Dhanurdhara Swami & the Gurukula’s Faustadian Bargin

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Proceed With Caution
I am hesitant to enter into the philosophical discussion that has evolved in regards to how best to manage the Danudhara Swami conundrum because I believe Satyaraja has already done an excellent job reminding anyone who wants to have the honor to wear tilok on their forehead, that they are expected to think, behave, and carryout jurisprudence on a higher standard then a hate filled vigil anti lynch mob.

The fact that some of our Vaishnava Youth were seriously traumatized for many unfathomable reasons, during their prime development years makes any introspection about ISKCON gurukula and Dhanurdhara Swami a very delicate discussion that must be approached with extreme caution and code-red sensitivity by all sides.

Child abuse is so heinous that it becomes virtually inexcusable for anyone to not immediately send out the posy to find the perpetrators and then commensurate with those who have been mistreated. That is understandably an essential part of the healing process, but we must also be careful not to make the mistake of falling into a frenzied “Group Think” mentality that can become so vitriolic we stamped over the Vaishnava principals that His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami entrusted us to preserve!

That is exactly why I appreciate the good scriptural evidence Satyaraja has provided to remind us about being careful not to act in haste in regards to ostracizing Dhanurdhara Swami. Satyaraja has presented such a nice philosophical appeal to reason, that I will not attempt to restate what he has already done so well. Instead this paper adds some practical comments to further support his conclusions under the “Utility” node of the maxim often quoted by His Divine Grace: “Books are the Basis, Preaching is the Essence, Utility is the Principal, and Purity is the force.”

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1 Unregistered

Hare Krsna Mayesvara,

I read your article with much interest, and appreciated many of the points you made.

I would like to reply to your article as one who identifies with being a Gurukuli. I should make it clear that I did not personally suffer abuse and this affects my perspective.

There are many aspects of your well thought out and structured arguments which I am happy to agree with.

That Srila Prabhupada did not intend for his movement to abuse anyone, children or bhaktas or householders or even non ISKCONites; that the perspective of entitlement is indeed an opposite to that of empowerment and traps individuals in a hell from which only they can extract themselves; that the movement needs to, and needed to, deal promptly with abuse, especially sexual abuse; and that people must and should be forgiven after appropriate punishment; and that we must always beware of irrational judgements and witch hunts.

I even agree with mild capital punishment, although perhaps in this day and age of kali yuga any opening for this will always be prone to abuse, much like kingship no longer works well.

However, I believe that your article is deceptive in its very reasonable arguments because it does not address the vital issues. The real issues are inspiring the children of the movement, ensuring that there is no further abuse, and helping the victims of previous abuse. I believe you missed these issues for two reasons.

The first reason, as you so often stated in your article, was that you are indeed coming to this topic late. I am also coming to this late, because I have only recently grown up enough to challenge myself with this movement, its past and its future. However, I am trying hard not to presume or label all of the initiated generation.

The second reason is that it did not appear that you had discussed your ideas with very many gurukulis although you are quick to poetically label (and indeed vilify them.)

If you had discussed it with us, you would have a better understanding of the variety that we represent, and what in fact we actually represent.

It is surprising, even to me as a gurukuli, how much we do support one eachother in our variety (not perfectly, but meaningfully). Although I personally have no interest in the court case, and hope to see a strong Krsna Conscious movement, I also understand the frustrations of those who have seen fit to sue ISKCON. I support them as fellow Kulis even if I disagree with their chosen path or outlet.

You make a number of points about forgiveness and you make reference to a man who lost his son to a terrorist and forgave the terrorist, and you make reference to Yudhistir’s patience with Duryodhan.

These two cases are interesting because they actually have more complexity than your argument allowed. Firstly, although we can applaud the Christian man for his forgiveness, for the sake of peace, and in faith in Jesus, we could never demand his forgiveness. Only he could practice this. Secondly, the government will not stop hunting the terrorists simply because they have been forgiven. It has a duty to protect its citizens and this duty extends beyond the forgiveness of one victim, although even here the government should consider peace before revenge if peace is possible.

In the case of Yudhistir, it is also understood that he went too far in his placation and forgiveness, because in the end Krsna commanded and demanded that the evil Kuru’s were destroyed, and he commanded Yudhistir to lie for the sake of this victory. (Although when following Krsna’s command no act is a lie- and Yudhistir failed in his righteousness by disobeying Krsna’s order.)

In both the examples you cited there is a principle of forgiveness which is only possible with strong righteous leadership that does its duty as part of that forgiveness. A king punishing his citizens for evil acts is practicing a greater forgiveness than simply being tolerant and allowing evil to take place. In fact we are not supposed to tolerate evil.

Only the victims themselves can offer forgiveness. And it is incumbent upon the leadership to provide strong, righteous leadership. This it has not done. In fact, it has been more likely to attempt cover up and meaningless slaps on the wrist. There are still perpetrators of abuse to this day who find succour and safety inside the movement. Fortunately this is changing.

You quote from the Bhagavad-Gita
“Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.” -Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Chapter 9 “King of Knowledge”, Text 9.30
This is an interesting quote and of course deep and complex. There is an elaborate purport. Here are two warnings by Srila Prabhupada:

…one should not misunderstand that a devotee in transcendental devotional service can act in all kinds of abominable ways; this verse only refers to an accident due to the strong power of material connections…. No one should take advantage of this verse and commit nonsense and think that he is still a devotee. If he does not improve in his character by devotional service, then it is to be understood that he is not a high devotee.

I believe, sincerely, that the perpetration of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse against the children of this movement was purely demoniac in nature. This abuse was done by a class of Putana’s who are truly to blame for the predicament of this important movement. I do not believe that anyone could be both a devotee and an abuser at the same time, it is not a simple mistake or fall down. It is the wretched, despicable action of a demoniac person. Duryodhan himself was known to be a great and magnanimous, and righteous king, he ruled as well as Yudhistir, but he was not a devotee, he tried to kill the devotees.

I am not talking about mild or mistaken physical abuse such as a prolonged detention or smacking. I am talking about wholesale rape, vicious and brutal beatings, and the destruction of love for Krsna at a psychological level.

These Putanas have very nearly succeeded, and the poison with which they nursed our children is still seeping into our society through the current court case. This poison must be blamed on the source.

It seems simple to say, let us all forgive, hit the reset button, have the victims move on, or blame the victims for their rage and anger, but that is only a solution that one who is not involved in this on a personal level could suggest. That is also a suggestion that has been repeated time and time again over the last 20 years, and has never been satisfying to the victims.

There are huge obstacles to appropriate and proper punishment for any of the perpetrators. Finding appropriate judges, getting adequate victim statements, applying rules and restrictions etc etc. I believe there have been many improvements over the years, and even now there are more improvements to come.

And yet the reason why the issue of Dhanurdhara continues to fester away long after he was punished is for two very clear and simple reasons.

1) The victims as a group have not stated that they are satisfied. Once they, as a group, agree that he has been punished to their satisfaction, what more can the rest of us say? It is important this is done as a group because a group will always have more balance (so forgiving people will balance those who will never forgive.) I do not know all the logistical and political reasons why such empowerment of the victims has not yet been done. I do know it has not yet happened, although hopefully it will happen soon.

2) It is one thing to allow individuals of any description to find Krsna in the association of devotees. It is quite another thing to give them positions of leadership! This has always been a huge bone of contention and cause of frustration about Dhanurdhara.

Sadly, the management of the situation with Dhanurdhara has, apparently, done neither him nor his victims any favours because it failed to mediate the situation and it failed to represent and communicate properly with the victims.

You did some mathematics in your paper which showed the trivial amount of $16,000 which could be made by any individuals involved in the lawsuit. I know they are aware of this. I know many of them look at their lives and certainly, and rightfully, blame the system in which they were brought up for a number of problems. (Just as you claim the education you received helped you- which goes to show that the boot camp you went to was very different to the gurukulas these kids went to.) However, they are quite simply struggling the get the most that they can, $16,000 is better than nothing. This fact alone may give them a sense of empowerment against an institution that failed them.

You should be aware that there are many victims of the worst kind of sexual abuse who have not participated in the lawsuit, and have indeed made their own way in the world. There are also individuals who have suffered very little who have participated out of greed or other need or simply to show solidarity. Some participants are going to donate the money they receive back to the temples (thus in their eyes, saving money from the clutches of those who do hate the movement.) Others just want as much justice as they can get for the very real abuse they suffered, and then to move on with their lives.

Despite all this variety, I believe the law suit is a case of punishment, not greed. It is a method of last resort. It is done out of frustration and shredded patience. It is done against an institution that failed. The institution will now understand the cost of such failure. This lawsuit is a great opportunity.

You rightly point out that in this day and age abuse is rampant. Well, it goes without saying that if this movement is real, if the movement of Lord Chaitanya and Srila Prabhupada is real, then such abuse is impossible within its merciful realm despite it being rampant outside of the movement. How bitter it is to see that the opposite was true, in so many things, not just for the children.

It is therefore incumbent upon us to make this movement as real as we can, to learn the lessons of the past, and to embrace the punishment as an opportunity. We cannot blame the victims.

More than 600 kuli’s gathered recently in West Virginia for a festival to mark their progress as individuals. These were not layabouts, militant activists, and entitlement panderers. We had doctors, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs, psychologists, teachers, military men and women, singers and entertainers, and a great variety of professionals and students. They were there for one another. They enjoyed the prasadam, bhajans, kirtans, entertainment, sports and seminars. They were there to enjoy Krsna consciousness and the association of their peers. They were there to share their ambitions. They had respect for the sacrifices made by their parents.

If we invert the simple mathematics of the lawsuit where $10 million would be shared amongst four hundred for a measly $16,000 (after the lawyers cut), then I would propose that the 600 who inspired one another at kulimela, and the thousands of children of the movement that could be inspired with a healthy and progressive movement would, in their lifetimes, be capable of providing 100s of millions of dollars to the movement.

Rather than focus your intellect, spiritual understanding, and energy in trying to show what mistakes the gurukulis are making, I would like you to consider helping those of us who are committed to this movement. There are very few of us who want to see this movement suffer. Even those on the court case would argue they are doing it for a good reason. Even if you disagree with their action, I think you are too late to make a difference, it is done. This is why I stated in the beginning that you were not dealing with the real issues.

The real issues aren’t militant kuli’s, a witch hunt, and a karma inducing law suit that is going to destroy Chaitanya’s movement.

The real issues are empowering, exciting, inspiring and engaging the talent of your movement’s children; ensuring that there is strong leadership that has purged the abusers; and accepting the needs of the previous victims because it is a small price to pay to free the energy of the great majority.

I am tired of being identified by abuse and victimization, but I will never move on from that identity by ignoring or casting those who have suffered adrift. They are my peers, they are my ISKCON.

Let us work together in a positive spirit of community and Krsna consciousness, following the examples of great devotees and make this movement a beacon of hope, God consciousness, and indeed tolerance in the age of Kali.

Sincerely,

Kapila (Kuli)

Comment posted by Kapila on August 29th, 2006
2 Unregistered

If Dhanurdhara has stepped outside ISKCON, then perhaps this whole issue is done with. The problem has always been that ISKCON wants to rectify the past, yet each time we try a major complaint is why Dhanurdhara is authorized by ISKCON to receive respect and worship as a good-as-God guru. No one really has a satisfactory answer. But if he’s decided that it’s more important to be a guru than to be in ISKCON, well then maybe that’s, if not the best, an adequate solution.

Meanwhile, I do feel bad for Dhanurdhara’s disciples because they obviously must know a very different person than we knew. The way I see it, there’s the spirit soul in the body named Dhanurdhara, and no one except Paramatma really knows the qualities of that spirit soul. We who were his students know him as a brutal authoritarian, and perhaps its fair to say we project onto that spirit soul in that body the hurt that he and the experience of the school he was in charge of caused us. His disciples and other supporters with other experiences project onto that spirit soul all these good qualities. So who’s the real Dhanurdhar? I guess that’s the Rashomon question raised by Satyaraja. But from our experiences, when we see someone accepting Dhanurdhar as guru or otherwise considering him worthy of high respect we can only think they either don’t know what he did or don’t care. It’s painful, physically painful to see, and so we address it the only way we know how which is to tell you what he did and try to make you care. And then I suppose from the other side, since you know some other Dhanurdhara we can’t imagine, well I guess we’re just exaggerating, being vindictive, a lynch mob. So maybe we’re just talking past each other, it will never be resolved, and perhaps it’s over anyway since he’s decided not to be a member of ISKCON. But there’s a few things in the preceeding posts and comments that I would like to address.

(1)

There is some confusion about what Dhanurdhara actually did. There is also some doubts about the credibility of the CPO case, with claims of biased judges and the like.
Mayesvara makes much of the so-called Gurukula Manual, which was a selective collection of quotes from Srila Prabhupada on gurukula. (It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but I don’t think it included the letter or conversation where Srila Prabhupada told the teachers not to use force, and it certainly didn’t include the letter where he told a parent they didn’t have to send their children to gurukula.) That manual was compiled in the mid-80’s when there was a conscious attempt to improve the quality of the education in Vrindavana. Most incidents of personal abuse by Dhanurdhara are from earlier periods and involve the “older” boys. So if someone was in Vrindavana in 1987 they had a different experience of him than in 1981, probably for the better. What I’ve heard is that one summer (1982?) Jagadish got such an earful from parents due to all the complaints from their sons while home for the summer that there was a conscious effort to reduce the violence in the gurukula. Morning assembly, for example, was no longer the daily punishment-free-for-all that older gurukulis will tell you about. This didn’t stop the violence completely, but it did reduce it. Teachers still often lost their tempers and vented their frustrations quite liberally. To some credit for him, I think Dhanurdhara did learn better how to control his temper, and the instances of personal abuse at his hands lessened.

Beyond his personal actions (what he did to whom on what date, the kind of thing the CPO focused on), just as important is that Dhanurdhara was the principal, so beyond his personal actions, gurukulis also hold him responsible for what went on in the gurukula under him. For example, although he didn’t personally commit sexual abuse, he was part of the regime that censored students’ mail (one reason such abuse was secret) and maintained an atmosphere of domination and intimidation that would squelch any impetus to accuse a teacher of anything. Comparisons to military school or corporal punishment by parents are not appropriate. Vrindavana gurukula was different. You have to start with kids who were far from home, in India, with few comforts (no hot water, straw mat bedding), often sleep-deprived (the whole 3:30 wake up thing), many times not fed very well (quality prasadam was always a fight even when the school tried hard and had money) and at least once or twice a year for every kid, in poor to terrible health. OK, so maybe those are just the austerities of India and traditional gurukula that we had to live with. But then on top of that, in dealing with that difficult situation, there was no overall atmosphere of care and affection. Instead, there was a strict discipline system, enforced by routine slaps and ear-pulling on a daily basis for any perceived rebellious act, even if just a slow response to an order. Then, on top of that, at any moment any teacher could lose his temper and not just slap, but start beating and even punching. You only need to see this done once to another kid for it to be hanging over your own head at all times, and it happened often though not necessarily daily. So we’re not talking corporal punishment as in a calm system of justice that imposes a physical punishment for certain offenses as not the norm but an exception but that, basically, if the teacher decided he didn’t like you or what you did, he had complete freedom to impose his will physically. Most naturally responded by being obedient or appearing obedient, but you can’t call it willing or happy obedience, but more like terrified obedience. And woe unto him who stepped out of line or got a reputation as a troublemaker. Meanwhile, any complaints, tiredness, bad mood, or resentment, including complaints to parents, was taken as evidence that you weren’t being a good devotee. You were given a good lecture on being a brahmacari, accepting the authority of guru and teachers, why this austerity was good for you, karma, renunciation, maintaining the reputation of the gurukula, and whatever else was available to philosophically scold and cajole you. So when we talk about physical and emotional abuse in Vrindavana gurukula for which we hold Dhanurdhara (and others) responsible, we are talking not only about what he did to certain kids, but his role in implementing and overseeing that entire environment. (And I haven’t even mentioned the background of sexual abuse because Dhanurdhara didn’t engage in it and did expel some teachers who did, keeping it rather quiet from parents and other funders though.)

Even if you want to poke holes at the CPO case file, Dhanurdhara himself has admitted to this kind of culpability. The question is, even given only what he has admitted, should ISKCON put him forward as a guru?

(2)

There is a claim that this controversy was settled by the CPO judgment and the penalties it imposed, for example that Dhanurdhara not initiate for a certain amount of time. However, my memory of the judgment is that it specifically did not address whether Dhanurdhara’s history of physical abuse of children and his failure of leadership as principal of the Vrindavana gurukula disqualified him from being a guru. It passed that particular question back to the GBC because the judges felt that the issue of being a guru was something only the GBC, in its position as the body that authorizes certain members of ISKCON to be initiating gurus, could address. So the desire on the part of his former students, the larger gurukuli community, and many devotees that the GBC finally address this issue is not rehashing something that was settled by the CPO judgment, rather is an attempt to get the GBC to finally address the question for the first time. Basically we’d like them to consider the evidence and reverse the mistake they made when the appointed him in the first place. That’s a new thing, not double jeopardy or the like.

It is also not entirely clear that Dhanurdhara ever fully followed the judgment of the CPO. For example, he was supposed to conduct one last initiation before refraining from accepting new disciple, and this was to be conducted in his “special area” or by mail. Instead, he held the initiation in New York, requiring the intervention of the GBC to “authorize” it, to much ensuing controversy. Similarly, I don’t believe he ever followed the direction to do penance by preaching in a “special area”, nor do I believe he followed the direction to donate 50% of money received to gurukuli causes such as Children of Krishna. At least I’ve seen no evidence of this. My impression is that he followed some of the criteria, but was not scrupulous in carrying out the judgment.

(3)

Claims of institutional failure regarding gurukula, across ISKCON and including members of the GBC, are valid. Claims that others who exhibited similar failures of leadership should also face a judgment whether they deserve positions of leadership and respect in ISKCON, implicit for example in Jayadvaita Swami’s discussion of someone who knowingly harbored a sexual abuser, are valid. By all means address institutional failures and the culpability of other leaders. But such arguments offered in support of Dhanurdhara are just changing the subject and do not actually answer the central question, namely should ISKCON endorse Dhanurdhara as someone worthy of the position of guru.

Similarly, discussions of the prevalence of corporal punishment at one time as an accepted practice, the emerging recognition of child sexual abuse as a problem in society, are useful in understanding what happened, and maybe as background for an informed answer, but they too don’t answer the question of whether ISKCON should recognize Dhanurdhara as a guru.

(4)

I would like to know of any reasonable organization that would keep someone in a position of authority and respect within that organization who had failed in his responsibilities and brought discredit to the organization. Dhanurdhara was given the sannyasa position and guru position in large part because of his perceived success as a gurukula teacher and administrator. I say perceived, because prior to the late 80’s and early 90’s, the truth of the situation in Vrindavana was not widely known and only became known when gurukulis left the confines of the gurukula and began to speak freely. Someone mentioned that he was authorized to initiate in 1992. If it was that late, the GBC was not paying attention, and I doubt the record will show they talked to any of his former students. (Or maybe because it wasn’t sex, it was just physical and emotional abuse it was not a “falldown”?)

Yet, now that it is widely known that not only did Dhanurdhara personally physicaly and emotionally abuse children, but that the institution of which he was the titular head was mismanaged, infiltrated by pedophiles, and run on fanatical principles by untrained teachers prone to lose their tempers (who even if they tried their best within the accepted norms of the institution and were not the only cause of the failure did objectively fail), should he still retain a recognized position of authority and respect? In any other organization, such a person would have been fired long ago, if for no other reason than for having created a perception that brought discredit to the organization. In a membership organization, like ISKCON, perhaps he would be able to retain his membership, but surely would not be allowed to hold a position of high status. So my question is, is ISKCON to be held to the reasonable standards of a normal organization that would not promote or maintain in high-status positions those who failed in their duties and brought discredit to the organization, or is this another case (like the scams of the “sankirtana” parties) where what is “special” about ISKCON (the bhakti-yoga process) will be taken to mean that it can operate at a lower standard than normal organizations (because bhakti-yoga means he’s now purified and must be forgiven)?

Let me emphasize that Dhanurdhara would not be an issue if he was willing to accept service in a temple and carry out day-to-day devotional service (like pujari work, temple cleaning, book distribution and the like). Instead he and his supporters have insisted that it is wrong for the GBC to ask him to do anything else except maintain a position of high status. For all the philosophy-based arguments about the purification process, the role of forgiveness, and the karma of hurting Prabhupada’s movement, what about the philosophical principle that desire for status and clinging to position is probably an indication of qualities that disqualify one from being a guru? I find it hard to imagine an associate of Caitanya Mahaprabhu — those exemplary Vaisnavas who ate found rice from discarded prasadam, or thought it a blessing that they could re-enter the association of Mahaprabhu in 10,000 lives — I find it hard to imagine one of them saying, or to allow to have said on their behalf, “Well, yes, I made some mistakes and really screwed up, personally and by association, a big part of Prabhupada’s plan, and I hurt a lot of people who were under my care, but that was 20 years ago, and now these other devotees, who didn’t know me back then, they really like and respect me for things I’ve done since, so I think I’m good to go, thank you.” Wouldn’t the proof that Dhanurdhara is actually an advanced devotee worthy of the respect accorded a guru be that he’d accept any position, as long as it allowed him to practice his sadhana in the association of devotees and to engage in some service, especially if by doing so he could rectify wrongs of the past (whether all his fault or not) and improve the reputation of ISKCON? I mean, that’s what I’d expect a pure or even purified devotee, one deserving the title of Swami — renunciate — or Maharaja — great leader — to do.

(5)

One commentator in an earlier post wrote:

Perhaps this is the reason it has taken the GBC so long to address the question of whether Dhanurdhara is qualified to initiate within ISKCON, because it does raise that problem, at the heart of so many of our disputes — the zonal acharyas, Gaudiya Math gurus, Narayana Maharaja, Tripurari Swami, the rtviks — of the relationship of the GBC and the gurus. I am in no position to answer these philosophical questions. But I think if ISKCON wants to truly be an organization that has made mistakes, learned from them, and is rectifying them, then it must address whether the leaders who committed those mistakes should still be leaders today. And perhaps it must face the possibility that some of those leaders are, when push comes to shove, more interested in maintaining positions of respect than in doing what’s right.

Comment posted by Koi Kuli Chuha on August 31st, 2006
3 Chaitanya Mangala

Mayesvara prabhu,

Thank you for your article. I appreciate the time you’ve taken expressing your thoughts and opinions on these polarizing issues.

I would like to address a few things:

It must have been difficult for you to recognize your passive complicity in the abuse at the Vrndavan gurukula. It must have been just as challenging for you to acknowledge that you were part of an inexperienced generation that made many “immature,” “idealistic,” “overzealous” and “sophomoric” blunders that had harmful effects on children. However, it seems you are unwilling to take responsibility for the consequences of your inaction during the time you observed abuses. Instead, you choose inflammatory, angry words and direct them at those who still need your support or, at least, a civil dialog.

I am not sure what increasingly “militant,” “whirlwind,“ ”gangster like” “frantic retaliatory trend” you refer to. Perhaps you get that impression because you are late in entering the discussion and have only recently begun to come to terms with addressing the past. We might not be able to “reverse the clock” but if you are sincerely trying to get your message heard today I suggest you use a little more “caution and code-red sensitivity.”

The lawsuit was a last resort after a decade of failed attempts at finding a more harmonious resolution. For clarification, the lawsuit was subsumed by the federal bankruptcy case, which is where the settlement comes from. ISKCON leaders encouraged all gurukulis who had experienced abuse in gurukulas to take part in the settlement. The bankruptcy was used as a vehicle to bring closure; at least as far as legal matters are concerned. With the legalities concluded we now have an opportunity to concentrate on some of the underlying issues.

For 15 years, gurukulis have been consistently asking that Dhanurdhara Swami no longer be allowed to hold managerial and leadership positions, sanctioned to speak at public functions, authorized to initiate disciples, ordained with honorific titles, and designated as one of ISKCON’s most exalted personalities. We continue to humbly request that he voluntarily retire to a more reserved life of prayer and penitence, dedicating himself to mending the damage that occurred during his term as principal at the Vrndavan gurukula.

Our request is not that Dhanurdhara Swami be ostracized from ISKCON and Vaishnava sanga. We understand that through prayer, association and repentance one can find redemption and there is a much greater likelihood for that with appropriate support and encouragement. Kapila covered our concern in his response to you, “It is one thing to allow individuals of any description to find Krishna in the association of devotees. It is quite another to give them positions of leadership.”

Your quote, from Srila Prabhupada, comes from the purport to SB 8.4.11-12 (not verse 13 as you originally posted). This approach is an excellent suggestion that can be applied to all sides in this situation. Perhaps you too can take this sagacious advice to heart. It would be helpful if you also viewed setbacks from past misdeeds as blessings from Krishna and understand that they are only a token of the reactions that could have been received. Let’s consider this as a chance to recognize the importance of offering love and support to those who are vulnerable, even when it is difficult or unpopular. In this regard, a little compassion, empathy and humility go a long way.

Seeking the essence,

Chaitanya Mangala dasa

Comment posted by Chaitanya Mangala on September 3rd, 2006
4 Pandu das

I could not help but find considerable irony in the use of the word “posy” in the third paragraph. A posy is a kind of flower or a bouquet of flowers given as a gift. A “posse” is a sort of militia.

How should ISKCON deal with Vaishnavas who have abused children? Do we send the militia or a bouquet of flowers?

It’s a shame that we have to ask.

Hare Krsna.

I am fortunate to have personally had nothing to do with the child abuse in ISKCON (or anywhere). As far as I know it was finished before I first chanted Hare Krishna. My difficulty is that I must eliminate my personal demons, which are relatively small but persistent, so I can someday live in Krishna consciousness. I want to look to ISKCON for inspiration and guidance. Articles like this make me wonder if I should turn away.

Seeing the former gurukulis blamed for the torture of their youth and their response as adults, I’m disgusted. I suppose even this is part of Krishna’s plan, one of His ways that I don’t yet understand.

The former gurukulis’ lawsuit gave me hope for ISKCON’s future. I guess some might find that ironic. Perhaps they see ISKCON’s success in the donations of congregational members (na dhanam na janam…?) I’m inspired by purity and integrity, and I saw the lawsuit as a step in that direction. I’m sorry ISKCON chose a different way. But who am I to say?

I’ll keep chanting Hare Krishna anyway, and try to have faith.

Hare Krsna.

Comment posted by Pandu das on September 5th, 2006
5 Unregistered

“Hate-filled vigilante lynch mob”??? Mayesvara Prabhu, that statement is completely offensive to Dhanurdhara Swami’s victims and to all of the sincere devotees and activists who want to see justice finally done. I can not believe that you would claim to be approaching this issue with “code-red sensitivity” and then use language like that. Nor can I relate to this absolutely bizarre trend of new devotees, disciples of Dhanurdhara Swami, being so presumptous as to think it is their position to comment on horrendous and disgraceful events that took place before they ever even picked up a bead bag for the first time. In the sagacious words of the South, “y’all need to stay out of this.”

Comment posted by Lalita Madhava d.d. on September 9th, 2006
6 Unregistered

Whoa. I just realized that there is much more to this posting that I initially realized (at first glance I somehow or other overlooked the “click here to read the rest of the article” part). And the rest of the “article” is absolutely voluminous. At this point I have not had the opportunity to make my way through the rest of it, but have read enough to surmise that Mayesvara is not among the “young devotee, disciples of Dhanurdhara Swami” that I at first took him to be. He seems, rather, to be among the older devotee defenders, in the category of Laksmi Nrsimha and Satyaraja Prabhus. My mistake, and for that I apologize and retract that section of my comment insofar as it was directed toward him. I still find the “hate-filled vigilante lynch mob” remark and “Salem witch trials” allusion to be completely offensive, but will have to finish reading the paper to reach a proper conclusion. LM

Comment posted by Lalita Madhava d.d. on September 10th, 2006

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Home » Dhanurdhara Swami & the Gurukula’s Faustadian Bargin
 
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