Does Srila Prabhupada Support Poisoning Theory?
by Adridharan Das
The purpose of this paper is to study the actual words of Srila Prabhupada only on the subject of his poisoning. Naturally, we can only rely on the actual words Srila Prabhupada spoke on this issue to determine whether he himself believed that he was deliberately poisoned. Thus the views and opinions of others who were in the room with Srila Prabhupada are of no relevance to us. Neither do we need to consider other subjects Srila Prabhupada discussed that were not directly to do with the issue of his poisoning.
We must stress that this paper
does not prove, nor even attempt to prove, that Srila Prabhupada was not
poisoned. Nor are we saying that the issue should not be investigated.
The GBC themselves felt the available evidence was sufficient grounds
Please note, there are in fact
only 4 separate exchanges where Srila Prabhupada himself discusses the
subject of his poisoning.
Srila Prabhupada: Keu bole
je keu poison kore diyeche. Hoy to tai.
Srila Prabhupada: Koi bolta
hai je koi mujhko poison kiya gaya hai.
Srila Prabhupada: Mujhko.
Kaviraja: Kaun bolta hai?
Srila Prabhupada: Ye sab friends.
Bhakticharu: Ke boleche, Srila
Srila Prabhupada: Ke boleche.
Tamal Krishna: Krishna das?
Kaviraja: Ao ko kaun poison
dega? Kis liye dega?
Tamal Krishna: Who said that, Srila Prabhupada?
Srila Prabhupada: I do not know, but it is said.
1. Srila Prabhupada refers
to others stating that he has been given poison. Srila Prabhupada does
not himself confirm this, only adding that 'It's possible'.
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?
Srila Prabhupada: Nahin, aise
koi bola je. debe-sa hi ja hota hai. Shayad koi kitab men likha hai.
Tamal Krishna: Srila Prabhupada?
You said before that you. that it is said that you were poisoned?:
We have put these exchanges
together because Srila Prabhupada simply repeats to Tamala Krishna in
English what he has just told the Kaviraja in Hindi. Here Srila Prabhupada
clarifies the fact that the statement by others regarding his poisoning
Thus this exchange, as well as yielding no evidence from the mouth of the acharya himself agreeing that he has been poisoned, states that the other sources are not even themselves stating that Srila Prabhupada himself has been directly poisoned.
Summary of the Conversation
These 3 exchanges all take place on the same day.
a) Srila Prabhupada himself
never refers to himself being poisoned.
"Someone says that I've
been poisoned. It's possible. [.] Someone says that someone has given
These were the phrases that started the whole discussion off - Srila Prabhupada is stating that someone else is saying that effectively 'someone has poisoned me'.
This is the context to the final exchange that takes place the next day.
Bhavananda: Prabhupada was complaining of mental distress this morning also.
Bhakticharu: Srila Prabhupada?
Bhakticharu: Ota ki byapar
hoyechilo, mental distress?
Srila Prabhupada: Hm hm.
Kaviraja: Boliye, boliye.
Srila Prabhupada: Vahi bat
... je koi hamko poison kiya.
We have left the translation of the first phrase blank because in the book 'Someone Has Poisoned Me' it is mis-translated; a fact admitted by Naveen Krishna prabhu - the translator himself, who has stated that the translation used is not his final translation but was only a very first rough draft.
The book translates the phrase:
"Vahi bat" as "The same thing, I said"
As any Hindi speaker will confirm, the phrase 'vahi bat' means only 'that same discussion/talk', and that is all. 'Vahi' means 'that same', and 'bat' means 'discussion' or 'talk/subject'. Further it can be noted that:
1) The 'I said' part can easily be shown to be wrong. The words 'I' and 'said' are used nowhere in the Hindi. They have been added.
2) In any case Srila Prabhupada
had not said previously that he had been poisoned, as the analysis of
our previous exchanges proves - he had only stated that someone else had
discussed him being poisoned, and even then only showing the symptoms
Just to have further confirmation, we were given the following translation from Dr. M. Kapoor, the Principal of Jalan High School, who has a Phd in Hindi:
"That Same Discussion ... That Someone has poisoned me"
Thus the correct translation,
both from the literal meanings of the words used, and from the context
of the discussion is -
Thus the correct translation
Kaviraja: Boliye, boliye.
Thus when Srila Prabhupada states 'someone has poisoned me', he is simply identifying the discussion which has led to the 'mental distress'. The talk on the previous day, as we have seen, was indeed in reference to 'someone has poisoned me'. Thus the phrase, 'someone has poisoned me', because it is prefaced with 'that same discussion', is used simply to refer back to the previous discussions in question. A previous discussion in which someone else had spoken of Srila Prabhupada being poisoned, or more accurately, displaying the symptoms of someone being poisoned.
In other words:
1) Srila Prabhupada is asked
a question - 'what was that all about, mental distress'?
Thus though Srila Prabhupada
does speak the words - 'someone has poisoned me' - he only states them
to identify the series of talks, which were to do with Srila Prabhupada
being poisoned - but in which Srila Prabhupada himself never states that
someone has poisoned him. The removal of the words 'I said' completely
changes the meaning of the phrase 'that someone has poisoned me':
In case (1) due to the presence
of 'I said', the word 'that' links the phrase 'someone has poisoned me'
to 'I said'. This makes it appear that the phrase 'someone has poisoned
me' was actually a statement from Srila Prabhupada himself. In case (2)
Thus this exchange does not yield any evidence from Srila Prabhupada agreeing that he had been poisoned. He merely confirms that the previous discussions, which themselves do not yield this evidence either, were the cause of his 'mental distress'. (We put the phrase 'mental distress' in inverted commas, because the term was not used by Srila Prabhupada himself).
To conclude anymore than this
- such as the fact that Srila Prabhupada had 'mental distress' proves
that he must have thought he was poisoned - is speculation of the highest
order since it involves trying to directly understand the mind of the