Sunday, April 5, 2009

Agni Hotra

After Chip's post on '90s Krishnacore I thought of Agni Hotra and how good they were. So I decided to post their releases (at least the ones I know of, and own). Agni Hotra was a Krishna-conscious band from Poland in the mid to late '90s. I got their releases through a Polish friend and was, and still am, quite into them. They went through some stylistic changes, not to mention starting out with a male singer and ending with a female singer. But they maintained a high level throughout their releases.

The 'Protect Your Friends' demo from 1995 kicks things off the right way. Upbeat hardcore, great songs, lotsa enthusiasm and sweet back-up vocals. A really good demo, and the title-track rules. The last track goes into a long recording of a group of Krishna's chanting and after that the band does the intro for 'Warriors' (by UK punk/oi band Blitz, tho among the hardcore community better known by the cover Judge did). Unfortunately it fades out so I'm not sure why this was added to the end, but maybe they used to do this cover at their live shows. Either way, this demo is good stuff for sure!

Their first album 'Govinda', from 1996, continued the sound from the demo and added some new sounds to it. To me, this is the least of their releases, since it sounds at times like the band was searching for a new sound but couldn't quite get there yet. Nonetheless, the album is pretty good and the re-recording of 'Protect Your Friends' is great, and the cover of Minor Threat's 'Straight Edge' is pretty decent. But I wish they had taken some more time to work on these songs, this album could've been so much better.

It took them until 2000 to have another album released, called 'Krsna'. At this point a girl had taken over vocal duties, and they had changed their style completely. And to me, while I like their older stuff, this CD is what separated Agni Hotra from other bands. It took me a while to get into, but damn, it's g-o-o-d. I'm sure a lot of people from Poland back in the day will disagree with me, but this is their best release as far as I'm concerned. It's softer at times tho not soft like Baby Gopal, it is quite layered, the female vocals are mostly soft but still compliment even the harder tracks very well... I can't think of any band that sounds like this Agni Hotra incarnation. Give it a chance!

I couldn't find a site or myspace for Agni Hotra, but here's a 'video' for the title-track of their demo:


Agni Hotra - Protect Your Friends demo
Agni Hotra - Govinda CD
Agni Hotra - Krsna CD

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

"so much more better"... now that i teach english 5 hours a day, ... "more better" isn't grammatical ....
but we could look at how my dutch is coming along and then revisit this question... ;)
-kathryn

Anonymous said...

jesus, i have obviously not been online much lately! can't even comment on a blog without erring! bah... how embarrasing, it's not so incorrect it merited saying three times! and that sentence of mine is funky too. to much grammar teaching!

XemonerdX said...

I corrected it especially for you, Kathryn :) Also deleted your 2 duplicate comments. I hope you'll find some music on my blog that you can appreciate.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ibtimes.com/swami-prabhupada-founder-hare-krishna-movement-virulent-racist-anti-semite-1412102

Anonymous said...

One thing that always bugged the shit out of me about Krishnacore was Vic and Ray’s cult guru. A creepy fuck named “Dhanurdhara”. Supposedly, a former amateur boxer. He was at one time a teacher in a Krishna cult school, a place where horrors abounded. He did stuff like break a little kid’s ribs. I’m not making this up. If you don’t know the back-story, or don’t believe me, you’ll find the following quote on Vic Dicara dot com: “I met my guru, Sripad Dhanurdhara Swami, who initiated me into the maha-mantra in 1992…” Or copy-paste the search terms “raghunath” and “dhanurdhara” into Youtube. Erik Davis’ 1995 article from SPIN magazine about Krishnacore also mentions Dhanurdhara, and some of the cast of characters orbiting the mosh 4 Krishna scene. If memory serves, Norman Brannon also had some connection to Dhanurdhara. Quite possibly, he was Norm’s “guru” as well. I’m a little fuzzy on those details…at the moment. And Google isn’t really cooperating. All I get is a Scanner Zine interview, where Norm (post-Krishna) says: “I mean, I would still count the guru that initiated me into the movement as one of the most important people in my life.”

In the mid-to-late-ish-90s, I remember coming across a fairly-extensive, and genuinely disturbing, website by people who had grown up in, and been abused in, Hare Krishna cult schools. Telling their stories. Really sad stuff. I have a hard time imagining how I would have turned out, had I gone through what they went through. Really heart-stomping and soul-crushing shit. One name that kept coming up repeatedly as one of the abusers was “DDS”. It took me a while to make the connection that DDS was Dhanurdhara Swami.

Anyway, below is a link to a webpage from the Krishna cult. There’s some HK gobbledygook to wade through, but if you just scroll about half-way down the page, you’ll find a 12-item list of some of what this Dhanurdhara guy did to kids. Throwing kids into marble walls, and kicking them after they hit the ground. Sometimes beating kids until they passed out. Etc. Dude def gives off a psychopathic vibe. Seemingly unrepentant to this day. Apart from a few insincere-sounding and face-saving apologies. All for show. So culty that even the main Krishna cult kicked him out. He now lives on the fringes of the Krishna cult scene, financially supported by disciples, giving talks with Cappo at yoga studios and similar events. Just blows my mind.

I remember, also some time in the 90s, coming across a tape of a talk that Dhanurdhara gave, where he name-drops Mikey Prema, and talks about Krishnacore. Also, sorta look like Richard Gere in some pics.

http://www.chakra.org/discussions/succApr28_07.html

Anonymous said...

Snippet from the Franklin Rhi interview from issue 7 of Conversations with Punx zine:

"The first band I joined was 108. That band had a lot of spirit. You felt that on stage. Everyone in the band was a devotee. The more people you have that follow the exact same thing makes things a lot stronger on stage. Visually people feel it. Vic [DiCara] was living in the temple, Rob [Fish] was living in the temple, and I was living in the temple. Same thing with Shelter. People can see straight up if you’re following what you are preaching. I don’t really want to spill dirt on any body’s lap but, some of the things I saw in those bands also drove me away from the whole spirituality thing."

http://conversationswithbianca.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Conversations-With-Punx-Zine-7-Gratitude-by-Bianca-Valentino-+-Franklin-Rhi-interview.jpg

Vraja Kishor / Vic DiCara said...

Regarding the accusations about my Guru…

Regarding the 12-item list. Please bear in mind that it is not a list of things he “did” but a list of things he is accused of doing. The degree of veracity in the claims was never ascertained clearly, largely because ISKCON simply paid off the victims to stop complaining. (Which does not reflect kindly on either side. It shows ISKCON as a group who will just cough up money to cover its tracks, and it shows the complainants as not being particularly bent on truth and justice either).

7-12 must posses some truth, but the truth they possess pertains 90% to factors that were simply outside Dhanurdhara Swāmī’s ability to control, as an individual human being.

1-6, on the other hand, are more substantial because they are specific and they pertain to things more fully in his control as an individual. As these are accusations from witnesses seeking redress, it is prudent to consider that there is some degree of exaggeration or slanting involved in the wording. Taking that out of the way, we still have troubling accusations. But these accusations, of course, make no effort to specify the circumstances (specific, historical, and cultural) in which these actions may have taken place.

As far as I am concerned, I met Dhanurdhara Swāmī in 1990 and became extremely close. I lived with him (often even in the same room), ate with him, traveled with him, etc, for about six years intensively, and all told, I have now known him for about 24 years. It is safe to say that I know him well. In all the time I have known him, he has only showed exemplary, honorable character, particularly noteworthy for broadmindedness, optimism, patience, and impartiality.

During three or four of the years I spent closely living with him he was still the headmaster of the Vrindavan Gurukula School. I lived with him in that school for months at a time over that period of years. In my personal experience the students were as comfortable with him as could be expected of any students with any prinicipal/ headmaster. In fact, I would say they were more comfortable and more happy with him than is normal for such a relationship.

Additionally, my brother in law, with whom I am very close, was a student in the school entering as a young boy and graduating several years later. He expresses nothing but respect and gratitude for his experience in the school, including his relationships with the teachers and with Dhanurdhara Swami.

This being the case, it is very difficult for me to believe that items 1-6 are impartially described. It seems to me that they must have occurred under extreme circumstances, and they must be at least partially exaggerated.

As to the obnoxious claim that Dhanurdhara Swami is a “creepy fuck” who "gives off a psychotic vibe” — everyone experience reality in their own subjective way. Whomever reads this and cares enough would be best advised to seek their own experience of Dhanurdhara Swami and judge for themselves. If you live near New York City, you can often meet him at The Bhakti Center (http://bhakticenter.org). It is best to meet someone in person, but if that is not possible one can also get to know him through his website (http://wavesofdevotion.com).

Anonymous said...

"...Dhanurdhara Swami is one of the worst child abusers within the Hare Krishna Movement. He is responsible for ruining the lives of many children who were under his care when he was a teacher in one of the movement’s boarding schools. He was never brought to justice."

- Priya Wells

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"By his own admission, Dhanurdhara swami is guilty of abusing young boys by severely beating them. The young man Ananda had his nose broken when Dhanurdhara swami smashed his face into a brick wall. This was witnessed by several boys who were his students at the time."

- S. Carolan

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"Dhanudhara Swami crimes were recorder and he confessed most of them to Child Protection Office of ISKCON."

- D. Mainieri

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"...was responsible for serious physical abuse of the children placed in the Hare Krsna religious school known as Gurukula. Recently one of those children, grown to adulthood, comitted suicide in large part due to his difficulty in dealing with the aftermath. While Dhanurdhara was initially censured by ISKCON he has since been reinstated as if nothing ever happened, much as Catholic priests are shipped to a new parish and allowed to resume their activities."

- T. McDaniels

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"Unfortunately for the victims of Dhanurdhara swami, there will be no trial by judge or jury because the crimes were committed in India, outside the jurisdiction of US law."

- S. Carolan

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"One might ask why I will not provide this evidence here? That is because the original censure was conducted by an impotent office within the institution that had no power to enforce its rulings, and the Higher Governing Body that chartered the impotent 'Child Protection Office' is documented to have assisted the Swami in circumventing the conditions of punishment issued by the CPO itself!!

"Thus barring the involvement of an impartial Judiciary authorized by the State in which the crime took place, the whole affair of 'trial' and 'punishment' was merely a face saving Charade, and has no teeth.

"Anyway, one can read the testimony of the many people who testified on the 'unofficial' public record and among friends by doing a google search. The dastardly nature of this particular case has prompted many people to document their outcry over the years on dozens of internet sites."

- Bala Dasa

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"If you are really think that it is OK for 40 year old man to beat 8 year old in the face with the fist until blood start to come out of his ears, than there is something wrong with you too."

- D. Mainieri

----------------------------------

Anonymous said...

http://books.google.ca/books?id=wcE0AwAAQBAJ&pg=PA139&lpg=PA139&dq=%22The+Strange+Tale+of+How+the+Hare+Krishnas+Came+To+Play+Hardcore+Punk%22&source=bl&ots=4JciIMCPD0&sig=_ISw-kpfV6tF9AiiRMx-PCLXz2c&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wxM-VPDWJNKZyATLxIHICw&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22The%20Strange%20Tale%20of%20How%20the%20Hare%20Krishnas%20Came%20To%20Play%20Hardcore%20Punk%22&f=false

Anonymous said...

there is also the suicide of ananda mcclure. former student of dhanurdhara’s. gunshot to the head. thanks, dhanurdhara

words taken from a krsna cult website:

“It can be a bit difficult to discuss Dhanurdhara objectively with his disciples, since they are trained up to view him as perfect and to develop a strong emotional attachment – but we shall do our best. (…)

“Actually, we really believe that Dhanurdhara’s disciples should also separate from him because we believe their attraction to him is actually unhealthy. It is somewhat well-known that Dhanurdhara’s following comes primarily from the Krishnacore music scene, which is a sub-genre of hardcore punk music. This genre of music is known for passion and volume, slam dancing, mosh pits, and generally rebelling against society. It is a truism that people attracted to this scene have actually experienced a lot of repression or abuse, and the music and dancing is a way of expressing their anger at what has been done to them. Just look at some of the names of the Krishnacore bands, their albums, and their songs. There are names such as:

“Opposition, Request Denied, Slave, Killer of the Soul, Threefold Misery, Break the Flow, Cause for Alarm, Beneath the Wheel, Shattered, Deceived, Enemy, Force-fed Reality, Lord of Wrath, and best of all, Screaming for Change.

“So if we may speak to Dhanurdhara’s disciples in their own language, the gurukulis see Dhanurdhara as a ‘Killer of the Soul’ and a ‘Lord of Wrath’ who ‘Shattered’ and ‘Deceived’ and ground his students ‘Beneath the Wheel,’ and we are now ‘Screaming for Change.’ In truth, we believe that Dhanurdhara’s disciples and the abused gurukulis actually have something in common and have been through similar experiences.

“Actually, we believe that the attraction to Dhanurdhara is probably based on abusive relationships from the past; and maintaining relationships with persons who are abusive or who cause pain is called ‘masochism.’ That is why we said the relationship with Dhanurdhara is unhealthy. In effect, it is really maintaining a relationship with the very thing that is being rebelled against. So this is something for Dhanurdhara’s disciples to think about, and to see if what we have written here resonates with their own personal truths.”

Anonymous said...

https://www.facebook.com/krishnamemes

Anonymous said...

vic dicara writes, in ‘i was a teenage hare krishna’:

“A local straightedge kid spent the night at the temple so he could experience the self-realization effects of the early-morning Hare Krishna ceremonies. He never made it to the morning services, because he experienced the self-realization effects of an anal rape from a devotee in the ashram.”

Anonymous said...

also from vic's iwathk. btw, “rv swami” is dhanurdhara:

“See, Hare Krishna’s usually send their kids off to boarding schools where truly disgusting degrees of sexual, physical, and emotional torture was inflicted on them. All manner of rapes – including young girls being gang raped on a schedule, and young boys being anal raped at such young ages that they sometimes required stitches, and outright physical violence – resulting in scores of broken noses and bones; and the headquarters of it all: the school in the holy village outside of New Delhi.

“Who was the Principal of that school? RV Swami – my guru.

“Out of all the wackos in the Hare Krishna Movement, I thought RV Swami was one person who really had it together and represented the true spirit of Krishna consciousness. Now I was not so sure.” (...)

“The final straw came when the airplanes smashed into the twin towers. My guru sent out letters telling a disciple of his who lived near the disaster that he need not make any conventional effort to assist the disaster relief, and should instead try to preach to people about Hare Krishna.”

Anonymous said...

Madhusudani Radha's article "The Dhanurdhara Swami Case" used to be available on Chakra.org. But no longer. Here's an excerpt:

----------------------------------

"One former student describes them as follows: 'Dhanurdhara would call them up in front of the kids during the assembly... Position the kid in front of him so that they would both be facing the other children. Pull him by the ears, twist the ears and then smack him with both open hands on the ears and cheeks... And he wouldn't only smack once or twice. You never knew how much it would be. It seemed to me, that the more and longer he could talk about it, the more he would smack while talking. During the whole scene, everybody had to stare straight ahead and see what was happening to this boy. And the boy had to just stand there with his hands folded, just like all the others. And if he dared to put his hands up to the side of his head to protect himself, DDS would scream 'put your hands down!' And smack him even more...

"Needless to say, the kid would be crying, and after some smacking would be shuffled towards the other kids and told 'go stand back in line!' The only feelings I can remember from such times is extreme fear, and my heart was pounding. I remember feeling pressure and heat rise to my head where I would feel like my eyes would pop out. Sweat would sometimes break out. I would fight back tears. There was an extreme feeling of vulnerability... Nowhere to turn for help, no way to defend yourself. Being all alone in this environment with no end in sight. I would push back memories of these events as soon as the assembly was over. It was the only thing I could do. Anything to take my mind off it... I had my favorite spot towards the middle of the line which was along the right wall, close to where the gong was suspended. I didn't want to be up front, because that would make you the first target in case someone like [ ] got out of control. I can still feel what it was like to have or to witness this..."

Anonymous said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og5fsDnrsYM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0GJKip0sjw

Anonymous said...

http://geoffsshorts.blogspot.ca/2011/12/prabhupada-hare-krishnas-founder-on.html

Anonymous said...

https://www.facebook.com/revhq/posts/113251828719518

Anonymous said...

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/ten-thousand-saints-sundance-review-766612

Anonymous said...

An old quote from Visvareta dasa: "Then I brought up the subject of my sexual abuser. They found out that a brahmachari in Vrindavan was molesting me. Dhanurdhar and Niragadev came and confronted me with it. I refused at the time to admit to anything for fear of being beaten. Within a month, the guy was gone from Vrindavan. I hadn't known where he'd gone to until this trip. He'd been sent from Vrindavan where he'd molested at least one kid for over a year continuously to New Mayapur, France where he was made a teacher and continued to molest and rape children (girls and boys). Dhanurdhar treated this subject, which was a total surprise to him, with callousness. (My impression is that he had calculated responses to the various issues he expected to face and was delivering them at me with surprising effectiveness. I almost believed the guy was sincere until this.) I lost my temper, grabbed his walking stick (which was about the size of a kids baseball bat) and hit him with it. I hit him twice, once on each leg, all the while yelling at him. At this point, the guy in the other room comes running and opens the door and tries to intervene. I shoved him out of the room and kicked the door shut so hard it cracked the frame. I then hit Dhanurdhar one more time as hard as I could in the arm, threw the stick down and left in disgust."

kathryn said...

aaargh! "this file has expired and doesn't exist anymore"! :p want...

XemonerdX said...

Re-upped them! Enjoy!