Krishna Heals the Tragic Cycle of Abuse
Posted May 31, 2006
When I was three years old my grandmother committed suicide. She went to the kitchen, put her head in the oven and turned on the gas. My older brother was physically and sexually abusive towards me. I still feel uncomfortable with him and worry if he is going to approach me sexually. I am now fifty-four years old.
I joined ISKCON in 1970 when I had just turned nineteen. Although I remained very active in the movement and held different positions in many temples such as temple president, sankirtana leader etc. I was never able to control my senses and refrain from illicit sex. I married three times and had four daughters and still I had numerous affairs with karmi women and used pornography often. Once I even stole sankirtana money and went to a prostitute.
Yet on the outside I appeared to be a good devotee. I chanted, preached and opened new temples. However, in my heart I had a disease that wouldn't go away no matter how much I chanted and prayed because in the core of my heart I truly and sincerely did not want to let go of my sinful desires. When I was forty and she was only ten, I molested my daughter. It went on for two years until she told her mother. I was thrown out of the temple. My GBC told me to commit suicide. I went to jail for 7 months and was on probation for 5 years. Since then I have participated in an intensive sex offenders treatment program, one on one therapy, and hypnotherapy sessions. My daughter has never spoken to me again.
I know that I have caused terrible emotional and spiritual damage to my daughter. For a father to betray his daughter, betray her trust, betray her love, that is the worst crime a father could commit. When the father is a devotee, he doubles the horror of that crime. Not only have I scarred my daughter emotionally, but I have also scarred her spiritually. How can she respect Krsna consciousness when her devotee father molested her? How can she have faith in Krsna when she feels she wasn't protected?
Most people ask how could a father do such an abomination? How could a father have been so perverted that he could look at his own daughter in a sexual way? How could he have been so narcissistic that he would abuse his own daughter at the cost of hurting her so terribly? It is devastatingly tragic to think of it. Perhaps, philosophically we can answer these questions but still it is very hard for most people to fathom how someone can be so depraved. I desperately wish that I had been so much stronger and purer and not failed as a father and hurt my daughter so terribly and failed Srila Prabhupada so horribly.
Since that time 13 years ago, it has been a long road of recovery. Humiliation. Shame. Guilt. Prison was frightening and at times tortuous. Therapy has been painful. Sometimes overwhelmingly so. Devotee association scarce. But through it all there has been Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. Holding out their love to even the most unworthy. Giving me the strength to go on. Giving me solace when I thought I couldn't take it anymore and suicide was the only answer. Srila Prabhupada's books. Krishna's holy names. Lord Caitanya's causeless mercy to even the most fallen.
Prabhus, why am I writing this? Can anyone gain something from reading this story? I hope so. I hope that someone can see hope after abuse. Healing after pain. I would like to start a website offering devotees resources: books, articles, workshops etc. to help anyone who has been abused, who has abused or is fearful that they too may be becoming abusive. Please write with any suggestions, feedback, comments etc. And if anyone just needs to talk, please e-mail me at: KrishnaHeals@aol.com
In closing I would like to share with you some words from H.H. Bhakti-Tirtha Swami:
- A) Forgiveness does not mean:
- i) That what happened to you was your fault
- ii) It doesn't mean that you allow those who hurt you or any others to continue the abuse
- iii) It doesn't even mean that you have to forget as sometimes we have to remember the past so that it doesn't repeat itself and often we have to learn from the past while we look and plan for the future.
- iv) That what happened as horrible as it was, really wasn't so bad after all
- B) Forgiveness does mean:
- i) That you stop allowing whoever hurt you so much to continue to daily hurt you by carrying this around in your mind everyday and therefore being attacked, disappointed and hurt everyday again and again.
- ii) That you now live for the present and the future and you stop bringing a wounded you into all of your present encounters. It is not right for you to hurt yourself or those who come around you, who you really want to give your greatest love, attention and full presence to. But when you do not forgive you keep dropping a wounded you on others day after day.
- iii) That you're ready to stop giving up, denying you power everyday and being so faithless, for Krishna can use us and help us in so many ways if we do not keep shutting ourselves down with resentment.
- iv) That in spite of whatever else may be happening you are ready to keep looking for and accepting Krishna's mercy which cannot happen without accessing a deeper level of compassion and sensitivity ourselves. Isn't is true that the greatest achievers have had to deal with the greatest obstacles, and in some cases they particularly turned their obstacles into opportunities
- C) When we do not forgive
- i) It is like carrying around in your hand a bunch of hot coals and waiting for a chance to throw them at the person who hurt you. But look how you burnt you own hand waiting for the opportunity. In essence forgiveness actually does more for your own well being than for another
- ii) We have to ask ourselves how much suffering do those who hurt us the most have to undergo before we can release them? Must they be run over by 10 trains, chopped in to a hundred pieces or even eaten up by a pack of lions?
Have the Courage to Heal and Forgive:
Lord Rama said: 'It is My vow that if one only once seriously surrenders unto Me, saying, "My dear Lord, from this day I am Yours," and prays to Me for courage, I shall immediately award courage to that person, and he will always remain safe from that time on.'
Don't Hurt Yourself and Others - Take Shelter of Krishna:
O unlimited Visnu! O Master! O Lord! Be pleased upon me! I am drowning
in an ocean of sorrow and am almost like a dead man. Please shower your
rain of mercy upon me. Uplift me and protect me with your nectarean vision.