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Comments Posted By Chaitanya Mangala

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Dhanurdhara Swami & the Gurukula’s Faustadian Bargin

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

» Posted By Chaitanya Mangala On Sep 3, 2006 @ 7:38 pm

The Missing Peace

Sadasivapriya prabhu,

Thanks for your words of appreciation and offer to support the healing process.

Let’s be proactive in making a favorable environment for closure by steering the conversation away from proving/disproving. As many have noticed, those most directly involved are not the ones publicly debating. The most heated exchanges come from their friends, families, and followers. Let’s instead focus this well intended energy on creating opportunities for dialog that lead to resolution. Those directly involved need this support and understanding from their well-wishers in order to move through these unsettled issues.

Seeking the essence,

Chaitanya Mangala dasa

» Posted By Chaitanya Mangala On Aug 22, 2006 @ 6:12 am

Guru, Sadhu, Sastra

Dear Siddhi-lalasa prabhu,

Thank you for your article. You made many thoughtful and important points. I would like to add something for your consideration, which will help in broadening the discussion. I humbly request that you read my article, “I Beg Your Pardon” posted at Dandavats on July 5th, 2006.

Seeking the essence,

Chaitanya Mangala dasa

» Posted By Chaitanya Mangala On Aug 6, 2006 @ 5:27 pm

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