Chakra Discussions

ISKCON Leaders Must Act Against Abusers

by Gaurav Mittal

Posted May 24, 2006

I am extremely shocked by the article "Open letter to Dhanurdhar Swami". I have written a few articles on child abuse which have been published in Chakra. I would like to bring them to the attention of readers again.

There are philosophical teachings in ISKCON which can make parents neglect their children. My previous article on Chakra ("Sound preaching includes caring for chidren") discusses it to some degree. Unless those philosophical misunderstandings are addressed, the children will continue to be neglected if not abused.

Lord Ram says to Vasistha: "The service that parents render to their son by giving him whatever they can, as well as by putting him to bed and rubbing his body with oi, etc., nay, by speaking kindly to him every moment and (even) so by nourishing him, nay, whatever (good) is done by them cannot be easily requited. Indeed that which the celebrated King Dasaratha, my father, who brought me into being, has asked me to do shall not prove untrue." The passage also states Lord Ram's expectations as to duties of parents.

This statement of Ram clearly shows that taking care of children is very pleasing to Ram. If parents neglect their children in the name of bhakti or do not speak kind to them all the time then they are not bhaktas and their endeavours in bhakti will be fruitless due to vaishnava aparadha towards their own children.

Our internal consciousness does not change easily. Advancement of bhakti is a gradual process. Similarly, the qualities of goodness develop gradually. The actions of Dhanurdhar shows that he lacked compassion and love to extreme degree. Because of being devoid of such qualities, he acted in an inhumane way. If he doesn't change, he will suffer his karma.

It might be possible that Dhanurdhar himself went through a traumatic childhood, which contributed to his acting in an abusive manner. ISKCON society and the victims of Dhanurdhar's abuse should not expect him to change, however. If ISKCON's leadership keeps him as part of the society, then it shows that Ithe leadership has become devoid of goodness (what to say of bhakti). ISKCON's leadership should not wait for victims to commit suicide before acting.

ISKCON leaders, even though they did not commit abusive actions themselves, have still not taken any actions against those who supported abuse. Such people, therefore, also lack compassion. Otherwise, how they could have remained silent while seeing horrible acts of abuse? How can such people be in preaching positions if they lack basic compassion?