It Is Time for the Truth – It Is Time To Clean House!
Posted July 16, 2006
This is collection of facts, which I plan to expand on and publish, and which will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that we have allowed and encouraged the leaders to build a socially reinforced insanity. This will show all of you the dire need for elections of the GBC that Srila Prabhupada ordered officially with his own hand, on more than one occasion, as his absolute instruction that the GBC be re-elected every three years. (www.iskcontoday.org)
A year ago, myself and a group of devotees from various camps negotiated leaving all other agendas behind to pursue the Direction of Management (D.O.M.) document and the order for GBC elections therein by Srila Prabhupada. (www.iskcontoday.org) I declare that this is not a ritvik or IRM agenda. Rather, we have come to our senses and realized that the only way to save this culture and society is to follow Srila Prabhupada’s order cent-per-cent, to the letter of the official documents written in his own hand. Below are my reasons and observations, which have shown me beyond any doubt that we are sinking fast.
Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Thakura has written:
“The church that has the best chance of survival in this damned world is that of atheism under the convenient guise of theism. The churches have always proved to be the staunchest upholders of the grossest form of worldliness from which even the worst of non-ecclesiastical criminals are found to recoil.” (The Harmonist, issue of January 1932).
Immediately after the announcement of Ananda Prabhu’s suicide, I began once more to hear complaints from many devotees in New Dvarka about Dhanurdhara officially initiating on behalf of ISKCON again. Though I had heard the rumors, I just did not believe that “they” could stoop so low! “That would be insane,” I thought. I guess I must have been in denial. I called and searched around, confirming that in fact, this was not only true, but also (embarrassingly enough) very old news. This fact is beyond frightening! I am in complete disbelief and awe at the level of stupidity that plagues our culture. It is disgraceful. We have children that have been criminally abused, and the abusers are being reinstated in the highest positions of power and leadership?! One has to ask, “What is wrong with this culture?” One certainly cannot blame it on a small group of men alone.
So please bear with me, I will tell you here what is wrong with this culture, loud and clear; and when you finish reading this, you will join us in cleaning house – that is to say, those of you who have not yet lost your minds, your intelligence, or your spines. It has become my conviction over the last few years that the problem is not just with the intelligence of the leaders or just with the men of ISKCON; it is a much more pervasive issue.
The problem lies much deeper than just isolated, everyday occurrences; it has mutated into an unhealthy pattern of socially reinforced behavior, which I shall illustrate for you by sharing a few appalling incidents, some shocking reactions from various ISKCON members, and my own observations on these matters. My fellow god-brothers and sisters, there is in fact an answer, which Srila Prabhupada has left for us very expertly. But first, I wish to give you a few examples to paint an accurate picture of the problem.
Last month, after hearing of Ananda Prabhu’s suicide and the allegations of abusers coming to power, I made an emotional demand to the members of the New Dvarka community that they wake up to what was really happening on so many different, subtle levels in our culture. I staged a personal boycott of one of our festivals because the man in charge of the festival has been dating a minor for the past three years – since she was just 13 years old!
Without going into details on this matter here, I wish to share some of the responses I got back from prominent women in the community:
- Our women’s ashram leader protested, “How is that different from adults committing adultery?”
- A female resident PHD psychology student challenged, “How is that different from an older man with a younger woman?”
- And the winning comment goes to another “senior” disciple woman who wrote to me, “You are just envious and lusty.”
(Now, if you cannot see the lack of intelligence and low-class mentality in these responses, then you should not read any further, because then this paper is clearly about you, and you *will* be offended.)
- The head of the CPO (ISKCON’s Child Protection Office), Tamohara dasa, after receiving notice of the allegations which prompted my boycott, as well as confirmation from the brother of the alleged perpetrator about the “conjugal dating” and the questionable time this adult and child spent alone over three years, went on to conclude that there was no indiscretion, and that the entire dating arrangement fell under “Vedic” permissions. His conclusion rested solely on the say-so of the alleged perpetrator and his father, a current ISKCON leader (of course, this is not the first time that the CPO has proven to be completely useless, unqualified and clearly under the sway of an interested person in a position of power).
- The local GBC then said, “Oh, well, if the CPO says it’s condoned then we are satisfied, let’s move on.”
I will not comment on the last one; you can form your own opinions.
For the last five years, I have been developing plans and systems for health care, retirement, and hospice-care for the devotees through an organization I created, the Buddhi Yoga Society (www.buddhiyoga.org). During this time, we have been told by law offices and Wall Street executives that our Buddhi Yoga Society mechanism and cooperative business plans are “solid,” and in some cases “genius.” Our projects promised to procure these member-care resources for literally pennies out of the incoming ISKCON dollar. This was confirmed by ISKCON treasurers and ISKCON law firms.
For five years, we have been sending the entire global GBC and all the temple presidents our packages in various formats, several times a year, trying to elicit a response. This means that hundreds of recipients who are leaders of our movement have repeatedly been informed of our proposals for member-care over a 5-year period. To our dismay, there was not a single response to any of our programs or proposals, not even a “thank you, but no thank you.” NOTHING! There was however, plenty of push-back and mud-slinging.
Someone made a very interesting comment to me in connection with this. “Why are you surprised?” he said, “You can’t possibly think that a group of grown men can fail at everything for 30 years without there being a conspiracy or an underlying agenda.” What are the odds of such continued failure? “They don’t want to fix it,” he continued, “because if it gets fixed their jobs and positions could possibly be challenged.” Of course, I do not think that “they” are smart enough to think this deep, but I do see an underlying current in the culture: We have developed a co-dependency with failure, deceit, secrecy and selfishness. The really scary part is that, as things always trickle down from the top, this low-class compromise of values is descending down to all our members. Such is the natural progression of things in any organization. The failures, deceit, secrecy and selfishness of the leadership are becoming our culture. As humans, we become what we behold; this is simple sociology and psychology. If we do not change the administration periodically, this movement is doomed! I know it and you know it!
There is, however, a fix that Srila Prabhupada left us; but first, a few more revealing examples…
It was William Shakespeare who wrote, “What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! In form and moving, how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!”
Have we perhaps forgotten the value of the human form of life?
Perhaps we need to humble down and wonder just how much progress we have actually made in our spiritual development and our Krsna Conscious careers in this human form, as a culture and as a society. Perhaps we need to humble down, compare ourselves to the world and understand that we are NOT off the hook this easily; we are still human, after all. Perhaps we have forgotten in our delusion of grandeur that we are still part of the human race – like it or not. It used to feel deep to say, “I am not this body, I am spirit soul.” This was once fresh; it revealed the actual eternal beauty of existing and gave added value to being in this human form of life. The knowledge we received from Srila Prabhupada was that as human beings, we were able to learn, in the most primordial fiber of our being, that we are each a spiritual spark and droplet of the Ocean of Godhead, part and parcel of the Supreme – and that only humans could realize this in full. However, when we compromise our values, our human values, we take away our humanity and we are left with nothing more than, “I am spirit soul.” Yet, we still do not know what “soul” really means, or what it truly is, and we are left stupid and dumfounded. We have abandoned our humanity without achieving realization of the theory.
Our humanity itself has been compromised within our culture and we have become classless. The three women quoted above represent the state of affairs of our cultural fiber. There is no lower class than tolerating, thereby effectively encouraging, child abuse. Even convicted murderers and felons are known to despise such a crime as the most vile and hideous of all crimes. Whenever I hear, “But it’s Vedic Prabhu”, or, “The CPO has “authorized” or “pardoned,” then I realize again that our arrogance in seeing ourselves as “The Chosen People” produces the illusion that we are above the law, above human values and above morality. Yet, in actuality, it puts us ironically in the lowest possible denominator of class. Is this what we want to become?
Truly, my dear god-brothers and sisters, this low-class behavior *IS* in fact infesting us, and it is trickling down from the top. You have a chance to stop this. There is a way, and you have the power. Please keep reading.
A couple of years ago I was approached separately by several guests of the New Dvarka Community who sternly told me that they were not coming back. The reason expressed by each was the same: what they had thought at first to be a “spiritual, loving community” later seemed to them to be in actuality “a place where the members did not even like each other and were not even civil with each other or with the guests.”
I decided to preach on the subject. I put myself on the Srimad Bhagavatam class-schedule and began giving readings on “loving exchanges” and “love” between devotees. I researched the VedaBase for all the quotes about love and Prti Lakshanam. My lectures were for the most part reading of quotes and passages from beginning to end. The day after my first lecture, one of the leaders of the community gave an open rebuttal to my lecture (and this is a direct quote): “Before I start reading, I want to discuss yesterday’s class. I want everyone here to understand that there is no such thing as love in the material world and that the idea of devotees loving each other is pure sentimentalism.”
A couple of classes later I was approached by another head-figure in the community, an author, guru and scientist, who told me (and again I quote directly) “I have the highest respect for you Prabhu, but every time I hear the word “love” in Bhagavatam class, it curdles my stomach.”
Things went on like this for a year until I finally took myself off the class-schedule.
Recently, an unprotected woman in the community has been the target of abusive behavior by one of her sons and her ex-husband. Another one of her sons and I chose to make this public because it has been going on for years and the community has a right and a duty to know. One month after going public with this issue, I asked the afflicted woman, “So has anybody approached you to ask you if you are OK?” Sadly, she replied, “Not a single soul.” Unfortunately, I happen to know that this is the general attitude – uncaring and unconcerned – almost all of the time, for just about everyone. Apparently we are just too wrapped up in our mantra and in our own stuff to care about our neighbor.
- THE ELDERLY:
A year and a half ago a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, an elderly woman with Multiple Sclerosis, who had been a long time airport book distributor in Los Angeles, and who was the only person that I would see at both the morning and evening programs every single day, despite her illness and her crutches, was asked to leave her quarters and the community with only seven-days notice. I went to the head of the woman’s asrama and inquired, “Why is this being done to her?” She responded, “Come on Yadu, she had a diaper accident right here in the gift shop.” Of course, I protested that this is not a reason to throw someone out; instead, we should embrace the opportunity to care for her. Kriya Shakti continued, “Well you know she is also a pain in the ass and is very opinionated.” What more could I say at that point? Clearly, there was no arguing with someone of this low-class unintelligent and compassionless mentality. Sure enough, shortly after, Kriya Shakti upgraded her asrama room to the house where this elderly disciple had been staying.
In 2003, while planning my trip to India, I was informed that one of our questionably sane god-brothers had two twin daughters in Vrndavan. Having known this man from 30 years ago, I was appalled at the notion that he was a single father of two children now 13 years old. He is clearly not a well person and never has been. Sure enough, the ugly truth revealed itself that he had neglected and even given away one of his daughters to a family who beat her and sexually molested both her and her sister. The girl has cigarette burns on her arms. They had never stayed in one place long enough to get a proper education and were three years behind in school. I had to personally go into his MVT room several times to physically remove him from the bathroom while the girls were taking showers and were screaming at him to get out of the bathroom because they were naked. This is only the tip of the iceberg in this case of child abuse and neglect. What was most frightening, however, was that most of the people and leaders who knew them, knew about this situation for years, yet clearly no one did anything about it until myself, Ratna Bhushana and Shakuntala dd got in the picture and found a non-devotee aunt and uncle who were immediately willing to give them shelter, safety, security, education and stability.
Where were our leaders and where were the peers, god-brothers and god-sisters? Hundreds, maybe thousands of people knew of this situation. This should have been stopped 12 or 13 years before. The fact that this lasted almost 14 years without any of the leaders or congregation addressing this issue and following through to get these girls to safety makes a staggeringly horrific comment about our culture.
One night, shortly after I first landed in New Dvarka in early 2003, I saw a little Indian girl about the age of four by herself, around the corner on Venice Boulevard between 8:00 and 8:30 pm. I asked her where her mother was and she said that her mother was home. I asked again, “Where is your daddy?” She replied that he was in the temple room chanting. I took her to the temple and she pointed out that her father was the man playing the harmonium and singing bhajans. Over the next few years, I continued to find little Krsna Priya all over the neighborhood in the back of buildings and parking lots, around the block, several times on Venice Boulevard, crossing the busy streets by herself, often not properly dressed for the cold weather of night, and barefoot, often times late at night shivering. One day she came to me crying that she was hungry and that her family was making her fast from eating all day during festivals. Her father was often in the temple room singing bhajans and her mother was nowhere to be seen. Several have seen her out in winter’s cold 40 degree weather with only t-shirt, no socks and shivering to the point that her teeth are chattering. I tried to speak with her parents and others, but had no positive results. One day I quietly called the City’s department of family services and they ended up coming out to investigate and set some ground rules for these parents. However, this is not a localized incident; I see this all the time. Parents get so busy chanting and becoming Krsna conscious that they forget their children in the streets or even worse send them overseas to be taken care of by total strangers for years and years. This neglectful behavior is running rampant in our culture, on so many levels.
When my daughter was three years old, the head of the woman’s’ asrama and several other senior women independent of each other approached me to tell me that my three year old was dressing “Inappropriately” because she was wearing shorts over a diaper (Huggies). I found this, coming from women, to be incredibly disturbing. What the in the world were they thinking? She was three!
There was a horrific accident at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market one or two years ago, where an old man in a large car lost control of the vehicle and trampled the crowd at the market killing several and injuring dozens. A couple of days later, I mentioned the incident in conversation to one of our managers and he seemed to be making light of the situation because, “they were karmis.” Disturbed, I added that there was a harinam party that was there during the accident, and that a young devotee friend of mine from Hawaii had every bone in his body broken. To this he replied, “Ohhh, those were just Narayana disciples, they deserve to get run over!” As with other situations, I shut my mouth and moved away. How can one even entertain conversation with this mentality? This too is not a localized incident. You know it and I know it.
While these are only a very few of the examples I have personally witnessed (and most of you know that there are thousands of similar scenarios in our culture world-wide), we have all been taught to be afraid to criticize – fault finding and Vaishnava aparadha are the mortal sin of this culture. We have become so stupefyingly conditioned by the extreme need for diplomacy and so-called “Vaishnava etiquette,” that anyone expressing any criticism or human emotion – distain, anger, disillusionment, frustration – will simple be shut out, or thrown out, not just by the leadership, but also by most of us. Even though there is a large group out there on Chakra making noise on all the issues that are killing our culture and sinking our ship, most of us do not want to hear it, and the responses of such unwilling persons have become mantra-like themselves:
- a. “I just want to do my service, Prabhu.”
- b. “I just want to chant my rounds, Prabhu.”
- c. “I just want to be left alone, Prabhu.”
- d. “I can’t get involved in politics, Prabhu.”
- e. “Please take me off your mailing list, Prabhu.”
- f. Etc., etc., etc.
This is ostrich mentality – how shameful! Yet, it is being taught in our classes and has become an element in our culture that many fall prey to.
We need to remind ourselves constantly that it is a natural developement and phenomena that leaders of an organization, especially one that thrives on misappropriated absolute monarchial power, will not want their members to meet and discuss. Therefore, they have banned istagostis and will preach to demonize anyone who speaks out.
From Anton Boisen’s The Exploration of the Inner World:
"The cross and the hemlock have been meted out not so much to those who have threatened our economic interests as to those who threatened the moral self-respect of men. This tendency is to be observed even in the church, the one among all human institutions in which men meet on their highest levels, which stands for that which is enduring and universal in human society. Even here we see the common tendency to degenerate into ecclesiasticism with the emphasis placed upon protective devices, the tithing of mint and anise and cumin, creedal formulas and ritualistic niceties. And nowhere else, unless it be in certain organizations which make a religion of patriotism, do we find more bitterness when the protective devices are challenged. This is true precisely because the church is primarily concerned about the problem of safeguarding the moral self-respect of its members."
IN SHORT: We are totally screwed if we do not take this movement and give it back to Srila Prabhupada.
THE SOLUTION: Srila Prabhupada insisted in several legal documents drawn by his own hand that elections for the GBC be enforced every three years globally. The details are in the “Direction of Management” document (also known as the D.O.M.) and subsequent legal documents. These D.O.M. documents were previously being presented by the GBC in the courts to uphold their position as GBC†, but conveniently only to the courts and not to the congregation.
Over the last year, a paradigm shift has begun to manifest. As unlikely as it may seem, various camps of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and followers have joined forces, at last, with one sole exclusive mission in mind – to enforce the election of the GBC according to the Direction of Management mandate of Srila Prabhupada. This is NOT a ritvik or otherwise agenda. I would not be participating if that were the case. The groups who have come together have discussed and agreed that the issues between all the camps and within ISKCON proper will each fall into place by Paramatama’s own hand through the voting process in an electoral manner, as prescribed by Srila Prabhupada and enforced by the legal systems of participating countries beginning with the precedence that will be set in the USA.
We could go on and on filling volumes if we collect stories, but I think the point is sufficiently illustrated herein. Our culture has degraded and is headed south rapidly beyond low-class to extremely unintelligent levels. We have gone *way* off course, and while our leaders are definitely to blame because of their neglectful example and behavior, we too share the blame for following them blindly. My dear god-brothers and sisters, things are downhill from here on, unless we fix this now. It is time to organize and save this movement. Please log on to www.ISKCONtoday.org, become educated about the issues, sign up for our mailing list, become a member and make a small monthly pledge to further our legal cause.
If you pay close attention, you will see that this is not the agenda of any renegade group, ritvik cause or other motivated scheme. All we want is to fix this culture and society and to right all the wrongs by replacing the current monarchial system with Srila Prabhupada’s own directive and absolute instruction – the Direction of Management documents, which sternly and clearly order the GBC to be re-elected every three years. Srila Prabhupada ordered elections, and these were never even considered by our unelected, so-called GBC. Instead, they hid the documents from us for years. Srila Prabhupada ordered istagostis, and they have been practically unheard of for years, and in some places decades.
In the last few years, we have discovered these hidden treasures of documentation that Srila Prabhupada and his disciples have left behind for us like breadcrumbs on a road to amend the past and secure a sane, sustainable future for ISKCON and its culture. The Direction of Management documents and the electoral system will do just that. We believe that all the human rights issues to do with women, children, abuse, member care, retirement, hospice, etc., will soon be rectified through the electoral process, rather than perpetuated by the current monarchial dictatorships that rule our movement.
Please pass this on… and PLEASE join ISKCON Today, NOW! We will keep your name anonymous at your request.
The ISKCON of Tomorrow Begins with the ISKCON of Today.
Yadunandana Pada Dasa
P.S. The entire situation is getting so out of control, especially in the area of human rights, that if we do not fix it ourselves NOW, either the various governments will fix it for us by persecuting us like they have in Kazakhstan, or we will become just another accepted corrupt order that has little to do with God. The choice is ours.
Please log on to www.iskcontoday.org, sign our petition to the Supreme Court of New York asking for the enforcement of elections in ISKCON. Please become familiar with all the issues and make it your duty and your life to save this movement.
† The DOM has been presented by the GBCs themselves, but **** only to the courts**** in 1998 in the BBTI, Inc. vs. Hamsadutta lawsuit and then again in Adarsi vs. Long Island Temple lawsuit in 2004. It was also included in the Vedabase where Naranarayana Prabhu discovered it in 1994. The GBC have submitted affidavits glorifying the D.O.M. in the lawsuit against the Freeport temple. However, they seem to always keep silent about the election clauses.