Used with permission of the author: Originally published on March 31, 2014, this article was written 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.

 

 

The Hare Krishna Cult in a Nutshell

 

When you first meet Hare Krishna followers they will undoubtedly tell you about how this world is full of misery and that, as spiritual beings, we really don’t belong here. Instead, we should rekindle our lost relationship with god and return to the spiritual world, where we came from. It’s the goal of life! You know, as a first impression that doesn’t even sound much different from other religions might tell you. However, it’s behind this superficial veneer that many of the underlying beliefs become more and more unbelievable, if you will. Here follow some examples of the fundamental beliefs you’ll be expected to accept as literal truth if you were to choose to become a part of this cult.

Reality as a Prison

The world as you know it is a penal colony for souls that have turned their attention from god to themselves.[1] No bars are required because the desire for sex is all that’s needed to keep you here.[2] In order to fully understand how this works, you’ll also need to accept that women are inherently inferior to men, mentally and intellectually, and must be controlled and dominated by them at all times.[3]

Your Existence is Governed by Higher Beings

The universe is very small (less than the orbit of Saturn)[4] and contains at its center a four-headed man seated on the stigma of a cosmic-sized flower, growing from a lake in the navel of an even larger cosmic-sized person. There is nothing allegoric about this. This four-headed man, named Brahma, must be accepted as a real person and as the secondary creator within the universe, as he is the one who has filled it up with planets, stars, and everything else it contains by singing songs and using aspects of himself as source material.[5]

The universe is populated by pious demi-gods, in charge of things like rain, wind, fire, oceans, etc., and their less fortunate half-siblings, demons, whose quarrels and lives affect the entire universe.[6] Yes, there is a god, similar to Zeus, who makes it rain and creates lightning with his “thunderbolt” weapon. Mixed in are powerful, independent sages that may choose one side or the other. In the past it was possible to copulate with these beings in very unconventional ways, resulting in virginal births, births from clay pots, birth through being churned out of a dead body, and other incredible types of birth.[7]

We’re in a Corner of the “Earth”

The Earth you see is only a small corner of an extended flat disc, about the size of the orbit of Saturn. This disc has oceans of, among others things, liquor, milk, sugar cane juice, and yogurt all many times larger than the planet itself.[8] In some areas there are trees hundreds of miles high, some with fruits that create rivers of juice when falling to the ground.[9] Again, these are not allegories. The Sun is closer to the extended Earth disc than the Moon and is the only source of light in the entire universe.[10] Above and below the disc are the realms of the demi-gods and the demons, respectively, including a hell made up of 28 planets where sinners are tortured beyond belief for millions of years for even trivial transgressions.[11] Yes, it is similar to the worldviews of the ancient Greek, Iranian, and Nordic civilizations, with a central mountain and all.

History was Rewritten

History as presented by modern science is completely false. True history is only found in the ancient Indian scriptures presented by the Hare Krishna cult, which make it amply clear that humanity descended from the inhabitants of the Sun and the Moon.[12] Millions of years ago there was a vastly superior global civilization, complete with spaceships and nuclear weapons. As you go back in time, people were exponentially taller (up to 6,000 feet) and lived exponentially longer (up to 100,000 years). Their memories were perfect, so there was no need to write anything down. As recent as 5,000 years ago this “Vedic civilization” was still going strong. At that time the Earth was populated by at least a billion people and the planet was still ruled over by a single emperor.[13] This is the tip of the iceberg. The full picture makes the science fiction story Ron Hubbard cooked up for his Scientology cult sound like the work of an amateur.

While the Sky is Watching

Sin, in its personified form, enters into grains and beans on the eleventh day after each new Moon and full Moon, which requires that you follow a fasting regime.[14] In extension, the thoughts of a cook will subtly affect the food being cooked, the influence of which is then passed on to whoever eats it.[15] Solar and lunar eclipses are caused when the Sun and Moon are swallowed by the disembodied head of a demon. For some reason these occurrences emanate evil influences that cause disasters on the Earth. People can only protect themselves by either staying home or bathing in a sacred river.[16] Astrology is a “Vedic” science that is taken very seriously by the Hare Krishnas.[17] Needless to say, the level of gullibility involved in the acceptance of these kinds of superstitions is a good indicator of the multitude of other unconventional views of reality you are expected to believe.

You’re Never Alone

Cannibalistic demons, ghosts, witches, magic powers, curses, talking animals, shape-shifters, flying mountains, eagles capable of interplanetary flight, and other fabled entities and abilities all truly exist. In the past people were more qualified to see and interact with them.[18] In addition, there are literally millions of demi-gods that govern the workings of every little aspect of existence – such as Mitra, the demi-god who controls your anus.

Talk Your Way Out

You can get out of this miserable material prison-world by repeating a specific series of sounds, called a mantra, thousands upon thousands of times, over and over again, for the rest of your life. This activity will also enable you to better understand reality, especially when aided by ancient scriptures, obeying and worshiping the cult’s leadership, and drinking hot milk before bedtime (by activating the “finer brain tissue” needed to understand spirituality). And of course, the Hare Krishna cult is really the only religious organization through which this can be done. As a matter of fact, it is the only real religion. All other religions are bogus.[19]

If you somehow think the above concepts sound great and would make a much more fulfilling outlook on reality, your next step would likely be to get more seriously involved with the Hare Krishnas. If you do so, keep in mind that you’re expected to at the very least become a vegetarian. The reasons for this have little to do with ethics, although it may still be presented as such for popular appeal. At the bottom line, Hare Krishnas are vegetarian because their interpretation of the faith demands so.[20] They don’t really care about ethics and can’t stand veganism, which, after all, criticizes the fantasy world of the milk-chugging, butter-stealing, yogurt-slinging blue cowherd god their faith is based on.

Over time, more and more subtle pressure will be exerted for you to adopt additional “good qualities,” such as:

  • Limiting your company to like-minded people

This means Hare Krishna followers. It also means you must distance yourself from people who aren’t into the Hare Krishna thing or who aren’t fully accepting of it – even if that means close friends, direct family, and relatives.[21]

Most of the time you’ll be told, directly or through anecdotes and examples, what are the detrimental effects of “associating with karmis.Karmi is their jargon for worldly people engaged in worldly activities. However, when it comes to distancing yourself from parents, several high-profile lawsuits, child abuse cases, and bad press have made the cult a bit more careful. Nowadays you’ll find that they’re initially quicker to point out that parents must be respected and shouldn’t be abandoned, and that the best way to deal with them is to convert them through your own development of “good qualities.”[22]

  • Limiting your interests to Krishna-related things only

This also means distancing yourself from the “karmi world” in general. You can’t really do anything anymore that isn’t about Krishna in one way or another. No more reading or watching movies for entertainment, no more outings for recreation, no more restaurant visits, and so on. You will likely also need to say goodbye to most of your old hobbies and the music you used to listen to, as well as any kind of pet.[23] To the degree that you keep doing any of these things, you are kind of “fallen,” “weak,” or a “fringie” (on the fringe of the cult-culture).

Both of the above will create isolation, which makes indoctrination much easier.

  • Adopting a “service attitude” and developing “tolerance” and “humility”[24]

These may sound like nice qualities in the abstract, but a “humble” follower with a good “service attitude” is a follower willing to obey orders who is less likely to question or challenge authorities. A follower who is “tolerant” is also less likely to speak up in the face of personal or institutional abuse.

  • Depriving yourself of a healthy full 8 hours of sleep[25]

You will likely be told that sleeping is synonymous with ignorance and that “great devotees” either did not sleep at all or slept only a few hours a day.

  • Drone mantras for hours on end and engage in other repetitive ritualism[26]

These things will make you more and more susceptible to manipulation and set you up for exploitation.

Now, the question may be raised here whether all Krishna followers do this on purpose, whether these activities are purposefully nefarious. I don’t believe so. Everyone who has gotten into the Hare Krishna Thing has been subject to these circumstances and experiences to a greater or lesser degree. They are part of a larger dynamic that many cults have in common; one grown out of the very doctrine-led society structure that gave birth to it. At the root of that structure in the Hare Krishna cult stands the charismatic founder, Bhaktivedanta Swami.

Bhaktivedanta Swami had clear visions of the future state you and your children would be part of; a state ruled by a spiritual dictator and wrought by the Swami’s interpretations of a utopia distilled from the myths and legends of Indian literature.[27] Some of the facets of this utopia include:

  • Restrictions of Freedom

Freedoms perceived as sinful, yet stemming from the integral nature of man will be “categorically stopped.” These things are partially linked to the cult’s own required regulative principles, and include gambling and speculative business ventures, smoking and drinking and other forms of intoxication (tea, coffee, chewing tobacco, etc.), prostitution and sex outside of marriage, and falsity – despite the fact that all these things were a part of ancient India and were only frowned upon when engaged in by the Brahmin caste. It also deserves to be mentioned that even many initiated followers are “fallen,” “weak,” or “fringies” when it comes to these things (most notably with sex and intoxication). Even Bhaktivedanta Swami himself regularly used tobacco snuff.[28]

  • Mandatory Austerities

The two monthly “ekadashi” fasting days observed by the Hare Krishnas will be compulsory, possibly including further austerities of body and mind.

  • Imposed Juvenile Arranged Marriages

The marriageable age of girls – yes, girls, not women – will be 10 years of age or older – as Bhaktivedanta Swami said, “after the first menstruation, the husband is ready” – and the marriageable age of boys will be 16 or older, the boy being at least 5 years older than the girl. Arranged marriage will be compulsory, and men will be permitted to have as many wives as they like. In addition, coeducation will only exist for married couples and there will be no scope for divorce.

  • Forced Financial Charity

You are expected to hand over up to 50% of your income to enhance this dictatorial utopia.

  • Forced Spiritual Engagements

You will be expected to work for god, study scripture, recite mantras in private and public, serve perceived “advanced” spiritualists, and live in a place of worship. This is, of course, all limited to the Hare Krishna doctrines. There will be no scope for religious freedom, nor freedom of speech.

  • Forced Vegetarianism

Meat eating will only be allowed in accordance with sacrificial rites to the goddess Kali, and will make you an instant outcast in the eyes of the cult followers.

  • Forced Lack of Education

Education beyond basic reading, writing, and math will come exclusively from the books of the founder. Public and higher education will cease to exist. Women need no further education at all, other than being instructed by other women how to cook, clean, and process milk products.[29]

As you can see, there are a lot of things you should be doing and ideas you should be accepting without question, all of which are typical for quickly drawing you into the isolated cult environment. It should therefore not come as a surprise that they do not want you to do anything that could lead you out of that environment again, such as:

  • Educating yourself on the history of the cult, or ancient India in general, from sources other than those produced by the cult

There is an enormous difference between the history of India and the wider world as presented by the Hare Krishnas and that presented by a more scientific approach to history. You should know that the picture presented by the Hare Krishnas derives almost exclusively from the mythology found in a few antique scriptures, whereas scientific history is based principally on the archaeological and historical research of the past 30 years, including genetic research. Reality paints a picture that accommodates the historical references from scripture that relate to fairly recent history and can be cross-referenced with other cultures that were in contact with the Indian empires of antiquity – such as the Greeks (Yavanas), Turkic peoples (Hunas), Persians (Kambojas), Chinese (Cinas), Scythians (Sakas), etc. Going further back in time, the water gets murkier. Scripture becomes more and more like a fairy-tale, whereas archaeology and genetics can clearly indicate how various cultural influences spread over the Indian sub-continent from the North-West to North-East and then southwards.[30] The history of the Hare Krishna movement itself also depends significantly on fabricated scriptures and lineages, and hagiographies of most of their illustrious forebears.[31] Were you to educate yourself on these matters, there would be no other natural conclusion than to leave the cult, as its actual history is an undignified mess of falsehood, concoction, and political maneuvering that hardly resembles the orderly and divinely ordained narrative the cult accepts as perfectly true.

  • Reading material or talking to people from other faiths based on Hinduism

By doing so you may find out that the doctrines the Hare Krishna movement are based on are a very narrow subset of the much larger variety of religious systems that make up Hinduism.

  • Reading material or talking to people from rival groups

This poses a similar problem as the previous point, but more so, as rival groups themselves each have their own narrow-minded versions of the tradition. From the elitist, only-saviors-of-the-world perspective, losing someone to a rival group is a great loss. For you, it merely means going from the frying pan into the fire.

  • Hanging out with people who aren’t Hare Krishnas, other than for the purpose of turning them into Hare Krishnas

Karmis, really anyone who is a “non-devotee,” are considered extremely dangerous when not handled correctly, especially to new converts. They have the power to pull you back out of the cult by “polluting” your mind with “mundane” matters and “corrupting” your intelligence.[32]

So really anything that doesn’t further the cause of the cult or the perceived spiritual path you are on needs to be countered or given up. The latter usually means different things, depending on your situation when you get involved. If you’re single, the assumption is that you’ll move into a temple or preaching center and become a celibate student. This requires renunciation, as students aren’t supposed to own anything. Therefore you’ll be expected to give up most, if not all, of your material possessions. If it’s fairly useless stuff, “give up” means abandon. If it’s money or anything else valuable, “give up” means handing it over to the temple or preaching center authorities, who will then do with it as they see fit. You’ll never see any of it again, and will likely also never know what was actually done with it.

If you’re married, the assumption is that you’ll either live on the cult’s property – which then warrants you to be treated just like the unmarried followers – or you live “on the outside,” meaning that you’re expected to contribute (give up) as much as you can. In reality this means the same free labor and donations of money, vehicles, furniture, services, etc. as the single followers “give up,” but in a seemingly more voluntary fashion.

There is only one other category, one that gets treated quite differently: celebrities. If you’re rich, famous, and/or powerful, you’re still expected to “give up” in the same way as the rest, but the focus is on your money and the possible perks you can provide. You’ll be treated with endless tolerance, sweet-talk, and kid-gloves while long-term plans for exploiting you are worked out.

Now, let’s imagine for a moment that you still think this is all a grand idea and you quite look forward to graduating to Hare Krishna cult heaven to eternally serve a blue cowherd boy while he sexes up little girls in the moonlight. You must now ask the million-dollar question:

How well has all this worked out for those who went before me?

Well, as far as attaining the promised lofty goal is concerned, not well. Not well at all, as a matter of fact. The very harsh reality is that young, single converts will spend their time as a free labor force, often required to change city, state, or country, until they burn out, after which they either get married or leave the cult (or both). The exceptions work their way up in the authority structure, where they enjoy the associated perks and often end up doing the same as the people who used to exploit them. Married couples tend to hang in there for decades, more often on or near the “fringe,” even raising children in the cult.

But all in all, there is zero proof, beyond some seriously questionable and unverifiable anecdotal evidence, that anyone in the cult has ever achieved the promised goals. If the tens of thousands of rank-and-file followers who have left the cult over the decades could tell you, they’d pretty much speak in one voice, and it goes something like this:

You can devote decades to the Hare Krishna cult, sell tens of thousands of books, translate thousands of pages, spend decades of your life in rain and snow and wind on the streets proselytizing, work in construction, exhaust yourself in kitchens or on altars, earn the cult hundreds of thousands of dollars, recite literally millions of mantras, sing tens of thousands of sacred songs, give all your money, blood, sweat, and tears, and in the end… no one cares. Unless you’ve worked your way into the swami-echelon, or some other higher level of corruption and hypocrisy, you leave with less than you came with. More often than not, you leave with absolutely nothing.

And during all that time you will have prayed thousands of unanswered prayers while you lived mostly in poverty, deprived of adequate health care. You will have offered thousands of flowers to statues while your retirement and savings accounts remained empty. You will have bowed down blindly to every mere human being decorated with a beggar’s cloth and a title, muttering words of praise that amount to nothing more than a shallow appreciation for the emperor’s new clothes. You will have served a system of exploitation and corruption, and you will have served it well.

The truth is that you were taken, and equally true is that you took it – hook, line, and sinker.

You will have lost out on some of the best years of your life, during which you could have gotten a degree and built a career, met the love of your life, raised some kids, actually gotten to know family members that are now all dead, enjoyed nature, good food, good music, and good sex, traveled to beautiful destinations, expanded your circle of friends and acquaintances, worked on your health… and the list goes on. Those who get out consider themselves extremely lucky, and they’re grateful for whatever time they’ve left.

I know this because I’ve been there.

Don’t be like me. Don’t take the bait. Don’t ever just accept what you’re told.

Semper questio!

 

– Willem

 

 


References

SB stands for Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), the compilation with translation and commentary by Bhaktivedanta Swami.
BG stands for Bhagavad-Gita, the compilation with translation and commentary by Bhaktivedanta Swami.
CC stands for Caitanya-Caritamrta, the compilation with translation and commentary by Bhaktivedanta Swami.

[1] Easy Journey to Other Planets, Chapter 2: “Similarly, the conditioned souls within this material world are only a fraction of all the living entities in the creation of God, and because they have disobeyed God—because they did not abide by the order of Krishna—they have been put into this material world.”
SB 2.3.17, Los Angeles, July 12, 1969: “Just like everything belongs to government, either in the prison house or outside the prison house, similarly, this material world is just like prison house, conditioned life.”
Room Conversation, Columbus, May 10, 1969: “Material consciousness means forgetting God. When one forgets God, that is material consciousness.”
Conversation with Mr. Wadell, London, July 10, 1973: “Similarly, any living entity, any living entity who is originally part and parcel of God, God is all-good, therefore the part and parcel of God is also all-good. But as soon as comes to the material world, he [break] As exactly like the same, that as soon as one is put into the prison wall, within, he is a criminal. Now he has to undergo the criminal laws. Similarly, because we have come to this material world, we have to undergo the material tribulations. We cannot avoid.”
BG 4.19, New York, August 5, 1966: “Actually, we are not independent. If I think I am independent of Krishna, then I am dependent on the influence of material nature.”
BG 3.27, Melbourne, June 27, 1974: “So we have got almighty father, and leaving His place, I have come to this material world to enjoy independently. That is criminality. And we are suffering.”

[2] BG 3.39: “Thus, a man’s pure consciousness is covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.”
SB 3.30.8, purport:
“Family life within the kingdom of illusory energy, maya, is just like a prison for the eternal living entity. In prison a prisoner is shackled by iron chains and iron bars. Similarly, a conditioned soul is shackled by the charming beauty of a woman, by her solitary embraces and talks of so-called love, and by the sweet words of his small children. Thus he forgets his real identity.”
Dialectic Spiritualism, Chapter on Socrates, 1973:Rajo-guna, the mode of passion, includes kama, lusty desires. When our lusty desires are not fulfilled, we become angry (krodha). All this binds us to the material world.”

[3] Prabhupada in His Own Words – Regression of Women’s Rights, compiled by Willem Vandenberg, 2010

[4] The space within the Puranic universe measures 4 billion miles across. With its seven successive layers – each one exponentially, 10 times, thicker than the last – the total diameter reaches almost 16,000 lightyears, which is still puny compared to the 120,000 lightyear estimated diameter of our Milky Way galaxy, just one of over 100 billion galaxies in the known universe.

[5] SB 3.20.14-53: “From the navel of the Personality of Godhead Garbhodakasayi Visnu sprouted a lotus flower effulgent like a thousand blazing suns. This lotus flower is the reservoir of all conditioned souls, and the first living entity who came out of the lotus flower was the omnipotent Brahma. When that Supreme Personality of Godhead who is lying on the Garbhodaka Ocean entered the heart of Brahma, Brahma brought his intelligence to bear, and with the intelligence invoked he began to create the universe as it was before.”

SB 5.20.29: “On Puskaradvipa there is a great lotus flower with 100,000,000 pure golden petals, as effulgent as the flames of fire. That lotus flower is considered the sitting place of Lord Brahma…”

[6] The asuras are descendants from Kasyapa Muni and his wives Diti and Danu, while the suras are the offspring of his wife Aditi.

[7] SB 1.9.6–7, purport: “It is learned that this ṛsi, while taking bath in the Ganges, happened to meet Ghṛtaci, one of the beautiful society girls of heaven, and thus he discharged semen, which was kept and preserved in an earthen pot and from which Drona was born.”

SB 4.14.43: “After making a decision, the saintly persons and sages churned the thighs of the dead body of King Vena with great force and according to a specific method. As a result of this churning, a dwarf-like person was born from King Vena’s body.”

SB 6.18.6: “Upon seeing Urvasi, the celestial society girl, both Mitra and Varuna discharged semen, which they preserved in an earthen pot. The two sons Agastya and Vasistha later appeared from that pot, and they are therefore the common sons of Mitra and Varuna.”

SB 3.31.20, purport: “It is said that Sukadeva Gosvami, on this consideration, remained for sixteen years within the womb of his mother…”

SB 9.21.35: “When Saradvan met Urvasi, he discharged semen, which fell on a clump of sara grass. From this semen were born two all-auspicious babies, one male and the other female.”

SB 1.10.7, Mayapur, June 22, 1973: “Generally, the son is born from the vagina, but Kunti’s son was born from the ear.”

SB 1.3.21, Los Angeles, September 26, 1972: “Then again, Vyasadeva was born, but nobody could understand. She remained a virgin girl by the blessings of Parasara Muni.”

[8] SB 5.20.2: “As Sumeru Mountain is surrounded by Jambudvipa, Jambudvipa is also surrounded by an ocean of salt water.”

SB 5.20.7: “Plaksadvipa is surrounded by an ocean of sugarcane juice, equal in breadth to the island itself. Similarly, there is then another island—Salmalidvipa—twice as broad as Plaksadvipa and surrounded by an equally broad body of water called Surasagara, the ocean that tastes like liquor.”

SB 5.20.13: “Kusadvipa is surrounded by an ocean of liquid ghee as broad as the island itself.”

SB 5.20.18: “Krauncadvipa is surrounded by an ocean of milk as broad as the island itself.”

SB 5.20.24: “Sakadvipa is surrounded by an ocean of churned yogurt as broad as the island itself.”

SB 5.20.29: “Outside the ocean of yogurt is another island, known as Puskaradvipa … It is surrounded by an ocean of very tasteful …”

Curiously, on several occasions Bhaktivedanta Swami contradicts himself and the Puranic cosmology by stating that the seven islands of bhu-mandala are the seven Earth continents:

SB 3.21.2, purport: “These seven islands are still current, as Asia, Europe, Africa, America, Australia and the North and South Poles.”

SB 4.21.12, purport: “Sapta-dvipa refers to the seven great islands or continents on the surface of the globe: (1) Asia, (2) Europe, (3) Africa, (4) North America, (5) South America, (6) Australia and (7) Oceania.”

[9] SB 5.16.16-19: “On the lower slopes of Mandara Mountain is a mango tree named Devacuta. It is 1,100 yojanas high. Mangoes as big as mountain peaks and as sweet as nectar fall from the top of this tree for the enjoyment of the denizens of heaven. When all those solid fruits fall from such a height, they break, and the sweet, fragrant juice within them flows out and becomes increasingly more fragrant as it mixes with other scents. That juice cascades from the mountain in waterfalls and becomes a river called Aruṇoda, which flows pleasantly through the eastern side of Ilavrta. … Similarly, the fruits of the jambu tree, which are full of pulp and have very small seeds, fall from a great height and break to pieces. Those fruits are the size of elephants, and the juice gliding from them becomes a river named Jambu-nadi. This river falls a distance of 10,000 yojanas, from the summit of Merumandara to the southern side of Ilavrta, and floods the entire land of Ilavrta with juice.”

SB 5.20.8: “On Salmalidvipa there is a salmali tree, from which the island takes its name. That tree is as broad and tall as the plaksa tree—in other words 100 yojanas [800 miles] broad and 1,100 yojanas [8,800 miles] tall.”

[10] SB 3.15.2, purport: “It appears from this verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam that the sun is the source of light for all the planets in the universe. The modern scientific theory which states that there are many suns in each universe is not supported by this verse. It is understood that in each universe there is only one sun, which supplies light to all the planets.”

SB 4.29.42-44, purport: “According to Western theory, all the stars are different suns, but according to Vedic information, there is only one sun within this universe. All the so-called stars are but different planets.”

SB 5.21.11, purport: “The Vedic literature informs us that within this universe there is one sun, which is moving. The Western theory that all the luminaries in the sky are different suns is not confirmed in the Vedic literature.”

Morning Walk, June 2, 1975, Honolulu:Paramahamsa: Srila Prabhupada, people will be very surprised to find out that the moon is farther away from us than the sun when they read your…, when they read Fifth Canto.”

Morning Walk, November 7, 1975, Bombay:Prabhupada: Yes, they have got, but we have also got. So it is little difference. Just like we are calculating that the sun is the beginning of the planets, sun, then moon. Therefore we say ‘Sunday, Monday.’ This is very quite reasonable. Tuesday. … Yes. And planet is 1,006,000 miles above, above. And Saturday, Saturn is the last. So now sun is calculated to be 93,000,000’s miles from earth, and if the moon is still further 1,600,000, then it becomes about fifteen hundred thousand miles. No. Fifteen million miles. So how they are going, in four days, fifteen million?”

Morning Walk, June 4, 1976, Los Angeles:Prabhupada: But this is the arrangement all over the world. Sunday first, Monday second, then Tuesday. So Sun, Moon, Mars, Jupiter, in this way. Last Saturn. This is the arrangement of the planets. So if this is the arrangement of the planets, moonday next to…, moon next to sun, and if you cannot go to the sun, how can you go to the moon?”

[11] SB 5.26.5–37: These verses give an extend description of the various hells and their associated punishments.

[12] SB Cantos 9 and 12 give lengthy genealogies and histories of how this took place.

[13] SB 1.10.3, purport: “Therefore, it was possible for Maharaja Yudhisthira to rule the whole world, including the seas, because the principles were infallible and universally applicable to everyone.”

SB 1.12.24, purport: “He ruled over the world for several thousands of …”

SB 1.15.38, purport: “The total land on the earth bordered by the seas was under the subjugation of the King of Hastinapura.”

SB 3.1.20, purport: “The history of the world cannot give any systematic account for more than three thousand years into the past, but before that the whole world was under the flag and military strength of Maharaja Yudhisthira, who was the emperor of the world.”

SB 3.21.2, purport: “They ruled this earth, which is divided into seven islands. These seven islands are still current, as Asia, Europe, Africa, America, Australia and the North and South Poles.”

SB 4.16.27: “Just as there are many united states in various parts of the world, in olden days the entire world was ruled through many states, but there was a supreme emperor who ruled over all subsidiary states.”

SB 4.21.12, purport: “Prthu Maharaja ruled over the world many thousands of years before the so-called prehistoric age, and it is clearly mentioned here that in those days not only were all the different parts of the world known, but they were ruled by one king.”

BG 1.4–5, London, July 10, 1973: “There was only one flag. The whole planet was being ruled by one king.”

BG 2.11, Edinburgh, July 16, 1972: “At that time, 5,000 years ago, the Kuru dynasty was ruling all over the world.”

BG 2.11, Rotary Club Address, Delhi, March 25, 1976: “… Maharaja Pariksit, he ruled over the whole world. Bharatavarsa means the whole world, and the capital was here, Hastinapura.”

SB 1.10.3, Mayapur, June 18, 1973: “So Maharaja Yudhisthira, when he was firmly convinced of his position, then he took charge, took charge of ruling over the whole world. Not… The whole world. He took charge of ruling over the whole world.”

SB, Melbourne, May 19, 1975: “Formerly, up to five thousand years ago, the whole world was being controlled and ruled over by kings whose capital was Hastinapura, New Delhi. … Madhudvisa: She’s just wondering how it would be possible for one king to rule the whole world? It seems like it is very difficult. Nowadays we have so many leaders and they cannot manage… Prabhupada: Forget that. Why you are thinking that you cannot rule over; therefore others cannot? You are thinking in your term. But there are. That is possible.”

Pandal lecture, Bombay, March 31, 1971: “There was human society before 2,600 years. And what was their religion? We think, from Vedic evidences, the whole world was in Krishna consciousness. There was one God, Krishna; one scripture, Bhagavad-gita; one consciousness, Krishna consciousness; and one work, service of the Lord. From Mahabharata, the great history of India, we can understand that up to Maharaja Pariksit, the whole world was ruled by one flag, this Vedic culture.”

Conversation with David Wynne, July 9, 1973, London: “Five thousand years ago, it was all perfect. The whole world, this planet, was being ruled by one king. And they were all happy. That is in the history.”

In reality, the earliest known contemporary civilizations (Sumerian, Egyptian, Chinese, Toltec, Nordic and alike) nowhere acknowledge the existence of these emperors, let alone their rule. To date no tangible evidence has ever been found anywhere on the globe to support this claim. Research suggests that all cradles of civilization emerge around the same time period of approximately 8,000 to 6,000 B.C.E, including that of the Indus Valley.

Archaeology in India shows that going back further in time does not reveal advanced civilizations with airplanes, but cave dwellings, paintings, and stone tools much like in the rest of the world of the same time period. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_of_civilization

[14] CC Madhya-lila 24.342: “You should recommend the avoidance of mixed Ekadasi and the performance of pure Ekadasi. You should also describe the fault in not observing this. One should be very careful as far as these items are concerned.”

The Padma Purana, Kriya-sagara-sara chapter 14 and Kriya-yoga-sara chapter 22 explain how the papa-purusa (sin personified) is allowed to enter grains on the Ekadasi days. There is, however, no mention of beans or any of the other grain-less and bean-less products added to the list over time.

[15] See Bhoga and Kitchen Standards at http://www.iskcondesiretree.com/page/bhoga-and-kitchen-standards. No scriptural references for this idea have been found so far, only interpretations and conjecture.

[16] SB 8.9.24–26: “Rahu, the demon who causes eclipses of the sun and moon, covered himself with the dress of a demigod and thus entered the assembly of the demigods and drank nectar without being detected by anyone, even by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The moon and the sun, however, because of permanent animosity toward Rahu, understood the situation. Thus Rahu was detected. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, using His disc, which was sharp like a razor, at once cut off Rahu’s head. When Rahu’s head was severed from his body, the body, being untouched by the nectar, could not survive. Rahu’s head, however, having been touched by the nectar, became immortal. Thus Lord Brahma accepted Rahu’s head as one of the planets. Since Rahu is an eternal enemy of the moon and the sun, he always tries to attack them on the nights of the full moon and the dark moon.”

SB 4.29.69, purport: “In this connection, the darkness occurring before the full moon, the lunar eclipse, can be explained as being another planet, known as Rahu. According to Vedic astronomy, the Rahu planet, which is not visible, is accepted. Sometimes the Rahu planet is visible in the presence of full moonlight. It then appears that this Rahu planet exists somewhere near the orbit of the moon. The failure of modern moon excursionists may be due to the Rahu planet. In other words, those who are supposed to be going to the moon may actually be going to this invisible planet Rahu. Actually, they are not going to the moon but to the planet Rahu, and after reaching this planet, they come back.”

CC Adi-lila 13.92, purport: “According to the Jyotir-veda, the Rahu planet comes in front of the full moon, and thus a lunar eclipse takes place. It is customary in India that all the followers of the Vedic scriptures bathe in the Ganges or the sea as soon as there is a lunar or solar eclipse.”

[17] Morning Walk, Los Angeles, December 8, 1973: “Svarupa Damodara: Srila Prabhupada, are these astrologers, ah, are, can we believe in them, what they say? Called pseudo-science. Prabhupada: No. Astrology is a science. [break] …that I shall go to the foreign countries and throughout the whole world I will establish so many temples, so many things…”
CC Madhya-lila 20.125, New York, November 27, 1966: “These are sastra, these are astrological calculation, everything perfect.”
Letter to Tamala Krsna, Los Angeles, 21 June, 1970: “So far I am concerned, I cannot say what I was in my previous life, but one great astrologer calculated that I was previously a physician and my life was sinless.”
SB 1.12.29, purport: “There are different branches of knowledge in the Vedas, of which astrology and pathology are two important branches necessary for the common man.”
CC Adi-lila 17.103, purport: “Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu received him with great respect because he was a qualified brahmaṇa who knew the astrological science perfectly.”
CC Madhya-lila 20.330–335, New York, December 23, 1966: “So this astrologer was so accurate. I have got that horoscope. Not here. If some day I shall, then will show. It is clearly written there that ‘This time he will go across the sea.’ Just see. The circumstances became so that I have come. So astrology is so nice.”

[18] Garuda Purana 2.1–s20 details the various types of ghosts.

SB 2.3.23, purport: “When a man dies, he is called dead, but when he again appears in a subtle form not visible to our present vision and yet acts, such a dead body is called a ghost. Ghosts are always very bad elements, always creating a fearful situation for others.”

SB 4.18.18, purport: “Those who are very sinful and attached to their family, house, village or country do not receive a gross body made of material elements but remain in a subtle body, composed of mind, ego and intelligence. Those who live in such subtle bodies are called ghosts.”

SB 4.26.10, purport: “A confused, frustrated man cannot get relief by committing suicide because suicide will simply lead him to take birth in the lower species of life or to remain a ghost, unable to attain a gross material body.”

SB 4.29.61, purport: “Unless the living entity gets another gross body, he will have to continue in a subtle body, or a ghostly body. One becomes a ghost when the subtle body acts without the help of the instrumental gross body.”

SB 4.29.76-77, purport: “Those who are overly attracted to their life situation are forced to remain in a ghostly body and are not allowed to accept another gross body. Even in the body of a ghost, they create disturbances for neighbors and relatives.”

SB 6.12.26, purport: “It appears from the statement of this verse that sometimes there are flying mountains and that their wings are cut by the thunderbolt of Indra.”

SB 5.23.3, purport: “Regarding the great eagles mentioned in this verse, it is understood that there are eagles so big that they can prey on big elephants. They fly so high that they can travel from one planet to another. They start flying in one planet and land in another, and while in flight they lay eggs that hatch into other birds while falling through the air.”

SB 8.11.34, purport: “Indra thought: Formerly, when many mountains flying in the sky with wings would fall to the ground and kill people, I cut their wings with this same thunderbolt.”

BG 1.41–42, London, July 29, 1973: “Sometimes due to sinful activities, too much attachment, a man becomes ghost. Ghost, there is ghosts. Bhuta preta pisaca. Not only this life, demonic life, but after death also, there are ghostly lives. They do not get this gross body.

BG 2.12, Hyderabad, December 12, 1976: “Just like ghost. Ghost is also individual. But because the ghost does not get this material body they are invisible. They create disturbance for want of this body.”

And many, many more references…

[19] Prabhupada in His Own Words – Religious and Cultural Elitism, compiled by Willem Vandenberg, 2010

[20] Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers, Chapter 5: “Srila Prabhupada: Vegetarian is no qualification.”
Letter to Kirtanananda, New York 14 April, 1967: “’Why we cannot eat meat,’ to answer this question the straight reply is that ‘because Krishna does not eat meat.’’ We are concerned with Krishna Consciousness so our eating is dependent on Krishna Consciousness. We cannot eat, cannot do, cannot think, cannot will or can do nothing without Krishna consciousness. By nature one has to eat some weaker living being and therefore animals are eaten by man, vegetables are eaten by animal or the weak is eaten by the strong and therefore one living being is eaten by another stronger living being. But there is a systematic rules and principles for eating and a human being is to eat Krishna Prasadam. If Krishna would have eaten meat, we would have also eaten His meat Prasadam.”

[21] Nectar of Instruction, verse 2: “One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) overendeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kṛiṣhṇa consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.”
CC Madhya-lila 19.157, purport: “When one associates with nondevotees, the maddened elephant is set loose.”

[22] See How To Deal With Non-devotee Parents at: http://www.iskcondesiretree.com/page/how-to-deal-with-non-devotee

[23] 26 Second Avenue Temple Notice, November 25, 1966: “All initiated devotees must attend morning and evening classes; Must not be addicted to any kind of intoxicants including coffee, tea and cigarettes; They are forbidden to have illicit sex-connections; Must be strictly vegetarian; Should not extensively mix with non-devotees; Should not eat foodstuff cooked by non-devotees; Should not waste time in idle talks nor engage himself in frivolous sports; Should always chant and sing the Lord’s Holy names.”
Narada Bhakti Sutra 13, purport: “Strictly speaking, if a devotee ignores the regulative principles and acts according to his whims—if, for example, he does not eat krishna-prasadam but eats anywhere and everywhere, such as in restaurants—there is every possibility of his falling down. If he accumulates money without spending it for devotional service, there is every possibility of his falling down. If he applies his energy not in the service of the Lord but in some material activity, there is every possibility of his falling down. If the devotee does not engage himself always in hearing and chanting the topics of Krishna and His activities but instead indulges in idle talk, there is every chance of his falling down. If a neophyte devotee does not follow the orders of the spiritual master and simply officially sticks to the principles, or if he does not strictly follow the principles, there is every possibility of his falling down. To become greedy is another cause of falldown. And to associate with persons who are not in devotional service is the last word in maya’s allurements for causing a devotee to fall down”

[24] Letter to Sachisuta, Montreal, June 17, 1968: “In other words, this science is appreciated by service attitude only. It is never understood by any challenging spirit. One who is submissive and ready to give aural reception of the transcendental message, to him only the transcendence becomes revealed. So the more you become in service attitude for Krishna, Krishna will reveal Himself to you.”
Arrival Lecture, Gainesville, July 29, 1971: “I do not pay these boys. Rather, they pay me, and they engage the service. They pay and serve. In the material world, as soon as you stop payment there is no service. Why? Because they, by serving Krishna, they get transcendental pleasure. So the more you engage yourself in the service of the Lord, the more you become enthusiastic. There is no question of becoming tired.”
BG 8.5: “To remember Krishna one should chant the maha-mantra… incessantly, following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya, being more tolerant than the tree, humbler than the grass and offering all respect to others without requiring respect in return.”
SB 4.6.47, purport: “The Krishna consciousness movement has been started to deliver the envious persons of the world from the clutches of maya, and even though devotees are sometimes put into trouble, they push on the Krishna consciousness movement in all tolerance.”
SB 4.24.67, purport: “The atheists are always prepared to harass a devotee; therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu suggested that one be very tolerant of these people.”

[25] BG 6.16: “One should not sleep more than six hours daily. One who sleeps more than six hours out of twenty-four is certainly influenced by the mode of ignorance. A person in the mode of ignorance is lazy and prone to sleep a great deal. Such a person cannot perform yoga.”
SB 1.5.35, Vrindavana, August 16, 1974:
“Sleep, you require some rest, but don’t sleep twenty-six hours. Not like that. Utmost six hours to eight hours, sufficient for any healthy man. Even the doctor says, if anyone sleeps more than eight hours, he is diseased. He must be weak. Healthy man sleeps at a stretch six hours. That is sufficient.”
Conversation with George Harrison, London, July 26, 1976: “Prabhupada: The sastra also, Prahlada Maharaja describes the sleeping is waste of time.”

[26] The average daily morning program in ISKCON temples and ashrams consists of:

1) recital of the 9 verses of the Gurvastakam by Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura

2) recital of the maha-mantra for 15 minutes

3) recital of Mangala-charanam verses

4) recital of 2 verses of the Nrsimha Pranama from the Nrsimha Purana

5) recital of stanza 4 of the Dasavatara-stotra by Jayadeva Gosvami

6) recital of Mangala-charanam verses

7) recital of the Tulasi Pranama from the Padma Purana

8) recital of the 5 verses of the Tulasi Kirtan

9) recital of the Tulasi Pradaksina Mantra for about 10 minutes

10) recital of Mangala-charanam verses

11) recital of the Vaisnava Pranam mantra

12) recital of the 10 offenses against the holy name

13) recital of the maha-mantra for 2 hours (ideally the 1,728 mantras making up the daily quota of 16 “rounds” of japa)

14) recital of verses 30 and 32 of the Brahma-samhita

15) recital of the 4 verses of the Guru Vandana by Narottam das Thakur

16) recital of the maha-mantra for 15 minutes

17) a 40 minute lecture on the Bhagavata Purana

18) recital of the 2 verses of the Prasada Sevaya by Bhaktivinoda Thakur

This constitutes a base average of about 1,800 of the exact same mantras repeated every day, in addition to which there are many more for those who follow the cult’s evening program and festival chants and ceremonies.

[27] SB 1.17.38, 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.”

[28] Letter to Revatinandana Swami, Los Angeles, 9 January, 1974: “Regarding taking snuff, I myself take it sometimes at night because I am working at night on my books, and sometimes I become dizzy. But it is not for you to take. You should not imitate this, neither you work like me at night.”
A Transcendental Diary 2, by Harisauri: “Before leaving Bombay I had sealed several new tins of snuff with hot wax. Prabhupada uses it to gain relief from high blood pressure.”
Room Conversation, Toronto, June 17, 1976: “Prabhupada: Everyone in government service, at least it is to be supposed they are all nasty men. Here also, why not? The other day the custom officer, unnecessary. Unnecessarily. He is opening the snuff box, this box, that box. Unnecessarily. Not a gentleman. It is stated there, ‘snuff,’ and he is bringing knife to open.”
Vrindavana Parker, on VNN, June 18, 1999: “Prabhupada was being given tobacco snuff on a daily basis. I know this also because Manihar brought some back and used to snort it regularly. He even let us try it and told us it was ok because Prabhupada used it. He also reminded us not to talk about it. (When our class was initiated we even bought him a snuff container as part of our guru dakshina.) It is not only addicting but also not known to people in general that Prabhupada was regularly given tobacco snuff.”
Regarding Snuff and Another Pinch of Snuff, by Half-Empty Acamana

[29] Letter to Chaya, Calcutta, 16 February, 1972: “All the children should learn to read and write very nicely, and a little mathematics, so that they will be able to read our books. Cooking, sewing, things like that do not require schooling, they are learned simply by association. There is no question of academic education for either boys or girls—simply a little mathematics and being able to read and write well, that’s all, no universities. Their higher education they will get from our books, and other things they will get from experience, like preaching, SKP, etc. Alongside the regular classes in reading and writing, the other routine programs they should also participate in, like arati, kirtana, preaching, Sankirtana, like that. … A woman’s real business is to look after household affairs, keep everything neat and clean, and if there is sufficient milk supply available, she should always be engaged in churning butter, making yogurt, curd, so many nice varieties, simply from milk. The woman should be cleaning, sewing, like that. So if you simply practice these things yourselves and show examples, they will learn automatically, one doesn’t have to give formal instruction in these matters.”

[30] A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century, by Upinder Singh, 2009
India: A History, by John Keay, 2001
The Yuga Purana: critical edition, by John E. Mitchiner, 2002
Ancient India: In Historical Outline, by D.N. Jha, 2001
Ancient India: New Research
, by Upinder Singh and Nayanjot Lahiri, 2010

[31] Vaishnavite Reformers of India, by T. Rajagopala Chariar, 1909
Lord Chaitanya: A Biographical Critique, by Bimal Bihari Majumdar, 1st English edition of 1997 in 3 volumes by K. P. Bagchi

[32] CC Madhya-lila 19.157: “The neophyte devotee must be protected by being surrounded by pure devotees. In this way he will not give the maddened elephant a chance to uproot his bhakti-lata creeper. When one associates with nondevotees, the maddened elephant is set loose. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said: asat-sanga-tyaga,-ei vaiṣṇava-acara. The first business of a Vaiṣṇava is to give up the company of nondevotees. A so-called mature devotee, however, commits a great offense by giving up the company of pure devotees.”