Chakra Discussions

Spiritual Solutions to ISKCON's Problems

by Gaurav Mittal

Posted September 3, 2010

When I came to know about the child abuse in ISKCON, I was shocked to find that the child abusers were in position of guru in ISKCON. Other gurus and leaders did not see anything wrong in them. Their followers worshiped them as exalted personality or pure devotee. The abuse by Dhanurdhar Swami were well known. I could not understand how such person like Dhanurdhar Swami could have position of guru in ISKCON.

During the early 2000s, Dhanurdhar Swami did some initiation ceremony at the house of the disciple of Prabhupada in New Jersey. I felt that this disciple was ignorant in letting a child abuser come to his house and initiate disciples. Some time ago, I came to find out that this person's son was severely abused by Dhanurdhar Swami. His son was extremely upset when he came to his house. He ignored his own son and let Dhanurdhar Swami come to his house. What can cause such person to be blind towards his own son? Devotee is compassionate. He feels the pain when he sees the pain of others. How can such devotee don't feel the pain of his own son? I know that this person is compassionate and loving. It is important to understand what turned this person to a hard hearted person without compassion and made him ignore the suffering of his son. It would be good that such people will go within and seek the answers. Unfortunately, such honest answers are missing in ISKCON and therefore, I have to write this article.

The author of article "Need Householder, not pretend brahmacaris" describes the problem of pretension in ISKCON. The author shows the fallacy in philosophy which causes men to remain brahmacari. But even if these brahmacaris got married, they won't be good parent or husband if they followed ISKCON's teachings. Example is Prabhupada disciple from New Jersey in above story who allowed his son to be abused and worshiped the abuser of his son.

There are numerous basic concepts which are not followed correctly in ISKCON like guru system. This article addresses most basic flaw in ISKCON's teaching i.e. disrespect towards living entities. People who externally show devotional qualities are considered advanced devotee. They are respected in society. Leaders of such people like gurus etc are served menially. Other people who don't follow Iskcon's standard of devotion are considered fallen. The goal of advanced devotee is to save such fallen soul. These people are labelled as karmi, materialist, mayavadi, scientist, atheist etc. They are seen with contempt. The children were not seen as devotee and they were considered fallen. Therefore, their cries of help from child abuser were ignored. Most probably ISKCON devotees thought that gurukula system or abuser were actually helping their fallen children. This contempt towards others starts with "Bhagavat Gita As It Is". Prabhupada, due to his standing, was able to criticize people who have different faith than him and portray them as lower or fallen. He does not hesitate to label them as rascal etc. After reading his books, the devotee is filled with disrespect towards those who don't agree with Prabhupada and seem to think it's OK for them to talk just like Prabhupada, even when not qualified. This is completely against the teaching of Gita.

Gita states that all of us are part of Krishna. Krishna loves everyone and He is in everyone's heart as Paramatma. Krishna is always with you all the time. Why? Because He loves you and loves everyone. You need to see everyone as manifestation of Krishna. When you see the presence of Krishna in everyone, then you serve everyone. This starts with serving people around you. You spend most of your time with family. So, this service starts with family.

Following quotes show the important of serving everyone seeing them as manifestation of Krishna: SB 3.29.21: I am present in every living entity as the Supersoul. If someone neglects or disregards that Supersoul everywhere and engages himself in the worship of the Deity in the temple, that is simply imitation.

SB 3.29.22: One who worships the Deity of Godhead in the temples but does not know that the Supreme Lord, as ParamAtmA, is situated in every living entity’s heart, must be in ignorance and is compared to one who offers oblations into ashes.

SB 3.29.23: One who offers Me respect but is envious of the bodies of others and is therefore a separatist never attains peace of mind, because of his inimical behavior towards other living entities.

SB 3.29.24: My dear Mother, even if he worships with proper rituals and paraphernalia, a person who is ignorant of My presence in all living entities never pleases Me by the worship of My Deities in the temple.

SB 3.29.25: Performing his prescribed duties, one should worship the Deity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead until one realizes My presence in his own heart and in the hearts of other living entities as well.

If you see others as part of Krishna, you won't see them as fallen. You will see Krishna in everyone and won't have feelings of superiority towards them. You will see Krishna's presence in them and you will respect them and love them. Based on above slokas, Dhanurdhara Swami is extremely fallen soul. Bhagavatam even says that such people will not attain peace of mind and will never please Krishna. Still, he continued to be guru for a long time.

In Iskcon, converting people to Prabhupada's faith or preaching is considered as main service to living entities. This is again a wrong understanding. Bhagavat Gita is not about conversion. You can find many sloka on how to serve others. Following Vedic sloka very beautifully describes how we should act in society or serve people:

sarve bhavantu sukhinah

sarve santu niramayah

sarve bhadrani pasyantu

ma kascid dukh bhag bhavet

May everyone be happy! May everyone be healthy and without disease! May everyone see the truth! May no one suffer!

So give happiness to people around you by seeing them as part of Krishna.

Lead a healthy lifestyle. Be disease free and help others to be disease free.

Help people to see the truth which is inside and not outside.

Do not give suffering to others and protect those who are suffering.

ISKCON cannot have healthy society or loving family relationships until devotees learn to respect, love and serve people unconditionally seeing them as manifestation of Krishna.