The 1986 murder of Hare Krishna devotee Steven Bryant (Sulochan dasa) was arguably the darkest moment in the fifty-one year history of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness—a new branch of the Chaitanya-Bengali-Vaishnava religion founded in New York City in 1966 by an Indian spiritual teacher and guru, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977). A mere nine years after the disappearance of this beloved spiritual father, one of their own was hunted down and assassinated. This brutal killing was achieved through a cooperative effort by “spiritual” leaders, senior managers and hit men enforcers from West Virginia, Ohio, and Southern California ISKCON temples.
The murdered whistle-blower had discovered many secrets and threatened to reveal to the world the immoral acts and criminal dealings of a set of self-appointed, illegitimate successors to Swami Prabhupada: a corrupt oligarchy of new ISKCON “gurus.” He had also, perhaps foolishly, advocated using violence against the gurus to evict them from their posts. ISKCON leaders took his threats seriously, and they hunted down and assassinated the passionate reformer. How did the peaceful, shaven-headed, saffron-clad Hare Krishna devotees regress from their blissful activities of chanting, dancing, and selling incense in the streets to this?