BY H.H. BHAKTI ANANDA GOSWAMI
EDITORIAL, Jun 21 (www.vnn.org) Hare Krishna! Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga ki jaya !
Dear Gurukuli, please accept my humble obeisances.
My mood is to encourage and support the gurukulis (and their parents) in any way that I can, to assert themselves as a dharmic corrective to the sins and crimes committed against Srila Prabhupada, and so many of his sincere devotee followers and their children, in ISKCON / the movement. The perpetrators of these evils have had the audacity to try to guilt-trip their victims with 'bad karma' indoctrination! They have abused the doctrine of 'bad karma' to try to modify their own culpability and to intimidate their victims into shame and silence. Like most 'battered wives' or victims of child abuse, the abused may already feel responsible for their own abuse.
So, the abusers in the movement have been very effective for decades in further shaming and silencing their victims with the additional religious astra / tool of 'bad karma' reasoning ('you only got a token of what you deserved'). Thus it has taken so long for these crimes and sins to be exposed and addressed. All the while, the movement has been polluted and crippled by these festering evils. To purge the movement it is therefore necessary that devotees overcome their 'battered wife'-like syndrome, to escape the idea that it was their own fault that they were abused, and that they 'deserved' it.
When God manifests himself in the saha world of birth, death, disease and old age, 'demons' try to destroy him! Demonic persons (those beings with an envious and adversarial or hateful attitude) attack his devotees as well. The scriptures of the world describe this conflict. Wolves in sheep's clothing try to destroy the work of God by corrupting it, and devotees are tortured and martyred for their faith from age to age.
When my children and I were first at Dallas gurukula, I repeatedly heard that Srila Prabhupada was saying that the demigods were standing in line to take birth in the Hare Krishna movement. He said that every child in the movement was very precious, and that these children were pious souls who could help to save the world. Is this picture consistent with the idea that some huge percentage of the gurukulis were such monsters in a previous life, that they karmically received such horrific abuse in the gurukulas, as only a 'token' of what they really deserved? And how could they carry on Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's world-saving mission if they were so traumatized in 'devotee' care, that they became 'shell-shocked' and left the movement in fear and loathing of Krishna, Srila Prabhupada and anything to do with them? So how insane is it for us to be expected to believe that child abuse and wife beating, drug dealing, murders, threats and intimidation, etc. were part of Srila Prabhupada's and Krishna's plan?
These things were not Sri Krishna's positive will for his beloved devotees! They were allowed because of God's permissive will, in that we all have free-will, and thus the demoniac are even facilitated by nature to carry out their malevolent desires in this material world. Atrocities committed against the Lord's devotees are not his positive will, but he permits those of the demoniac mentality to commit them, and in fact will ultimately bring good from such abuse, just as he brought the greatest good (universal salvation) from the greatest evil (dei-cide) of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ Purusha yupa dhvaja (as the cosmic guru and intercessor). All things work together for the good for those who love the Lord. In fact, the Lord is so merciful, that he will save not only his abused devotees, but their abusers as well! His devotees are so magnanimous and forgiving, that they will even intercede on the behalf of their abusers for their abusers' salvation! Thus Jesus prayed Father forgive them, for they know not what they do as he was being crucified.
The Apostolic (Catholic) Church teaches that this forgiveness saves souls from eternal separation from God, but it does not necessarily save them from the temporal reaction for a particular sin. In the cosmic intercessory self-sacrifice of Purusha as the original spiritual master, all things have been reconciled to God the 'Father' through, with, in and by Lord Baladeva as the Rig Vedic Purusha yupa dhvaja. This is why the Vedic (like the related Jewish, Greek, Egyptian etc.) sacrificial system was one of vicarious atonement for the sins of the individual, the community or nation. However, the 'material' working-out of the temporal reaction or punishment for sin was understood as taking place in the corporeal '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.
Eternal separation from God (damnation) and temporal punishment (or the reaction) for sin are two different issues. The guru may save our soul, without saving us from some reaction that we need to learn from. God desires our salvation, but he may still require us to obey his laws. It is not that we can commit sins and crimes, and because God wants us to come home, 'back to Godhead,' that we do not have to be corrected and purged of those evils and the tendency towards them that we have acquired. Thus law is needed and dharma protectors are required to enforce God's law. But the strange thing that has occurred in Hinduism, is that due to impersonalism and related abuse of the doctrine of karma, dharma has been neglected. Impersonal traditions like Mayavada, Jainism and Theravadin Buddhism have corrupted the doctrines of karma and dharma, leading to a kind of pacifism that causes the victims of a-dharmic demonic behavior to accept demonic attack and abuse without resistance, revolt or requiring restitution. The role of the dharma protector, and even the clear sense of dharma itself, has been lost in the impersonalist corruption of the doctrine of karma.
As a result, kshatriya dharma has become almost non-existent and the perpetrators of evil have confused the masses, teaching them that they should accept abuse as God's positive will for them! Thus over centuries, the long abuse of the doctrine of karma has been used to create the 'Hindu' abominations of the birth caste system, and the oppression of women and other classes of dis-empowered persons within 'Hinduism.' Not only in Hinduism but globally, abusers / oppressors have long abused doctrines of karma and divine favor or condemnation to justify such evils as birth caste-ism, racism, chattel slavery and sexism, etc. 'Hinduism' is not Vaishnavism, which is about the dispensation of Godhead's love and grace, set within a morally benevolent social framework of dharma, which is protected by clear-headed, moral 'dharma protectors'. The abuse of children in the Hare Krishna movement is an extension of the adharmic impersonalism problem within so-called Hinduism. Women, children and humble gentle devotees did not experience that they lived in a protective, dharmic, sattvic Vaishnava society, where sins and crimes against them were not tolerated. Instead they were taught that they were suffering due to their 'bad karma' for being born as women, or 'karmically' deserving child abuse or wife battery!!!
As long as this perverse kind of corrupt a-dharmic 'Hindu' thinking is a controlling factor in the Hare Krishna movement, the movement will be crippled by it, and the establishment of varnashrama dharma will be impossible. Properly educated kshatriyas (dharma protectors) are not paralyzed by speculation about remote causation or karmic analysis paralysis. They know the clear law of God and are able to act immediately to enforce it. Their job is not to ferret-out the remote causes of suffering (the 'original sin' or 'bad karma' of a soul). Their job is to identify the recent and present victims of crimes, and those immediately responsible and guilty of perpetrating those crimes. God's law as dharma looks at the immediate proximate causes of suffering in the social body. The man who beats his wife is guilty of a sin and a crime. The person who abuses a child is guilty of a sin and a crime. Period. It is that simple. These perpetrators are the immediate, close-up proximate causes of their victims' suffering, and the law / dharma is not concerned (nor can it be) with any more remote causes. Exoteric law and justice in a dharmic society functions only due to the cause and immediate effect of 'karma.' Philosophers and theologians may be concerned with remote or even 'original' sin as causation, but the law of the state dharma protectors is concerned with present crime prevention, crime identification and punishment. Dharma protectors are also concerned with criminals making restitution to injured society and individuals for the sufferings caused by their crimes. Before the law, there are definitiely innocent and guilty parties, victims and perpetrators.
By immediately dealing with the perpetrators of sins and crimes, dharma protectors address the immediate causes of suffering in Purusha's varnashrama dharma sacramental (mystical, incarnate) social body. This is called 'justice.' The brahmins and kshatriyas are supposed to define and enforce God's law / dharma. They are not supposed to philosophically justify and excuse evildoers, or protect the perpetrators of sins and crimes from their victims! They are supposed to protect (by both the pen and the sword) the most vulnerable, and all other members of the varnashrama dharma social body from a-dharmic sins and crimes. How can there be varnashrama dharma without such justice? Justice delayed is justice denied. Thus God sends his law in the form of dharma shastras and dharma protectors to establish varnashrama dharmic civilization. Without identifying the immediately guilty and innocent, dharmic civilization is impossible.
The laws of a theocentric civilization cannot consider remote causation. Nor are they intended to take effect years only after the crime has been committed. To be effective in both compensation (to victims) and correction, the law needs to act swiftly and impartially, providing both timely relief to the abused and timely correction to the criminals. Thus it is God whose law requires us to consider immediate acts, not remote causation! God does not say 'ignore sins and crimes because the victims all deserved it'. No, the opposite is true. God does not say 'get rid of all the laws, because I am going to directly punish everyone myself.' To the contrary, God says 'obey my laws.' God may be working behind the scenes to make 'all things work together for the 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 his law makers and law enforcers to deal with the immediate causes of suffering in his sacramental social body. Violence, lying, cheating, stealing, unfaithfulness, etc. all have natural consequences, which destroy the health of the social body. As preventative medicine, God's law forbids such sins and crimes and attaches curative penalties and restitutions / penances to them. Thus God disciplines his people to create and maintain a dharmic society based on just and benevolent laws. The doctrine of reincarnation or karma should never be used perversely to modify culpability or excuse sins and crimes and thus subvert dharma. 'Original sin' or past-life 'karma' does not nullify the existence of present law, dharma or justice. The long unrelieved abuse of children, women, humble and gentle devotees, the pervasive lying / untruthfulness, brutality, greed / theft, drug use and dealing, all of the sins and crimes of the corrupt leaders and other powerful abusers in ISKCON and the movement were only possible because of an adharmic reign of the corrupt abuse of the doctrine of reincarnation and karma. ISKCON / the movement became a microcosm of everything that is wrong with 'Hinduism.' It did not become a model of dharmic civilization, a culture of justice and compassion that can save the world. Instead it became a case study in adharmic pseudo-brahminical tyranny enforced by bogus kshatriya thugs who were evil-doers protecting other oppressors and evil doers. Like the corrupt 'Hindus', the corrupt ISKCON / movement leaders used 'karmic' framing and blaming to guilt-trip and thus oppress their victims.
As in corrupt 'Hinduism,' real dharma was not defined in the movement by its real brahmin leaders, who had an authentic vision of the sacramental social body of Purusha. Nor was it protected by real moral dharma protectors. Srila Prabhupada gave us the ideal of sattvic Vaishnava varnashrama dharma. He gave us Purusha Sukta and its theocentric vision of cooperative high civilization through-with-and-in the mystical social body of God-who-is-self-sacrificing-love (Lord Baladeva as the Servitor Lord and original cosmic spiritual master). He gave his disciples everything that 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 even God will not violate our free will. Srila Prabhupada gave the highest to the lowest, not even considering our qualifications. Because God sometimes calls the qualified, but can also qualify the called, Srila Prabhupada, in his great love, called all, both qualified and unqualified, to the non-sectarian mission of Sri Chaitanya 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, and others put on a big show of trying. Mundane ambition and duplicity drove pseudo-brahmins and pseudo-khastriyas who assumed positions of power in the movement. These promoted each other in a mutual appreciation of their impressive pseudo-religiosity. The end result was an adharmic society ruled from the top by some ambitious impersonalists, who lacked authentic humility and self-realization, or any realization of the vision of the social body of Purusha. They masked their impersonalism as 'holy detachment' while reigning over a depersonalizing society that was pervasively adharmic and abusive. They covered their autistic egomania in the guise of deserving holiness. Thus they enjoyed the undeserved veneration, and even in some cases the idolatrous worship, of their cheated followers. These same hypocritical abusers 'karmically' framed and blamed their victims for their own sufferings, and considered themselves and their abusive co-conspirators to be above God's law. Thus they turned dharma upside-down and imagined themselves to be innocent holy beings, while their oppressed, abused devotees were the evildoers expiating 'bad karma'! Thus by invoking their corrupt idea of 'karma,' they absolved themselves of sins and crimes, and made their immediate victims into remote perpetrators, receiving the fruit of their bad karma!
But I ask you, how reasonable is it to assert that a divinely inspired movement to save the world would be led by either an appointed cadre of child abusers, or a second generation of devotee children who were previously child abusers? This is not a reasonable proposition. However, it is reasonable to assert that such an inspired movement could be attacked, hijacked and crippled from within by Judas-like betrayers, 'false prophets and false disciples and other wolves-in-sheeps-clothing,' who abused the children of the movement, thus destroying its present community development and its future potential. Children are a society's most vulnerable members. To destroy a society, only one generation of its children must be destroyed.
A civilization of thousands of years only lives one generation at a time. It is the task of each generation to civilize the next. If this task is not completed, or even begun, then 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 an entire civilization. We disciples of Srila Prabhupada were supposed to raise our children to revive an entire theocentric civilization. Instead our unqualified self-appointed abusive 'leaders' reigned over a program that took our children away from us, dehumanized and nearly destroyed them. Did they really personally care about our children? Were they really concerned with the future of humanity? Did they really have the required brahminical vision of Purusha's varnashrama dharma social body? No. They were interested in personal name, fame and adoration. They 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 vision of Purusha. No dharmic society can form and function without a viable vision of the sacramental social body of Purusha. Until the movement is led by realized brahmins with this vision, and moral kshatriyas who are free of karmic analysis paralysis, who are prepared to protect the proximately innocent, especially the most helpless (children) and other segments of society, then there will be no varnashrama dharma. Where is the varnashrama dharma in India? 'Hinduism' cannot create it. 'Hinduism' is profoundly corrupt and adharmic at this point. Thus India has become a confused mass of people working at cross-purposes against each other. India cannot save herself through the love-less Mayavadi Hindutva movement, because loveless impersonal, impotent, corrupt 'Hinduism' is the problem, not the solution. Loving non-sectarian bhakti yoga, and sattvic Vaishnava varnashrama dharma is the solution. Unless the devotees with this vision and mission take over the leadership of the Hindutva movement, it will simply replace one bad dehumanizing situation with another. It will simply replace the threat of one kind of oppressive religious fanaticism with another. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's non-sectarian bhakti yoga movement, flourishing within the cultural context of sattvic dhaiva varnashrama dharma, is the only viable solution to the crisis facing India. If Sri Chaitanya's movement cannot flourish in India, it certainly cannot do its part to 'save the world.'
The gurukulis held great promise as future leaders in the Lord's non-sectarian bhakti yoga unity movement. But it seems that in India they were most especially attacked! So I say that we should look at the facts and understand that the gurukulis have been under attack by forces that sought to destroy them and the movement, which would be in their future hands. They were the most vulnerable members of the Lord's Gaudiya Vaishnava sankirtana team. They also had the greatest potential, and so they were targeted by the demonic beings who wanted to destroy Sri Chaitanya's mission.
So in conclusion, I will not indulge the crazy idea that the gurukulis were former child abusers who were getting a 'token' of their 'just desserts' from molesters and other evildoers in the movement.
Let the gurukulis take their place on the world stage of history. Let them reclaim their birthright as world-saving heroes and heroines born to lead humanity into a benevolent non-sectarian high civilization of unity-in-diversity in the sacramental social body of Purusha! Let the gurukulis teach the world, feed the world, heal the world. To own their empowerment, they must first demand justice. They must throw-off the stigma of their abusers' 'bad-karma' charge against them, and declare themselves the Godly servants that Srila Prabhupada said that they were! The truth is that we do not need to swab the dregs of history to 'karmically' understand what happened to the great promise of the Hare Krishna movement. Srila Prabhupada gave people an opportunity to serve Godhead and humanity. Some used the opportunity and some abused it for their own mundane reasons. Among the abusers were impersonalists, who were depersonalizing beings, and these impersonalists committed many sins and crimes against other real beings, who in no way deserved such abuse.
Let us get past the abuse of the doctrine of karma, to the simple truth that dharma was not effectively taught or protected by Srila Prabhupada's 'successors' in ISKCON and the movement. To correct this tragedy of past injustice, there must be a reckoning now, a coming to justice. The movement must begin again with a clear vision of what a dharmic society is, and how to attain that ideal. Let the gurukulis, who were 'karmically' framed, blamed and shamed for their own abuse, let them stand up to this nonsense and declare the difference between right and wrong!
By defining and demanding dharma and justice, they can reset the movement onto the course of righteousness finally, and take their proper place in leading humanity in a great revival of non-sectarian dharmic civilization!
May all the gurukulis recover their self-esteem and health! May they all prosper and become powerful as devotees and dharma protectors! All glories to the children of Srila Prabhupada! May they all be saved, and help to save all other beings suffering in the saha worlds!
Wishing you empowerment, pax and prema,
Your aspiring servant,
Bhakti Ananda Goswami
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