The Poison Conspiracy Antidote – Chapter 2 – The Visa-Virya Bijam

All Aboard!  Poison Conspiracy!

The vile idea that Srila Prabhupada was poisoned by his top disciples became the acorn which fell on the head of LINK: Chicken Little.  The short 9-minute rendering of this classic children’s tale provided here is well worth the watch.  It very accurately captures the phenomenon that has occurred – the allegations of a conspiracy to poison Srila

Prabhupada as more than just childishly foolish.  It is sinister because it employs all of the Machiavellian tactics that are so expertly illustrated in this entertaining and very educating Disney rendering of LINK: Chicken Little.  Consider the following lessons that are conveyed.

  1. To influence the masses aim first for the least intelligent.
  2. If you tell them a lie don’t tell a little one, tell a big one.
  3. Undermine the faith of the masses and their leaders.
  4. By the use of flattery, insignificant people can be made to look upon themselves as born leaders.

The culprits behind this conspiracy artifice have leveraged all of these tactics. We know that ANGER is one of the three gates leading to hell, and there is a whole lot of unresolved anger in the material world including those who are in the process of moving from material conditioning to Krishna Consciousness.   Unqualified selfish devotees drove innocent people out of the temple for a whole list of unfortunate reasons.  Anger + Rumors = Conspiracy opportunity.  Bingo!

Certainly, those sincere devotees who felt responsible for correcting the mistakes of the past, who also wanted to rebuild the trust in ISKCON management, would not perpetuate rumors antithetical to that objective.  But when those who had an ax to swing found an opportunity to generate a conspiracy about someone poising Srila Prabhupada… they were not going to miss their chance.    Here was an opportunity to unleash a tsunami of doubt, intrigue, and suspicion at the very top of ISKCON management.   The ISKCON leaders were already overwhelmed with what it takes to manage a revolutionary new worldwide religious institution.  All it would take is the deadly seed of a well-crafted conspiracy to accelerate the death of ISKCON – and that is what the vengeful disgruntled individuals set out to do.

Psychology of Conspiracy Perpetrators

In a book called: Empire of Conspiracy, Professor Tim Melley identifies those who get caught up in conspiracy thinking share two common characteristics: 1) They hold strong individualist values and 2) They lack a sense of control.  The first attribute refers to people who care deeply about an individual’s right to make their own choices and to direct their own lives without interference or obligations to a larger system (like the GBC).   When that is combined with a sense of powerlessness in one’s own life, it becomes what Professor Melley refers to as agency panic, characterized as an “intense anxiety about an apparent loss of autonomy.”  Conspiracy theories help insecure individuals cope with distressing events, as it offers the frail a way to make sense out of difficult circumstances.  Conspiracies assure us that bad things don’t just happen randomly. Conspiracies, however unwitting, secret or incomprehensible, tell us that someone out there is accountable; therefore, it’s possible to stop these people and punish them, and in due course, give everyone else a chance to re-establish control over their own lives.

Well, that pretty much explains it all, but I know much more will be required to help readers parse all the accusations that have been recklessly hurled around.

False Accusations

Some people are so paranoid that as soon as they misplace something they believe someone broke into their home and stole it.  Mature individuals are much more cautious about not accusing others of anything until there is a good reason to do so.  That usually requires clear and tangible evidence to support one’s allegation.  It is the emotionally unstable individuals that have a reputation for blaming others for their own mistakes or inadequacies.  Low self-esteem drives those who suffer from insecurity to lash out at others in all sorts of bizarre ways over the most trivial of issues.

To accuse anyone of conspiring to poison another human being with little more than rumors, controversial whispers or unconfirmed lab studies on suspicious evidence is so blatantly reckless that those who are not blinded by their own negative conditioning will be quick to dismiss this scandal.  They will be equally vigilant about reassuring others why they should not give it any further thought.

I have taken the time to compose this analysis as a service to help others achieve that objective.   Others need not wallow in the waves of emotionally-charged reckless allegations, with its intentionally confusing pontification that’s merely used to bewilder and paralyze the innocent, which in the end effectively poisons the sankirtan movement at the root.  I have waded thru this refuse pit for those who simply found it too distasteful to address this issue.  So now please take it freely, share this poison antidote with those who have become victims of this poison.

How it Began

A simple review of how the “Poison” brouhaha took root, how it got fueled and catapulted into the devotee forum, reveals that it began with a lot of rumors, opinions, emotions, assumptions, innuendos, grandstanding and a bombastic form of constantly begging the question.   Those who continue to foist this allegation upon the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord like to portray themselves as the “Truth Committee” who has no motive other than to historically establish what the real cause of Srila Prabhupada’s departure was. They shamelessly proclaim about what they believe the real cause was:

“This work is meant as a historical reference material. There is also a serious need to set the historical record straight in light of so much false propaganda and obfuscatio

n from ISKCON leaders who hope to fend off full truth discovery in the matter. Our effort is called revisionism, which, according to Harry E Barnes, is bringing history into accord with the facts. Why would history and factual evidence be at odds? It is because institutions falsify the past to keep their membership loyal and subservient to their corruption.” – KGBG p. 18

Here we are being told right up front what this agenda is all about.  The authors want to be remembered in history as the ones who “Knew the Truth” who pressed for historical revisionism because the agenda of the evil ISKCON institution is to falsify the past for the purpose of keeping members loyal and subservient.   Wow!  We should all feel indebted to the keepers of the truth who have so valiantly taken on this difficult task to set the record straight for the benefit of future generations!  It all sounds so noble

, righteous, and heroic.  We are even introduced to Mr. Harry E. Barnes as the reputable authority to bless this thankless task.  How could anyone object to the selfless service the devotees of the Truth Committee are doing for all the rest of us?

We can get a glimpse into just how pathologically crapulous the mentality is of those who would seek the blessings of Harry E. Barnes to condone their actions. I will just let the readers draw their own conclusions about the mental stability of those who want to be associated with a person described on Wikipedia as follows:

Harry Elmer Barnes (June 15, 1889 – August 25, 1968) was an American historian who, in his later years, was known for his historical revisionism and Holocaust denial… Through his position at Columbia and his prodigious scholarly output, Barnes was once highly regarded as a historian. However, by the end of the 1950s, he had lost credibility because of the major role he played in the inception of the Holocaust denial movement. …Barnes claimed that in order to justify the “horrors and evils of the Second World War”, the Allies made the Nazis

 the “scapegoat” for their own misdeeds…. Barnes wrote: The courageous author [Rassinier] lays the chief blame for misrepresentation on those whom we must call the swindlers of the crematoria, the Israeli politicians who derive billions of marks from nonexistent, mythical and imaginary cadavers, whose numbers have been reckoned in an unusually distorted and dishonest manner. … Even if one were to accept the most extreme and exaggerated indictment of Hitler and the National Socialists for their activities after 1939 made by anybody fit to remain outside a mental hospital, it is most alarmingly easy to demonstrate that the atrocities of the Allies in the same period were more numerous as to victims and were carried out for the most part by methods more brutal and painful than that alleged extermination in gas ovens.(Emphasis in the original.)

LINK: Harry Elmer Barnes

I could just end this paper here.  The association with the racist bigot Harry Barnes pretty much reveals exactly what we are dealing with here.  Behind a very thin veil of a not so convincing scholarly patina, we find an extremely deviant agenda.   Holocaust deniers insist that the descendants of Abraham were not imprisoned in horrendous concentration death camps during WWII.  These “Holocaust Truth Keepers” boast that, for the benefit of the rest of us, they are the vigilant ones working to preserve the real history of what happened in Germany.  They chide: “Nope. 60,000 innocent Jews were not tortured and killed in Nazi war camps”.  These Holocaust deniers claim these are all fictitious tales promoted by the Jewish community to win the sympathy from the masses and to monopolize business opportunities.  The evidence they use to foist this distortion on others is as nebulous as the tales told by the Poison Truth Team.

Like honor among thieves, those perpetuating the poison allegation theory are quick to pat each other on the back for their years of dedicated service, focused acumen & personal integrity that they gave to Srila Prabhupada.  All this self-congratulatory bragging brings those who have been exiled from ISKCON back together under a common plot to bring down the GBC kings.  It also gives the innocent reader the impression that the devotees who make up the Truth Committee are very credible individuals, who deserve our respect and trust.  They want us to accept them as good, clean, honest boy-scout devotees who have no hidden agendas.  But if that was the case then why are they following in the footsteps of their new nut-job guru Harry Elmer Barnes!

The book “Someone Has Poisoned Me.” (SHPM) relies predominantly on presenting pages and pages of antidote stories, opinions, impressions, historical sidebars, and colorful fluff, embellished with just the right coincidental synergy necessary to give birth to this insidious conspiracy.   It’s the perfect storm for creating mass hysteria and agency panic that if left unchecked would inevitably evolve into the classic witch hunt!   It is the only hope that disenfranchised devotees have to: “…hold someone accountable, stop them, punish them and give those who have been wronged an opportunity to re-establish control over their own lives.”

Download the full book (PDF) at this link.

The Poison Conspiracy Antidote – Chapter 1 – Why This Now?

Millennial Controversies

Just prior to the turn of the century, there was an upheaval of controversy that had never before been experienced in ISKCON.  Some creative writers got together and published a bunch of unconventional ideas in a title referred to as the ‘Final Order.’  I had an opportunity to see it in draft form somewhere around 1977, and the first time I looked at it I thought to myself: “This is such complete nonsense, who is ever going to take it seriously?” Then a few years later, to my astonishment, the “RitVik” controversy was tearing long-standing friendships apart and wreaking havoc everywhere.   As I watched the destruction, my heart broke.  After all, one of Srila Prabhupada’s most important final instructions to us was that “You will show your love for me by your cooperation.” Srila Prabhupada had given us something so wonderful and simple, but because of our sick western pride, we simply could not integrate it into our life without nearly killing one another over how to follow his instruction.

In an effort to see if I could find a common ground and bring everyone back together as one Hare Krishna movement, I wrote a treatise that was immediately published on VNN.  The heart of that culminated in a paper called:

LINK: 12 Points Towards Unity & Respect

I soon discovered that ISKCON management refused to even consider introducing a RitVik Harinama initiation into the process of becoming a devotee by making it the first stepping stone to a personal guru awarding the Brahman’s thread.  I am still of the belief that if something like this could have been integrated into the formal ISKCON structure, it would have completely prevented the breakdown we now face.  I realize it would be a bit contrived and unconventional, but not any less contrived than bankrolling tyagis.  As a practical matter, it would have prevented the attrition and aparadh that became the first big wedge to divide ISKCON.

However, this accommodating vision was probably moot even before I realized it.  When I pressed the RitVik leadership at the time to see if their agenda was to integrate into ISKCON or completely overthrow the traditional Guru-Disciple relationship they did not immediately respond.   When it was to their most political advantage they finally revealed that their objective was to completely overthrow the traditional Vedic guru-disciple relationship that was already well underway within ISKCON.  There was simply no middle-of-the-road to travel on, so I ended up writing a series of articles helping people understand that the RitVik agenda was a reaction, not a philosophy.    It’s understandable why people were hurt, but the solution was not to whip up something that has never been done since Krishna clearly confirmed:

sri-bhagavan uvaca
imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam
vivasvan manave praha manur iksvakave ‘bravit – Bg 4.1


The fact that immature gurus were pretending to be Srila Prabhupada didn’t help matters. Despite these travesties, the RitViks’ suggestion that Srila Prabhupada intended to change everything he had taught his disciple for ten plus years, based solely on one very ambiguous, controversial letter by Srila Prabhupada written in July of 1977 – just four months before he departed – was an insult to Srila Prabhupada’s pragmatic expertise!

So I set my skills to exposing many of the gross inconsistencies, deceptive citations, and preposterous contentions of the RitViks, in what I mockingly refer to as the FO (Final Order) Sastra.   By the time that effort was done, I had received numerous emails from devotees worldwide thanking me for helping them separate the post-Prabhupada – Guru angst from the RitVik panacea.   Yes, a bunch of neophyte Western kids were clearly having problems implementing the Parampara system.   They may have memorized the third Siksastaka prayer, but many continued to behave like Lord Indra did when his ego was snubbed and he attacked Vrindavan with 40 days of violent thunderstorms!  As unpredictable as it may have been, the concocted RitVik alternative was not the way to tame the gurus who expected red carpets and rose petals everywhere they went.  Those who are still bewildered by all the RitVik propaganda are invited to read those papers here:

Accepting the Challenge Sep 19, 2012
Did He or Didn’t He? Sep 21, 2012
Who’s Changing What? Sep 20, 2012
Modifications a & b. Sep 24, 2012
He Who Knows Has No Need To Shout.

The reason why I open this paper with a brief summary of RitVik history is that it somehow finds its way into the mish-mash of so-called poisoning evidence.   There also seems to be a lot of circumstantial evidence that indicates that the same core group of individuals who dreamed up the RitVik heresy brought us the “Who Poisoned Prabhupada” drama.  In both cases, these individuals appear to be convinced that they are acting to further the mission of Lord Caitanya even though the results of their actions have been just the opposite.  We need only remember that the men who flew the planes into the world trade center.  They were also convinced that in giving their lives to commit such an atrocity they were serving the almighty!  Instead of furthering the cause of ISLAM, the end result was just the opposite.   They simply awakened the Western world to how dangerous the radicalized end of the Islamic faith is willing to go to be heard.    I will show in this paper how the conspiracy to poison Srila Prabhupada doesn’t have to have a thread of truth while also illustrating how the rumor itself is effective in achieving the real purpose for why it is so furiously promoted The “Who Poisoned Prabhupada” drama is the 2nd attempt by the disenfranchised to gain recognition on the world stage and it springs forth from a the deeply rooted human foible know as envy.    Every aspiring devotee is called to control pride and envy and in this case the authors of this drama have spent a good portion of their lives proving to the rest of us their embarrassingly tragic inability to do that.

Getting to the Point

The first time someone shared with me that there was a ground-swelling concern about the possibility Srila Prabhupada was poisoned, I simply dismissed it as another sensationalized “ISKCON grape-vine hoax”.   I could not imagine how anyone could possibly believe such a ridiculous thing; however, before too long, I was again completely dumbfounded by the fact that there were many devotees getting sucked into this “new” mega-diversion instead of doing something useful for Srila Prabhupada.    I acquired a copy of “Someone Has Poisoned Me” and after reading it, I again thought: “Who in their right mind is going to give any credibility to all this unconvincing opinionated barf?”   Yet, some devotees apparently did – whether due to being gullible, did not care to research enough, covered by their own hurt and pain?  After a while, the “Poison” issue seemed to drift back off on the same cumulous cloud from which it came.

Then, in the Spring of 2017, I started getting some panic phone calls from congregational members who attend the bimonthly “Bhagavad Gita – As It Is” Fellowship Discussion  I host twice a month at my home in Ojai!  They were quite surprised to encounter the “poison” allegations!  At the same time, our mailing list of 1500 (mostly new people) had not only been deceitfully hijacked, but our congregation had been spammed with a bunch of propaganda that prematurely concluded:

“.. the case that Srila Prabhupada’s poisoning with heavy metals IS now proven,” -KGBG p.687

I soon discovered this propaganda was now stomping all over the tender seedlings of devotion that I was trying to cultivate in my congregation.  I did not want to open this can of putrefied worms because to do so would be like voluntarily jumping into an open latrine!   Initially, I resisted, but others encouraged me to do what I could to expose the travesty of reasoning that keeps this stupid drama alive.  I felt dirty and exhausted just thinking about the task of exposing the poison conspiracy.  It never made any sense to me at all regardless of all the so-called evidence which amounted to no more than a tsunami of psychological coercion.

I soon realized that even people I had great respect for were somehow getting drawn into believing these pernicious poison allegations; therefore, I felt that I had a duty to apply my skills to expose it for the hypnotic fraud that it had apparently become.

I have no idea if anyone is going to care that I wrote this, but I at least hope it will find a home somewhere. Perhaps 500 years from now, this rebuttal will help shed light on what these tumultuous times in Early ISKCON were like – at least from the perspective of one who has absolutely nothing personal to gain by exposing it.  I certainly hope I am one of the rare few who suffered terrible disappointments after Srila Prabhupada left, but I know that is not true.   Many have struggled to work around the growing pains ISKCON has crawled thru.  For some, that struggle took on the form of this grandiloquent poison conspiracy.

The Stage Was Set – Let the Story Begin

The individuals who allege that Srila Prabhupada was poisoned by some of his most trusted disciples have asserted that what started this witch hunt were rumors that were circulating at New Dwarka in 1982 —  five years after Srila Prabhupada departed!   When we look closely, we find that those rumors came from two 13 year–old Mexican Gurukula children who “Think” they “Might” have overheard eight senior men talking about a plot to poison Srila Prabhupada!

I was in India within three months after Srila Prabhupada departed, and I never heard one such preposterous rumor.  We need to ask here: why did the loose talk of two children lead to such a huge investigation?   There is no dispute about the chaos that occurred when Prabhupada’s young disciples were left to lead ISKCON into the future.  A lot of mistakes were made… a lot of egos raged out of control, a lot of people got hurt, a lot of devotees left the movement, leaving the rest of us quite upset and disgusted.

With the departure of His Divine Grace, there was no one to insulate us from our own incompetence, envy, greed, pride.  All those unresolved pushing agents were now free to undermine our efforts in the task of sharing with the rest of the world what Srila Prabhupada gave us.  It was both frightening and depressing.  It’s quite reasonable to see how these unresolved pushing forces rapidly surfaced and matured into many very controversial issues that shattered the ISKCON magic that only Srila Prabhupada’s personal presence could hold together.  Since his departure in 1977, the majority of his surviving disciples, being very neophyte Vaishnavas at best, had to navigate thru numerous difficult organizational policy decisions such as:

  1. How to interface with other members of the Gaudiya Math.
  2. Who is qualified to initiate disciples?
  3. The resurrection of the elitist Gopi Bhava club.
  4. How would we implement the Parampara system?
  5. Blind eye to those who vowed “Renunciation”, but live like kings.
  6. Should women be masters or mothers?
  7. When will the debates over book editorial changes get resolved? (See my suggestions in Appendix 1)
  8. Public disclosure regarding the collection and distribution of laxmi and the protection of real property.

These are just a few of the more controversial things that have destroyed long-standing friendships, trust among devotees and led to bitter disputes, resentment, and even the exile of many good individuals who were anxious to serve Srila Prabhupada’s mission.

As we moved forward in time more people got hurt as ISKCON fractured and innocent individuals got treated badly… in some cases very badly.  While some clawed their way to the top, others were kicked to the side or simply left feeling abandoned or betrayed. People who are inclined to be very tolerant were reaching the end of their patience.  The autocracy of ISKCON management was getting a reputation for being unrepentant, impenetrable, and ruthlessly powerful.

The stage was set.  The only way to bring down a strong king is to engage in Machiavellian like strategies.  An individual the authors of the Conspiracy Theory have obviously studied quite closely.  (KGBGp. 507)  The usual controversies were wearing away ISKCON more and more each day.   Those seeking vengeance for all the past transgressions feeling compelled to stop the GBC Kings.   To do so they cleverly devised the “Who Poisoned Prabhupada” conspiracy knowing that it would have far more disruptive consequences than just introducing some new philosophical controversy.

Seeing the lack of cooperation that was already being felt by the ISKCON diaspora, these individuals knew it was time to extend that obstinacy into the management body of ISKCON itself, reasoning that it was time for the GBC to get a taste of their own heartless medicine!  To fracture ISKCON at its core would require a controversy that creates enough suspicion and quarrel among the GBC members that it would destroy whatever little cooperation the old boys club was still enjoying.

“If we do not work cooperatively in this way, the whole thing will deteriorate.” – June 22, 1972, LA Letter to Madhupuri

The most effective way to break the collective strength of the GBC would be to perpetuate doubts, intrigue, and disarray on a scale that had not yet been experienced.  To really disintegrate Srila Prabhupada’s movement required a Visa-Virya Bijam (A Very Deadly Seed) and the “Who Poisoned Prabhupada” conspiracy became that seed.

Download the full book (PDF) at this link.

The Poison Conspiracy Antidote – Preface

Preface

Those who have been disturbed by the allegations that His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami might have been poisoned by some of his top disciples will find solace in this rebuttal.  If this paper gives any individual relief from the hailstorm of sloppy research, prejudicial conclusions, and any of the mendacious evidence, then I will consider the time and effort I made to swim in this veritable “cesspool” of a subject worthwhile. If at the end, you are one of those individuals who would like to identify yourself, I would appreciate knowing that I helped clarify this matter for you.   I am not going to apologize for the length of this rebuttal because it is trivial in comparison to the avalanche of poison propaganda that is being unloaded like trash from a garbage truck upon innocent devotees worldwide:

  • Someone Has Poisoned Me (SHPM) 408Pages
  • Judge For Yourself (JFY) 123
  • KILL GURU BECOME GURU PART 1(54:25 Min Video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIBqNBMbPvY&t=2655s
  • Kill Guru Become Guru Part 1(KGBG) 828 PDF Pages
  • Kill Guru Become Guru Part 2(KGBG2) ? Pages
  • Kill Guru Become Guru Part 3(KGBG3) ? Pages
  • CRIME OF THE MILLENIUM: (31.19 Min Video)   ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMuUqqZDqTQ
  • Total 1359 + Pages & 85.44 min Video with more irrelevant scathing vitriol promised to come!

There is probably much more material than this which I am unaware of, but all of it is more of the same.  What I will show in this study is that all of it is irrelevant, tangential, unsubstantiated and dramatically enhanced to support a sardonic imagination buttressed up by the worst of all possible interpretation of events.   While the volume of material has the patina of “Evidence”, it’s not much more than the rambling fantasies of those obsessed with a dolus agenda.  Virtually none of what makes up the volume of this so-called evidence would ever stand up to the scrutiny of a courtroom which is why it will never find its way into a courtroom despite all the bravado and posturing otherwise.

The assault that has been wagered against well-intended individuals has been recklessly savage.  The whole idea that some of the most senior disciples would conspire to poison Srila Prabhupada is repugnant, absurd and ill-founded.  That is why many have understandably simply not wanted to waste their time wading through all the bosh bric-a-brac that has been accumulated to promote it.  Yet it is the unsavory nature of this subject that has led to a catch-22 for the poison conspired to take advantage of.   Because the majority of the devotees couldn’t be bothered reading all this bunk it continues to fester like the heads of Ravana that would reappear after being cut off by Rama.

While there have been many good testimonies confirming that the poison conspiracy has no credibility, some still cling to specious arguments that have not been adequately disposed of.  This paper does exactly that but the challenge now is to share these strong arguments with those who simply don’t want to dwell on such a sick, macabre myth.   In an attempt to overcome that resistance I have done what was easy to do with such a wealth of absurd material to work with.  I lampoon the whole issue which is all the attention the poison conspiracy deserves.   Srila Prabhupada, of course, deserves our unwavering respect, so the challenge here was to uphold that while exposing this torrid subject in a humorous and entertaining way so the devotee community will be more willing to familiarize themselves with firm arguments that are contained herein.

The cartoons just showed up along the way and are included as an incentive to capture the reader’s curiosity and lure them into the text.  All of this seemed like the natural outcome of such a gross lack of reasoning and common sense.   The only way for erudite individuals to parse all this rubbish is to laugh at it.

The real reason for this assault has nothing to do with what is alleged.   It is to overwhelm the innocent and sadly that seems to have happened at least partially with devotees who are not willing to study the so-called evidence carefully and instead have become bewildered by the patina. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of revenge after having been disappointed or mistreated by some immature, proud, or insensitive administrator after coming to Prabhupada.   It’s also easy to be bamboozled, especially if one simply doesn’t have the time, interest, patience or skills to plow through what amounts to little more than chronic emotional offal.

I had no intentions of exposing myself to 1359+ pages of tedious conjectures and malicious creative writing; however, the glaring mistakes just kept revealing themselves to the point that I just had to jump into the ring in defense of the “sober” Truth.   I realize that the tendency will be for readers to immediately jump to the area of controversy that is most persuasive to them – and that’s fine if you wish to do that.  When one gets wounded, it is essential to focus on the area where the body has been compromised most; however, there is a natural progression as to how this antidote unfolds, and some of the nuances will be missed if one doesn’t apply it fully by reading the paper from start to finish.  Those who are willing to take the time to do that, and have no predetermined agenda, will be convinced to never give any botheration to the poison rumors ever again.  This antidote will be adequate to exorcise the “Poison” raffle completely.

Thank you.

Mayeśvara Dāsa
August 2017
mdjagdasa@gmail.com
Phone +1 (805) 649-0405

The Poison Conspiracy Antidote – Cover

The Poison Conspiracy Antidote

Visa-Virya Bijam

visa-virya—highly potent poison; bijam – seed

Exposing the real poison of fraudulent poison allegations.

By Mayeśvara Dāsa  ACBSP    mdjagdasa@gmail.com
October 2017  Ojai, Ca.

“It appears that you have been poisoned by some rascals. Such rascals cannot do anything to push on the mission of Lord Caitanya, but can put hindrances in the path of spreading KC all over the world. I am very sorry that you have fallen a victim of such poisonous serpents. Because such easy going rascals are unable to assume the position of ‘Prabhupada’ or unfit for the post, they are so envious and you are talking on their behalf. I am very sorry for this.” – Srila Prabhupada Letter to Disciple, Vrindavan 1 Nov, 1972

“I know that most men—not only those considered clever, but even those who are very clever, and capable of understanding most difficult scientific, mathematical, or philosophic problems—can very seldom discern even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as to oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with much difficulty—conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught to others, and on which they have built their lives.” –  Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy – in his essay (1897) “What Is Art?

 

Abbreviation Key: 

Envy Green = Text denotes Poison Conspiracy propaganda

SHPM – Someone has Poisoned Me Published 1999 New Jaipur Press

KGBG – Kill Guru Become Guru (Digital PDF Available via Internet Circa 2017)

Krishna Blue = Text that makes sense.

HAPD – Hair Analysis Panel Discussion Exploring the State of the Science.

ATSDR – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

CDCP – The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

 ///

Rochana Prabhu’s Double Standard

Janus

On 12 June 2017, I submitted to the Sampradaya Sun website an article addressing some of Sanaka Rsi Prabhu’s recent, misleading statements and unfair accusations against Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja (my guru maharaja). But the site’s editor, Rocana Prabhu, rejected it.

In his response to me, dated 16 June 2017, he outlined two reasons for his rejection. The first has to do with giving those directly affected by past abuse the opportunity to respond first. He said he wants to wait for Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja to first post all his responses to Sanaka Rsi Prabhu (although he refused an article from Maharaja as well! This is now published here) and then only will he be inclined to publish articles from supporters, from both sides. He also clarified that he has been publishing commentaries only from those who have a direct personal connection with the child abuse issue.

The second reason he gave for rejecting my article, and this is the one he focused more on, is that he felt that what I had initially submitted was ill-reasoned, contained innumerable errors of logic and was thus sentimental. In this regard, Rocana Prabhu enumerated criteria for me (and I presume also meant for others on “my side” of the issue) to meet before he would consider publishing my article. Some of them are: Eliminate speculation and character assassination statements; deal with factual and philosophical points; use citations and quotations; avoid generalizing, etc.

Both reasons have merit, but with respect to the second reason Rochana Prabhu has in fact pursued a double standard. Almost every single article with an opinion against Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja that Rochana Prabhu has published has violated nearly every one of these guidelines. Regardless of how one feels about the matter, the guidelines he outlined should apply equally to both sides, not just one. Yet it is clear that he imposes them on only one side and allows the other to violate them.

Moreover, the violations across the various authors expressing an opinion against Maharaja are neither infrequent nor mild, they are typical and excessive. Sanaka Rsi Prabhu’s articles in particular are fraught with character assassination, errors in logic, condescension, lack of citations and accurate quotations when they are clearly called for, etc. Rochana Prabhu’s double standard is neither an accident nor an oversight, it is deliberate.

Hence, in hoping that pointing these gross discrepancies might lead to their correction, I replied on 22 June 2017 to Rocana Prabhu with the following email, to which he has not responded. Since at this point I do not expect a reply, I am publishing my email to him.

  • Rama Kumara Das (BVKS)

Dear Rocana Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for your response. I went through your reasons for not publishing the article. I found several inconsistencies between the statements in your email and the articles that you have published in last few weeks on this issue.

Although you mentioned that you are declining to publish opinion pieces supporting the two sides, I see that several of them supporting Sanaka Rsi Prabhu have been published consistently. Some of them are:

Bhakti Vikasa Swami Defending the Indefensible – By Caitanya das,

An Appeal to H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami – by Krsna das,

A Gentleman and His Obligations – by Krsna das,

I Hereby Give You H.H. Bhakti Vikasa – by Krsna das and

H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami??? By Giribaradhari das

However, not even a single article has been published from the side of Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja. Why is this so?

If you kindly note, the statements which you quoted from my article in your email have been derived based on the reasoning either before them or are explained after the statements. For instance, you quoted the following from my article:

“Sanaka Rsi Prabhu is severely minimizing the good that BhaktividyaPurna Maharaja has done. He wants to focus only on his mistakes.” AND “Why does Sanaka Rsi Prabhu keep minimizing their importance and cry foul all the time?”

The reasons for making these couple of statements are sandwiched between these two statements itself in the article.

Another point you mentioned in your email is that:

“all the subjective ‘good feelings’ on the swami’s behalf are moot points.”

The Gurukula in Mayapura is functioning as Srila Prabhupada desired. And irrefutably Bhaktividya Purna Maharaja has made a huge contribution towards it. I elaborated on this point in my article as well. Isn’t the presence of this Gurukula itself objective and substantial? I couldn’t understand why this is dismissed as subjective “good feelings” by everybody.

You had mentioned that my article is ill-reasoned. But with all due respects, I don’t agree to it. Throughout my article, I have taken the effort to provide several important points to refute the ill-reasoning of Sanaka Rsi Prabhu. He doesn’t know or understand the current situation in Mayapur Gurukula otherwise he will be aware that Bhaktividya Purna Maharaja has no involvement there now. So his articles calling to remove Maharaja from Gurukula are not at all valid.

I would like to quote some of the statements (emphasis mine) made in the before mentioned articles which were published in Sampradaya Sun recently. I have included my comments inline for some of them.

Some former gurukuli wrote here:

…In his old age, the man goes on to the Sannyasa Asrama, now in his twilight, all his effort and remaining energy can be focused on spiritual activities, preaching which includes advising the younger generation on leading a proper life. Our eternal Spiritual Master, Srila Prabhupada went through and experienced every single moment of this, which is why he has utmost authority in giving advice and direction relating to every segment of life.

My Comment: In the highlighted line above, this person is saying that Srila Prabhupada is an authority in social matters only because he had gained firsthand experience of mundane relationships in this material world. Isn’t he minimizing the position of Srila Prabhupada severely? Also, how is it that Narada Muni being a renunciant speak about these aspects in Canto 7 of Srimad Bhagavatam but others in his sampradaya can’t? Aren’t these principles explained in sastras? What this person is presenting is disguised atheism.

Caitanya Das writes here:

The latest attempt to justify violence and abuse of children in our schools by Bhakti Vikasa Swami is lamentable, giving reasons like we did not know Srila Prabhupada did not approve of violence against children.

…My advice to the Maharaja: stop digging yourself further into a hole and quit defending the indefensible.

My Comment: In the above referred article (or anywhere for that matter), Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja never justified violence and abuse of children. No direct quotations are given here for reference by the author.

Krsna Das writes here:

I hereby present to you H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami, ISKCON sannyasa and ISKCON Guru. I hereby present to you Bhakti Vikasa, who has no moral compass. I hereby present to you Bhakti Vikasa who, evidently from his own written statements, has no understanding of human dignity. I hereby present to you Bhakti Vikasa, who thinks it reasonable that Bhaktividya Purna ought be allowed to torture and abuse children…

Bhakti Vikasa is a person who ought not, in my not so humble opinion, be allowed to hold any office in ISKCON where there are children nearby who may be tainted by his associationand lack of moral character values, as evidenced by his own recent submissions on the subject of child abuse and child abusers.

Krsna das writes in another of his article here:

…Will he show some respect for the cloth he wears? Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja, honour your obligations. A gentleman need not be reminded of his obligations.

I submit to those who are reading this, that Bhakti Vikasa Maharaj has painted himself in the very worst possible light by the association of his own choosing of those with very poor character. I certainly would not associate with Bhaktividya Purna. And I certainly would not associate with Bhakti Vikasa. Or those of his ilk.

Giribaradhari Das writes here (taken from different sections of his article):

I would therefore ask that H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami stand down or be removed from his post. Resign with dignity. Through his recent writings he has truly demonstrated to one and all that he is unfit in every sense of the word to be in a position of leadership. That is patently obvious. He ought step down.

He is a danger to those who are fighting against Maya. He is a liability that ISKCON cannot afford. He must continue in his war against Maya of course, but as a private. Not as a general. It is obvious that he is not fit for such a post. Better he not misguide others and make more casualties.

…Bhakti Vikasa, I say to you, “Do you want to help Srila Prabhupada’s Mission? Then please don’t help. Your help is causing untold ruckus. Please don’t help.”

…It is not only Bhakti Vikasa who is a hindrance to Lord Caitanya’s movement. Why are the contributors to Sampradaya Sun taking it upon themselves to point out to one and all, the frailties and dangers to ISKCON of having someone such as Bhakti Vikasa advising people on marriage or women or children? In the vernacular one would say, “He hasn’t got a clue!

…However, if Bhakti Vikasa can be humble enough to stand down, reflect upon the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, imbibe the mood of Srila Prabhupada and take it upon himself to speak out, tell the truth, then perhaps we will have a start to a real spiritual movement, the real ISKCON, as Srila Prabhupada envisioned.

…From the submissions of Bhakti Vikasa, it is blatantly obvious that he is indicative of the deep seated problem. The tip of the iceberg, as they say.

…There is certainly a dearth of that morality and ethicsright now, as clearly shown by the position that Bhakti Vikasa has foolishly taken

All these quotes do several things: they completely do character assassination of Bhakti Vikasa Maharaja. They are totally speculative. None of them are philosophical in nature and they aren’t factual. All of them are ill-reasoned and therefore just sentimental out-pours.

Another thing I noticed is that in couple of articles Maharaja is also criticized for giving his guidance on topics related to women and on marriage etc. Now, why was this point brought out when it has no relevance to the present child abuse discussion? How should we infer this? Dislike for Maharaja due to their (the authors’) adherence to mundane feminine equality?

So when you kindly ask me to follow all these standards, I am not able to see any example from the publications in Sampradaya Sun (on the Child abuse issue) where one is not speculating, doesn’t indulge in character assassination, deals only with factual and philosophical points and is not sentimental. This includes Sanaka Rsi Prabhu’s articles as well.

Therefore, to me this seem double-standards in publication. Could you to please clarify on how I should understand all of this?

In my article which I sent for publishing, I had tried to bring out and stress on the road-blocks which Sanaka Rsi Prabhu himself is creating with his strong yet emotional articles. He is not speaking anything positive for the sake of child protection in these articles.

With several opinionated articles being published in Sampradaya Sun,focusing on only one-side of the whole issue, I feel this is tantamount to witch-hunting which will completely repress Srila Prabhupada’s mission of establishing gurukulas.

Your Servant,

Rama-kumara dasa
(This is my initiated name)

Men of Sterner Stuff

With regard to Sanaka-Rishi Prabhu’s recent communications on the Sampradaya Sun website, specifically on the matter of corporeal punishment in relation to some statements made by H.H. Bhakti Vikasa Swami (who is my spiritual master), I would like to share an experience of mine that I think germane to this matter.

In 2011 I worked as a civilian contractor at a U.S. military installation in Dallas. During my time there, I spent eight months sharing a 6 x 6 foot cubicle with a colleague from Nigeria by the name of John (not his real name). He was about my age, was married and had three children, all of them boys and teenagers. He was also quite visibly a Christian. When we ate together he said his prayers and sometimes spiced his speech with phrases like, “Lord, have mercy!” He was also a strict disciplinarian with his children. Often during the course of the day, he would call his children to find out what mischief they were up to and reprimand them, sometimes threatening them with sterner punishment that can be delivered only in person. And he was quite capable of carrying out his ultimatums, too. He was very strong; his arms were as thick as legs. He was a hard worker, thoroughly honest, devoted to his family, and a gentleman.

So, one day, John, another colleague James, and I, were sitting and having a conversation about the punishments our fathers had given us while we were growing up. James, who had retired from Air Force intelligence and was retiring from a second career as a software developer, described some of the “good whippings” his father gave him. Not wanting to be left behind, I recounted some of the whippings given me by my own father, an Air Force officer and disciplinarian, like most are.

But among us, John’s recollection easily took first place. In Nigeria, his father was the principal of a Christian boy’s school. One day, he told John that when school got over that he must immediately go home. “Do not go anywhere else.” But John went to see a friend, and one of John’s uncles saw him do that and told his father. Despite dallying with his friend, John was first to reach home. His father came home soon afterwards and asked him where he had been.

“What did I tell you?”

“Go straight home.”

“And what did you do?”

“I went to a friend’s house.”

John first got a tongue-lashing, then he got a real lashing. His father tore off a branch from a nearby hedge that John referred to as a “whipping bush”, because not only do the branches make a good hedge but they are ideal for use as a switch in whipping someone. John’s father then whipped him so hard with the switch and so long that John literally could not sit down for the rest of the day. When his mother came home and called him to come sit next to her, all he could do was moan. He really couldn’t sit down. Yet to this day, John speaks about his father only with absolute reverence and says that his father did him great good by chastising him.

Over the years, my own personal observation is that his experience was not uncommon. I can remember once, when growing up on a military base, a friend of mine had loitered too long at my home, and his father, in uniform, walked over to our house, took off his belt, and gave his son a couple of hard lashings. Subsequently, his son, without complaint or crying returned home with him. We were no more than 11 years old back then.

Nowadays such discipline is hardly encountered in everyday life, but when I grew up during the 1970s in America it was common, even among civilians. And we generally turned out OK. So, with this perspective, when considering grievances with regard to corporeal punishment, as mentioned by Sanaka-Rishi Prabhu, most of the incidents, if not the great majority, don’t seem to surpass the severity of the beating that my friend John received from his father.

For sure, notions of what is acceptable in disciplining a child have changed considerably since the 1970s. But perhaps the actual problem is that the notions of acceptable discipline themselves, by way of the therapeutic enterprise, have changed not for the better but for the worse. On other important measures of social and personal well-being, sociologists, psychologists, and therapists have served the rest of society poorly. For example, the out-of-wedlock birth rate in America is today 43%. In other words, more than 4 out of 10 children in America are born outside of a marriage, almost four times the rate in 1970. All this has happened under the guidance of the mental health profession.

So, it is quite plausible that the people creating the problem mainly are the therapists. In most cases, the so-called victims and so-called perpetrators simply would not have been regarded as such fifty years ago. Hardly any men who got beat up by fathers and teachers thought of themselves as victims until a class of mental health professionals came along and sold them on the belief that they were.

It’s not difficult to see why the mental health profession is making matters worse, for the idea it sells to others is that “they are the body.” Mental health professionals intensify the bodily concept of life in their clients, which is most unhelpful. As the late philosopher Christopher Lasch once said,

“Even when therapists speak of the need for ‘meaning’ or ‘love,’ they define love and meaning simply as the fulfillment of the patient’s emotional requirements. It hardly occurs to them—nor is there any reason why it should, given the nature of the therapeutic enterprise—to encourage the subject to subordinate his needs and interests to those of others, to someone or some cause or tradition outside himself.” — The Culture of Narcissism (1979)

Intensifying the bodily concept of life means implicating the unfortunate recipients of such therapy in progressively deeper modes of ignorance. And for the unfortunate soul, this results in “happiness which is blind to self-realization, which is delusion from beginning to end and which arises from sleep, laziness and illusion” (BG 18.39). In his purport to this verse, Srila Prabhupada says, “For the person in the mode of ignorance, everything is illusion. There is no happiness either in the beginning or at the end.“

From this perspective, the real problem is that because this increases the mode of ignorance in them, they are excessively self-absorbed in their own bodies and minds and thus experience excessive suffering and pain. Hence, by adopting the therapeutic model to help their children deal with experiences of real or imagined abuse, parents, ISKCON decision-makers, and health-care professionals, though all well-meaning, have unwittingly made matters worse for their children, not better.

In order to transcend the suffering of this world, there is no alternative to taking up Krishna consciousness, beginning with the realization that one is “not this body.” The therapeutic model will not help because it deepens the mode of ignorance. Its adoption in the ISKCON education system has been like using gasoline to put out a fire. But in order to be actually freed from suffering, one must adopt the Krishna conscious perspective on all things in life, including those negative experiences one may have had within the society of devotees. This will create men of sterner stuff.

 

Child Protection; Another Perspective

[This was formerly submitted to the Sampradaya Sun by the author but was refused for publication.]

 

To Topical Discussions Conference

25 April 2001

While appreciating attempts to stop child abuse I propose that it is far insufficient to extend protection simply to the limited extent accepted by mundane lawmakers. Children can only be fully and properly protected if brought up in pursuance of tenets given by the original, supreme and infallible lawmaker.

According to Krishna conscious understanding, even parents are guilty of abusing their children if they for instance:

  1. divorce;
  2. encourage their children to adopt a worldview more acceptable to mundane academicians than in line with sastra;
  3. set a bad example by regularly rising late, having poor sadhana, eating karmi food, and in other ways acting as materialistic rather than ideal Krishna conscious parents;
  4. allow their children unrestricted access to TV, computer games, and the like;
  5. fail to educate their children about the dangers of illicit sex, and allow or encourage them to freely mix with members of the opposite sex;
  6. fail to take the time and trouble to solidly train their children not to abuse their rare and valuable human form of life, but rather to seriously practice Krishna consciousness, which is their only hope of getting free from repeated birth in the world of exploitation and abuse.

Many who consider themselves protectors of children may themselves be active perpetrators of abuse.

10 May 2001

Your text above has been read by both gurukula alumni, parents and some child protection advocates. The question has arisen whether you consider the practices you list, which you refer to as child abuse, to be equally abusive as e.g. the practice of spanking children, or as child molestations. This topic has been discussed on this conference, as well as on a conference for gurukula alumni. Could you please clarify for us how you see the relative seriousness of what “mundane lawmakers” refer to as abuse and the items on your list? Thank you.

12 May 2001

Thankyou for discussing these important questions and for asking me to clarify my position.

But asking which I think worse is like asking me to compare brown stool with black stool. Both are disgusting.

Consciousness of gross child abuse has been awakened in ISKCON and there are now systems in place to prevent it. Notwithstanding unresolved controversies, the practical effect is that children of ISKCON devotees today are much less likely to be grossly abused than those of previous generations. The devotees who have been instrumental in bringing this about have done a great job and deserve applause.

Yet there is much more to do. We need to build a culture of stable family life wherein children can grow up looking up to their parents as ideal persons and not having to experience the pain of seeing their parents divorce.

Furthermore, parents should be made aware that if they do not take the trouble to seriously train their children in Krishna consciousness, they thereby send them back to suffer repeated birth and death, with concomitant intense suffering, for a practically endless period.

Gross child abuse, horrible as it is, is only a manifestation of a much greater problem, the root of all problems: forgetfulness of Krishna. Although gross child abuse should certainly be purged from the community of devotees, unless we focus on the spiritual decrepitude that is at its root, then any solutions are not really solutions at all; for unless and until one fully surrenders to Krishna and goes back to Godhead, he simply abuses others and gets abused in the most nasty ways life after life without respite. Therefore although letting children live a free undisciplined life may seem not nearly as bad as gross child abuse, in the long run it fosters abuse and is therefore abusive.

This does not in any way condone manifestations of gross abuse of children, but is meant to awaken consciousness of the need to do much more for them.

It is highly desirable, and not impossible, that devotees show an example to the world of stable, peaceful, wholesome, religious family life. But at present, devotee marriages tend to be short-lived, and most children of devotees are neither spiritually nor materially well developed.

In the case of gross child abuse, first awareness of the problem was aroused; positive and beneficial action followed. Let it be so also in this case.

Serious Accusations, But False

After a hectic visit to Mayapur (that was long previously scheduled), I am gradually catching up with pending matters including discussions on the Sampradaya Sun regarding child abuse.

Sanaka Rsi Prabhu has made serious accusations against me. He wrote:

“We have one conversation where Srila Prabhupada agreed to use corporal punishment, against an overwhelming amount of instances where he spoke strongly against it…”

I cited several quotes, not one, that at face value show Srila Prabhupada endorsing corporal punishment.

Sanaka Rsi Prabhu continued:

“Maharaj, your presentation has been disingenuous and manipulative. I did not say that you quoted out of context because the quotes you provided were not relevant to the conversation, as you suggested. But rather because you have provided an edited version of the conversation, that created a slanted perspective.”

The only editing I did was to present a part of the conversation (as is standard practice; no one quotes whole conversations) and to add a translation of some of that part which was in Hindi.

In fact, Sanaka Rsi Prabhu himself edited what I quoted by leaving out part of what I quoted.

Sanaka Rsi Prabhu continued:

“You seem to believe that somehow the Hindi portion of that conversation is unrelated to the rest. Essentially you are trying to take it out of its context, as if the fact that Prabhupada spoke that part in Hindi makes it a new conversation that took place in a different time, space and context, which is nonsense.”

Speculation. I simply included the Hindi part where it occurred within the conversation.

Sanaka Rsi Prabhu continued:

“But what is perhaps your biggest blunder, is that you failed to inform the readers that the transcript of the conversation you provided in your article was an edited collage of different bits of the same conversation that you had selectively pieced together so as to create a version that incidentally happens to be more supportive of your agenda than the actual exchange that took place.”

These are heavy accusations that would certainly frame me IF THEY WERE TRUE. But they are NOT.

There is no collage.

Nothing is selectively pieced together.

There is no tampered quote, as he claims. I simply cut and pasted that section from the Vedabase and added Hindi translation. In fact, he “tampered” with what I had quoted, by leaving out a line by Yasodanandan Prabhu.

Sanaka Rsi Prabhu then gives a detailed explanation of how I have “fabricated a distorted account of the events that indicates that Srila Prabhupada was as equally disposed towards the use of corporal punishment as he was towards alternatives.” Although he presumes this to be my “agenda,” I was simply presenting (as I wrote) “several other quotes wherein Srila Prabhupada expresses approval of stringent corporal punishment,” that “somehow, in discussions about child abuse within ISKCON … never seem to be cited.” (http://akincana.net/gurukula_controversy/child-abuse-definitions-and-subjectivity/)

I was presenting a case that, although some statements of Srila Prabhupada’s concerning corporal punishment express total prohibition, there are others also with a different message, so the issue is not as cut and dried as Sanaka Rsi Prabhu has made out. For a thorough, balanced discussion of any topic all evidence has to be considered. (Admittedly it is often difficult to discuss this particular subject in a balanced manner.)

He calls on me for “publicly acknowledging the gravity of this misrepresentation of your spiritual master.” But there is no misrepresentation, no collage, no selective piecing together, no tampering. In summary, he has accused me of being “disingenuous and manipulative” but it is these ABSOLUTELY FALSE CHARGES that are disingenuous and manipulative. (How can anyone think that they can get away with posting such bull dung and not be called out for it? I urge readers to check for themselves the original against what I posted.)

A major point has been overlooked in the discussion of corporal punishment in the early days of ISKCON gurukulas in India. Those days were very different indeed: corporal punishment was legal in ISKCON and in India; within India, it was widely accepted and approved of. This of course does not justify corporal punishment, nor is it an endorsement of excesses; but it should be understood that attitudes have greatly changed within one or two generations.

Even more importantly, the standard quotes cited in this discussion were largely unknown until after the period in which corporal punishment was common in ISKCON schools. Srila Prabhupada’s letters were not published until well into the 1980s, and even then it took time for devotees to read and research them. The whole collection of Srila Prabhupada’s audio recordings was released in the early 2000s (and at a price of $1800, was not affordable to all) and it would take years to hear them all even by listening to several a day.

Would devotees in the 1980s have administered corporal punishment had they known Srila Prabhupada’s position on it? Is it reasonable to hold persons guilty when almost certainly they were unaware that what they were doing was forbidden by Srila Prabhupada? Their superiors (the managers of ISKCON Mayapur and Vrindavan) must have known that they were administering corporal punishment, and they did not forbid it – and in those days the mandate to follow authorities was embedded in the psyche of ISKCON devotees. If authorities approved something, it had to be okay.

Sanaka Rsi Prabhu refers to my “agenda.” Here it is: my agenda in this matter is to oppose the one-sided, destructive propaganda against the only disciple of Srila Prabhupada who has dedicated his entire life for children by developing a traditional gurukula in the style that Srila Prabhupada wanted. Anyone who actually cares for children would be delighted to recognize the extraordinary good that Bhaktividya Purna Swami has done, rather than trying to drag him down by citing mistakes (even severe mistakes) that he has made.

Why does Sanaka Rsi Prabhu NOT see the many parents who enthusiastically endorse Bhaktividya Purna Swami’s contributions by continuing to send children to him? Why does he not see the several children who grew up under him and are still with him, or elsewhere in Mayapur, and who now have their own children? Why deny this? What is the “agenda” here?

Why have dozens of parents all over the world, who know full well the reported history and could send their children anywhere in the world, have still chosen Mayapur gurukula? Are those parents all stupid? The ongoing propaganda against Mayapur gurukula would make them seem so.

Everyone knows that there have been serious allegations against Bhaktividya Purna Swami, even fairly recently. But those accusations have been countered, mostly by his students and ex-students, on Facebook and elsewhere. Why does Sanaka Rsi Prabhu not inform others about that? What is his “agenda”? (These countering statements are presently being retrieved and collated and soon should be up in one place on the internet.)

Is not api cet su-duracarah applicable here?

As I previously wrote, “Does the Krsna consciousness movement not allow any possibility of reform?” Must a person who has made mistakes in the past be eternally condemned for them? Should we remember Valmiki as a sinner? Shall we reject the Ramayana because it was written by an ex-robber? Do we condemn Jagai and Madhai, or instead glorify Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy upon them?

I strongly urge those who would negatively judge Bhaktividya Purna Swami and the Mayapur gurukula to first personally visit there and see for themselves. Spend time, imbibe the pure atmosphere of the dham, speak with Maharaja and his students, ex-students, and staff, and parents and other members of the broader Mayapur community. No one will pretend that the gurukula is perfect, but the overwhelming opinion of those who are on the spot, living there, is that a very good job is being done in accord with Srila Prabhupada’s wishes.

What does Sanaka Rsi Prabhu have to offer in comparison? If he cares so much for children, what is he positively doing for them? He has had enough time in his life to set up a gurukula in the manner that Srila Prabhupada wanted. All he can do is bash others who have literally given their life to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s instructions in this regard.

The suggestions to have clear guidelines regarding child abuse, as proffered by Krsna Dasi and Sanaka Rsi Prabhu, are well taken and I am going to work on them. It won’t happen overnight. Incidentally, one of the leaders of the gurukula in Mayapur whom I recently spoke with told me that he had proposed to Sanaka Rsi Prabhu that they work together to make comprehensive guidelines on child protection issues, that could be used by ISKCON schools worldwide. Sanaka Rsi Prabhu declined.

By the way, everything that I have published on Sampradaya Sun has been written by me. I may send articles for review by others prior to publication, and I may incorporate certain suggestions and changes. But if my name is on it, it is by me. The Sun editors may make editorial changes to my articles, which explains why they might slightly differ to versions published on my website.

I plan one more article on these topics, concerning Indradyumna Swami. Then I’m finished. I am under no obligation to engage with anyone who employs lies and deception to paint me in the worst possible light. That shows very poor character, and our acaryas have warned us to avoid bad association.

[First published at the Sampradaya Sun (www.harekrsna.com/sun) on 2 June 2017.]

 

Sorry, Sanaka, You Are Wrong

Response to http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/editorials/05-17/editorials14911.htm

Sanaka, you are intelligent, articulate, and dedicated to a noble cause. You also seem to be fully convinced that you are right in all respects and that anyone who disagrees with you must be just plain wrong. However, you have erred in your portrayal of myself as quoting Srila Prabhupada out of context. The context is Srila Prabhupada’s statements on corporal punishment of children, especially in gurukula. I supplied quotes in which Srila Prabhupada generally endorsed corporal punishment and one in which he himself advised beating (pito) a badly behaved gurukula boy. (See http://akincana.net/gurukula_controversy/child-abuse-definitions-and-subjectivity/)

Correction: I slightly mistranslated pito. In Bengali, it means “severely beat,” but in Hindi, it just means “beat.” Srila Prabhupada was speaking in Hindi, so the meaning conveyed was not to severely beat the boy, just to beat him.

You might not like such quotes. You might try to explain them away. But you cannot deny that Srila Prabhupada made them, and specifically in the context under discussion. In fact, you admitted “it is indeed true that Srila Prabhupada sanctioned the use of corporal punishment in that instance”—which is at least one instance of Srila Prabhupada sanctioning the use of corporal punishment. Nothing that Srila Prabhupada says or does should be lightly discounted. Even one instance of our founder-acarya’s advice in a certain situation is instructive for us in dealing with similar situations in future.

You state that the quote is out of context but you do not state the context – instead you substitute a hyperlink for an entire conversation. But the context of the statement is clear: at that point in the discussion the context was how to deal with an unruly boy.

You stated: “You found one instance where Srila Prabhupada reluctantly consented to the repeated requests of Jagadisa…” But I also added the Hindi part, with translation, that you left out, in which Srila Prabhupada, unprompted by Jagadisa or anyone else, used the word pito (beat). The context is that Jagadisa suggested (once, not several times) beating as one of two alternatives, the other being to “send him back.” Srila Prabhupada endorsed “send him back.” Then other devotees explained in detail just how misbehaved the boy was, after which Jagadisa said, “In my opinion, the best thing is to make an example and beat him.”

This was only the second time (not several, as you state) that Jagadisa had suggested beating, to which Srila Prabhupada replied

Yes, send him to farm, work in the field. If he does not work, beat him. Murkhasya lathyausadhih [“The medicine for a fool is a stick”].

A little later in the conversation, Srila Prabhupada, speaking in Hindi (not to Jagadisa) and not prompted by anyone else, again recommended beating: “Send him to (the ISKCON farm at) Hyderabad, make him work. Give him digging work. If he refuses, beat him, that is the way to do it.” Srila Prabhupada recommended that a boy be beaten.

These quotes might seem shocking, but Srila Prabhupada actually made them. We have to be careful to not try to stereotype Srila Prabhupada to fit our own ideas.

Regarding ear-tweaking. In your film you showed a boy complaining about it, as if it was a big deal. But you didn’t supply any context. The children in the video accused a woman of twisting the ear.

[10:17 “Cost of Silence, part 3 of 4”]

Kid 1: [indistinct] to our stomach very much, very hardly and to our ear she pulled it like a key.

Kid 2: Our head is going in the wall.

Kid 1: Anybody has any problem, any people not jump in mangal arati, then he will come and jump so much.

Kid 3: Mata Ji, can I speak in Hindi? Aap jante he main jab vahaan par thaa. Mata ji khadaa hua. Unhone mujhe tapar diyaa [slapped] aur mujhe bolaayaa “come here come here”, aur unhone mera pinch kiyaa pet [stomach] aur ghuma diyaa [twist].

Kid 1: Pulled it like a key. Mata Ji, she turned it like a key.

But now you describe ear “pulling” in quite a different manner: physically lifting children by the ear. A woman twisting a boy’s ear is not the same as lifting children by their ears off the ground. Yet you accuse me of citing you out of context.

Although you make some valid points, for instance, about possible misuse of corporal punishment, which are certainly worth discussing, I can’t write whole articles (like this one) to rebut all the opinionated and flawed statements that you make as if they are proven facts.

As is well known, Srila Prabhupada sometimes said different things at different times on the same issue, and different devotees explain these apparent contradictions in varying ways. Indeed, alternative approaches to harmonizing seemingly disharmonious statements is the stuff that religious schisms are made of.

But there can be no discussion when someone is so convinced that he is right that he won’t give an inch and resorts to ad hominem attacks. However noble the cause, zeal in pursuing it must be tempered with openness and humility – a willingness to admit that there might be another side of the story, and possibly to adjust one’s stance – otherwise it can become an inquisition.

By no means am I on a campaign to institute corporal punishment; I am only discussing it because you asked me to clarify my position regarding it. I was planning to respond to further of your challenges in a series of articles (as suggested at the end of my previous article), but there can be no fruitful dialog unless you display a more fair-minded and accommodating spirit.


Regarding Bhaktividya Purna Swami: there are horrendous reports about him and glowing ones also. Paradoxical. Is it discussable that there might be some good about him, that he is not all bad? Not according to you. You have given the verdict, and woe to anyone who dares question you!

Here, I have a suggestion for you. If at all you feel that there are any GBCs in ISKCON who are seriously concerned about child abuse, try approaching them individually and attempt to cojointly devise a strategy as to what is to be done. Sure it is tough to make changes in ISKCON or to get through to the leaders but someone must be concerned, otherwise why was the CPO set up?

[First published at the Sampradaya Sun (www.krsna.com/sun) on 13 May 2017.]

 

About Bhaktividya Purna Swami

In the mid 1980s when talk of Bhaktividya Purna Swami and child abuse first surfaced I made a point to ask him about it on my next visit to Mayapura. Which I did. He explained to me that in the early days of the Mayapura gurukula he had no control over which boys were admitted and that many parents sent difficult cases, children who they could not control. And that the only way to keep some kind of order in the school was via argumentum ad baculam.

Did he go too far? Seems so, according to CPO reports. Although until the advent of liberal values throughout the world, in most countries corporal punishment—even to quite a severe degree—in homes and schools was generally considered normal and proper, and some quotes from Srila Prabhupada (cited in a previous article) indicate that he also felt the same way.

Western devotees who did not serve in India in the 1970s have no idea how difficult it was in many ways. That could be the subject of another article. The specific difficulties that Bhaktividya Purna Swami went through in sticking to his gurukula service could be the subject of a small book. Why did he do it? I guess that he felt a calling to serve Srila Prabhupada’s gurukula mission within Mayapura dhama, to which he is strongly attached.

I have spoken with some of the ex-students from that time and my impression is that most of them are chiefly grateful for what they got. Gurukula was tough, but for many of them who were from poor families, life would have been tougher outside gurukula. They acknowledge that both materially and spiritually they are far better off than had they not been in gurukula.

Anyway, Bhaktividya Purna Swami was convicted by the quasilegal body that is the CPO, and banned for life from initiating and from child education within ISKCON. Resultantly, the gurukula he oversaw closed. In the following few years he worked with several disciples to plan re-opening a gurukula, analyzing what went wrong and writing curricula (a huge job). Eventually the gurukula re-opened, with systems for the vetting and gradual induction of students, and for dealing with misbehavior. Bhaktividya Purna Swami skirted the CPO edict by not accepting any official position and by working through his disciples. The overall result, according to feedback from parents, current students, and alumni, has been very positive. Although, obviously, not without faults.

What else could he have done? He could have quit education and done another service. But he stuck to his duty, even if it was performed imperfectly. Indeed, all endeavors in this world have some kind of fault. (See Bhagavad-gita 18.47–48).

Still the call is out to remove Bhaktividya Purna Swami. Which is understandable, for in most cases of reported child abuse the most effective way to address the problem is to permanently remove the accused. Another way, the path that Bhaktividya Purna Swami took, is to examine, “Things went wrong, but I want to do it right for Srila Prabhupada.” To carry on, despite defamation. Isn’t it better that instead of giving up or being dismissed, one works hard to do things better? Does the Krishna consciousness movement not allow any possibility of reform?

To those who say, “What about happened thirty years ago?” can be responded “What about what is happening now?”

Again there is much subjectivity on concerning various facets of this topic, as discussed in my previous article. A rider to that article: obviously devotees should not employ corporal punishment in countries where it is illegal. And a correction to that article: I stated that corporal punishment seems to be an issue specifically within ISKCON. I was wrong. See:

http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-corporal-punishment-be-banned-in-schools

http://debatewise.org/debates/547-corporal-punishment-should-be-reintroduced/

I do not necessarily endorse everything that Bhaktividya Purna Swami does or stands for. But I strongly feel that devotees who have performed outstanding service over many years should not be wholesale condemned. Serious anomalies should be addressed but give credit where it is due and don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

There are further important points to be discussed, including the more recent accusations against Bhaktividya Purna Swami. Coming soon.

[First published at the Sampradaya Sun (www.harekrsna.com/sun) on 11 May 2017]