Domestic violence

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By Kavicandra Swami

In the last few months several matajis have approached me for help regarding abusive husbands. Today I received this letter from a male devotee:

I am writing to you with some concerns. Over the past few years, I’ve seen much abuse towards women, especially in the past year. Why do we treat women like they are second class citizens? I’ve seen many women in ISKCON hurt and mistreated. I am requesting that at your next yearly GBC meeting in Mayapura, the GBC council will pass a resolution or law promoting proper treatment of women in ISKCON. I hope the resolution would also address some of the past abuses and mistakes that have occured toward women. Let’s take care of the women and stop the injustices.

Thank you for hearing my concerns.

We do have such resolutions, but clearly they are not known to all, and then some who do know of them consider them to be “not vedic”. In my travels I have noticed much concern for this issue from many angles. In west Afrca the government has posted many signboards promoting domestic non-violence. Today I heard His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada saying “ahimsa param dharma”. Ahimsa means more than being vegetarian. While walking through the Metro station in Singapore I noticed these signs at the “BODY SHOP”.

“tams titiksava arjuna”

The GBC does have a committee that hopes to help victims and to teach devotees to always act on a spiritual level. Anyone who needs help can contact Radha dasi at

rebecca@shelterfromthestorm.com

This has been announced also here: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=2560

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1 Pandu das

Hare Krishna. I fail to see how there can be any kind of abuse in a Vaishnava society, that devotees would think that is OK. Yet it happens, and apparently has happened a lot. When one devotee abuses another, or anyone, it hurts all of us.

In the purport to Isopanisad, mantra ten, Srila Prabhupada says, “(1) One should become a perfect gentleman and learn to give proper respect to others.” What kind of crooked person can read this and think it’s acceptable Vaishnava conduct to insult or even hit his wife or his children or anyone?

There are thousands of similar statements by Srila Prabhupada telling us to conduct ourselves so that everyone develops appreciation for the Krishna consciousness movement. For anyone trying to advance in devotoinal service, there should be no question of committing abuse; therefore in cases where there is abuse, we should not hesitate to refer the matter for criminal investigation. As Krishna says in B.g. 10.38, “Among all means of suppressing lawlessness I am punishment…”

Comment posted by Pandu das on July 31st, 2008
2 Unregistered

Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gives a beautifully concise summary of ahimsa, or non-violence in his superexcellent commentary on the 37th Verse of the 7th Chapter of the Second Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

How is it that I can conceive of myself at the ultimate stage and a devotee of the Lord, if I am not humble and prideless and therefore fundamentally unable to avoid being mean and cruel to other living entities? What to speak of being respectful and tolerant. Or training the senses for controlled action. In fact, if I am unable to express such ahimsa in my dealings with others in the world, how can I truly believe that my consciousness has evolved at all or that I’ve made any real inner progress towards the aspirant genuine development of True Divine Love?

There are those who are mistakenly disposed to consider violence based upon their particular subjective interpretation of Divine Teachings. Unfortunately, history is fraught with many examples of “religious” violence. In the time of Lord Buddha, even the brahmanas themselves became so corrupted with an obsessive attachment with the taste for the blood of bulls that they attempted to co-opt sacred Vedic sacrifice to attempt satisfaction of the unbridled lust of their own senses. This necessitated Lord Buddha apparently preaching against Vedic philosophy in order to circumvent blatant ideological misconception and consequential misrepresentation which had been allowed to flourish to catastrophic proportion in it’s violent manifestations against the animals subsequently slaughtered. All in the “name” of religion. Lord Buddha taught that if this violent display was considered religion, then religion itself must be considered a harmful influence on the real inner progressive development of an individual soul. In other words, if my so-called religious practice causes me to become harmful and cruel to other souls in the “name” of God, then never mind about my “religion.” First, I must learn to treat others with respect which requires natural humility. And tolerance. If I cannot imbibe such preliminary spiritual teachings as espoused in Mahaprabhu’s Third Beautiful Precept, then possibly my presumed apparent qualification and inclination to pursue more advanced Divine Lessons or Higher Teachings are merely delusory manifestations of false ego barely disguised as “religiosity” and possibly my so-called devotion is only imaginary. Maybe I’m not really religious after all.

Comment posted by jagabandhu dasa on August 1st, 2008

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Post Date: Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
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