In conclusion, this recording exhibits strong signs suggestive of FALSIFICATION. I do not believe that these deficiencies might possibly the product of some mechanical process or problem within the recording or duplication process, and I believe that they exist at what is considered to be a higher degree than that of a coincidence.
I strongly recommend that an independent Forensic Analysis be conducted on the Master recording in order to determine the authenticity and originality of the evidence. This analysis requires what is represented as the original recording and the original tape recorder upon which this recording was represented to be made. The forensic instrumental tests include computer analysis, FFT spectral analysis, spectrogram chart analysis, and microscopic photography of the magnetic field on the original recording. Additionally, the recordings will be compared for dissimilarities as a critical listening procedure is performed.
These tests are directed to discover (1) if the recording has been edited in any manner so as to effect the context of the words, (i.e. erasures, inappropriate starting and re-stating of the recorder), (2) If in fact the audio material is an original source recording and not a re-recorded version. The testing would determine the cause of any deficiency within the audio track and is focused on establishing an opinion as to the integrity and authenticity of the evidence.
If you have any questions, please call me. Norman I. Perle
AUDIO FORENSIC ANALYSIS: THE WHISPERS
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The full color spectrogram of the whispered phrase "PUSH REAL HARD, IT'S GOING DOWN (HIM)" is found in color on the rear outside cover on this book. It is titled for identification, Segment 1, Phrase 1. The full color spectrogram of Segment 1, phrase 2, namely, the whisper "THE POISON'S GOING DOWN," is found in color on the front outside cover of this book.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The full color spectrogram for the whispered phrase by Jayapataka Swami "POISONING FOR A LONG TIME" is included as the second page of the color inserts in this book, titled Segment 4, Part 1a. Srila Prabhupada's response "TO ME?" is represented by a color spectrogram on the third page of the color inserts, marked Segment 4, Part 1b. The subsequent words by an unknown speaker and Jayapataka Swami, "(THAT'S REALLY) ORIGINAL. GET READY TO GO," is represented as the fourth page of color inserts in a spectrogram marked Segment 4, Part 1c.
AUDIO FORENSIC ANALYSIS: NO EDITING
APPENDIX 4: STATEMENT BY ABHIRAM
November 5, 1997: I have recently become aware of incredible theories of the poisoning of Srila Prabhupada, circulated by some poorly informed devotees.
As you may know I acted as Srila Prabhupada's nurse and assistant secretary from 25th July through 16th October of 1977, and was therefore in the best position to evaluate the factors influencing his health during this time. I kept a diary which often documented his physical condition, food intakes, and discomforts. I also was the primary player when he was taken to hospital in Watford England during his last stay at the Manor. I convinced his divine grace to go to a hospital, accompanied him there, negotiated with the surgeon not to give general anesthetics and intravenous feeding (as was the policy), provided most of the post operative care to Srila Prabhupada etc. I give this background to emphasize not only my intimate role in his care, but also to let you know that this same surgeon, Dr. McIrving, made a very clear and definitive diagnosis of Srila Prabhupada's condition, namely that he,
1) had, due to diabetes (and dropsy) suffered swelling which affected the flow in his urinary tract over many years
2) That he had since birth a slightly constricted urethra which further reduced the urinary flow. (This was the reason for surgery and gave a great deal of relief to Srila Prabhupada)
3) The combination of these two major factors had put a constant and harmful back pressure on his kidneys, which along with a general deterioration due to age had inflicted serious renal damage. Prabhupada complained that he had difficulty urinating and finally was blocked completely leading to this surgery
4) The kidney failure would naturally cause an increase in uric acid in his system, which would probably affect digestion and appetite. Both being prominent symptoms in Srila Prabhupada's condition.
5) The loss of digestion and appetite led to malnutrition which caused an already aged and intensely taxed system to go into a total collapse.
***This is an accurate account of the diagnosis of the doctors who examined Prabhupada at Peace Memorial Hospital on 9.8.77, and all of my/our observations prior and subsequent to this generally confirmed this diagnosis.
When Srila Prabhupada first arrived at the hospital, they had refused to treat his urethra constriction unless he was totally hooked up to intravenous feeding and any other life support systems they may need to employ. Srila Prabhupada had warned me many times that he did not want to die in a hospital and I had convinced him to visit on a promise that he would receive only minor surgery to open the urethra ("some minor plumbing work" as I described it to him). I had to use considerably persuasive arguments to convince the surgeon to risk an operation on someone he said was nearly dead, without all the support systems required by hospital policy.
In making my (magnum opus) arguments to the doctor, I pleaded that Srila Prabhupada wanted only enough relief to be able to travel back to his home (Vrindavan) to die as he wished. I challenged the doctors that "if he submits to all of your treatments, how much time can you extend his life?" They answered that he was so far deteriorated at that point they could hardly understand how he was living at all; and they could not even propose adding three more months to his life with all of their medical interventions employed.
From this point forward I/we knew that the exoteric indications were completely negative. Of course we never stopped hoping against hope that the esoteric reality would alter the future that we all so greatly dreaded.
In time we brought him to Bombay and back to Vrindavan, for what had to become the greatest tragedy of our life and simultaneously another glorious event in his illustrious life; namely his departure. As his nurse I had been instructed by him to "never leave my side day or night" and had spent most days in 24 hour contact with him. I slept holding his hand, I bathed, dressed, fed and carried him. In short, I am a credible witness.
I left his direct physical service under circumstances which may shed additional light on the issue. I have always been very goal driven and able to focus intently on the desired objective, often to an extreme. As his nurse I saw only one acceptable result, and that was improvement of his health and continuation of his life. No other possibility was tenable in my mind. One day in mid October, I noticed some coolies delivering salt bags and a stretcher, to the back porch of Srila Prabhupada's house. As preparations for a funeral at this stage would have been an unthinkably offensive act, I guessed that only Srila Prabhupada himself could have dared to request it. My inquiries confirmed my suspicions, and it was then that I finally came to terms with the fact the he (Srila Prabhupada) had made an irrevocable decision to leave this world soon. Again, as I had become a near fanatic to maintain his physical condition, I felt an overwhelming sense of defeat, hopelessness and could not adjust to this new paradigm (due to spiritual immaturity). I therefore asked Prabhupada to transfer my duties to Bhavananda and Satadhanya who were by now fully attending to him with equal or greater skill.
*My assessment of the accusations of Srila Prabhupada being poisoned are:
1) Srila Prabhupada's exoteric conditions were carefully observed by a variety of care givers and medical professionals.
2) All diagnoses generally confirmed that his body was in an overall crisis, precipitated by his diabetes, dropsy, kidney damage, and overstressed due to age, travel, etc.
3) Prognosis was not optimistic; death seemed imminent, at least from Sep '77.
4) There was no indications of any other cause of his ill health (i.e. poisoning) noticed by me or any medical professional up to 16 October 1977 and Srila Prabhupada did not say anything to indicate that he suspected such a thing during my time with him.
5) His eventual physical departure within one month of my departure as his nurse, was a logical and expected conclusion to the above mentioned indications. I was not at all surprised, although I will remain broken hearted over his departure throughout my life.
I have written these details for the first time to benefit those who wish to know them. I have no ulterior motive and pray that my effort will be pleasing to the Vaisnavas and help to maintain a truthful historical perspective on Srila Prabhupada's departure.
APPOINTMENT TAPE MISQUOTED
Below is a comparison of the actual tape recording (CON) with Satsvarupa's (BIO) and Tamal's accounts. Note the underlined portions.
CON: Satsvarupa: …Then our next question concerns initiations in the future, particularly at that time when you're no longer with us. We want to know how first and second initiation would be conducted.
Prabhupada: Yes. I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acharyas.
Tamal: Is that called rtvik-acharya?
Prabhupada: Rtvik, yes.
BIO: "Our next question," Satsvarupa proceeded, "concerns initiation in the future, particularly at that time when you are no longer with us. We want to know how a first and second initiation would be conducted."
"Yes," said Prabhupada, "I shall recommend some of you. After this is settled up, I shall recommend some of you to act as officiating acharya."
Tamal Krishna interjected, "Is that called rtvik acharya?"
"Yes," Prabhupada said, "rtvik."
CON: Satsvarupa: Then what is the relationship of that person who gives the initiation and the…
Prabhupada: He's guru. He's guru.
Satsvarupa: But he does it on your behalf.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is formality. Because in my presence one should not become guru, so on my behalf, on my order… Amara ajnaya guru hana. Be actually guru, but by my order.
BIO: "Then what is the relationship of that person who gives the initiation?" asked Satsvarupa. "He is guru," said Prabhupada. "But he does it on your behalf," said Satsvarupa. "Yes, that is the formality. Because in my presence one should not become guru. So on my behalf, on my order - amara ajnaya guru. He is actually guru, but on my order."
CON: Satsv: So they may also be considered your disciples.
Prabhupada: Yes, they are disciples. Why consider? Who?
BIO: "So they may be considered your disciples," said Satsvarupa, referring to those persons initiated on Prabhupada's behalf by the rtvik acharyas.
"They are their disciples," said Srila Prabhupada. Now he was speaking of initiations after his passing away.(Comment: Says who?)
CON: Tamal: No, he's asking that these rtvik acharyas, they're officiating, giving diksha. Their… the people who they give diksha to, whose disciple are they?
Prabhupada: They're his disciple.
Tamal: They're his disciple.
Prabhupada: Who is initiating.
BIO: (Prabhupada): "They are the disciples of the one who is initiating.. "
CON: Prabhupada (continues): He is granddisciple.
Tamal: That's clear.
Satsvarupa: Then we have a question concer…
BIO: (Prabhupada):And they are my granddisciples.
CON: Prabhupada: When I order, "You become guru," he becomes regular guru. That's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple. That's it.
BIO: (Prabhupada):When I order you to become guru, you become regular guru, that's all. And they become the disciples of my disciple."
The GBC members present were satisfied that Srila Prabhupada's reply to the intricate inquiry was clear and conclusive. Later, he would select "some of you," and whoever he selected could become an initiating guru. What he had already described many times throughout his Bhaktivedanta purports was now being implemented: his disciples would become gurus and accept disciples of their own.
In TKG's Diary, for May 28, Tamal very simply says (with not even the mention of the word rtvik!):
"I shall appoint some of you to give initiation. Those who they initiate will be their disciples and my grand-disciples. They will be guru by my order."
To be noted here is how, on May 28, before Srila Prabhupada used the word "rtvik", and Tamal asks, "Is that called rtvik acharya?", meaning, quite clearly, that he had previously discussed these same matters with Srila Prabhupada. What those previous conversations about rtviks and Srila Prabhupada's desire for future initiations may have been, or what additional information Srila Prabhupada had given in this regard is not known because Tamal has never disclosed such, not even in TKG's Diary, his detailed account of his time as Srila Prabhupada's secretary. Also, there are many days prior to May 28 for which there are no available tape recordings.
In December, 1980, at the Pyramid House center, Topanga, California, however, Tamal's tape recorded statement, "We GBC have done the greatest disservice to Srila Prabhupada's movement these last three years by interpreting the appointment of rtviks as the appointment of gurus in their own right." It is an aggravation to devotees everywhere that they cannot avail themselves of the private information Tamal holds about Srila Prabhupada's instructions regarding rtviks and other controversial subjects currently under discussion in the worldwide Vaishnava community.
The whole point of this exercise here is to illustrate that we cannot blindly trust Satsvarupa and Tamal Krishna Goswamis' accounts of events and conversations in their biography and diary. Satsvarupa Maharaj has subtly reinforced his own self-serving interpretation of Srila Prabhupada's instructions by slightly changing them, which Tamal has done even more so.
BOOK REVIEW: TKG'S DIARY
In mid 1998, just six months after the "poison issue" became a serious news item on the Hare Krishna Internet websites, Tamal Krishna Goswami suddenly published his twenty one year old diary of the time he was with Srila Prabhupada from February through November 1977. It would seem safe to assume that one of the main motivations for Tamal to suddenly come out with his diary was that he is now in the limelight, suspected by some in the poisoning of Srila Prabhupada. As a matter of fact, the book's foreword acknowledges just that. It is natural to wonder if any parts of his diary were enhanced or "doctored" to deflect or reduce suspicions about a malicious poisoning of Srila Prabhupada.
In the foreword to TKG's Diary, Rabindra Swarup Prabhu, ISKCON guru and foremost apologist, writes:
"...to a rather dispiriting and unedifying controversy. The diary has now been published "as is" because of a claim recently urged that Srila Prabhupada's terminal decline was brought about by intentional poisoning. It is duly recorded in the diary (entry of November 9) that Prabhupada himself raised the issue. Now, twenty years later, on this single basis, investigations have been launched and speculative theories expounded, sometimes issuing in highly imaginative historical reconstructions. This diary is now offered for the immense evidentiary value it offers in this matter. Not only does the work painstakingly chronicle Prabhupada's medical condition and treatment... The diary is published in the conviction that a large and purgative dose of sheer facts is the best antidote to the "poisoned theory."
"This point naturally leads to the question: How accurate is TKG's account?... Up until October 9, TKG constructed his chronicle of the day's events entirely from memory and notes. He made no use of the daily audio recordings of the conversations in Prabhupada's rooms. Therefore we are able to test TKG's recollections by comparing... He comes off remarkably well...
"Indeed, the diary provides much that is unavailable from the tape transcripts... The diary often makes what was happening much clearer. Moreover, many tapes have been lost altogether..."
Of interest is the statement, "TKG constructed his chronicle of the day's events entirely from memory and notes." We are told Tamal did not refer to the taped versions of those day's events in the Conversations Books. However, as we read TKG's Diary, this posture becomes increasingly incredible. Repeatedly Tamal records Srila Prabhupada's words in quotation marks that read IDENTICAL to those sections in the Conversations Books, and, in addition, many times they are just slightly different in a word or two. The similarities are far too great to leave any possibility that Tamal was able to remember those detailed conversations involving two or more speakers, without referring to the Conversations Books. One gets the distinct impression that Tamal has borrowed heavily from the Conversations Books, modifying it a little here and there, and then claiming it is in his diary. Sorry, TKG's Diary appears to be a recently manufactured product based on his diary, his memory, and most certainly the tape recording transcripts.
Therefore it can be understood that TKG's book is not a totally honest attempt to recount history. It is practically obvious that his claim of not using the Conversations Books is untrue. So now, how can we trust anything in his book? And in consideration of the colorful history of Tamal, it becomes all too easy to take his book as something he "doctored" to serve his own purposes, namely the attempt to discredit the "poisoning theory."
A detailed comparison between TKG's Diary, the Conversations Books, and other accounts of the period reveal that Tamal's book contains:
1. numerous omissions of relevant health data found in the Conversations Books that one would expect Tamal to have made note of in his diary
2. repeated softening of Tamal's hardline opposition to doctors and medicines (many such incidents are totally missing in his diary)
3. surprises like his June 27 entry; Srila Prabhupada supposedly asks him, "Amongst the GBC, have you selected one after me who will succeed? ...Yes, each of you can be acharya of your zone." Who will believe this?
4. a very unusual account of the May 28 rtvik appointment conversation. Tamal does not even once use the word "rtvik." His account is provided in Appendix 5 to see how he and Satsvarupa have altered Srila Prabhupada's words and their meaning.
5. the clear and distinct impression that Tamal's diary is not "as is" or "in the rough" as he has claimed, that he did not compose the book "entirely from memory and notes" (but did use the tape transcripts), and that he has composed many of his entries only recently to address current controversial issues and perhaps obscure evidence of the poisoning itself.
For one who has changed his position on the guru issue many times, who has revised his own book Servant of the Servant to serve his own changing philosophical positions, and who has never made himself available to the devotees for a "general reckoning" of his past activities, Tamal is perceived as perhaps the least credible and honest of all GBC's and gurus in ISKCON. If Tamal were truly interested in addressing the "poisoning theory," he might note the following suggestions that are made here:
1. Donate his original diary or at least photocopies thereof to the Bhaktivedanta Archives so that it can be studied and scrutinized for its contents and for verification of the authenticity of details in TKG's Diary
2. Agree to be deposed, interviewed and questioned by the two primary poison investigation teams and possibly law enforcement agencies as well
3. Reply to the questions and grievances of devotees in general through the internet websites VNN or Chakra.
Tamal's lengthy quotations of conversations between Srila Prabhupada and others are sometimes word for word the same as the actual tape recordings found in the Conversations Books, sometimes quite different, and sometimes not found at all in the Conversations Books, almost as though Tamal had his own tape recordings. Many conversations are longer than one would think anyone capable of remembering and writing down later, even if one ran to write everything down just after it had been spoken.
Tamal makes no explanation as to the nature and character of his diary and the method of recording his entries. TKG's Diary may be the product of memory and brief notes, fortified and enhanced with borrowings from the Conversations Books, or it may be a meticulously documented and detailed account. Or it may have been "doctored" and spiced with things Tamal wants us to believe happened. The original diary could probably clarify many of these things.
If Tamal Krishna Goswami wrote TKG's Diary in an attempt to clarify events of 1977 and to answer suspicions regarding Srila Prabhupada's apparent poisoning, then he should make his original diary available for inspection. To authenticate TKG's Diary as historically accurate and an honest account, at least one or two respectable Vaishnava authors or brahmanas should have been asked to review and compare it to the original diary. Rabindra Swarup's foreword conspicuously does not make mention of having done this comparison. Otherwise, how can we trust what Tamal says?
Tamal may claim this or that happened, but unless verified by tape recordings, other persons' memories, or a close physical examination of the original diary, great caution would be in order before accepting Tamal's accounts as gospel. Feeling himself to be suspected in poisoning Srila Prabhupada, Tamal could have reason to alter details of critical events to hide the truths of history. Tamal must observe certain standard scholarly procedures to authenticate his diary, otherwise its credibility will be shaky at best. One cannot produce biographical claims of the greatest person of the modern era without verifiable documentation. Hari Sauri, another biographer of Srila Prabhupada, has made his original diary available to others. Would Tamal be so kind as to do the same? Has anyone ever seen it?
If Tamal does not "open up" and take to heart these recommendations or some similar course of relating to his godbrothers and godsisters, then he and his books, such as TKG's Diary, will remain to be regarded as contrived with ulterior motivations, unpalatable due to suspicion of dishonesty and cheating. Nevertheless, TKG's Diary IS about Srila Prabhupada, and taking Tamal's accounts with a grain (or more) of salt, one does distinctly feel Srila Prabhupada's presence in the book. It is very unfortunate that justifiable doubts plague the reader on every page: Is this all completely accurate?
Satsvarupa Maharaj described Srila Prabhupada as having "mild diabetes" and Srila Prabhupada Himself admitted to Gargamuni in Bhubaneshwar that "I have diabetes." In the last few months of Srila Prabhupada's life He would often ask for and take "misri-jala" or sugar water, indicating that sugar was not restricted due to any serious diabetes that Srila Prabhupada thus apparently did not have. Satsvarupa states in Prabhupada Nectar, Vol.4, pg.170: "Later (after 1967) Srila Prabhupada was diagnosed as a diabetic, yet he never took regular treatment..." Srila Prabhupada's following a regular and generally restricted diet was good sense for good health, although perhaps it was required to some degree to accommodate the mild diabetes He is supposed to have had.
Diabetes symptoms do not match Srila Prabhupada's symptoms and there are several diabetes symptoms which Srila Prabhupada positively did not display, such as obesity and excessive hunger. There is definitely another cause besides diabetes which is producing the kind of symptoms that Srila Prabhupada had. There are few if any signs by symptom analysis of any significant development of diabetes in His medical history. Hari Sauri states that he had no indication whatsoever during his 18 months as personal servant that Srila Prabhupada had diabetes. (Appendix 21) Some of the symptoms of diabetes are found in Srila Prabhupada during His 1977 illness, but many of the critical and conclusive signs of diabetes were definitely not found in Srila Prabhupada at all.
Srila Prabhupada did not have diabetes serious enough to display the symptoms of diabetes. For example, loss of vision or blindness is sometimes seen in diabetes. Srila Prabhupada, however, did not exhibit the signs of an advanced case of diabetes which would produce loss of vision. Further, not one doctor or kaviraja even mentioned diabetes as a factor in His Divine Grace's health, nor did He require insulin. Diabetes is thus ruled.
There are two categories of diabetes, namely insipidus and mellitus. Insipidus diabetes is rare and results in excessive thirst and urination, day and night, with 4 to 40 quarts drunk a day. This was NOT Srila Prabhupada's condition. Mellitus diabetes is a disorder in which blood levels of glucose, a simple sugar, are abnormally high because the body does not release (Type I) or use (Type II) insulin adequately. The causes of diabetes are not fully understood. (Poisons can cause diabetes, however)
Symptoms of Type II mellitus diabetes (non-insulin dependent) do NOT match Srila Prabhupada's condition, because there was no obesity, no excessive urination and no dehydration. The symptoms are:
1. Increased urination and thirst
2. Dehydration leading to mental confusion, drowsiness, seizures
3. 80 to 90% of victims are obese (overweight)
4. Progression of disease may be very gradual over decades
Symptoms of Type I mellitus diabetes (insulin dependent) also do NOT match Srila Prabhupada's condition, as there was no excessive urination, no excessive hunger, no deep and rapid breathing, no dependence on insulin, and no sudden onset of symptoms. The symptoms are:
1. Excessive urination (polyuria)
2. Excessive thirst (polydipsia)
3. Excessive hunger
4. Weight loss, bouts with diarrhea
5. Blurred vision, loss of eyesight leading to blindness
6. Drowsiness, fatigue, decreased endurance in exercise
7. Nausea, vomiting
8. High susceptibility to infection
9. Symptoms begin abruptly, may progress rapidly to coma if untreated
10. Deep, rapid breathing
11. Breath smells like nail polish remover
12. Kidney malfunction or failure
13. Reduced sensation, tingling, pain in the hands and feet
The conclusion is that Srila Prabhupada did NOT have much of a case of diabetes of any kind, if we are to judge from the symptoms. But even if He were to have diabetes, the 44 symptoms chronicled in the above health history that are signs of chronic arsenic poisoning still remain intact. Diabetes or not, it doesn't change the clear diagnosis of chronic arsenic poisoning. Srila Prabhupada has some symptoms of diabetes which are also symptoms of kidney disease and arsenic poisoning. But Srila Prabhupada had many symptoms of arsenic poisoning which are NOT found in either diabetes or kidney disease.
So even if Srila Prabhupada were diabetic, this would not at all change the conclusion by symptom analysis that Srila Prabhupada's illness in 1977 was caused by chronic arsenic poisoning.
ASUTOSH OJA ASTROLOGICAL REPORTS
From Conversations Book 35, pgs. 50-52, August 11, 1977
Abhiram: I just now returned from Delhi, Srila Prabhupada.
Abhiram: So I went to see the astrologer with Yasodanandana Swami, and he did more calculations on your chart.
Prabhupada: You can get on light.
Abhiram: So basically he explained when the difficult times will come, according to the planets. Then he made it very clear that beyond the planetary influence, it would be very difficult for calculations for a person in your position. For an ordinary man he can say very clearly. And he can say for you which planets will disturb, but he cannot say for sure how much they will affect, because being a saintly person, there is naturally some resistance to these influences. So he made that very clear, that you should not think that these are final. So he said, according to your birth, the longevity shows very clearly. And then he gave a date. The longevity is eighty-one years, five months and twenty-nine days, which means February 28, 1978, six months from now. This is according to birth and stars arrangement. But on this point he made it very clear that this was from your birth, this was set, but it can change. Due to pious activities, due to the hand of Krishna, this can change. So... And then he described that during the next six months, the first week of September, Saturn will pass over Ketu, and it will agitate the influence of Ketu even more. So the first week of September the resistance will go down, will become weaker. Then he mentioned that there may be some trouble from, maybe financial or maybe from juniors, from subordinates. Then this period, if you can pass, through 1978, then there is four or five more years clear ahead, if you can pass through '78. This was what he said, that after '78 there would be four or five years which would be more or less clear of difficulties. He said that if you can pass through 1978, there after that there would be four or five years clear, without much difficulty. And he said according to birth arrangement, the fatal date is February 28, 1978, in six months. At that time there's what's called the completion of a Ketu maha-dasa, which began at your birth. But he stressed several times that we should not take these calculations to be final on account of your position. He said these are for ordinary men. He said it is always the case that a man of spiritual advancement will have the ability to overcome his fate. He quoted the case of his father, who was in the Sri Sampradaya, and he was apparently very pious and he lived so many years beyond his fatal date. And even so many astrologers had given the calculation, but still, he went on because of... He said he would fast on ekadasi and so many days and so much japa, like that. So he said for a man of your position he could not even say for sure. He said that definitely the hand of Krishna would be involved. So like this, he seemed to have a very sober idea. And he was hopeful that the blue sapphire would have some beneficial effect, at least to relieve you to some degree. He thought that by now you should have noticed a little bit at least. ...So these were the major points, Srila Prabhupada. For six months there's trouble, especially in first week of September. And if you can pass through '78, then he sees four or five years ahead clear.
Tamala Krishna: That means divine intervention, Srila Prabhupada.
Prabhupada: The chart is given. The calculation there is finished. That doesn't matter. Rather, if I am finished now, it will be glorious.
From Conversation Book 35, pgs. 129-130, October 8, 1977
Tamala Krishna: ...reading of your chart for free, Srila Prabhupada. The man is a devotee. I thought it would be good to read to you. His name is Gopesh Kumar Ojah, and his son's name is Asutosh Ojah.
Brahmananda: He asked for Prabhupada's blessings.
Tamala Krishna: Yes. He wanted your blessings. He says... This is a very detailed chart he did. All the calculations are given. He said Sukra as Muntesa,(?) Varsa-lagnesa,(?) has no directional strength. Therefore the solar return is not good. The lord of the sixth house is conjunct, mangala, not good. The following days are not auspicious: the 27th to the 28th of September, the 24th to the 25th of October, the 20th, 21st, and 22nd of November, and 3rd and 4th of December. He says, "Srila Prabhupadaji is at present undergoing the fag end of Ketu Mahadasa, and it will last until the 13th of January, 1978. Ketu is in the eight house."
Brahmananda: Means death.
Tamala Krishna: The eight house is called the house of death. He says, "Ketu is in the eight house with the sun, which is the lord of the eighth house, and Krusu, the lord of the twelfth and third houses. They are all in the eighth house. Mercury in Ketu started from 16th January." He says, "Budha is the satesa also, disease. Sani has gone to the eighth house, which is the house of death, from the 7th September." That's the day you had your operation. "Sani as lagnesa in the eighth house and the transit over Jupiter and Ketu. The negative effect continues throughout October 1977, November 1977, and from the first of December, 1977, Saturn becomes almost stationary and becomes more malefic." Saturn becomes even worse. "In January 1978 until April 1978 it again traverses the same degrees and becomes stagnant on Jupiter and Ketu in the last week of February. The native has..."
Prabhupada: January '77 we have passed.
Tamala Krishna: January '78, Srila Prabhupada. It says that you're supposed to have lived for seventy-five years, but everything beyond that was an extension by Krishna.
Prabhupada: Where is...
Tamala Krishna: Juice? They're just making it, Srila Prabhupada. It says here that "The moon is in the eighth house, which is very bad. The patient may not recover." Then he gives various planets which are also not well aligned. He says the conjunction of another two planets is very bad. "Hospitalization and ill health are intensified in the present year. The days which are not good is when the moon passes in the 22nd to the 23rd of naksatra, which are 27th to the 28th of September," that's already passed, "The 24th to the 25th of October, then some days in November and December." He says, "Surya will apply for Rahu on Saturday, the 8th of October." That's today. This is very bad, this day. Today is Ekadasi. "Surya will apply for Rahu. Brashna, Lagnesh, Mangal, in the eighth house. The medicine will not give any relief. The native will make a fight for life as Surya-Mangal are good friends, and Saturn, or Sani, and Sukra are enemies. There is no benefics in the nine, six, eleven and three. Mangal indicates the effects of Sakini. There is difficulty in recovery. The seventh dasa starts on the 13th of January, 1978." It says, "We have noticed that the periods are all negative until March-April 1978, and the main trouble was due to Sani. We suggested that blue sapphire be tried, and he should keep it on. Hospitalization and travels are indicated." Then he says the worst days of all for you are today and tomorrow. He says it is very negative, as well as the llth, which is mixed. But these are all very inauspicious days. The 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, and 11th of October. He says "The only remedy in this case is to do maha-mrtyum-jaya japa and havana. Previously also, now also, we have recommended Siva. Lord Siva is the presiding Deity of Sani, and with this, the native will be able to overcome disease and life span increases.
Hari-sauri: That's the mantra he gave to me."
Tamala Krishna: Astrologically it is up to the eighty-one years, four months, approximately. Says, "Japa and havana."
The below information was gathered over the course of the last two years. Some of the information has already been revealed publicly but much of it hasn't. Unfortunately, most of it can only be considered supportive and not material evidence. As far as possible, I tried to put everything in some sort of chronological order. Some of the entries are from first hand witnesses and others still need to be verified. In most cases the witnesses had no idea we were conducting an investigation nor did we ask their permission to publicly release their statements. Therefore many of the names have been deleted in this version until we can determine which information can be of value and how to preserve the confidence, as well as address the obvious concerns for safety. Any information in this report which has not already been made public should not be made public until we can satisfy the above concerns.
I was about to turn this information over to Balavanta but in light of recent events have become greatly disappointed in his performance and totally outraged by the official GBC statement in regard to the investigation. Also, myself and the other devotees involved on this end have no connection with Puranjana and do not want to be associated with him. The fact that our separate investigations apparently began at the same time is purely coincidental, or more likely, a confirmation from Krishna that this issue needed to be resolved. I'm deeply grateful for the work of VNN and the proposal for IVC. I read VNN daily and (with a couple exceptions) have found it a reliable source for objective and responsible journalism. I also read the IVC site last night and found it extremely thorough and highly professional. I was further impressed at how promptly the package was put together and positioned. In addition, VADA's chronicle outlining the events of the investigation appears to be precise and verified. I now feel there's hope that Srila Prabhupada's mission will not be lost in the impending cataclysm. I thank all of you for your dedication to this service and pray that Krishna will give you the strength to continue. Many devotees will be counting on you.
Your servant, Anonymous das
REPORTED AND UNVERIFIED EVENTS: (Verified items in italics)
1. Prabhupada complains about getting injections, then tells Brahmananda that Tirtha poisoned Srila Bhaktisiddhanta.
2. New York: Prabhupada tells devotee: "Get a gun. Someone's trying to kill me."
3. A group of devotees lock Prabhupada in his room in LA and tell him that they are taking charge. (in 1970?)
4. A devotee finds Srila Prabhupada crying alone in his room and asks him what is wrong. Prabhupada says that they have tried to kick him out three times.
5. TKG tells people that he is losing faith in Srila Prabhupada.
6. TKG asks Jayapataka, "Do you ever find that Srila Prabhupada gets in the way?"
7. Prabhupada tells devotee of TKG, "This man is not a Vaisnava. I've studied him. He is not a Vaisnava."
8. While devotee is waiting to see Srila Prabhupada, he hears TKG arguing with Prabhupada. When TKG comes out of the room he slams the door shut and says: "Damn it! Prabhupada fu--ed up again!"
9. Nara Narayana hears TKG tell Syamasundara that Prabhupada is a senile, old man.
10. Pyramid House Tapes Tamal mentions the time Hamsaduta was praying for Prabhupada's death. (see Pyramid House Tapes)
11. Devotee is told by Hansadutta that he wished Srila Prabhupada would die.
12. Prabhupada tells servant: "They're all waiting for the old man to die so they can be guru."
13. Prabhupada tells Bhagatji that his disciples aren't very advanced and he wouldn't be surprised if they tried to do him great physical harm.
14. Jaya Gauranga states that Prabhupada's hands were swollen as a result of sickness and this symptom appeared as early as 1976. (Correct)
15. Prabhupada tells servant that TKG the cause of all the problems in the movement.
16. Vrndavana: TKG is in charge of all Prabhupada's medicines.
17. Vrndavana: Prabhupada tells servant: "Some of my senior disciples are trying to kill me because they want to be guru." Witness also revealed that Prabhupada didn't want to eat anymore because everything they gave him was making him sick.
18. Vrndavana: Bharadvaja relates in tape of his memories that Prabhupada once looked carefully at medicine given to him and declared, "This is poison!"
19. Vrndavana: Prabhupada orders devotee to clear all medicine from cabinet.
20. Vrndavana: Jaya Gauranga states that TKG would not let anyone bring food to Prabhupada.
21. Tamal, depressed, confides to a devotee that he has ruined Srila Prabhupada's movement.
22. Vrndavana: When the devotees are in Prabhupada's room and the leaders are not present Prabhupada states: "You are all here praying for me to live and they are in the next room praying for me to die."
23. Vrndavana: Devotee goes to Indian astrologer to inquire about Prabhupada's health. Astrologer tells them that Prabhupada will be troubled by His juniors.
24. When two devotees from Latin America offered Srila Prabhupada their youth for His old age, Srila Prabhupada gracefully declined and remarked how devoted His disciples were. Then He remarked, "But there are also some who want to kill me." (Unconfirmed)
25. Nov. 1977, Vrndavana: When Hansadutta comes to relieve a devotee from his watch, Prabhupada tells him: "Please do not leave, this man wants to kill me."
26. Nov 9-10, 1977, Vrndavana: Srila Prabhupada states on tape that he is being poisoned. (Vedabase)
27. Nov. 11, 1977, Vrndavana: When TKG tells Prabhupada that he will die if taken on parikrama, Prabhupada responds: "Better to be killed by Ram." (Vedabase)
28. Nov. 1977, Vrndavana: Just before Srila Prabhupada's disappearance Sudama was about to leave Vrndavana when Bhavananda tells him: "Don't leave yet. We're about to split up the pie. I'll make sure you get a piece."
29. Nov. 14, 1977, Vrndavana: Srila Prabhupada's will is changed the midnight before his departure—In the paper titled, "Questions On Authenticity", Janajanmadi dasa (Jeffrey Balawajder) states that he visited Srivatsa Goswami of the Radha Ramana Temple in 1984. According to his account, Srivatsa Goswami told him that TKG had Prabhupada's will changed on the midnight prior to Srila Prabhupada's departure.
30. Adri Dharan has stated that he was the one who found the kaviraja Prabhupada described in his dream. This doctor was treating Prabhupada at the time of his departure and his opinion was trusted by all. The doctor told the devotees the exact time, within a day, Prabhupada would leave his body and his prediction was correct.
31. Nov. 1977, Vrndavana: Bhavananda eats french fries in a joyful mood at the time of Prabhupada's departure.
32. Nov. 1977, Vrndavana: Bhavananda stands at top of stairs and shouts, "Power!" at time of Prabhupada's departure.
33. 1977-78 (?), Bombay: Jaya Gauranga states that TKG went to Bombay and demanded that they let him occupy Prabhupada's quarters and have a vyasasana like Prabhupada's.
34. 1981-1984 (?), New Dwarka: Story circulates about a former Gurukula boy (now grown and living in Mexico) who tells about overhearing plot by GBC men to poison Prabhupada. At the time this story is circulating, some GBC men take a trip to Mexico.
35. Nara Narayana has found that a common form of political assassination in India is poisoning, the results of which cause kidney failure. Brahmananda confirmed that one of the external causes for Srila Prabhupada's departure was kidney failure.
ARE THERE MISSING TAPES ?
This report was compiled by studying the Bhaktivedanta Archives Vedabase. The number on the left in the first chart below denotes the year and the number on the right denotes the number of days in that year which we have no tape recordings of Srila Prabhupada. The second chart indicates the specific dates in which tapes are missing in 1977 and gives a breakdown of number of days of missing tapes for the year. I asked Ekanatha Prabhu at the Bhaktivedanta Archives if he could verify my findings and after thoroughly checking archive records he confirmed that my calculations were correct and that the Archives does not have any knowledge of tapes in their possession for the specified missing days or of ever having received tapes for the specified missing days.
Missing Tapes 1966-1977
YEAR DAYS MISSING
It's interesting to note that the number of days in which tapes are missing steadily decreases each year from 1970 to 1976. Presumably, the progressive diligence in recording Srila Prabhupada's words would be attributed to devotees maturing and understanding the importance of these recordings for future generations as well as ourselves. When once asked if it was necessary to record a conversation of an apparently unimportant nature between Srila Prabhupada and some guests, Tamal Krishna Goswami stated: "We tape everything Prabhupada says." (5/24/77—Vrn)
One might then wonder why the number of days in which tapes are missing dramatically increases from 47 days in 1976 to 151 days in 1977 (more than triple). This is particularly curious if we take into account that 1977 was a shorter recording year than any other (only ten and a half months) since Srila Prabhupada departed on November 14th. And this aberration appears even more glaring when we consider that in 1977, it became painfully obvious Srila Prabhupada could depart at any time and it was increasingly important to cherish and preserve every word He spoke.
Now let's take a closer look at the missing tapes in 1977.
Missing Tapes No. of Days
1/17 thru 1/18 2
2/22 thru 2/23 2
3/3 thru 3/21 19
4/3 thru 4/4 2
4/6 thru 4/9 4
4/26 thru 4/27 2
5/3 thru 5/7 5
5/21 thru5/23 3
5/25 thru 5/26 2
6/3 thru 6/16 14
7/6 thru 7/7 2
7/11 thru 7/13 3
7/20 thru 7/25 6
7/28 thru 7/30 3
8/1 thru 8/7 7
8/12 thru 8/16 5
8/18 thru 10/1 45
Total No. of Days of Missing Tapes......151
The months of January, February, October and November, 1977, are not unusual and the number of days of missing tapes in these months coincide with the monthly averages for 1976. Out of the 105 days of Jan., Feb., Oct. and Nov. (count only 14 days for Nov.) just 15 days are missing. However, the months of March thru August have an extremely high number of days of missing tapes and the month of September has no tapes at all. Out of the 214 days from the period beginning March 1 and ending September 30, 136 days have no tapes. Looking at this period by itself, the ratio of recording days to none-recording days is 1.5 to 1. This is similar to the inefficient recording ratios of 1966 thru 1971, when we had less technical and managerial expertise, limited resources, older technology, and did not fully comprehend the importance of recording Srila Prabhupada's words.
I'd also like to point out that there are some rather large blocks of consecutive days when tapes are not accounted for. Most notably: 19 days in March, 14 days in June, and a staggering 45 days from August 18th thru October 1st. That Srila Prabhupada would have spoken less during severe illness is understandable. That Srila Prabhupada would have said nothing for such long periods of time is inconceivable. Under the circumstances, the logical questions to ask would be:
Why were there no recordings made on these days?
or, if there were recordings made, what happened to them?
HAIR MINERAL ANALYSIS
Hair mineral analysis has been used in forensics for decades. Today, hair analysis is gaining widespread recognition as an analytical tool for receiving information about mineral patterns and drug abuse. Hair analysis is a valid analytical technique that provides important answers to puzzling historical questions, including Beethoven's habits. Nearly 170 years ago, an admirer, grieving the death of Ludwig van Beethoven, snipped a lock of the great composer's hair for a keepsake and kept it in a locket. It is this strand of hair that is expected to provide key answers. Did the deaf composer use drugs? Was he suffering from syphilis? Did he die of arsenic poisoning or was his health affected by mineral deficiencies? Today's sophisticated analytical methods can provide these and other answers, and explanations are often unexpectedly simple. For instance, during Beethoven's time, mercurial drugs were used to treat syphilis and arsenic was used to kill rodents. In minute doses, arsenic was deliberately taken to increase virility and physical strength. Other toxins such as lead were ingested by drinking lead-containing water, causing a host of neurological and behavioral problems such as Beethoven's feared moodiness and ill-tempered conduct. The 582 strands of hair recently auctioned off at Sotheby's are expected to provide important information on Beethoven's biochemical makeup and its link to behavior.
Researchers William Walsh and Ronald Ishaacson have been studying the relationship between body chemistry and behavior for decades. They have published an impressive amount of data, including the relations between toxic elements and hyperactivity. They recognized that heavy metal exposure is higher in people prone to violent behavior and that a specific pattern of toxic exposure and mineral deficiencies is seen among death-row inmates. The researchers also noticed what they considered a "genius pattern," characterized by extraordinarily high levels of copper and sodium but low zinc levels in hair. Individuals with this type of hair mineral pattern are often highly intelligent and a bit eccentric, Walsh said. The scientists documented that hair mineral analysis is a valid test of body mineral concentration when used appropriately. "Hair is a diary of what is going on in your body," Ishaacson said. After decades of studying chemicals in hair and associating mineral patterns with behavior, the researchers opened the HRI Pfeiffer Treatment Center seven years ago. It aims at treating biochemical problems, and a strand of hair often reveals the cause of psychiatric ailments that did not respond to other more conventional treatment.
Hair analysis is an ideal complement to serum and urine as a diagnostic tool. Hair is collected without trauma, an important point when it comes to the toxic screening of children or the frail. In many cases when mineral deficiencies have been noted, the individual's inadequate mineral status may not be solely due to a mineral deficient diet, but also be compounded by digestive problems that cause inadequate mineral absorption.
A review of over 1400 articles indicate that hair is the prime tissue to be utilized when analyzing for heavy metal and other trace mineral concentrations. Most notable results have been obtained on heavy metal pollutants such as lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury. Scientists in the United States, Canada, Germany, Japan and Sweden have all shown that elemental concentrations in hair provide a relatively permanent record of exposure and that there is good correlation between concentrations in human hair and certain organs.
* Dr. Chatt of Dalhousie University reported during the Second Human Hair Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia, that concentrations of lead in hair were lowest in rural population groups, higher in urban groups and highest in individuals who live close to lead smelters. (This is the same Dr. Chatt who analyzed this reporter's hair sample)
* Trace Minerals International, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado compared the toxic content of hair in American, German and Mexican children and found that concentrations were highest in Mexican children, lower in American and lowest in German children.
* Harry Shwachman of the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston along with Kopito of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown that children with cystic fibrosis have as much as five times the normal concentration of sodium in their hair, but only about ten percent of the normal concentrations of tightly-bound calcium.
* Shwachman and Kopito have also found low concentrations of sodium and potassium in the hair of patients with celiac disease ( disorder in the digestion and utilization of fat) and that there is generally three to four times as much sodium and potassium in the hair of healthy individuals.
* Hambidge has tested children in Denver's Head Start Program and found that both their hair and blood serum contain significantly lower concentrations of zinc than specimens from children of middle-income families. The researcher picked six children with the lowest hair zinc concentrations for further testing and found that taste perception was impaired in five. Zinc supplementation restored taste perception and increased zinc concentrations in both blood and hair.
* Both Hambidge and Walter Mertz of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland, have each demonstrated the below-normal hair concentrations of chromium in victims of juvenile onset diabetes.
* Gordus of the University of Michigan reported that the hair of students with high academic marks contained substantially more copper and less iodine, lead and cadmium than the hair of students with low marks.
* Robert Pihl and colleagues of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, report that based on hair mineral results, they can distinguish with 98% accuracy normal children and those with learning disabilities.
* Brain and hair tissues of Alzheimer patients were found to contain substantially-elevated aluminum content. Researchers at National Institute of Health (Bethseda, Maryland) and at Elizabeth Hospitals in Washington, D.C. noticed an improvement in symptoms after hair aluminum decreased.
Elemental concentrations in organs are not identical, but certain elements are more densely concentrated in specific organs. Hair mineral analysis evaluates tissue storage and is many times the best choice when chronic exposures and deficiencies are suspected. "HMA is an excellent, simple, and accurate test to establish mineral and trace element concentrations. Since the structure of hair remains unchanged, the minerals and trace elements are fixed, whether a sample is tested now or in a few years time. The levels are not subject to change." (M. Laker)
Nail Mineral Analysis (NMA)
Nail analysis has been used in forensics for the evaluation of severe arsenic poisoning when hair loss prohibited hair mineral analysis. Nail analysis is also used when untreated hair is not available in sufficient quantity. Finger or toenails may be used as a testing material. but nails must be free of varnish or polish. A minimum of 200 mg of nails is needed.
Definition of Normal
In medicine. the definition "normal" has several meanings. It used to distinguish a "normal" or healthy person from the abnormal or unhealthy individual, and in this context, we refer to "normal" iron levels as values that reflect good health, in fact "normal" iron concentrations can be found in the presence of disease. In the absence of disease or disease symptoms, a person is medically and legally considered normal or healthy. However, a person without symptoms of disease does not necessarily enjoy even optimal health. In the laboratory, "normal" is used to describe a set of laboratory results that is based on statistics. For many analytes such as serum iron or aluminum, whole blood lead or urine mercury, reference levels have been established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). For other analytes less known in conventional medicine, including the important blood chromium or urine nickel, reference values have not been standardized. This applies for most elemental reference ranges in hair, with arsenic being one exception.
NEUTRON ACTIVATION ANALYSIS
The analysis of sequential sections of hair provides reliable correlation to the pattern of arsenic exposure. In the hair follicle, arsenic circulating in the blood is deposited in the germinal cell matrix from blood vessels of the papilla. As the germinal matrix differentiates into keratin, the arsenic is trapped and carried up the follicle in the growing hair. The germinal cells are in relatively close equilibrium with the circulating arsenic, and as arsenic concentrations in blood increase or decrease, so does the amount of arsenic deposited in the growing hair vary accordingly.
Hair analysis by neutron activation not only provides precise quantitation of arsenic concentration but also allows segmental analysis to determine when arsenic was ingested and the number of episodes. The analysis requires only a few hairs, which grows at a rate of approximately 0.4 to 0.5 mm per day. Therefore, analysis of 1 centimeter, or about a half inch, segments provides a pattern of monthly exposure. In some cases, the concentration of arsenic along the length of the hair is measured to obtain information about exposure over an extended period of time.
Neutron activation is used either non-destructively or destructively. (The tests performed by Balavanta Prabhu and this author with Dr. Morris and Dr. Chatt respectively employed the non-destructive method.)
Until a few decades ago the only available methods for analyzing arsenic, such as Reinsch's method, Marsh's test, and Grutzeit's test, were qualitative rather quantitative in nature. Because of this limitation, results of studies based on these methods must be evaluated with caution.
Arsenic originally present in the sample at very low concentrations must often be preconcentrated before it can be measured. If the sample is a solution, the arsenic can be coprecipitated on metallic hydroxides or precipitated with organic reagents. It can also be isolated from its original matrix by liquid-liquid extraction or by volatilization as a trihalide or as arsine.
Until recently, total arsenic was usually determined colorimetrically, by either the molybdenum blue method or the silver diethyldithiocarbamate method. Arsenic is now usually determined by atomic absorption, with the sample solution introduced into a flame as an aerosol or deposited as a droplet inside a tube or on a metallic strip, which is then strongly heated. Greater sensitivity has been achieved with atomic absorption, however, by converting the arsenic to arsine and introducing this gas into a heated tube. Equal sensitivity can be achieved by introducing the arsine into an arc in helium and measuring the resulting spectral emission. Low detection limits for arsenic can also be reached by neutron-activation analysis (often without chemical treatment). Electrochemical methods, such as differential pulse polarography, can achieve comparable sensitivity in the presence of natural pollutants (e.g., sludge).
Neutron-activation analysis has the advantages of being nondestructive (in the many cases in which postirradiation radiochemical separations are not necessary) and of being immune from any danger of contamination during post-irradiation handling. Its absolute sensitivity is 0.1 ng for a thermal-neutron flux of 1012 neutrons/cm2-s. In tissue and mineral samples, however, this sensitivity can seldom be reached. The activity induced is the 599-keV photopeak of arsenic-76. A relatively great amount of sodium-24 activity is induced in the sodium present in such samples, and, although the decay of sodium-24 (half-life, 14.96 h) is faster than that of arsenic-76 (half-life, 26.5 h), the sodium-24 activity must be allowed to decay for several days before the arsenic-76 activity can be counted. This delay does not seriously interfere with the determination of arsenic at concentrations above a few parts per million, and the elimination of all chemical treatment of the sample compensates for the inconvenience. If greater sensitivity is needed or if radiochemical interferences appear (e.g., bromine or antimony activities), chemical-group separations can still be performed to isolate the arsenic-76 activity.
In the electrochemical methods that have been proposed for determining traces of arsenic, the arsenic is usually first isolated by volatilization or extraction, then converted to the trivalent form and determined polarographically. The most sensitive such technique is differential pulse polarography, which has a detection limit of about 0.3 ng of arsenic per milliliter and can be used in the presence of natural pollutants, such as unfiltered sludge.
Total arsenic can be determined by gas chromatography if the arsenic is first collected and converted to triphenylarsine. The collection-conversion procedure is somewhat long, but the absolute limit of detection is quite low (20 pg) when an atomic-emission detector is used.
There are other valid methods of determining traces of arsenic, such as coulombmetry, X-ray fluorescence, atomic optical fluorescence, and ordinary and isotope-dilution mass spectrometry. (Arsenic)
AUTHENTICATION OF HAIR SPECIMENS
Hair absorbs minerals and compounds externally and thus external contaminants can and do change the chemical composition of hair. Someone using shampoo and hair cremes, or bathing in contaminated water, can conceivably alter the natural amounts of compounds in the hair that are deposited there internally from the blood. However, toxins contacting the hair would also be absorbed through the skin, and any serious amounts of toxins would thus create a health hazard and reaction immediately. For the most part, whenever hair analysis is undertaken, it is only common sense to check on the life style and any possible contaminants that may have been encountered. In the case of Srila Prabhupada, bath water, massage oils, chalk powders, etc cannot explain the elevated level of arsenic in His hair.
A method of ascertaining whether hair was externally tainted by toxins is the use neutron activation analysis on separate, consecutive segments of hair. This was done with the tests on Napoleon's hair, revealing great variances over time in the amounts of arsenic content. External contamination would produce a uniform, consistent level of toxins throughout the length of the hair. This is an important proof of internal poisoning, but hair specimens of sufficient length are required. Srila Prabhupada's hair specimen from Hari Sauri was about half an inch long only, about a month's growth, and sectional readings are not possible.
In lieu of the discovery of irregular depositions of toxins from the blood in hair of sufficient length, several short hair specimens that were cut at different times could also reveal varying amounts of toxins and thus establish a more solid proof of ingested and intermittent arsenic poisonings. We have Srila Prabhupada's hair from October 1977 as the first reading of arsenic levels. If now we could obtain hair from February, or May, or September, etc, then further testing would reveal differing levels of arsenic. Therefore it is urgent that further hair specimens of Srila Prabhupada be located so that verification and further discovery may occur.
SOURCES OF ARSENIC
Inorganic (Arsenite, Arsenate, elemental)
Ant poisons (now banned by EPA)
Ethylene oxide manufacture
Electronic device manufacture
Semiconductors (gallium arsenide)
Decorative glass making
Asian folk remedies
Wood preservatives (chromium-copper-arsenate)
Contaminated well water
Parasitic chemotherapy (veterinary)
POSSIBLE MIS-DIAGNOSES FOR ARSENIC POISONING ARE ILLUSTRATED IN THIS EXCERPT FROM GOLDFRANK'S TEXT ON TOXICOLOGY: note how many there are !
Iron deficiency anemia
Paralytic shellfish poisoning
Lichen planus simplex
Upper respiratory infection
Peripheral vascular disease
POISONING THROUGHOUT HISTORY
I am an evil, poisonous smoke…
But when from poison I am freed,
Through art and sleight of hand,
Then can I cure both man and beast.
From dire disease ofttimes direct them:
But prepare me correctly, and take great care
That you faithfully keep watchful guard over me:
For else I am poison, and poison remain.
That pierces the heart of many a one.
Come bitter pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy seasick weary bark!
Here's to my love! O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.
Romeo and Juliet, act 5, sc. 3
Toxicology dates to earliest man, who used animal venoms and plant extracts for hunting, waging war, and assassinations. The Ebers papyrus (circa 1500 B.C.) contains information pertaining to many recognized poisons: hemlock (the state poison of the Greeks); aconite (a Chinese arrow poison); opium (used as both poison and antidote); and such metals as lead, copper, and antimony. There is also an indication that plants containing substances akin to digitalis and belladonna alkaloids were known. Hippocrates (circa 400 B.C.) documented a number of poisons and clinical toxicology principles pertaining to bioavailability in therapy and over-dosage.
In the literature of ancient Greece, there are several references to poisons and their use. Theophrastus (370-286 B.C.) a student of Aristotle, included numerous references to poisonous plants in De Historia Plantarum. Dioscorides, a Greek physician in Emperor Nero's court, produced the first classification of poisons, which was accompanied by descriptions and drawings. His separation into plant, animal, and mineral poisons not only remained a standard for 16 centuries but is still a convenient classification today. Dioscorides also dabbled in therapy, recognizing the use of emetics in poisoning and the use of caustic agents or cupping glasses in snakebite.
Poisoning with plant and animal toxins was quite common. Perhaps the best-known recipient of a poison used as a state method of execution was Socrates (470-399 B.C.). Expeditious suicide on a voluntary basis also made use of toxicologic knowledge. Demosthenes (385-322 B.C.), who took poison hidden in his pen, was only one of many examples. The mode of suicide calling for one to fall on his sword, although manly and noble, carried little appeal. Cleopatra's (69-30 B.C.) knowledge of natural, primitive toxicology permitted her the more genteel method of falling on her asp instead.
The Romans, too, made considerable use of poisons in politics. One legend tells of King Mithridates VI of Pontus whose numerous acute toxicity experiments on unfortunate criminals led to his eventual claim that he had discovered "an antidote for every venomous reptile and every poisonous substance." He himself was so fearful of poisons that he regularly ingested a mixture of 36 ingredients as protection against assassination. The poetic treatise "Theriaca" by Nicander of Colophon (204-135 B.C.), dealt with poisonous animals; his poem "Alexipharmaca" was about antidotes.
Poisonings in Rome took on epidemic proportions during the fourth century B.C. (Livy). It was during this period that a conspiracy of women was uncovered to remove the men from whose death they might profit. Similar large-scale poisoning continued until Sull issued the Lex Cornelia (circa 82 B.C.). This appears to be the first law against poisoning, and it later became a regulatory statute directed at careless dispensers of drugs.
Prior to the Renaissance, the writings of Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon, A.D. 1135-1204) presented a treatise on treatment of poisonings from insects, snakes, and mad dogs (Poisons and Their Antidotes, 1198). From the early Renaissance, the Italians, with characteristic pragmatism, brought the art of poisoning to its zenith. The poisoner became an integral part of the political scene. The records of the city councils of Florence, and particularly the infamous Council of Ten of Venice, contain ample testimony of the political use of poisons. Victims were named, prices set, and contracts recorded, and when the deed was accomplished, payment were made.
An infamous figure of the time was a lady named Toffana, who peddled specially prepared arsenic-containing cosmetics (Agua Toffana). Accompanying the product were appropriate instructions for use. Toffana was succeeded by an imitator with organizational genius, a certain Hieronyma Spara. A local club was formed of young, wealthy, married women, which soon became a club of eligible young, wealthy widows, reminiscent of the matronly conspiracy of Rome centuries earlier.
Among the prominent families engaged in poisoning, the Borgias are the most notorious. Alexander VI, his son Cesare, and Lucretia Borgia were quite active. The deft applications of poisons to men of stature in the Church swelled the holdings of the Papacy, which was the prime heir.
A paragon of the distaff set of the period was Catherine de Medici. She exported her skills from Italy to France, where the prime targets of the ladies were their husbands. Under guise of delivering provender to the sick and the poor, Catherine tested toxic concoctions, carefully noting the results.
Culmination of the practice in France is represented by the commercialization of the service by Catherine Deshayes, who earned the title La Voisine. Her business was dissolved by her execution. Her trial was one of the most famous of those held by the Chambre Ardente, a special judicial commission established by Louis XIV. La Voisine was convicted of many poisonings, including over 2000 infants among the victims.
The tradition of the poisoners spread throughout Europe, and their deeds played a major role in the distribution of political power through the Middle Ages. Pharmacology, as we know it today, had its beginning during the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Concurrently, the study of the toxicity and the dose-response relationship for therapeutic agents was commencing (Paracelsus, 1493-1541).
Orfila, a Spanish physician in the French court, was the first toxicologist to use autopsy material and chemical analysis systematically as legal proof of poisonings. His introduction of this detailed type analysis survives today as the underpinning of forensic toxicology. Magendie, a physician and experimental physiologist, studied the mechanisms of action of emetine, strychnine, and "arrow poisons". His research into the absorption and distribution of these compounds in the body remains a classic in toxicology and pharmacology. (Casarett and Doull's Toxicology)
The alchemist's symbol for arsenic, a menacing coiled serpent, probably symbolizes very well the element's prevailing evil reputation. Anxiety about arsenic is not difficult to comprehend, inasmuch as arsenic compounds were the preferred homicidal and suicidal agents during the Middle Ages and arsenicals have been regarded largely in terms of their poisonous characteristics in the nonscientific literature. For example, an almost clinical description of acute arsenic poisoning appears in the novel Madame Bovary. Flaubert's extensive account of Emma Bovary's prolonged death throes must have made a vivid impression on many a reader. Arsenic has also been referred to in more recent literature, such as Kesselring's drama, Arsenic and Old Lace. Although arsenic was only one of three poisons used by the Brewster sisters to dispatch their guests, "Strychnine and Old Lace" or "Cyanide and Old Lace" would not have had as great an impact on the public.
Arsenic had widespread use in eighteenth-and nineteenth-century medicine as a tonic, or "alterative." At about the same time that Flaubert was writing Madame Bovary, there were a half-dozen "official" arsenicals listed in the U.S. Dispensatory. The prevailing professional opinion at that time concerning the medicinal use of arsenic was summarized as follows: "Arsenic is a safe medicine; none of the respondants having found it permanently detrimental…" …The heyday of arsenical chemotherapeutics occurred in the early part of the twentieth century, when Ehrlich discovered Salvarsan (arsphenamine), which was effective in treating human venereal disease; but the use of these compounds declined after World War II, with the advent of the more specific antibiotics.
The earlier medicinal uses and criminal abuses of arsenicals provide a helpful background of information about these compounds. (Arsenic, 1977)
HISTORY OF TAMAL KRISHNA GOSWAMI
Tamal Krishna Goswami is a central figure in the history of Srila Prabhupada's pastimes and that of the Hare Krishna Movement. He received hundreds of letters from Srila Prabhupada, served as chairman of the GBC in 1975, headed the largest-ever book distribution operation in ISKCON, served as Srila Prabhupada's personal secretary for the entire year of 1977, and has always been at the prominent in the inner clique of GBC's who formulated ISKCON policy and institutional philosophy. Further, he himself has invariably been at the center of one serious controversy in ISKCON after another. TKG has certainly had a colorful history.
There is no doubt TKG has rendered much wonderful service to Srila Prabhupada, and this appendix is not meant to criticize or belittle anyone who has spent a lifetime in the service of the Lord. However, uncomfortable and tricky as it may be, it has become necessary to understand and examine TKG's role and activities in ISKCON since the 1970's in order to:
1. Appraise the honesty and authenticity of TKG's Diary and its accounts of Srila Prabhupada's illness and events in 1977, the information from which is vital to the poison investigation,
2. get to the bottom of his changing interpretations of the initiation system Srila Prabhupada wanted for the future of ISKCON,
3. ascertain whether anyone in or out of ISKCON might possibly have had a motive to poison Srila Prabhupada,
4. devise a list of questions for Tamal regarding the particulars and mysteries of Srila Prabhupada's illness in 1977.
"GO TO CHINA"
In TKG's book, A Hare Krishna at Southern Methodist University, there is a chapter entitled The Perils of Succession wherein many of the controversial episodes of ISKCON history are clinically described, usually omitting the true details of Tamal's own role in or orchestration of such controversies. One such event was the Radha Damodar travelling parties which Tamal controlled in 1976. Srila Prabhupada became so upset with Tamal's conduct of creating great disturbance in the USA ISKCON centers that His Divine Grace relieved Tamal of all services and responsibilities, ordering him to go to China. Tamal resisted and Srila Prabhupada became angry with him, and held fast to Tamal's "banishment" behind the Yellow Curtain. It was clear that by this event, Tamal was disgraced, humiliated, and severely chastised before the entire assemblage of devotees at the annual Mayapur festival, 1976. Adi Keshava agrees that the affair made Tamal very resentful towards Srila Prabhupada.
After the 1976 Mayapur festival, Tamal and Dristadyumna studied about China and prepared a report for Srila Prabhupada. In a meeting with Srila Prabhupada in Hawaii on May 4, 1976, Tamal submitted the bleak report and described how the only method of distributing books in China would be to throw sealed, floating bags of books into the ocean, hoping they would wash ashore and be found by coastal residents. Dristadyumna and Tamal attended a book publisher's convention undercover on mainland China for a few days. Tamal reported to Srila Prabhupada that there was absolutely no way to preach in China, "maybe in fifty years (from now)." Srila Prabhupada excused Tamal of the order to go to China, and returned Tamal to his former position as head of the Radha Damodar bus program. Tamal soon afterwards assumed the GBC position for New York zone as well. Adi Keshava described Tamal's return to New York as pompous and triumphant.
While in New York, Tamal wrote and supervised the production of a play done by Sudama Swami and the devotee actors. It was an obvious indulgence in TKG's personal and emotional history of banishment and chastisement by Srila Prabhupada. The play was entitled "The Emperor and His Chief Counselor." The counselor created havoc in the emperor's kingdom, is chastised, and realizing his mistake, repented and became re-situated properly in the service of the emperor once again. Adi Keshava, however, thought the play was frightening and bizarre, being all about court intrigue, pride, power, and how Tamal had been wrongly chastised because although he had overstepped his bounds with abuse of the counselor's position, he had done so with only good intentions.
Srila Prabhupada then came to Rathayatra in New York in July 1976, staying for about a week as Tamal Krishna Goswami's guest. At this time Srila Prabhupada's health began to decline, although Tamal claims it began earlier with a "cold" in New Vrindaban. His Divine Grace's strength and digestion decreased while in New York, to the point where many GBC's asked Srila Prabhupada to stay and wait for recovery before travelling to India. Srila Prabhupada left nevertheless; on the plane and upon arrival in London only hours after leaving New York, He experienced a severe "illness" with vomiting, weakness, mucus, and lack of energy. Unfortunately, the symptoms appear very similar to those during the severe illness of 1977. Coincidence? The detailed description of this illness, accompanied by heart palpitations, is contained in Volume 4 of Hari Sauri's Transcendental Diary.
OLD AND SENILE ?
Appendix 9 contains several unverified and alleged accounts of Tamal's past actions and statements, which may shed some light on how to accept the veracity of his diary's accounts of Srila Prabhupada's illness. Nara Narayan posted an essay on VNN on 12.3.97, in which he claimed the following: "I personally overheard a private conversation between Shyamasundar das and Tamal Krishna Goswami in the Colaba Post Office flat of Mr. Kartikkeya Mahadevia. Tamal was angrily blaming Srila Prabhupada for trying to keep the Juhu Beach land. He said, 'He is old. Old and senile. He is simply attached to that land! We will never be able to build on that land. He is simply old and attached.'" The known facts in this incident are that Tamal sold the Juhu land without permission, causing Srila Prabhupada to become extremely angry and to personally re-negotiate the land's purchase. The intent herein is not to discredit Tamal, but to try to understand who exactly was Srila Prabhupada's primary guardian, personal secretary, and foremost caretaker in 1977. It is unfortunately necessary to examine the suspects and their motives in a murder investigation. What can be done? We can try to maintain objectivity, if at all possible in such an emotionally disturbing challenge as to find out who's and why's of Srila Prabhupada's poisoning.
TAMAL'S GURU SYSTEM PHILOSOPHIES
The following re-worked and edited article was posted on VNN on January 7, 1999, called "Colorful History Of Tamal Krishna Goswami.":
This is an explanation of the different colorful and contradictory interpretations of Tamal Krishna Goswami on the instructions of Srila Prabhupada for an initiation system in ISKCON after 1977. It is pertinent for us to carefully examine whether his record on this issue is solid and reliable. TKG has offered only confusing and contradictory positions on what should have happened after Srila Prabhupada's departure:
1) 1978: TKG agrees with the rest of the new gurus that the 11 men listed in the July 9, 1977 letter had been exclusively chosen as the 'material and spiritual successors' to Srila Prabhupada. He enthusiastically participated in and supported this system, with the big vyasasanas etc. In a document he was party to issued at Mayapur, March 2, 1978, it stated:
"The GBC members met together in Vrndavana and prepared a few last questions to put before Srila Prabhupada. [...] Then he said that he would name the initiating gurus later. [...] Then one day in June he gave his secretary the names of eleven disciples who would be initiating the disciples. [...] A delicate situation may arise when in one ISKCON temple there are disciples of different gurus. The natural way to avoid this is for a guru to perform diksa in his own zone. Srila Prabhupada deliberately chose gurus in different parts of the world to arrange for this. [...] A second seat, however a little below Srila Prabhupada's vyasasana, should be given to the initiating guru. [...] Those who are already empowered to initiate will extend the number by their consideration. In this way it will have spiritual characteristics. The eleven picked by His Divine Grace will extend themselves. [...] Now these godbrother's are worshipped by their disciples as genuine spiritual masters. This means for example, that they are to be considered, as stated in the Guruvastakam, as nikunjo-yuno rati keli siddhyai - intimate assistants in the pastimes of Krishna."
(The Process For Carrying Out Srila Prabhupada's Desires For Future Initiations; A paper prepared by the GBC in consultation with higher authorities)
The Reader should note that out of the eleven "intimate associates of the gopis," seven have fallen down. The remaining four are Tamal, Hridayananda, Satsvarupa, and Jayapataka.
TKG wrote in a letter to Upananda on December 13, 1978:
"The argument that after the departure of the spiritual master anyone of his disciples can give initiation, cannot be applied in the case of Srila Prabhupada who specifically named 11 persons only at first to fulfill this function. These 11 persons were named by Srila Prabhupada in the beginning of July, 1977... These names were dictated to me as I was serving as his secretary , and now he had me write a letter to all the GBC's and Temple Presidents which he also signed as approved on the 9th of July listing their names and defining their function. [...] Thus, we can understand... that Srila Prabhupada clearly appointed 11 successors for initiation. Whatever process may have been followed by past acaryas, Prabhupada chose to appoint. [...] Even after having these facts clearly explained, if some one continues to blaspheme the 11 gurus, their legitimacy, then he blasphemes ISKCON, the spiritual vehicle created by Prabhupada to fulfill his will, and he blasphemes the GBC - the approved driver of the vehicle - [...] he is not a disciple at all. Rather he is the killer of gurudev and his spiritual whereabouts is unknown."
It is noted here that this understanding as described by TKG above has been refuted by the GBC themselves as false. Another point to note is that in 1998 TKG claimed in lectures given in Hongkong, etc, responding to the rtviks' use of the July 9th letter as evidence for a post-1977 rtvik system, that the July 9th letter was actually never authored or written by Srila Prabhupada. TKG now claims that the letter was written by him, and the contents of the letter were his creation, even though ritually signed by Srila Prabhupada. Thus according to the convenience of the situation and the particular climate of ISKCON, TKG again changed his position.
2) 1980: By this time TKG's understanding of Srila Prabhupada's desires for guru-succession had become so deviant that even the GBC, themselves following a deviated path, suspended him as GBC and guru, relieving him of his zone. TKG had become convinced, amongst other things, that even his godbrothers and godsisters could only reach Srila Prabhupada through him! Many devotees hold Tamal accountable for the suicide of a well-liked devotee named Gopijanaballabha Swami, who was thought to have become mortally depressed on account of Tamal's demands and philosophy.
"Tamala Krishna Goswami, the leader of a large number of sannyasa and brahmacari preachers, insisted that he was now their via media in relating to Prabhupada and expected that his godbrothers follow him absolutely." ('The Perils of Succession', 1996, by TKG)
3) Having been suspended, TKG then gave a new explanation at Topanga Canyon, California on December 3, 1980. He "admits" there that:
"Myself and the other GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement the last three years because we interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of gurus. What actually happened I'll explain. I explained it but the interpretation is wrong."
Here TKG not only confirms that his understanding of the letter in 1978 was totally wrong, but also that now he has finally properly understood what Srila Prabhupada really wanted. Of course, within a very short time the GBC returned TKG to his zone as GBC and guru, fearful that he might upset the apple cart and their positions any further.
4) 1982: TKG has changed his mind again and goes back to the version of events that he had supported in 1978 and rejected in 1980, as seen in a letter to Gadai Prabhu on June 16, 1982:
"I do not think that there is any problem in accepting the spiritual masters who Srila Prabhupada appointed. The first qualification which you should have before you decide on this issue is to chant sixteen rounds and follow strictly Prabhupada's orders... The real proof is to see that they are acharya, not simply by appointment, but by actions. Our movement is progressing and growing more and more, at least as much as it was during Srila Prabhupada's time. [...] You have enclosed a clipping from Back To Godhead in which Srila Bhaktipada (Kirtanananda Swami) is advertised as 'Bonafide Spiritual Master'. You say 'this is something that seems a little strange to me'. Would you please explain to me what seems strange? "
Note: Kirtanananda is now serving a 26 year sentence in Federal prison for various criminal convictions. That is strange for an acharya.
5) 1984: This metamorphosis of TKG's version of what happened in 1977 is completed by the publication of his book in 1984, Servant of the Servant. On page 361 we find:
"Since the disappearance of our beloved spiritual master, we have seen such disenchanted persons come forward trying to cast doubt on the legacy left by Srila Prabhupada. When Srila Prabhupada appointed from among his senior disciples eleven persons to continue the process of initiation, and when after their spiritual master's departure those whom he selected assumed their duties by his command, the critics began to bark their discontent. Though they leveled their remarks against the successor gurus, in reality their criticism was aimed at Srila Prabhupada himself. Just as in 1970, the present dissatisfaction is being unabatedly fed by some of his Godbrothers in India. Doubt in Srila Prabhupada's successors is a thin veneer covering the same malicious attempt as was made in 1970 to minimize Prabhupada's position as the founder-acarya of ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada saw this attempt as the greatest danger to his disciples and the Society which he had created, and he acted at once to curb it. In the same light, we who are his faithful followers must defend Prabhupada's successors to protect their young disciples and to preserve the unity of ISKCON and the prestige of its founder-acarya. (COMMENT: It is this heavy mood which caused thousands to leave ISKCON)
By his letter of June 21, Srila Prabhupada did not merely confirm his own transcendental position as my spiritual master. As he stated, "Any living entity who is conditioned can achieve the perfectional stage of life by the above-mentioned processes and the vivid example is Narada Muni." The critics may argue that appointment alone is not a guarantee that one has actually achieved this perfectional stage of life; Prabhupada might have appointed disciples for lack of anyone better, or hoping that they might one day achieve the desired realization. To such irresponsible criticism we answer a decisive "No!" Srila Prabhupada chose them because they merited his confidence. How do we say so? - by their qualifications in regard to all categories as determined in Srila Prabhupada's own books, the spiritual law books for this age, i.e., that they repeat Krishna's words, received in disciplic succession. (Quote from Teachings of Lord Kapila)
Srila Prabhupada conferred his blessings upon these disciples, seeing that they had dedicated themselves heart and soul to assisting him in the preaching mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus he considered them to be uttama-adhikari, all highly advanced devotees worthy to be accepted as spiritual masters. (Quote from The Nectar of Instruction)
Critics may doubt whether our ISKCON acharyas are actually liberated. Do they know their rasa (liberated relationship) with Krishna, and will they be able to instruct their disciples similarly? But such questions bring one dangerously near the precipice of spiritual calamity. We have experience of one "liberation-seeking" Godbrother, impatient for his spiritual rasa, wandering into the arms of a so-called "rasa-guru." After being informed of his real identity as a peacock in Goloka, this foolish neophyte began imitating behind closed doors the movements and cooings of a peacock, preparing for his future role. Such behavior indicates little familiarity with Prabhupada's teachings. Srila Prabhupada did not encourage such discussions, did not reveal his relationship with Krishna, nor give anyone a special initiation into theirs. (COMMENT: Here TKG wants us to think we would be offensive to question his exalted stature) But to suggest that Srila Prabhupada was not therefore of the highest liberated realization, not qualified to fully guide his disciples, is preposterous. In a Bhagavatam purport Srila Prabhupada clearly defines how we should understand the spiritual master's liberated condition. (Quote from Bhagavatam)
Sometimes Prabhupada was asked, "Are you perfect?" Prabhupada's humble reply was, "I may not be perfect. But I have complete faith in the words of my spiritual master, and he is perfect." Perfection, or liberation, means to follow a perfect person. (Quote from Bhagavatam)
Ultimately, however, the greatest proof of the bonafidity of Srila Prabhupada's successor acaryas is their new disciples. It is said, phalena pariciyate: One is recognized by the results of his actions....A spiritual master is recognized as an actual guru when it is seen that he has changed the character of his disciples. As a tree is known by the fruit it produces, so we can know for certain that the fruit of our acaryas' preaching has unquestionably been grown on the tree of Lord Caitanya. The new devotees who are now joining the International Society for Krishna Consciousness bear every semblance of being true Gaudiya Vaisnavas. In fact, judging by the results they are achieving in the fields of book distribution, temple worship, etc., they are even surpassing the previous generation of devotees. Undoubtedly this is only possible through the causeless mercy of Srila Prabhupada who, being greatly pleased, is continuing to shower his unlimited blessings upon the worldwide members of his ISKCON family."
This complete portion excerpted above from his 1984 book was subsequently and mysteriously deleted in the 1991 reprint edition.
6) Post 1987: TKG again changes his mind and whole-heartedly endorses the new guru "reforms" in ISKCON and agrees that what he and the other 11 had been doing and teaching for the last 10 years was wrong. He agrees that in new versions of his book 'Servant of the Servant' the above quoted passage would be omitted. In a December, 1987 letter to Gauridas Pandit TKG said that the guru issue was unresolved and that open discussion would be healthy.
7). At Mayapur in March 1990, TKG becomes very angry about the Vedic Village Review and its propagation of the rtvik philosophy, describing Nityananda das as ISKCON's "public enemy number one," and arranging for the excommunication from ISKCON of the three VVR editors in New Jaipur, Mississippi. With Rabindra Swarup, he produces the ISKCON Journal which attempted to defend the ISKCON system of guru selection and approval.
8) 1992-95: TKG's understanding of guru-tattva takes a further twist. He now leads the formation of a "gopi-bhava" club, preaching that Srila Prabhupada had not given us the 'highest understanding' and that we should consult with a 'rasika guru', such as Narayan Maharaj, whom Rabindra Svarupa, GBC chairman and close TKG associate, later characterized in much less than flattering terms. (Taking Srila Prabhupada Straight, 1998)
9) 1995: TKG, under intense pressure in a GBC showdown, relented, admitting the fault in thinking that Srila Prabhupada had not given us everything and that we should consult with the 'rasika guru', as he had himself done and also persuaded many hundreds of others to do for the previous 4 years. It appeared that TKG had been ready to push Narayan Maharaj to be accepted as the next acharya for ISKCON, with himself being the right hand man. TKG was chastised and put on restriction and probation by the GBC. Since, ISKCON defections to Narayan Maharaj have snowballed and become a serious factor in the weakening of Srila Prabhupada's Mission.
10) No sooner was Tamal restricted from Vrindaban and the association of Narayan Maharaj than he enrolled in college and began working hard to become a religious scholar and academic authority on the Hare Krishna Movement. The ten lives of Tamal! He is presently working on his doctorate at Cambridge University in England and attends conferences of religious scholars around the world. In this way, perhaps he will finally be accorded due respect as a truly spiritual person and be able to transcend the many years of poor reputation he has earned while participating in various and numerous controversial and debilitating ISKCON incidences.
TAKES OVER SRILA PRABHUPADA'S QUARTERS
Another part of Tamal's history worth noting is that immediately after Srila Prabhupada's disappearance in November 1977, Tamal sent word to the Bombay temple to prepare Srila Prabhupada's quarters there for his arrival. Going to Bombay, Tamal moved into Srila Prabhupada's rooms and set himself up in charge of the huge just, opened complex. The Juhu Beach property was perhaps the premier ISKCON property, and Tamal then ordered a marble Vyasasana for himself. When the Vyasasana arrived and was being installed, Mahabuddhi noticed that it was higher than Srila Prabhupada's Vyasasana. Mahabuddhi instructed the workers to cut down the legs several feet, which was not pleasing to Tamal. Throughout 1978 Tamal solidified his hold on the Bombay project; at one meeting in the presence of Tamal, some of Srila Prabhupada's disciples were grilled and harassed, "Do you love Goswami?" Finally the situation became too radical for even Giriraj and Sridhar Swamis, and TKG was summarily ousted while he was visiting the USA, and informed not to return.
In conclusion, upon reviewing the colorful history of Tamal, we are left in serious doubt as to how much credibility should be accorded to his diary, accounts of Srila Prabhupada's illness, or the various interpretations of Srila Prabhupada's instructions. This is certainly the feeling of many past and present participants in ISKCON. One who keeps changing their position cannot be counted on as understanding things rightly and is perceived as a dishonest politician. Further, we are left to wonder about the motives and ambitions of a person who has had almost 30 years of political and controversial involvements in ISKCON, all too often being found at the forefront of yet another serious challenge to the Hare Krishna Movement he now purports to represent as a scholar.
Tamal's drama production of The Final Pastimes of Srila Prabhupada in 1988 was widely viewed as Tamal's attempt to gain prominence and esteem from his role in 1977 as Srila Prabhupada's "intimate" associate. The two year long editing process by Garuda Prabhu prior to publication was arduous and difficult, with Tamal struggling to retain things such as references to Srila Prabhupada's shelter under the Vrindaban "tamal" tree. This book gives many a reader eerie and uncomfortable feelings of Srila Prabhupada being used to enhance Tamal's and Bhakticharu's reputations.
In light of all this, one cannot but help wonder how Tamal has managed to do such great damage to his spiritual master's Mission. A demon on the outside would have been less dangerous. It is not a matter of character assassination, but of character assessment, and that is required only in these unusual circumstances of a poison investigation. Otherwise these exercises are forbidden. Because Tamal is a suspect in Srila Prabhupada's poisoning, his history is very relevant, as it provides many clues as to possible motives, methods, and actions. This is the nature of a murder investigation.
Normally, matters such as these would not be proper to discuss publicly. However, there is no private forum in which to address these issues of Srila Prabhupada's poisoning and the suspected poisoners. ISKCON simply denies the very possibility of poisoning; there is no forum there. What to do but bring it to the public forum? It is an emergency. Sometimes the rules cannot be followed per se, but a creative route must be found to take.
Therefore it certainly seems justified in demanding Tamal Krishna Goswami to answer questions regarding Srila Prabhupada's disappearance, and other matters as well. He must be accountable for his actions, and, especially in matters of leadership, one must be prepared to answer to the followers when controversy and suspicion arises. Tamal Krishna Goswami is obliged to cooperate with the poison investigation. He is a suspect not by dint of his colorful history, but by dint of the evidence on hand. This author prays that he can be cleared of suspicion and we can look towards other suspects.
WAS THE MEDICINE LIKE POISON?
According to Prakruti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution, by Dr. R.E. Svoboda, "Anyone who wants to use mercury for rejuvenation must be exceptionally careful about its source, and must be sure that it has been properly prepared... The quantity of mercury in any one pill is very small thanks to the processing procedure known as Bhavana... Makharadhvaja benefits all sorts of acute disease states, including especially respiratory ailments like cold, influenza, and pneumonia, and all sorts of chronic conditions, such as low blood pressure, general exhaustion, and nervous or mental debility... It is usually best to take Makharadhvaja during the coldest season of the year so that their powerful innate fire does not increase pitta."
The questionable source of Chandra Swami's makharadhvaja and the kaviraja's disclaimer letter that was never shown to Srila Prabhupada are two reasons to characterize Srila Prabhupada's caretakers as irresponsible. However, the real issue is not negligence or bungling in the care of Srila Prabhupada, but it is the arsenic poisoning.
Bhakticharu said: "Soon after that Srila Prabhupada started to speak about poison. Therefore it seemed to me that he was speaking about the adverse effect of makaradhvaja." This is expected to be a central explanation from ISKCON apologetics, that on November 10 Srila Prabhupada was talking about the makharadhvaja effects, and not talking about being poisoned by someone. They will also refer to Tamal's late October statement about the medicine, "it had turned to poison." Since, as they explain, Srila Prabhupada could not have possibly been poisoned maliciously by any of His own loving disciples, therefore any talk of poison must be about medicines which had adverse effects and were "like poison."
Thus the idea is floated that makharadhvaja was a possible source of poisoning, as it contains mercury, responsible for debilitating Srila Prabhupada's health and perhaps even having a lethal effect. Some have suggested this may have been due to His taking makharadhvaja for an extended period, thought by some to begin early in 1977. However, the makharadhvaja was taken only 2 times by Srila Prabhupada, once on October 25, and once the next day, a total of ONE DAY. But these deflections by minimizing Srila Prabhupada's statement of being poisoned is irresponsible and does not make any sense when the details of chronological history are examined.
After taking makharadhvaja, Srila Prabhupada discontinued its use, noting that "it is not acting," and that there were "adverse reactions," namely loose bowels, passing 5 times in a day. But Srila Prabhupada did not become extremely ill, or even slightly ill, from taking the makharadhvaja; He did not experience the pain, fever, vomiting, etc that one might expect with serious "poisonous" effects. Unnecessarily, Tamal introduced the poison word. Why are Tamal, Bhavananda, Bhakticharu talking about poison in October, weeks before Srila Prabhupada used the word? To confuse us about the real poison?
Srila Prabhupada discontinued the makharadhvaja even in the face of continued pressure to continue taking it. Apparently Srila Prabhupada was suspicious of the makharadhvaja, as He questioned its source, the uncanny "coincidence" of finding it ready made, the fact that it was free, and finally He inspected it Himself visually. But then He said nothing further about it, and Sastriji came from Calcutta to begin a new treatment.
Fourteen days later, the makharadhvaja issue was distant history; the loose bowels were gone before November began, and Sastriji's program had been underway for two weeks. The time between the taking of the makharadhvaja and the time at which Srila Prabhupada said He was being poisoned are too far apart for the two incidents to have any relation. On November 9, Srila Prabhupada did not say that the medicine was poisonous; He said that He heard others speaking of how He was being poisoned. Perhaps He had heard devotees whispering about poison, just as today we are hearing devotees whispering in the tape's background about poison.
By study of Srila Prabhupada's health history of late 1977, no longer does the "medicine is like poison" explanation make sense. It may sound impressive to one who has not studied the chronology and events. There is, however, some concern that the makharadhvaja obtained through Chandra Swami was spiced with poison, namely arsenic. Even if it was, there was no visible effect. Makharadhvaja is made with gold, sulfur, and mercury, and sometimes with other ingredients such as musk, pearls, mica. However, arsenic is not an ingredient of makharadhvaja. Arsenic is not known nor expected to have been an ingredient in any of Srila Prabhupada's medicines.
Anything Srila Prabhupada ate or drank as food or medicine could have been arsenic-tainted. To taint the makharadhvaja would seem much more unlikely than poisoning the milk, for example. Even if the makharadhvaja was arsenic-tainted by an outside party, it is very difficult to see how this could result in the 3 ppm in Balavanta's one month hair sample, during which the makharadhvaja was taken for 1 day. Blood clears itself of arsenic within 5 days at most. Any arsenic in the makharadhvaja would thus have been deposited decreasingly in the hair for only about 6 days out of 30. For 30 days of hair to contain an average of 3 ppm due to 6 days of arsenic-tainted blood, the levels during the first day would need to be about 25 ppm, a level which would cause acute arsenic poisoning symptoms not seen in Srila Prabhupada at that time. (see the case histories for comparisons of arsenic levels and resulting symptoms) Thus, logically, the 3 ppm was not due to 1 day worth of tainted makharadhvaja, but due to poisoning spread out over much more than 1 day. The arsenic came from elsewhere, not the makharadhvaja.
For example: if the makharadhvaja was arsenic-tainted and is thought to produce an average of 3 ppm in the hair over 30 days, the amounts would need to be: 25 for 1 day, 18 for 1 day, 10 for 1 day, 5 for 1 day, 3 for 1 day, 2 for 1 day, and about 1 ppm for the last 24 days of that month. This averages out at 3 ppm with arsenic ingested for only one day. Serious effects would ensue from 25 ppm arsenic; but only diarrhea was the result. The conclusion, again, is that 3 ppm was not due to tainted makharadhvaja.
When Srila Prabhupada spoke of being poisoned on November 9 and 10, He was not talking about makharadhvaja. The entire conversation on the 10th was of rakshasas, who could possibly do such a thing, the Guha and Sankaracharya murders, who has poisoned you, etc. The kaviraja said there must be truth to it. The discussion was obviously about intentional poisoning, not of negative medicinal effects. Yet, no one took it seriously. Why? Why now obscure the issue with a "makharadhvaja was poison" explanation? The medicine was not poisonous. And if the medicine had too much mercury, then why did Balavanta's hair test not show high levels of mercury, but only of arsenic, which is not a makharadhvaja component?
1. Makharadhvaja does not have arsenic as an ingredient.
2. Balavanta's hair analysis shows poisoning by arsenic, not by mercury.
3. Srila Prabhupada was not talking about makharadhvaja on Nov. 9 & 10.
4. The makharadhvaja was not "poisonous" enough to notice any effects
5. Makharadhvaja doesn't explain Prabhupada's poisoning statements.
6. The 3 ppm arsenic level is not due to possibly tainted makharadhvaja.
7. The 3 ppm arsenic level is due to poisoning over much more than 1 day.
ASTROLOGY AND POISONING
THE TRUE HOROSCOPE OF SRILA PRABHUPADA
USA (VNN) - by Dharmapada Dasa (01/13/98 - Story 1496)
I read a Chakra article that Shrila Prabhupada's horoscope does not indicate death by poisoning, such that the case is solved- that is a tidy solution. Personally, I’m not getting involved in that one right now because it isn’t my purpose. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m manipulating charts with an ulterior purpose in mind. I’ll assume, no doubt, the writer's intention was good; but the chart itself was wrong, and that's the issue which I would like to address at the moment because it is an issue worth considering in and of itself; a contention exists about which chart is actually the true horoscope of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Prabhupada.
The chart on the Chakra website has been championed by a respected astrologer in ISKCON who received training in India. The ascendent of that chart is Capricorn. The ascendent of the other chart is Sagittarius. That the Sagittarius one is actually the chart of Shrila Prabhupada was first brought to my attention by Nalini Kantha dasa, another well-known ISKCON astrologer. (By the way my name is Dharmapada Dasa: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some background will be necessary to sort things out. First, it seems that at some point Shrila Prabhupada identified with Capricorn chart. This seems to mean that Shrila Prabhupada was given his calculated chart and told he was Capricorn ascendent and that he basically accepted that. What else can anybody really infer? We have never heard of any discussion between Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta, a great astrologer, about our Prabhupada’s horoscope. We know nothing of any possibility that Bhaktisiddhanta examined Srila Prabhupada's chart; no help there.
If someone brought the contention to his attention, and was able to present the case for the Sagittarius chart, His Divine Grace might have changed his mind. It’s not as if Shrila Prabhupada affirmed for all time that his ascendent was Capricorn and that that was his divine instruction.
The reason for the contention is very simple; if Shrila Prabhupada’s reported birth time was off by as little as 5 minutes or so, then the ascendent would change from Capricorn to Sagittarius. They are not entirely different charts which have nothing to do with each other, although they are entirely different. I’m saying that the planetary positions and everything are the same, the only difference being that if we go back just five minutes; a few, small, quick minutes, the ascendent changes and the whole chart gets plotted differently. The ascendent would be either 29 degrees Sagittarius or one of the first few degrees of Capricorn, the cut-off point being 30 degrees. The two charts only one degree away from each other, determined by mere minutes.
And who was it that reported the time? Probably Shrila Prabhupada’s parents. Were they so efficient that they documented events down to the minute and second? Did the clocks in India keep good time? Remember: a few minutes and the chart changes. It is not improbable that Shrila Prabhupada’s birth time contains some rounding error: it is likely, meaning the true ascendent is probably up for grabs until otherwise determined.
When I’m faced with a rising sign on the first or last degree of a sign is, first of all I ask the native of the chart what the source of the birth time is. Then I probe by asking about indications which could only be true in one chart or the other. For example, let’s say that one chart supports the existence of younger brothers, while the other does not. It is more accurate to start with the chart, interrogate, go backwards and adjust the birth time rather than to take a borderline birth time for granted. The term for this is chart rectification. All practiced astrologers understand this problem.
We have to find out which facts from Prabhupada’s life correspond to one chart and not the other. Often a phenomenon might seem justifiable from both charts, as is the situation in this case. I could argue for the existence of children and pharmaceutical business from both charts. But there are two blatant things about Shrila Prabhupada’s life which can only be explained by the Sagittarius chart: His authorship and the 1970's success of his movement.
First of all, when we examine any affair, there are two basic elements of a chart which we must consider. On one hand, we look at the house which stands for the thing in question, its occupants, any aspects which it might receive and the position of its lord. On the other hand, we examine the karaka or natural significator. I will give a few examples of karakas to show the reason what I mean. The moon is the karaka of one’s mother, the sun is the karaka of one’s father, also of the king, Mars is the karaka of brothers and Venus is the karaka of one’s love life. So just as any issue has a house which represents it, there is a corresponding planetary indicator which naturally represents it, too. With this in mind, let’s examine the authorship issue from Shrila Prabhupada’s charts two supposed charts.
The karaka in the Capricorn chart is Mercury. The Vedic astrological literature unequivocally indicates Mercury as the indicator of writing, authorship and books. In this chart, Mercury occupies its sign of exaltation, Virgo, in a benefic and pious house, the ninth. It forms raj yoga there with Venus, raj yoga being a tremendous combination for power and influence. So at first glance, the Capricorn chart supports the type of religious authorship that Shrila Prabhupada enjoyed.
But the lord (Jupiter) of the house of authorship (the third) occupies the eighth house. The eighth is the most evil house in any horoscope. The affairs represented by any planet or lord who falls there are said to disintegrate and the strength of such a planet is described by adjectives such as “ feeble.” In spite of the strength of the karaka Mercury, and the fact that Mercury aspects or throws its influence on the house of authors, the absolute weakness of the lord of the house does not support the idea of a world-famous author who wrote and organized the distribution of many millions of books.
The nature of any religious writings indicated by Jupiter in the evil 8th house afflicted by the Rahu - Ketu axis would not be of the nature of the pure Krishna bhakti of which Shrila Prabhupada wrote. The Rahu-Ketu combination together with Jupiter goes by the name of Guru-Chandala yoga, indicative of dharmas of lesser understanding. When this combination is prominent in a horoscope, the traditional texts indicate that the person takes up Islam or Christianity, religions of the meat-eaters. I have seen this combination indicate comprehension troubles in the charts of many regular devotees, without carrying the added affliction of occurring in the evil 8th, as in the case of the Capricorn chart. In other words, the evil can be corrected if the combination receives other benefic influences, such as good association or aspects. But this combination doesn’t cut the mustard because Jupiter is himself afflicted by being there and is the lord of bad houses. So this afflicted third-lord Jupiter with the Rahu-Ketu axis, in an evil house is not indicative of Shrila Prabhupada’s pure writings. The degenerate influence of Rahu and Ketu over Jupiter have gone off the deep end by being in the 8th house.
On the other hand, the Sagittarius chart has four resounding indications which suggest great literary success, with no blemishes. They are:
1. Again, the natural indicator Mercury occupies his sign of exaltation- that wouldn’t change over a few minutes! Mercury occupies the house of occupation and career, which is certainly a natural place for it to be in Prabhupada’s chart, for obvious reasons.
2. Rahu occupies the house of authorship. Rahu gives very good results from that house, no question about it.
3. Jupiter and the Sun aspect the house of authors from the ninth house, a very pious and benefic house, wherefrom they form a great raj yoga. This greatly strengthens the house.
4. Finally, the lord of the house of authors occupies his sign of exaltation; I am referring to Saturn in the eleventh. Not only is Libra the best sign for this planet, but the eleventh is the best house!
Now these are the kind of indications which would (and did) make an author a multimillion-dollar seller. These combinations are not seen often.
The other issue has to do with the fact that the heyday of the Hare Krishna movement took place during the major planetary period of Ketu. The idea is that during the period of a planet, the indications promised by it in the chart become activated. The Ketu period started in May of 1971. Previous to that, the major period corresponded to Mercury, the minor period belonging to Saturn from August of ‘68 until May of ‘71.
In the Capricorn chart, does Ketu in the evil 8th house with the Rahu- Ketu axis indicate any great spirituality? We have already responded to that question, the answer is no. Does Ketu in the 8th even suggest any type of strong success? Especially next to such a weak Jupiter, the answer according to general astrological principles is also no. In the Sagittarius chart, however, any natural evil of the Rahu - Ketu axis would be overshadowed by dint of the fact that Ketu sits in the pious house of religion, by the fact that Ketu is with a strong Jupiter, who is the karaka of religion and spiritual understanding (Jupiter is Brihaspati ), and by being with the lord of the house of religion, the satvic Sun.
Ketu would not only reflect the piety of this 9th house situation of the Sagittarius chart, but also reflect and intensify the force and power of that combination, and give success in his period. It is the nature of both Rahu and Ketu to reflect the results of the planet in whose sign they are placed. They are largely chameleons in this way. They soak up and intensify the indications around them. In predictive astrology also, Rahu and Ketu act like their associated planets and reflect the qualities of the house they are in. It is only natural in the Sagittarius chart for Ketu to reflect and intensify the great success and piety of the raj yoga (Jupiter, Sun combination) of which he is a part. Ketu’s inherent materialism is not reinforced as in the Capricorn chart, with Ketu in an evil house next to an afflicted and weak Jupiter.
Ketu's intensifying nature accounts for the results which were not given in the major Jupiter period by itself, which took place in the 1920s, when Shrila Prabhupada didn’t have such success. So, Ketu was able to synthesize and intensify the combined effects of Jupiter and the Sun in a synergistic way. This is typical of the nature of Rahu and Ketu; we are used to seeing planets manifest their results through Rahu and Ketu. In the Capricorn chart, however, everything requires a bit of stretching. A much more tenable and natural interpretation results from the Sagittarius chart.
In this way I hope that the answer to the question about which chart is the real chart of Shrila Prabhupada has become revealed. As far as the controversy between the two different charts is concerned, one group has overlooked a few things. But just because some astrologer makes a mistake, has an opinion which is off-kilter, or has a prediction that has gone wrong, is not cause to pass judgement over him or reject him. B.V. Raman is India’s most well-known astrologer of this century; his achievements are fantastic. It was he who carried the message of Hindu astrology to the West in the English language, who wrote a whole set of books on practically every facet of Vedic astrology and who carried his astrological journal to national heights. Even so, he has made a few mistakes, and holds an opinion or two for which history may not be kind to him, and he has detractors. Every astrologer has a prediction go wrong or a skeleton in his closet. Let’s not hastily judge any astrologer who favors the Capricorn chart. Your Servant, Dharmapada das
AUTHOR'S COMMENT: The Sagittarius chart thus can be seen as the better match for Srila Prabhupada's astrological position. Other astrologers, including Asutosh Oja, who plotted Srila Prabhupada's chart in 1977, have clearly observed that Srila Prabhupada's chart indicated trouble or insubordination from juniors and supports a case of poisoning. However, astrology cannot prove or disprove that Srila Prabhupada was poisoned.
LETTER FROM BHAGAVAT DAS
USA (VNN) - Bhagavat Das Reply to ISKCON's Official Report
My Dear Prabhus:
PAMHO! AGTSP! I read with interest the statement by the GBC and the response from Rochan. To be honest I am amazed at everyone's inability to focus on the most important point of this investigation, which are the words of His Divine Grace "Someone is poisoning me". These words were the reason for launching the investigation and they continue to remain the most compelling reason for the investigation to continue. After conducting a closer examination of the tape, to ascertain whether there was more information on the tape that might shed more light on the statements of His Divine Grace, the whispers were found. Unfortunately everyone has chosen to focus on the whispers instead of the statements of His Divine Grace, which are the real evidence in the case for his being poisoned.
First of all even if we approach this from a practical point of view Srila Prabhupada was, during his grihasta days, the manager of a pharmaceutical house. He designed, manufactured and marketed his own pharmaceutical preparations like De's liniment. Srila Prabhupada was very conversant with how herbs, chemicals and poisons interacted with the human body. Srila Prabhupada also owned his own pharmacy in Allahabad where he sold prescriptions where he would have to have knowledge of drug interactions with the body. So even from a practical point of view we must concede Srila Prabhupada was educated enough in medical science to know if he were being poisoned just from the reactions he was feeling in his body.
Secondly, and more importantly, he is the Nitya Siddha pure devotee of the Supreme Lord Krishna, meaning he is by the grace of Supersoul fully conscious of the hearts and minds of his devotees. In 1974 there was some controversy with several leaders in our society who were claiming that Srila Prabhupada was not a magician and that it was foolish to think that he knew what was going on in his temples and in the hearts of his disciples. I argued then against such nonsense and when I was in Bombay Srila Prabhupada received a letter from his disciple Sarva Mangal dasi. She said there were devotees making these opposing statements, and while she believed that he knew these things, she wanted His Divine Grace to please confirm her understanding. Srila Prabhupada told his secretary, "For a greatly advanced pure devotee of the Lord this was not difficult." The secretary then asked, "So I should tell her that you know this?" Srila Prabhupada replied, "That's not what I said. I said a greatly advanced pure devotee of the Lord would know these things. I am not a greatly advanced pure devotee, I am not even a devotee. I am just trying to be a devotee." Also Srila Prabhupada stated that Supersoul tells him whatever he needs to know.
We can thus conclude that Srila Prabhupada is a greatly advanced pure devotee of the Lord and he most certainly knew that he was being poisoned and by whom. Is anyone able to present any argument against the fact that Srila Prabhupada is a greatly advanced pure devotee of the Lord who knows what is going on in the hearts and minds of his devotees? Can anyone refute Srila Prabhupada's statements about the abilities of a greatly advanced pure devotee? If you can prove Srila Prabhupada was not a greatly advanced pure devotee and did not know he was being poisoned, then please publish your foolish and offensive argument so we may all know who you are.
Unfortunately during this investigation there are some devotees who have been diminishing the words of the greatly advanced pure devotee Srila Prabhupada by portraying him as an ordinary man. Even more amazing is that some of them are the same devotees who I argued against over 20 years ago about the same thing. I have heard statements like "he was old and sick and could not understand", "he was senile", "usually old Indian men who are dying think they are being poisoned", "he was confused", and other mundane assessments of His Divine Grace. If these assessments are accurate then how could he translate Srimad Bhagavatam until his last days. Are we to accept that last translation work as the ranting of a confused, senile old man? If any one thinks such, please publish your case so we can all know who you are.
Just because doctors were examining Srila Prabhupada doesn't mean that they could ascertain that he was being poisoned, unless they tested for it specifically. Many poisons cause the rapid onset of certain diseases (like heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, etc.) and death. It was said in certain circles that when Indira Gandhi held Jayaprakash Narayan under house arrest she slowly administered poisons that caused kidney deterioration and his death. This kind of poisoning cannot be detected by routine medical tests. Therefore, when foul play is suspected, in addition to a doctor's exam, an autopsy is done to ascertain the truth. However, I am neither suggesting, requesting, or in any way insinuating that Srila Prabhupada should be exhumed for an autopsy. I am totally against it. So the statements of some that the doctors did not notice poisoning is not evidence that he was not poisoned. Srila Prabhupada, being conversant with the effects of various substances on the body, and being that he was experiencing it first hand, makes him the most likely person to ascertain the truth of the situation. Also he is the greatly advanced pure devotee who is aware of what is going on.
This truth is being obfuscated by all this rhetoric about the whispers and whether they are real or not. The whispers don't even really matter! What matters most is that the greatly advanced pure devotee of the Lord, my spiritual master, said, "Someone is poisoning me". Doesn't the Nectar of Instruction warn us that to consider the spiritual master, as an ordinary human being is greatly offensive? Are there not many other verses that say the same thing? How many verses are there, which state that faith in the words of the spiritual master is the real key to enlightenment?
It has been asked how Srila Prabhupada, the greatly advanced pure devotee, could be poisoned? How could he be vanquished? Didn't Jesus Christ accept the crucifixion after praying to the Lord, "Let this cup pass from me but thy will be done"? Didn't Jesus Christ forbid Peter from fighting with the Roman soldiers when they came to take him? Srila Prabhupada died for the sins of his disciples: that is the covenant he made with us at the time of initiation. He could have stayed with us. He said, "Krishna said it is up to me -I can stay or I can go, but what do you want?" Obviously there was a Judas amongst us who wanted him to go, and so he departed. That is not the same as being vanquished. "He reasons ill who says that Vaishnavas die when living still in sound" Srila Prabhupada left us his words, his voice beckons us to bring him justice. Which devotee is there who will argue that the words of the spiritual master are wrong? Please publish your case that when Srila Prabhupada said, "Someone is poisoning me," he was wrong. Who are you?
What is really at the core of this issue is faith in the eternally transcendental position of the spiritual master and his words. The entire political diatribe and semantics is just a desperate attempt to conceal the truth. We know that somebody poisoned Srila Prabhupada! How? Because he said so! The only question now is who? The failure of the whispers to prove that (if in fact they do not) is not the end of the case! It is only insufficient evidence! Maybe Srila Prabhupada wants us to look at it from another angle. One thing we can be sure of he is in control! It is up to him when and where and how we find the truth and the price we will have to pay for that is complete faith in the words of His Divine Grace.
There are many who were in Vrindaban during Srila Prabhupada's last days who feel that it would have been impossible for them to not notice that this was going on. But how many times were we involved in difficult situations and only Srila Prabhupada understood everything; we didn't even have a clue. No one knew about Judas except Jesus Christ. None of the apostles knew. Didn't Srila Prabhupada tell us he was being poisoned? Still we did nothing about it. How sadly history repeats itself. There are those who will try to distract you from the truths written in this letter by discrediting me. But this letter is not about me, it is about Srila Prabhupada and his words. I am easily discredited, there are so many things I do not do, but one thing I have never done is considering my Spiritual Master to be an ordinary man or doubted his words. I can say with conviction, however, that anyone who follows all the rules but fails to accept that Srila Prabhupada is a Shaktavesh Avatar, Nitya Siddha, greatly advanced pure devotee of the Lord whose words are never wrong, is a spiritual failure. The real issue is do we believe our Spiritual Master when he says, "Someone is poisoning me"? Do we believe that the words of our Spiritual Master are never wrong? Do we believe that this greatly advanced pure devotee would make a mistake about something so serious as this when he is receiving his information from the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna? It is faith on trial here, faith in the Spiritual Master and his words. The line is drawn: on one side are those who doubt the words of the greatly advanced pure devotee of the Lord. On the other side are those who believe that if the spiritual master says it's a rope then it's a rope and if he says it's a snake then it's a snake. I know which side I am on. My spiritual master, right or wrong he is always right, he is never wrong. Which side of the line are you on?
TAMAL TALKS AT PYRAMID HOUSE
In late 1980 Tamal Krishna Goswami and Hansadutta Swami were travelling around ISKCON, having been suspended as gurus and GBC's by the GBC body for activities unacceptable to them, such as demanding that his godbrothers must approach Srila Prabhupada through him. They had been relieved of their zones. TKG called for an open discussion at Nrsinghananda's Pyramid House in Topanga Canyon, CA. on December 3, 1980. Hansadutta, Dhira Krishna, Kirtiraja, Jayadwaita and others were present, and the talk was recorded. Below are some of the interesting statements made therein.
Hansadutta: Anyway, Tamal Krishna Goswami has had a very important realization about how some of these problems have been plaguing us for the last two years practically, since Prabhupada disappeared. How they've come to be, regarding this guru issue and appointment or expanding it or restricting it. That's why he wanted some of you to come and hear, because I think this will be a breath of fresh air...
Tamal: Actually, Prabhupada never appointed any gurus. He didn't appoint eleven gurus. He appointed eleven ritviks. He never appointed them gurus. Myself and the other GBC have done the greatest disservice to this movement the last three years because we interpreted the appointment of ritviks as the appointment of gurus. What actually happened was that Prabhupada mentioned that he might be appointing some ritviks, so the GBC went to Prabhupada - 5 or 6 of us. We asked him, "Srila Prabhupada, after your departure, if we accept disciples, whose disciples will they be, your disciples or mine?" Later on there was a piled-up list for people to get initiated. I said, "Srila Prabhupada, you once mentioned about ritviks. I don't know what to do. We don't want to approach you, but there's hundreds of devotees named, and I'm just holding all the letters. "
So Prabhupada said, " I will appoint so many...," and he started to name them. He made it very clear that they're his disciples. At that point it was very clear in my mind that they were his disciples. Later on I asked him two questions: 1) What about Brahmananda Swami? So Prabhupada said, "No, not unless he's qualified." Before I got ready to type the letter, I asked him: 2) "Srila Prabhupada, is this all or do you want to add more?" He said, "As is necessary, others may be added."
Now I understand that what he did was very clear. He was physically incapable of performing the function of initiation physically; therefore, he appointed officiating priests to initiate on his behalf. He appointed eleven and he said very clearly, "Whoever is nearest, he can initiate." This is a very important point, because when it comes to initiating if it isn't whoever is nearest, it's wherever your heart goes. Who you repose your faith in, you take initiation from him. But when it's officiating, it's whoever is nearest, and he was very clear. "Then, on my behalf, they'll initiate." It's not a question that you repose your faith in that person. That's a function for the guru. "In order for me to manage this movement," Prabhupada said, "I have to form a GBC, and I will appoint the following people. In order to continue the process of people joining our movement and getting initiated, I have to appoint some priests to help me because just like I cannot physically manage everyone myself, I physically cannot initiate everyone myself." And that's all that it was, and it was never any more than that. If it had been more than that, you can bet your bottom dollar that Prabhupada would have spoken for days and hours and weeks on end about how to set up this thing with the gurus, but he didn't because he already had said it a million times. He said, "My guru maharaja did not appoint anyone. It's by qualification."
We made a great mistake. After Prabhupada's departure, what is the position of these eleven people? Obviously, Srila Prabhupada felt that of all of the people, these people are particularly qualified. So it stands to reason that after Prabhupada's departure, they would go on, if they so desired, to initiate. If you're a proper guru, and your guru is no longer present, that is your right. It's like a man can procreate. Similarly, it is a disciple's duty to push forward. He may decide, "I don't want to take disciples. I want to assist so-and-so." He has that right. But if he feels the inspiration from within and he has the qualifications, and he realizes what it means to take disciples, that it is a heavy responsibility, and if someone reposes their [faith] in him, then he should go ahead and do that.
Unfortunately, the GBC did not recognize this point. They immediately said these eleven people are the selected gurus. I can say definitely for myself, and for which I humbly beg forgiveness from everybody, that there was definitely some degree of trying to control. This is the conditioned nature, and it came out in the highest position of all. "Guru, oh wonderful. Now I'm a guru, and there's only eleven of us." This is what led us into this pitfall. The GBC who weren't gurus said, "I'm next in line." This has screwed up our movement terribly. It has very much hurt our movement because it has left so many Godbrothers in a frustrated position, very, very frustrated, and it is dampening their enthusiasm, and it has held back the preaching mission.
Jayapataka read an ultimate point that Hamsadutta Maharaja was praying for Prabhupada's death. Sridhar Maharaja heard this and he said, "Yes, the same thing was there in my guru maharaja's time. There was one disciple who guru maharaja said was in the same mentality. My gurumaharaja chose to see the bright side. Yes, because he feels checked right now in his preaching determination. He wants to preach for me and for Krishna, and he cannot." The fact is that whatever we say still Prabhupada named him after this incident to be a ritvik or a guru, according to your interpretation. I've been accused of the same thing. "That you tried to kill Prabhupada." The point I want to state on that is this realization, and I feel that the GBC body, if they don't adopt this point very quickly, if they don't realize this truth: You can't show me anything on tape or in writing where Prabhupada says, "I appoint these 11 as gurus." It doesn't exist because he never appointed any gurus. This is a myth. Everyone is qualified to right now give initiation. The day you got initiated you get the right to become a father when your father disappears, if you're qualified. No appointment. It doesn't require an appointment because there isn't one.
There's one thing I have to say is that in this discussion there should be no fear of repercussions. I have no fear of anything and that's why I can say anything because everything that could have happened has happened.
So we should speak now with the thought that, "Well, if so-and-so finds out what I've said, I'm getting..." That's not right. We should be totally open.
AUTHOR'S COMMENT: So here Tamal admits that there never was an appointment of regular gurus; Srila Prabhupada only appointed rtviks. However, he assumes that after Srila Prabhupada left, that it was "only natural" for those eleven rtviks and then more that would be added later, to become regular gurus, even though Srila Prabhupada never instructed such a thing. Although there was no appointment of anything but rtviks, at Topanga Canyon Tamal thinks that regular gurus can be self-appointed. Of course, his future statements and writings contradict this thesis and themselves in a maze of confusing mumbo-jumbo. Perhaps it is like the politicians do: say all kinds of contradictory things, and refer to the ones that apply as needed. However, honest devotees don't fall for this stuff.
BLACK MAGIC AND TANTRICS
Chandra Swami is possibly connected to the poisoning of Srila Prabhupada, as detailed in Chapter 15. Chandra Swami is a shakta, a worshipper of Lord Shiva, a tantric yogi, and his dark past was chronicled in Chapter 15. In the guise of a sannyasi, he was actually interested in politics and money, obtained by manipulating people and involvement in murder and with foreign intelligence agencies. It has already been questioned why Srila Prabhupada's medicine was obtained from the likes of such a criminal.
It may be quite relevant to note that several of the ISKCON gurus have also been involved with tantric practices and "yogis." If those who have inherited Srila Prabhupada's position as absolute gurus are today involved with black magic and tantra, could they also have been so involved in 1977? Are tantric practices part of bhaktiyoga taught by Srila Prabhupada? Tantric practices are for those wanting power, sex, money, and elimination of enemies and those who stand in the way of achieving these things.
Harikesh was widely known to be heavily involved in UFO's and tantric practices. One year it was heard he and several other ISKCON gurus went to a particular tantric who, with a thread and mantras, was able to pull black poisons from out of their stomachs with a thread. Harikesh consulted the pendulum on most decisions. More ominously, he was also rumored to have purchased tantric services to enhance his power and defeat his enemies. Jayapataka Swami is also rumored to have purchased such tantric services.
Jayapataka Swami is mentioned in the Conversations Books as having consulted a "tantric astrologer" in late 1977 for information on Srila Prabhupada's health. He also brought his disciple Chitrakesh around ISKCON for the famous "ghost-busting" rituals for which, of course, fees were charged. Chitrakesh also performed for a fee elaborate private rituals to remove ghosts from the body. This same Chitrakesh was supplying a medicine called vibhuti to Harikesh for ten years which turned out to be a powerful psychotropic drug. The first ISKCON guru to reach and privately speak (negotiate) with Harikesh upon his dramatic departure from ISKCON in 1998 was... Jayapataka Swami. Both Tamal and Bhavananda have also been rumored to have tantric involvement in the last twenty years.
As we know from Srila Prabhupada's teachings, anything material cannot last. Thus these tantric practices will never give one any permanent advantage. Actually, their use is an involvement in the laws of karma, and black magic or tantric curses and rituals will eventually run their course and backfire.
Are those ISKCON leaders and gurus who avail themselves of such dark practices depending on Krishna's mercy? These methods leave us to wonder as to what extent and purpose they have availed themselves of the dark side, either recently or when Srila Prabhupada stood between them and the seat of the guru.
ISKCON ANSWERS CD THAT NEVER WAS
The CD produced by Dhaneshwar Prabhu in the Lockport, NY studio of Jagannath Prabhu in January 1998, after hearing it, was deemed by this reporter to be a faulty and incomplete exposition of the poison issue. Somehow copies made their way to the ISKCON GBC and other places. This reporter decided not to distribute the "Poison CD" but to continue the investigation privately and produce a written report later. Apparently the GBC worried that the CD was being made available, and they composed a rebuttal, held ready for the expected release of the Poison CD. ISKCON's response was leaked on the internet and the GBC was obliged to officially release it the next day. The Poison CD never was released. Thus ISKCON was replying to nothing. It is lengthy but mostly superfluous; it is reviewed here in abbreviated form. This reporter's comments will be shown in italics.
ISKCON's Reply to the Poison CD: VNN: May 21, 1998. (Story #1809)
This paper has been issued by the Ministry For The Protection of ISKCON, and has been compiled by Jahnu dasa and Hari Sauri dasa.
Over the last few months a rumor has surfaced that Prabhupada supposedly was poisoned by some of his closest and most trusted disciples. Just recently a Poison CD or PCD and equivalent tape came out, which, although hiding behind the banner of neutrality and claiming no other intention than getting to the truth of the matter, strongly and in not so subtle terms suggests that Srila Prabhupada was in fact poisoned by his Western disciples and that there is a conspiracy being perpetrated by the GBC to cover this up. The following will show that this proposal is without any basis. The so-called evidence that is being presented on the Poison CD is, upon closer examination, actually found to be very loosely constructed and rather insidious at its core. First we will present a few logical arguments against the idea that Srila Prabhupada was being poisoned by his disciples.
(Next there is a long section about Srila Prabhupada's wanting to go on parikrama in November 1977. If there were those who wanted Srila Prabhupada dead, why did they resist the parikrama proposal which almost everyone thought would bring Srila Prabhupada's demise due to the extreme hardship for His weakened and ill body? It seems that those wanting Srila Prabhupada dead would support the parikrama and thus not need to resort to poisoning. But this is a weak argument for how Srila Prabhupada's disciples could not have poisoned Srila Prabhupada, or whoever it may have been.
Everyone knew how bad it would look if the Western disciples negligently "killed" Srila Prabhupada on parikrama. The Vrindaban residents and all Hindus would take it as totally irresponsible. The publicity would be so negative that ISKCON's prestige would greatly suffer. There was no choice but to discourage the parikrama. Further, whoever was poisoning Srila Prabhupada could have been doing it for a long time already, and Srila Prabhupada appeared to be only a few days away from departing anyway. Why not look protective of Srila Prabhupada by opposing a "dangerous" parikrama? Srila Prabhupada was on the verge of departing anyway; a deadly parikrama was simply not going to be helpful to the poisoners; the poison was their chosen method.)
A further point to consider is who exactly would want to kill Srila Prabhupada and what would be their motive? Some proponents of the "Ritvik" idea of guruship have postulated that some members of the GBC who were named by Srila Prabhupada in his letter of July 9, 1977 wanted him removed from the scene as quickly as possible so that they could become full gurus in their own right rather than be proxies for Srila Prabhupada. According to their logic, Srila Prabhupada was about to state that he didn't want his disciples to be full gurus, and to prevent this and thus fulfill their own ambitions, they poisoned him to death. Obviously such a task couldn't be the work of just one devotee. There would have to have been a conspiracy. An astute observer would have to ask how is it possible to keep a conspiracy like that tight without any leaks for 20 years, especially in ISKCON? And if there was a conspiracy, how was it possible to keep Bhakticharu Swami out of it? He would have had to be in on it. But what would be his motive? He was not one of the originally appointed gurus nor did he become one until after the guru reforms in 1987.
(Why is it difficult to imagine the possibility that a group of poisoners have managed to remain undetected for 22 years? Napoleon's murder was not discovered for 150 years. Blanche Taylor Moore poisoned many people in her life and family for over twenty years, avoiding detection by family, doctors, hospitals and the law. We already have strong indications and substantial proof that there was a poisoning conspiracy. Rather than denounce those concerned about this possibility as demons and enemies of Srila Prabhupada, why not cooperate together openly and honestly in an enlarged investigation? Let's settle the matter for all time. More audio tests, more hair analyses, interviews, forensic research, etc.
Who knows what motives each possible participant in a poisoning could have had? Revenge, financial gain, power... Some may have been unknowingly involved. Some who knew may have been afraid of their lives. Some may have been bribed. Poisoning Srila Prabhupada would only make sense to those who thought they could gain from it. Becoming guru in 1978 may not have been the only motive. Murder is always incomprehensible and illogical, so what is the use of saying "it doesn't make sense?" Rather, let us focus on issues of symptoms, hair tests, etc))
(Next is presented Abhiram's lengthy report on Srila Prabhupada's medical condition and diagnosis of dropsy, which is included in full in Appendix 4. In Chapters 17 through 31 we have already read how a diagnosis of kidney disease (and dropsy) is a misdiagnosis, or at least only a partial diagnosis. Certainly there is the appearance of kidney disease, but no qualified allopathic doctor ever had the opportunity to reach a correct diagnosis because they were not able to do proper tests or examine Srila Prabhupada for more than a few days before being rejected. This is clear from the health biography. The medical evidence points to a health condition other than kidney disease, and actually very clearly spells out a case of chronic arsenic poisoning.)
On the PCD it is claimed that it has not been possible to obtain clear medical records of Srila Prabhupada's physical condition prior to his departure.
(Yes, at the time the CD was produced there had not been information collected to produce a health biography to study the physical symptoms of Srila Prabhupada's illness. Thus the CD was never produced nor distributed. Since the passage of time and the release of TKG's Diary however, a thorough health biography was compiled. And it reveals chronic arsenic poisoning.)
The PCD authors would have it that Srila Prabhupada showed strong symptoms of someone being poisoned (Well, isn't it Srila Prabhupada who said that?), but while they suggestively attribute this to sinister origins, we shall now present some more medical facts to show that such symptoms were indeed to be expected in someone of Prabhupada's physical condition, as also confirmed above by Dr. Karl Otto Jacob.
(Hari Sauri next quotes lengthy portions from Scientific American about the symptoms of kidney disease and a statement by a Dr. Jacob who was apparently given a basic review of Srila Prabhupada's symptoms according to the limited knowledge of Hari Sauri and Jahnu Prabhus. This reporter humbly requests Hari Sauri to take this book with its health biography and symptom analysis back to Dr. Jacob and as many other doctors as possible to give an opinion on the possibility of arsenic poisoning. This book contains the most complete assemblage of medical history on Srila Prabhupada to date.
Of course kidney disease will be the first thing to come to any doctor's mind. Also, Srila Prabhupada may have had kidney ailments for many years before any poisoning began. But that is exactly why someone might chose to use arsenic- it is virtually undetectable and resembles other ailments, and causes kidney disease as well. It was a perfect cover!)
Chronic renal failure is a state of progressive and irreversible deterioration of renal function that results from a wide spectrum of diseases Note that it is said that diabetes is one of the major causes of chronic renal failure.
(Chronic renal failure can also be caused by heavy metal poisoning. In Appendix 7, there is a description of diabetes symptoms and a review of how Srila Prabhupada did not, by symptom analysis, have diabetes serious enough to produce symptoms of diabetes. Later, Hari Sauri states that he had no indication whatsoever during his 18 months as personal servant that Srila Prabhupada had diabetes. In the absence of any conclusive medical tests diagnosing Srila Prabhupada's disease, we are left to analyze by symptoms from biographical data. This method, although not foolproof, strongly indicates arsenic poisoning (Chapters 17-32). Hair analyses provide the irrefutable proof desired. One hair test already has revealed very abnormally high levels of arsenic in Srila Prabhupada's hair of October 1977. As a matter of fact, it is hair that was in the possession of Hari Sauri Prabhu for 21 years!
Hari Sauri criticizes the CD's use of Dr. Mehta as proof of arsenic poisoning, and rightly so. Dr. Mehta's opinion based on photos and a video are obviously not substantive, but served only as a hint as what to look for in the symptoms analysis of Chapters 17-32.)
But surely it would be reasonable to expect that if someone is being given arsenic, he'd exhibit all the symptoms of arsenic poisoning and not just some of them. Yet some prominent symptoms of arsenic poisoning like inflammation of the mouth, running nose, vomiting, and increased salivation were in fact, according to eye witnesses, not visible in Srila Prabhupada's body at any stage. Couple this with the fact that the other symptoms exhibited by him, as we have already shown at great length, were rather to be expected from a person in Srila Prabhupada's medical condition of renal failure, and we see the observations about possible arsenic poisoning are extremely weak and specious. It is simply unacceptable from a medical point of view to diagnose a disease and attribute its causes to a particular outside agent simply on the basis of a few visible symptoms, especially when the same symptoms can easily be attributed to other more likely natural causes. The ethics of such a practice would surely have to be questioned.
(From the study of arsenic poisoning, we see that different symptoms will manifest in different cases, and not all possible symptoms always manifest. Further, Srila Prabhupada did have mouth ulcers, persistent respiratory problems like cough and mucus, vomiting, and drooling, which were observed by eye witness accounts as chronicled in the previous chapters. Again, it is obvious Srila Prabhupada did have kidney problems. What Hari Sauri does not understand is that Srila Prabhupada exhibited many symptoms of arsenic poisoning that are not found in kidney disease. Perhaps if he were to study arsenic poisoning symptoms AND kidney disease symptoms, he would be better prepared to analyze the medical history. And is 45 symptoms a few?)
We have seen, it was clearly explained in the Scientific American as well as by Dr. Karl Otto Jacob that, "Typical symptoms of renal insufficiency leading to uremia are: anorexia (total loss of appetite), gastrointestinal disturbances, peripheral polyneuropathy, high blood pressure and heart problems, edema, in the last stage cerebral problems up to coma."
(What about the photophobia, conjunctivitis, constant cough and mucus, and all the other non-kidney disease symptoms that happen to be arsenic symptoms? Not one symptom Srila Prabhupada exhibited is incompatible with a diagnosis of chronic arsenic poisoning! And now arsenic poisoning is further confirmed by the analysis of Srila Prabhupada's hair.)
Yet, as will become apparent from the conversations of November 9 - 10 discussed herein later on, Damodar Prasad Sastri, the highly experienced doctor who was physically with him right up to the last moment, did not detect any symptoms of arsenic in Srila Prabhupada's body, and never mentioned the possibility of it at all, even though Srila Prabhupada himself discussed directly with him the possibility of his being poisoned. Nor did Prabhupada's nurses, Abhiram Prabhu and Bhakticharu Swami, nor any of the other doctors who saw Srila Prabhupada.
(It comes as no surprise that no one could detect the arsenic poisoning now verified by analysis of Srila Prabhupada's hair. Sastriji probably never saw one other arsenic poisoning patient in his entire career. All the toxicology texts make it very clear how very difficult it is to detect arsenic poisoning, either acute or chronic, but especially chronic. Arsenic poisoning resembles other common ailments, but does not respond to treatments or medicines for those other ailments. Sound familiar? Srila Prabhupada never responded to any medicine. A little later we see Bhakticharu Swami's "professional knowledge" that poisoning turns someone blue! None of Srila Prabhupada's caretakers were medically qualified in the least. How would they be able to recognize the most undetectable of poisons? Actually, Sastriji said that if Srila Prabhupada thought He had been poisoned, it must be true, and he spoke at length about poisons. Sastriji gave full credence to the notion of poisoning.)
We present here an reliable eye witness account a better understanding.
Bhakticharu Swami Memoirs
"During Srila Prabhupada's last days he mentioned about poison soon after Makaradhvaj was given to him. That was about three weeks before his disappearance pastimes. At that time, I felt that the effect of that medicine may have been detrimental to his condition and therefore he spoke in that way. The next time he spoke about poison was a few days before his disappearance. At that time according to the instruction of the Kaviraja from Calcutta, I was just giving Srila Prabhupada milk diluted with water and sweetened with sugar candy. The Ayurvedic doctor was gradually increasing the quantity of milk. He informed us that the milk intake would cure Srila Prabhupada. Personally I did not notice any unusual bodily symptoms in Srila Prabhupada. He used to lie on the bed all the time. Sometimes he used to express some discomfort from lying on his back all the time. Therefore, he used to ask us to turn him on his side. At that time his body had become so delicate that we had to help him to turn to his side very carefully. If we were not extremely careful then he would feel pain. Two or three days before his disappearance, His Divine Grace mentioned a pain in his left thigh and he also mentioned about poison again.
The day he left his body sometime during late morning or early afternoon it seemed that the pain in his left thigh became so acute that he started to writhe. By that time he had stopped speaking. The last time he spoke was the night before, at about 12 o'clock, and he told the Ayurvedic doctor from Calcutta about some discomfort he was feeling. When Prabhupada started writhing in pain, making some faint moaning sound, Bhavananda Maharaja, who was sitting on the bed next to him held him tightly and from that time onwards Srila Prabhupada became very still and practically did not move at all. From time to time he only opened his mouth and I poured some Yamuna water, which he drank with great relish. Although his body became totally still, yet his tongue was constantly vibrating. Srila Krishnadasa Babaji Maharaja, a god-brother of His Divine Grace, pointed out that Srila Prabhupada was chanting the holy name incessantly. Besides these his body did not display any unusual symptoms. Although His Divine Grace spoke about poison, I could not take it seriously for two reasons:
1. The Ayurvedic doctor was present, and as Prabhupada displayed quite a lot of confidence in him, I felt if Srila Prabhupada was really poisoned then this doctor would have detected it.
2. I was under the impression that when someone is given poison then his body becomes blue.
However, at that time Srila Prabhupada's body became very shiny, almost golden, and he did not display any sign of pain or unusual discomfort. Apart from his usual unhealthy condition, Srila Prabhupada was quite normal. All the time he used to quietly lie on the bed very calm and composed. Sometimes he used to give advice to the senior leaders about how to manage the society; form different trusts and what to do with the funds. His consciousness was so clear that it was obvious that he was transcendentally situated. Even though he was only a few days away from leaving his body, his voice was very strong and resonant. Therefore, those of us who were present around him at that time were convinced that he was a completely spiritual personality and he was just displaying his disappearance pastime.
One day, after checking his pulse, the Ayurvedic doctor, Damodar Prasad Sastri, told Prabhupada that he was completely surprised while treating him. At one moment his pulse was so weak that it seemed as if he was about to leave his body, and the next moment it was strong and healthy as that of a young man. He also told Prabhupada that he was only displaying his pastimes. From another point of view, we also saw that he was having difficulties with his kidneys. As a result of that, his legs and the back of his palms were swelling up. When the medicine started to work the swelling went down. He obviously had some kidney problems and the doctors gave medicines accordingly.
I also want to mention something that I consider was a mistake on our part, yet we could not really do anything about it. One night when I was attending Srila Prabhupada in Hrsikesa, he told me that the time had come for him to leave his body and he wanted us to make arrangements to take him to Vrindavana. I ran downstairs and woke up Tamal Krishna Maharaja and told him what Srila Prabhupada had said. When Tamal Krishna Maharaja came to His Divine Grace he repeated the same words to him. The next morning we left for Delhi, and the following morning we took His Divine Grace to Vrindavana. That morning, after he settled down in his quarters, he called me and told me not to cook for him anymore, or force him to eat anything. I felt that His Divine Grace was preparing to leave his body like Pariksit Maharaja, without eating and drinking anything.
By that time the news had spread all over the world and many leaders came to Vrindavana. When they requested him, with tears in their eyes, to continue to stay, His Divine Grace agreed. Once again I started to cook for him and he started to eat. One day he asked me to fetch an Ayurvedic doctor called Vanamali Kaviraja from Gopinath Bazaar. As a result of the treatment by that doctor, Srila Prabhupada's condition started to improve. However, when his health improved, His Divine Grace wanted to go to the West to preach. When Vanamali Kaviraja got to know about Srila Prabhupada's plans, he requested me not to let him go. He told me that his medicine was working and Srila Prabhupada's condition was improving.
However, he said that Srila Prabhupada's condition had not become completely healthy yet. He was planning to give Srila Prabhupada Makaradhvaj, during winter, which would rejuvenate him completely. He mentioned that Srila Prabhupada's condition was not strong enough to absorb Makaradhvaj because it was a very strong medicine. Therefore he planned to give it to him in winter, by that time Srila Prabhupada's health would become strong enough to absorb it, and the cold weather would help.
I was just a new devotee at the time and when I saw that Srila Prabhupada was so determined to go to the West I could not really make a strong enough endeavor to stop him from going. Srila Prabhupada's plan was to go to Hawaii after visiting London, New York, Gita Nagari, and Los Angeles. However, when in London his condition deteriorated so much that he had to come back after about a week-long stay. Vanamali Kaviraja resumed his treatment but Srila Prabhupada's condition had deteriorated so much that his medicine did not work and he stopped the treatment. Vanamali Kaviraja did not want to give Makaradhvaj when Srila Prabhupada's health was so much better before he went to the West. However, it was administered to him only about three weeks before his disappearance when his condition was much worse than that time. Also, it was administered by a doctor from Delhi who never even saw him.
Soon after that Srila Prabhupada started to speak about poison. Therefore it seemed to me that he was speaking about the adverse effect of Makaradhvaj. After Srila Prabhupada's disappearance I often used to lament internally - why didn't I stop him from going to the West? Why I didn't I tell the GBC members and senior devotees present in Vrindavana at that time what Vanamali Kaviraja told me? Why didn't I stop them from giving Srila Prabhupada Makaradhvaj that was brought from Delhi and given by a doctor who did not even see him? Now I cannot do anything about it besides lamenting about my uselessness."
(It is encouraging that another of Srila Prabhupada's caretakers, besides Abhiram Prabhu, has finally said a little something about the history and circumstances surrounding Srila Prabhupada's 1977 health. Hopefully Maharaj will answer the many questions that will be put to him and others as this investigation proceeds. There are 7 points regarding Maharaj's statement:
1. That Maharaj did not see any unusual symptoms means nothing: arsenic poisoning symptoms are practically unrecognizable except to a trained and experienced eye. His thinking that poison turns the body blue does not reveal much, if any, qualification to recognize the symptoms of poisoning. Maharaj should show this book to his toxicologist disciple in New York.
2. Srila Prabhupada said three times that He was being poisoned, and the kaviraja said that if Srila Prabhupada said it, there must be truth to it. Can Maharaj not take it seriously as he knows better than Prabhupada?
3. Srila Prabhupada's voice was definitely not strong and resonant during His last months with us. Listen to the tapes, read the health history.
4. Why does Maharaj not mention anything of the sudden and drastic attack of illness Srila Prabhupada experienced in Hrishikesh, which was what made Srila Prabhupada think He was about to die?
5. That Maharaj says he thinks Srila Prabhupada's statements about being poisoned referred to the makharadhvaja is an easy way out. This faulty explanation is dealt with in Appendix 16, where it is shown that this explanation doesn't hold up to close scrutiny.
6. Contrary to Bhakticharu's statement, the kaviraja took the possibility that Srila Prabhupada was poisoned very seriously. Rather than lamenting about giving makharadhvaja when maybe it wasn't the best idea, Bhakticharu should lament about why no one took Srila Prabhupada's statements seriously and stopped the poisoning, better late than never.
7. That Srila Prabhupada appeared "quite normal" to Bhakticharu only means that the poisoning was chronic, not acute with blatant symptoms.
After this touching report from Maharaja we quote from Hari Sauri's Transcendental Diary to show that the diseased condition of Srila Prabhupada's body wasn't anything new but was an ongoing thing.
(Hari Sauri's references to Srila Prabhupada's earlier health problems . are included in Chapter 20, Srila Prabhupada's Health History. Just because Srila Prabhupada had a history of kidney problems, in no way invalidates an assesment of arsenic poisoning, nor does it prove that His 1977 symptoms were due to only kidney problems. Is there any reason why someone with kidney disease cannot be poisoned with arsenic?)
We asked Hari-sauri Prabhu, who, apart from being with Srila Prabhupada continuously from November 1975 until March 1977, was also with His Divine Grace for almost three weeks in late May and early June 1977, and the whole month of October in Vrindavana, about Prabhupada's attitude towards his disease and curing it:
"During the whole period I was with Srila Prabhupada I never once heard him mention that he had diabetes, nor did I notice that he ever made any specific changes in his diet in response to that condition. Nor did I ever hear the cooks that traveled with us at various times (Harikesh Swami, Nandarani dasi, Jamuna dasi, Palika dasi, Arundhati dasi, Sruti Rupa dasi) mention that they were preparing any kind of specific diet for him to counter that condition. As far as medicines go, he also never took anything for the treatment of diabetes. When I was with him he took some Ayurvedic medicines, none of which were for diabetes - Yogendra Rasa, which I understood was a kind of brain tonic, every morning until the fall of 1976, when he stopped it completely; Triphala Churna on occasion for constipation; and Bhaskar Lavan (black salt), which he took occasionally for digestion.
Beyond these medicines, which were self-prescribed, he was sometimes advised to take allopathic, homeopathic and Ayurvedic medicines by a variety of doctors when he became ill, but again, he almost never took their advice nor their medicines. He stated his personal policy on medical treatment to Dr. Patel in Bombay on August 15, 1976 and I have included that in Volume 4 of A Transcendental Diary:
'Dr. Patel... inquired from Srila Prabhupada about his health and whether he was taking any medicine.
Prabhupada accepted his concern, but in his usual self-effacing manner, shook his head and quoted Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.1.4, saying that the real medicine is the chanting of the holy name. 'Nivritta-tarshair upagiyamanad... Dr. Patel laughed. 'Shall we call that Pandit Ayur-Vedacarya of India for you? If you don't believe in our medicine?' Srila Prabhupada also laughed. 'No, no.' 'What I mean to say,' Dr. Patel continued, 'is that ksetra [body] and ksetrajna [its owner] are dependent on each other; if there is no ksetra, there will be no ksetrajna to stay. So you have got to look after that ksetra, or what the ksetrajna will be happy there to live there? I think I am not wrong.' Prabhupada chuckled. 'No, you are right. Ksetra is changeable, ksetrajna is permanent.'
Although Dr. Patel knew very well His Divine Grace's opinion on taking medicine, he still tried some friendly persuasion and this led into a short discussion about Indian medicines... Dr. Patel expressed his concern again for Srila Prabhupada's own health. Taking permission to raise his question he asked, 'Now then, Arjuna was so advised that he should fight out. So in that case, I mean we all consider he was right to follow Krishna's advice? Then if a man is overtaken by disease and if he fights out that . . .' Prabhupada smiled at his persistence. 'No, no, I don't say that he should not fight. It is my personal choice. Not that one should not take care of the body or one should not eat medicine, that is not . . . I like this, "Let me do without medicine." That is my personal . . 'What is medicine?' Dr. Patel asked. 'Any herb is a medicine. Even food is a medicine.'
'Whatever it may be,' Prabhupada said. 'I don't decry medicine. That is not my business.' 'No, no, I don't say decry. But you don't want to take advantage of medicine,' Dr. Patel insisted.
'Medicine,' Prabhupada said objectively. 'Just like a type of vairagya, sometimes they do not eat. That does not mean eating is forbidden. It is not. It is my personal, I am trying to avoid, that's all.'
'You have heard the name W. C. Bannerji? He was a big barrister. He was one of the three inaugurators of Congress in the beginning. So he had his friend, contemporary, he was a brahmana. He was taking daily his bath in the Ganges, and if he was diseased, was drinking Ganges water. So he became seriously sick. So this W.C. Bannerji, he was a big man. So he asked his permission to bring some doctor. "'You'll die in this way."' So he persisted, '"No, I shall simply drink this Ganges water."' So it is not that medical science is in defeated position.'"
We can thus understand that Srila Prabhupada made a conscious decision not to take any precaution against his diabetic condition. This inevitably leads to the conditions described above by Abhiram (Appendix 4) and in Scientific American. If Prabhupada showed symptoms of poisoning this is explainable according to the known natural bodily medical conditions. Talk of arsenic poisoning is at best spurious and, even without the "intense scrutiny" mentioned on the PCD, but with a little commonsense and an unmotivated examination of the available facts any unbiased person can understand that Prabhupada's body did in fact succumb to natural causes.
(1. Diabetes? As Hari Sauri said, there is very little indication that Srila Prabhupada had very much of a case of diabetes.
(2. Again, it is agreed that Srila Prabhupada had symptoms of kidney disease. But an overall analysis of His physical symptoms brings us to a clear diagnosis of chronic arsenic poisoning.
(3. How "spurious" is the finding of 5 to 10 times (minimum) normal levels of arsenic in Hari Sauri's own hair relic of Srila Prabhupada?)
From the PCD: "We found that there were 75 days between July and October, out of 92, for which there are no tapes recorded, including 45 consecutive days from August 18 through October 1. We ask why were no recordings made at that time. Or, if indeed recordings were made, what happened to them? " (Tamal's comments on missing tapes was cut and moved to Ch. 13.)
SRILA PRABHUPADA TALKS ABOUT BEING POISONED
A number of devotees, although not inclined to believe that a conspiracy along the lines suggested by the Ritviks is true, are nevertheless disturbed by how Srila Prabhupada himself appears to talk about his being poisoned.
(Rtviks? The discovery of Srila Prabhupada's poisoning is not simply some trouble concocted by rtviks, but a fact established by the mass of corrobarating evidence presented in this book and quietly held by the GBC's own poison investigation committee. Bhakticharu translated the same sections where Srila Prabhupada spoke of being poisoned, and they were practically identical to the versions provided in Chapter 16. The only difference is where the kaviraja either says makharadhvaja is or is not suitable for Prabhupada.)
These translations and transcripts do in any case reveal a confusing scenario. Srila Prabhupada indicates first to Tamal that he had the symptoms of someone poisoned, not that he was being poisoned. Later he states more positively that he is being poisoned. While we may never know Srila Prabhupada's mind exactly, or how seriously he took the suggestion that someone may be poisoning him, what we do learn from these transcriptions is that the possibility of his being poisoned is discussed with his disciples present, both from a medical standpoint with the talk of mercury, and from the idea that an outside person could be deliberately doing it. We also learn Srila Prabhupada was not the first one to take up the matter of his being poisoned, rather he referred to "someone" telling him that he was being poisoned. No conclusion, however, appears to have been reached. Thus we can only say that Srila Prabhupada did not seem to think that his intimate servants were responsible. Also, if one considers the intense loving exchanges that went on in the last days, with Srila Prabhupada expressing appreciation for concerns that he not go on parikrama, calling them his "left hand and right hand," one concludes that he did not feel threatened by them. On the contrary, it is perfectly clear even to someone who was not present to witness it firsthand, that he was reciprocating in a loving way with them to a degree not seen practically at any time in ISKCON's history.
(Srila Prabhupada's statements about being poisoned is discussed in Chapter 16. It is very naive to think Srila Prabhupada could not have been poisoned because He did not name anyone and dealt with everyone lovingly. Did Christ object to his crucifixion, or condemn his assassins? With much evidence in hand to confirm Srila Prabhupada's poisoning, appearances that devotees were not the poisoners may be misleading and cannot be ruled out. Napoleon was guarded by 5000 British soldiers on a remote island, yet he was poisoned and it took 150 years for this to be discovered. Because Srila Prabhupada was surrounded by devotees and now it is 22 years later, this does not mean His poisoning is a myth or impossible.)
WILL O THE WHISPERS:
It has been alleged that a number of "whispers" have been found on tapes of conversations which contain the word "poison" in various phrases. This "evidence" has been taken so seriously that at least three different parties have sent the tapes to forensic labs for professional analysis. Modern techniques of spectrographic sound analysis as well as standard enhancement of the "whispers" by sophisticated audio playback equipment have been employed to ascertain whether there is any truth to this idea.
To any neutral devotee it is inconceivable that a person or persons serving Srila Prabhupada in such an intimate manner as existed in the last days in Vrindavana could whisper "the poison is going down [giggle], the poison is going down," watching Srila Prabhupada gulp down poison. As we see from the following evidences, their credulity and faith need not be stretched for there exists no evidence to support such a notion. The GBC appointed an independent investigator (Balavanta) to oversee a professional forensic analysis of the tapes to ascertain if there is any truth to these claims. These results are still pending but after preliminary tests and lab feedback, Balavanta expressed doubt that any definite evidence will be found to exist. Apart from this, several GBC's have conducted tests themselves with sophisticated equipment; the results are indeed interesting. According to their analyses, the word "poison" simply does not appear.
(The amateur audio "tests" by Harikesh, Bir Krishna Swami, and Rabindra Swarup are then referred to, and their respective statements thereof are included in earlier chapters herein. Should we give these devotees' amateur opinions about the whispers more credence than the results of many audio forensic laboratories? Contrary to the ISKCON statement, there is over 400 pages of evidence supporting an arsenic poisoning of Srila Prabhupada. Is the notion inconceivable to the 90 % of former ISKCON devotees who now live outside ISKCON? Not at all... Besides, the truth will not be established by vote, any more than gurus can be made by votes.
Five audio forensic laboratories (Balavanta's as well) have agreed that the word poison is found repeatedly on the "poison" tape. ISKCON is so heavily sunk in a state of utter denial that should Srila Prabhupada Himself come forward and say, "Someone has poisoned me," they would ignore it!)
By doing this exercise I have seen that when one has an idea in his head as to what is being said, the ears and the mind oblige us to and make us hear that very thing. One can completely reprogram his hearing by just wanting to hear something else. It is extremely hard to understand what is being said if one has a preconception.
(Yes, the ISKCON spokesmen also are hearing what they want! But the professionals at the audio forensic laboratories have no such prejudices.)
(Next ISKCON refers to the giggle in the whisper "the poison's going down.")
One factor to consider here is that the person giggling is Prabhupada's godbrother, Krishnadas Babaji Maharaja who was known to continuously giggle due to his constantly being in good humor from his incessant chanting of the Holy Name. Is it likely that such a great soul would participate in such a horrendous crime? (No one knows who is giggling, much less ISKCON.)
To build a whole theory of a poison conspiracy on such vague statements is certainly far fetched. In any court of law such a weak case would immediately be dismissed. On the other hand it is a very serious offense to accuse someone of murder, especially without any conclusive proof. On the flimsiest excuse for evidence they have accused devotees who love Prabhupada of committing an unspeakably monstrous crime against him, and they have systematically spread these charges. They have put the lives of devotees in danger.
(Yes, the whispers alone do not represent a tight case for poisoning. But they cannot be so easily brushed aside, either, especially in light of all the other evidence indicating poisoning. How about some lie detector tests, sodium pentathol tests, interviews, and COOPERATION rather than obstinate denial? And further, no one is accusing anyone of murder. Not yet. The investigation into Srila Prabhupada's poisoning should be conducted rationally and with cool heads. Are we to dismiss further investigation because someone's life may be endangered? No, we are not responsible for isolated irrational acts by nuts.
The real unfortunate thing here is how damn sure ISKCON is that there could not possibly be anything wrong. ISKCON might be a little concerned rather than enter the dark tunnel of denial. The bottom line is the POISON word has been isolated, analyzed, recognized, confirmed, and certified by many top notch audio forensic laboratories, working independent of each other. How about an explanation from Tamal and company as what they were doing whispering the word poison in the background, over and over?
No one thinks the whispers will convict anyone or establish foul play on their own merits. However, when one takes into consideration ALL of the evidence, then it becomes clear that indeed Srila Prabhupada WAS poisoned.)
CONCLUSION: We hope that the above has shown that no solid evidence exists either medically or through the recorded medium to establish that Srila Prabhupada was deliberately poisoned, and certainly not by his disciples. Rather, we feel that the love of those surrounding Srila Prabhupada was genuine and self-evident. It was accepted as such by His Divine Grace and as his disciples and followers, we should have no difficulty in accepting that also. This theory has sprung up after 20 years and we believe it should be dismissed and laid to rest. Sincere devotees can go on serving Srila Prabhupada and his ISKCON society with a clear consciousness and should not be disturbed by elements who do not have the best interest of his society and devotees at heart. The only genuine poison is the theory itself.
(The real poison today is the mood of denial. Poisoning rumors started when Srila Prabhupada said He was poisoned. May this publication will result in a renewed and cooperative attempt to resolve this most disturbing question: If Srila Prabhupada was poisoned, who did it? May truth and justice prevail.)
From Assassination at St. Helena, the authors chronicle on pg 319 of the 1978 edition a list of Napoleon's arsenic poisoning symptoms which began on September 18, 1820, less than eight months before his death.
"...he displayed symptoms of typical arsenical intoxication of an acute nature: palpitations of the heart, a weak and irregular pulse, very severe headache, an icy chill in his legs extending right up to his hips, pain in the shoulders and back, pain in the liver, a persistent dry cough, loosening teeth, a coated tongue, severe thirst, skin rash and pain in the legs, a yellow skin, yellowed whites of the eyes, shivering, deafness, sensitivity of the eyes to light, spasmodic muscle contractions, difficulty in breathing and nausea- they were all there, today's accepted, recognizable symptoms of arsenical poisoning... He ate, but with little appetite. From time to time he vomited and suffered from diarrhea, followed by periods of stubborn constipation. Napoleon was... experience(d) distressing difficulty in urinating... "
On page 343: "I accompanied him and was shown into a completely darkened room where General Bonaparte lay in bed. The room was so dark that I could not see..." (April 1, 1821)
Repeatedly it is described by Forshufvud how Napoleon had extreme sensitivity of eyes to any light during the last six months of his life. When the doctor would visit the darkened bedchamber of Napoleon during daytime, it was kept so dark in the room that he could not see Napoleon but had to grope around to find him.
In the newer, updated version of Assassination at St. Helena, Exhibit No. 6, "compiled from works of standard authorities on toxicology," symptom #17 of chronic arsenic poisoning is given as:
"Sensitivity of the eyes to sunlight or bright artificial light. The victim may prefer a nearly darkened room."
The eyes become sensitive to light due to arsenic's chemically reactive effect on the tissues and nerves of the eyes.