Chakra Discussions

A Shocking Pattern

by Lalita Madhava dasi

Posted February 14, 2008

The history of ISKCON in this regard is shocking and disgraceful. While I was living on the New Raman Reti Farm in Alachua in the mid-1980's, the temple president, V.V. Prabhu, was a 10 or 15-year brahmacari. Though a nice devotee in all other regards and now married, he was at that time in the throes of a particularly dramatic and erratic attraction/aversion pendulum swing in which he would first become attracted to a woman and then flip out and throw her out of the temple. This happened not once, not twice, but FIVE TIMES IN A ROW!

The first victim was senior devotee Mother A.L. (I'm not using names without permission), who had faithfully and lovingly served the Deities for at least 10 years by that time, who was abruptly thrown off the Farm for no apparent reason. Then, within a period of weeks, came Bhaktin Janice immediately followed by Bhaktin Elise, both highly intelligent women and students from the University of Florida. Needless to say, both of these young women left with a thoroughly dreadful impression of the Hare Krishna Movement and were never seen or heard from again. But, though I watched with absolute horror as these events unfolded, somehow it never occurred to me that I could possibly be next. After all, I had gone on sankirtana to support the Farm and had taken care of the Deities for years and years. But suddenly I was next. Our temple president suddenly and without warning went from saving me prasadam every day when I got home from sankirtana and lighting the woodstove in my asrama and watching my 2-year-old daughter (in my asrama) so that I could dress the Deities in the morning to deciding that I had to immediately move out of the temple - with my baby and with no money and no vehicle! He even gave the GBC an ultimatum, saying, "either she goes or I go." Remarkably, the GBC was somehow unaware of the pattern that had clearly emerged by that point with Mother A.L., Janice, Elise and now me, and with the Farm in such a precarious situation, the GBC bought time in order to find a replacement by giving in to this offensive ultimatum. To his credit, the GBC later sincerely apologized for what he had done and asked my forgiveness, after I had not spoken to him for 5 years as a result of it.

Meanwhile, there was another senior lady Prabhupada disciple, Mother K., living on the Farm. When I left I warned her: "Watch out. You're going to be next." Sure enough, she became the next object of this out-of-control temple president's attraction and then aversion and he then tried to throw her out too! At that point she told him that people were aware of his pattern and that she had been warned by me that she would be next. I don't recall exactly what happened at that point, but I don't remember her ever actually leaving the Farm, so I think somehow the authorities must have finally intervened.

But I'm shocked and disappointed to hear that these kinds of shameful things are still going on more than 20 years later in this day and age. It is a disgraceful and inauspicious legacy we create when devotees give the best years of their lives in service to ISKCON and then are simply thrown out with the trash as soon as they have some problem or at the whim of some unqualified leader. We as a Society must stand up for protecting the women in Germany and for protecting all women.