Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life Behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement

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University of Illinois Press, 1997 - Religion - 213 pages
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Combining behind-the-scenes coverage of an often besieged religious group with a personal account of one woman's struggle to find meaning in it, Betrayal of the Spirit takes readers to the center of life in the Hare Krishna movement.
 
Nori J. Muster joined the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)--the Hare Krishnas--in 1978, shortly after the death of the movement's spiritual master, and worked for ten years as a public relations secretary and editor of the organization's newspaper, the ISKCON World Review. In this candid and critical account, Muster follows the inner workings of the movement and the Hare Krishnas' progressive decline.
 
Combining personal reminiscences, published articles, and internal documents, Betrayal of the Spirit details the scandals that beset the Krishnas--drug dealing, weapons stockpiling, deceptive fundraising, child abuse, and murder within ISKCON–as well as the dynamics of schisms that forced some 95 percent of the group's original members to leave. In the midst of this institutional disarray, Muster continued her personal search for truth and religious meaning as an ISKCON member until, disillusioned at last with the movement's internal divisions, she quit her job and left the organization.
 
In a new preface to the paperback edition, Muster discusses the personal circumstances that led her to ISKCON and kept her there as the movement's image worsened. She also talks about "the darkest secret"–child abuse in the ISKCON parochial schools--that was covered up by the public relations office where she worked.
 
 
 

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Contents

ISKCON The Krishnas International Society
1
Unexpected Requirements
10
Going Solo into ISKCON
23
My Zonal Guru
34
Jonestown Fallout
47
A Spiritual Disneyland
54
Drug Busts Guns and Gangsters
61
Whos Watching the Children?
72
PR Bails Out of LA
128
1986 The Year of Crisis
137
The Budget Axe
146
The ISKCON World Review Crosses the Line
155
Six Months Out of Print
163
Womens Lesser Intelligence
171
Moving On
176
Status of People and Things in This Volume
183

The Gurus Start World War III
78
The Storm Within The Guru Issue
86
PR Publications Promote ISKCON
95
Ramesvara Crashes
105
The Revolution of Guru Reform
117
Notes
185
Glossary
195
Bibliography
197
Index
207
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Page 206 - Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation. Weiss, A. (1985). Mental health and personality characteristics of Hare Krishna devotees and sympathizers as a function of acculturation into the Hare Krishna movement. Doctoral dissertation, California School of Professional psychology, Los Angeles. Dissertation Abstracts International, 46, 8b. Weiss, A. (1987). Psychological distress and well-being in Hare Krishna. Psychological Reports, 61, 23-35. Weiss, A. & Comprey, A. (1987a). Personality and mental health...

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About the author (1997)

Nori J. Muster, a freelance writer and website designer, lives in Arizona. Larry D. Shinn,president of Berea College, is the author of The Dark Lord: Cult Images and the Hare Krishnas in America.
 

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