Chakra Discussions

Gurukula alumni begrudgingly vote for reorganization plan

by Krsna Avatara das

Posted May 6, 2005

The article entitled "Gurukulis overwhelmingly approve ISKCON Chapter 11 reorganization plan" is inaccurate and misleading for several reasons:

The term "gurukuli" as used by the first-generation devotees is a pejorative term. Gurukulis are people attending gurukulas, not those who have attended them. This would be synonymous to stating that because one attended college twenty years ago, one is a college student. Usually when that term is used by first-generation devotees, it is not a positive referral. I think that sometimes first-generation devotees forget how young they were when they assumed leadership positions. A more appropriate term would be gurukula alumni or second-generation devotees. Everybody on the lawsuit is an adult, and would like to be referred to as such.

More importantly, the alumni did not "overwhelmingly approve" the reorganization plans. Having talked to a wide swath of alumni, the consensus seems to be that this plan is derisory. Many alumni believed that this plan would have a positive impact on their life, affording them the opportunity to put a down payment on a home or to help pay for their children's college expenses. What they did not expect was to be compensated for the abuse and suffering endured with what is the equivalent of gas money. Also, the fact that it is dispersed over a six-year period, with the bulk of the compensation occurring in 2011, neglects to adequately compensate alumni for inflation and time value of money factors, compounding the dissatisfaction.

Most alumni that I have talked to are accepting this because they feel they have no other choice. Many feel that ISKCON is using this Chapter 11 as a means of reorganizing its finances, with compensation to alumni as a secondary goal. Others just want to get it over with. But the title to Gupta prabhu's article is similar to the propaganda that Pravda, the newspaper that published the party line for the old Soviet Union, used to produce. I am not saying that Gupta prabhu purposely misrepresented how second-generation devotees feel; nonetheless, the title is misleading. A more apt title would be: "Gurukula alumni begrudgingly vote for reorganization plan."

Finally, most alumni don't understand why the people who caused the abuse are still initiating gurus in ISKCON. It seems counterproductive to the healing that the leaders claim to want to facilitate. The alumni still have not been given a good answer as to why the GBC choose an abusing guru over the people he abused. This decision, we feel, reflects the true values of the leaders. Most alumni are interested in moving on, leading productive lives and granting forgiveness, but the leaders of ISKCON make it very difficult.