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Hare Krishna Founder was a Snuff-Taker

The founder of the Hare Krishna movement, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) was a snuff-taker:

"Regarding taking snuff, I myself take it sometimes at night because I am working at night on my books, and sometimes I become dizzy. But it is not for you to take. You should not imitate this, neither you work like me at night." (letter, LA, 9 January 1974).

"We arrived in Toronto at 6:30 P.M. (June 16 1976) and had our most disagreeable encounter with customs officials yet. I accompanied Srila Prabhupada, who carried his soft, red vinyl hand bag, while Pusta Krsna Maharaja remained behind to bring the luggage through. On the other side of a glass wall next to the customs counter a large number of devotees, many from the Indian community, expectantly gathered. As soon they saw Srila Prabhupada they cheered, “Jaya Prabhupada! Haribol!” There were two customs officers. One of them, tall, with an unpleasant demeanor and a slight sneer on his face, asked Prabhupada to open his bag. Then, slowly, with exaggerated attention, he searched every single item. Before leaving Bombay I had sealed several new tins of snuff with hot wax. Prabhupada uses it to gain relief from high blood pressure. The official insisted on breaking each seal to check inside".

http://www.lotusimprints.com/new/blog/2008/09/14/in-snuff-lated/

"Prabhupada was being given tobacco snuff on a daily basis. I know this also because Manihar brought some back and used to snort it regularly. He even let us try it and told us it was ok because Prabhupada used it. He also reminded us not to talk about it. (When our class was initiated we even bought him a snuff container as part of our Guru dakshina.). It is not only addicting but also not known to people in general that Prabhupada was regularly given tobacco snuff. The fact that it is never talked about makes me suspicious. If it was for his health than why hide it."

http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET9906/ET18-4123.html

My guess would be that he had picked up the habit at the Scottish Church College in Calcutta where he was educated. Scottish Presbyterian teachers (and pupils) would surely not have been averse to a pinch every so often, while Vaishnava Hindus would have been horrified. I would also guess that Hare Krishna is the only example of a religious movement founded by a snuff-taker.

Comments

  • Interesting! Thanks.
  • JakartaBoyJakartaBoy Member
    edited December 2013 PM
    My guess would be that he had picked up the habit at the Scottish Church College in Calcutta where he was educated. Scottish Presbyterian teachers (and pupils) would surely not have been averse to a pinch every so often, while Vaishnava Hindus would have been horrified. I would also guess that Hare Krishna is the only example of a religious movement founded by a snuff-taker.
    Very interesting. I'm not sure about your comment that "Vaishnava Hindus would have been horrified." I remember reading an unsourced internet comment that traditional Brahmins don't smoke, mainly because of a strong taboo about putting something into your mouth, taking it out, then putting it back in again. However (the article said), they were able to use snuff. Also interesting that Sri Prabupadha believed, or said that he believed, that snuff was actually good for high blood pressure.
  • Ah, here you go!

    http://www.oldandsold.com/books/hindu/hindu-6.shtml

    Those who belong to the Visishtádvaita school are strict worshippers of Vishnu. Men of this sect never wear the moustache, but are always clean shaven. They also abstain from smoking, although they may console themselves with snuff.

    It doesn't mention the thing about putting things in and out of your mouth, but still.
  • This is interesting. I was a follower of Gaudia Vaishnavism (Iskcon) for a number of years. One of the four regulative principles was no intoxicants. I will have to check into this further. Thank you for posting.
  • My guess would be that he had picked up the habit at the Scottish Church College in Calcutta where he was educated. Scottish Presbyterian teachers (and pupils) would surely not have been averse to a pinch every so often, while Vaishnava Hindus would have been horrified. I would also guess that Hare Krishna is the only example of a religious movement founded by a snuff-taker.


    Very interesting. I'm not sure about your comment that "Vaishnava Hindus would have been horrified." I remember reading an unsourced internet comment that traditional Brahmins don't smoke, mainly because of a strong taboo about putting something into your mouth, taking it out, then putting it back in again. However (the article said), they were able to use snuff. Also interesting that Sri Prabupadha believed, or said that he believed, that snuff was actually good for high blood pressure.
    Followers of ISKCON would be horrified. It would be the end of the world for them. To them, using intoxicants is a very serious issue. Other sects or traditions may use tobacco, but any intoxicant at all, even caffeine, is strictly forbidden. I forwarded one of the articles above to an old friend of mine; he has been the president of a Hare Krisna temple for many years. I will report back when/if I hear from him.

  • Interesting definitely. I am not a Hindu but find everything about it fascinating (for personal reasons), especially if snuff is involved. Thank you.
  • Even Prabupada had his secrets apparently. I somehow can't see most Hare krishnas pulling out a tin of Swami from their saffron robes...but you never know.
  • Iskcon, especially the GBC, has a LOT of secrets. A lot of my female friends were sexually abused in the Gurukula by the vagrant Brahmacharis.
  • More on this - https://halfemptyacamana.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/regarding-snuff/

    Check out the comments to this blog too.
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