I lived at the Barsana Dham and left for fear of my life because I refused to tolerate sex abuse by this hindu leader who was a true master at it. Children other than these criminal trial victims also told me they were sexually abused, or their parents told me. The Hays county sheriffs know about them all. Some have gone into hiding and dont want to face the courts. This swami, and his other hindu female preachers and hierachy act as predators and groomers themselves to help the chief guru get anything he wants. I was slandered, maligned and threatened for confronting them about the sex abuse, as were a few other devotees who left for the same reason who were supportive of the girls.

You're speaking through a hole in the back of your head when you say all the parents didnt believe their daughters and even shunned them. That in fact, is a grave omission by news reporters--I should know--I'm one of those sets of parents who left years ago and supported my daughter and two other girls to make their police reports! I was in the courtroom as much as I was allowed, but due to being on the witness list I could not be there all the time.

When I did confront the temple administrators and the guru, I was retaliated against, harassed, stalked, bribed, slandered and suffered threats to my wellbeing--just as they did to the ex-president Sureshwari Devi aka Mary Watkins for rising up and confronting them. The other set of parents who are still with the mission, by the way, ran off from Barsana Dham and disappeared themselves before the end of the trial. My daughter who was abused, had confided in this father she thought she could trust, but sadly she was revictimized all over again when this father made his own sexual advances on her during her confession to him. I tried holding a meeting with BD managers, trustees and this father and other parents but within 4 hours I was being coerced into a car awaiting to cart me off to a mental institute. I refused. Then one of these hierarchy tried to convince my own doctor I was psychotic and "hearing things" about child abuse. He disagreed with her unprofessional diagnosis and refused to prescribe the same anti-psychotic drugs that they managed to force on ex-president Sureshwari in order to create a medical record to discredit us in court.

Too bad this temple doesnt have the guts to do what one preacher did. See the front page Washington Post April 3rd, 2011 titled: "A Church Seeking Redemption: Riven by an abuse scandal, Vienna Presbyterian tries to do right by the women it says it failed." At least 10 years ago, these Hindu child victims said they would be willing to accept a public apology from the abusive guru rather than go to court. Too bad this guru had so much arrogance he couldnt bring himself apologize, and wrongly thought he would win a trial instead. The pastor of Vienna Presbyterian Church said what this guru should have said: "Some of you felt uncared for, neglected, and even blamed for this abuse. I am sorry, The church is sorry". This guru should write this up in his anti-christian book as an example of how to behave when abuse is reported internally.

Mandy is right, this guru repeatedly told stories for decades about how Krishn graced the gopis, while he took advantage of these scriptures by abusing them; but the guru forgot he was in the material world under the law of the land, and this is not the divine abode he's messing with.

Repondez
Repondez

So a Hindu amongst the BDJKP victims advocates! Right!So since you are so much concerned, you must also know thishttp://www.statesman.com/news/...http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

Amazing that the jury could come to a conclusion, to sentence a person to 14 years in prison for each of 20 counts of molesting two girls, just based on their side of the story? And you claim this jury as "sane"?? Any person is innocent until proven guilty - but here it depended on the jury constituition - things they relied on went like this - "I feel they were telling the truth". Possible. But not proven.Also the families of the girls continue to live at Barsana Dham and have spoken out against their own children making the accusations, including her own cousin sister.So why don't you mention any of that??It is a sham - this facade of setting up the righteous kangaroo court for such a trivial agenda. You do sound like a professional do-gooder, whose sense of self esteem comes from finding bad guys to beat up. Continue on till you find yourself a victim just like this - isn't that what Hinduism teaches? I am not supporting Swami Prakashanand. But I am not willing to call him names unless his guilt is proven beyond any doubt.Religion has no place in criminal justice, that is ok. But I hope that it doesn't bias justice either way too.

Guest
Guest

The point here is not what myth is held by what religion. Are not all major religions of the world today based on this myth or that? Right from the many myths of the Vedic religion, the oldest of all religions, to the worship of the war god Yahweh who was one among the Israelite patheon as the only true god of the universe, or the myth of the resurrection, or the myth of a divine revelation to a prophet, all are but myths and have no rational explanations. Instead of fighting about whose culture is what, we have to look into our extreme past and understand that we all descend from the same group.

For further details on this common heritage, you may read this book, World Vedic Heritage.

As for the guru's trial, he has been falsely charged because of his recent release of a book called The True History and Religion of India in which he exposed the European schemes to colonize India and spread its age old lie. Hence this false charge. I understand Mandy's anger. If that book gains popularity and increase in circulation its going to mar the image of many communities of the world. We westerners are fools to let that happen. We are age old players of this game called mud slinging. Its fun, you see !!

BD/JKP Victims Advocates
BD/JKP Victims Advocates

AN APPEAL TO DO THE RIGHT THING! in response to "On The Fence"

http://www.statesman.com/blogs...

Hi, "On The Fence", I really do feel sorry for you! I am appealing to you! Why stay "sitting on the fence" and risk so much? Prakashanand does NOT care for you--he only uses people such as you for his very selfish and corrupt purposes. Don’t let your ego and your “self-importance” of helping a bigwig-gone-wrong get you hung up in this. Just look how he's run off after 20 years and left all his crying devotees at BD, stuck under his leadership of those preachers and leaders who have been trained in his evil ways, and whom are just as vicious, and often even less compassionate.

They teach at Barsana Dham, “Everything a ‘saint’ does—all his actions are divine”. They also say, "Oh, all this is a 'leela'". If indeed, a Hindu (divine play) is being acted out down here on earth, then aren't all the participants (including the shunned victims, ex-devotees and other female accusers and opponents) "chosen" by God to take the opposing side--just as the ancient scriptures tell?

Prakashanand is gone, on the run, hiding. Who knows where? Or, maybe you do know? You too can be part of this "leela" to find him. Watch out--he could be headed your way, and expect you, rather, command of you (if not already), to take care of hiding and covering for him. If you get word he's showing up, or you already know something about where he is, PLEASE be brave and play the part of a "good" citizen of the "law of the land"--you are NOT “above it”. Your devotions and good karma will stay intact and serve you well, if you DO THE RIGHT THING and contact the US Marshalls or Hays sheriffs.

Or, if your are too afraid to contact the law directly, then please contact me at bdjkpvictimsadvocates@yahoo.com . I WILL HELP YOU ASK FOR IMMUNITY IF YOU FEEL YOU NEED IT. I know you are reading this! This long-time predator, pedophile and pimp who has hurt dozens, even hundreds of women and children, is not worth you committing a felony of aiding and abetting him. You will not be safe for long if you are complicit in hiding the guru, or have already lied to law enforcement, or have withheld information, or covered up during their investigations. Brave it---be the first to come forward, and keep your conscience clean. Otherwise, how can you live with yourself or sleep at night?

Other women and children are still in danger as the preachers and leaders are trained to continue grooming and soliciting (really it’s acting as predators and pimps) to insidiously coerce victims, over time, to go to Kripalu (Prakashanands guru) in India. The Hays County sheriffs and US. Marshalls know about this ongoing risk. Yet, the temple still holds family camps and daily satsang (prayer meetings) to attract current and new families (potential victims) of women and children for god sakes. Recruiting in Barsana Dham and outside by JKP is happening NOW by both female and male preachers and other devotees. See for yourself on their website. It’s urgent you help, and not “sit on the fence”, where there are barbs!

Taste of Freedom
Taste of Freedom

For more information on real accounts of some of the Barsana Dham enablers and a harrowing account of one of the victim’s (single) parent suffering different forms of abuses at the hands of the Barsan Dham heirachy for reporting the victims abuses inside Barsana Dham (which was also reported to Hays sherrffs) a few years ago, please go tohttp://vmehta.conforums3.com/i...

Repondez
Repondez

From all this rambling under different names: "BD JKP victims advocate" & "It's not about religion", what I understand is that you were scorned/slighted by the Barsana Dham people and you being the person you are, are trying your utmost to destroy them! There is nothing about anything else that I can understand - you talk of abuses, enablers, corrupt, etc. - all rather generic, unsubstantiated tags that you choose to tag them with, and want the rest of the public joining in on your own agenda! With the laws and jury system in the USA, it wouldn't need more than a committed person like yourself to do all the above damage to an innocent person, with random accusations, like these two women seem to have successfully accomplished. Congratulations!As for Dr. Vijay Mehta, I hope they allow him to keep his green card or whatever. Any idiot can write rubbish and slander on the internet, especially when another person is down, and many do!

Anyway, to cut through this rambling, you might want to explain some of my doubts as below:1. You call responsible people in that organization as "enablers" - meaning sharing the same guilt as Swami Prakashanand Saraswati. And many, if not most are women! Can you rationally explain their motive to help an 82 year old Swami "indecently touch" young girls. Not sex or anything - but indecent touch - since the last 20 years or so. Normally this principle of proving a motive is fundamental in coming to a judgment. 2. What is your problem with the organization "rebranding and under new management"? You seem to take a lot of interest in their organization, and why is that? It looks like your agenda is to DESTROY this organization out of spite. You haven't spoken of any constructive ways - not one - to address the issue at hand - the only remedy you are suggesting seems to be "total annihilation". The words that you have chosen are quite revealing of your inner motive! Just like Shylock, pursuing his evil agenda under the guise of a facade, your motive seems almost proven here.3. In your emotive piece to "On The Fence" you seem to be strongly suggesting to someone to "DO THE RIGHT THING and contact the US Marshalls or Hays sheriffs". But really, do you believe that getting the Swami will satisfy you or for that matter, this intangible called, "justice"?? You are doing this for "justice", right? It is high time, you learnt to grow up from that small little movie-educated theme, because if you understand anything about karma, you should know that that unforgiving thing is coming straight for you. Would YOU like to be at the receiving end of your own behaviour, where people are baying for YOUR blood? It is important to change while you can. I don't know where you learnt your Hinduism from, but your Hinduism seems hybrid to me, if at all! Once an act is committed, whether moral or immoral, we can only learn and cope, because it is in the past!

Perhaps you have already enrolled in some flying academy to learn to fly planes!! As to why anyone would want you in "72 hour hold in a mental institute" is beyond my comprehension!

Also you might want to read what sane, balanced people are saying on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B...Or you can educate them with your emotion.

And lastly, you don't know what my credentials to talk are too. But that is immaterial - I reiterate that unless the guilt & motive is PROVEN, a person is innocent! There is no justification for calling all these names unless it is proven beyond doubt! At the moment this sounds more like Iran! What's next? Throw stones??

I know you might not like the language I have used regarding yourself, but I hope it goes to illustrate how important it is to BE the change that you want!

In closing, I want you to know that I bear you no malice, now or ever! This piece is meant only for purposeful, targeted logical analyses and has no residual emotional content whatsoever. Have a nice day!

BD/JKP Victims Advocates
BD/JKP Victims Advocates

March 28, 2011 at 9:51 am @ Lasmith says it so profoundly on another Houston Press blog http://blogs.houstonpress.com/...This Texan, long considered a pure constitutionalist, just ain’t that pure anymore. Muslims and Hindus setting up shop take so much advantage of the religious freedom protected by our constitution obviously don’t know how to police themselves and their unbrandished expansion. Muslims committed to push their religion into the lives of every person on this planet and to kill those of us who do not accept their religion, and Hindus who preach truth & peace only to molest our children have gotten something all wrong. Enough is enough. ANY religion that vows and preaches to take down the United States of American and threaten the safety of our children has no place in this country. It’s TREASON!:

Taste of Freedom replies March 28, 2011 at 11:09 am@Lasmith, right on! Such a true and profound statement. JKP and Barsana Dham and all its leaders and enablers are truly abusing the US and Texas constitutions’ Freedom of Religion- –when violating a member, they also violate these very constitutions. These constitutions, do NOT however, give anyone carte blanche privilege and freedom to molest, violate and abuse the mind, body and emotions of the followers. All churches regardless of denomination including those “minority” religions who hide under the banner of “freedom of religious expression” must, above all, still obey the laws of the State of Texas and the US which preside over these constitutions. There should be a law against those who abuse and violate these constitutions, and also the place in which the abuse took place should be shut down, even if it is a temple or church.

guest
guest

How about some laws on conversion of the innocent and illiterate to Christianity on the basis of a much debated and a doubtful resurrection? How about laws against cheating and lying to a devotional nation in the name of religion? How about laws against mud slinging?

I understand that no crime small or big can be pardoned in the name of religion. I am not supproting this swamy. and not commenting on his charges. I know nothing of it. But we have started mudslinging long time ago in history. We are probably getting paid.

Petersolk
Petersolk

if swami ji was inspired by the guru krishna, then what about the innumerous news of sexual exploitation within the premises of churches, involving the chritian priests. who inspires them?

Raghbir Devgan
Raghbir Devgan

Hey guys let us not argue about truth, because truth is one and lies are so many. Let thy will happen. That is what religion teaches us.

---
---

"here's a quick and dirty biography of Mandy Oaklander. Charming, jacked and a lustrous shade of pale white, Mandy Oaklander is basically irresistible to any man she encounters. She's beloved for her stupidity, incapacity and, most of all, her passionate seduction of gopis -- young men from the village. Legend has it that Mandy Oaklander stole hundreds of gopis' virginity when they slept naked on the bed."

Sorry really cant take any insults at Bhagvat Gita. Even if it means I have to use words like the one above. I think Mandy Oaklander deserves it.

Aa
Aa

You know Mr Mandy Oaklander..your holy books contents are copied from the Gita..that Krishna preached...look up the creation theories in Genesis...that is the copy from creation facts in Sribagawatham,,,Adam and Eve is same as Manu and Shatrupa...Noah Arch is the story of Satya-varman from Rig veda...lot of bibilical scriptures are a lift from upanishads...

You should be ashamed of what you write..after copying from the Original..you seem to ridiculing the original..hey you are ridiculing the copy also..

Please get worldy knowledge...the swami is being targetted because he wrote books that threatens the foundation of majority relegion of this country...

due your due delegence..you will know your self...

admirerofMandy
admirerofMandy

Bravo Mandy! You are the ultimate knowledge powerhouse of all religions. I am certain you have done some very quick & deep study on hinduism. Btw.. Whom did you learn these revealing facts about hindusim from? Your redneck friends?? ;-)

michael
michael

he was falsely convicted by a hand picked jury of rednecks. this is what happens when a genuine, self-sustained cultural movement is created and begins to grow. do you think any of the jurors, or the judge have ever been to india or understand indian culture to even begin to approach this case? clearly, the women accusers were state operandi looking for a quick buck, while satisfying their overlords in one package.

bdjkp victims advocates
bdjkp victims advocates

Michael, no judge or jury needs to go to India to understand Hinduism. These crimes committed by a Hindu guru and many enablers happened in USA under TX law. This Micheal, Judge and jury dont need to go to India to learn about Hinduism. All religious organization must follow the local laws and they are PROVEN by Judge and Jury to be NOT above these laws. Break the law and pay the price. Go to JAIL!!! It will catch up with you (guru and enablers) eventually, regardless of whatever religion. It's so naive of you Micheal to believe the women were "state operandi". Have you nothing better to come up with to protect this corrupt operation? The children were not born in Texas, but went there to live with their families (not from Texas) just before puberty, then got sexually abused. But as soon as they got out of school they all left TX and got as far away from there (and the religion and guru) as possible. No child would/could be a "state operandi". None of these same young women living in another state would be a Texan "state operandi"--thats a load of weak bs. If these girls were molested in a Christian religion there would not be any criticism of the "redneck" judge, prosecutors and jurors, which reveals your own religious bias? btw, NO money from this "criminal case" goes to the girls at all--it all goes to Hays County for "road projects." The average national age for reporting sex abuse crimes is 25-30 years which fits with the average victims ages of this case, so by national standards its quite normal to wait 15 years before feeling brave enough to face and expose their accuser and bare their very private trauma in an intimidating public courtroom. In this case, the abuser is known to all the many ex-devotees as a tyrannical dictator with a long history of multiple sudden angry outbursts--some of them psychologically abusive, some physical. I lived there once and was a victim of it. So, how about the catholic victims who waited 20-40 years and still got justice? Who called them rednecks or criticized them for waiting so long? At least one of the victims and parents in this case were never Christian! It has not been exposed before now but one of the parents left Barsana Dham over 3 years ago after being horribly abused for exposing the crimes within the organization and the Hays sheriffs along with the girls. But, before the trial, the defense lawyers got a motion granted to deny all these "extraneous wrongs and acts" from coming out in the courtroom. The world doesnt know even a fraction of the crimes committed at Barsana Dham, not only upon children, but also upon many women, especially those who spoke out and were slandered as "crazy" or "psychotic", just like one of the parents and also the BD temple's ex-president Meera Devi, aka Sureshwari Devi, known and loved by many Hindus in Houston. One of the parents suffered the traumatic abuse of an attempt by the vice president Prabhakari Devi under the gurus instructions to incarcerate her for a 72 hour hold in a mental institute to be "strongly drugged" in an attempt to discredit her as a witness.Then, when that failed, they tried to hijack her and her victimized daughter to Poland to avoid their interrogation by law enforcement in event of an investigation. In other words, many of the hierachy were involved in witness tampering, obstruction of justice, harassment. retaliation, slander and other abuses to cover up the crimes. One of the parents who left and the victims were offered $$$ bribes 3 years ago and REFUSED to accept. These crimes of witness tampering were reported over 3 years ago to Hays Sheriffs also. Its not all over yet. Now you know the truth of why this ex-president and one of the victim's parents left and DO NOT support the abusive guru Prakashanand Saraswati. One of these parents is still HINDU but does not condone their abusive acts and crimes.

Rev Devi
Rev Devi

I too was amazed at the total ignorance of the writer of this report concering Bhagwan Krishna and the Bhagavad-Gita. Simply because a man pretending to be a guru gets nailed is no reason to put out indecent hate material about Krishna and the Gita. The socalled guru needs to be tried and punished according to secular law, like anyone else. But to condemn and vilify the oldest faith in the world, the only one not initiated by a single individual but by anonymous writers known as "the rishis" (wise ones) - this is unconscionable. Divine Law does state, however, that under maya (the dualities - i.e. here on earth) "what you give out, you get back. What you give out with malice returns to you multiplied, as does what you give out with love." Good luck to the writer.

Es best
Es best

Devi, the whole point here is this man / swami has recently released his book called The True History and Religion of India out of his love for his motherland, exposing all the atrociites of the British rule and their schemes that have marred the history of India and which have left their implications even today. I am a resident of this world and the world is my oyester. But I am simply in love with India and its resilience as I have been closely following its history right from the vedas and upanishads (which has all the modern day nations of the world mentioned in them,though with slight pronunciational changes) after my first visit to that place. You guys simply rock. God bless you and your motherland. Truth shall prevail. Satyameva Jayete.

Anjali
Anjali

Craig,You are correct in that we should not condone practices that brutalize others. The 'have to' may have been too absolute. However, If I may, I would like to point out that those practices you mentioned are usually cultural and not religious.Some extremists cloak themselves in a particular religion to lend credibilty to their heinous actions. Additionally, It would be helpful if we can also make a distinction between religions and cults. Now here is the problem : Who gets to decide if the institution someone adheres to is a cult or a religion?All religions at it's extreme are dangerous and harmful be it hindu, islam or christian and we can readily find examples of such in the history of any religion. The point I wanted to make about Mandy's article is this: If we are commenting on a sensitive topic like religion we should take the time to learn about that religion. It is clear that Mandy has no idea about hinduism. I am not a religious person so I am not defending religion. What I do take exception to is that she wrote about something that she has not taken the time to learn about. That is irresponsible. Just because an idea, practice, belief or religion is different than what I adhere to, I do not have the right to denigrate it. In my opinion, this holds true for many differences among us as human beings.

Demmevit
Demmevit

You still don't get it Anjali. Those 'extremists' you criticize are simply people who believe what is written in their holy texts. All of it. And believe it deeply, allowing their behavior to be influenced by those words.

Religious 'moderates' are simply 'failed extremists', in that they self-edit the texts in whatever way they wish, or they let someone else do the editing in arbitrary ways. The worst part about the moderates is their toleration, and sensitivity. It's all rubbish, whether you choose to believe it all, like the dangerous extremists, or just a little, like their moderate enablers. So condemn it all, please. Religion has run its course and done its harm.

And Anjali concludes with: "What I do take exception to is that she wrote about something that she has not taken the time to learn about. That is irresponsible. Just because an idea, practice, belief or religion is different than what I adhere to, I do not have the right to denigrate it. In my opinion, this holds true for many differences among us as human beings."

No, you are wrong. You DO have the right to denigrate things, and I hope you would as a rational human. Fairies, astrology, alchemy, are you all for teaching these beliefs?Creationism? Or, if I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, are you going to steep yourself in the sacred texts of the Pastafarian religion before commenting about my belief?

Pgabriel2
Pgabriel2

One wonders if this is just a way to persecute non christians in the deep south. Frame someone for sexual abuse and no reason applies.....as in the case of Julian Assange...

Petrovska24
Petrovska24

That makes no sense. Most of the stories I've read here involve 'lapsed' priestly behavior, protestant camps/schools that have covered up sexual abuse, cheating preachers laid-low, or bitchy wives of Christian televangelists who've assaulted flight attendants.

It seems fair that humans are human, and have frailties no matter what their faith. (And I would say that faith itself is a human frailty.)

dood
dood

I agree that the article is quite insensitive to the Hindu religion. I am not Hindu. I do not follow any particular religion, but I can still see how this is offensive to practitioner of the Hindu faith. It would be the equivalent of me comparing Jesus to a drunk because Jesus was known to turn water into wine...although that is a lot cooler than stealing a bunch of people's clothes while they bathed.

Anjali
Anjali

Religion is a topic that is close to people's heart therefore people are protective and sensitive about their religious beliefs. People's religious beliefs are personal and while we may choose to have different beliefs we have to respect and value the each others beliefs. It is disheartening to see the Houston Press printing such words that denegrate and trivialized ancient ideas and beliefs that are so precious to billions of people. The lack of sensitivity is astonishing. Mandy you have hurt many people with your words. I hope that you have the courage to somehow make amends. I am saddened that, as yet, we do not take the time to learn about others who are different from us. Instead we ridicule what we do not understand. Case in point- Mandy who obviously has no idea about Hinduism or what is written in the Gita. The Gita does not mention the exploits of Lord Krishna but instead it details how man should live in harmony with each other and the pathway to self realization. An important aspect of self realization is knowledge - maybe Mandy you can learn from the Gita and apply yourself to gaining some knowledge. Next time you write apiece it will be more palatable and less ignoble. There are many scholars of Hinduism right here in Houston -please apply humbly to one of them for help.

Craig Malisow
Craig Malisow

Anjali, you write that "People's religious beliefs are personal and while we may choose to have different beliefs we have to respect and value the each others beliefs."

We have to? So that means we have to respect religious clans that engage in or condone female genital mutilation? We have to respect religions that classify women and outsiders as inferior? Any belief or practice is worthy of respect as long as it's believed or practiced under the umbrella of a particular religion?

What if a group of people decides that, say, compulsory female circumcision is a good idea, but they don't do it for religious purposes, they just think it's a good idea in general -- do we respect their beliefs? Or is it only once that a religious principle is assigned to a practice that it must be respected? What are the guidelines for respect, and who decides them?

What if there were a religion that dictated that you have to make fun of everyone else's god(s)? This religion requires a daily prayer where the person has to say "Jesus and Krishna are silly." Are you going to respect that belief system?

Personally, I don't respect anyone who rapes, pillages, abuses, shuns, tortures, discriminates, executes, or is just plain mean to other people purely for religious reasons. Their religion is not a blank check to be an asshole.

Craig Malisow

Repondez
Repondez

Nice "rationale", I must say.

However, when a person mentions "religion" and "religious beliefs", a Hindu knows that it has to be rational, to start with - something that can be given a reasonable benefit of doubt. For example, just like the name you use - Craig Malisow - I really don't know you, but there are some reasonable benefits of doubt I can give you, without knowing you. I don't really have to think, you might be the latest serial rapist killer masquerading as an intellectual, although that is also possible. And that is the difference. You have dealt with the "abnormal" fringe side of normality while discussing your piece above, whereas Anjali was talking about downright "normal" healthy humanity and religion. Please don't confuse one with the other.

Perhaps you will find it difficult to understand, because it is quite likely that where you are, you were brought up to think of a cult of a blood-thirsty, revengeful, unforgiving, child-abuser of a God "who needed to have the blood of his own Son" to pay for the imagined sin of other people, as NORMAL!! Another reasonable benefit of doubt, based on the rambling criticism above! Just kidding! I hope you get what I am getting at, because, I am hoping to provoke some thought - it is not said in malice or to simply hurt, as a lot of conversations go.

And Anjali, ... simple and eloquent! I am heartened by your ability to see the good within humanity and religion, and that means you are aware of the goodness within YOURSELF! Very precious, please don't lose it among the cynics!

Marleywine
Marleywine

Right on, young Malisow!

Sam Harris has written in 'The End of Faith' just how dangerous this religious 'moderation' can be in that it tolerates a lot of evil in the name of respecting all religions.

Religion is not purely personal. If people truly believe all that their religious books say, these beliefs will lead to action, and the behavior is often horrendous. Stoning. Burning at the stake. Suicide bombs. And all the stuff Craig mentions.

Let's move beyond this stuff from the Iron Age, religion is obsolete at best, dangerous at worst.

Fiorello2
Fiorello2

With all due respect to you as a person, all religion has its heros and myths and useful instruction to be drawn from each. But to believe completely in the myths and miracles won't get anyone anywhere. Trust in the lesson instead. Don't quibble about arrows and slights that you might perceive against this god or that. Love the lesson: harmony, self-realization, knowledge--these are the greatness of the Hindu tradition that have remained appealing and universal. Not the part about a blue guy who lifted a hill with his finger and engaged in some very human desire.

It's the message, not the myth that is important. And nothing that was written by this author in any way threatens that message of goodness, and universal harmony. If the idea was so weak that such a slight might harm it, the Gita would not have endured through the centuries.

Cavita
Cavita

Fredott, you are a dumb ass and I refuse to continue this insane discussion.

Blake
Blake

"Krishna is basically irresistible to any woman he encounters. He's beloved for his stellar flute-playing, honey wine-drinking and, most of all, his passionate seduction of gopis -- young ladies from the village."

My god, it's like looking into a text-mirror

Guest
Guest

fuck you mandy u fucking whore. wtf does your nasty christian ass know about fucking hinduism. pray to that fuck jesus and let your ignorance be your own downfall. redneck bitch.

Craig Malisow
Craig Malisow

I'm sorry, but I missed the part where any of the critics deliniated the alleged errors. A person cannot correct an error if it is not pointed out. Presumably, the inaccuracies about Krishna are in the second paragraph, but no one has explained what part is wrong. Was Krishna, for example, chartreuse and not blue? Was he not a masterful flutist? Is there not a legend that Krishna purloined the gopis' clothes? Or maybe the legend is that he only took the clothes to be dry-cleaned, and not out of a selfish or kleptomaniacal impulse. Point is, problems can't be addressed until they're explained. I suppose you could try to explain the problems with tolerance, patience, humility and love. Or you could call the accused party arrogant, juvenile, ignorant, and -- my personal favorite --"redneck bitch." I wonder which tactic Krishna -- and his true followers -- would take.

Craig

Mojoboogie2
Mojoboogie2

Mandy did concentrate her portrayal of Krishna as rather lurid, and convieniantly did not mention any other traits. Does seem somewhat slanted.

Chef504
Chef504

Here we go again fighting over who has the best imaginary friend. Let's just start a war over it, wait we have done that again and again and again and to no avail. It is so ridiculous that adults still play the my imaginary friend can beat up your imaginary friend, or my imaginary friend can out love yours. I just wish people would realize that religion is best left as a hobby, and a private one at that. The perfect religion would be one that didn't require copious amounts of currency, temples, shrines, and all other types of paraphernalia. How about just using common sense in the way we live.

Disappointed
Disappointed

Mandy, if you know so much about Lord Krishna's activities, you will also know that Lord Krishna lifted a hill named "Govardhan", with the little finger of his left hand. This feat can never be performed by an ordinary person or even an extraordinary person. Lord Krishna also killed several mighty creatures, when he was less than 5 years old. This goes on to show that Lord Krishna can never be compared to a mortal being. He is God Himself.

Or is it that you conveniently think that all the superhuman activities of Lord Krishna is just humbug, because it does not fit in your "dirty" impression of Lord Krishna?

Activities of Lord Krishna can not be compared with the activities of an ordinary soul. Mortal living beings can not and should not imitate the activities of the Lord. If they want to imitate Krishna's activities with the gopis, can they imitate His superhuman activities mentioned above? Lord Krishna gave solace, wisdom and internal strength to Arjuna in the form of The Bhagavad Gita. This treatise is revered by great thinkers and spiritualists like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Aldous Huxley, and several sages and sincere seekers since 5000 years. In The Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna explains the difference between body & soul and how we can perceive the existence of soul beyond the body & mind. He also explains the spiritual love exchanged between the individual soul and The Supreme Soul. Those who are attached to their ego, can not appreciate this spiritual exchange.

Hinduism does NOT constrain God to be loved only just as a master, but He can be loved as a friend or a lover also. God or Krishna, which literally means, "the attractive one" can reciprocate with the love of His devotees in multiple ways. All the "gopis" or cowherd maids are energies of God or Krishna, and they loved Him dearly. Krishna's activities are on the platform of the soul, not the body.

Please try to understand the philosophy of Lord Krishna before blaspheming another religion. I am not defending the Guru, but the attack on Lord Krishna based on misinformation, was uncalled for.

Freddot
Freddot

If you want to believe in miracles and fun stories, that's fine. Just please don't ask me to respect those stories as real. Don't ask me to revere or respect them. I give no more credence or respect to your Gods than I would to Greek or Egyptian or Roman or Norse deities and the myths surrounding them.

Universal values like kindness and compassion are another thing; but they don't need to be associated with Lord Vishnu or Thor or Isis or Jesus. They can stand alone perfectly fine as 'goods' in this world without the ancient embellishment.

Guest
Guest

So do you believe Jesus was reborn !!!!!!! ISn't it bible a myth formed by different books !!!!!!How does it feel now. You believe Fantacy in Bible but not in any other religion. Let me tell you there is no superhuman neither is No 1 country in world just get out and see the World and don't play Superbowl and call it a World Sport ....get out of your cocoon

Repondez
Repondez

That is the whole idea. Choice. You take what works for you. Don't worry about what others are doing. So we have plenty to choose from - not a problem so long as your idea of "religion" is not bringing in everyone else too. This freedom is unique to Hindus mostly, and other Indian religions within their own limitations. Oh, I am a Buddhist, by the way, and we have some pre-requisites to walk on the path like "Right Livelihood" etc. etc., all meaningful in their own way, but also "restrictive". No problems still, unlike the "rational" people who comment here a lot.

Disappointed
Disappointed

Freddot, if you don't want to believe in Krishna or any other religion, that's fine. I am not asking you to believe in Krishna.

All I am saying to the author of this article is that don't ridicule Krishna, who is revered by billions of Hindus around the world, without acknowledging and understanding His greatness. There was no need to compare the Swami's activities with the activities of Lord Krishna in this article. If you want to compare, then be fair and compare ALL the activities in proper light, not just the activities which will sell your article by hurting the sentiments of billions.

Disappointed
Disappointed

Ronstadt1, please read the article where the author has compared and commented on Lord Krishna's behavior:

".....If the allegations are true, there are some interesting parallels between Saraswati and the god he extols. In case you haven't read your Bhagavad Gita lately, here's a quick and dirty biography of Krishna......"

...and then the writer goes on and on....As i said earlier, this was uncalled for.If the writer would have simply reported the news of the Guru, that would be alright. But, blaspheming a religious icon is not acceptable. Do you think Christians or Muslims would have let it pass if something like this was written about Jesus or Mohammed? Since Hindus are taught to be tolerant, people think that they can take advantage of them.

Ronstadt1
Ronstadt1

The story is about a religious leader who abused his position of authority, like many religious leaders of many religions. How can that behaviour reflect on the mythic Lord Krishnu?

disgusted reader
disgusted reader

I find the comments made about Lord Krishna totally offensive. The arrogance and ignorance of the writer is absolutely disgusting. Try and reserve your utter rubbish you write for your family and friends who believe in your immature journalistic style, cause you sure have hurt the sentiments of the 3rd largest religion and most oldest religion in the world. Next time you spew out such vile think about the community you are misleading and the community that you are disrespecting. The growing number of americans adopting hinduism, its practises and the Hare Krishna way of life is a clear indication that the religion is not based on the hogwash that you have printed.

Guest
Guest

Wow, I'm completely astounded at the depths to which the Houston Press could fall! The "report" displays a clear lack of experience, sensitivity, knowledge, and professionalism. Just googling something and clicking the first link that shows up doesn't guarantee you got an accurate representation of something; you could have simply picked up the phone and called any of the many Hindu temples to get an idea of who Lord Krishna really is, or picked up a copy of the Gita and read the preface. The reporting is utterly despicable and EXTREMELY offensive (gratuitously so) to Hindus, to anyone that follows the tenets of the Gita, and to anyone that respects other religions. If this is the caliber of reporters HP counts among its staff, I think they ought to seriously reconsider their hiring process. This amount of sheer ignorance and narrow-mindedness should not be overlooked. You owe an apology to Hindus, no doubt about that.

Flaubert2
Flaubert2

Utterly ridiculous, this sensitivity toward religion. Pick up a phone and call a temple to get the low down about Lord Krishnu. Yeah right, and you could call Jimmy Swaggert to learn that Job was swallowed by a whale; or call a priest to learn that a virgin bore a god, and also the son of god himself, who was crucified, died, then came back to life and rose, whole body up into the sky.

Religion deserves ridicule from any right thinking person; not respect and sensitivity.

Repondez
Repondez

What this man is saying is HIS sense of religion is "Utterly ridiculous" and "deserves ridicule from any right thinking person". Yeah, chew on that for a moment, you ..

Guest
Guest

I don't need to clarify this, but I will, that my comments above are strictly about what was written about Lord Krishna. As for the guru, I know nothing about him and am not interested in knowing anything about him, either.

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