Chakra Discussions

Prabhupada rejected corporal punishment

by Sanjaya das

Posted March 7, 2005

I am an education professional of fifteen years and have been left speechless by the article"What constitutes child abuse?" I must speak up for those who have no voice in this deeply concerning article -- the children.

The author's predisposition to violence and disappointment with, as he puts it, the current 'vogue' for skilled teaching and parenting is alarming, and he makes an assumption that children spared his abuse are destined to emerge as 'obnoxious, duplicitous liars'. Why?

He writes, "Srila Prabhupada also prescribed corporal punishment for ISKCON's children." Where did that come from? Letters from Srila Prabhupada to disciples contradict him:

To Aniruddha das (10/01/72): "If there is need, you may shake your finger at them, but physical punishment is never allowed." To Svati dasi (20/01/72): "Avoid using physical punishment to train children. Better to use sweet words. If absolutely necessary, show the cane, but do not use it." To Bhanutanaya dasi (18/11/72): "Children should not be beaten at all. If someone cannot manage in that way, he is not fit to be a teacher."

From Srla Prabhupada's secretary to Stoka Krsna das (8/10/72): "If the teachers are not qualified to handle the children, they -- not the children -- should be beaten with a stick."

With whom is he arguing on this issue?

To answer the question, "What actually constitutes child abuse?": how about connecting children with clueless and damaging individuals in the garb of caregivers?

I challenge the anonymous author to have the courage to name himself, and I will do all I can to remove him from any unfortunate dependents.