Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Conversation About ISKCON Children (Update May 2016)

"These children are given to us by Krishna, they are Vaisnavas and we must be very careful to protect them. These are not ordinary children, they are Vaikuntha children, and we are very fortunate we can give them chance to advance further in Krishna Consciousness. That is very great responsibility, do not neglect it or be confused. Your duty is very clear."

(Srila Prabhupada letter, July 30, 1972)


Jagat: The child abuse in ISKCON is once again a subject, with the release of Sanaka Rsi's film. I have been told by Bhakta Demian Martins to my face that I should go to prison for my involvement in the Gurukula when abuses were going on, especially those of the leaders of Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir when I was headmaster there, as well as of the teachers who worked under me.

I have publicly admitted that I was abusive. I used corporal punishment, as did nearly every other Gurukula teacher in Dallas or in Mayapur. When I was severely thrashed by the Mayapura villagers in 1977, I took it as a direct sign from Mahaprabhu that I had done wrong and stopped.

I claim innocence and ignorance about the sexual abuse. It was beyond my comprehension that anyone could do such a thing. When the veil was uncovered, I saw how widespread the abuse was. I did not feel capable of changing things and felt it more important to pursue authentic bhakti, which I felt was no longer available in the ISKCON institution after Prabhupada left.

I have had the good fortune of meeting some of my students in the 37 years since I left and all of them them have been friendly and forgiving and even appreciative of my efforts as a teacher and headmaster despite the things that I did.

Just now I said, let's blame Prabhupada shall we? Of course, no one wants to blame Prabhupada and neither do I, but the king is responsible for his kingdom. Prabhupada thought it more important to build the movement quickly and to spread it at any cost. 

He was the one who recognized that in the war against Maya there would be casualties, but he pushed forward anyway, putting incompetent individuals in positions of authority and pushing them to perform at any cost. If they fell away it was sad, but that was the cost of doing things the way he did them.

We were incompetent. Ignorant. Foolish children. What did I know of child sexual abuse? It was outside my realm of experience entirely. Physical abuse in the sense of corporal punishment I had known in my home and in school in Canada. And in India, corporal punishment was socially accepted and approved. Even Prabhupada himself allowed for it on occasion. It took me some time to come to that realization, even with Prabhupada personally admonishing me.

So if I am responsible for Bhavananda, for Tapomoy, for Nitai Chand, for Shatadhanya, for Venkat, for Ananta Rupa, for Sri galim, for Anirdeshya Vapu or any of the other Gurukula people with whom I worked who eventually became known for sometimes unspeakable and horrific acts of abuse, I accept.

I was in touch with them all. I knew them, and I knew nothing of the abuses for which they were accused in later days. When I found out, I washed my hands of the problem rather than fighting to protect the children. That is a dereliction of duty.

I left ISKCON in December 1979. I have never regretted that decision. Prabhupada inspired me to seek out authentic Vaishnavism and authentic spirituality. I am sorry for the students who suffered and I sincerely hope that good outweighs the bad. If they feel that blaming me is helpful to their personal progress, I cannot object. Jai Radhe Shyam.

I see child abuse as ISKCON's wake up call, and they still have not woke up.

[PADA: This is a good start for creating a dialogue over these issues and we commend some ex-kulis for addressing this, and also for Jagat's making this public. For a more complete healing of all this we need to understand these issue more clearly from all aspects, including from the victims perspective. 

As one ex-kuli told PADA, we were like Srila Prabhupada's newly made flower garden -- and then the leaders -- and their bogus schools -- poured plant poison on us to kill us off. This ex-kuli also said, "Of all the crimes of the GBC's leaders, this is the worst, because they practically killed off ISKCON's future. Srila Prabhupada had tremendous hope for us children, and we were chopped down like unwanted weeds." 

So this is one reason we are so much on the case of people like Rupanuga, Prithu, Trivrikrama swami, Sudheer Krishna swami, Tripurari swami, Gaura Govinda maharaja and others, they were apparently so much consumed with their bogus "guru issue" thus they had little time to help us address the child abuse issue going on right under their noses.   

OK it does seem to us -- if the abuse was known to folks like Jagat by 1979, this was very early on in the situation. If this had been widely reported and challenged more publicly -- it could have saved a lot of other future children from being victims. Various people came to understand there was a crisis going on -- including some leaders, a number of parents, or some of the teachers, but for different reasons they chose to ignore this, or just leave the movement and not protest. 

Hence, some of the ex-children are now saying it was a conspiracy of silence. Another ex-kuli told us -- none of the adults came to assist us, including our teachers or even our own parents, we were on our own, and none of our "adult supervisors" really assisted us when it was discovered we were right later on. Read: The issue was back pedalled or ignored. 

This is the same sort of trouble we have had with the Sanat (Steve Voith, Angelica New York) / Mukunda / Prahlad group. Sanat's wife said to us she knew there was wide spread abuse in Satsvarupa's "guru" school where she was a teacher, and yet she did not bother to report this to the authorities, or alert the ISKCON society at large (other parents in the worldwide society). In fact we never heard her name connected to any public complaints on this issue, ever. 

Sanat and his wife explained to PADA that their silence was because they could not prosecute the underage perp or perps. OK, that was really never the main issue, you'd need to go after the schools administration, i.e. the teachers and GBC's leaders. 

Specifically, you'd go after the GBC leader for that school, namely Satsvarupa Das Goswami, and alert the rest of the society to this problem to save other kids from getting tossed into this situation. Had they gone to the police and registered a complaint against Satsvarupa and other leaders, that would have become known all over the place as well. We also heard of other meetings with Satsvarupa where parents argued with him, but none of them ever went to the police. So multiply this effect by hundreds and maybe even thousands of cases, and there was indeed a conspiracy of silence.  

They and other parents and teachers failed to act, hence the next minor aged victims were sucked into the situation with no general awareness of the scope of the problem. A number of parents told me they knew about the problem, but they did not want to have their names connected to any public opposition. 

Later on the Sanat / Mukunda / Prahlad group said the way to fix this is simple, to have the victims silenced by threatening them with death. OK that is exactly what some of the perps were already doing, making threats of violence to the victims. So they were all thinking alike, the perps and the persons covering up for the perps, lets re-victimize the victims. And that is why, again, many victims said -- this is a conspiracy of silence. Of course threatening victims is not silence, its active suppression of the crimes.] 

AP: Honesty is the indispensable step towards the Truth ... appreciating your honesty...

JGW: But some time let us "unpack" and elaborate in detail what "moving on" really means to you and to the victims of child abuse who suffer from that abuse to this day ...

AU: Where can one see the film?

SR: www.krishnachildren.com

Krishna's Children. Historically the Hare Krishna Movement has had an unacceptably high tolerance for child… KRISHNACHILDREN.COM

JD: BTW, I signed the petition and agree that punishment in secular courts is the only way to go. To be honest, I doubt that I will leave India to face the music at this point (Indian courts are an option I guess), but certainly those who are still involved should be subjected to impartial external investigation and sanctions.

JGW: The key to indictments and prosecutions at this late date seem to be: What are the statutes of limitations on what crimes of child abuse? Also are there laws per country declaring aiding and abetting of child abuse to be a crime? Then what are the statutes of limitations of those laws?

The key to indictments and prosecutions at this late date seem to be: What are the statutes of limitations on what crimes of child abuse? Also are there laws per country declaring aiding and abetting of child abuse to be a crime? Then what are the statutes of limitations of those laws?

I suspect you have "only" to seek god's (and godess') forgiveness but in doing so you may also have to seek via our shared holy heart (param-atma/atmi w/in each of us) the forgiveness of each and every gurukuli whom you abused in any way.

DN: If I may ask, under what circumstances were you "severely thrashed by the Miapore villagers in 1977"?

DF: Does the past exist?........ Show me it.? ........Is it not all karma? ...... Does not everyone get what they deserve in this world so called good and bad? Does not all get harmonized by the great harmonizer krsna? .......... I am completely baffled by devotees or maybe its just me ............ is it not all providence? ........ Who can change the material environment? ...... Is the soul actually doing anything? Is it ever entangled? bg 13 32 ...........pleasure ... grief ....... happiness distress .. victory defeat .. whose grasping? ......... just questions. ............. krsnaaaaaaaaaaa

Jagat: He made a gamble. A play. He thought, The Holy Name is the real force. Let me spread the Name as far and wide as possible and the Name will take responsibility. I am just a servant of the Name. Jai Prabhupada.

NR: According to SP himself gambling is against Bhakti, so if he gambled with others' lives, as you say, he was contradicting himself. And isn't the usage of others (in the name of serving God) as harmful or more so than impersonalism? Contradictions must be addressed then, evidently.

Jagat: Good argument. If you have deep faith in the Holy Name, you accept. Those sinners who came into contact with the Holy Name were benefitted in absolute fashion. The sins of the material world they would probably have committed anyway, probably worse. They were benedicted by contact with the Holy Name and a Vaishnava, whatever happened. That was not a gamble. That was faith.

NR: So he gambled or not? "He made a gamble. A play." "That was not a gamble." Which one was it?

Jagat: Yes I am sorry. I was not paying attention to what you were responding to. But my answer should still clarify that Prabhupada had faith that whatever he asked his disciples to do in the service of the Holy Name would benefit them absolutely. That their karmas would likely have been worse as non-devotees anyway, and wherever they stood on the path of spiritual life, the presence of the Holy Name would either quickly or in a long time, be of Absolute Benefit in bringing their focus on the goal of prema. He warned about committing sin on the strength of chanting and the problems that will cause, but inherently, though externally it may have appeared to be a gamble, it was an act of deep faith and conviction.

Although I personally think that this method was like throwing a non-swimmer into the deep end and that there are many difficulties with the way I see what Prabhupada did, I accept the basic teaching, which is that the Holy Name is the form of God and to remain in the presence of the Holy Name constantly is the secret to blessedness in the age of Kali. And that everyone, saint or sinner, who has come into contact with the Holy Name, even briefly, is eternally benefited.

But our job is different. Our job now is to master the science of love, prema, and that is something that is going to take generations. And this child abuse thing is really LESSON ONE.

Meaning that purification of the self is a long and arduous journey that DOES take lifetimes to complete. Saying one Harinam rids you of all your sins is true, but show me your sinlessness, O mind!.

[PADA: Srila Prabhupada did not really think he would have to make a specific directive that children needed to be given proper food, and that children should not be beaten or abused etc., because this is common knowledge even in the ordinary mundane karmi society. 

What is self evident is that the bulk of the leaders of ISKCON began using the society's money for their own opulent lifestyles, such as -- extensive travel, nice cars, many servants, big houses, costly hotel stays, big motorhomes, fancy clothes, sometimes expensive jewelry, guns, weapons, drugs, girlfriends, and so on and so forth. And thus the varnasrama programs, farms, restaurants, schools and other projects withered, dried out, were severely neglected -- if not curtailed or suppressed completely.  

Of course! Every adult person in the USA already knows that its wrong to oppress children, beat children, starve children, molest children, etc. Srila Prabhupada also did not think he had to make a specific directive that we should not create a bunch of bogus gurus who would be living like five star hotel famous rock and roll musicians after he departed, while the kids were being fed rotten oatmeal -- this should have been self -- evident. 

And! The proper way to take care of children is known to even the most illiterate persons on the planet. Yep! Even the most isolated and illiterate farmer on top of the most isolated farm in the boon docks takes care of their own children with care and attention. It does not seem that specific directives needed to be made on this topic. Its really not rocket science either, the funds and energy meant to care for the children was siphoned off to give a few elite men an opulent life.]

AK: To blame Srila Prabhupada is foolish. This should be obvious.

Jagat: It is not blame. But when things happen we have to understand how and why they happened.

Let me put it this way, the reason Prabhupada gambled in the way he did, i.e. he could have made four or five disciples, brought them back to India, trained them up to be proper Gaudiya Math brahmacharis and so on, but he did not do that.

He did the complete opposite. He took people who knew nothing, who had no samskara whatsoever and he gave them the EGO, "I am a servant of Krishna and his holy name, etc." And though on the one hand he taught the classical philosophy about humility, in practice, it was the opposite. He gave them his hubris.

[PADA: Really does not give anyone a licence for child abuse of any type.]

Now he justified that hubris in the name of his mission. But his disciples never had anything but the hubris that comes with ignorance and blind faith, with all the dangers that these entail. It is better to keep kanishta bhaktas in a box, but Prabhupada told them they were madhyamas by selling books in the street.

So we can justify Prabhupada's gamble, but we don't have any right to the hubris. Just because you are preaching does not make you better than the Brijvasi doing bhajan on the banks of Radha Kund. It may take you a thousand lifetimes of pretending to be a devotee in New Zealand or wherever before you can have that good fortune.

AK: I am just saying that it is not reasonable to claim that a pure devotee did anything wrong.

NR: Jagat, you still don't address the issue at hand and which is the fact that our children are not safe in the Hare Krishna movement. Why did Srila Prabhupada gamble with the lives of children? Are you saying Srila Prabhupada thought the spiritual future of his immediate, undeveloped young disciples was more important than the next generations'? What would be the use of spreading the holy name if the chanters were so dangerous? Didn't Srila Prabhupada also say to not hear the Name from the lips of serpents? I still think you defend the predators more than you are willing to sympathize with the children. Aren't you representing more yourself here than Srila Prabhupada?

DN: To assert that children "deserve" to be emotionally, physically, or sexually abused is despicable nonsense, DF, which not only implies that abusers should not be taken to task by temporal authorities, but also illustrates misunderstanding of what karma is, and a complete misunderstanding of the relationship of the embodied soul to Krishna.

KKD: In hindsight, was the abuse that took place mostly corporeal or sexual? My impression from the video is there was an emphasis of the sexual over the corporeal.

S Devi Dasi: Both and more.

Pratyatosa Dasa Corporeal punishment is not necessarily abuse. As far as I know, it's still permitted in some states in the US. On the other hand, sexual molestation / rape of helpless children by adults in positions of trust is a crime that even criminals consider abominable! How could anyone who takes a vow of "no illicit sex" stoop to such depths of degradation? Such a person should be in jail, not protected by the ISKCON leaders! Yes, ISKCON is still being run by incompetent, unqualified leaders, but the fact that some of these incompetent, unqualified rascals think that they are "gurus like Prabhupada" really takes the cake, doesn't it?

DL: I applaud your honesty, Jagat, and your willingness to move on from the past. I am so sorry you see Srila Prabhupada as partially to blame for what happened. I, as a tiny insignificant soul, am glad I don't.

P Dasi: I find the system that you are punished in your next life for what you did in a previous illogical. But if it is really like that, you will get punishment when you can't remember what you did anymore. The Mahabharata story about the dice game shows that if you know something bad is going on, but don't do anything about it, you share the punishment.

About not knowing. We have a horrifying history of 71 people was executed as witches in one day in Sweden, when the juridical authority was out travelling, and did not know what was going on. When he came home and heard about it he put a stop to witch burning permanently with his authority.

Using that as a good example, those leaders who want to clean out their part of the sin, should have used all their authority to stop it, as soon as they learned about it. That did not happen, and the sin has spread far and wide since. I think Harikesa was one of the few who were fighting for the right of the children, up till he resigned or got kicked out. But as for the others, they have their own Kuruksetra battle to look forward to get slaughtered in.

Those who think that they can get free of their wilfully committed sin, after having learned about the philosophy, by the power of the Hare Krishna mantra, are in illusion, their intelligence already stolen away. And we can see how it goes on and on spreading, since it was never stopped, never purged. Birds of a feather flock together, new child abusers know where to go, where the leaders will look the other way....
It is just sickening.

Pratyatosa Dasa: IMHO, completely eliminating child abuse within ISKCON is impossible as long as ISKCON is run by a "Good ol' Boys Club" with no accountability to anyone except themselves, and a "CPO" which is controlled by this same corrupt "Good ol' Boys Club!"

JDas: y demonio quien culpe a Prabhupada,deberian tener verguenza y callarse y dejar de insultar a Iskcon y dar motivos a los que odian el movimiento
Rascal and demon who blame prabhupada, should be ashamed and shut up and stop insulting iskcon and give reasons to those who hate the movement

CK: I would say that there are a number of recurring issues that contributed to these scenarios - we joined a society which encouraged a false sense of utopia - all the evils and shortcomings of human nature were 'out there' in the material world.

JJY: I was there at that time. I never heard from someone that you have done some wrong and I did not notice anything wrong with you. But I witnessed also that things were going really wrong, that management was involved at the top level , and that's also why I left in 1980. Nothing did really change afterwards, at least for the next 5 or 6 years... But I left also because I noticed that I was surrounded by thieves and I became morose about that, specially when induced by superiors not to make waves...

PADA: Well as soon as we said there is a child abuse program, we were banned from ISKCON, then later threatened with death, and some of my associates were beaten and killed. They did not act responsibly, they covered it up and oppressed those of us opposing the program. 

I even told some of them in 1980 that if they do not get the child abuse under control there will be a lawsuit, they said so what, sue us then, they wanted this lawsuit and they even told me they wanted this lawsuit. They wanted to be sued, they told me that! 

MDE: Wow I had no idea

YAD: Srila Prabhupada concluded his meeting with Ramesvara by saying that the devotees should be very alert and intelligently defend the Krsna consciousness movement; but they should also understand that a higher principle was operating This opposition indicated the genuineness of ISKCON. Even Krsna Himself was sometimes the center of calamitous activities, such as when He fought with Kaliya and other enemies or when, as an infant, He fell into the Yamuna river.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SPL 51: Chant Hare Krsna and Fight

PADA: I told Mukunda swami around 1980 that a mother disciple of Bhavananda was having a total nervous breakdown because she thought her five year old son was being asked too many times to "give massages to the guru." I said her therapist said he had never seen such a severe breakdown. Mukunda swami said so what, I have heard many worse stories than that. And of course we were booted out of ISKCON for bringing this topic up at all. 

Ramesvara was later on "dating" his own female gurukula student and taking her to the mall, where witnesses saw him buying her a mini skirt. Another witness said he had young girls on his lap in his office, and etc. We reported these things for years and years and were shunned, ignored, threatened, chased with baseball bats etc. Narayana Maharaja also said we were poison for attacking this program and he said these children are just getting their karma, in other words he is authorized to promote this regime and we all have to get banned or children get molested and "its our karma." ys pd


Dear K****** Devi Dasi

When Sulochana was in New Vrndavana in the early 1980s he told me that I was wasting my time criticizing Kirtanananda because there are 300 devotee couples living there (600 devotees total) and they all love Bhaktipada, and I should just accept the will of my God brothers. OK that means there were a lot of my God brothers and sisters who simply went along with the GBC's illusion of guru process without questioning, especially at that time. Think about it! Even I as an adult had MAJOR troubles trying to point out problems, what to speak if you were a child who was only five years old trying to point to the problems! The good news is -- we later helped Sulochana escape from that place ...


Thanks Manjari, Well sorry, Ramesvara was dating a young gurukula student, he was seen by a group of devotees at the Santa Monica Mall with her buying her a miniskirt. He was also seen by other witnesses with other young girls seated on his lap. 

His goonda group later told me Ramesvara was involved with Sulochana's murder, and his former henchmen are now my friends. They are eye-witnesses. I was next on their hit list, because I was reporting the child abuse program. 

As for Narayana Maharaja, he was saying people like Ramesvara are gurus, despite they were dating their own disciples and engaging in other foolishness. He also said Tamal is a bona fide guru and Radha's dear Tamal tree etc., and he was spending time with Tamal in Dallas, at the same time the GBC reinstated Bhavananda, and all sorts of abuse was going on under the Bhavananda regime (which I was reporting from time to time in my newsletters). 

Bhavananda was having sex with taxi drivers and he was reinstated as their guru, and this was well known to everyone and was reported to Narayana Maharaja and he still defended their guru program, and he said we are poison for objecting. I know because I was collating all the documents on this and was placing them on my web site harekrsna org. 

I also helped other kulis including Raghunatha with the Turley lawsuit and was the person who advertised for affidavits and etc. The 11 gurus overall were living like opulent kings with fancy cars, French Riviera lifestyle, while the kids were being fed rotten green moldy oatmeal. I know all about this because I have read many statements from the victims and I also know many victims. 

These 11 gurus were siphoning money meant to feed and care for children and using to live like kings, and they were all flying over to hang out with Narayana Maharaja, who was encouraging them and their regime. Narayan Maharaja was the best friend advocate of the enforced cult ritualistic worship of sexual predator acharyas, and I know because he often criticized us and he hung out exclusively with them. 

Narayana Maharaja later on invited me to his ashram to talk, then he left me sitting for 10 hours avoiding me. Then he sneaked out the back door and left the property. He knew that I knew that he knew etc. He also was spitting mad at our associates and he said we are wrong to challenge Tamal, the founder father of the child abuse acharya's program. 

I have way too many witnesses for this, and much of this is recorded on my sites, as well as in the affidavits submitted to the Dallas courts. NM also did say these children are just getting their karma, that means he thinks he is authorized to support a regime that is victimizing children and these children are just getting their karma. Or you tell me what that means? 

So this is a little strange, many children went on later to accept Radhanath as their guru, never mind he was Kirtanananda's main henchman. Other children went on to accept Narayana Maharaja as their guru, and he was the main person who was the biggest cheer leader of the GBC's molester messiah's regime. This means, their parents are still to blame because they lead their children off to these dubious piped pipers. 

ys pd]

1 comment:

  1. Yep I agree, to petition the same people who caused all the trouble in the first place is not going to work. There needs to be a completely independent body that is transparent and has "no horse in the race."

    These ex-kulis need to create that independent body themselves, and make it self sufficient financed. To rely on personnel, funding, offices, and assets, or even cooperation from the GBC is simply not realistic.

    Agreed. Of course that's not going to be easy. This is another reason the GBC for the most part shuts out the ex-kulis from management posts, they know that if they are in control of assets they will use those assets to create proper managerial bodies and they fear being accountable like the plague. Anyway, they are doing what they can, and alerting people and starting some conversations on these topics is a good start. ys pd


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