Chakra Living

Karmic Speculation cannot build a Dharmic Nation

by Bhakti Ananda Goswami

Posted June 20, 2003

ABSTRACT: Bhakti Ananda Goswami repudiates the perverse theory espoused by abusers and apologists that physically, sexually and emotionally abused devotees were in some sense responsible for their misfortune. Srila Prabhupada considered the children on the level of demigods taking birth in the world for its benefit. That benefactors could have themselves committed heinous crimes in a previous existence, and therefore somehow "deserved" their fate, is a pernicious, unhelpful doctrine which serves only the interest of the proximate abusers. In an orderly Vaishnava society, brahmins and kshatriyas codify and enforce the law, and law cannot be ignored on the pretext that "the end justifies the means" or that the Lord will excuse adharma if perpetrators can "frame, blame and shame" their victims.


My mood is to encourage and support gurukulis and their parents, to assert themselves as a dharmic corrective within ISKCON. Perpetrators of evil have had the audacity to try to convict their victims with "bad karma" indoctrination!

They have abused the doctrine of karma to whitewash their own culpability and to intimidate their victims. Like battered wives, some abused children may actually feel responsible for their own abuse. Abusers have shamed and silenced victims with pseudo-religious reasoning ("You only got a token of what you deserved,") delaying the addressing of their crimes. To purge the movement polluted by festering evil, devotees need to overcome their 'battered wife' syndrome, to escape the idea that abuse was somehow their fault.

When God manifests in the world of birth, death, disease and old age, demons try to destroy Him! Demonic persons with an envious, adversarial or hateful attitude attack His devotees as well. "Wolves in sheep's clothing" try to destroy the work of God by corrupting it, and devotees are tortured for their faith.

When my children and I were at Dallas gurukula, I heard that Srila Prabhupada said demigods were taking birth in the Hare Krishna movement, that every child was precious, and that these children were pious souls who could save the world. Is this picture consistent with the theory that many gurukulis were such monsters in a previous life that they karmically received horrific abuse as a "token" of what they really deserved? How could they carry on Mahaprabhu's world-saving mission if they were so traumatized in "devotee" care that, shell-shocked, they left the movement in fear and loathing of Krishna and Srila Prabhupada? How insane to believe that child abuse, wife beating, drug dealing, murders and intimidation were a positive part of Krishna's plan!

These crimes were not Sri Krishna's positive will for His beloved devotees! They were allowed because of God's permissive will; He permits those of demoniac mentality to commit atrocities and, in fact, will ultimately bring good from such abuse, just as He brought good from the evil of the execution of Jesus Christ. The Lord will mercifully save not only His abused devotees, but their abusers as well. His devotees will magnanimously intercede for their abusers' forgiveness. Thus Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." What a sinful man intends for evil, God can use for good.

The Vedic sacrificial system was one of vicarious atonement for the sins of the individual, the community or nation. However, the material working-out of temporal reaction or punishment takes place in the mystical body of the sacrificed cosmic Purusha, who "takes away the sins of the world." This is where divine law, dharma and justice enter the picture.

Separation from God and temporal reaction for sin are different issues. The guru may save our soul without saving us from reaction. God, though desiring our love, still requires us to obey His laws. We cannot, simply because God wants us back to Godhead, avoid correction of our acquired tendency towards evil. Law is needed and dharma protectors are required to enforce God's law.

In 'Hinduism' Impersonalist abuse has led to a kind of passivity where victims accept demonic attack without resistance, revolt or requiring restitution. The role of the dharma protector, and the clear sense of dharma, has been lost. Over centuries, abuse of the doctrine of karma created the birth caste system, and the oppression of women. Oppressors justified these evils, along with racism, chattel slavery and sexism as "karma" or Divine disfavor. Thus evil-doers sought to alter people's perception of right and wrong, and to obscure the truth that they themselves were engaged in the demonic oppression of innocent souls.

Vaishnavism is not impersonal Hinduism; it rejects such opression and seeks to dispense Godhead's love and grace within a benevolent social framework, protected by clear-headed, moral kshatriyas.

However, due to 'demons in dhotis', women, children and gentle devotees in the Movement did not experience a protective, sattvic Vaishnava society, but were taught that they were suffering due to "bad karma" for being born as women, or "karmically" deserving child abuse or wife battery! As long as this perverse, adharmic thinking remains a controlling factor in the Hare Krishna Movement, the Movement will be crippled, and the establishment of varnashrama-dharma will be impossible.

Properly educated kshatriyas are not occupied by speculation about remote causation -- or karmic analysis paralysis. They act, not to ferret out remote causes of suffering ("original sin" or "bad karma"), but to identify present victims, and those immediately guilty of perpetrating crimes.

Dharma looks at the proximate causes of suffering in the social body. One who beats his wife or abuses a child is guilty of a crime. Perpetrators are proximate causes of their victims' suffering, and dharma is not concerned with more remote causes. Exoteric law and justice is concerned with immediate cause and effect (karma).

Philosophers and theologians may be concerned with remote or original sin as causation, but the law of the state is concerned with present crime prevention, crime identification and punishment. Dharma protectors ensure that criminals make restitution to society and individuals; before the law, there are definitely innocent and guilty parties, victims and perpetrators.

Brahmins and kshatriyas are to define and enforce dharma, not to philosophically justify and excuse evildoers, or protect perpetrators from their victims! They protect (by pen and sword) the most vulnerable, and all other members of the varnashrama-dharma social body. How can there be varnashrama-dharma without such justice? God's law establishes dharmic civilization, which requires identifying the immediately guilty and the innocent.

Laws of a theocentric civilization cannot consider remote causation, nor take effect only years after the crime. To be effective, the law acts impartially, providing timely relief to the abused and timely correction to criminals. God does not say, "Ignore crimes because the victims deserved it. Get rid of law, because I will directly punish everyone Myself." To the contrary, God says, "Obey My laws." God may be working behind the scenes to make 'all things work for good', but exoterically He works through brahmins and kshatriyas to give and enforce law.

God even says He is dharma and dharma-raja. From age to age He sends lawmakers and law enforcers to deal with the causes of suffering in His sacramental social body. Violence, intoxication, illicit sex, gambling, greed, lying, cheating and stealing, etc. have natural consequences, which destroy the health of the social body. As preventive medicine, God's law attaches curative penalties and restitutions for sin, which act as a deterrent to sinning.

The unrelieved abuse of children, women, humble and gentle devotees, the pervasive untruthfulness, brutality, greed, drug use, the sins of corrupt leaders and other powerful abusers in the movement -- all were possible because ISKCON did not become a model of dharmic civilization, a culture of justice and compassion. Instead it became a case study in adharmic pseudo-brahminical tyranny enforced by bogus "kshatriya" thugs who were oppressors protecting evildoers. Real dharma was not defined by real brahmin leaders, who had an authentic vision of the sacramental social body of Purusha, nor protected by real moral dharma protectors. Unqualified 'gurus' promoted unqualified 'brahmins' and unqualified 'kshatriyas'.

Srila Prabhupada gave us the ideal of sattvic, Vaishnava dharma. He gave us Purusha Sukta and its theocentric vision of cooperative high civilization through, with and in the mystical social body of Lord Baladeva as the Servitor Lord and original cosmic Spiritual Master. Srila Prabhupada gave his disciples everything they needed, except their realization. No one can give us what we must gain for ourselves.

Self-realization is a function of our free will, and God will not violate our free will. Srila Prabhupada gave the highest to the lowest, not considering our qualifications. Because God sometimes calls the qualified, but can also qualify the called, Srila Prabhupada called all, qualified and unqualified, to the non-sectarian mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Rama.

This was not a fault on his part. It was our responsibility to become qualified in answering his magnanimous call. Some of us sincerely tried to become qualified; others put on a big show. Mundane ambition and duplicity drove pseudo-brahmins and pseudo-kshatriyas who assumed power, promoting each other in their mutual appreciation of impressive pseudo-religiosity, while they lacked genuine humility, self-realization or a vision of the social body of Purusha. They masked their impersonalism as "holy detachment" while reigning over a pervasively adharmic, depersonalizing and abusive society, disguising their autistic egomania as deserving holiness.

Thus they enjoyed undeserved veneration and, in some cases, the idolatrous worship of cheated followers. The hypocritical abusers "karmically" framed and blamed their suffering victims, and considered themselves and their abusive co-conspirators to be above God's law. Thus they turned dharma upside down and imagined themselves holy beings, while the oppressed devotees were expiating "bad karma"! By invoking their corrupt idea of "karma" they absolved themselves and made their immediate victims into remote perpetrators receiving the fruit of "bad karma"!

Could a divinely inspired movement be led either by an appointed cadre of child abusers, or by a second generation of devotee children who were previously child abusers? This does not seem a reasonable proposition; however, such an inspired movement could be hijacked and crippled from within by betrayers -- false prophets and false disciples and other 'wolves-in-sheep's-clothing' who abused children, destroying the Movement's community development and future potential.

It is the task of each generation to civilize the next. If this task is not begun or completed, it may be 'back to the stone age' and living like animals for an entire people. The converse is also true: one successful generation can revive a civilization.

We parent disciples of Srila Prabhupada were to raise our children to revive a theocentric civilization. Instead, unqualified, self-appointed, abusive 'leaders' reigned over a program that took our children away from us and nearly destroyed them. These usurping 'leaders' were interested in personal name, fame and adoration; many were envious of their own guru, wanting to be venerated like him. He was worthy of veneration; they were not. They did not even have a realized brahmin's vision of Purusha. Until the Movement is led by realized brahmins and kshatriyas prepared to protect the innocent and helpless, there will be no varnashrama-dharma.

Where is the varnashrama-dharma in India? India has become a confused mass of people working at cross-purposes. India cannot save herself through the Mayavadi leadership of the Hindutva movement. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's non-sectarian bhakti-yoga movement, flourishing within the cultural context of sattvic daiva-varnashrama-dharma, is the only viable solution to the crisis facing India. If Sri Caitanya's non-sectarian Movement cannot flourish there, it certainly cannot save the world.

Gurukulis held great promise as future leaders in the Lord's non-sectarian unity movement, but in India they were especially attacked! Having the greatest potential as future leaders of India, they were targeted by demonic beings who wanted to destroy Sri Caitanya's mission. Now where are those young servant-leaders who were destined to save India and the world by leading a revival of non-sectarian pure bhakti-yoga? They have been knocked down, but they are not out.

I will not indulge the crazy idea that the Gurukulis were former child abusers who were getting a 'token' of their 'karmic reaction' from molesters and other evildoers in the movement. Let the Gurukulis take their place on the world stage of history, and reclaim their birthright as heroes and heroines born to lead humanity into a benevolent, non-sectarian civilization of unity-in-diversity! Let them teach the world, feed the world, and heal the world.

We do not need to swab the dregs of history to understand 'karmically' what happened to them! It was a simple case of demonic attack! Dharma was neither effectively taught nor protected by Srila Prabhupada's self-appointed successors in the Movement.

Now there must be a reckoning -- a coming to justice. The movement must begin again with a clear, attainable vision of a dharmic society. Let the Gurukulis, who were "karmically" framed, blamed and shamed for their own abuse, stand up to this nonsense and declare the simple difference between right and wrong! By defining and demanding dharma and justice, they can reset the movement onto the course of righteousness, and revive a non-sectarian dharmic civilization.

May all the Gurukulis recover self-esteem and health, prosper and become powerful as devotees and dharma protectors! All glories to the heroic heaven-sent children of Srila Prabhupada! May they all be saved, and help to save all other suffering beings!