Note from the Editor
Krishna Today is a new
trancenet.net Webzine that will bring you
up-to-the-minute coverage of the Hare Krishna movement and other Krishna
worship groups in the USA, with news, features and editorial comment. The
University of Illinois Press has authorized the release of excerpts from my
book, Betrayal of the Spirit, My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare
Krishna Movement that will be posted at this site on a regular basis.
Krishna Today will also feature a question-and-answer forum, so send your
questions now. I hope that if you have a friend or relative in the Hare
Krishna movement, this site will help you deal with your feelings, understand
your relatives' involvement, assess whether he or she is in danger, and
establish a working relationship with that person you feel you may have lost
forever. Stay tuned for the next issue and send your comments and questions
to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit my site at http://www.bhakti.com/nori.
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Cults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Categories of cults that are recruiting successfully today include:
Eastern meditation: characterized by belief in God-consciousness, becoming one with God. The leader usually distorts and Eastern-based philosophy or religion. Members sometimes learn to disregard worldly possessions and may take on an ascetic lifestyle
. Techniques used: meditation, repeated mantras, altered states of consciousness, trance states.
Religious: marked by belief in salvation, afterlife, sometimes combined with an apocalyptic view. The leader reinterprets the Scriptures and often claims to be a prophet if not the messiah. Often the group is strict, sometimes using physical punishments s
uch as paddling and birching, especially on children. Members are encouraged to spend a great deal of time proselytizing. (Note: included here are Bible-based neo-Christian and other religious cults, many considered syncretic since they combine beliefs an
d practices). Techniques used: speaking in tongues, chanting, praying, isolation, lengthy study sessions, many hours spent evangelizing, "struggle" (or criticism) and confession sessions.
Political, racist, terrorist: fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the "enemy" or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all-knowing and all-powerful. Often the group is armed and meets in secret with coded langua
ge, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Techniques used: paramilitary training, reporting on one another, guilt, fear, struggle sessions, instilled paranoia, long hours of indoctrin
ation. -- Captive Hearts, Captive Minds, Lalich and Tobias, Hunter House, 1993.