Update From NA EC
Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Please find below an official statement from the NA GBC Officers, as well as a public letter written by Gandharvika dasi, of Philadelphia, regarding an incident between Ravindra Svarupa das and Gandharvika dasi last April. Recent internet attention to this situation has made it important for us to update you on the positive resolution of this matter through a mediation with ISKCONResolve, to the mutual satisfaction of both parties.
Thank you. Hare Krsna.
Your servants’ humble servant,
Nityananda dasa (Chair)
Official Statement From THE NA EC Officers
Mediation Results between Ravindra Svarupa dasa and Gandharvika dasi
Recent public postings regarding Ravindra Svarupa dasa, his disciple Gandharvika dasi and an incident that occurred between them last April in the Philadelphia Temple raised concerns among ISKCON members about the well-being of both of these devotees. After looking into the actual event and talking to both Gandharvika and Ravindra Svarupa it was concluded that this issue would best be addressed through the means of mediation.
On Sunday July 15th Yogesvara prabhu of ISKCON Resolve, a trained mediator and senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada, met with Ravindra Svarupa, Gandharvika and Jahnava dasi (a friend of Gandharvika’s) to help resolve these concerns in an open, honest and Vaishnava manner.
As explained in Gandharvika’s recent public letter (below), the several hours of mediation were helpful and healing. Mutual understanding, regret for mistakes that were made, and their continued affection for each other were clarified and expressed.
It was determined during the mediation that during the April exchange Ravindra Svarupa had raised his foot in a gesture of frustration, but he had no intention to make contact with or harm Gandharvika. Slight contact was made, however, and Gandharvika dasi was naturally upset by this. While this was inappropriate behavior, it is our judgment that it was not pastoral abuse. Ravindra Svarupa later apologized for his mistake and expressed his regret.
It is noteworthy that until now the only information widely known about these issues was a complaint letter against Ravindra Svarupa written and made public by a third party who was not witness to the event. In fact, Gandharvika directly asked the author of that email letter, Mahapurusha dasa, not to send it. She later said that it was exaggerated and inflammatory.
Matters were made more difficult when, reacting to a public call for action, an investigation was announced by Romapada Swami before either Gandharvika or Ravindra Svarupa had been officially spoken to about the incident. Maharaja and the North American leaders acknowledge this error and offer their sincere apologies to all those affected. We also understand that Mahapurusha tried to contact ISKCONResolve through an incorrect e-mail address listed on their website (since corrected). Resolve has apologized to him for that error.
Despite all these complications, we are pleased that this situation was resolved through mediation to the satisfaction of both Gandharvika prabhu and Ravindra Svarupa prabhu.
As devotees, we all know that despite our best intentions, mistakes are made and conflicts arise within our society. In the Internet age especially, problems both real and imagined can become globalized and exacerbated overnight. All ISKCON devotees need to be vigilant to ensure that our members are protected and respected. Yet, we must also be careful that conflicts and claims of impropriety within our society are met with a balanced response, respect, and careful analysis before any conclusions are drawn.
We are grateful to the efforts of Yogesvara prabhu and ISKCON Resolve, and for the sincerity of Gandharvika prabhu and Ravindra Svarupa prabhu in seeing this issue resolved in a fair and Vaishnava manner.
Letter from Gandharvika Prabhu.
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
It’s been over a week since Mahapurusa’s letter about my incident between Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu and myself has gone public, but it feels much longer due to everything that I’ve gone through since then. From the start, I’d been encouraged to write a response, but I was hesitant to do so. I had hoped that the topic would die down. By writing something I might cause more controversy and would prolong the spectacle. I had feared that whatever I wrote might be twisted or taken out of context and used against me or Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu. But I’ve had enough requests for a statement that I felt the need to finally compose something.
The letter which Mahapurusa posted was written and sent out without my permission. When he had told me before that he was going to go public with my incident, I begged him not to. On the day the letter came out, I wouldn’t have known that the letter had been posted, if not for a devotee friend telling me. I haven’t heard from Mahapurusa since.
The incident as described by Mahapurusa was exaggerated, but something did happen. I wanted to deal with this incident privately, in my own way and at my own pace, without dragging it through the public arena. All this attention had only made it more difficult and had complicated matters. Since the initial letter has been posted, I have kept in contact with representatives from ISKCON Resolve and the North American GBC, working through these channels toward a resolution. Throughout this process, I’ve been given nothing but support and encouragement for my spiritual and mental and physical well being, and for that I’m very grateful.
I am glad to say that both Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu and myself have met with a mediator and have been able to successfully and happily reconciled our difficulties through the medium of ISCKON Resolve. Currently, I am taking steps to leave the Philadelphia temple. I want to make it understood that I’m not being kicked out: this is my own decision, since I believe it will be a step toward improving my own Krishna Consciousness. This is, and always has been, a personal matter, despite the articles that have been written and discussions made. I ask the assembled Vaisnavas to respect our privacy. Thank you.
-Gandharvika devi dasi
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