Chakra Discussions

Food for Thought

by Govinda dasa

Posted June 4, 2006

I've just received my matrix sheet from the court case. It came as quite a surprise because I was a late subscriber to the case and I hadn't received any response. I figured what the hell, I won't pursue it any further. Then just as the suicide of Ananda hit the headlines on Chakra, surprise, surprise an envelope from the lawyers. 69 points - 22something thousand dollars with the condition that I never take any Iskcon entity to court. If I don't sign the release I'll only get 6something thousand dollars. I must admit that since I have this uncomfortable feeling. Four years of sexual abuse by Devaratta (ACBSP) who is still hanging out in temples in Spain. I told the local GBC my story about a year ago. He promised that he'd do the necessary to ban this guy from the temple. A couple weeks ago my wife happened to get him on the phone. He left me a message with her letting me know that he'll be taking care of it soon. Great - maybe his lack of enthusiasm can up my abuse points. Four years - 22000 dollars. Is it worth it ? Would 22 million make it worth while ? I don't think so. I would have preferred a bit more caring though from all those who are supposed to represent the mercy and compassion of Srila Prabhupada and our disciplic succession, all those who are daily chanting 16 rounds and bathing in the bliss of bhakti. Before I actually came out with what happened to me I was talking about abuse in gurukula with one of the stalwarts of New Mayapura, France. She said something along the lines that she was only aware of one case in the early days when this guy Devaratta (ACBSP) abused one of the young boys and that was all. I couldn't believe my ears. The authorities were aware of this yet still allowed this man to have daily dealings with children. Had they done something, then myself as well as two others I know of would not have been sexually abused. At first I was thinking of refusing the money because I think Iskcon is getting away easy. Then again I don't think that I'll be getting anything else from them other than money. At least it's something that I can put aside for my kids' future. Maybe that will make the abuse worth something. Having kids is all about sacrifice isn't it ? I guess that twice a year until 2011 I'll get this strange feeling come over me as I receive a letter from the lawyers and I'll probably remember Ananda whom I never met. Strange how life (or in this case death) ties people together.

Shit happens in life and I most probably had this coming to me because I must have done the same in a past life etc etc. We all know about karma etc. Or another line - well if you had been with karmis it would have been worst, just imagine how much worst it would have been if you hadn't been a devotee. Abuse of children happens everywhere, as does abuse of woman. Iskcon is not an exception (though technically it should be). However I don't know any karmis who have such a large percentage of friends and acquaintances who were abused. I think that about 80 percent of my gurukula friends were abused in some way or other and at least 50 percent were so sexually. None of my "karmi" friends can make that claim. Food for thought !

I'd like to tell Shakuntala that I really appreciated her letter to Dhanurdhara which I found extremely powerful. I was very touched by it. Madi's letter made me realize that that although I know quite a few gurukulis over the world from different gurukulas, I don't really take the time to find out how they're doing - even though I know their abuse history. Life is generally such a rush that we realise - as in this case - that it's too late and had we had foresight we would definitely have found the time. So Sridam, I've often wondered how you been doing and what you're up to. We used to hang out a bit in Los Angeles in the summer of 1991 when I came over from Europe. I've been thinking of getting in touch with you for a while but never actually got down to it - so here's my mail if you want to get in touch - Govinda_dasa@hotmail.com (you know me as Veda).