Friday, December 23, 2016

The ISKCON GBC vs "The Angry Mob" (Damodar Das)

First of all, Neophytes are told not to act as diksha gurus.

Damodara Dasa 

December 19 · I am often viewed as being some kind of "die hard" ISKCON apologist. In this post - lifted from another thread - I am trying to better express a more nuanced perspective - essentially a call for a different way of surfacing and addressing issues within the global Vaisnava community particularly where we wish to see different behaviour from ISKCON's leaders..... 

<<<OK, please note what I am saying here?
<<<Show me examples of where "pressuring the leaders" has ever precipitated a true shift in consciousness and new behaviours, priorities and values.>>> 

The products of a successful change campaign would, IMHO, be "a shift in consciousness" and revised behaviors, priorities and values, etc. Better sanctions against perpetrators of abuse would be "satisfying" only superficially. Apart from the "deterrent factor", in and of themselves, they do nothing to make things safer or better for children nor do they right the wrongs. 

At best it slakes our thirst for perceived "justice". But is it the goal to see wrongdoers adequately punished or to improve outcomes for children. Because the movement has an unfortunate history of opposition exchanges, most leaders have developed a "siege mentality" whereby they practically can't even hear what the "angry mob" is screaming about. 

As such, they merely batten down the hatches and hope that the screaming will subside. I am not condoning such behavior on their part - nor excusing it, merely observing it. 

And suggesting that it might be possible to trigger a more mature conversation around the shared interests of doing the right things, for example for the kids, if we weren't so set on putting every leader "in the dock" as either being a perpetrator of abuse or a neglectful sympathizer. If that is the only identity that we afford them then it's hardly surprising that they're not interested in participating in such a "conversation." 

And it begs the question "are we really interested in having a conversation?" - one that leads to collective insight and action. Because it occurs to me that every time that the Society's leaders are put on trial in the court of public opinion - in absentia - that it lessens the likelihood of their interest in participating in such a conversation. 

They (and quite rightly it would seem) recognize that it wouldn't be a conversation since the "mob" has already concluded that they are unworthy, morally-defective, un-empathetic, soulless bureaucrats who are merely pursuing their own agendas and self interest. 

I suspect that many leaders - perhaps the majority - would be in agreement that "more needs to be done" but don't know where to begin. They are not the powerful executives that people assume them to be who, through a simple decision, could bring about change overnight. 

Most would perceive their power and influence to be much more limited than that. It's true that many individuals have command of resources that could be redirected into things like "child protection" causes and, as we have discussed before (Sanaka), rather than expending so much time and energy on a moral "beat up", it might be more productive to firm up concrete proposals for constructive solutions that they could invest in. 

There is a degree of social complexity inherent in all this that certainly confounds most leaders and is also perhaps underestimated by those who are incredulous that the leaders haven't "done more" about all this. Most "sadhus" are woefully unequipped to manage the realities of a complex global organisation - lacking many of the essential competencies that this would require. 

That doesn't make them uncaring frauds necessarily. 

My estimation of most leaders - having engaged with the majority up close over long periods of time - is that they have an appetite for "preaching" and hearing and chanting. When it all gets messy - knotty organisational issues that cannot be resolved with a simple edict or quote from sastra - then they tend to retreat into the world that they understand. 

Angry mobs only accelerate this retreat and their general distaste for "management".  Of course, the narrative of "good versus evil" may appeal to us - since that assigns us a noble identity of being crusaders for truth. But, if our indulgence in that paradigm serves to further delay any constructive conversation, insight and way forward then we are likely somewhat equally culpable for not finding a way forward. 

If our goal really is progress - rather than pursuing our "hero" agendas (where we get to be the good guys and "they" get to be the evil villains) - then, at some point, we have to clearly perceive reality. The GBC is not a particularly powerful, well-resources, adequately skilled group of leaders with a dodgy moral compass. There are a group of well-intended (for the most part) "preachers" who have a deep commitment to trying to further Srila Prabhupada's aims - but are, for the most part, completely out of their depth in terms of organisational leadership. 

And I suspect that most would readily admit that. "Why don't they just resign then?" I suspect most would if they felt that there were responsible and capable individuals ready to step up and take their place. The sooner we see them as well intended allies and undertake the more difficult work of mutually respectful collective problem solving, the quicker we'll make progress as a society. 

But while ever we're having too much "food" setting them up as "powerful yet corrupt" demons and ourselves as morally outraged heroes, then we will place our own indulgence in this self image ahead of genuine progress. And we will be wailing in the wilderness for many more decades without having anything to show for it. It's far more difficult to frame up a solution-focused conversation with these leaders than simply harangue them from afar. 

It might also expose many of us as being "light on" in terms of having practical, well-conceived solutions. Spotting and condemning others for stuff that's not as it should be has always been far easier than formulating pragmatic and effective solutions. If we could shift tack then I suspect that there would be absolutely no basis for resistance. Then, any unwillingness by others to constructively join in the conversation would truly - and visibly - be their moral failure. 

But it shouldn't take a degree in psychology to figure out why the current campaigning is hardly likely to induce ISKCON's leaders to willingly participate in the "conversation". All they perceive is a mud-slinging match where just about everyone else has already concluded that they are moral reprobates and that there will in reality be little chance of progressive outcomes since the mob seem primarily interested in getting a pound of their flesh. 

It is a sign of organisational immaturity - and arguably ill conceived priorities - that there is not yet a trusted "truth and reconciliation" grievance process. But I doubt that the leaders are simply withholding such a process out of a desire to remain unaccountable and simply to pursue their own selfish agendas unencumbered. I suspect that the absence of any such substantive progress in this regard is that people on all sides of this haven't yet figured out how to design and resource (fund and staff) such an operation and, for good reason, people suspect that it would likely descend into a non-productive mud-slinging match. 

As long as the mob engages in "demonising", publicly portraying the Society's leaders as morally bankrupt, pursuing selfish agendas with no care for the majority of devotees, spiritually-deficient, etc then such fears - and their deterrent effect on participating in mature conversation - seem reasonably well founded. 

Do we actually want to "talk with" these presumed all powerful leaders? Or are we content to shout at and about them? Are we committed to progress and therefore open to honing our own craft as "influencers without authority" or are we getting enough "jollies" from being the "righteous crusaders" - even if unheard - that we see no reason to change tack?>>>


[PADA: Pressuring the leaders may or may not produce results, but generally the ISKCON GBC / leadership only "responds" when their program runs into trouble with -- law enforcement, the mundane courts, and the mundane media. And then they might finally "respond" when they are exposed for their bad managing (if not criminal) program. Yep, then Anuttama goes on TV saying, "well jeepers, we really had no idea this was going on" (right, we just banned, exiled, beat and killed the people who were mentioning these problems). 

And thus a lot of devotees have concluded, the exiled just have to oppose and expose the GBC's gurus and leaders, because these leaders are not responding to the exiled's complaints generally, or at least not until it reaches "a crisis." Then the leaders might send in the fire brigade to deal with the crisis, otherwise they seem to be more or less oblivious to all the chaos they are creating. 

Here are a few examples of how external pressure seems to get the best results:

1) We started out saying that Kirtanananda is bogus, for years, and eventually the GBC had to agree with us and say -- KS is being suspended for criminal behaviors. The story of how the GBC's and / or ISKCON leaders failed to contain Kirtanananda's odious criminal and molester regime was placed solidly into the public eye in major news medias ALL over the USA, and even internationally. And this story was also the theme of the book "Monkey On A Stick," which indicated that the GBC's program had been using violent tactics, including murders, to enforce their deviant and sexual predator's messiah's project.  

That simply means, the Federal Marshals, media and the courts verified what PADA and others had said all along, and this means the GBC as a general rule, do not listen to us devotees, but they might be forced to listen to us -- only when it comes to the attention of law enforcement, courts and public news media. 

Recently these same GBC folks have buried Kirtanananda's carcass in a "samadhi" in Vrndavana, which means, they still think that their criminals and sexual aggressors of young devotees are fit to be worshiped as God's messiahs -- in a samadhi. So they have not really learned much from all this, and this type of thing shows "the angry mob" folks that the GBC are still poking a stick in the eye of the devotees at large, who are opposed to placing such odious deviants in a samadhi in the holy dham.  

In sum, the GBC self-evidently does not care one iota about the opinions of the devotees, aka the opinion of "the angry mob." This type of thing simply verifies what the angry mob already believes, that the GBC wants to do things that anger and upset the angry mob, because they have no interest in the concerns of the angry mob.  

2) We said New Vrndavana was producing a criminal atmosphere, and this was verified later when it was raided by the Federal authorities and local Sheriffs, and then this became a huge news media story as was posted in every major newspaper in the world. 

So its not merely the angry mob of devotees who are opposed to the GBC's mis-managing, there are millions and millions and millions of ordinary people who read these horror stories of the GBC's (mis) "managing prowess" -- and then many of the regular citizens of the entire globe think the GBC's are incompetent fools; Or worse, the leaders are compromised with deviants posing as messiahs; Or worse, they have been promoting these deviants as messiahs and suppressing those of us who opposed them (sometimes with assassinations); Or worse, they are burying said deviants in a samadhi even today. 

3) We said that some ISKCON leaders are promoting / harboring drug dealing, and later on Laguna Beach temple was raided by Federal FBI authority. This again was another major news media story and was published in the major USA newspapers. Again, the opinion of the devotees was suppressed, and so the issue had to be handed off to karmi law enforcement, karmi courts, and the karmi media who exposed all this. The GBC leaders do not seem to care for the opinion of the devotees, and so these problems tend to eventually get to the point that outside authority has to reign in these problems for them.  

4) We also complained that the GBC's bogus "scam-kirtana" tactics were alienating and infuriating the public, and then ISKCON was sued in 1980 by the Syracuse New York Federal court for "systematically defrauding the public," and they lost their case, and had to pay the fines. This story was again, in all the major newspapers all over the world, and there was even a huge article about this in the "Men's magazine" "Hustler", which means the story was basically everywhere. 

Then! Many millions of ordinary people agreed with us -- that the GBC's are crooks, never mind the angry mob believes that too. Once again, the leaders did not listen to the devotees who warned them of the potential for this to blow up, so the outside authorities had to reign in the GBC's mis-managing. And the poor devotees had to pay for the court fees and etc., and they had to live with the horrible publicity generated by the GBC's leaders. 

About this same time -- Ramesvara's scam-kirtan program was dressing LA devotees as SANTA CLAUS, and some of them were arrested and handcuffed. A karmi friend of mine said, wow your leaders not only want to give Krishna a bad name, they even want to give Santa a bad name!  

5) Same basic thing when New Vrndavana's drug mules were arrested, using minor age girls to to put dope in their underwear and fly around the country, with the hope that minors would not be charged with a crime due to being underage. Great idea, use your children to do crimes because the police do not arrest children! OK once again, shows that the GBC has not been taking care of these issues, and so the police, courts and media have had to fix it for them.

6) We said that GBC friendly people like Bhakta das are also criminals, and sure enough, his place was raided by Federal authority and he was busted for allegedly selling $10m of designer drugs. This story was in the major news media in the USA. Later, he was busted for "child porn" (or some such crime?) in Puri India, and this story was in the major news media in India -- and some in the West. 

How did you guess, then our GBC bucket boy friends like Janardan / Sanat / Mukunda / Prahlad (UK) / Dayalu Nitai's HKC Jaipur etc. all began to promote this Radhanath lovers club leader Bhakta das as their biggest hero and spokesman. Yep, if there is one class of person they need to listen to, its the people who promote sexual predator messiah's programs; and they sell designer drugs which apparently can cause madness, murders, deformed babies and so on; and they are arrested for sex crimes. 

This is their idea of a bona fide shiksha guru? 

As Srila Prabhupada says, birds of a feather. And, you mean to say this is the highest quality person these Kirtanananda bucket boys can find to defend their favorite molester messiah's GBC's guru program? Even Al Capone would make a better representative of religion than these guys? 

Worse, these above folks have been de facto saying Jayananda is bogus for "carrying meat because he was driving a taxi where customers had groceries." Yep, harming people with bad drugs, and sex crimes arrests, is their idea of a "good devotee with a good income," while the SRILA PRABHUPADA APPROVED taxi driving job is bogus. So they are clearly on the side of the evil doers. 

Thus, its not just the GBC who are creating these problems, its their dedicated lackeys, pals and boot lickers who aid and abet their odious process. Worse, they are even attacking Srila Prabhupada for "taking dirty bad taxi driver money," they even think the acharya is defective for taking honest income money, because the acharya is not encouraging their program -- of selling designer drugs to make money? Notice, its almost always that the illegal drug scam program, the supporters of molester messiahs program, the arrest for sex crimes program, that gets boosted by these thinkers, and the honest income idea is -- the bogus and bad idea?

7) We also said that Bhavananda was having sex with taxi drivers while posing as the GBC's guru, and the GBC suspended him for these crimes. But then later, the GBC reinstated him, and this infuriated almost the entire Vaishnava community. Almost everyone was totally fried with the GBC's gurus and managers. OK our good pal Tamohara still thinks there is nothing wrong with Gaura Govinda Maharaja getting voted in as guru at this recoronation of Bhavananda ceremony.

Anyway! The result was and is, that many people agreed with us -- that the GBC are corrupt promoters of sexual deviants as their Vishnupada acharyas. Many ex-kulis are still very angry that Bhavananda was never charged with any crimes by the GBC, even criminal neglect, and instead the GBC made him a big manager at Mayapura. This looks like corruption on steroids, the people responsible for making the molester nests and webs program, are given a big post by the GBC? Then the GBC wonders why there is an angry mob against them?

8) Then we have guys like Jayadvaita saying that their gurus are "engaged in illicit sex with men, women and children." Swell, again, what if the mob disagrees and thinks gurus are pure devotees? There is no concern for that the mob wants?

9) Hansadutta's farm was raided by Federal Marshals. Yep, huge story all over the media "The Machine Gun Swami." Later he shoots at occupied buildings with four loaded guns, more newspaper stories. Where is the GBC while all this is going on? Asleep at the switch? Nope, they are saying Hansadutta is right, Kirtanananda is the only pure devotee on the planet!

10) OK! Their Mississippi Painting business was raided by a SWAT team.

11) OK! The New Orleans police said Chatur Bahu's murder was "an inside job."

12) OK! Apparently illegal New York temple sale is not be legally stopped by the GBC leaders? Or what?  

13) Of course then we had the child abuse issue, which was another issue totally botched by "the managers." Jaggadisha das actually went on public TV to say, he had no training how to care for children, so he was not able to manage them. Ummm, he and the other leaders did not know that these children need food, blankets, soap, medicine, and freedom from abusers? And this is the de facto public statement, we did not know -- children need to eat?

Worse, an increasing number of the victims were starting to commit suicide by the mid-1990s, never mind all the other problems they were experiencing from depression and other dysfunctional issues. What was the GBC going to do now that they had excommunicated / exiled / beaten down folks like me and Sulochana for complaining that there is a child abuse issue, especially as we protested in the 1980s, and the problem was not yet solved? 

OK how did you guess, once again an outsider person, namely the Windle Turley law firm, had to take the GBC to task for what appears to be -- their criminal child negligence. Their countless committees did not seem to have any means of addressing what to speak of resolving the issue. 

Worse, according to some of the younger persons living in the society at the time, the abuse problem had not been really fixed either, and so there were a number of young people still in an "insecure" situation. And so, the Windle Turley lawsuit gave a lot of relief to the victims, it vindicated their claims, which helped reduce the suicides to almost nil. 

At the same time, hundred of parents removed their kids from GBC controlled places after the lawsuit was filed, and according to some of these kids -- the lawsuit "saved them" from getting abused. In fact some of these kids wrote to tell me their lives were saved from this lawsuit.

Now of course there were critics to the lawsuit from the GBC side and from their sympathizers. They first of all complained that the lawsuit was going to cost a lot of money, which is what many ex-kulis tell PADA -- that the leaders are more interested in buildings than people. Another complaint was that the children had a bad attitude towards the religion, oh jeepers, really!

Even Krishna Kanta Desai of the IRM wrote a piece on the IRM web site complaining that he was not in favor of hundreds of children being saved from molesting by being pulled out of GBC managed program, and the suicides went down. He was not happy that kids were reporting their lives had been saved by the lawsuit, because he apparently thinks almost like Jayapataka, children are simply expendable items to toss in the trash when they require help, just after you've ran over them with your army tank. 

Yep! "Us children are just expendable pieces of trash," that is exactly what some of them told me was -- how they were being treated by this group. Then these leaders and their dedicated people wonder why some kids have a bad attitude? Well these guys are creating the impetus for the bad attitude ... duh! 

Krishna Kanta simply followed the GBC's idea, he also felt just as many GBC leaders did, that the ongoing molesting and suicides was not that big of a problem, and he also told me not to introduce the poison issue because "we could lose buildings." Wow! Krishna Kanta thinks it my job to make sure Jayapataka has a building to conduct his guru pooja in!

And the IRM was then joined by their co-pals like Sanat / Mukunda / Prahlad / Dayalu Nitai's HKC Jaipur, etc. they also complained and objected that the child molesting and suicides were being halted. And they even said helping Srila Prabhupada's children from being victimized is some evil program, so clearly, they wanted all the victimization to continue. They are simply GBC part II, shills for the evil program, according to a number of the victims -- who told me exactly that. 

Some women told me that when they were young girls the lawsuit saved them from getting married to much older men, again, almost no one cared that they were saved, ok except us -- and the victims. These GBC folks and their cheer leaders were angry, that these girls were saved! This is amazing to us, these girls are crying because they were saved and these heartless people are upset and crying -- that these girls were saved! 

Yup! Why were these girls not put into the trash bucket where they belong? Thus, we have some people, like the above group, still saying that they wanted all the victimization to continue. So they are helpmates to the GBC's criminal program, its that simple.

Of course, the real issue is, that these leaders are promoting themselves as faultless gurus, and this gives them a sort of carte blanche open account to conduct all sorts of illegal things, because "no one should criticize the guru." So the root of all this seems to be, most of the GBC's leaders are thinking they are gurus who are as good as God, above the law, beyond reproach from any sector, and so all these criminal problems develop as a result. Dr. J. Stilson Judah told me these people are antinomianism, lawless in the name of religion. And he said, watch your back, they can kill you.

Good news!, now the GBC has done us all a huge favor. They took Bangalore to the Supreme Court to "prove" that they are the actual gurus, and Srila Prabhupada is not the guru. Well, this is also not working out the way they had hoped for, hee hee! So anyway some GBC folks wrote to tell us PADA has cost ISKCON over a hundred million dollars for helping along all these legal actions. Well, had the GBC sat down and talked to me, none of this would have been required? And the GBC kicked out hundreds and hundreds of people who were collecting millions of dollars each, so they are tossing out hundreds of millions of dollars like old newspapers.

Sridhara Maharaja said "I'm a form-breaker, not a form-maker." Yep, his bogus guru program broke down the Gaudiya Matha and now it is breaking down ISKCON. The good news is, more people are waking up to all this and they want to jettison these bogus gurus and worship the actual acharya Srila Prabhupada. So we are winning gradually. 

Our blog site hits have gone WAY UP, so apparently, more people are taking notice of all this. In any case, we do not need to talk to the GBC, we are doing our own talking and people are taking notice. So, if you can get something done to oppose the GBC, goody, and if you can make your own program also goody, but in any case, being independent of them seems to be the consensus, hence, the numbers of the angry mob is growing every day, and it will continue no matter what. ys pd

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