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Sep 04 2013

Now We Have to Worry About Violent Hare Krishnas?

It’s bad enough that we have to worry about Christian extremists who want to blow up abortion clinics and Muslim extremists who want to kill people indiscriminately. Now we have to worry about Hare Krishna extremists cutting people’s heads off too? Apparently so.

On Wednesday, a man named Aniruddha Sherbow was arrested in Mexico for allegedly making threats against Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a freshman congresswoman who House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has described as a “rising star.”

According to the FBI and U.S. Capitol Police, Sherbow’s arrest was a result of unspecified threats made earlier this month. However, Sherbow has a history with Gabbard that began with their apparent ties to a controversial Hare Krishna sect in Hawaii and most recently peaked with him vowing to cut off her head…

According to a story by the news website Hawaii Reporter earlier this month, Sherbow sent an email to the FBI on Aug. 2 in which he threatened to decapitate Gabbard.

“I, Aniruddha Sherbow, with the Divine as my witness, do hereby solemnly vow to find Tulsi Gabbard, wheresoever she may be, and to sever her head from her body,” Sherbow wrote, according to an excerpt of the email published by the Hawaii Reporter.

If Buddhists start killing people in this country too, I’m taking the next spaceship outta here. But it cracks me up that he actually wrote to the FBI telling them what he was going to do. Kinda reminds me of Larry Bird telling trash talking, telling the guy guarding him that he was going to hit a 3-pointer from the left corner on the next trip down court and then doing it. Only this guy got arrested first.

18 comments

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  1. 1
    Gregory in Seattle

    Every religion has its nutters; one extremist does not make a pattern of behavior.

  2. 2
    Adam Bourque

    What a strange story.

    BTW, Hare Krishna is a Hindu religion, not Buddhist.

    I’m surprised those guys are still around…

  3. 3
    Reginald Selkirk

    While Hare Krishna is considered a bizarro cult in this country, it would be considered fairly mainstream Hindu in India.
    Wouldn’t the world be a better place if all people considering crimes announced their intentions to law enforcement? It would make the whole “pre-crime” thing more tractable.

  4. 4
    stever

    Maybe he was laying the foundation for an insanity defense? After all, what sane murderer would announce his plans in writing, to the FBI?

  5. 5
    daved

    Buddhism isn’t all that non-violent either. Check out Mano Singham’s blog — some of the stuff that happens in Sri Lanka is plenty hair-raising.

  6. 6
    Abby Normal

    I blame myself for this. Back around the time the Berlin wall was coming down my friends and I were playing music in Washington Square Park when some Hare Krishnas came by singing their Hare Krishna song. We took up the melody and started riffing on it. Death Metal Krishna was born. Before we knew it we had a mosh pit of NYC students and Hare Krishnas slamming bodies with gusto. Even without hair to whip, those guys could head bang! True story. Now, more than twenty years later, we see the corrupting influence of rock and roll at work. Sorry everyone, my bad.

  7. 7
    Gregory in Seattle

    @Reginald Selkirk #3 – Even in India, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON) is considered outside the mainstream. You may be thinking of the tradition it derives from, Gaudiya Vaishnavism; the relationship between it and ISKON can be compared to the relationship between mainline Protestantism and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  8. 8
    Michael Brew

    @daved

    Don’t you mean… “Hare” raising? *rimshot*

  9. 9
    freehand

    Pre-TSA, I was in an airport when a fella approached me, wearing a goofy grin, glazed eyes staring off into space, an obvious proselytizing intent, and a bald head covered with a knit cap.
    “Hare Krishna”, I said.
    He looked astonished and overjoyed. “You are a Krishna devotee?!” he cried.
    “No, just a traveler, but surely you are.”
    He was so excited I was rather afraid he would pee himself; he was convinced that he has found a hidden master. I really didn’t want to carry on a conversation with him, but I gave him a donation for pack of incense (they have pretty good incense), made an excuse, and escaped.

  10. 10
    gopiballava

    Hare Krishnas are generally extremely conservative. Non-violence is generally not part of their doctrine. One of the more important religious texts to them is the Bhagavad Gita, which covers the importance of fighting a war when it’s just, even when he other side is full of friends and family that you don’t want to kill.Their doctrine on sexual morality is more conservative than Catholicism.

  11. 11
    Reginald Selkirk

    You may be thinking of the tradition it derives from…

    Actually I’m basing it on one line of conversation while dining with friends of Indian extraction at a hare Krishna temple several years ago. My knowledge of the topic is not especially deep, and if I’m wrong, I’m wrong.

  12. 12
    rabbitscribe

    If Buddhists start killing people in this country too, I’m taking the next spaceship outta here.

    That’s hardly unthinkable.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_at_War

    There is no “Buddhist exception” to the law that supernaturalism is always, on balance, harmful and to be opposed. Disentangle yourself from the lotus position, let your hair grow back, don’t worry about the sound of one hand clapping, and just be rational.

  13. 13
    raven

    Buddhism might be less violent than other religions. Or not. The bar is set pretty low here.

    1. There is a vicious ethnic cleansing going on in Burma between Buddhists and Moslems.

    2. The Buddhists in Sri lanka have at various times attacked the Hindu Tamils and Moslems.

    3. The Vietnamese Buddhists fought against huge odds against us in Vietnam and…won.

    4. Japan did the same in WWII and lost.

  14. 14
    lsamaknight

    raven @ 13

    I’d dispute your fourth example, primarily because the Japanese government at the time aligned itself with Japan’s native shinto traditions (look up State Shinto for more details) rather than Buddhism. Granted 1200 years plus of mingling can make the two a bit hard to separate at times but I’d argue Buddhism dodges the bullet on that one at least.

  15. 15
    iangould

    I’ve been pointing out examples of violent Hindu extremism in India for years.

    Apparently though it’s only noteworthy when the victim is a White American or a skeptic like Narendra Dabholkar.

  16. 16
    iangould

    Isamaknight.

    Two days ago in Singapore I watched people make obeisance in front of a Hindu temple, walk halfway down the block and make obeisance in front of a Buddhist temple.

    In Nikko, Japan, there’s a Confucian temple complex honoring the Tokugawa family, within it there’s a Buddhist monastery, within IT there’s not one but at least three Shinto shrines.

    People from cultures influenced by the Abramaic religion assume that people ill follow A religion, singular.

    Others are not constrained that way.

    State Shinto, for example,was perfectly happy to incorporate Hachiman Daibutsu, a nominally Buddhist figure.

  17. 17
    Kongstad

    Hara Krishna is an extremist cult.

    I’ve had a lot of interaction with HK’s on the grounds that they are in the creationist camp, and on account of me being active on an atheist forum.

    They have zero tolerance for any deviation from what they see as righteous. They strive for a society where any speech or actions which is in opposition to their ideals is banished and punished.

    In their wonderland atheism is punishable by death, and there would be extreme punishment for sexual impropriety.

    They have elaborate fantasies of how their god – it is a monotheistic variant of Hinduism – will roam the earth splitting up the bodies of atheists and wearing their entrails as jewelry.

    So this news is not any surprise to me.

  18. 18
    nkrishna

    I’ve heard of this guy. He seems to have some weird obsession with Rep. Gabbard and appears to be singularly insane. Hare Krishnas are weird, but in general I don’t think they’re that kind of weird. Yet.

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