Chakra Discussions

A Second Generation Martyr

by Urvashi Patel

Posted June 24, 2006

First of all I would like to express my deepest sympathy for all those who knew Ananda or were close to him, in fact to the whole second generation of Vaishnavas who are all so dear to us. I want to thank Mark for his recent article which has highlighted the wider issues and their potential explosiveness. I also want to thank Rocana Prabhu for his contribution, which also highlights the wider issues. Moreover, I want to express my gratitude to the writers of the previous articles for their courage.

I want to especially thank Harivilasa Prabhu and Hare Krishna dasi for joining the debate. We need more senior devotees who have the courage to speak out on the issues at stake. It gives the debate much needed impact to facilitate change. Furthermore I want to express my deepest admiration for the Chakra editors for allowing and hosting such a historical debate. It shows Chakra's truly independent position as the number one Vaishnava news website. It appears that this debate has prompted the GBC to start its own forum, dandavats.com, which is of course not independent by any definition.

I would agree with Mark's statement that the "settlement" has seemingly not brought about the justice deserved by the second generation of Vaishnavas. It seems too easy to pay off an entire generation but make no REAL changes. It will not work. It seems Ananda is on his way of becoming a martyr and catalyst for a whole generation of Vaishnavas and it is becoming increasingly obvious that some REAL change has to happen to avoid a revolution in the making, which is on par with the ending of the zonal acharya system. Moreover, that change has to happen quickly. Setting up a GBC propaganda website (dandavats.com) is certainly not the answer; it is rather insensitive and shows the profound lack of understanding and insight. Is that all the GBC can do in response to the outpouring of grief, dissatisfaction and disillusionment of their own children?

Please Chakra, stay strong and truly independent! A previous writer wrote that the only language the GBC understands is a lawsuit, however, the lawsuit has not brought about the desired change. It was not enough. Can we really buy back the wounded hearts by money alone? It rather appears like bribery to shut everyone up. Perhaps widespread media attention would achieve more. I am sure the entire world would be sympathetic to such a cause.

I would like to repeat Mark's words, "who could have foreseen that it was the children that had to be put at the forefront of this "power struggle." I would also agree with his assertion that "the power of big Hindu laxmi seems to be keeping the "old regime" at the helm and no matter how much money is thrown at them it seems there is never enough to put the situation right. Rather it is re-enforcing the old patterns." It appears that the GBC thinks it can ride out the storm by keeping silent, thus marginalizing the whole issue and giving the impression that they have more important things to do. We should make sure that this strategy will not work.

What changes do we want to see? We want to see those changes the previous authors have expressed. We want to see a compassionate ISKCON free of politics and power struggle. We want to see devotees becoming Krishna conscious rather than ISKCON conscious. We want to see an empowered second generation of Vaishnavas and Vaishnavis who are ready to take over from the old guard. We want to see the unity of Vaishnavas of all grades and groupings including Gaudiya Math and others. Has not Srila Prabhupada built a house in which the whole world can live? Is there no place for our own children? Why not work and preach together rather than fearing competition from different Vaishnava groupings? Our second generation is certainly more broad minded. Our hope for unity lies with them. We want to see an end to corruption at the highest level. We want all those who are implicated in the corruption and cover up to step down. Several names have been mentioned by previous authors. We want to see all the names of those implicated. A public inquiry by an independent body of devotees would be a step in the right direction. A sacrificial lamb is not anymore enough. We want our beautiful ISKCON back.