Radhanath Swami & Sulochana

By: Sumanth Reddy, Bangalore

Why is Radhanath Swami being worshiped in ISKCON as a "saint", if he is guilty of having helped murder a devotee? WHY ISN'T THIS MAN IN PRISON??!?!??!????

Radhanath Swami, author of the popular spiritual book “The Journey Home”, is considered by many to be a saintly person and a religious leader. At first glance, he does indeed appear to fit the profile of a typical “saint”. But if we take a closer look at his past history and associates, we find quite a different picture. It is also interesting how Radhanath Swami left out the “dark parts” of his past history from his recently published autobiography “The Journey Home”.

In the 1980s and early 90s, Radhanath Swami was second in command, the “right hand man” of, to a homosexual pedophile criminal named Kirtanananda Swami at New Vrindavan in West Virginia. It is widely known that Kirtanananda Swami was a homosexual pedophile and was molesting many young boys during this time. And yet, why did Radhanath Swami support him, if he was a homosexual pedophile? Also during this time, there were many murders and other crimes committed at New Vrindavan. 

The most well known of the crimes that Radhanath Swami is associated with was the murder of Sulochana dasa (Steve Bryant). Sulochana dasa was a very strong critic of Kirtanananda Swami, and was attacking him publicly through different media campaigns for his criminal activities and molesting of children. Coincidentally, two days after publishing a book titled “The Guru Business” (http://www.harekrsna.org/pada/guru_biz.htm), a book that exposed Kirtanananda Swami and other ISKCON "gurus", Sulochana dasa was brutally murdered by one of Kirtanananda’s close associates named Tirtha dasa (Thomas Drescher) on May 22, 1986.

Radhanath Swami claims that he had “no knowledge” about this murder, but that is rather difficult to believe, since he was literally Kirtanananda Swami’s closest associate and junior manager, living everyday with Kirtanananda at New Vrindavan. Later on, in the early 90s, Kirtanananda Swami and Tirtha dasa were indicted for murder and other criminal activities in a federal court of law in America, and were sentenced to prison.

The following is a collection of quotes from different devotees that prove that Radhanath Swami helped murder Sulochana dasa in 1986. Please forward this to as many people as possible.

1. Kuladri, New Vrindaban's chief manager, was certainly aware of the other devotees who assisted and inspired Tirtha in his mission. Kuladri indirectly implicated Radhanath when he said: "I know Tapahpunja, along with other swamis, were saying that the community had to do whatever is necessary to protect the Swami [Kirtanananda]." At this time there were only three swamis at New Vrindaban: Kirtanananda, Tapahpunja and Radhanath.

(Kuladri dasa, cited by Halasz & Halasz, court reporters, "United States of America, Plaintiff, v. CR 90-87 Keith Gordon Ham, Terry Sheldon, Steven Fitzpatrick, New Vrindaban Community, Inc., Govardhan, Inc., Cathedral of Healing, Inc., Defendants, Before: Honorable Robert R. Merhige, Jr., United States District Judge and a Jury," Day III (March 13, 1991), Martinsburg, West Virginia, 475.)

2. Kuladri claimed that Radhanath was one of the key actors in this sordid drama: "Radhanath, Hayagriva and Tapahpunja were pushing like crazy for this [murder] to happen."

(Kuladri, cited by Dharmatma, from Trial transcript, cited by Halasz & Halasz, court reporters, "United States of America, Plaintiff, v. CR 90-87 Keith Gordon Ham, Terry Sheldon, Steven Fitzpatrick, New Vrindaban Community, Inc., Govardhan, Inc., Cathedral of Healing, Inc., Defendants, Before: Honorable Robert R. Merhige, Jr., United States District Judge and a Jury," Day IV (March 14, 1991), Martinsburg, West Virginia, 832-837, 941.)

3. Dharmatma claimed that Radhanath was involved to some degree: "he [Radhanath] was involved to some degree or had knowledge of Sulochan's murder. I know this for a fact."

(Dharmatma dasa, letter to Hansadutta (August 26, 1994).

4. Janmashtami dasa, who traveled with and assisted Tirtha while conducting surveillance on Sulochana in California, explained how he was recruited to assist in the elimination of Sulochana: "In January of 1986, on my return to New Vrindaban [after the Christmas marathon], I was ordered by Radhanath . . . not by Kirtanananda Swami, to terminate Sulochana. This happened with Tapahpunja Swami and Tirtha in November and December of 1985. I was on traveling sankirtan until Christmas and didn't get back to the farm until New Year’s. Immediately on our arrival at New Vrindaban, Radhanath sought me out and made arrangements for us to meet in his van, where he went through a prepared speech that he had delivered to Tirtha, Tapahpunja Swami and Kuladri many times before. Later talks with Tirtha confirmed this."

(Janmashtami dasa, "New Vrindaban History, for the Record", The Sampradaya Sun (December 22, 2006).

5. Radhanath flattered Janmashtami: "You are one of those rare few that Krishna has endowed with the Kshatriya spirit and the courage enough to do what has to be done."

(Radhanath Swami, cited by Janmashtami dasa, "Chapter Seven: Knowledge of the Absolute is not Absolute Knowledge," accessed from http://www.harekrsna.org/pada/ks/nv/7.htm (November 4, 2008).)

6. Janmashtami remembered in more detail: 

Radhanath was saying to those he was giving marching orders to: "Sulochana poses a life threat to both Kuladri and to Kirtanananda Swami. He has written that in his diary, and for that reason alone, this guy must be transmigrated to his next body."

Radhanath was clear in his meaning beyond any shadow of a doubt. "Now that Srila Prabhupada has left us, the entire fate of this movement—OUR movement, Lord Chaitanya’s movement—rests in Kirtanananda Swami's hands, and according to our nature, it is up to us to do whatever we can to help the movement in that regard." . . .

Radhanath had made his pitch to at least a half a dozen sets of sympathetic ears before someone raised these Gita related questions:

"How have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life." 
 "The words existent and non-existent refer only to spirit and matter. Why worry?" 
"How can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, unborn, eternal, and immutable, kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?"

Tough questions, but from a submissive audience. Radhanath was undaunted. He quoted Krishna in his response to a potentially explosive volley of inquiry: "Everything has its proper utility, and a man situated in complete knowledge knows how and where to apply a thing, so there is no possibility of sinful reaction. Also, considering your specific duty as a kshatriya…"

That settled it. The order was there from your bona-fide spiritual authority and it was based on scripture, directly from Krishna. Either you followed those instructions or you were going to hell!

(Janmashtami dasa, "Chapter 2: Contents of the Palace, Itemized," accessed from http://liberatedyogi.tripod.com)

7. Janmashtami's story was collaborated by two eyewitnesses. Bhaktipada's chauffeur confirmed: "I was privy to much behind-the-scenes action, and I was there when Radhanath told Janmashtami to ‘destroy the demon.'"

(Priyavenu dasa, conversation with the author (September 14, 2003).)

8. A teenage gurukula boy who served under Janmashtami also claimed he overheard Radhanath order Janmashtami to "destroy the demon."

(Harivrata dasa, conversation with the author (January 9, 2007).)

9. When Ramachandra dasa, a New Vrindaban sankirtan picker, asked Radhanath Swami: "Do you know who killed Sulochana?" Radhanath replied: "I don't know, but whoever it was, he was doing devotional service to Krishna."

(Ramachandra dasa, from a conversation with the author on April 10, 2007.)

10. Dharmatma continued his recollection of the day of the murder and remembered how Kuladri named three instigators who "were pushing like crazy for this to happen."

"Later on after the morning functions, I had a discussion with Kuladri. He was quite disturbed. He mentioned . . . how it shouldn't have been done like that. And that how Radhanath, Hayagriva and Tapahpunja were pushing like crazy for this to happen, and how he had told them not to do it."

(Dharmatma, from Trial transcript, cited by Halasz & Halasz, court reporters, "United States of America, Plaintiff, v. CR 90-87 Keith Gordon Ham, Terry Sheldon, Steven Fitzpatrick, New Vrindaban Community, Inc., Govardhan, Inc., Cathedral of Healing, Inc., Defendants, Before: Honorable Robert R. Merhige, Jr., United States District Judge and a Jury," Day IV (March 14, 1991), Martinsburg, West Virginia, 832-837, 941.)

11. Janmashtami collaborated: "Kuladri was VERY, VERY frightened by the time it was coming to ‘reaction time' because he knew that he and Radhanath were in very deep doo-doo."

(Janmashtami, e-mail letter to the author (August 1, 2008).)

12. Although Tirtha successfully flew from California to Ohio, he was still in dire straits, New Vrindaban hadn't paid him what they promised, and he needed money to purchase plane tickets to get out of the country—fast. Dharmatma described how Bhaktipada and Radhanath came to him to pick up the escape money at the sankirtan house:

"The next day Bhaktipada, along with Radhanath, drove up in my driveway in Bhaktipada's vehicle and tooted the horn for me to come outside. When I came to the car we engaged in some small talk, I don't remember what. And then Bhaktipada asked me if I had six thousand dollars cash in the house. And I said, "I don't know. I will see if you want." He told me to go in and see if I had six thousand dollars.

I went in the house and went into my safe and . . . I counted out six thousand dollars and brought it out to him, and handed it in through the window. I don't remember if I gave it to Radhanath and he passed it to Bhaktipada, or I gave it directly to Bhaktipada. The mood was a little bit strained, and I said, "What is this? So they [Tirtha and Tapahpunja] can get out of the country?" And Bhaktipada and Radhanath smiled and nodded their heads: "Yes." And then they said, "Hey, we've got to go," and they left.

(Dharmatma, from Trial transcript, cited by Halasz & Halasz, court reporters, "United States of America, Plaintiff, v. CR 90-87 Keith Gordon Ham, Terry Sheldon, Steven Fitzpatrick, New Vrindaban Community, Inc., Govardhan, Inc., Cathedral of Healing, Inc., Defendants, Before: Honorable Robert R. Merhige, Jr., United States District Judge and a Jury," Day IV (March 14, 1991), Martinsburg, West Virginia, 832-837, 941.)