Srila Prabhupada says he is being poisoned
“SOMEONE HAS POISONED ME”
Now we come to the evidence which is to many is the strongest evidence that Srila Prabhupada was poisoned. (see Appendix 18) Srila Prabhupada stated “…someone has poisoned me,” found on tape recordings from November 9 and 10, 1977. Some portions were spoken in English and thus have been widely available in the Archives Folio program or in the Conversations Books, but much was spoken in Bengali or Hindi, which was omitted due to not being translated by the Archives or anyone else.
Now, for the first time in 22 years, this report presents newly obtained translations of Bengali and Hindi portions of these same conversations. One version comes from a Hindi devotee, Naveen Krishna Prabhu, a GBC and a longtime Srila Prabhupada faithful. The other translation comes from Dr. Jan Brzezinski, who also gave us the exact Bengali and Hindi being translated. Dr. Brzezinski learned to speak fluent Bengali and Hindi during his eleven years in India. He was seriously injured in the Muslim attack on Mayapur that is mentioned in the health biography. He later received his Ph.D. in Sanskrit from the University of London, School of Oriental Studies. He has taught courses in Hindi at the University of Manitoba, and his current work is translating various Vaishnava literatures. Dr. Brzezinski was employed by this reporter to render these translations.
Much of the Bengali and Hindi conversation regarding poisoning is between Srila Prabhupada the Calcutta kaviraja, also referred to as Sastriji. Dr. Brzezinski has listened to many of the last twenty tapes and has made some interesting notes included at the end of this chapter. It is clear that a full and accurate translation of all of Srila Prabhupada’s Hindi and Bengali conversations should be done, as information critical to the poison issue may well be contained therein. Upon inquiry, this reporter learned that the Bhaktivedanta Archives has not had the manpower or funding to undertake this project, although past attempts were made but did not produce results.
In speaking to Naveen Krishna about his translations, he pointedly stated that only a native of India who was born and raised with the language could accurately understand the subtle nuances and meanings contained within these conversations. From his own judgment, he has no doubt that Srila Prabhupada was clearly stating that He was being poisoned. Translations by Naveen Krishna are shown as NAV, those by Dr. Brzezinski (formerly Hiranyagarbha das, initiated by Srila Prabhupada 1970) are shown as HIR, followed at the end by his comments. Thus we have both a scholar and a native providing us with two versions to compare and to be doubly sure of the true meanings, avoiding the curse of the phrase, “lost in the translation.” Sometimes we have only one translation version because, simply, that is all we obtained. Bhakticharu Swami has also translated most of these same portions in exactly the same way, and this was posted on the internet in
ISKCON’s answer to the CD that never was. (see Appendix 21)
Room Conversation: Vrindaban, November 9, 1977. (Not the 8th)
Srila Prabhupada’s Conversations Books, Volume 36,page 354:
Book states: “Hindi conversation between kaviraja, Prabhupada and others.”
(Balaram Mishra exchanges greetings with Srila Prabhupada, and asks if he is still recognized since they had not met in a long time; Srila Prabhupada says yes. A few moments later:)
001: Srila Prabhupada: Keu bole je keu poison kore diyeche. Hoy to tai.
NAV: Someone says that I’ve been poisoned. It’s possible.
HIR: Someone says that someone gave poison. Maybe it’s true.
002: Balaram Mishra (?): Hmm?
003: Kaviraja: Kya farma rahe hain?
NAV: What is he saying?
HIR: What are you saying?
004: Srila Prabhupada: Koi bolta hai je koi mujhko poison kiya gaya hai.
NAV & HIR: Someone says that someone has given poison.
005: Kaviraja: Kisko?
NAV & HIR: To whom?
006: Srila Prabhupada: Mujhko.
NAV & HIR: To me.
007: Kaviraja: Kaun bolta hai?
NAV: Who said?
HIR: Who is saying this?
008: Srila Prabhupada: Ye sab friends.
NAV: These all friends.
HIR: All these friends.
009: Bhakticharu: Ke boleche, Srila Prabhupada?
NAV: Who said, Srila Prabhupada?
HIR: Who said this, Srila Prabhupada?
010: Srila Prabhupada: Ke boleche.
NAV: They all say.
HIR: Everybody’s saying it.
AUTHOR’S COMMENT: Did Srila Prabhupada overhear “all these friends” (his disciples) whispering in his room about how they gave him poison? Why does Srila Prabhupada state this in Hindi and Bengali, and only later in English? END COMMENT
011: Tamal Krishna: Krishna das?
012: Kaviraja: Ao ko kaun poison dega? Kis liye dega?
HIR: Who would give you poison? Why would anyone do that?
013: Tamal Krishna: Who said that, Srila Prabhupada?
014: Srila Prabhupada: I do not know, but it is said.
AUTHOR’S COMMENT: It is puzzling why Srila Prabhupada says He has been poisoned, but twice becomes evasive when asked directly by Tamal Krishna. Could it be that Srila Prabhupada did not want to discuss it with Tamal but wanted to bring it up with the kaviraja? END COMMENT
Summary of following Hindi conversation: Srila Prabhupada asks Balaram Mishra if he knows astrology. He denies it and the kaviraja confirms that Balaram Mishra is a Pandit, not a jyotishi, whose area of expertise lies in the performance of rituals. Bhakticharu then elicits a response from the kaviraja establishing his credentials as a jyotishi. All this takes place at the top of page 354 in the Conversations Book #36.
101: Kaviraja (to Srila Prabhupada): Apko kisne bataya hai ki kushthi ke andar apko markiz hai. koi jyotish ne bataya tha?
NAV: Who has told you that your end is near? Some astrologer has said that?
HIR: Did someone tell you that according to your astrological chart your death is near? Did some astrologer tell you that?
102: Srila Prabhupada: Balaram Das.
AUTHOR’S COMMENT: Who Balaram das is, is not understood. It does not seem to be Balaram Mishra, but another Balaram. END COMMENT
103: Bhakticharu (to Srila Prabhupada, Bengali): Apnar ayu sesh hoy giyeche, apni bolchen, seta kono jyotishi bolechen?
NAV: You were saying that your end is near… Who has told you that, some astrologer?
HIR: You were saying that your life has come to an end. Did some astrologer say that [to you]?”
[No answer from Prabhupada]
104: Bhakticharu (to Kaviraja): Koshthi ka vicar nahin. vaisha tha.
NAV: It is said in his chart.
HIR: This is not according to his chart. It was like that.
105: Bhakticharu (to Prabhupada): Kintu sastriji bolchen seta thik noy.
NAV & HIR: But Sastriji is saying that is not correct.
106: Bhakticharu (to Kaviraja): Ap to bolte hain aur das sal…
NAV: You are saying that he’s going to live ten more years.
HIR: You say that another ten years…”
107: Kaviraja: Abhi kya ho to.
NAV: Now what, this…
HIR: Whatever else takes place now.
108: Bhakticharu (to Srila Prabhupada): Sastriji bolchen je apni aro das vatsar amader sange thakben, Srila Prabhupada.
NAV & HIR: Sastriji says that you will be with us for another ten years, Srila Prabhupada.
109: Kaviraja: Vicar to chor dijiye ap bilkul yah ki kushthi men ayu sesh nahin. Sesh ho gaya hai.
NAV: Completely dispel this thought that your end is near.
HIR: Please give up this idea completely that, according to your horoscope, there is nothing left of your life, that your end has come.
AUTHOR’S COMMENT: The assumption appears to have been made by Bhakticharu and the kaviraja that when Srila Prabhupada says, “Someone told me”, that he is referring to some astrologer. Note that on October 14, a lengthy astrological chart was read to Srila Prabhupada by Pradyumna Prabhu, stating that Srila Prabhupada’s life was to end after 81 years. END
(SKIP to bottom of page 354)
201: Srila Prabhupada: Uncut, yes.
202: Tamal Krishna: OK.
203: Indian man: (Hindi: unknown translation)
204: Kaviraja: Yah, maharaj ji, kotha ap kaise bola aj ki apko koi bola hai ki apko poison diya hai. Ap ko kuch abhas hua hai, kya?
NAV: Maharaj, how did you say this, that someone has said that someone has poisoned you? Have you felt something?
HIR: So, Maharaj, what is this that you said about someone telling you that you had been poisoned? Did you feel something?
205: Srila Prabhupada: Nahin, aise koi bola je… debe-sa hi ja hota hai. Shayad koi kitab men likha hai.
NAV: No, not said, but when one is given poison, it happens like this. It’s written in book.
HIR: No, some people say like this, that… it is like that when it is given. Perhaps it is written in some […] book.
AUTHOR’S COMMENT: This reference to the symptoms of poisoning justifies the exercise in previous chapters of examining Srila Prabhupada’s physical symptoms to determine a correct diagnosis. END COMMENT
206: Kaviraja: Kai karanon se ho jata hai, kacce mercury se ho jata hai, ya aur koi bhi ciz aisha hai vaisha ho jata, lekin apke liye kaun karega ham to yahi samajhta hai. Aise devpurush ke liye koi manasi vicar karega, vo bhi rakshas hai.
NAV: If you take raw mercury, it can happen, or several other raw things. But who would do such a thing to you? For a saintly person like you, even if someone thinks such a thing, then he is a demon.
HIR: It could be for a number of reasons, because of raw mercury, and there are other things which can have a similar effect. But who would do such a thing to you, I cannot understand. Anyone who could even consider doing such a thing to a divine personality like yourself is a rakshasa.
Page 359, still the 9th.
301: Tamal Krishna: Srila Prabhupada? You said before that you… that it is said that you were poisoned?
302: Srila Prabhupada: No. These kind of symptoms are seen when a man is poisoned. He said like that, not that I am poisoned.
303: Tamal Krishna: Did anyone tell you that, or you just know it from before?
304: Srila Prabhupada: I read something.
305: Tamal Krishna: Ah, I see. That’s why actually we cannot allow anyone to cook for you.
306: Srila Prabhupada: That’s good.
307: Tamal Krishna: Jayapataka Maharaj was telling that one acharya, Sankaracharya, of the Sankarachary line – this is a while ago – he was poisoned to death. Since that time, none of the acharyas or the gurus of the Sankaracharya line will ever take any food cooked except by their own men.
308: Srila Prabhupada: My Guru Maharaj also.
309: Tamal Krishna: Oh. You, of course, have been so merciful that sometimes you would take prasada cooked by so many different people.
310: Srila Prabhupada: That should be stopped. (pause)
311: Tamal Krishna: Are you feeling any pain, Srila Prabhupada? …Should we again continue some kirtan…? (Hansadutta leads kirtan)
Page 366. Tape 19, Side B. Afternoon or evening, November 10, 1977.
Summary: There is discussion about Srila Prabhupada’s condition. The pulse was strong, blood pressure normal, liver was working, and the kaviraja says that from the pathological point of view, there is nothing wrong. (“General condition good.”) This is now the 10th, not the 9th.
Page 367. November 10, 1977.
401: Tamal Krishna: But what did Prabhupada just say?
402: Bhakticharu: Prabhupada just said that I mean, this morning his condition was bad, not now.
403: Bhavananda: Prabhupada was complaining of mental distress this morning also.
404: Bhakticharu: Srila Prabhupada?
405: Srila Prabhupada: Hm?
406: Bhakticharu: Ota ki byapar hoyechilo, mental distress?
NAV & HIR: What was that all about, mental distress?
407: (Some noise)
408: Srila Prabhupada: Hm hm.
409: Kaviraja: Boliye, boliye.
NAV: Say it. Say it.
HIR: Go ahead, say it. (COMMENT: Does Srila Prabhupada not want to talk about it?. It seems that He needs to be pushed.)
410: Srila Prabhupada: Vahi bat… je koi hamko poison kiya.
NAV: That same thing I said, that someone has poisoned me.
411: Bhakticharu: Accha. [not surprised; unclear (Hindi to Kaviraja?)] … unhi socna…
HIR: He’s thinking…
412: Bhavananda: [to Bhakticharu] Hmm?
413: Kaviraja: dekhiye, bat hi hai, ki koi rakshas ne diya ho.
HIR: Look, this is the thing, that maybe some rakshasa gave him poison…
414: Bhakticharu [to Bhavananda and others]: He’s saying that someone gave him poison.
415: Kaviraja: Caru Swami, Kisi rakshas ne diya ho, to ho sakta hai. Impossible nahin hai. Vah Sankaracarya je, kisine unko poison diya, che mahinon ke bad, tabhi to taklif paye. Kanc hai na, botal ka kanc, vah pis ke khane men khila diya to. To, usko kya natija hua, barah maine ke bad, uske leprosy hua sab sarir ke andar. To karam to apna ko bhogta hai. Jo medicine ham de rakha hai, yadi koi uska effect hoga poison to reh nahin sakta hai, guaranteed bolta hai. Jo bhi affected hoga, to reh nahin sakta hai. Kintu abhi to ham pakar nahin sakta usko jo diya hua hai. Vahki pakarta hai jiska abhi kidney kharab ho gaya, kisi karan se, bimari se ho jay, kisi greh se ho jay ya poison se.
NAV: It is possible some demon has given it. It is not impossible. Just like Sankaracharya was poisoned over six months with powdered glass, etc. But the poisoner after twelve months got leprosy… one has to suffer one’s karma. But whatever medicine I’ve given will counteract either the effect of bad planets or poison on the body. Now we cannot catch who may have poisoned. And if his kidneys are bad from disease, curse or poison, my medicine will counteract.
HIR: Caru Swami, some rakshasa might have given it, maybe so. It’s not impossible. Someone gave poison to Sankaracharya for six months before he started to suffer. [The poisoner] ground glass, you know, bottle glass, and mixed it with his food. So what happened to him [the poisoner] as a result was that after twelve months, his entire body was covered with leprosy. So, you have to suffer the results of your actions. But whatever medicine I have given will, if it has an effect the poison will not be able to stay. That is guaranteed. Whatever it has affected, it will not be able to stay. But we cannot now catch the fellow who gave the poison. No matter what reason his kidneys are bad, whether from disease, planets or poison, my medicine will counteract it.”
416: Tamal Krishna: Prabhupada was thinking that someone had poisoned him.
417: Bhakticharu: Yes.
418: Tamal Krishna: That was the mental distress.
419: Bhakticharu: Yes.
420: Kaviraja: Yadi bolta hai, to kuch na kuch sac hi hai, koi sandeh nahin.
NAV: If he says that, there must be some truth to it. There’s no doubt.
HIR: If he says that, there must definitely be some truth to it.
421: Tamal Krishna: What did kaviraja just say?
422: Bhakticharu: He said that when Srila Prabhupada is saying that, there must be something truth behind it.
423: Tamal Krishna: Tssh.
HIR: (COMMENT: Surprise and serious.)
424: Jayapataka: What did the kaviraja say about Sankaracarya?
425: (People all speaking at once)
426: Bhakticharu: Someone gave him some poison powdered glass…
427: Kaviraja [to whom?]: (Somewhat unclear.)
HIR: (He appears to be saying that he will give Srila Prabhupada a certain medicine to be taken with pan, cold water or milk and the results will be seen in the morning.)
Continued on Page 368:
501: Tamal Krishna: Srila Prabhupada, Sastriji says that there must be some truth to it if you say that. So who is it that has poisoned?
502: (PAUSE: 13 seconds)
Why did He not answer?
AUTHOR’S COMMENT: Srila Prabhupada never answered Tamal Krishna’s question. Why? From November 10 till 14, a total of four days, not one disciple raised the issue again? Why? Did no one take Srila Prabhupada seriously anymore? END COMMENT
503: Kaviraja: Sabse bara poison je hota hai, vah mercury ka hota hai.
NAV: The strongest poison is mercury.
HIR: Mercury is the most poisonous thing that exists..
504: Bhakticharu: [Diya] gaya tha inka oi jo. [?]
HIR: which was given to him [Prabhupada]
505: Kaviraja: Nahin nahin. Swarupa Guha ka… ap parha tha, swamiji? Kalkatta men… Swarupa Guha.
NAV & HIR: No, no. Swamiji, did you read about Svarupa Guha? In Calcutta.
506: Bhakticharu: Unko malum nahin. Unko nahin patta.
HIR: He known nothing of this. He has never heard.
507: Kaviraja: Us ke pati ne diya tha. Uska koi medicine nahin ata. Itne dose de diya jisko ham raskapoor bolta hai.
NAV: The husband poisoned the wife, gave a dose of raskapoor. There is no medicine for it.
HIR: Her husband gave it to her. He gave her a dose of a poison called raskapoor, for which there is no medicine.
508: Bhakticharu: Accha. Mercury is men tha, makaradhvaj men.
NAV: Mercury was in the makharadhvaja.
HIR: Right. Mercury was in this makaradhvaj.
509: ??: Before that.
510: Kaviraja: Uska dusra… Ras kapoor. Amiras.[Beng] tate poison ache.
NAV: No, no. Not that mercury. Another form of mercury.
511: Bhavananda: What did he say?
512: Bhakticharu: He’s saying that it is quite possible that mercury, it’s a kind of poison…
513: Tamal Krishna (Both NAV & HIR agree this is not Bhagatji): That makharadhvaja.
514: Bhakticharu: No, he’s saying not that.
515: Kaviraja: Seta very poison.
NAV: It is very poison.
516: Bhakticharu: Makaradhvaj aisha hota hai, kya?
No translation available
517: Bhavananda: What was he taking, Prabhupada?
518: Kaviraja: Makharadhvaja to amrit hota hai. In ke liye bish hota hai, yah bat dusri hai. Baki vah to sab ke liye poson hota hai.
NAV: Makharadhvaja is like nectar, although not suitable for him. But that (raskapoor) is poison for everybody.
HIR: Makharadhvaja is like nectar, but for him it is poison. The other ones are poison for everyone.
519: Bhavananda: What medicine was he taking before that?
520: Bhakticharu: Kon sa (?)
521: Bhavananda: Jagen (?)
522: Bhakticharu: (repeating Bhavananda) (?)
523: Kaviraja: Kuch nahin.
No translation available
524: Bhakticharu: He was referring to a case, a big murder case, in Calcutta. The husband poisoned the wife…
525: Bhavananda: Guha, yes.
526: Kaviraja: Swarupa Guha, ami uska case…
No translation available
527: Bhakticharu: Sankar Das Banerjee.
528: Bhavananda: Oh, yes. Our lawyer is the…
529: Tamal Krishna: Bhagatji doesn’t think…
530: Kaviraja: Yah inka sarir aisha hai jo bajr ki nai hai jo hajar kuto, to kuch nahi hone ko.
HIR: But his [Prabhupada’s?] body is such that it is like a thunderbolt. You can beat it a thousand times, but nothing will happen.
531: Bhakticharu: Bhagavan jisko raksha karta hai, vaise to Prahlad Maharaj ko bhi to…
NAV: When the Lord protects, just like Prahlad Maharaj…
HIR: If God protects someone, then just like Prahlad Maharaj…”
532: Kaviraja: Swamiji, mujhe ek sloka alap hota hai, je:
araksitam tisthati daiva-raksitam suraksitam daiva-hatam vinasyati
jivaty anatho ‘pi vane visarjata krtaprayatno ‘pi grhe na jivati
Ap to siddhang hain, Maharaj, to isliye koi sanka nahi rakhna.
HIR: Swamiji. I know a Sanskrit verse about this: ‘Without protection, one remains fixed if protected by fate, whereas one who protects himself but is condemned by fate is destroyed. Without a protector, one person can live carelessly alone in the forest, whereas another takes all precautions in his home, and still dies.’ You know this truth, Maharaj, so don’t be afraid.
533: Tamal Krishna: No poison is strong enough to stop the Harinam, Srila Prabhupada.
534: Kaviraja: Bas. [in agreement] Harinam ke samne, to Meera ko kitna poison diya gaya tha. Ek bund par jane se admi ka death ho jay. So bhagavan ke prasad lag jata ta hai, na, to poison bhi amrit ho jata hai.
NAV: Don’t doubt Meera drank so much poison; one drop could have killed, but because it was the Lord’s prasad, nothing happened to her. Even poison when offered to the Lord becomes nectar.
HIR: Right. Before the Holy Name… How much poison was given to Meera, a single drop was enough to kill a man. So if prasad is taken with it, then even poison becomes nectar.
535: Unknown: Prahlad Maharaj.
536: Bhakticharu: Prahlad Maharaj.
537: Kaviraja: Prahlad se jyada poison diya tha halahal iska Meera ko. Itne jabardast banaya lo.
NAV: More than Prahlad, Meera was given such strong poison.
HIR: An even stronger poison was given to Meera than to Prahlad. It was made so strong!
538: Srila Prabhupada: [sighs, breathes]
539: Kaviraja: Jaisha allopathy men ek poison ata jiska taste aj tak koi bata nahin saka.
NAV: Allopathic poison even till today nobody can tell the taste.
HIR: In allopathic medicine there are some poisons that nobody can recognize the taste of.
AUTHOR’S COMMENT: Is the kaviraja speculating that an allopathic poison is involved? Tamal then puts an end to these talks. END COMMENT
540: Tamal Krishna: You want some more kirtan Srila Prabhupada? Lokanath can lead. Lokanath, you lead!
Dr. Brzezinski (Hiranyagarbha das) makes these comments: (He studied tapes 18, 19, 20 thoroughly and the previous 17 not as thoroughly):
It is in the beginning of tape #18 in which Prabhupada says both in Hindi and Bengali that he has been poisoned, and later on in the same conversation, the kaviraja asks him to explain what he meant. This is followed by a discussion of astrology in which the kaviraja and Bhakticharu try to convince Prabhupada that he will live for another ten years. This I believe is significant, as it gives a connection between the “I read it somewhere” and what the kaviraja and Bhakticharu believe is going on in Prabhupada ‘s mind.
There is a short section in which the kaviraja again asks about whether he has had any abhas, or “inkling, hunch, idea, hint, appearance, semblance; impression”; more likely “indication, symptom, evidence” of being poisoned. Prabhupada answers, “no, but that he read somewhere that this is how it happens.” The kaviraja is grappling with the idea of possible poisons; he must be thinking in terms of what poisons could be having the effects of which Prabhupada is complaining.
A third portion comes on the next day, (Folio says 8th, tape says 9th, but is really the 10th) This long piece can be divided into two sections, before and after Tamal’s significant question. First, Prabhupada says that he is feeling alright. The kaviraja also says that Prabhupada ‘s body is functioning properly according to pathological tests (heart, blood pressure, etc.). The physical pain was “us samay hua tha” which is unclear. Is he talking about that morning or another time? This leads into discussion of mental distress, which refers back to the morning, confirming that stomach pain was being experienced in the morning.
Tamal asked his significant question which results in a silent pause of 13 seconds; Prabhupada does not answer. Why? The kaviraja then jumps in with a description of the effects of various poisons and the story of Svarupa Guha. When Bhakticharu suggests that mercury was present in makharadhvaja, something which Tamal also suggests, the kaviraja says that he is not talking about that, but about raskapoor which had been used by Svarupa Guha’s husband. The kaviraja may have had some involvement with that case. Bhakticharu presses about the makharadhvaja and the kaviraja answers that makharadhvaja is amrita (nectar), but that in Prabhupada’s specific case it was poison; but that raskapoor is poisonous for everyone. It is clear that the kaviraja has NOT been giving Prabhupada makharadhvaja and is waiting until the kidneys are stronger before prescribing it.
The conversation then turns again to Sankaracharya not accepting food cooked by others than his own men. Prabhupada makes a noise during the talk about Mirabhai and allopathic poisons, indicating discomfort.
I have gone through the lengthy conversations which precede the Nov. 9-10 period with an eye to important Hindi and Bengali conversations and also to better understand the context of Prabhupada’s comments. The following things have come to my attention.
The word poisoning comes up on Oct. 18, when Bhavananda on two occasions talks about infection as poisoning. This is related to the kidney condition and certain symptoms, such as blood and pus in the urine. On Oct. 25, a kaviraja from Delhi, through Chandra Swami, sends 48 doses of makharadhvaja brought by Satadhanya. Tamal Krishna and Bhakticharu take charge of administering this medicine. On Oct. 26, already, Prabhupada says that this medicine is “not acting,” and “In this condition I do not wish to live,” even though the devotees seem to notice a positive effect.
On Oct. 27, Prabhupada has diarrhea five times. The word poison comes up again. Tamal says: “That medicine turned out to be poison.”. They blame the kaviraja for being a Sakta. In connection with this same medicine, Prabhupada uses the expression janiya suniya bis khainu. This is after only having taken two doses. Tamal suggests that Prabhupada “take rest from the other thing that he has taken,” i.e., stop taking the makharadhvaja. It is revealed that Dr. G. Ghosh, who is 82, a respected allopathic doctor from Allahabad, had said that any medicine which contains mercury and arsenic is poison to him. So the idea of poison has been floated about by the time of November 9th. (A long Hindi conversation follows that should be translated.)
Tamal says that the problems Prabhupada was having were due to makharadhvaja. Bhavananda reports that in Prabhupada’s condition, makharadhvaja would be poison. This is apparently the kaviraja’s opinion also. Makharadhvaja is too strong a medicine for someone in Prabhupada’s condition and therefore alternative medicines are being given,. such as vrkkasan jivani.
Some questions naturally arise after hearing these conversations. First, we note that Srila Prabhupada did NOT raise the issue with his disciples, but first Balaram Mishra, whom Srila Prabhupada had probably not seen for many years, and the kaviraja, both outsiders. We must wonder why he didn’t take the issue up with His Western disciples? Was Srila Prabhupada deliberately avoiding His own disciples because they were the ones poisoning Him? (Note: the poison whispers occur on the 11th, not 10th)
Srila Prabhupada first says that someone has said that someone has poisoned Him. He then clarifies by saying “all these friends” were saying this, meaning perhaps His disciples or those in the room. Did Srila Prabhupada overhear the same kinds of poison whisperings that we do on the 11th? Asked by Tamal, Srila Prabhupada denies knowing who has done the poisoning. Then, asked by the kaviraja, Srila Prabhupada says that He has the symptoms of poisoning, as may be described in some book. Asked by Tamal again, Srila Prabhupada denied being poisoned and again notes that He has all the symptoms of one who has been poisoned. It is agreed that no one would cook for Srila Prabhupada except His own disciples, lest there be poisoning as in the case of a Sankaracharya guru. This shows real concern about real poisoning, not just an observation of a coincidence of symptoms. Then, the next day, November 10, Srila Prabhupada tells the kaviraja and Bhakticharu in Hindi again, clearly, that He has been poisoned. A long discussion takes place about various poisons and a Calcutta poison and murder case. Apparently Tamal, Jayapataka, Bhakticharu and Bhavananda had previously discussed several poisoning cases with each other, being very familiar with all the details of these cases. Is it any wonder we suspect them?
At the time, Srila Prabhupada’s shocking statements created nothing more than a temporary buzz of conversation. It is more than slightly puzzling and rather disturbing how Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, particularly the main caretaker and Srila Prabhupada’s secretary Tamal Krishna, did not pursue the matter aside from a few questions. No qualified doctor was consulted in the next five days before Srila Prabhupada’s departure to check on the poisoning matter, nor was any autopsy or test of any kind (hair, urine, blood, etc) performed before or upon after Srila Prabhupada’s departure. Srila Prabhupada flatly stated three times that He was being poisoned, yet no one did a thing to validate that statement, what to speak of protecting Srila Prabhupada. At the end of about fifteen minutes of intense discussion about Srila Prabhupada being poisoned, the conclusion was that Tamal Krishna asked Lokanath to lead another kirtan, since no poison is stronger than the Holy Name. End of discussion, until 1997 and now, in this book.
Questioned by Tamal Krishna Goswami (301), Srila Prabhupada says “He said like that” (meaning the kaviraja ?), “Not that I am poisoned.” By this statement to his disciples he sort of denies he is being poisoned. Yet, Srila Prabhupada discusses this with the kaviraja the very next day, and again speaks to him in Hindi, stating very frankly “someone has poisoned me.” The fact that Srila Prabhupada spoke openly to the kaviraja about being poisoned and not to the devotees again leaves us to wonder. We see that Srila Prabhupada obviously did not care to speak with his disciples on the matter as Tamal Krishna’s last question about his statement is met with a long 13 seconds of silence before the conversation turned elsewhere. Prabhupada obviously could have named his suspects at that time, but he declined, and this mystery can only be answered by a poisoner’s confessions. Yet Srila Prabhupada must have intended to reveal the fact that he thought he was being poisoned because it was He who first brought it up.
Today many who hear these statements are shocked, and also by the apparent lack of alarm by those who were around Prabhupada at that time. Some have suggested the idea that Srila Prabhupada’s references to being poisoned was a result of senility, dying hallucinations, or incoherent ramblings due to the delirium of pain which may have caused him to say anything. Dying hallucinations? The kaviraja clearly didn’t think so. His opinion was that if Srila Prabhupada said it, it must be true. Further, witness the clarity of thought expressed by Prabhupada throughout this time period. Pradyumna das assisted Srila Prabhupada with translation of the Srimad Bhagavatam and he tells of how Srila Prabhupada translated until just days before his leaving. Anyone who reads those final purports can understand that Srila Prabhupada was lucid, and focused. He could understand Sanskrit verses just by listening, and he then spoke the purport into a microphone held by Pradyumna. Yet Tamal and Bhavananda tried to explain away Srila Prabhupada’s statements as due to “mental distress,” pooh-poohing the seriousness and importance of them.
Srila Prabhupada’s statements were ignored and brushed aside, and then covered in the dust kicked up by the mad rush of disciples to divide the world and take Srila Prabhupada’s place as absolute gurus. But now, by Krishna’s design, this information has re-emerged from 22 years of obscurity, almost lost. Those concerned about a capital crime being committed, including those who have devotion to Srila Prabhupada, His contribution and His movement, would serve their conscience well by participating in the search for the truth about Srila Prabhupada’s poisoning.
We conclude with an excerpt from ISKCON’s answer to the Poison CD that never was, May 1998: “These translations and transcripts do in any case reveal a confusing scenario. Srila Prabhupada indicates first to Tamal that he had the symptoms of someone poisoned, not that he was being poisoned. Later he states more positively that he thinks he is being poisoned. …we may never know exactly what was in Srila Prabhupada’s mind, or how seriously he took the suggestion that someone was poisoning him…” (see Appendix 21)