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Hansadutta Swami until 1984, when he gave up sannyasa and became known simply as Hansadutta Dasa (sometimes spelled Hamsaduta, also known as Hans Kary, alias Jack London, was born in Brunswick, Germany on May 27, 1941) is one of the senior disciples of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and formerly a guru within the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (commonly known as 'the Hare Krishnas' or ISKCON).
Early disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Hare Krishna Founder-Acharya
Hansadutta became an initiated disciple of Bhaktivedanta Swami in March 1967.
He assisted with the pioneering of the Hare Krishna movement, opening centers and preaching in Canada: Montreal and Vancouver; Europe: Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia; in USA: Boston, Berkeley; and in Asia: Turkey, Cairo, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia.
He was one of the leaders in publication (printing and distribution) of Bhaktivedanta Swami's books, particularly in European languages, heading up the sales of books in Germany and North Europe, and in 1974 was appointed by Bhaktivedanta Swami to serve as lifetime trustee of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. He was also appointed as a member of ISKCON's Governing Body Commission, and took turns serving as Bhaktivedanta Swami's personal secretary. In 1976 Hansadutta took up the order of sannyasa.
While preaching in Sri Lanka in the year 1977, Hansadutta created a public sensation with his answer to a challenge by Dr. Abraham T. Kovoor, president of the Sri Lanka branch of the Rationalist Association, which exchange was published in the Colombo (Sri Lanka) Sunday Times. Bhaktivedanta Swami approved Hamsadutta's proposal that the exchange be included in the BBT publication titled "Life Comes from Life".
In July 1977, Hansadutta was one of eleven disciples named by Bhaktivedanta Swami to act as Gurus in disciplic succession after He leaves his body. Shortly after the death of Bhaktivedanta Swami on November 14, 1977, it was announced that the eleven disciples had been designated as gurus,[dead link] and as part of ISKCON's Zonal Acharya system, Hansadutta initiated disciples primarily within zones assigned to him, namely North America, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Philippines.
Expelled from ISKCON
In 1980, Hansadutta was arrested[dead link] for possession of illegal weapons. On July 8, 1983, the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON passed a resolution removing Hansadutta from ISKCON. In 1992 Hansadutta learnt that in fact he had never been excommunicated; ISKCON had merely removed him from his GBC role and the rosters of the society. In that very same year, ISKCON GBC sent Hansadutta a letter, "14 Guidelines for Welcoming Hansadutta Back to ISKCON", stipulating 14 terms and conditions which he must comply with in order to return to the Society.
Rittvik representative of the Acharya
At the same time, in 1993, Hansadutta published a collection of essays, letters and articles under the title Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, in which he presented arguments and evidence in support of continuation of the parampara (disciplic succession) as a "rittvik", or representative, of Bhaktivedanta Swami. At this time Hansadutta redirected all his former "disciples" to regard Bhaktivedanta Swami as their spiritual master, and began to initiate new disciples on behalf of Bhaktivedanta Swami, as "rittvik representative of the Acharya".
In 1997, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc. and ISKCON of California, Inc. initiated legal action against Hansadutta, seeking court declaration that Bhaktivedanta Swami's Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (California, 1972) was not a legal entity and/or Hansadutta was not a legal trustee of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. On November 13, 1998, Hansadutta agreed to a stipulated court settlement that effectively terminated any claims he might have had to being a trustee of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust conditional upon receipt of an undisclosed cash settlement and license to publish the original, unrevised books of Bhaktivedanta Swami.
- 1983 - The Hammer for Smashing Illusion, based on a translation of "Moha-Mudgara Stotra", more popularly known as "Bhaja Govinda" by Shankaracharya.
- 1984 - Kirtan: Ancient Medicine for Modern Man.
- 1985 - Fool's Paradise, ISBN 0-933593-05-8-(pbk).
- 1985 - The Book: What the Black Sheep Said, ISBN 0-933593-03-1-(pbk).
Papers, Compilations of Essays, Letters and Discussions: The following papers by Hansadutta address controversies in ISKCON, namely the rittvik controversy, Hansadutta's own alleged excommunication from ISKCON, and the influence of Narayan Maharaja of the Gaudiya Math on ISKCON members: --
- 1993 - Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You.
- 1993 - Excommunicated, Uncommunicated, Incommunicado.
- 1994 - Gopimania.
Hansadutta recorded and produced a number of LPs and singles featuring Hare Krishna songs while in Germany, c. 1974, including the album "KRSNA Meditation" with vocals by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, which was recorded in a makeshift studio at Schloss Rettershof near Frankfurt, Germany. Later, in 1978 he produced an LP cover "Nothing to Lose But All To Gain". The LP cover "Nice but Dead" followed some time in 1981. The title seems to be a reference to the body, described as "nice but dead": according to Krishna teachings, notably Bhagavad Gita As It Is, only the soul is alive, while the body is at best "nice but dead". Production reportedly cost $35,000. The cover has been described as "a collection of guitar accompanied potshots at other gurus". In or around 1982, Hansadutta recorded and produced the LP cover "The Vision". The tracks are listed as:
- A1 The Vision 4:15
- A2 Protoplasmic Crud 3:22
- A3 Judas Goat 3:45
- A4 Oh Saragrati Vaisnava Soul 6:42
- B1 You're So Wise 4:17
- B2 Deluding Maya 3:54
- B3 Think Before You Drink 4:40
- B4 Srila Praphupada Is Your Name
These three covers generally fall into the category of country rock, funk, and folk and were of limited release.
- Hansadutta biographical sketch
- Vedavyasa das, "A Time of Expansion", Srila Prabhupada and His Disciples in Germany, published by Mandir Media Group, 1996 ISBN 84-86883-14-8
- "Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Resolution", 15 September 1974, Vrindaban, Bhaktivedanta VedaBase Ref 74-09-15, also published online at PrabhupadaBooks.com - BBT Resolution
- "Direction of Management", July 28, 1970, Bhaktivedanta VedaBase, also published online at PrabhupadaBooks.com
- Hari Sauri das, A Transcendental Diary - Vol 1, March 16th, 1976
- "Prove It!", Back to Godhead Magazine, Vol 13, No 03, 1978
- Letter to: Hamsaduta, London, September 10, 1977, Bhaktivedanta VedaBase Ref SL_771010_C1
- Letter to: All GBC, All Temple Presidents, 9 July 1977, VedaBase Ref 77-07-09 or otherwise known as the Letter of July 9th, 1977,
- "Notes from the Editor", Back to Godhead Magazine, Vol 13, No 0102, 1978
- Problem of Violence - Hansadutta Arrested
- GBC Resolutions '98
- Excommunicated, Uncommunicated, Incommunicado (1993)
- Letter to New Initiates
- "Complaint for Declaratory Judgment Regarding Validity of Assignment and Existence of Trust", Case No BC170617 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, p.15, May 5, 1977, or download pdf file Complaint
- BBT Legal Case Ends, Joint Announcement
- Heart Attack Report
- Sit Properly
- Ink Mathematics
- "The Hammer For Smashing Illusion" - The Hammer - 4
- "NOT WHAT KRISHNA HAD IN MIND" - The New York Times 20 Nov 1988
- What We Do is Secret and Waxidermy
- Music Stack
- Hansadutta's website
- "Encyclopedic handbook of cults in America" - Google Books
- "Hare Krishna Mantra Hits Hollywood" - VNN