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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:16 pm 
Nori's book, "Betrayal of the Spirit" - My life behind the headlines of the Hari Krishna Movement is a fascinating and fast-paced read. Really GOOD. So different and the so exactly the same as SD/3HO.

ISKCON and SD/3HO were complete philosophical opposites. They promoted celibacy, we promoted the householder path. They gave up money and we went for it. They ate lots of sugar and we pretended to not eat sugar and so forth.

But of course, at a deeper level we were the same "market" - middle-upper-class Western white flower children.

Right off reading Nori's story I was struck with the similar ways we all got recruited into these two distinct 1970s cults and I want to start there.

Here were the main carrots, I feel:

1. Both groups offered spiritual liberation and a strict practice to attain full mystical mastery and enlightenment.

2. The groups gave us JOBS. This was huge and not talked about enough.

3. Both groups claimed that unlike LSD, we need never have to "come down" if we did the cult practices.

4. Both groups used the power of platonic/no-sex-allowed friendships/mentoring, between men and women, in recruitment. This seems to me to be linked to the fact that many women in the early 1970s were sick of being "chicks" and the second wave of feminism was happening.

Nori: Starting with fam9inism first, you had a friend/mentor when you joined who basically walked you step by step into the fold. His name was Subhananda. I think most of us had our yoga teacher, or other Platonic friend/mentor who walked /talked us into Bhajanism.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:12 pm 
Another thing about the book, when I look back at it, the story is incredibly sad. Grief over lost years of my life and bad judgment, grief for the children who were hurt, and grief because things went so wrong for the group. A lot of people were hurt by the whole thing, over many years, and so far three generations. It's difficult for me to read the book without crying. Maybe I'll get over it, I've tried.

The incredible sadness and regret might be something we also share.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:01 am 
Yes, so many ways the groups mirror each other despite very different philosophies and practices. I was starting with the similar tactics in induction and recruitment, and going to move on and out from there.

I haven't really thought about how powerful and instrumental the opposite sex Platonic mentor/friend was in getting so many of us to join 1970s cults. Was your relationship with Subhananda an unusual thing, or something quite common in the induction process?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:51 pm 
ISKCON absolutely did use men to recruit women and women to recruit men. That was the most common way to get new members. Inside the temple, we were forbidden from talking to people of the opposite gender, so that motivated people to become preachers. It was an acceptable outlet for casual contact with the opposite gender.

When I was in my last year of college at UCSB, Subhananda stayed around so he could have time to write, and he also spent time recruiting me. That type of focused recruitment was called "cultivating." So he cultivated me. Funny, cultivate is so close to cultify.

As it turns out, Subhananda left ISKCON a few years before me. He and I met up after our ISKCON experiences and became friends. Now he and I often travel to the Cultic Studies (ICSA) conferences as guest speakers. I call him Steve Gelberg now, or just Gelberg. He's one of my favorite friends from those years.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:19 pm 
Hi Nori,

In the early 1970s, Bhajanism opened up the universe of platonic friends of the opposite sex. There were lots of crushes, and the very real possibility of marriage - either arranged by Yogi Bhajan or the Divine Will.

Personally I was sick of being a hippie "chick" and Bhajanist men had both charisma and manners. They treated women with respect, as distinct from all the men who whistled at us, heckled us, stalked us and so forth.

Here is a pretty common induction story from our archives:

From: TARRAGON918 Jun-2-2002

During my junior year in college, I met a guy who was doing this kundalini yoga and trying to get a teacher to come to our college and give actual classes. Apparently, GuruShabad Singh (from Boston) had come down sometime in either the fall of 72 or winter of 73 and given a one-time class. Anyway, I got a serious crush on this fellow, and started attending yoga classes with him to be nearer to him. (I don't know how many other women that might have been true for LOL but I'll admit that was my reason!). He kept working to have a real teacher come to our school (Univ. of Del. in Newark, DE), and eventually was successful, as Soul Singh came and opened up an ashram in the fall of 1973. My friend moved in immediately - at that time, the ashram consisted of the teacher and him only, but more were to follow. My friend had a fairly large number of females who had crushes on him, even though it appeared he was oblivious to how many did. LOL


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:21 am 
KamallaKaur

As a sidenote to arranged marriages and the single 3HO life: the generation of young men I gew up with wanted marriage to get out of being drafted into the vietnam war.... before I finished college I had five or six proposals (as did my women friends) from earnst young men who they knew but we looking for a way to avoid the military.... faced with upcoming draft notices you couldn't trust commitment with a long term boyfriend as the clock ticked down til graduation... it created marriages of convenience epidemic.... some of that influenced the push to get married in 3HO during the early days....


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:06 pm 
>> I got a serious crush on this fellow, and started attending yoga classes with him to be nearer to him. (I don't know how many other women that might have been true for LOL but I'll admit that was my reason!).

That's how ISKCON recruiters operated. Lots of women had crushes on Gelberg and joined because of him. He was also good at guiding men into staying in the ashram. But it was mostly men recruiting women; women recruiting men.

They didn't use sex to bring people in like the Children of God and their flirty fishing. However, what do I know? Maybe in some circles they did. The only prostitution I heard of was in the West Virginia center where they forced their collectors into prostitution. The teams of women would go to parking lots and collect donations. Then if their donations were low, the male leader would drop them off in front of bars with instructions to do whatever men wanted for money. But that was strictly to get money, not members.

The brainwashed followers who recruited, like Gelberg, were strictly following the celibacy rules.

As soon as Gelberg converted me into joining the temple, he was called away to the Denver temple. He lived and worked there in exchange for a round trip ticket to India to attend the annual meetings.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:16 pm 
>> the generation of young men I gew up with wanted marriage to get out of being drafted into the vietnam war

That was way before my time. The Vietnam War ended in 1974, but I joined ISKCON in 1978. However, I can see how that would be an influence in a group if you joined earlier.

In ISKCON, couples who were fully indoctrinated, had to go to the guru to ask permission to marry. Ask permission to have children. The guru was like a really bad babysitter who could tell you what to do at any stage in your life.

In ISKCON, arranged marriages were often between criminal element men and innocent women, or underaged women. They also arranged marriages between brainwashed members. It was usually the guru or temple president who decided who would be married to whom.

Some of the brainwashed follower couples who were married were pretty good matches, and are still married.

Most of the criminal-to-innocent-women arranged marriages were disasters where the women were abused. I know of one case where an innocent woman turned up dead. Her parents and sister contacted me after reading my book to tell me her story. Their loved one had been buried as a Jane Doe for about seven years by the time a smart policeman put the Jane Doe file together with their missing persons file. Up until the policeman contacted them, they thought their loved one had moved to India with her arranged husband and had just neglected to be in contact.

They wanted to ask me if the Hare Krishnas were capable of something like that. The mother thought the Krishnas were benign, while the sister thought it could have happened. I settled it for them, sadly, having to tell them it was quite possible the arranged husband murdered her. Especially considering it was the Bay Area, where they ran gun running and drug running operations.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:02 am 
Yogi Bhajan arranged marriages, publicly matching strangers together, and there were group marriages at the cult Solstice gatherings. Many women were attracted to the group because marriage was pushed. Unmarried Bhajanists were celibate. We believed that Yogi Bhajan and his secretaries were also celibate. We didn't imagine Yogi Bhajan was messing around, much less that he was a sadist and rapist.

Yes, YB's scummy inner circle of crooked men were often married off to young women.

Regarding induction, clear to see that both cults "cultivated" members by manipulating our natural youthful desires for romance, true love, a soul-mate, marriage, family, and brother and sisterhood.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:09 am 
How wonderful to be young and idealistic. It's the most tragic betrayal to be taken in by charlatans.


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