Ramblings of an ex-monk

Srila Prabhupada

Did Srila Prabhupada Snort Tobacco?


Recently I was reading Srila Prabhupada’s letters and came across the words “snuff box”.

A quick duckduckgo search showed some pretty shocking information.

Here’s the definition of snuff from Urban Dictionary:-
1. Snuff: Very fine tobacco to be used for snorting, traditionally taken by the English aristocracy.

The sign of a true gentleman is that he does not sneeze when he takes his snuff.

2. Snuff: finely-ground tobacco which, when snorted, will fuck you UP!


Here’s what another website had to say:

Snuff is a tobacco product. Like cigarettes, it contains harmful and addictive chemicals that can raise your risk of many health problems.
Like cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco, snuff is a dangerous and addictive product.

Snuff is not only highly addictive, but also harmful to your health. You might think that using snuff isn’t as dangerous as smoking because you’re not inhaling smoke into your lungs. However, snuff can still negatively impact your body.

Like other forms of tobacco, snuff contains cancer-causing chemicals. It can raise your risk of several types of cancer, including:

– nose and sinus cancers
– oral cancers
– esophageal cancer
– pancreatic cancer

Using snuff also raises your risk of other conditions, such as:

– high blood pressure
– heart disease
– heart attack
– stroke

Because it’s addictive, snuff can be challenging to quit. If you’ve developed a snuff addiction or habit, make an appointment with your doctor.

A mental health counselor can help you overcome addiction and develop healthier habits. They can also help you control your triggers, manage withdrawal symptoms, and maintain your motivation.

When you stop using snuff, you’ll likely experience withdrawal symptoms. For example, you might experience:

– depression
– anger
– anxiety
– restlessness
– insomnia
– headaches
– weight gain

In time, these symptoms will start to subside, and you’ll begin to feel better.

Quitting also comes with many health benefits. Cutting snuff and other tobacco products from your life will lower your chances of developing cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

It’s not easy to break a snuff addiction. But with support from your family, friends, and doctor, you can kick your habit. A combination of nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medication, counseling, or other treatments can increase your chances of success.

It won’t happen in a day, but if you believe in yourself and stick with your tobacco cessation program, you can develop healthier habits. It’s time to leave tobacco behind for good.

Here’s a letter from HIS DIVINE GRACE AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to his disciple:
1. Letter to: Revatinandana

Los Angeles
9 January, 1974

My dear Revatinandana Swami,

> Insert irrelevant letter here

N.B. Regarding taking snuff, I myself take it sometimes at night because I am working at night on my books, and sometimes I become dizzy. But it is not for you to take. You should not imitate this, neither you work like me at night.

2. Here’s another letter:

Letter to: Brahmananda
Dated: Aug. 30, 1969
Location: Hamburg
Letter to: Brahmananda

My Dear Brahmananda,

> Insert irrelevant letter here

P.S. Please send my snuff pot when Hayagriva comes here. I could not get the __ snuff here.

3. A transcript of his conversation:

Room Conversation
Type: Conversation
Date: June 17, 1976
Location: Toronto

Prabhupāda: Everyone in government service, at least it is to be supposed they are all nasty men. Here also, why not? The other day the custom officer, unnecessary.

Hari-śauri: Completely unnecessary.

Prabhupāda: Unnecessarily. He is opening the snuff box, this box, that box. Unnecessarily. Not a gentleman. It is stated there, “snuff,” and he is bringing knife to open.

Jagadīśa: Harassment.

Prabhupāda: Everywhere. Rājanyaiḥ, dasyu-dharma. Simply wanting some bribe. They are in power. And that will increase. It will be impossible to deal with. Now it is already. In India, any work you want to be done by government, unless you bribe… In Africa also. The situation is becoming very dangerous. That Mullik’s Thakur, where he…?

4. Description of New York Temple and Conversation with Svarūpa Dāmodara
Type: Conversation
Date: June 21, 1977
Location: Vṛndāvana

Prabhupāda: [aside:] You have got increased snuff boxes?

Upendra: Er, one little one and that big one there. I’ll check to see if there’s any more.

5. Morning Walk
Type: Walk
Date: Feb. 18, 1976
Location: Māyāpur

Yaśodānandana: But some way or other, he has some respect for you, Prabhupāda, for the great work you have done, Chinmayananda Swami. He has some respect for you. He knows…

Prabhupāda: But he…, he wants to keep his prestigious position. [laughs]

Acyutānanda: Oh, yes.

Yaśodānandana: Yes. On your order, we shall try to hamper that.

Prabhupāda: No, tactfully.

Acyutānanda: Yes. By preaching your books.

Prabhupāda: Keep him as friend. He’s friendly. So don’t irritate him.

Acyutānanda: All right.

Yaśodānandana: I think the best way would be to out-preach him.

Prabhupāda: Out-preach him. Yes. [break]

Acyutānanda: …letter for our authorization to enter temples.

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Acyutānanda: You…, you sent him a letter for him to copy, and he did that on his letterhead, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. He is favorable.

Prabhupāda: Yes, he’s…

Acyutānanda: I met him once. He is addicted to snuff very, very much.

Prabhupāda: Constantly.

Acyutānanda: Even during his lectures he makes gestures so that he can take snuff without anybody knowing.

Yaśodānandana: And one of his favorite styles is that whenever he goes to a city, he always stays with elderly widows, very rich elderly widows, in their houses. Very strange.

6. Letter to: Yogesvara, Gurudasa, Digvijaya, Lesley, Yvonne, Jyotirmayi, Paul, Prithadevi, Purnananda, Tom, Lena, Dhananjaya, Inga, Mandakini, Tirthapada, Trivikrama, Yamuna, Jaya Hari
Dated: May 21, 1970
Location: Los Angeles
Letter to: Yogesvara, Gurudasa, Digvijaya, Lesley, Yvonne, Jyotirmayi, Paul, Prithadevi, Purnananda, Tom, Lena, Dhananjaya, Inga, Mandakini, Tirthapada, Trivikrama, Yamuna, Jaya Hari


I am so much thankful to you for your respective presentations—they are as follows: one golden cup, mysore sandal soap, some scent in snuff box, one picture of London Radha-Krsna Deities and one xeroxed interview report. So I shall be glad to know what is the contents and its formula in the box, then I can use it as snuff.

I beg to thank you once again for these gifts. Hope this will meet you all in very good health in Krsna Consciousness.

Where do I begin?
Should I begin with the fact that so many of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples knew he snorted tobacco yet seemed oblivious to it?

Wasn’t he the man who established the 4 regulative principles?
No meat eating
No gambling
No illicit sex?

Is tobacco an intoxicant or is it not?
So ISKCON members were prohibited from drinking tea, coffee, soft drinks and smoking or chewing tobacco.
But the founding ACHARYA was snorting tobacco in the middle of the night and nobody questioned him?

One guru Tamala Krishna Goswami even mentioned it in his diary.

I read HIS DIVINE GRACE’S biography written by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami and no snuff was ever mentioned.
I must’ve read that biography over a dozen times.

Was Satsvarupa unaware of HIS DIVINE GRACE’S tobacco snorting lilas?

Or should I begin with the verse from the Bhagavad Gita which was translated by HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C. Bhaktivedanata Swami Prabhupada?

I’m going to finish this with a verse from Bhagavad Gita As It Is; Chapter 3, Text 21 (Karma Yoga).

yad yad acarati sresthas
tat tad evetaro janah
sa yat pramanam kurute
lokas tad anuvartate

Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.

HIS DIVINE GRACE forbade us from all intoxicants.
But he was snorting tobacco while translating the scriptures.
And he put a huge emphasis on distributing those books.
So much that back in the day before I was born, devotees were acting like a bunch of criminals trying to sell those books.

And it’s not book distribution. It’s selling. It’s selling by force. Buy these books! Buy these books!
Shoving the books in the faces of people who didn’t want anything to do with cults created by tobacco snorting swamis.
I don’t even wanna get into that right now.

What should I do with my library of HIS DIVINE GRACE’S books?
What should I do when I open the Srimad Bhagavatam and read the purports? Should I be wondering if that particular purport was written under the influence of tobacco?

What should I do with the photo of HIS DIVINE GRACE in my altar? Should I go out and buy a box of DIVINE SNUFF to put next to his photo?

Since HIS DIVINE GRACE was taking snuff regularly, why don’t ISKCON temples offer a box of snuff along with the glass of water to HIS DIVINE GRACE’S deity every morning, afternoon and evening?

What should I do with the feeling of betrayal and anger in my heart?
What should I do with the pain in my heart after discovering this cover-up?

Why are ISKCON temples worshipping a founding acharya who snorted tobacco?

You do realize what’s going to happen next?
If you don’t know, you’ll know.

Most neophyte devotees do not read Srila Prabhupada’s letters.
Even senior devotees who have been in the movement for decades sometimes haven’t read Srila Prabhupada’s letters. Because there’s just so much to do. There are so many different services to do. And then of course, people have lives. They’ve got lives to maintain.
Everybody walks in naive and innocent and spends decades of their lives in this organization.
And when they question the guru falldowns and various scandals engulfing the movement, they are told to stop reading stuff on the internet. They are told to read HIS DIVINE GRACE’s books, chant 16 rounds and do their service. They are told to stop being envious. They are told to stop finding faults in Vaisnavas. The guru is as good as God. He can have no defects. Even if he snorts tobacco and demands you not to.

I spent over 2 decades in this movement, and now, when I finally decided to read the letters, this is what I find.
After reading one letter, I did a quick search and then discovered the others.

I’m pretty sure that some time in the next decade, these letters will disappear.
And nobody will know the their founding acharya HIS DIVINE GRACE was snorting tobacco until his final years.

This is the man, the legend, who abandoned his wife because she didn’t give up tea. Because tea is worse than tobacco.
But he couldn’t give up tobacco because he got dizzy while working on his books.
Only a bunch of retards would buy into his bogus excuses for snorting tobacco – getting dizzy.
I’m not.

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