Open Letter to Bhakti Vikasa Swami
Posted May 16, 2008
Dear Bhakti Vikasa Swami,
Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. As you are undoubtedly aware, your disciple Caitanya dasa has been writing a blog entitled "Hare Krishna Diary" as a vehicle for propagating your "teachings." Throughout it, purporting to quote Srila Prabhupada, he pervasively vilifies women as "whores," "prostitutes" and "animals" and consistently vilifies them in abusive language in numerous additional ways. His statements are deeply disturbing and offensive. Even more disturbing is the fact that you are at the very least allowing, if not encouraging, him to do this, which reflects very poorly on you and casts you in an extremely unfavorable light. That you would impart such a distorted and dangerous version of "Krishna consciousness" to young, impressionable devotees in your care reveals a serious deficiency in your judgement and calls into question your qualification to act as an initiating guru on behalf of ISKCON.
In addition to his own distasteful statements, Caitanya dasa also quotes and provides numerous links to your texts from the infamous "GHQ" conference. www.vnn.org/world/WD9811/WD18-2521.html. This conference and the statements made by its members (only one of whom is known to have ever had the decency to apologize) were emphatically repudiated by the North American GBC 10 years ago. Therefore it is most surprising that you appear to be encouraging your disciple to actively propagate these very statements, which the GBC described as "demeaning," "ill intended," "ridiculing," "berating" and "vilifying" and thus strongly denounced as "crossing the line of decency, morality and Vaisnava etiquette."
In this way, whether you have merely tacitly allowed these things to go on (though one has to wonder how your newly-initiated disciple, a mere 2-year devotee, happened to come into possession of all of your old GHQ writings and one has to to assume that he would surely not have published them without your permission) or whether you have actively encouraged them, you are fully responsible for the abhorrent, vulgar, offensive and abusive statements made by your disciple and consequently must be accountable to the Society of devotees for them.
Therefore I am requesting you to please do each of the following:
1. Publicly apologize for the offensive and disturbing statements made by your disciple with your tacit or overt permission. As these statements are being publicly disseminated on the Internet, a public apology from you is similarly in order.
2. Compel your disciple Caitanya dasa to also publicly apologize for the offensive and disturbing statements he has made.
3. Compel your disciple Caitanya dasa to remove this offensive blog from the Internet. Its existence is a liability for ISKCON in every way.
4. Forbid your disciple Caitanya dasa from ever again using the sacred words "Hare Krishna" in any title or in any writing disseminated via any medium which propagates hateful, vulgar, offensive, abusive and misogynistic rhetoric. Calling that repugnant blog the "Hare Krishna Diary" is a disgrace to the Holy Name and a disgrace to Srila Prabhupada that dishonors his legacy and everything he sacrificed to make "Hare Krishna" a household word.
Thank you very much.
Lalita Madhava d.d.
(1998) Statement by the North American Executive Officers
The North American GBC/Temple President Executive Officers wish to voice our strong disapproval of, and our protest against, the demeaning and ill intended statements made by some members of the GHQ com conference that were recently brought to public attention.
It is our firm position that Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-acarya of ISKCON, intended his Hare Krishna Movement to be free from all prejudice, sexism, racism and other forms of bigotry.
We affirm that the first and foremost principle of our society is that all people (indeed all sentient beings) are eternal, sacred parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, and as such should be respected and affirmed in their individual relationship with the Lord, as well as their service to guru and Krishna.
Multiple statements made by members of this Internet conference ridicule, berate and vilify women, other minorities, and individual Vaishnava devotees. They document an organized attempt to prevent women from their God-given rights of self expression and service to Srila Prabhupada. We denounce such views. They are opposed to the core values and principles of Vaishnava culture which uphold the devotional offerings of all souls as sacred and worthy of our respect and protection.
While we endorse open debate and dialogue within our Krishna Consciousness movement, we must speak out against any discussion that crosses the line of decency, morality, and Vaishnava etiquette and supports an agenda to exploit or minimize a section of our society.
Bir Krishna Goswami, Chairperson
Vraja Lila Dasi