By Visakha Priya dasi
Regarding the zero tolerance policy, what if the offenders have reformed themselves, are seriously practicing Krsna consciousness, and are inspiring newcomers to take up the process of Krsna consciousness?
Your appeal raises a very deep philosophical question, which threatens the very existence of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya, because the first child abuser in the creation is none other than the head of our sampradaya, Lord Brahma. And he is still alive and still the head of the sampradaya, and he will still be in that position long after we’ve all gone. (Krsna forgave him.)
Have you read Chapter 85 of the “Krsna” book? Srila Prabhupada is addressing the issue therein. This is not to say that child abusers should be allowed to continue in their wrong ways, but only Krsna is infallible and we all have so many ghastly things to our debit from countless lifetimes. If people are trying to reform themselves or have reformed themselves, do we need to hound them for the next ten thousand years? Tolerance (not of the sin, but of the sinner) is an essential part of our philosophy. Srila Prabhupada has remarked that without tolerance we are no better than the karmis. Again I wish to stress that criminal activities should not be tolerated, but even criminals (Valmiki, Mrgrari, and others) did reform themselves, and thereafter they were no longer branded as demons but honored as devotees.
If, by Krsna’s mercy, it is possible, please try not to misunderstand my intentions and feelings. I am not condoning the activities of child abusers. I myself have been carrying the weight of childhood abuse for more than half a century, and its effects are only now subsiding. But one thing I have learned from Srila Prabhupada’s books is that there is no such thing as injustice, and everyone reaps the fruit of their karma. Again this doesn’t mean that we should be left alone to lick our own wounds. We should be merciful to one another and try to alleviate one another’s misery. The way to eradicate sin in our society and in society at large is through massive, sincere, congregational chanting of the holy name–Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare–not through witches’ hunt.
Thank you for patiently reading all this. Hare Krsna.
Your servant, Visakha Priya dasi