Comments Posted By Kapila
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Hare Krsna all,
I agree with the concept of cow credits (akin to carbon credits), but what we see in the world today is a lot of hype and promotion of credits which is basically designed purely to create another form of wealth. Many companies do dubious things to artificially create such credits, and then keep 30-40% of the money generated as a management fee.
Furthermore, it is of little value for the (CPP’s) Cow Protection Credits to be used to subsidise full on milk production, since this merely multiplies the number of cows in the world and does very little to ease the suffering of the many cows that are already in the world.
It would be better to use the CPP fund to create a pension system for cows, and to only use this money to pension off animals at dairy farms that have begun the process of better management- organic, open pasture etc.
If we were to help these still not perfect, but economically viable dairies by purchasing their cows to retire them, not only could we include devotees in this system, but we could include many many pious minded individuals found in the world who are also vegetarian/vegan. We would also be able to use this CPP fund money to encourage the best practice amongst the dairy farms… and slowly but surely there would be a real shift in practice.
If anyone doubts the ability of a market to shift practice, they have only to look at the growth of the organic food movement over the last 10 years. The prime need for organic’s is certification and standards.
This would also address the second comment, insomuch as all farmers are still only able to succeed where they have economic livelihood. In the absence of such sustainance, people flee to the city where at least they can eke out a living and have hopes of more. Materialism is strong, but spirituality cannot be pure renunciation except for the most elevated and braminical.
That isn’t to say we shouldn’t try to develop a viable and real cow protection system, but in the absence of the knowledgeable and dedicated individuals and a developed market for the right price of the product, the best way to help cows in general is to pension those who have already been born.
When there is a viable market, and a real cow protection goshala, then other information of interest includes the breed. In some areas they also have certain breeds of cow who will produce milk for 2 years rather than the standard 1 after breeding. Selective breeding for traits such as longer milk production cycles and greater milk loads (jersey cows for instance), is important, and again requires knowledge.
Finally, for one last note, I would add is that over 50% of milk production in India is for Ghee.
There are huge Hindu populations in both the UK and the USA who are pious. They probably consume milk products more traditionally.
This means some very exciting things. 1) cow protection/milk production could be entirely focused on ghee production. Ghee is transportable and lasts a long time. 2) There is a market that can be utilised here, since the Indians who want ghee will recognise Krsna and also have a desire to protect the cows that is ingrained. If the layer of materialism is stripped away, they will be happy to pay the proper market price for such a wonderful karma free prasadam product that not only benefits them, but the cows as well.
There may be a market in the more Western segment of society for karma free cheese and butter. Again, rather than milk which has a short lifespan and cannot be transported far, and is not a luxury item, this would allow for the dedicated creation of a real market, at real cow protection prices.
» Posted By Kapila On May 2, 2007 @ 3:49 pm
I would like to give my support and encouragement to the GBC for their action in finally removing Dhanurdhar as an initiating guru.
This decision has been a long time coming, and has been hard fought, so it is a relief to finally see it put to rest.
The key statement in their current resolutions are:
Part B. Clarification of the Term „Positions of Leadership”
Whenever the ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection rules that an offense is such as to restrict a person from serving in ISKCON in „positions of leadership” (including but not limited to offices of GBC, minister, zonal secretary or temple officer), the restriction must include the position of initiating guru. This restriction shall apply to all previous and future decisions of the Central Office of Child Protection.
This clarification unambiguously outlines Dhanurdhar’s restriction on being an initiating guru.
In fairness, this matter has required a delicate balancing act which the GBC introduction to this point addresses.
It must be accepted scripturaly and religiously that sincere chanting of the holy name is liberating devotional service.
A fair society must also leave room for punishment, forgiveness, and rehabilitation.
Balanced against such principles of rehabilitation and transformation must be the overall reputation, function, and well being of the wider society.
It is indisputable that Dhanurdar was responsible for many physical atrocities against the children in his care, scars that are still resonating for a number of individuals.
It is also quite simple that it was always up to Krsna’s youth who suffered abuse to find the space and desire to forgive Dhanurdhar, and no others can do this.
However, ISKCON as a spiritual movement must always attempt to offer shelter, encouragement and guidance to those seeking a spiritual path. Therefore I also support their letter of apology to Dhanurdhar (although equally they could apologise to those victims of his abuse who have also had to suffer ISKCON’s indecision in this matter), and I also see their invitation to him to remain inside ISKCON as one with merit.
As an example of why such an invitation has merit I would say that we still still invite those serving criminal sentences to chant, to change their lives, and to become productive members of society, as well as follow sincerely a path of devotional service.
Having been indecisive about this issue for so long, it is right that the GBC apologize. Having stripped Dhanurdar of his ability to initiate inside of ISKCON (he obviously can’t be restricted from initiating outside of ISKCON), it is best that they encourage him to stay humbly within ISKCON, providing positive association to those who seek it from him, and gaining positive association where he can, but without the plaudits of title, position, and recognition.
I pray that this issue is now closed. Although it is certainly not for me to judge when he has been forgiven by those who can forgive him, I feel that from a social perspective the GBC have made the right choice, and have found the right balance in this particular matter.
» Posted By Kapila On Apr 16, 2007 @ 3:54 pm
thanks for this. It’s almost a relief to know there’s a reason for the way the world is… that means there is something we can do about it… i.e do none of the above.
One other thing it says about Kali Yuga is that we shall eat our young. It always seems a bit outrageous or even too far for humanity to sink.
But I believe this is taking place in the use of aborted foetuses for stem cell farming which is then used to replenish brain cells and other damaged cells.
In this I see that people are taking sustenance from the children, and essentially eating them.
» Posted By Kapila On Sep 12, 2006 @ 12:58 pm
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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.
» Posted By Kapila On Aug 29, 2006 @ 12:38 pm
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