The Blame Game
Posted May 29, 2006
This letter is a response to several articles written in regards to the death of Ananda Prabhu. This letter is not intended to be an attack against Dhanurdhara Swami or in support of him.
I am not a gurukuli. I was not born into the Hare Krsna movement. My parents did not send me away to school while they did service. I am honestly saying that I did not have this experience.
I did spend my childhood being abused. I was sexually abused for a short time and emotionally abused for pretty much my entire childhood. It does not matter whether one was a devotee or not as a child - abuse is abuse. I am stating these facts to show my readers that I, too, have had abusive experiences and can relate.
My question is, when will we stop playing the blame game? When will we stop looking to others to heal us? I confronted one of my abusers and he did not and would not fully acknowledge his role in the abuse. Where did that leave me? Empty and angry. I could not force him to admit his wrongdoings. But I had the realization that even if he had said he was sorry, if he had groveled to me on hands and knees and given me thousands of dollars in retribution - it would not have mattered. Because even sincere remorse from someone that has hurt you does not heal - it can help, but it will not heal.
Only you can heal those wounds.
My point is not that an abuser should not seek forgiveness or make attempts to make-up for their wrongdoings, but that we, as abused individuals should not look to them for compensation. It will not help, it will not heal. You think it will, but trust me, it won't.
We also need to stop asking why. Why did this happen to me? Why me? There is no answer to that. Yes, I know, many will say it was your karma. I hate to say it, but it's true. And I don't mean that in a callous "get over it" way.
This is our philosophy - things happen to us because of our past actions. I have spent so much time milling over this answer - wondering, why does Krsna let these horrible things happen to us? Is it a punishment? What did I *do* - what could I have possibly done to deserve what has happened to me? I will never have an answer to that - so why waste my time?? Why not spend my time trying to heal myself and make something of myself?
A very wise and learned (and licensed) devotee counselor once told me that revenge is like trying to give the other person poison, but drinking it yourself. This is my advice - stop spending your life trying to hurt the person who hurt you. You will look back - days, months, years, decades from now - and be so angry that you wasted so much time. Time that you could have spent becoming someone better than that person - Time you could you have spent with your family, your children - Time you could have spent trying to come closer to Krsna.
Like I said at the beginning of this letter - I am not trying to support or
condemn Dhanurdhara Swami with my words. I did not know Ananda. It is so, so
sad that he felt like he had no where to turn for help. It is sad that his
family and friends could not predict what was coming. But will searching for
fault really take away what has already happened? Where is Ananda's note
that pointed fingers or laid blame? This is a natural reaction - that when
tragedy occurs, we, as humans, want to know why. But how do we know - how
can we know all of the hands that were involved in this misfortune?
Ultimately, this poor soul made a decision. He chose his reaction. - I am
just so sorry, as many are, that it ended up this way. But we are all
thinking, feeling, intelligent human beings. We make choices. I find it
distressing that intelligent devotees are trying to blame other people for
their choices to eat meat or take intoxications or even kill themselves.
Surely, there are other options. I don't look down on anyone for the choices
they make - if eating meat makes you feel better - go for it, I'm just not
going to agree that it's the best option. It saddens me even more to see
that devotees are not using their energy to promote education to their youth
- education against abuse, education against suicide. No, we spend too much
time trying to blame.