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Hare Krishnas Fight Back

In 1976, Kula-Priya devi was kidnapped by the infamous Ted Patrick and his crew; the "deprogrammers.' This heinous group would abduct members of various religious movements, including Hare Krishna devotees, and coerce them to reject their respective faiths and practices by means of harsh and severe methods. Anxious parents, whose children had at short notice given up everything and taken to the spiritual life, where convinced their children had been "brainwashed." Kula-priya devi dasi was one such unfortunate devotee, and she pressed charges against Patrick after escaping the clutches of his team. Watch the press conference below for her full perspective.

A 1980's edition of Back to Godhead explains the case very clearly:

"Recently a federal judge approved a settlement awarding the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and one of its members $ 10,000 and court costs in a deprogramming case.

U.S. District Court Judge David Williams signed the order ending a case that began more than three years ago when Madonna Slavin Walford, a Hare Krishna devotee, was abducted from her parents’ home in Arcadia, California, and driven to Northern California for a deprogramming.

After the settlement Mrs. Walford said, 'I appeal to Americans everywhere, and particularly to parents of Hare Krishna devotees throughout this nation, to understand that this is not a cult. I am practicing a religion that is more than five thousand years old, a religion whose book of truth, the Bhagavad-gita, is sacred to more than six hundred million people on this planet.'"

Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna Movement on the wesern World and of the International Society for Krishna Conciousness, very nicely smashes the logic of these so-called "deprogrammers" in the conversation below.

Ramesvara: "Ask your contact to comment or express his opinion of such things as that this is not a matter of religion; that there is resulting mental and physical harm; the right of self-determination means the right to have a free mind; destruction of the family unit..."

Prabhupada: So if one has the right to have a free mind, why he cannot chant Hare Krsna?

Ramesvara: Well, their argument is that we do not allow him to consider alternatives.

Prabhupada: Then where is the question of a free mind? That means you brainwash.

Ramesvara: Exactly.

Prabhupada: Free mind means everyone has the right. That is free mind. If you force something, then where is the free mind?

Ramesvara: So actually they are understanding that once you chant Hare Krsna, you will stop thinking about maya.

Prabhupada: They're admitting.

Ramesvara: They understand that... Their claim is that this chanting of Hare Krsna...

Prabhupada: Is dangerous. (laughs)

Ramesvara: dangerous because it makes you stop thinking about so many other things. That is their...

Prabhupada: That is our victory. That is victory because Narottama dasa Thakura said that visaya visanale, diba-nisi hiya jwale, taribare na koinu upay, golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama sankirtana, rati na janmilo kene tay: "This material world is the burning fire of anxiety. So in order to get rid of it, we have to take shelter of Hare Krsna mantra, which is imported from the spiritual sky." That is a fact. So as soon as you take shelter of Hare Krsna, naturally we are relieved from this blazing fire of material existence. Ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. Finished. Bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam. Maha-davagni, this fire of material existence, finished. That's a fact. So they have pointed out. This circumstance, it is good. Yes. That is the position. Yes. Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that. In order to get rid of this blazing fire, harer nama harer nama harer nama eva kevalam [Cc. Adi 17.21]: chant Hare Krsna.

January 9, 1977, Bombay

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