This commentary by Mukunda Goswami is in relation to the World News article ‘Priests Fail to Coax Out Suicide Cult’.
“I’m going to die for God. I’ll go to paradise where I’ll enjoy lots of sex and unlimited alcoholic drink and drugs of all kinds.”
This kind of thinking was in the heads of the terrorists who hijacked airplanes on September 11, 2001 resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths of innocents.
History is peppered with suicidal, doomsday and millenarian cults who purported to be above “manmade” law, in which suicide is generally prohibited.
One might recall that in the year 73 AD, 939 Jews of Masada died in a group suicide. And then there was there was the Jonestown tragedy of 1978 in which 913 men, women and children died (according to the University of Phoenix Crime Library) after voluntarily drinking poisoned Flavor Aid (not Kool Aid as is popularly understood much to the chagrin of the Kool Aid company). More recently seventy-six members of David Koresh’s Branch Dravidians perished in Waco, Texas. The San Diego, California based UFO cult Heaven’s Gate orchestrated the ritualistic suicide of thirty-nine members, and a Japanese group, Aum Shinrikyo headed by Shoko Asahara allegedly threatened group suicide and murdered many commuters on a Tokyo subway car. These are some of the more glaring examples of cults who thought they were above the law. There have been and are many.
Although Hare Krishnas have sometimes been characterized as dangerous, their philosophy mandates obedience to state law. In several place their texts decry using “illegal” means for maintenance (Shrimad Bhagavatam), and embezzlement is said to be “most sinful” and that the revenue of a government is to considered “sacred” (Chaitanya Charitamrita).
Cults, especially the truly dangerous variety, tend to submit blindly to a charismatic leader, think themselves above the law of the land, keep mostly to themselves, demand the wealth and possessions of all members, regard non-members as evil, and sometimes see suicide (and even murder of non-believers) as an express route to heaven.
Such groups often come in the form of terrorists who are inclined to commit murder and suicide.
In today’s climate of increasing perversion of traditionally trusted faiths like Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism, it’s sometimes extremely difficult to distinguish genuine lovers of God from perverted philosophies of those faiths.
According to the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus said that one should love God with all one’s heart soul and mind, and that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself. These two commandments, may be the most important things to remember in distinguishing a dangerous cult from a bona fide religion. Do true lovers of God believe in the concept of “enemies and friends” or do the outer trappings (like flags) just change?
Jun 25, 2022
Radhapriya Chawla, ISKCON Toronto Communications
Jun 19, 2022
Nrsimhananda das, Devotee Care Committee Member NA