Sometimes I can be helpful. Take the below, where I alert the Hare Krishnas here to an impostor in their midst. Or is he for real? Links in this post do not appear in the e-mail I've sent. Contact details taken from here.
Dear Mayesvara and Syamananda,
I'm writing to alert you to an impersonator in Dublin who is attempting to bring the good name of your organisation into disrepute.
He stopped me last Thursday on Henry Street and introduced himself as a travelling Yoga teacher asking for donations for Dublin's Hare Krishna temple.
He had no identification, and while his distinctive haircut suggested a monk I felt this was not enough to ensure authenticity. I recalled that your parent organisation had declared bankruptcy to avoid paying compensation to child sex abuse victims, and I asked him if he could explain this approach to me. This may have seemed a mite harsh but I was sure anyone authorised by your temple to collect money would have been appropriately briefed to discuss this matter with tact and compassion.
Imagine my surprise when he dismissed the scandal by saying that every organisation has occasional problems! He would not be drawn on this and considered what I'm sure you acknowledge as a dark and troubling time for your organisation as no worse than the day to day operations of the River Island clothing store he stood outside.
For a further test, I asked him where he stood on the issue of equality between the sexes. He said that women were certainly virtuous in their ability to bear children, but that men's brains were larger. He affirmed the curiously exact figure of 64 ounces for men and 32 ounces for women.
Momentarily aghast at the profound depths of self delusion I saw, I said something along the lines of "next thing you'll be telling me the moon landing was faked." This seemed to make him particularly irate. He was quite certain the moon landing was faked and while I confess I didn't fully follow him (he had something of an accent) he seemed to be saying that the moon is further from us than the sun.
At this point he was making a bit of a scene and I wanted to exit the conversation, so per the Charities Act 2009 I asked to see his sealed collection box and Garda permit. As you're likely aware, anyone soliciting cash donations requires both; he had neither. At this point he grew quite defensive, said that as a religion he wasn't subject to the law, grabbed me by the arm, and warned me in ominous tones that I was insulting his superiors, and that this was a bad idea.
He then stormed off, displaying a lack of emotional control I am sure is not common amongst your monks.
I was tempted to leave it there but over the course of the past week I've also seen him talking to folk on O'Connell Street. I know you'll be eager to track him down and prevent further reputational damage - he seems to focus on the evening rush hour. He's quite tall, maybe 6'5", thin, tanned, with blonde hair - I've already mentioned the haircut. I've warned my friends to avoid him. If you'd care to repudiate the views he outlined (or indeed offer your own answers) I'll be sure to pass on the correction to anyone I know interested in the matter.
I hope he gets the help he clearly needs.
All the best,
Note: I'm not making this up. Everything above happened as described last Thursday. What do you think? Real monk or fake? I'll let you know if I get a response.