Sept. 6, 1985

Introductory note by the devotee being interviewed:

Ever since ISKCON has entered the present era of "appointed paramahansas," I have been deeply aggrieved that for the first time in my devotional career, I have had to participate in a he. In my opinion, this has hurt our beloved ISKCON to the core. I suppose one of the motives in this "guru conspiracy" has been to keep ISKCON cohesive. But the perpetrators have failed to realize that only Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON's founder/acarya, can keep ISKCON united. The mundane plan of materially motivated men can never be the foundation for a solid, honest spiritual movement.

Anyway, I have allowed myself to be interviewed not to accuse a beloved Godbrother of mine, but to expose a false, injurious system which has destroyed countless spiritual lives and is quickly sending ISKCON to its demise. If I mention any faults in my Godbrother, I humbly beg his pardon and openly admit that I have many more faults to a much greater degree. But I have put myself on the line in order to be counted among those who strongly oppose the present system and want to see it replaced with something in line with Srila Prabhupada's books.

Sulocana dasa (SD): How long did you live in the Miami temple.

Anonymous Devotee (AD): Close to a year.

SD: And you were working for Hrdayananda.

AD: Yes. I was managing the book production for a while.

SD: When did you get married?

AD: 1983.

SD: Your wife is a disciple of Prabhupada?

AD: Yes.

SD: Was she married before?

AD: No.

SD: Where were you serving before you went to Miami?

AD: Philadelphia. I worked on Back to Godhead for three years.

SD: So while you were living in Miami were you and your wife getting along?

AD: Yes, we were basically pretty compatible.

SD: What is your relationship with Hrdayananda? Are you friendly with him?

AD: He and I have a long term friendship actually. During most of my Krsna conscious life I was working in his zone. I was always very close to him, like a close ally since we're good friends.

SD: So over the years, didn't you ever detect that he wasn't a pure devotee and shouldn't be worshipped like that?

AD: He's straight with me about his position. He has often intimated to me that it has been a struggle for him to maintain celibacy. Sometimes when he has preached very, very heavily against householder life, he would tell me that it was partly just to convince himself. To my knowledge-this is my opinion based upon my analysis of his character-l don't think that he has physically violated the principle of sannyasa. I trust him to that degree, although I know that he has had to struggle very, very hard.

SD: But he did have a young woman for a personal secretary that practically lived with him didn't he?

AD: Well, let's put it this way: He definitely showed signs that he had become attached to her. He got her married once, twice, thrice to different disciples. Finally on the third marriage I think she is in the care of her husband. I don't know the details of why the first two didn't work. This is probably the first time he's not involving her in his personal project. She is a little intelligent. She was a lawyer in Brazil and so she actually could render valuable help in his personal projects (like the philosophy book and so forth) so that meant a lot of personal contact. Of course, I haven't been there for a couple of years, but just based on what I hear, this is the first time that he's actually gotten her out from under him and she's not working on his project; she's apparently assisting her husband.

SD: So the rumors that she was massaging him are not necessarily true?

AD: I don't think so. I would say that his main difficulty was on the subtle platform. If I were to go before the Deity and say what I thought was going on, I'd say that I don't think there was any physical breaking of the principles but he was definitely becoming attached to her. The temple practically became a shambles over it. Because his disciples knew-but then they didn't know-so they blamed her or they blamed circumstances.

SD: What about the Godbrothers. Didn't they think that was kind of unusual?

AD: Definitely. When any householder Godbrothers went to him he would just say, "Well, it's just your wives. They're envious and they're influencing you. Don't be offensive like this." Finally what put a stop to it was when two respected Brahmacaris on his BBT staff, Dravida and Danevara, went to him and said, "This is bogus, it has got to stop." And so he basically came to terms with it and gave it up.

SD: He actually gave it up then?

AD: Yes. I think he came clean. He's been much happier since then.

SD: So Hrdayananda has always been a sort of passionate guy. His lectures are often full of graphic descriptions of sex life. So that obviously has been a problem in his mind.

AD: Yeah. His lectures in Miami were almost exclusively about vagina, husband and wife, and sex and sex, sex, sex.... Prabhupada would speak about these things occasionally but Hrdayananda was always speaking about them, so it was obvious to me anyway, as a Godbrother and as a friend of his, that he was struggling himself. So, no, I've never been under the illusion that he's a paramahamsa and he's never really tried to play paramahamsa with me, although he does demand a lot of respect.

SD: When you were there in Miami, did he interfere in marriages the way so many of these gurus do? Did he directly tell a woman to leave her husband if the husband didn't worship him?

AD: This is something I don't really like to talk about. I realize that it's not heavy stuff, but for the sake of what you're doing I'm willing to talk about it. He's very attractive to women. I never saw him fall down, but even on his vyasasana during japa he would constantly, before public view be calling women up and talking to them. I guess he was thinking that because it was public it's all right."I'm not hiding anything." Even before he was a guru and he was just sannyasa and GBC. Once there were two women in his room. He was speaking to them, and they were laughing up a storm. When they left I said, "Boy, a lot of joking was going on in here." You know, I was kind of criticizing him, and he said "but by that joking they will work happily for the next year." So just a straight character analysis-he loves talking to women. I don't hold it against him. Perhaps he took sannyasa prematurely, whatever, but he's a sannyasa anyway. So the general mood in Miami was that rather than the husband being the focal point of the wife-of the individual wives-Hrdayananda was the focal point. To a greater or lesser degrees, he would control the minds and the lives of the ladies.

SD: So in the case when both husband and wife were his disciples, that may not have caused so much of a conflict, but in the case of-.

AD: No. I would say that internally it's still a conflict because a man gets married because he wants a wife and he wants his wife to obey him.

SD: But it's not as much a conflict as when the husband is a disciple of Prabhupada and the wife is devoting herself to a Godbrother. Did that happen a lot also?

AD: Well it started happening in my case and I had to leave his zone to save my marriage. The devotees rented a very plush seaside apartment-literally-50 feet from the waves, in Tampa. It was very expensive. It was really a nice plush apartment with beautiful carpeting, furniture, what have you.

SD: What was this for? A preaching project?

AD: No. It was a writing project just so he could get away. He didn't have it for a long time maybe a month or so, but it was at a time when the Miami temple was struggling so hard, constantly fighting foreclosure. My wife took a natural liking to the philosophy book, which was in his hands and still is. So he needed help in tracking down professors, and so, in responding to her enthusiasm, he was firing her up. He invited the two of us to his Tampa place. Basically he wanted to speak to her-although he likes me-but basically he was getting her involved in the project and we were going to travel around and attract professors to his project. So this was summertime and he was in a very brief swimming suit. Minimum briefness for decency. And sometimes he would wear a straw cowboy hat. And he had a golden tan. So anyway he was lying down in a very, very plush living room, on a very plush couch in that one little brief bathing suit speaking to my wife who was seated on the plush rug. There was a servant walking in and out so it's not like they were alone in a room, but basically he was just talking along-lying down actually-in front of my wife, and flattering her, firing her up so to speak. Basically just like in a very-maybe not so subtle way-attracting her to him. You know a woman-when you flatter a woman-she loves you, and she becomes indebted. So that was the peak point that almost destroyed my marriage. He would talk her into going out on sankirtana. I knew she couldn't physically do it. She would go out in the Miami summer sun and come back with sun stroke and be laid up for a week or two. He fired her up to go out on sankirtana and I knew she shouldn't have.

So I went to him and I said look-we stayed on friendly terms (and I left on friendly terms cause I took it a lot on the cheek to maintain our friendship, and I still want to)-but I said she's not physically able to do this and if you fire her up on a false platform and she goes out, then she'll spend the next two weeks or more in bed. So I basically told him that if you want to engage her then please check with me. And he agreed. He finally agreed.

SD: He probably didn't consider her your wife but thought of her as his worshiper.

AD: Basically the way he treated her and everyone there was as his subject. And secondarily the husband was there just to kind of keep the wife in check so she would maybe not get too attracted to Hrdayananda but would obey him nicely. That's basically the role of the husband. To assist Hrdayananda in controlling the wife so she would do what he said. So as I said, I had to leave his zone.

SD: So his preaching was separating her from you?

AD: Oh. No question about it. It was destroying our marriage.

SD: So you just didn't feel anything with her anymore? She was just interested in him and wanted to work for him?

AD: Well-I just nipped it in the bud. I had to scream at her a lot. It really made things rocky, but it was very obvious to me, and I wasn't going to let it happen. I wasn't his disciple, whereas his disciples just have to swallow it. I know many of his disciples; I can't give any particular names, but I know many of the disciples don't like it.

SD: Is there a big divorce rate in his zone?

AD: There are not that many devotees to be able to calculate as far as I know. When I was there it wasn't growing. They were not making new devotees.

SD: Any more comment about the Brazilian girl?

AD: He was not innocent as far as her intentions. I heard it said that he mentioned she was prepared to wait seven lifetimes to get him. This was said in jest of course, but it indicated her mood; her motive was to get him. And I heard her say things like, "But Srila Acaryadeva, I love you." You know, it was supposedly said in the mood of a disciple expressing love for the guru. And he would say, "Well look, she's rendering better service than anyone else." So in the name of disciple-guru relationship, all kinds of subtle things were going on. The people who were most disturbed were the Godsisters of Hrdayananda who know how women work. It was painfully obvious to them that this woman was just laying a trap, and they were going crazy. When women see other women doing their thing on the big sannyasi-which will cause the whole thing to crumble, which will destroy the reputation of the Bhagavatams-they go crazy. And he would like really get down on these women. You just couldn't speak up, you couldn't be honest, because the situation is either you go along completely or get out.

There was one devotee there, Mahashakti, who was trying to set up a business. All right, so that's his inclination-let him set up a business. So right in Mahashakti's presence, during Bhagavatam class, Hrdayananda would talk so heavy against business, "What is this business?" Personally insulting him beyond belief. So eventually he left-this person left, that person left. Godbrothers could not stay there, because they weren't willing to play this game. And I personally know that some of the Prabhupada disciples who are there, who are an integral part of his translation, have just been dying to get out for years. But out of a sense of duty they stay. Gopiparandhana, who is actually the translator of the Bhagavatam-he gets a small mention since he's not a big shot-but he actually does all the translating.

SD: Hrdayananda just comments.

AD: He writes the purports and edits the translations.

SD: Don't the purports come from the commentaries of the acaryas?

AD: Yes. Gopi takes around five Sanskrit commentaries and translates them all. Then Hrdayananda synthesizes them. Gopi works very hard. I don't want to put thoughts into his brain, but I know that he and his wife have been very, very unhappy there for years. One thing about the Miami temple is that, to live in that building is like living in hell. I don't know, either the filth, or the noise- except when you go the eighth floor where the guru is. Then it's like you've gone to a heavenly planet. Everywhere else are roaches...

SD: So to change the subject. Prabhupada has clearly explained how there is gross, subtle, and spiritual manifestations. Hrdayananda's subtle sex seems like it should have been very obvious. Couldn't the devotees see that?

AD: Basically it's like everyone could see it, but there's kind of like a Maya-a mystique-which he casts over the whole scene. If you dared to think otherwise you were just vibed out of the place or thrown out.

SD: Were a lot of devotees outcast in that way?

AD: He's the kind of person where if you doubt him in the slightest, he takes very deep offense. He demands very high loyalty.

SD: Does he do like Kirtanananda and physically kick people out or have them beaten?

AD: Well, I think he's more principled. I think he's more of a Vaisnava than some of these others, at least from what I've heard of them. But he definitely uses a lot of very heavy mental power to get his way.

SD: Does he use four-letter words when he gets mad?

AD: No. He's quite gentlemanly in that regard. I've never heard him use four-letter words.

SD: Do you know of any specific instances where Hrdayananda actually destroyed a marriage?

AD: There is one instance of two disciples of Hrdayananda-he married them-the boy, Madhupandit, was American and the girl was Brazilian. Both basically good devotees. The boy had had some difficulty and left for a while, you know, he was sexually agitated. He finally came back and agreed to marry. He's a good steady sankirtana devotee, going out every day. So when they were married-basically Hrdayananda had this thing where he would hate the fact that somewhere in this temple there was a man and a woman-married of course-alone in a room. It would just drive him crazy.

SD: He told you that himself?

AD: It was just obvious. It was his mood. He instigated this whole campaign where men could not sleep in the same room as their wives, and practically they couldn't even be in the same room if the door was closed. The idea was to prevent illicit sex. First of all, I didn't know that there was illicit sex going on there. But what he did was produce this whole obsession with sex. That's when the illicit sex started. So I was talking about the young boy and girl. They got married and naturally they had sex. It's not the highest principle of marriage in Krsna consciousness, but they'd been abstaining for so long. So he got her pregnant. That's not a disturbance in society because they're married. But Hrdayananda got the girl fired up against the guy-he made the guy out to be her biggest enemy. He condemned the guy before the girl and for about a year she would not even speak to him. She figured the fact that she was pregnant by her husband was a curse. Usually when a woman gets pregnant by her husband in Vedic society, it's a great blessing. But because he got her pregnant, she hated him because of this whole mood in the temple against husband-wife relations.

SD: So what happened?

AD: We left, but I think they're finally speaking to each other-maybe they are even peacefully married. But I know for months and months the guy was suffering bitterly because his wife would not speak to him. She hated him.

SD: Was he mean to her or what?

AD: No. He's imperfect like everyone else but basically a good steady devotee. He got up every morning, went to mangala-aratik, chanted his rounds, spent all day at the airport doing sankirtana.

SD: He spent the whole day collecting money?

AD: He would bring in $100-$150-$200 a day.

SD: And Hrdayananda still condemned him just for having sex with his wife? Did he do that to a lot of devotees?

AD: Well I wouldn't say it was an isolated case but I would say it was a very marked case. The whole mood was that people who had been married for 8-10 years and had two or three kids-all of a sudden they couldn't sleep in the same room with their wives. They practically couldn't associate with their wives.

SD: Was that because it was a temple and sex was not allowed?

AD: No. just like in the old New York building, there was a floor set aside for householder quarters where householders live. It was the same thing in Miami, but still he wouldn't allow husbands to sleep in the same room with their wives. Like when a mother says to her growing young boy: "Don't get into sex, sex is horrible, sex is this, sex is that." If anything, it caused devotees to think of sex more. They were all basically good devotees, so we were trying to figure out where all this illicit sex was going on.

When I first arrived in his zone, I was in Gainsville, and he unleashed all this heavy stuff. He'd say, "A man and a woman-when they are together in a room at night-there must be illicit sex, there must be." Almost like encouraging it. But basically what it was was a sannyasi interfering in the intimate affairs of even his Godbrother's and Godsister's marriages. I don't care if he's a GBC. That doesn't mean he is the lord of my marriage. He was stepping on territory where he had no right to tread.


Here is the demoniac tragedy. A woman's greatest joy is to have a baby and a faithful husband but here we find a "guru" cursing the baby and destroying the marriage because of his own sexual hang-up. From this interview it is obvious to me anyway that Hrdayananda is burning to have gross sex with all these women, but he can't because of his artificial pose. So the baby represents somebody else's sex pleasure that he feels actually belongs to himself. After all, he's the supreme enjoyer in his zone. Everything there is meant for his pleasure. Right? That's the obvious psychology. The bogus guru thinks, "If I can't enjoy sex with all these lovely women who are so much in love with me, then nobody else can either, including the husband. After all, who is this husband compared to me. He's just a dog." All these bogus sannyasis posing as gurus suffer from this syndrome to one degree or another. Thus they have created hundreds of broken marriages, unwanted and neglected children, and a lot of suffering. They think they will be able to chant Hare Krsna and be immediately freed from the reaction of all this destruction but that is their illusion. Each life they've destroyed, they will have to take birth to get paid back. Then after maybe hundreds or thousands of lifetimes of suffering, they may get another opportunity to learn to chant Hare Krsna offenselessly. But since they are offending Srila Prabhupada, there is no telling when they will see the light of day again.

The devotee who gave this interview is a very sincere and humble devotee who has always strictly followed the regulative principles. He really didn't want to offend Hrdayananda. for the higher purpose of purifying ISKCON he has decided that truth is more important than the friendship of such men. As Prabhupada said in one letter, "If the criticism is honest, there is no cause for becoming upset." So in this mood, Hrdayananda should wake up and admit his shortcomings and immediately begin the process of atonement. He should begin by taking a vow to scrub floors and toilets in a ISKCON temple for the rest of his natural life. A vow of silence would also be appreciated. Maybe then he will get a human birth in his next life.