Conspiracy Theories

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By Bhakta Corey

So you are Americans, and they are responding. You are responding means Americans responding. So do very carefully, and if one fourth of America becomes Vaisnava, the whole world will change. They are the leading nation. Krsna has given them all facility–good land, good intelligence, good education, good facilities, good prestige. Is it not? They are fortunate. Janmaisvarya-sruta-sri. Everything is there. Take this opportunity. This is our ambition. I went to America with this ambition, that “If the American people will take this Krsna consciousness…” That is coming to be fulfilled… AMERICA IS MY FATHERLAND.
- Srila Prabhupada, Vrndavan May 27, 1977 Room Conversation

Too often we hear various people speaking anti-American views, as if anti-Americanism has become the latest fashion. So as Vaisnavas, what should be our attitude towards America? We should first analyze how Srila Prabhupada felt towards America, especially in his last days. Of course he strongly condemned the materialistic western societies, and their ideologies as well. But did Srila Prabhupada hate America? No, he did not. The reality is that he felt himself so indebted to America for “giving him her children, money, and resources”, to quote his own words, that he wanted to come back to America one last time even though he was only months away from death and could not even walk. He desired very strongly to come to America, to visit the Gita Nagari farm. He stopped in Britian on the way, and after a few days he told Tamal Krishna Goswami that he felt too sick to make the trip, and so they went back to Vrindavan, instead of coming to the Gita-Nagari farm as was planned. That is how indebted Srila Prabhupada felt himself to the Americans, that he was willing to come one last time to America, even in such a physically weakened condition. Think about this for a moment, before continuing.

Based on the above information, it might be slightly offensive to Srila Prabhupada to speak anti-American views and slurs, when he was on his deathbed and still he could not forget how obliged he felt himself to America.

Realistically, all governments are run by materialistic politicians, but we cannot deny that America is a free country, that we have the freedom to preach openly in America, and that is what Srila Prabhupada appreciated. America certainly has more freedom than Iran, for example.

Here is a quote from Srila Prabhupada during the last months in Vrindavana, from Tamal Krishna Goswami’s “Final Pastimes of Srila Prabhupada”,

Prabhupada: (humbly) I am only a child. (Crying) But I have tried to please my Guru Maharaja. I have not written. It is Krsna. Krsna and my Guru Maharaja. They have sent all of you to help me. Otherwise, what could I do, all alone, an old man with no friends in America? America is so good to me, to give me money, men, everything- I see no difference between one country and another, but because the Americans have given me so much facility to serve Krsna, I cannot forget my obligations to them. I want to make them happy, and through them the whole world.

[End of Quote]

There is quite a big difference between preaching against the materialism of the western world, and simply spewing fanatic hate speech against America. Anti-Americanism should be given up, because it will simply alienate us from the people we are trying to preach to, nor can it be very pleasing to Srila Prabhupada.

I recently came across some conspiracy theories on the internet that were amusing to read, because of some of the wild claims that were made on these sites. For example, one website made the bold statement “George Bush blew up the 9-11 World Trade Towers”. I found myself laughing by the end the article. What the article didn’t mention though, was that Popular Mechanics, a famous magazine that is a respected authority in the engineering and technological world, has published a book discrediting and disproving all of the different 9-11 conspiracy theories step by step. They did a very professional job of showing how none of the theories could possibly be correct, and they showed evidence from an engineering, technical, and structural point of view. But I guess Popular Mechanics must be part of the conspiracy too? In fact, anyone who happens to disagree with the paranoid conspiracy theories must also be part of the conspiracy, right? More information scientifically disproving the 9-11 conspiracy theories can be found here.

These absurd conspiracy theories also fall into the same category as irrational rhetoric like: All the problems of the world can be blamed on the big governments and big corporations. One characteristic of an irrational person is to criticize the leaders, but to offer no positive solution to the problem themselves. It is much easier just to blame the leaders (government and corporations) for all the problems of the world, but the reality is that this material world is a hellish place because of our exploitive mentality. Is anyone honestly going to claim that their exploitive mentality is somehow any less than the exploitive mentality of the leader of a government or corporation?

The following is a quote from Srila Prabhupada where he plainly says that we shouldn’t blame the government for our problems, since we are the ones who put them into power. He is saying that it is our own fault, not someone else’s.

“Prabhupada: What is the use of this rascal government? The rascal government must be there because we are rascals. You cannot complain against the government. Because we select. It is the days of democracy. We elect our representative. So why you should, I mean to say, blame the government? You have created the government. You have sent your representative, a rascal, another big rascal. You are rascal, and another big rascal, you have voted; so how you can expect good government? You send only big rascals. That’s all.”
Mayapura lecture, 1973

Irrational people are willing to blame everyone else for their problems, and they take no personal responsibility for their own life, blaming all of their problems on someone else (big government, big business, my next door neighbor, etc). A Vaisnava, on the other hand, is someone who instead of blaming someone else for their problems, takes personal responsibility for their own life and understands that the world is not perfect. Which perspective do you think fits in more with our Vaisnava philosophy?

So the question may be raised here- Didn’t Srila Prabhupada also speak about conspiracy theories (the moon landing hoax)? No. What Srila Prabhupada said was a scientific Vedic statement according to the authority of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. According to the structure of the universe given in Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is literally impossible to have gone to the moon. It was simply a hoax. Srila Prabhupada exposed this hoax with scientific knowledge from the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Now, there is quite a world of difference between a scientific statement based on Vedic cosmology, and irrational and paranoid conspiracy theories that have been proven wrong by scientific analysis (9-11 conspiracy theories).

Before we end the article, let’s take a quick look at the thought process of the conspiracy theorists. One symptom they exhibit is paranoia, thinking that the whole world is a big conspiracy theory with America at the lead, trying to enslave the human race. Need I say more?

Second symptom- delusions of grandeur. Conspiracy theorists think that by “exposing” the conspiracy, they can save the human race.

Third symptom- delusions of persecution. Conspiracy theorists think that the government is spying on them, listening to their phone calls, trying to oppress them, etc.

There could be many more symptoms described, but let’s leave it at that for now. Now, I never took the time to study psychology (thankfully), but from reading different books, I did learn enough to know that the above mentioned characteristics are symptoms of a mental illness called Paranoid Schizophrenia.

So I will end the article with a question- Are conspiracy theories and mental illness related?

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1 Unregistered

Well it is an interesting tactic to mix Shrila Prabhupada’s comments on America along with a debunking of 9-11 conspiracy theories by the Shastra of Popular Mechanics. Why don’t you quote the Shastra of Popular Mechanics on the MOON LANDING. Since the US government and the military industrial complex has so many good qualities that is.

You will find opniniated devotees on both sides of government conspiracy issues. I personally find many unanswered questions left by “debunkers”. You can see the documentary “Loose Change”. The “Loose Change” authors publically debated the Popular Mechanics editorial staff on television. Even the government has practically acknowledged a high-level cover-up in the JFK assasination after many years of public outrage at the lack of disclosure.

Jaidvaita Swami has a nice article on 9-11 on his website: http://www.jswami.info/9-11

Of course America does have some good qualities which is probably why you can see the high levels of law and order as well as material prosperity.

Comment posted by amalagaura on May 27th, 2007
2 Unregistered

Dear Bhakta Corey,

You make statements that seemingly accuse Non-Americans of “speaking anti American views and spewing fanatic hate speech against America.” You correlate this with conspiracy theories. If you use google, you will find that conspiracy theories are mostly a product of America and most of the prominent conspiracy theory websites are run by Americans.

Comment posted by Nitai dasa on May 27th, 2007
3 Damana Krishna dasa

There are conspirancies in every government following the idea of “isvaro ‘ham aham bhogi siddho ‘ham balavan sukhi adhyo ‘bhijanavan asmi”. USA being in some sense the nation who wants control the bigger part of the world to get some profit is involved in international politics with such interest also. There are good parts of USA democracy but we should also not forget the bad part means propagating the unlimited sense gratification and way of free life which they try to transfer also to the other part of the world simply to increase the economic profit of certain people who have the power. So therefore there are policies of covering the truth and propagating certain public opinion as well in democratic governments. I dont see also much use of giving the time to such conspirancy theories but give the people KC. This will help people to save the world in all regards.
Srila Prabhupada used the fact that all world imitated the american way of life and therefore they would also accept the KC which has taken root in USA. But also within ISKCON USA has to be careful as many of compromising ideas take root also there in the deep rooted free way of thinking and keep the duty to remain fully focused on SP teachings.

Comment posted by Damana Krishna dasa on May 28th, 2007
4 Akruranatha

I saw a debate between the “Loose Change” producers and the Popular Mechanics author and editor on Link TV’s “Democracy Now” (from Pacifica Broadcasting), moderated by journalist Amy Goodman.

I thought the Loose Change people lost, in the sense that they did come off as saying to their opponents, “If you disagree with us, you must be part of the conspiracy.” They seemed young, manic, a little wacky, at least to me. The PM guys came across as confident, mature, cool headed and reasonable (and not actually “in on” some evil conspiracy).

It may just be the “Nixon/Kennedy” phenomenon, that televised debates accentuate style over substance. The Loose Change guys were young, nervous, and seemed to feel threatened, making them look a little irrational.

I do agree there are lots of questions about the 9/11 events that are very hard to answer, and some evidence seems to point to U.S. Government involvement, as unthinkable as that sounds. Personally, I have to admit I do not know what happened, nor is it one of the most important concerns of mine.

I can say I am personally disgusted with the foreign policy of the Bush administration. The U.S. has long been the world’s largest imperial power, but there now seems to be a naked arrogance about U.S. relations with the rest of the world that more than ever contradicts the ideals born in the 18th century struggle for independence from the empire of Great Britain.

Those ideals of respect for freedom and democracy were often honored in the breach (the tragedy of slavery and the great drama of the Civil War, the morally blind conquest and genocide of the American Indians), but the myths we Americans told about ourselves at least kept us trying in some ways to live up to them.

The struggle against international communism which more or less ended during the “Reagan/Bush I” era with the collapse of the USSR had served as a basis for justifying the proliferation of U.S. military power around the globe. We at least had a story to tell ourselves and our allies. Sometimes the justification wore thin, and the less idealistic motives shone through, but there was the myth that we were striving to perpetuate certain high ideals and values.

It just seems now that America is willing to act like the world’s primary imperial power unapologetically, without even bothering to account for itself. What was Jefferson’s phrase about “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind”? America does not seem to care anymore about “the opinions of mankind” anymore, as if it is big enough and strong enough to exert its power without worrying about its legitimacy or even bothering to explain itself to other nations. “I’m the daddy and I said so.” This hubris, if unchecked, will lead to destruction.

Materialistic persons, no matter how much lip-service they pay to Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Democracy or Reason, cannot really act for the benefit of others or even themselves. The only way to properly respect mankind and all living beings is to become a devotee of Krishna.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on May 28th, 2007
5 atmavan.jps

hare krsna! dandavat!
this is a sensitive subject to me since i have looked into it quite deep and i have become quite moved by the facts that i have come across. many people have dedicated their lives to try to reveil to the world the facts they have, for example about 911. facts that not always corresponds with mainstream media and general publics view. those people often loose everything, career, financial credibility, and somtimes their lives. they may not be vaisnavas but deserves some respect because of their dedication to reveil the truth on a worldly level.
i would like to recommend to devotees that we are a bit careful in speaking about something we have not studied very well. to see one documentary or read some theories on the net is not enough to have a strong opinion and call everybody behind these “conspiracy theories”, “mentally ill” or “paranoid”.
please be respectful! it is also better preaching, in my opinion, to speak what we know and nothing else…
y.s. atmavan dasa

Comment posted by atmavan.jps on May 29th, 2007
6 Unregistered

Bhakta Corey’s diatribe in blind support of “America the Beautiful” is really misplaced patriotic allegience. And to imply that any opposition to America is somewhat disrespectful to Srila Prabhupada’s own praise of America is a gross distortion of his actual legacy. As mentioned in some of these previous comments, Srila Prabhupada mostly wanted to engage America’s “blind strength” in the service of India’s “lame yet glorious spiritual culture” of service to Godhead. As already pointed out, the reckless use of its military power in fanning the fires of conflict all around this troubled humanity has shown America’s cheating governments to have betrayed all that was truly noble within the American dream for shared prosperity and freedom. And that is why Srila Prabhupada chose to come to America (which he actually described as the very heartland of Kali-yuga’s tsunami of sinful activities) to deeply implant the only real anti-dote to this pandemic of ignorance, the pure Gaura-vani . So let’s get our focus right here and not regress to sentimental flag-waving under any other banner but the universal trans-national culture of Krishna-bhakti. Gokulananda das ACBSP.

Comment posted by gokulananda das on May 29th, 2007
7 Tattvavit Dasa

Actually, the Pop Mech editors do a pretty good job of debunking some
wild and careless claims that deserve to be debunked. They do not,
however, show “how none of the theories could possibly be correct.”

Bhakta Corey might be interested in the latest book by David Ray
Griffin: “Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and
Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory.”

From Publishers Weekly:

—————-
An emeritus professor of theology with no previous interest in
conspiracy theories, Griffin has dedicated himself since 2003 to the
“9/11 truth” movement, a group committed to “exposing the falsity of
the official theory about 9/11,” and this book is a thorough, highly
detailed attempt to do just that. As Griffin aptly notes, “the
assumption that conspiracy theories are inherently irrational” has
recently taken root in American culture, making any attack on the
official government record instantly dismissible, but Griffin takes to
the difficult task with solid reasoning and true zeal. All but the
most dogmatic readers will find Griffin’s evidence-from the
inconsistencies between NORAD tapes and the 9/11 Commission Report to
rigorous exploration into the physics of the collapse-detailed and
deeply unnerving. For instance, Griffin considers the fact that
firefighters were told, five hours before the fact, that building WTC
7 was going to collapse, despite “the fact that WTC 7 was not hit by a
plane, that the available photographs show no large fires, and that
fire had never caused a steel-frame high-rise to collapse.” Another
chilling passage looks at the Pennsylvania crash site of United
Airlines Flight 93 through the testimony of those first to arrive, who
were unanimous in finding “no recognizable plane parts, no body
parts.” For anyone who doubts the government’s truthfulness regarding
the WTC terrorist attack, this well-researched volume will give you a
trough full of ideas to chew on.
—————-

Comment posted by Tattvavit Dasa on May 30th, 2007
8 Unregistered

Bhakta Corey’s article in blind support of “America the Beautiful” is really misplaced patriotic allegience. And to imply that any opposition to America is somewhat disrespectful to Srila Prabhupada’s own praise of America is a gross distortion of his actual legacy. As mentioned in some of these previous comments, Srila Prabhupada mostly wanted to engage America’s “blind strength” in the service of India’s “lame yet glorious spiritual culture” of service to Godhead. As already pointed out, the reckless use of its military power in fanning the fires of conflict all around this troubled humanity has shown America’s cheating governments to have betrayed all that was truly noble within the American dream for shared prosperity and freedom. And that is why Srila Prabhupada chose to come to America
(which he actually described as the very heartland of Kali-yuga’s tsunami of sinful activities) to deeply implant the only real anti-dote to this pandemic of ignorance, the pure Gaura-vani . So let’s get our focus right here and not regress to any sentimental flag-waving under any other banner but Lord Caitanya’s universal trans-national culture of Krishna-bhakti.

Gokulananda das, ACBSP.

Comment posted by gokulananda das on June 1st, 2007
9 Unregistered

I do not agree with Gokulananda prabhu’s viewpoint. I don’t think we are being patriotic here; we are just being realistic. Despite the open tendency of ISKCON devotees to praise India, we should remember that Srila Prabhupada HAD TO LEAVE India, after 10+ years of attempting to start the Krishna Consciousness Movement there. Hindus were not interested in helping. The reason is probably that Indians or Hindus are not into KC; they were (and still are) into what Srila Prabhupada called “hodgepodge” of religion.

The values of American philosophy – which include pragmatism and the metaphysical justifications for the freedoms as outlined in the U.S. Constitution, among other notions – are actually excellent steppingstones to imbibe and spread the Krishna Consciousness Movement, not only in North America, but the whole world. Factually, it is due to these ethical and philosophical values that America was the right place for Srila Prabhupada to preach and start the Krishna Consciousness Movement.

Sadly, India is still a third world country, with all the socio-economic maladies, and philosophical distortions that any third world country has. To a great extent this is due to being stuck in their useless, damaging “caste” system, which simply perpetrates their status as a third world nation, and with which they are not impressing anybody but themselves.

If India’s political leadership will take the values of the Krishna Consciousness Movement and apply them in the social, political and economical life of their citizens, then the story would be quite different.

Yugala Kishor dasa (Alachua, FL)

Comment posted by Yugal Kishor Dasa on June 1st, 2007
10 Unregistered

I agree with you prabhu, conspiracy theories are not worth preaching. How do they help our Krishna consciousness?

I remember when I was a young man, I was part of that whole “counter-culture” (those of you old enough to remember know what I’m talking about). We tried to be different, but in the end, became just like everyone else.

What happened was that we all grew up and got jobs. As a result, we began to see things from the other perspective (the “establishment”), and realized that they are just like us. People who run governments, businesses, families, etc, are just like us. They are just normal human beings who are trying to find happiness , just like us.

So that is what happened with most of us “hippies”, we grew up, got mature, and stopped seeing everyone else as the “”bad guys”. So my point is, conspiracy theories are generally a product of an immature, idealistic, youthful viewpoint. That is why you do not see many older people believing in such things.

Comment posted by Ajitya on June 6th, 2007
11 Unregistered

Dear Corey,

Thank you for the article. However, I suggest you do quite a bit more homework before setting up your argument. You’ve left out the most important parts of the 9/11 Truth Movement’s story–the evidence. There are at least a dozen books on 9/11 Truth; I’d suggest you start with David Ray Griffin, Steven Jones, Webster Tarpley and Dan Orr. You might also check the website “Scholars for 9/11 Truth,” in which over 200 high ranking military, CIA, FBI and a wide range of scholars and scientists have said “I don’t think some fanatics living in a cave could have subverted the most powerful military force, and here is why I think this.” Spend a few weeks reading over the quality literature…then write an article.

As to your point that we shouldn’t speak against Americans because Prabhupada liked them; I think you’ve made a category error. Prabhupada liked America because it was and is influential, not because it has transcended rajas and tamas. I don’t think that his affections would prevent him from making an objective study of the evidence in favor of 9/11 being an inside job, and nor should we. Its not offensive, its just an examination of facts.

Regarding your last question: If you had actually read any of the quality literature on 9/11 Truth (which it seems you haven’t) you’d know that the so-called conspiracy theory is only an alternative to the mainstream conspiracy theory. The official story, as documented in the NIST report and the Commission Report, is also a conspiracy; we are told that a small group of disorganized and technologically unadvanced men living in caves conspired together to do the impossible…and the Americans, British, Polish, Spanish, etc. still can’t find them! Now that is a conspiracy. Besides, historically a small group of government leaders have been able to conceal truth from the masses for extended periods of time; Nazi Germany comes to mind first.

I guess the message is: don’t be so terribly convinced of your view when you are so terribly uninformed.

Yours, Janakirama dasa & Rasasthali Dasi

Comment posted by Rasasthali on June 17th, 2007

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