You heard it on National Inquirer first. Our very own Jaya Kesava Das Prabhu is alleged to be in a “special relationship” with the son of the Wheel of Fortune star Vanna White. The 19-year-old bodied son who attends the University of Arizona and goes by the nickname “Nikko” is rumored to be in a gay relationship with a “controversial” 34-year-old bodied Hare Krishna monk – otherwise known by the secular name Jaycee Akinsanya. According to National Inquirer, Jaya Kesava Das Prabhu met Nikko while on sankirtan outside of the student union, and continued to cultivate Nikko with transcendental knowledge at the Red Ashram, a preaching center located a mile away from the university campus. Together they’ve been nearly inseparable, taking a road trip through Canada – stopping to feed the horses, kayak and visit Hare Krishna temples.
But the purpose of this article is not to rehash the chewed – rather, it’s to glorify devotees. So take a deep breath and lets continue.
Considering the trashy nature of National Inquirer whose sole purpose is to sell sensationalized stories while taking facts into account as an afterthought – the obvious question lingers uncomfortably, “What are the members of the Hare Krishna movement supposed to think of this nation-wide story? Should we be embarrassed? Should we be indifferent? Is this a black-eye for the movement? Are we to weather this one out, forbearing to react and simply waiting for the negative press to die-out? Or is there a silver lining?”
Srila Prabhupada’s Pastime Setting the Example
To answer this question, let us recall a Srila Prabhupada pastime taken from The Great Transcendental Adventure by Kurma dasa. In June of 1974 an article was published in the Herald entitled “Even the Divine get Blueys” – referring to parking tickets issued by street patrol officers. Another article from Morning’s Age followed in a similar line, with a condescending headline, “Divine Grace Comes Rollsing In” – insinuating that Srila Prabhupada’s use of Rolls Royce was for material indulgement. To top it all off, a Sun article also ran with the story, coming to an outlandish conclusion, “Krishna Sect Founder: ‘I’ll return as Animal.’ His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, is resigned to dying soon, then returning to Earth as an animal …”
The devotees were infuriated by the malicious fault-finding coverage. “What will Prabhupada think about it?” they wondered. Some incensed devotees started to write letters to the editor asking for the paper to publish Prabhupada’s actual words. But when they approached Prabhupada about the press coverage, they were surprised to see him grinning. He said, “This statement was not liked by the newspaper man.” The devotees laughed. Obviously Prabhupada had read the article. “He was told that next life you can become animal, so he has published in my name, ‘The Swami can become an animal’. The Swami can become an animal. The so-called swamis, they will become animal. So that is not wrong. But we devotees, we are not afraid of becoming animal. Our only ambition is that we become Krsna conscious…”
True to the paramahamsa form, the devotees were elated to hear Prabhupada take positive meaning from the offensive articles. Prabhupada explained, “[pullquote]Simply the printing of the holy names, Hare Krishna, greatly benefited the readers, regardless of whether the names were mentioned in reverence or disrespect.[/pullquote] Just like in the newspaper you hear so many news. But if you hear something about Krishna, that is the only perfect thing. That news has been published in many morning papers: ‘Krishna, the leader of the Krishna movement’ or ‘this Hare Krishna movement …’ There is some vibration of the word ‘Krishna’. That makes the atmosphere purified, surcharged. So many thousands and millions of people will read, ‘Krishna’, willingly or unwillingly. That is their profit. Immediately they once utter the word ‘Krishna’, they become benefited. Never mind what is the news. We don’t care for that. But because they will utter the word ‘Krishna’, that is their profit and that is our profit for the Krishna consciousness movement. So, thank you very much.”
Later in his room, Prabhupada spoke more on the press issue. His spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, in considering whether articles were worthy for publication, would count how many times the word “Krishna” or “Chaitanya” had been used. If these holy names had been quoted sufficiently, he would say: “That’s all right. This can be used.”
Prabhupada turned to devotees. “So, how many times has this man mentioned the word ‘Krishna’ in the article?”
Devotees quickly counted. “Seventeen times, Srila Prabhupada.”
“And how many people live in Melbourne?”
“At least a couple of million, Srila Prabhupada.”
Prabhupada smiled. “So that’s seventeen multiplied by two million times that the holy name of Krsna has been chanted.”
Doing the Math. Application of Srila Prabhupada’s Lesson
Following Srila Prabhupada’s and Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati’s example, we can apply the same method of counting the number of times the names of the Lord were printed in the articles to assess their profit.
First lets start with the original article published in National Inquirer: EXCLUSIVE! VANNA WHITE SON UNDER THE SPELL OF RELIGIOUS CULT The number of times that the name Krishna appears in the article is 16 – really. You may count it yourself.
The National Inquirer website receives 5.2 million monthly page views, and 846,000 monthly unique visitors according to their advertising page. In other words, 846,000 people visit the website monthly and browse on average 6-7 pages.
So lets do the math: 16 multiplied by 846,000 equals: 13,536,000. Assuming that everyone who visited the website also read the article, we can then assess that the name Krishna was read 13.5 million times.
But not everyone who visited the website read the article. So lets say that 1/10th of the people who visited National Inquirer also read the article. That would still put the number of times that the name Krishna was read to 1+ million.
It doesn’t stop here. Below is a summary of some of the articles from the largest publications with the number of times the word Krishna was printed to the right:
- EXCLUSIVE! VANNA WHITE SON UNDER THE SPELL OF RELIGIOUS CULT 16
- EXCLUSIVE! VANNA WHITE SON TELL-ALL SHOCKERS 2
- EXCLUSIVE COVER STORY: VANNA WHITE’S SECRET HEARTACHE REVEALED! 2
- Vanna White’s teenage son is ‘exploring a gay relationship’ with Hare Krishna monk twice his age 17
- Vanna White ‘fears her teenage son is being brainwashed by Hare Krishna movement after he moves in with a monk twice his age and asks mom for $1m to build an ashram’ 18
An there are a ton more publications including radio, television and newspaper covering a wide range of demographics:
The number of times this sensational story was shared and rebroadcasted with the name Krishna is practically innumerable. The figure towers in the millions. MILLIONS!
Thank You! & What About the Gay Issue?
In a private diary kept by Srila Prabhupada, we can see how a pure devotee is completely surrendered to Krishna’s will – even when the means of service take us to horrible places and defy our ability to explain:
“My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me. But I guess You have some business here, otherwise why would You bring me to this terrible place? Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of ignorance and passion. Absorbed in material life, they think themselves very happy and satisfied, and therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message of Vasudeva. I do not know how they will be able to understand it. But I know Your causeless mercy can make everything possible, because You are the most expert mystic.”
It doesn’t take mystic potency to see what horrible spins and distortions the media can create to sell a story, but it does take some intelligence and a heart to appreciate Jaya Kesava Das Prabhu’s service. On that note, I’d like to say the following to Jaya Kesava Das Prabhu on behalf of all of the devotees who support him in his service:
- Thank you! Thank you for accepting the repercussions of this horrible material place to push forward our mission to propagate the Holy Names of the Lord throughout the entire world.
- Thank you for your dedication, and not giving up when the torrent of media and confusion came pouring down.
- Thank you for being tolerant of the devotees who are not yet able to appreciate your service.
- Thank you for being an effulgent inspiration. You’ve set the bar high!
- Thank you for cultivating Nikko.
I heard Nikko say that Krishna Consciousness is making him stronger, more confident, and blissful. Sounds like he’s becoming a nice devotee. Thank you!
Some devotees naturally wonder, “What would Prabhupada think of gay devotees?” Thats besides the point. But if any sincere devotee wants to know, then please read Vaisnava Moral Theology and Homosexuality by Hridayandanda Das Goswami.