Classic EssaysRevilo P. Oliver

Brothers Under the Skin

by Revilo P. Oliver

ACCORDING TO the press, the Hare Krishna cult has established a rather ornate lair near Hillsborough, deep in the rural hills of Orange County, North Carolina. Most members of the cult are Hindus, part of a massive invasion of the United States that has generally gone unnoticed, even by persons who have read The Camp of the Saints. But, naturally, there are also some hare-brained Aryans, chiefly female, who have addled their minds with exotic piety and adopted Hindu names, the better to repudiate their own race and culture.

By this time, most Americans must have seen the grotesque creatures who, with shaven pates and clad in bizarre robes, extort money from unthinking persons, usually men, whom they confront and harass in airports and on the streets of large cities, using the technique described by Dick Sutphen in the March issue of Liberty Bell, p.51. Unfortunately, most Americans merely regard the cultists as a nuisance and do not notice another proof of how rapidly the country they were too Christian to keep for themselves is being occupied by their polyglot and polyphyletic successors.

I know nothing of either the exoteric or esoteric doctrines of the sect in North Carolina, except that I am sure the former has been diluted with humanitarian sentimentality as sucker-bait for Americans whose minds operate in what Mr. Sutphen identifies as the alpha-stage of consciousness. I was struck, however, by the odd title of the cult’s chief shaman, Maharaj, which is obviously the Hindustani derivative of the Sanskrit maharaja (“supreme ruler, great king, emperor”), an odd title for the head of a religious cult.

That reminded me of the cult of Krishna that was founded in the fifteenth century by a Hindu evangelist named Vallabha. The devotees, who profess a special love and veneration (bhakti) for Krishna, are called Vallabhacharyas, and owe implicit obedience to their chief, who is called Maharaja as an indication of his quasi-divine status and right to rule them with absolute authority. A lawsuit before the British courts in Bombay in 1862 exposed the practices and esoteric doctrines of the cult, which were so shocking as to be almost incredible to Occidental minds in an age before pornography had been made commonplace. Some English writers have called the Vallabhacharyas “the most depraved” of all the Hindu sects, but I suspect they had not read widely in the Tantraic gospels, which, if translated, would supply fresh inspiration for even the Jews in Hollywood.

However that may be, another thing that caught my attention in the press report was a pronouncement attributed to the Emperor of the Hare Krishnas, who affirmed, “The name Krishna actually means ‘God is very beautiful.'” And I had sadly to reflect that while the salvation-hucksters of the world differ greatly in race and mentality, their technique makes them as alike as brothers. Just say anything which you think will impose on the sucker’s ignorance and fill his mind, such as it is, with vaguely sentimental or anxious emotions that will keep it functioning in only the thoughtlessness of the alpha-phase. The theologians of all cults, from Voodoo to Theosophy, owe much of their success to sheer effrontery.

The name of Krishna is simply the Sanskrit word krsna,(1) which designates the color of indigo, i.e., a very dark blue, and may be applied adjectively to anything that is quite dark; by transference, it also designates the Dark of the Moon and the Dark Age (Kali Yuga) of the world in which we now live. I shall not discuss the various explanations of the odd fact that a word meaning ‘dark blue’ became the name of an Aryan hero and, eventually, god, but, whatever the correct explanation, it will provide no opening for the sleazy shysters who, for example, delude uneducated Americans by identifying Othello as a Congoid and so making stupid Americans watch niggers obscenely fondle White women on a pseudo-Shakespearean stage. In Indian paintings, all of very late date, Krishna is sometimes depicted as black, obviously by inference from his name, but he is commonly represented as a typical modern Hindu of the higher castes.

Krishna first appears in the oldest version of the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata, as a mighty warrior on the side of the Pandavas in the Great War, roughly comparable to Diomedes in the Homeric epic. He is an Aryan, of course, and fair, and he is a mortal man, eminent for his heroism. It is in the best-known of the many interpolations in that epic, the Bhagavadgita,(2) that the warrior and charioteer became a god, The Saviour, who so loves all men and all living things that he descended from Heaven to earth to save the world and mankind, being the eighth incarnation of Vishnu (Visnu), who was originally a pelagic deity, comparable to Poseidon, but had already become the second member of the Trinity.

The story of Krishna was greatly elaborated in the Visnu Purana and, above all, the Bhagavata Purana, both of which are, in a way, impostures, since the puranas are ostensibly historical records, and some of them do preserve king-lists from which one may recover some fragments of the lost history of Aryan India. The mythological elaborations of the supposed life of the Saviour contributed quite a few elements to the tales about Jesus in the “New Testament” and other Christian gospels. Needless to say, Krishna was born of a virgin, but that is not significant, because that is simply normal and requisite for all Saviours, and virgin births are extremely common in India, even for mortals who do not have a god as their daddy. But there were many episodes that were obviously borrowed by the authors of the Christian fictions, e.g., an evil king sought to avert the coming of Krishna by a “slaughter of the innocents,” but the Incarnation nevertheless took place in a cave, and the divine babe was saved from the massacre of newborn children, to grow up in a lowly status as a peasant, ostensibly the son of a cowherd. As a boy, he wrought many of the miracles later attributed to Jesus in his childhood (detailed in a gospel which, for some reason, was not included in the collection when it was thrown together by the Fathers of the Church).

There was one miracle, however, that the Christians did not appropriate. As Krishna grew into adolescence, he played his magic flute, which inspired all the young and desirable females in the countryside with an ardent yearning for his embraces. In that pastoral region, they were mostly milkmaids (gopis) and for that reason Krishna is sometimes worshipped under the title Gopinatha (“Lord of the Milkmaids”). The young women (who are usually depicted as White and beautiful in the paintings) came running, lusting for the young herdsman, and his music incited them to an ecstatic dance, during which he, using a Saviour God’s power to multiply himself, united sexually with each of them; and when they returned home, glowing with bliss, the married women found their husbands in a trance and unaware of their absence. Krishna is generally represented as continually sporting thus with one thousand gopis, but he was only a stripling then. When he grew to maturity and reclaimed the kingdom that was rightfully his, he accumulated a harem of 16,108 wives, all of whom he kept perpetually in a state of rapturous erotic satiety.(3) That, you must admit, is indubitable proof of a divine vigor that no other Saviour can match, and should entitle Krishna to preeminence in the eternal-life business.

The name of Krishna doesn’t mean what the theologian in North Carolina says it does, but some will be inclined to excuse his practice of the standard technique of holy men on the grounds that the name of Krishna does bring to mind what many of our contemporaries will deem beautiful stories.

Whether or not you agree with that aesthetic judgement, remember that the purveyors of holiness are all alike, whatever their race and racket: There is no truth in them.


(1) Devanagari is phonetically the most exact and discriminating of all alphabets, but when one tries to represent its fifty-four basic characters in our alphabet, one Roman letter must represent as many as five or even six letters and the correct spelling, which is most important, can be shown only by diacritical signs. If the type in which this article is printed were adequate, there would be a mark under the R, a small circle like a degree mark, to show that the letter stands for a vowel. Points under the other letters would serve to discriminate them from other consonants represented by the same English letter. The form ‘Krishna,’ which roughly approximates the pronunciation, is generally used in English and may be treated as an English word, without showing the exact spelling in Sanskrit, which you would need to find anything in a dictionary.

(2) A well-printed text of the Bhagavadgita, edited by Franklin Edgerton and accompanied by a poetic translation by Edwin Arnold, was published by the Harvard University Press in two volumes in 1944 (reprinted 1952). An excellent text, with a learned introduction and English translation by S. Radhakrishnan, is published by Allen & Unwin in London (reprinted, 1956). There is a fine Spanish translation, with a very concise but useful introduction, by Miroslav Marcovich (Merida, Venezuela; Universidad de los Andes, 1958), which I cite with pleasure and special approbation because Professor Marcovich had the candor to say bluntly that the long poem is so full of internal contradictions that it is simply incoherent and no consistent and rational doctrine can be derived from it. Sentimental readers, however, fascinated by its “lofty idealism” and “noble ethics,” never notice that the dulcet verbiage of one part is cancelled by the lulling verbiage of a later part; it is the very essence of religions that they depend on exciting emotions that will hold reason in abeyance.

(3) I have limited myself to the barest outlines of the story. If you want more, see W.G. Archer’s The Loves of Krishna (London, Allen & Unwin, 1957), which is based on the Bhagavata Purana. David R. Kinsley, The Sword and the Flute (University of California Press, 1975; paperback, 1977), draws a nice contrast between Krishna, the Divine Lover of all women’s desire, and Kali, the dark goddess who, her breasts smeared with blood and clad in a necklace of skulls, was worshipped by the Thugs in their ritual murders. Religion in India became multiracial and can serve as a model of the ‘ecumenism’ to which modern hokum-peddlers aspire. The British conquerors, being nasty Aryans and bigots, did not realize that the treacherous murder of unsuspecting strangers is a religious rite as good as any other, and they persecuted the poor Thugs, but now that the evils of colonialism have been ended, that form of the True Faith is undergoing an encouraging revival.

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Source: Liberty Bell magazine, August 1986

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Arvin N. Prebost
Arvin N. Prebost
3 October, 2020 9:35 am

Modern Hindu theologians also use a standard technique—the story of Krishna and the milkmaids is allegorized. The sexual embrace is an allegory for spiritual rapture. In other words, Krishna was quite moral, his spiritual enlightenment of people is described in sexual terms because it is so rapturous.

Christian theologians use the same technique–Jesus’s walking on water, with Peter following, is just an allegory to show how Jesus raises us above the roiling sea of troubles. The prescription to cut off one’s hand, or to pluck out one’s eye, if it causes one to sin, is just an allegory for renunciation. Etc. etc.