Chakra Discussions

Losing Faith

by Lalita Madhava devi dasi, Alachua

Posted June 14, 2006

Many heartfelt letters have been written about the whole disgraceful Dhanurdhara situation. While all have been moving and insightful, I feel that a crucial point made by Batu Gopala Prabhu bears repeating and can not be emphasized enough.

In his letter he wrote: "How many devotees and friends of ISKCON are now asking themselves how they can, in good conscience, continue to participate in IKSCON or have faith in ISKCON with Dhanurdara Swami in his position? How much harm is he continuing to do to countless devotees and to ISKCON?"

To me, these two questions articulate the very essence of the issue. In answer, while I do not know exactly how many devotees have lost faith in ISKCON over this situation, after Batu Gopala's letter, I feel inspired to go on record as one of them. I absolutely do not have faith in an institution that keeps a child abuser in any leadership position (what to speak of as initiating guru) - because any institution that keeps child abusers in positions of authority is clearly corrupt and degraded. And, sadly, a corrupt and degraded ISKCON is obviously no longer Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON.

In addition to Batu Gopala's two essential questions, I have two questions of my own. First of all, what kind of Vaisnava is this Dhanurdara that he madly and shamelessly clings to his position of power and prestige amid, and in spite of, the hue and cry of dozens upon dozens of devotees calling for him to step down? What kind of person does that, knowing how incredibly divisive, disturbing and damaging his presence has become within the Society?

And secondly, what kind of leaders do we have who keep such a person in power? If the impropriety of the situation is so blatantly and painfully obvious to countless devotees, how can our leadership be so blind? And so utterly lacking in integrity? It is all simply inconceivable. How could anyone possibly have faith in such leaders?

In closing, I wish to again quote Batu Gopala. "Dhanurdhara should immediately step down. If he fails to do so he should be removed." But frankly, as far as I'm concerned, the same goes for all of the leaders who have failed ISKCON and failed the devotees by allowing this and other situations like it to go on for far too long, to the extreme detriment of Srila Prabhupada's Movement.