Hansadutta Swami until 1984, when he gave up sannyasa and became known simply as Hansadutta Dasa (sometimes spelled Hamsaduta, also known as Hans Kary, alias Jack London, was born in Brunswick, Germany on May 27, 1941) is one of the senior disciples of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and formerly a guru within the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (commonly known as 'the Hare Krishnas' or ISKCON).
Founder-Acharya, Hansadutta became an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada in March, 1967.He assisted with the pioneering of the Hare Krishna movement, opening centers and preaching in Canada: Montrealand Vancouver; Europe: Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Russia; in USA: Boston, Berkeley; and in Asia: Turkey, Cairo, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Singaporeand Malaysia.
He was one of the leaders in publication (printing and distribution) of Srila Prabhupada's books, particularly in European languages, heading up the sales of books in Germany and North Europe, and in 1974 was appointed by Srila Prabhupada to serve as lifetime trustee of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. He was also appointed as a member of ISKCON's Governing Body Commission, and took turns serving as Srila Prabhupada's personal secretary. In 1976 Hansadutta took up the order of sannyasa.
While preaching in Sri Lanka in the year 1977, Hansadutta created a public sensation with his answer to a challenge by Dr. Abraham T. Kovoor, president of the Sri Lanka branch of the Rationalist Association, which exchange was published in the Colombo (Sri Lanka) Sunday Times.[dead link] Srila Prabhupada requested the exchange be included in his own publication of the title "Life Comes from Life".
ISKCON Guru, In July 1977, Hansadutta was one of eleven disciples named by Srila Prabhupada to act as rittvik representatives of the Acharya. Shortly after the death of Srila Prabhupada on November 14, 1977, it was announced that the eleven disciples had been designated as gurus, and as part of ISKCON's Zonal Acharya system, Hansadutta initiated disciples primarily within zones assigned to him, namely North America, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Philippines.
Expelled from ISKCON, In 1980, Hansadutta was arrested for possession of illegal weapons. On July 8th, 1983, the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON passed a resolution removing Hansadutta from ISKCON. In 1992 Hansadutta learnt that in fact he had never been excommunicated; ISKCON had merely removed him from his GBC role and the rosters of the society. In that very same year, ISKCON GBC sent Hansadutta a letter, "14 Guidelines for Welcoming Hansadutta Back to ISKCON", stipulating 14 terms and conditions which he must comply with in order to return to the Society.
Rittvik representative of the Acharya, At the same time, in 1993, Hansadutta published a collection of essays, letters and articles under the title Srila Prabhupada, His Movement and You, in which he presented arguments and evidence in support of continuation of the parampara (disciplic succession) by rittvik representation of the Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (Srila Prabhupada). At this time Hansadutta redirected all his former "disciples" to regard Srila Prabhupada as their spiritual master, and began to initiate new disciples on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, as "rittvik representative of the Acharya".
BBT Courtcase - In 1997, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc. and ISKCON of California, Inc. initiated legal action against Hansadutta, seeking court declaration that Srila Prabhupada's Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (California, 1972) was not a legal entity and/or Hansadutta was not a legal trustee of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. On November 13th, 1998, Hansadutta agreed to a stipulated court settlement that effectively terminated any claims he might have had to being a trustee of theBhaktivedanta Book Trust conditional upon receipt of an undisclosed cash settlement and license to publish the original, unrevised books of Srila Prabhupada.
Current Status - In 2003, Hansadutta suffered a heart attack. He is living now in Cloverdale, California and continues to serve Srila Prabhupada as rittvik representative of the Acharya.