Chakra Discussions

An Appeal to Stop the Lawsuit Against the Bangalore Temple

by Niscala Devi Dasi

Posted January 9, 2012

Looking at ISKCON’s actions, both past and present, an objective viewer could not help but wonder if we have something against children. We are all aware of the lawsuit against ISKCON for the atrocities committed against her children. Now, after being sued for the shocking abuse and neglect of her own children, ISKCON is suing to stop other children from being fed with Krsna prasadam, on a scale which boggles the imagination- millions of meals...every day!

The basis of this lawsuit is a matter of belief, and it also begs belief, being in the realm of the absurd and ridiculous: Because those who are feeding millions of India’s “poorest of the poor” with delicious and nutritious mercy from the Lord, happen to hold a belief that only Srila Prabhupada is qualified to initiate disciples, in other words, because they are “ritviks”, they are worthy of being dragged before the courts as if they were common criminals, and the faith and good publicity that won them government support for their program of material and spiritual upliftment, all brought to naught, if ISKCON is successful.

In sheer contrast, in the sastra we read about and glorify the actions of great devotee ksatriyas, such as Maharaja Sibi, Pariksit, Arjuna and others, who were foresworn to protect anyone in distress- focussing especially on the most vulnerable citizens of all- the children, animals, widows, the elderly and the sick. They were never allowed to let even one citizen in their kingdoms ever go hungry, not even an animal or bird. Indeed, Sibi went so far as to cut off his own flesh (literally!) to uphold this principle. We glorify him for that, and do the opposite- cutting off the flesh of others by refusing them food, which is the net effect of endangering an extremely successful and necessary food distribution program.

What is the use of so many books when we don’t read them or follow their principles, and is it not the grossest hypocrisy when we use the profits of our distribution of these books to counteract their principles?

Srila Prabhupada wanted us to have varnashrama, which means he wanted us to have devotee ksatriyas, who would sacrifice everything for the welfare of others, and were of the character (guna) of the devotee ksatriyas described above...they would become fireballs of rage whenever they saw the mistreatment of even one citizen (such as” Pariksit’s meeting with the Personality of Kali”, First Canto, Srimad Bhagavatam).

Instead, whenever we see the welfare of others being protected, by a whistle-blower in the gurukula, or by this unprecedented spread of the Lord’s mercy, our leaders condemn the protectors and make arrangements to have their work of protection stopped. No wonder the concept of varnashrama in ISKCON has become reduced to self-sufficiency and rural projects and nothing more. Taken in full, it is the greatest assurance of protection of the vulnerable, and the greatest threat to those in positions of power, who work against it.

Is it not shocking that non-devotees with no access to the sastra that describes that women, children and the elderly are to be protected in all circumstances, have to bring us to account?

Is it not the ultimate shameful experience that we, who not only read such sastra, but distribute it just to deliver these non-devotees from the effects of Kali yuga, are brought to account by them for activity that contradicts our own teaching? Maybe they are actually reading our books and imbibing them- and we are not?

Even if we put the past behind us, and try to look ahead in the hope of a brighter future, there is evidence emerging from the Vrindavan gurukula, that more mistreatment of children is going on, along with the silencing and removal of those that report it: (Click Here)

Bangalore temple may have to stop its massive spiritual aid to millions of Indians- because of ISKCON. Meanwhile we read in “Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita” that Srila Prabhupada cried when he saw children fighting with dogs in the street for food. He mandated that no one in a ten mile radius of any temple in the world be allowed to go hungry. In India’s biggest cities, this demographic area would account for millions of people, three meals a day. Are we, that is, ISKCON, doing that?

When all the world was making laws to protect children, we were working just as hard to cover up for child abusers and keep them in positions of authority- and we are doing it still. Last year, we removed from service in Vrindavan gurukula, Vrajabhumi mataji, the only person who cared enough about the kid’s welfare to speak up. And we currently have several gurus who have enacted deploring abuse against children in their care, being worshipped as pure devotees.

I am not a ritvik, nor do I ever intend to become one, as I know that our philosophy of guru tattva centres on a disciple approaching a qualified guru- and asking him questions. That is not possible to do with Srila Prabhupada, though it may be possible for the very qualified to have an “inner ear”. But this is a matter of opinion and debate, not lawsuit, repression and repossession of assets, what to speak of the xth-millionth Indian child getting breakfast tomorrow morning at school, or being forced instead to work, on a hungry stomach, in dangerous occupations -such as retrieving computer gold thread on a dump site and being exposed to the harmful effects of toxic chemicals.

As I said I am not a ritvik, but neither am I with ISKCON on this issue, in particular. I am against it strongly, I am outraged by it. It goes against everything I have read in the books, against conscience and against Srila Prabhupada’s vani and personal example. When the Gaudiya Matha was suing over the acquisition of assets, he was giving mercy to New York’s disenfranchised hippies feeding them as part of his work. He settled differences of opinion with debate, not lawsuits. He tolerated the schism that originated with Siddhaswarupa, and gave him kind words of encouragement. He wrote books describing how even ksatriyas, what to speak of brahmana’s, would appreciate the excellent fighting skills of their opponents, for it does not matter what side we are on, but how we conduct ourselves. That is the way we please the Lord, who is impartial to all, and the dear well-wisher of everyone, from the smallest Indian child rummaging through filthy rubbish, to the politicians who finally, at the ritvik’s insistence, give a damn for their welfare.

It’s important that we need to ignore our theoretical differences for the sake of what we all consider the most basic of vaisnava principles- compassion. This is an appeal, which anyone can sign, regardless of their affiliations. By signing it, you will bring weight to bear on the ISKCON authorities that are so going against Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and precepts, and the foundations on which they were built- vaisnava compassion.

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