Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface to the Paperback Edition

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pp. vii-x

...been hip during the 1960s, and they dabbled in a variety of new-age ideas. They took sensitivity training at UCLA and hosted encounter group classes in our home. Later, after their divorce, my father bought a big house in the Hollywood Hills and rented rooms to some pretty unconventional people. Among other things, he...

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Foreword

Larry D. Shinn

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pp. xi-xvi

...Krishnas and more formally named the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). It is also a thoughtful religious autobiography by a young woman who joined the Krishna movement in 1978 and assumed a position in the public relations office at the national headquarters...

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Preface

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pp. xvii-xviii

...Consciousness, I wore a sari, studied the philosophy, and chanted every day. During the course of my work for the public relations department, I learned about many troubling organizational issues. This book focuses on my experiences in Southern California, and my journals of those experiences fill many...

People in This Volume

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pp. xix-xx

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1 ISKCON: The Krishnas’International Society

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pp. 1-9

...Feast,” for the congregation. It was a warm summer evening in 1978. I was twenty-two and had been a Hare Krishna for about a month. Dozens of people milled on the sidewalk and more cruised Watseka Avenue for parking places. A loudspeaker atop the temple gift store broadcast the rhythmic, fast notes of an Indian raga over the congregation. I walked up the block, beginning at the church on the corner, past the...

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2 Unexpected Requirements

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pp. 10-22

...official club meant that we could chant and give out BBT literature in front of the student union. I did the paperwork and got my sociology professor and a few students from my psychology class to sign as club sponsors. After the traveling devotees went on their way, Subhananda and I enjoyed our afternoons “preaching” on campus. We brought...

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3 Going Solo into ISKCON

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pp. 23-33

...the Mayapur Festival, an annual gathering in India. The pilgrimage marks the appearance of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the medieval saint and avatar of Krishna. Subhananda read aloud from Chaitanya’s biography and spoke about Chaitanya every day until...

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4 My Zonal Guru

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pp. 34-46

...face, I knew there was no offense. The altar doors closed, and everyone paid obeisances. When I sat up and peered through the railing again, Ramesvara stood and took the mike. I bowed down again to my future guru. Other aspiring disciples bowed as well. He said he would read the “sankirtan scores.” The word sankirtan literally means “congregational chanting,” but Ramesvara...

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5 Jonestown Fallout

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pp. 47-53

...around the escalators, and ISKCON promised that their solicitors would stay behind the lines and not buttonhole traffic coming off the escalator. It seemed like the compromise would guarantee a great Christmas marathon. Unfortunately, the reputation for aggressive fundraising, combined with a mass suicide in an obscure country on the northern...

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6 A Spiritual Disneyland

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pp. 54-60

...half-asleep. We claimed our suitcases and got on the highway in a temple station wagon. I fell asleep in the back seat as the car wound its way seventy miles southwest to New Vrindaban, West Virginia. I awoke when the car turned onto a dirt road. We rounded one bend and then another, and there it was, atop a distant emerald green hill: a miniature...

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7 Drug Busts, Guns, and Gangsters

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pp. 61-71

...lawsuit charging seven ISKCON branches and two individuals with kidnapping, brainwashing, and false imprisonment. One of the individuals named in the suit was Rishabdev, the longtime Laguna Beach temple president. Rishabdev admitted to helping the girl hide from her parents because she wanted to be a devotee and her parents didn’t approve...

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8 Who’s Watching the Children?

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pp. 72-77

...When Mukunda found out, he flew to New York and deputized a devotee to act as New Vrindaban’s P.R. man. (Most P.R. devotees got their training in hands-on, real-life situations.) Mukunda hired Paul Kurland, a New York attorney who had defended Daniel Ellsberg during the Pentagon Papers trial. In their negotiations...

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9 The Gurus Start World War III

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pp. 78-85

...soon many devotees were openly discussing the subject. As a second-generation disciple, I was tossed on the waves. I heard the grumbling but didn’t want to accept any of it because my faith rested on the assumption that Ramesvara connected me to Prabhupada. I didn’t want to lose that link. I still believed that ISKCON was functioning...

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10 The Storm Within: The Guru Issue

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pp. 86-94

...Sanskrit words to describe gurus had strong symbolic significance. The problem within ISKCON was that subtle esoteric concepts that most people wouldn’t spend five minutes thinking about were crucial to the violence spreading within the society. A chasm of controversy formed over what kind of guruhood Prabhupada had intended for...

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11 P.R. Publications Promote ISKCON

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pp. 95-104

...his job and family to join New Vrindaban in 1971. The third man, Bhutatma, had been a Berkeley devotee in the 1970s. When Hamsadutta came there after his crisis in Germany and took up being a guru, Bhutatma retreated to Thailand, the most distant part of the zone. He wore his hair long by devotee standards and resisted wearing devotional robes...

Photo Gallery

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pp. 105-120

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12 Ramesvara Crashes

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pp. 121-132

...Revenues to the BBT were down, too. Ramesvara’s sankirtan teams couldn’t deliver like they had in the 1970s, and other zones resisted making donations. Ramesvara sold the lease on the Culver City warehouse and moved the mail order department to Watseka Avenue. Many of the creative programs had to spin off and support themselves...

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13 The Revolution of Guru Reform

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pp. 133-143

...Five years had passed since the Pyramid House talks were rejected, and not much had changed. The GBC had empowered additional men to initiate in under-represented zones like Canada, Africa, and South America, but once all the zones were covered, no more gurus were empowered. About half of the gurus stayed out of the fray to concentrate on fulfilling...

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14 P.R. Bails Out of L.A.

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pp. 144-152

...in Denver and Las Vegas. We were totally dedicated to the newspaper but only slightly patriotic about soliciting funds for the BBT. Nevertheless, completing the marathon and making the deadline would provide a sense of satisfaction. Our fiftieth issue, including the story of the assault on Kirtanananda, was about to go to press in January...

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15 1986: The Year of Crisis

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pp. 153-161

...the news, Uddhava and I went out the door for a long, reflective walk on the beach. It was impossible to get back to work that day because neither of us could explain why being a Hare Krishna had suddenly become so dangerous. We were forced to realize the seriousness of Sulochan’s attack on the gurus, as well as the fury with which it had been...

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16 The Budget Axe

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pp. 162-170

...the doors to look at the sun making its way over the hills. I chanted outside on the concrete steps as people drove by, beginning their morning Orange County commute. Many of the drivers did a “California slide” through the four-way stop sign on the corner rather than come...

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17 The ISKCON World Review Crosses the Line

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pp. 171-178

...Kirtanananda. To make matters worse for the P.R. department, Kirtanananda had gone on a nationwide “Freedom Tour” to vindicate himself. His press releases talked of religious persecution and said the Freedom Tour celebrated the Constitution’s bicentennial. New Vrindaban’s adept P.R. department had issued a press packet in a gold-stamped folder...

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18 Six Months Out of Print

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pp. 179-186

...we could. One would be all the good news, suitable for congregational members; the other would be interviews, editorials, and letters on the guru issue. If we still felt like resigning, we could do it quietly after the double issue came out. Back in Laguna Beach, we prepared layouts of both versions in time for the editorial meeting with Mukunda....

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19 Women’s Lesser Intelligence

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pp. 187-191

...on the East and West Coasts, and Towaco had been the site of the temple presidents meeting that originally led to guru reform. Sponsoring another conference there, now that guru reform was taking place, attracted much favorable attention. The organizers ran an ad in the ISKCON World Review to invite people to present papers on any subject...

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20 Moving On

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pp. 192-198

...asked how he felt about children going to college, and he said, “We think it’s great, we encourage it.” He added that the school used a creationist curriculum developed by Christians, which prepared students for college. He spoke enthusiastically and said he was proud that many of his graduates had gone on to a local junior college and one...

Appendix

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pp. 199-200

Notes

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pp. 201-210

Glossary

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pp. 211-212

Bibliography

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pp. 213-222

Index

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pp. 223-230

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Author Information

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pp. 231-232

...Hare Krishna devotees during her senior year of college and joined their temple the day after graduation. She worked in the public relations office of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) until 1988, when she left the organization. She holds a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from...

Back Cover

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