Open Letter to the GBC
Posted May 29, 2008
Dear Members of the GBC,
Please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I wish to thank you all and express my sincerest gratitude to you for acknowledging an issue which has been deeply troubling to many devotees and for and taking this important and principled stand against it.
Paragraphs 5 and 6 state the following:
"In 1998, the North American GBC/Temple Presidents Executive Committee found it necessary to speak out against an email conference that claimed to be founded on Vaishnava teachings that was belittling and demeaning to women. It minimized the contributions of women, and failed to fully appreciate the role women play in our society, our families, and our temples.
Today, the International GBC Executive Committee is disturbed to learn that a blog site claiming affiliation with ISKCON, and using "Hare Krishna" in its name, has included sexist and misogynist statements. Such writings are not authorized, and they are against the principles of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and our Vaishnava culture."
The crucial connection between these two paragraphs that must be honestly and fearlessly examined, and openly addressed, by the leadership of our Society is the fact that Caitanya dasa, the author of the blog mentioned in Paragraph 6, is a disciple of Bhakti Vikasa Swami, one of the members of the GHQ email conference mentioned in Paragraph 5. Not only that, but the Caitanya dasa, the author of the blog mentioned in Paragraph 6, includes all of the 10-year-old writings of his guru and others from the email conference mentioned in Paragraph 5.
This damning connection illustrates in a way that could not possibly be clearer the fact that these pernicious distortions of Srila Prabhupada's teachings, which you emphatically repudiated in 1998 and strongly condemn again today as being "not authorized, and...against the principles of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and our Vaishnava culture," are still being actively propagated and "passed down" from guru to a whole new generation of young impressionable disciples. I will not insult anyone's intelligence by describing how extraordinarily damaging and destructive this is, or by outlining the many negative and potentially disastrous consequences our Society will face if this is allowed to go on.
Therefore, regarding your statement in Paragraph 3, "To effectively teach this principle, members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness need to be vigilant that it be properly understood and practiced within our own society and among our members," I humbly suggest that the GBC immediately establish an Oversight Committee to be thus "vigilant" and to finally enforce the 2000 Resolution amongst all authorized as initiating gurus on behalf of ISKCON.
Thank you again.
Lalita Madhava d.d.