Chakra Discussions

Defending myself from hate rhetoric

by former bhakta Mike

Posted February 6, 2005

First, I would like to thank Subhadra-mayi d.d. for her article. She really warmed my heart with that response and I deeply appreciate it.

Second, I would like to address an article by those who seek to misrepresent my comments for their own benefit. To try to characterize my comments as a cheap shot at Prabhupada is, in my opinion, totally ludicrous. Nowhere in my article did I mention Prabhupada. My comments were directed towards the type of people that wrote this malicious article as well as the people whose hearts have not hardened yet. My comments dealt with the ISKCON of today, as well as the Krishna consciousness movement in general. That writer almost seems to have tried to twist my words, so he could have something to lash out against and defend his views with.

As far as Srila Prabhupada, yes, sometimes he made quite offensive comments. Sometimes he made comments that, later on, turned out to be in error. But, like Srila Prabhupada himself taught us, we must learn to take into account time, place, and circumstance. Srila Prabhupada was from a very different time in history and from a very different place in the world compared to the modern day West. I no more blame Prabhupada for his comments than I blame Mark Twain for his. In their respective times, we could expect nothing different. This article brings that point home beautifully.

However, times have changed. People are using Prabhupada's words to hurt others in ways he never would have . . . and never would have approved of. In this modern era, we in the West have taken great strides towards putting away the hatred, bigotry and depravity that characterized the world of our fathers. Sure, western society has its faults, but it is a society that is learning to show tolerance and compassion . . . and to love its neighbor. It is sad that there are those within the Krishna consciousness movement who would love nothing more than to halt that progress and drag us back into darker times. It is they who insult and offend Prabhupada, by using a movement he brought to us to teach love of God and twisting it to espouse a hatred of mankind.

As for my reasons in posting that original article, it is very simple. I suffered from the hatred and intolerance. I was treated very poorly by some because I was a Westerner. I feared people finding out I'm bisexual and refusing to let me worship in the temple. My heart ached when I saw women treated as slaves. I saw a movement that had lost its focus and no longer spread Krishna consciousness, but instead spread Kali consciousness.

So, I wrote my article hoping that some would read it and take a look around them. I spoke up for those in the movement who are being hurt, yet are afraid of speaking up for themselves because they think that would be sinful. I spoke up because if I make one person realize the error of their ways and the results of their hatred, then I did not suffer in vain. I spoke up because it was the right thing to do.