Meeting attendees were child abusers, says gurukuli
Posted March 15, 2005
In Urmila dasi's latest post I could not find a word of compassion for the sufferings of the Vaishnava students who wrote in about Sri Ram. As far as I could tell, she gave no acknowledgement of our feelings and personal experiences from gurukula. Instead, she wrote a letter documenting meetings to stop abusers, where some of the attendees were themselves abusers. She continues to defend the abusers who ran the gurukula.
Although our parents were paying tuition for us to attend school, and were serving and collecting money for ISKCON, we were subjected to daily punishments and physical abuse at the hands of Sri Rama and other teachers under him.
Urmila writes as follows:
"I never visited the school in Lake Huntington, New York, and do not have any first-hand (and very little second-hand) knowledge of that school, nor of Sri Rama prabhu's role there in terms of what is being posted. To get to the truth of his dealings there, one would need to interview a number of people, check documents, and so forth."
Fortunately, the lawsuit does exactly what she suggested be done. There is now sufficient evidence to prove the abuse existed. The Child Protection Office has collected hundreds of accounts of abuse and has spent thousands of dollars on therapy for abused gurukulis. Does anyone still doubt that this abuse took place? Urmila dasi attests to a bunch of meetings she attended with people who deserve prosecution. Urmila could have gone to a thousand more meetings, but in the very years she was at these meetings some of the most horrendous abuse was taking place.
That Urmila went to many meetings does not mean she knows these people better than those of us who had to live under them every day. She might want to believe that she is an authority on this subject but, in my opinion, she is not. To me it seemed she trivialized our experiences. I was a student for at least ten years in the gurukula system and experienced firsthand the abuse and violence. She never lived in Lake Huntington and was never, as far as I know, a teacher in any boarding-school gurukula.
Urmila dasi gave a chronology of her meetings with the so-called Board of Education. Many of the people in those meetings are well-known child abusers. Sri Ram, Dhanurdhar, Manohar and Muralivadaka were all physically or sexually abusive. Muralivadaka is an admitted child abuser and pedophile. How corrupt can one get? But Urmila attempts to convince us that Sri Ram (an abuser himself) was working hard to stop child abuse.
I wonder when Urmila became aware of the abuse and whether she reported abuse to the proper authorities or even to our parents. By documenting the many meetings she attended, she revealed an extensive involvement with the rotten educational system in ISKCON. Maybe it's time someone interviewed her as to what she knew, considering she is still trying to defend these rascals.
Early attempts to bring the abuse to the GBC's attention were futile. It was not something the GBC took seriously until the gurukulis in Alachua forcibly stormed the North American GBC meeting in 1996 and threatened a lawsuit. Only then did the GBC realize something had to be done. ISKCON Board of Education, Sri Ram and even our parents did nothing.The gurukulis who had to fight for justice without support.
Leaders of ISKCON, so-called ministers of education and defenders of
abusers should hang their heads in shame at what happened to an entire
generation of devotees.