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Conspiracy theories proclaiming the poisoning of great personalities have captivated public imagination throughout the ages. The latest, which emerged in the late 1990's, claimed that His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), was poisoned during his last days in Vrindavana.

This book has been published to set the record straight: There is no evidence that Srila Prabhupada was poisoned by his disciples or anyone else. This conclusion rests on an exhaustive examination of the testimony of Srila Prabhupada's confidential servants during 1977, his doctor's reports, forensic analysis of Srila Prabhupada's hair clippings, extensive studies of his medical symptoms, and the recorded conversations with Srila Prabhupada from 1977, in English, Bengali and Hindi.

With its emphasis on historical and scientific facts, this book will appeal to those interested in seeing the reality beyond the haze of innuendo, misinformation, disinformation, and half-truths that has clouded this issue. Along the way we get a glimpse into Srila Prabhupada's extraordinary final pastimes, which constitute the ultimate lesson for his disciples and grand-disciples and the culmination of his life of pure devotion to Krishna.

New book on the poison issue just released:

"Not that I am Poisoned" - The Truth behind Srila Prabhupada's Glorious Passing

CHAKRA (Mayapur, India) - March 20, 2000:  "Not that I am Poisoned" is the most complete description to date of the poison controversy, with more than 300 pages of scientifically documented evidence and eyewitness testimonies, showing the falsity of the poison allegations. It also includes 14 appendices detailing different aspects of the controversy including forensic test results, doctor's reports and the report from Balavanta Prabhu, which also confirms that there is no evidence of poison being given to Srila Prabhupada.

The following excerpts give a taste of what the book holds in store.

The testimony from Prabhupada's surgeon, Dr Andrew J. Mcirvine, who operated in September 1977:

"I remember him as an amazingly calm and stoical person. He refused to be admitted to hospital and I am sure he would not have withstood a general anaesthetic...Unfortunately his renal failure was by that time well advanced and irreversible, caused by a combination of diabetes and phimosis."

Scientific studies showing forensic (hair) analysis in normal range for arsenic:

"The real figure for the testing of Prabhupada's hair sample was NOT 3ppm arsenic but 2.6ppm. Scientific studies have shown levels of 4.8ppm (Mexico City) and 3ppm (Glasgow) average arsenic content of hair in normal (unexposed) populations."

Testimony from Larry Kovar of General Activation Analysis, one of the only labs in the world to do neutron activation on a commercial basis:

"A low (less than 10 ppm) value shows the hair is "normal". A high value (greater than 10 ppm) indicates Arsenic exposure. Since the hair has been tested at 3 ppm As, I feel a re-test is not necessary… I have discussed this with Dr Vince Guinn, a well-known researcher in this field, and he agrees.

For your information, my hair has about 3 ppm Arsenic - the last time I tested it (I'm still alive, I hope) If you send samples to a lab, send some of your own as a control."

For the first time ever, the "whispers" are put into context:

"In fact, the whisper found at 21:58 on tape 771110 side A, which allegedly says, "Listen he's saying… going to die," comes immediately after the kaviraja appeals to Prabhupada not to go on the parikrama due to a risk of imminent heart attack from the jolting of the cart. The conversation is becoming more and more intense as Prabhupada's disciples are trying to convince him not to go on parikrama because of the risk to his health. Then the kaviraja again desperately appeals to Prabhupada in Hindi. Only a few seconds after the kaviraja has finished, one can hear a disciple urgently whisper to another, "Listen he's saying… going to die". After listening to the tape it is obvious that this is a totally innocuous event related directly to what is being said at the time."

Specific refutation of Nityananda Das' medical diagnoses and scientific credibility:

"Prabhupada clearly showed this common symptom of advanced diabetes (deteriorating eyesight), proving Nityananda's statements regarding the loss of vision to be false. However, there is another twist to Nityananda's ever-dynamic presentation. Incredibly, after convincing the reader that loss of vision (as a symptom of diabetes) was not present, Nityananda Das explains that loss of vision (as a symptom of arsenicosis) was well and truly present. Not only that, but it now miraculously appears as a symptom "unique" to arsenic poisoning... It is clear that the impartial reader should regard Nityananda Das' claims with caution due to his lack of academic qualifications and obviously one-sided representation of the scientific literature."

In-depth analysis of the conversations from 1977:

Kaviraja: Ye Maharaj ye kotha ap kaise bola aj ki koi bola hai ki poison diya. Ye apko kuch abhasa hua hai kya? [Oh, Maharaja, today, how did you say that someone told you that you were given poison? Did you feel something like that?] Prabhupada: Nahi aise koi hai bol jo dene se aisa hota hai. Sayad koi kilab mein likha hai. [No, someone said that it happens (symptoms) if it is given. Perhaps it is written in some book.]

Now compare this with the explanation given in English to Tamala Krishna Maharaja.

Tamala Krishna: Srila Prabhupada? You said before that you... that it is said that you were poisoned? Prabhupada: No. These kind of symptoms are seen when a man is poisoned. He said like that, not that I am poisoned. Tamala Krishna: Did anyone tell you that, or you just know it from before? Prabhupada: I read something.

Srila Prabhupada confirms, practically word for word, what he told the kaviraja in Hindi i.e. that Prabhupada himself didn't think he had been poisoned, rather someone else had said that he had similar symptoms to poisoning, and Prabhupada himself agreed because he had previously read a book describing the symptoms of poisoning.

Therefore the theory that Srila Prabhupada knew about his own poisoning and only revealed it to native Hindi speakers and not to his English speaking disciples is clearly unfounded. All evidence, both from recorded transcripts and eyewitness testimony, reveals that Prabhupada was consistent in his statements to the kaviraja and to his own disciples regarding his view on his so-called poisoning.

"Not that I am Poisoned" is a "must have" for devotees interested in this controversy. All enquiries for orders can be directed to mpi@in.com.au. Books are currently being shipped from India and will soon be available from ISKCON Philadelphia, Bhaktivedanta Manor, and in India from ISKCON Mayapur and Vrindavan bookstores.

© CHAKRA 20-Mar-2000

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