If Srila Prabhupada was poisoned, it
stands to reason that evidence of this could be found by forensic analysis of
His hair cuttings, fingernail clippings, or a tooth which may have been removed
from Srila Prabhupada's physical body sometime during the period of poisoning
and prior to entombment in His Vrindaban samadhi.
In December 1997 this reporter took half of his Prabhupada hair relic, about 40 milligrams worth, to First Analytical Laboratories in Chapel Hill, NC. This hair had been received from a (name forgotten) travelling sannyasi in 1978 as a gift, and it might have been cut from Srila Prabhupada's head late in the course of His presence with us, maybe in 1977. If there was a long term poisoning of Srila Prabhupada, this author's hair relic might provide proof of poison, detectable by chemical hair analysis. However, it is not known when this hair was cut.
Then in mid-February 1999 this reporter received unofficial reports (rumors) that Balavanta's hair test at the University of Missouri had come in positive for arsenic at abnormal levels. Apparently Balavanta had received his report about two months ago and was maintaining strict secrecy. Further rumors had it that Naveen Krishna was travelling to Mayapur to quietly present a partial report to some of the GBC with the recommendation that Balavanta's investigation be continued and expanded. This turned out not to be true. They were still both in Florida, and quiet as usual.
On February 19 this reporter telephoned
Dr. Steve Morris and verbally obtained the detailed results of Balavanta's hair
test. Dr. Morris received Srila Prabhupada's hair on June 15, 1998, and after
six months had completed the neutron activation analysis. This reporter had
originally arranged with Dr. Morris to perform a test on one or two hair samples
pro bono (free), but decided to use Dr Chatt in Nova Scotia. Balavanta was told
that he could use the free services of Dr. Morris, as Balavanta had made it
clear that his GBC provided funds for investigative work were very limited.
Dr. Morris was quite knowledgeable on what
constituted normal and abnormal levels of arsenic in human hair. He described
one would expect to find from less than 0.05 parts of arsenic per million up to
perhaps 0.1 to 0.2 parts per million, depending
on exposure to environmental contaminants and so on. His experience was that
farmers who are regularly exposed over a long term basis to agricultural
herbicides and pesticides containing arsenic compounds MIGHT temporarily attain
a level of 1.0 parts per million, which is probably why so many farmers handling
these kinds of chemicals have such high rates of serious diseases like cancer,
heart disease, Alzheimer's, etc. Dr. Morris then related that his testing
THE HAIR CONTAINED
ALMOST 3.0 PARTS PER MILLION.
Dr. Morris conservatively summarized by saying that Srila Prabhupada, at the time represented by that particular half inch of hair, at a very minimum, had 5 to 10 times the normal amount of arsenic as would be normally found in a person. In his opinion, this could not be produced by typical environmental factors, but required the oral ingestion or skin absorption of unusually large amounts of arsenic.
Using Dr. Morris's range of normal hair
levels, however, a simple calculation shows that, from 0.05 to 0.2 parts per
million as being normal, to almost 3.0 parts as tested is 15
to 60 times over average.
The presence of such high amounts of the world's deadliest poison in Srila Prabhupada's hair confirms: Srila Prabhupada was poisoned with arsenic.
It was heard that Balavanta was going to
test the Vrindaban ground water to satisfy doubters that there was no way Srila
Prabhupada's highly unusual arsenic contamination level was due to water
impurities. Srila Prabhupada resided in Vrindaban from May 17 to August 26 (100
days) and from October 2 to November 14 (43 days).There was some news a few
years back about health problems in Bengal due to arsenic contamination in deep
well water. However, Srila Prabhupada left Mayapur, Bengal in March 1977 after a
stay of six weeks only (2.7 - 3.22). If it was the water, then why hasn't any of
the permanent residents in
Vrindaban or Mayapur taken seriously ill by drinking the same water for the last
twenty years? This anticipated argument of discounting the value of 3 ppm and
attributing it to environmental factors and not to foul play is what Balavanta
was wanting to debunk in advance. This is commendable but seems hardly
In a 1970 study by McCabe, et al., 99% of
18,000 community water systems in the USA provided an average of about 0.015
milligram of arsenic per person per day. Contamination of well water with
arsenic has been a cause of serious health problems in a relatively few and
isolated areas, such as New Zealand, Argentina, Taiwan, Chile. The
manifestations of illnesses from well water contaminated with arsenic, however,
involved permanent residents
of that area, not constant world travelers like Srila Prabhupada. The consistent
and cumulative effect of localized contaminated well water over
a period of years is what
produced the negative health effects in those cases. Srila Prabhupada spent at
most only a few months in each location, in effect regularly changing His water
supply, while His health continued to steadily deteriorate. The
source of the arsenic was not the Vrindaban water.
Dr. Morris explained that the test
measures elements and not compounds. All arsenic compounds would be measured in
terms of their component elements, such as arsenic, oxygen, sulfur, etc. Within
12 to 24 hours of ingestion, arsenic will begin to be deposited in the hair.
Periodic ingestions of arsenic can be seen in a hair profile analysis and would
show as changing amounts along the length of the hair. The graph below shows a hypothetical
relationship of time, amount
of arsenic ingested and the amount of arsenic deposited in hair. Gradually, with
a half-life of residence in the body of 3 to 5 days, arsenic is eliminated by
urine and other minor avenues or deposited in hair, skin, nails, teeth and other
bodily organs and tissues.
While present, arsenic does great damage, and those amounts which are not
eliminated continue to destroy the body internally. Unfortunately. Balavanta's
hair sample had insufficient length for this kind of profile study.
This hypothetical graph shows how hair levels of arsenic fluctuate greatly according to the timing and frequency of arsenic ingestions.
As this reporter has several times seen
since the beginning of the poison investigation, some devotees working with the
investigation, including the
attorneys Gupta and Balavanta, may think secrecy is the best approach. However,
any advantage there may be in surprising the suspects with a thick dossier of
evidence and extracting dramatic confessions has already been spoiled by the
rumor mill, and, although popular in television and Hollywood, may not be very
practical in the reality of our situation.
This reporter is
firmly convinced that this book is necessary to compel the followers of Srila
Prabhupada to openly confront the fact that it is certain Srila Prabhupada was
"assassinated," probably by His closest disciples for the sake of their material
To keep the evidence collected to date a secret seems unproductive, and a perpetuation of the most serious crime since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Pusta Krishna Prabhu strongly advised this author that to publish this book would be a defamation of Srila Prabhupada and constitute a horrible offense against Him personally. Such are the illogical and emotional responses that are to be expected. If the evidence was unsubstantial, then Pusta Krishna has a good point. But if it is the truth and verified by substantial evidence, as is the case, then the "defamation" of poisoning Srila Prabhupada should be established and dealt with. This is another area that we do not have space herein to digress into; the conclusion is that the truth, not false rumors, is worthy of presenttation and will always result in good. Hiding the truth is dishonesty and always reacts negatively.
Since the nature and circumstances of
crimes of poisoning do not lend themselves to easy or smooth legal indictments
or convictions, the next best effective forum to obtain justice and historical
truth is in the public domain. Through the press and various other media,
everyone who cares to know may be informed of the evidence, out in the open. The
hope is that this will spur further participation and research into the
investigation at hand, resulting in further verification and the ultimate
identification and apprehension of the poisoners. Otherwise, are Srila
Prabhupada's followers to be deliberately left in the dark? Suppose our parents
had died under suspicious circumstances long ago. Is it wrong to try to discover
the real story? And after finding it, we should leave it secret? This makes no
sense. Silence means complicity. Let us not take this book as entertainment
reading and then forget the matter.
There is already too much history in Srila
Prabhupada's movement of keeping truths from its members and thus a privileged
few then manipulate those kept in the dark. This reporter apologizes to
Balavanta, Gupta, the GBC, and others if they cannot appreciate this approach,
and trusts that time will show that this book was the right thing to produce.
Balavanta's hair analysis is no fluke,
accident, error or set-up. This high amount of arsenic could not have been
accumulated by ingestion of water or medicines which may have contained normal,
tiny amounts of arsenic. Water or medicines are not suspect. The
conclusion is that this amount is very abnormal and is totally consistent with
poisoning, almost certainly malicious in intent. How could it be accidental?
Referring to The
Heavy Elements by J.E. Fergusson,
we find some test results for various categories on the arsenic content of human
hair: Keep in
mind that a mean weights the low and the high, so even one or a few high
readings will raise the mean far beyond the average. Those one or few persons
testing relatively high were undoubtedly exposed to more than usual amounts of
arsenic due to environmental or workplace conditions.
1. Normal hair: Mean of 0.62 ppm
2. USA males: Average of 0.12 - 0.14 ppm
3. Bulgaria, washed hair: 0.037 - 0.625 ppm, Mean of 0.158 ppm
4. Pakistan: Range of 0.04 - 1.41 ppm; Mean of 0.26 ppm
5. Rural Malaysia: Mean of 0.27 ppm
6. Rural and urban: Means of 0.68 ppm & 0.75 ppm
7. "Controls": Median of 0.23 & 0.38 ppm
8. Korea: Range of 0.015 - 0.74 ppm, Mean of 0.275 ppm
Thus we can see that the amounts differ
due to diet and environmental variances. Overall, however, we see commonly
averages much less than 0.5 ppm. It should be noted that we would expect that
Srila Prabhupada's arsenic levels would be probably lower than the average
person who has resided in urban areas of industrialized nations where the
environmental contamination is much higher than in Vrindaban, Bhubaneshwar,
Hyderabad farm, Mayapur, and ISKCON temples. Furthermore, Srila Prabhupada led a
very healthy life of eating pure foods and was exposed to very little (if any)
modern agricultural products which may contain toxic chemicals. The likelihood
of environmental contamination causing hair levels of 3 ppm in Srila Prabhupada
is practically nil.
To illustrate the extreme toxicity of
arsenic, note that only 150 ppm of arsine gas in the air will cause immediate
death. Ordinarily a person ingests less than 1 milligram total of arsenic a day
from water, food and environmental pollution. According to the medical
toxicology texts, once this amount is tripled to about 3 mgm a day, chronic
poisoning will follow with serious health ramifications, compounded the longer
the poisoning continues. Arsenic is required in tiny amounts for the proper
metabolism and health of most living creatures. Once that tiny amount is
increased even slightly, there ensues a health hazard. The body tolerates
arsenic with much more sensitivity than with many other toxic elements, such as
mercury and lead.
From the Miami Poison Control Center,
Mahabuddhi provided a reference from Poisindex: HAIR:
Normal concentration of arsenic in hair and nails is less than 1 meg/gram (1 ppm)
(Baselt & Cravey, 1989)
Another source, Handbook
on the Toxicology of Metals, Vol.11:
Specific Metals, by Friberg, Nordberg and Vouk, 1986, states that the median
amounts of arsenic in the hair of residents of Scotland who died accidentally
due to various causes (none poisoning) was 0.46 ppm. In Japan, a very
industrialized and urban country, the median arsenic content of human hair was
0.174 ppm. Further, Friberg, et al. State:
"Attempts have been made to correlate
normal concentrations of arsenic in hair to exposure to inorganic arsenic. Smith
(1964) found that 80 % of 1000 people tested had a concentration below 1 part of
Arsenic per million in hair, with... a median of 0.51 ppm."
The seriousness of 3 ppm in Srila Prabhupada's hair is further reinforced by Friberg's reference to a study done in 1973 by Ishinishi wherein retired workers who had been extensively exposed to arsenic in the past showed normal hair arsenic levels even in the presence of serious symptoms of chronic arsenic poisoning. In other words, Srila Prabhupada's hair may have contained 10 or 20 or more ppm earlier in 1977, and even though He had only 3 ppm in October, the results of arsenic poisoning still remained and could well have been at their peak. The damage was already done.
Every time Srila Prabhupada's hair grew a
half inch, it was cut and disposed of. If the hair from May contained 20 ppm of
arsenic, it would not show up in November's half inch hair cutting because that
represented only the growth for one month previous.
Even so, 3 ppm in the 60 to 70 pound body
of a very ill and elderly person, such as Srila Prabhupada was, constitutes a
much more serious intoxication of a deadly poison that it would be in the body
of a healthy, 180 pound person. No wonder Srila Prabhupada was anemic, could not
eat, had no strength and had regular heart palpitations, etc ! The
arsenic destroyed His health. It is also significant that we find abnormally
high levels of arsenic at the end of Srila Prabhupada's life: this
is a very strong indication of what caused the prior, year-long deterioration of
From the definitive text on arsenic
entitled Arsenic, by
the National Academy of Sciences, 1977, there is reference to a study by Lander,
et al. of acute and chronic arsenic poisoning cases where patients had hair
concentrations of arsenic between 3.0 and 26.0 ppm. Chronic cases in this study
began at the level of 3 ppm. Thus Srila Prabhupada, in an extremely debilitated
physical condition, and having 3 ppm of arsenic in His hair, compares to the
lower end of cases of chronic arsenic poisoning that displayed serious physical
reactions. This is entirely consistent with an assassin's program of gradual
poisoning, a little by little, with just enough arsenic to produce no appetite
and anemia. In that way, Srila Prabhupada slowly whithered away, literally from
starvation and malnutrition.
This reporter consulted with Dr. Richard
Page Hudson, retired Chief Medical Examiner for the state of North Carolina. Dr.
Hudson is a forensic pathologist who teaches part-time at East Carolina
University and does private consultation work in many toxicological
investigations. He has been involved with many exhumations and the testing of
various body tissues, including hair, to determine toxic contents thereof. He
has also been involved in many murder and attempted murder cases involving
arsenic, including the Blanche Taylor Moore and Velma Barfield cases. We
discussed the evidence accumulated in Srila Prabhupada's investigation and he
agreed that the symptoms from the health history of Srila Prabhupada, as
described to him, were definitely those of chronic arsenic poisoning.
Dr. Hudson pointed out that, to his
knowledge and from his experience, a different set of symptoms will manifest in
each chronic arsenic poisoning case, due to variances in the amount and number
of doses of arsenic, the type of arsenic compound, the victim's constitution,
etc. He did not
think that a constant level of 3 ppm of arsenic in the hair would result in that
person having the type of dramatic symptoms that are virtually guaranteed when
the level increases to about 10 ppm. He said that it would be most useful to see
where on the "time curve" of the entire year of 1977 that the 3 ppm hair sample
fell. The preceding months' hair might have readings higher than 3 ppm, and thus
further confirm the chronic arsenic poisoning. Therefore it is important to
further document our case with more 1976-7 hair samples tested for arsenic.
Dr. Hudson referred to one of his favorite
toxicological texts, the 4th Edition of
Basel and Cravey's Disposition of Toxicological Drugs and Chemicals In Man, published
in 1995 by the Chemical Toxicology Institute. Therein it gives an average level
of arsenic in human hair of 0.307ppm. This
average is ten times less than
the 3 ppm found in Hari Sauri's hair relic.
Thus we can verify in this way of
comparison that Srila Prabhupada's arsenic content in His hair, although not
evidence of acute poisoning,
nevertheless represents a very substantial deviation from the norm and
constitutes serious arsenical intoxication consistent with an assessment of:
CHRONIC ARSENIC POISONING. Besides the whispers, the statements by Srila
Prabhupada Himself, the speech reversals, the analysis of physical symptoms, the
establishment of motive, and the persistent rumors of witnesses, we now have
additional solid evidence... very
abnormal amounts of arsenic in Srila Prabhupada's hair. One
test had 4 times over average, the other had 10 times over average. Even those
die-hard disbelievers will have to admit there is, at the least, more than
substantial cause for suspicion and the need for a full investigation managed by
a trustworthy entity.
If any reader of
this publication knows of or is in possession of even a very small amount of
Srila Prabhupada's hair that was collected late in Srila Prabhupada's pastimes
(mid 1976 to late 1977), please contact this reporter for possible nuclear
testing. After testing, the hair will be returned to you, and your contribution
to the search for the truth about Srila Prabhupada's departure will be forever
noted and appreciated. (See APPENDIX
Srila Prabhupada's October 1977 hair was
found to contain a concentration of almost 3.0 ppm of arsenic, which, when
compared to an average of 0.3 ppm, is 10 times more than average. Thus Srila
Prabhupada had exceptionally more arsenic in His body than one would expect and
cannot be explained by tainted water or environmental contamination. The level
of 3 ppm is comparable to documented case studies of chronic arsenic poisoning,
and represents a serious health hazard, especially if maintained for a period of
months or longer. Hari Sauri's hair sample represents only about four
weeks of history in Srila
Prabhupada's last days, however, and provides an average amount of arsenic in
the hair for that month. Weekly sections could have read 10 ppm, 1 ppm, 0.5 ppm,
0.5 ppm, with an average of 3 ppm. indicating a level of poisoning at one point
that is much higher than the average. Even this author's hair sample containing
4 times average is rather unusual.
Undoubtedly Srila Prabhupada was maliciously poisoned.
APPENDIX 23: WAS THE ARSENIC IN THE WATER ?
In early April 1999 rumors circulated
around ISKCON that a hair analysis had revealed arsenic in Srila Prabhupada's
hair. This is true (see Chapter 33) but what is not understood is the
significance of a 3 ppm level. Doubters will minimize the 3 ppm discovery. This
is what we will hear:
A. Everyone, especially in India, has arsenic in their hair.
page 242 is a list of means and averages of hair arsenic levels in various
countries, including Asian. Commonly
averages are under 0.5 ppm. Although
everyone (including Indians) has minute levels of hair arsenic averaging 0.3 ppm, when
one sees 3 ppm, this constitutes chronic arsenic poisoning as
established by text references in Chapters 33 and 34.
B. Since the late 1970's, there have been some serious health problems in parts of Bengal due to geologic arsenic contamination of deep well water. Thus Srila Prabhupada is expected to have had higher hair arsenic levels.
Because there have been no obvious arsenic symptoms in the residents of Mayapur
(or Vrindaban either), we can safely conclude that Mayapur
or Vrindaban water did not cause Srila Prabhupada's symptoms.
b.) The hair analyzed was October-November
1977 growth, but Srila Prabhupada left
Mayapur over six months earlier. Any
arsenic contamination from March 1977 or before would NOT
show up in October's half-inch of
hair growth, and would have been eliminated from the blood within 3-5 days after
arsenic ingestion had ceased.
c.) When we understand the
medical principles of arsenic in
the human body, we understand that Srila Prabhupada's physical symptoms of
arsenic poisoning and His hair
value of 3 ppm of arsenic are not due to Mayapur well water being
possibly contaminated with arsenic.
d.) Page 239 refers to contaminated well
water studies involving permanent
residents, which Srila Prabhupada
was not in any location. The fact that Srila Prabhupada moved from one place to
another in 1977 makes it almost
impossible to attribute His
hair's arsenic to an impure water supply.
C. Srila Prabhupada resided in Mayapur, Bengal for extended periods of time in the 1970's and thus arsenic poisoning symptoms can be expected.
arsenic poisoning symptoms will recede and clear up once the ingestion of
arsenic ceases. Symptoms would not continue to be present in Srila Prabhupada
six months after leaving Mayapur. This is illustrated in the case of Napoleon
(Chapter 34), who had highly elevated arsenic levels in his hair at the Waterloo
and Moscow battles, almost a decade before his death. He enjoyed fairly good
health and a recession of poisoning symptoms in between confirmed times of
CONCLUSION: The arsenic found by Balavanta in Srila Prabhupada's last hair cutting cannot be attributed to contaminated well water, and neither can His chronic arsenic poisoning symptoms be so attributed. All the studies of poisoning by impure well water involve many years of contnuous and regular ingestion before producing serious health problems.
Srila Prabhupada was maliciously poisoned.