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Letter from Dhanurdhara Swami to the devotees

Wednesday, 21 June 2006 / Published in Discussion, Ongoing debates / 5,602 views

Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

The recent suicide of Ananda, and Shakuntala’s letter, has brought renewed attention and scrutiny to my past mistakes. I deeply regret these mistakes and the harm they have caused. Though I can’t say I realize all the pain I have inflicted, I have witnessed the strong emotions of those I have harmed and know their wounds are deep. I’d like to reiterate my pledge to continue to meet gurukula alumni, beg for their forgiveness, and to offer whatever help I can.

But despite my efforts to accept responsibility for my mistakes and the periodic reciprocation I receive from the victims, this controversy continues to brew and I now believe that only a radical solution will resolve the issue. Therefore I will step away from ISKCON and perform devotional service outside the institution. I do this as a service to Srila Prabhupada’s Society and to ISKCON’s youth. I plan to live a simple, repentant life, where I hope my presence will not disturb others, taking shelter of the holy name and my godbrothers. I hope this will be a step toward mending the great rift that seems so destructive to our Society.

I plan to continue to encourage my disciples to live and serve in ISKCON wherever their faith will be respected. I request the GBC and all devotees to consider their welfare when dealing with this issue.

If the wounds of those so deeply affected can be healed and a new strength for Srila Prabhupada’s movement achieved, that would be a great blessing. I will continue to seek and help those I have offended, which is my most crucial work for this movement.

With deepest regret for the trouble I have caused,

Dhanurdhara Swami

“This letter is an independent letter from Dhanurdhara Swami and in no way reflects the views of the GBC body. The GBC body will issue it’s own statement within a matter of days”

Praghosa dasa.

4 Responses to “Letter from Dhanurdhara Swami to the devotees”

  1. Al Wolf says :

    Al Wolf wrote:

    Now I feel like criticising. This seems like a cop out to me. He should not quit and tell his disciples to stay in. He can take a humble position if he likes and wash pots, the temple floor, and the like if he wants to be a mendicant.

    Why leave ISKCON to do it? What kind of example is this? He should stay and suffer or in any case just give up his big big position if he wants to satisfy those gurukulis who won\’t be satisfied with anything less.

    This is my opinion.

  2. omtatsat says :

    Al Wolf suggests that now Maharaja shouldn’t leave ISKCON? This is where it gets obnoxious! First people want him to step down and to relinquish any honorary status in ISKCON….then when he does so, that’s STILL not enough.

    “He should stay and suffer…the gurukulis won’t be satisfied with anything less.”

    Wow! That’s so twisted, so adamantly vindictive! Clearly we can see that even as Maharaja prepares to do what has been asked of him, still the opinion of some is that he shouldn’t leave; now he should stay and “suffer”.

    When does it end? Please Mr. Wolf….move on with you life and allow Dhanurdhara Swami to do the same.

  3. Jagai-Nitai says :

    Dear readers,

    I feel, after a lot of thought and introspection, that there is something fundamentally wrong with the approach and process toward the persecution of Dhanurdhara Swami. I feared writing this opinion, due to the present overwhelming sentiment and the potential backlash I may incur in defending the accused, but still I can not help but feel that the basic rights of due process have been trampled under the feet of the “save Iskcon from the abusers” movement.

    The emotional and explicit letters, the petition, and the repeated judgments by Iskcon authorities all point to a system of justice within our society that is flawed. In short, in all honest societies, every human being has the natural right, to a bare minimum of fairness or due process. In criminal cases, it ensures that an accused person will not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.

    For example, Article One, section 9, of the US constitution prohibits ex post facto laws. An ex post facto law is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of acts committed prior to the enactment of the law. It may criminalize actions that were legal when committed; or aggravate a crime by bringing it into a more severe category than it was at the time it was committed; or change or increase the punishment prescribed for a crime, such as adding new penalties or extending terms. This is exactly what the petition prescribes for Dhanurdhara Swami. To strip him of his Iskcon standing after a judgment has been passed down to him. Also we find in the 5th amendment, the prohibition of double jeopardy or prosecuting someone again for a crime on which a final judgment is already passed.

    After reading the CPO verdict and judgment on Dhanurdhara Maharaja, and reading the previous judgments handed to him by the GBC, I feel that he has had his fair share of penalty and persecution. Iskcon is not a democratically elected body. We don’t have the luxury of harassing a local congress man for governmental change. If the devotees at large don’t like the way Iskcon handles its criminals then the fair thing to do is change the system. Create a way in which the public can change the governing laws for the future prosecution of criminals. But the continuous retroactive persuasion of GBC and CPO judgments by angry citizens through emotionally charged articles and petitions is tantamount to mob justice.

    Again, I don’t want to be labeled as an enemy of children, a supporter of abusers or whatever fiery words that can be brandished to evade the subject. My point is fairness, justice, due process, not only for the victims but for the criminals as well.

    If you would like to read more about due process I have included links to wikipedia. Portions of this opinion where copied directly from wikipedia entries.

    Due process – Ex post facto law – Double jeopardy –


    Thank You.

    Your Servant,

    Jagai-Nitai Dasa

  4. muniraja dasa says :

    ksamaya rocate laksmir
    brahmi sauri yatha prabha
    ksaminam asu bhagavams
    tusyatu harir isvarah

    “The duty of a brahmana is to culture the quality of forgiveness, which is illuminating like the sun. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is pleased with those who are forgiving.” (SB 9.15.40)

    Also humbly reminding that as far as I have understood, cultured persons also point out positive aspects of a person while there is a need to critisize.

    It is also seen in the history of our movement, that sometimes when persons who are in
    fault humbly admit their defects , and try their best to rectify, stay nicely situated, or go up, while the criticizers of them start their journey down.

    Your servant Muniraja dasa