Violence and Dictatorship
Used with permission of the compiler.
Originally published in 2010, these quotes were compiled by Willem Vandenberg (Varnadi das), who joined ISKCON in Amsterdam in 1990. He served in the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in Sweden as a translator and editor and as a manager of one of its sub-complexes. After officially leaving ISKCON in 2010 he went on to further his career as a computer programmer in higher education. He now lives in Texas and enjoys life reading, writing, and traveling the world.
Prabhupada in His Own Words
Violence and Dictatorship
What follows is a list of quotes from Bhaktivedanta Swami, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, on the topics of violence and dictatorship. His greater body of writing, lectures, and conversations makes it clear that he preferred dictatorship and the imposition of a kind of constitution that would throw the world back centuries in all aspects of culture and society, and that he apparently has no qualms about utilizing violence and murder to reach these goals.
SB 1.17.36, purport
Following in the footsteps of Maharaja Pariksit, it is the duty of all executive heads of states to see that the principles of religion, namely austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness, are established in the state, and that the principles of irreligion, namely pride, illicit female association or prostitution, intoxication and falsity, are checked by all means. And to make the best use of a bad bargain, the personality of Kali may be transferred to places of gambling, drinking, prostitution and slaughterhouses, if there are any places like that. Those who are addicted to these irreligious habits may be regulated by the injunctions of the scripture. In no circumstances should they be encouraged by any state. In other words, the state should categorically stop all sorts of gambling, drinking, prostitution and falsity. The state which wants to eradicate corruption by majority may introduce the principles of religion in the following manner:
- Two compulsory fasting days in a month, if not more (austerity). Even from the economic point of view, such two fasting days in a month in the state will save tons of food, and the system will also act very favorably on the general health of the citizens.
- There must be compulsory marriage of young boys and girls attaining twenty-four years of age and sixteen years of age respectively. There is no harm in coeducation in the schools and colleges, provided the boys and girls are duly married, and in case there is any intimate connection between a male and female student, they should be married properly without illicit relation. The divorce act is encouraging prostitution, and this should be abolished.
- The citizens of the state must give in charity up to fifty percent of their income for the purpose of creating a spiritual atmosphere in the state or in human society, both individually and collectively. They should preach the principles of Bhagavatam by (a) karma-yoga, or doing everything for the satisfaction of the Lord, (b) regular hearing of the Srimad-Bhagavatam from authorized persons or realized souls, (c) chanting of the glories of the Lord congregationally at home or at places of worship, (d) rendering all kinds of service to bhagavatas engaged in preaching Srimad-Bhagavatam and (e) residing in a place where the atmosphere is saturated with God consciousness. If the state is regulated by the above process, naturally there will be God consciousness everywhere.
Gambling of all description, even speculative business enterprise, is considered to be degrading, and when gambling is encouraged in the state, there is a complete disappearance of truthfulness. Allowing young boys and girls to remain unmarried more than the above-mentioned ages and licensing animal slaughterhouses of all description should be at once prohibited. The flesh-eaters may be allowed to take flesh as mentioned in the scriptures, and not otherwise. Intoxication of all description-even smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco or the drinking of tea-must be prohibited.
Conversation, New York April 12, 1969
Prabhupada: Yes. That is Tulasi dasa’s remark. So in many passages of his poetry he has not done very justice to woman. And another poetry, he writes, dhol gunar sudra nari. Dhol gunar sudra nari ihe sab sasan ke adhikari. (?) Dhol gunar pasu sudra nari, ihe sab sasan ke adhikari. Dhol, dhol means drum, mrdanga. Gunar, gunar means… What is called English? A fool, fool. Illiterate fool, what is one word?
Prabhupada: Maybe buffoon. Buffoon is sometimes troublesome. But gunar means he doesn’t understand very nicely.
Prabhupada: Dull, dull. Dhol gunar, dhol means drum and gunar means dull. Sudra, and the laborer class. Three. Dhol, gunar, sudra, and pasu, household animals, just like cows, dogs.
Prabhupada: Pet, like that. Dhol gunar sudra pasu and nari. Nari means woman. (laughs) Just see. He has classified the nari amongst these class, dhol, gunar, sudra, pasu, nari. Ihe sab sasan ke adhikari. Sasan ke adhikari means all these are subjected for punishment. And what about the guest?
Govinda dasi: Oh, the guest? It’s coming.
Prabhupada: So sasan ke adhikari means they should be punished. (laughs) Punished means, just like dhol, when the, I mean to say, sound is not very hard, dag-dag, if you beat it on the border, then it comes to be nice tune. Similarly, pasu, animals, if you request, “My dear dog, please do not go there.” Hut! (laughter) “No, my dear dog.” Hut! This is the way.(?) Similarly, woman. If you become lenient, then she will be troublesome. So in India still, in villages, whenever there is some quarrel between husband wife, the husband beats and she is tamed. (laughs) In civilized society, “Oh, you have done this?” Immediately some criminal case. But in uncivilized society they don’t care for court or civilized way of…
BG 1.4-5, London, July 10, 1973
So up to that point, Maharaja Pariksit, the whole planet was very nicely governed by dictatorship. So we can bring in such dictatorship, provided that dictator is perfectly Krishna conscious.
Morning Walk, March 15, 1974, Vrindavana
Prabhupada: [break] …when it will teach military art, with tilaka, soldiers will, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna…” (laughter) We want that. Marching with military band, “Hare Krishna.” You maintain this idea. Is it not good?
Hrdayananda: Yes, Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: When there will be military march of Krishna conscious soldiers. Anyone who does not believe in Krishna, “Blam!” (laughter) Yes. The same process as the Mohammedans did, with sword and Koran, we’ll have to do that. “Do you believe in Krishna or not?” “No, sir.” “Blam!” Finished. (laughter, Prabhupada laughs) What do you think, Madhudvisa Maharaja? Is that all right?
Prabhupada: (laughing) What these communists can do? We can do better than them. We can kill many communists like that. (laughter) Then it will be counteraction of communist movement. And you think like that. “Why you are sitting idly, no employment? Come on to the field! Take this plow! Take this bull. Go on working. Why you are sitting idly?” This is Krishna consciousness movement. Nobody should be allowed to sit down and sleep.
Morning Walk, July 10, 1975, Chicago
Brahmananda: What would be your advice to her? [Indira Gandhi]
Prabhupada: My first step will be to capture all the hoarders and distribute the grains free. Immediately public will be obliged to… There are immense food grains; they are simply hoarded. They are not selling without good price. This is going on. Immediately she can capture the public. And some of the hoarders should be hanged, yes, so that in future nobody will hoard. People are hungry. And she says she has got some program, garivi hatta (?), “Drive away the poverty.” This is the point. If she can supply all consumer goods for the time being free to the poor, then immediately the whole population will be after her. And the hoarders should be exemplary punished. Shoot them, that’s all. Then nobody will hoard. But to remain the dictator she requires spiritual knowledge. Otherwise it will be another disaster. If she wants to remain the dictator, then she must be a spiritual man. She must become a Vaisnavi.
Press Conference at Airport, July 28, 1975, Dallas
So dictatorship is good, provided the dictator is highly qualified spiritually.
Room Conversation, August 21, 1975, Bombay
I like this position, dictatorship. Personally I like this. … Mahatma Gandhi was practically a dictator, but he was a man of high moral character, so people accepted him. Dictatorship can be good provided the dictator is spiritually developed.
Morning Walk, January 12, 1976, Bombay
Dr. Patel: Now she is not going to have any more elections. “Elections are not necessary. People have given me the mandate to rule over them.”
Prabhupada: Yes, that’s nice. If the dictator, executive officer, is very nice, religious, then there is no need of this election.
Morning Walk, January 21, 1976, Mayapura
Still, if you say, “You are mudha,” they become angry. Such mudhas, rascals, they are in the government service. And if you say that “You are mudhas,” he becomes angry. Upadeso hi murkhanam prakopaya na santaye: “If a mudha is advised nice instruction, he becomes angry.” He does not take it. Payah-panam bhujanganam kevalam visa-vardhanam: “If you give milk and banana to a snake, you simply increase his poison.” One day he will come-(growls). You see? “I have given you milk and you…” “Yes, that is my nature. Yes. You give me milk, and I am prepared to kill you.” This is mudha. We have to kill this civilization of mudhas. That is Krishna consciousness movement. Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam [BG 4.8]. Those who are actually human being, you have to give them Krishna. And those who are mudhas, we have to kill them. This is our business. Kill all the mudhas and give Krishna to the sane man. Yes. That will prove that you are really Krishna’s. We are not nonviolent. We are violent to the mudhas.
Room Conversation, February 25, 1977, Mayapura
Tamala Krishna: Gradually some of the people are beginning to understand what you’re up to, Srila Prabhupada. Some of these big demons in America especially, they are beginning to understand that you are the most dangerous personality in the world to them.
Prabhupada: To kill “demon-crazy,” LSD. (laughs) Yes, that is my mission. That is Krishna’s mission, paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam [BG 4.8], to kill all these demons, crazy demons. I have no such power; otherwise I would have killed them. Either establish Krishna conscious government or kill them — bas, finish. I would have done that, violence.
Tamala Krishna: Yes, when good argument fails…
Prabhupada: Kill them. Finish. Just like Parasurama did. Kill all them, twenty-one times.
Room conversation, April 19, 1977, Bombay
That’s all. Murkhasya lakutausadhi(?). When a person is fool number one, beat him. That’s all. Dhol gunar… Tulasi dasa has said, dhol gunar sudra pasu nari, ei saba sasana ke adhikari. Dhol, drum, you have to bring it to the tune by beating, “tung, tung.” Gunar. Gunar means fool person. Pasu, animal. Dhol, gunar, pa…, sudra, and nari, woman. They should be punished to bring them into order. Ei saba sasana ke adhikari. Otherwise they will spoil. A barking dog, you cannot pacify him, “My dear dog, don’t bark.” It will disturb him: “No!” Dhol gunar sudra pasu nari, ei saba sasana ke… So anyone who is denying the existence of God, he is a rascal number one and beat him with shoes. Bas. He is being beaten with shoes by nature.