Bhakti Vikasa Swami (BVKS)
alias Ilapati das (-knucklehead-)
Of Corruption At The Highest Levels Of ISKCON
The personal character and conduct Of Bhakti Vikasa Swami's disciple, Caitanya dasa.
“There’s a book*[…]written by one of the, probably the most, popular leaders within ISKCON today –now that book, I can’t help thinking if you’d shown it to Srila Prabhupada he would not have been at all pleased, because there are pictures of all these mayavadis and mundane people,[….]and there is not a bad word about them. People that Prabhupada if he spoke about them at all would criticize them.[....]And at the end of the book he says that now having come to Prabhupada ,now I’m engaged in helping with hospitals and feeding children and eye champs.[…]So as I see it there are serious problems with that[…]if anyone read that book hundreds of thousands of times, they’d never even get the idea that you’re suppose to surrender to Krishna, that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead[…]some erotic or almost erotic scenes[….] it’s not the duty of a sannyasi to write about such things.[…]I just can’t imagine what Prabhupada’s response would have been if he saw that book, but our movement has changed, it’s not for the better”.
(HH Bhakti Vikash Swami, Lecture,24/8/2011)
*The Journey Home by Radhanath Swami
(BHAKTI VIKAS SWAMI is removing his critical comments about Radhanath swami from his web site, fortunately, we have the entire article posted here below)
Bhakta Gordon says: Somehow today in the early morning hours google reported that the editor of OneIskcon.com removed (the Radhanath swami) article above from their website. No explanation, no comment. Capriciousness? Mental imbalance? GBC notice? In any case, BVKS is a GBC approved ISKCON guru who wrote article above. If one week later he figures writing such an article was wrong then what is the value of his writing?
Prabhupada: You cannot expect perfect knowledge from imperfect person. (San Francisco, February 13, 1967)
“Journey Home” IssuesPublished April 24, 2013
By His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami | OneIskcon.com
And another question about this “I come across newer devotees who are more attracted to reading such and such a book, autobiography instead of Prabhupada’s books. This happened to me and I ended up discrediting that book and telling devotee to avoid such books and instead read Prabhupada’s book.
First, I have not read it, nor do I intend to, nor do I have the time but I have seen some excerpts in which so and so swami claims to receive the Hare Krishna mantra from the river Ganges before he met Srila Prabhupada. This looks very strange and sounds like self aggrandizement. Do you think it is wrong to openly discredit such a works in your devotees?”
“JOURNEY HOME” WILL NOT GIVE PROPER UNDERSTANDING OF KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
Actually it’s not an issue but what happens is people come newly and they are given this book, which I say is an act of violence, to give people this book. They should give people Prabhupada’s books. If they get this book first they are going to be … it’s going to be very difficult for them to have a proper understanding of Krishna Consciousness either. He gets started in the wrong way but on the other hand what can we do.
HOW TO STOP IT?
1. Inform local temples to promote Prabhupada’s books
I would take it up with the local ISKCON authorities and tell them, that look, we should promote Srila Prabhupada’s books.
2. Tell them to read Prabhupada’s biography
Or you could tell them if you like to read biographies read Prabhupada’s biography. It’s a lot more Krishna Conscious. But you know what happens people come new and then there is this whole hype going on and they get carried away and new people how much they can understand philosophy.
3. Show people the difference in quality between “Journey Home” and Srila Prabhupada’s books
You can may be tell them, “Ok that’s very good. But if you actually want to understand what is Krishna Consciousness and get instructions and then read Prabhupada’s books.” And you could maybe read a little bit with them and just show them what is the difference in quality.
MY EXPERIENCE OF READING SRILA PRABHUPADA’S BOOKS
I mean I remember when I first started reading Prabhupada’s books… then and now also even after so many years I was just astounded by the quality of Prabhupada’s books. This is something … I read so many books by so many intelligent people, so many insights and religious books and scriptures, translation of scriptures but reading Prabhupada’s books was just really a revelation. Very clear that Srila Prabhupada is a person in touch with reality, actual reality. He is not speaking from this plane at all. He is completely different from anything else. Every word is just full of spiritual meaning.
It doesn’t appeal to the mind, to the senses, the ego, or even the mundane intelligence, completely from the spiritual platform. So you could just sit down and read … especially I often mention that first verse of Srimad Bhagavatam that just that one verse … ofcourse it’s a long verse but there is so much in there.
That one verse of Srimad Bhagvatam has got more actual spiritual substance then all the Bible, Koran and Buddhist books and even all the Upanisads, and everything put together and then you read verse 2 and … the first three verses of the Bhagavatam are just … actually the first two verses especially … The third verse can be especially appreciated by very advanced devotees but the first two verses, they are just revelatory. So you could try doing that but don’t expect to have too much luck.
MAKE PROPER POLICY TO DISTRIBUTE SRILA PRABHUPADA’S BOOKS
You could say to the local ISKCON authorities that they should … just you could appraise them of your concerns about this and then some policy could be made that we distribute Prabhupada’s books. Actually as I said before Prabhupada himself didn’t say that we should only distribute his books but some temples like to do that because it makes it easy because then you don’t have to sort out all the good books from the not so good books written by others apart from Prabhupada.
The problem with that is that some of them are very good and should be distributed while some of them are not at all good and shouldn’t be distributed. But if you make such a distinction then out of sentiment some people get upset. And then you get some temples where you can’t even find Prabhupada’s books for sale. There are all kind of other books for sale, even books by non-devotees, there are karmi translations of sastra, all kind of strange books. And time to … or may be its not time, may be you have to wait for the time to offer ISKCON back to Prabhupada.
original source: http://www.oneiskcon.com/journey-home-issues-2/ (has been removed)
Download: PDF - Bhakti Vikasa Swamis concerns
One may argue that the ritvik system that was established officially on July 9th, 1977, should have stopped on Srila Prabhupada's departure.
There is nothing in the letter that says the instruction was only meant for whilst Srila Prabhupada was physically present. In fact, the only information given supports the continuation of the ritvik system after Srila Prabhupada's departure. It is significant to note that within the July 9th letter it is stated three times that those initiated would become Srila Prabhupada's disciples. The GBC in presenting evidence for the current guru system have argued vigorously that Srila Prabhupada had already made it clear that, as far as he was concerned, it was an inviolable law that no one could initiate in his presence. Thus the necessity to state Srila Prabhupada's ownership of future disciples must indicate that the instruction was intended to operate during a time period when the ownership could even have been an issue, namely after his departure.
For some years Srila Prabhupada had been using representatives to chant on beads, perform the fire yajna, give gayatri mantra etc. No one had ever questioned whom such new initiates belonged to. Right at the beginning of the July 9th letter it is emphatically stated that those appointed are "representatives" of Srila Prabhupada. The only innovation this letter contained then was the formalisation of the role of the representatives; hardly something which could be confused with a direct order for them to become fully-fledged diksa gurus. Srila Prabhupada's emphasis on disciple ownership would therefore have been completely redundant were the system to operate only in his presence, especially since as long as he was present he could personally ensure that no one claimed false ownership of the disciples. As mentioned above, this point is hammered home three times in a letter which itself was quite short and to the point:
Mai 25, 2010 -
Letter to Bhakta dasa (William Benedict) about Bhakti Vikas
Thanks Bhakta dasa, So you are a ritvik because you worship a departed person, Vishnujana swami. You are now also citing the edited (spliced) May 28th tape, where "disciple of my disciple" appears to be lifted from a separate converstation, tape splicing which was proven by the GBC's own audio man Normal Perle, who said the tape, "is consistent with editing" (tape splicing). You also forgot that no one was appointed on the May 28th tape anyway, rather it says when the leaders deviate they have to be replaced, that is not an order for guru, that means they are prone to deviate. Now you are once again sayng deviators are gurus? Known deviators are gurus, and this is what you learned from the Gaudiya Matha?
You forgot also that Srila Prabhupada never said our brand new students would have to be in charge of selecting gurus for his movement, rather he said we need to have a managerial body, not your bogus guru's programs. As for Bhakti Vikas, he was in the GQ "men's association" assembly that was harassing women to anxiety, frustration and tears every day, and driving many nice women out of ISKCON. There are now at least ten web sites made by your program's woman victims who write terrible things about how women are treated like Taliban slaves, thanks to your pals mistreating them so badly, and you are proud of that.
Bhakti Vikas is a leader of the anti-woman, anti children, anti-family and pro homosexuals and molesters infrastructure, and you are his biggest cheer leader because you have all along supported the GBC's main cheer leaders from the Gaudiya Matha, ok the anti-women and pro-homosexual messiahs brotherhood. Bhatka dasa you just do not get it, your team has supported the molester messiahs project all along from 1936, and Bhakti Vikas is simply the current king of supporting that process, and you are his supporter, and so you are the ones making this anti-woman, children and family atmosphere, which also occured after 1936 in your pals Gaudiya Matha. Sorry, your Gaudiya Matha pals went to the newspapers in 1971 to "prove" that Srila Prabhupada is bogus for allowing in women, and you are now their main backer, as one devotee summed it, "these people are sick." Bhakti Vikas is hugging Jayapataka, who is hugging Bhavananda, and you are hugging all of the above, and their cheer leaders, yep its the GQ and their anti-woman and pro-molester messiahs brotherhood all doing their morning cheer song. Again. ys pd
Bhakti Vikasa Swami rejected by his disciple
Thursday, January 7, 2010: I am a former disciple of an ISKCON guru named Bhakti Vikasa Swami. I read The Final Order a few months ago and I came to accept the fact that Srila Prabhupada never authorized anyone to become diksa gurus. Srila Prabhupada only authorized ritvik acharyas, or priests who initiate others on behalf of Srila Prabhupada.
My own personal experience with Bhakti Vikasa Swami (BVKS) was mostly positive. I can attest to the purity of his character, that he doesn’t associate unnecessarily with women, and has not had any falldowns from the sannyasa ashram. He is also quite scholarly and experienced in Vedic culture. We are not attacking his character. But nor can we testify that we believe he is a liberated soul, which is the qualification to act as a diksa guru. How can one untie the knots of illusion of others if they themselves are not fully freed from the ropes of illusion?
I also want to make it very clear that I am not doubting the sincerity of BVKS’s absolute dedication to Srila Prabhupada. It was his utmost surrender to Srila Prabhupada which originally attracted me to select him as a guru. Another quality of his that I find to be very inspiring is his tremendous enthusiasm for preaching. And yet another quality of his that I personally found to be inspiring is his staunch opposition to the apasiddhantas of feminism, homosexuality, psychology, and secular liberal humanism.
BVKS has many wonderful qualities, but we feel that he has fallen into the trap of thinking himself a guru, just like so many other senior disciples of Srila Prabhupada.
It has been the experience of many former disciples of ISKCON gurus that their ISKCON guru served as an obstacle to their relationship with Srila Prabhupada, rather than help develop that relationship. It is as if the ISKCON guru comes between the devotee and Srila Prabhupada, cutting off the devotee from Srila Prabhupada.
Again, I have nothing against BVKS, I have only affection for him. But until he begins to follow Srila Prabhupada’s Final Order, which is that he should act as a ritvik acharya, initiating people on behalf of Srila Prabhupada and who are thus considered Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and not his own, I cannot risk jeopardizing my relationship with Srila Prabhupada by associating with him.
The fact remains that Srila Prabhupada never set up a diksa guru system in ISKCON. He established a ritvik acharya system, devotees who would act as priests and initiate people to be Srila Prabhupada’s disciples. Of course ISKCON gurus never teach this part of ISKCON’s history to their so called disciples.
Don’t the disciples of all these ISKCON gurus ever stop long enough to ask themselves the question “Hey, where are all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and why are most of them not in ISKCON anymore?” The answer to this question is that after Srila Prabhupada departed in 1977, the 11 devotees Srila Prabhupada named to become ritvik acharyas disobeyed Srila Prabhupada and made themselves into diksa gurus. In other words, they stole new devotees from Srila Prabhupada and made them into their own disciples. For this offense against Srila Prabhupada, most of the original 11 fell down into scandalous behavior, while others deviated philosophically from Srila Prabhupada, or both. Any disciple of Srila Prabhupada who protested against these bogus gurus were kicked out of ISKCON, or even murdered sometimes. Naturally, most Srila Prabhupada disciples packed their bags and voluntarily left ISKCON.
This deviation of becoming a diksa guru instead of becoming a ritvik acharya which is what Srila Prabhupada ordered, has nearly totally destroyed the Hare Krishna movement. The only thing that can unite the devotees again is if everyone again centers around Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet, and all of the ISKCON gurus surrender their so called disciples back to Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet. This is the only hope.
PADA not fair to Bhakti Vikas swami?
January 15, 2010. Hello PADA, I'd like to take issue with you about your page on Bhakti Vikasa Mahraja. The editorial by him at the bottom of the page is quite interesting, but the rest of the page's content seems quite pointless. For example, there is a disciple named on the page as having been offending people on the internet. According to your page, 'this tells us something about Bhakti Vikasa Swami'. I disagree. Shall we judge Srila Prabhupada by the conduct of his disciples? That would be the same logic reapplied. The final article on the page is about how one of the Swami's disciples is now a rtvik, and doesn't believe in Iskcon diksha gurus.
What you have failed to mention here is that this is the same disciple you had previously vilified. I hope you begin to understand the levels of inconsistency here, and as such edit this page. Thank you. XXXXXXXXXX dasa
[PADA: Thanks for your concerns prabhu. First of all, Bhakti Vikas swami is part of the ISKCON GBC's "guru process" where his "guru lineage" parampara members [alleged messiahs] can be found "engaged in illicit sex with men, women and children" (according to the GBC spokesman Jayadvaita swami). Therefore the Bhakti Vikas swami guru system exploits all classes of human beings: the women are certainly being exploited in all ways including sexually, but then again so are men, especially young men as Umapati and Paramgati were exploiting them recently.
Brahmanas are also targetted for ill treatment including beatings and murders, and children have been ill treated with starving, beating and sexual abuse under Bhakti Vikas's guru project's jack boots.
One of the king pin leaders of the child molester messiahs project is Jayapataka, and Bhakti Vikas was photographed recently embracing JPS. So the people who are making the holy dham into "webs and nests of child molesters in the ISKCON children's schools" program -- are the indentical people that Bhakti Vikas swami is in love with, especially when these folks are saying that the system of Krishnas acharyas is: homosexuals and pedophiles, then Bhakti Vikas swami is madly in love with anyone who says the tradition of India's acharyas is -- illicit sex.
Now as soon as the Bhakti Vikas swami project (i.e. Jayapataka and Radhanatha) find that our devotees are feeding 1.3 million children in India every day, they are livid with anger and the Bhakti Vikas folks immediately launch a big lawsuit against the akshaya patra food program devotees, all because Bhakti Vikas folks are very angry when children are being fed nice prasadam, and children are not being starved to death as they are under the Bhakti Vikas's GBC guru system. So Bhakti Vikas folks are spending crores of rupees trying to stop us, so they can STARVE these children. Why is Bhakti Vikas program trying to starve the children of India with his lawsuit?
Our associate went to India recently and when he told Indian people there that Bhakti Vikas is teaching that "the tradition of India's acharyas" is "illicit sex with men, women and children," ... these people's jaws dropped in total disbelief. They could believe that someone was so vicious against India's culture that he would preach this odious idea as Bhakti Vikas is doing every day. Another Indian friend of mine said that Bhakti Vikas is worse than Rajneesh, because at least Rajneesh never said he was following the tradition of India, he said he was making a "new" sannyasa system, he was never saying illicit sex acharyas are "the tradition of India."
And lets not forget that cows were exploited because after the Bhakti Vikas gurus kicked out the cowherd men: thus cows were then starving, freezing to death, falling through roofs because there was no fence menders, falling on ice and breaking their ribs, and in sum the cows were suffering, getting sick, being underfed, and then dying horribly in so many tortured ways, so Bhakti Vikas's guru system exploits all living entities, not just the human women.
As for the devotee who was formerly against women who became a rtivk, that means he saw that the GBC system was wrong. He is now making progress by abandoning that system. I see no harm in that? The fact is he was being taught these anti-woman and pro-homosexual pedophile ideas by the Bhakti Vikas guru sabha. Now his fever is reducing, that is good, but it shows that when he was under the grip of their system, he was against women.
I made this video: Krishna's teachings insulted: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmP-05eA0mQ. And so far not one Hindu gentleman has wrote to complain that we are wrong, instead some Hindu gentlement wrote me and said they are appalled at the ISKCON leaders like Bhakti Vikas for saying the tradition of India's acharyas is illicit sex. So Bhakti Vikas is also exploiting the acharyas, India, the Vedas, etc. So you are right, I mis-calculated, Bhakti Vikas swami is exploiting all living beings, not just women. thanks pd
RE: Bhakti Vikas swami.
Dear Bhakta ********. No, I do not consider Bhakti Vikas a bona fide swami. For example, Bhakti Vikas swami's best friends like Jayapataka has had all kinds of child molesters infesting the holy dham of Mayapura, and he was the biggest defender of the homosexual and molester "guru" Bhavananda. Many of the child molesters that spread out ALL around ISKCON schools were followers of Bhavananda, so Jayapataka was then able to spread his child molester messiahs program to schools in places like Vrndavana by using his promotion of his dearmost pal, Bhavananda. And Bhakti vikas has been the hand maiden of these folks all along.
So the molester disease spread all over India starting from the Jayapataka / Bhavananda regime, which Bhakti Vikas has supported. And even nowadays, Bhavananda, Nitai Chanda, Satadhanya and many others who were in charge during all the mass molesting are still welcomed at Mayapura. Jayapataka meanwhile was eating so much he ballooned out to the size of a Rhinocerous, while the children in his schools were being starved, in addition to their being abused. Naturally, after eating like a Rhino, he became very ill and had a stroke.
program was starving children, while he ate the same amount as a Rhinocerous,
and this caused him to have a stroke. And after his program of starving children
while eating himself almost to death, literally, he is now glorified by folks
like Bhakti Vikas swami. So this is the problem in ISKCON today, the SAME
IDENTICAL people in charge of the starving, beating and abusing children program
are still being glorified by the likes of Bhakti Vikas swami.
Worse, Bhakti Vikas swami says that our idea of worship of a pure devotee is bogus! Bhakti Vikas is, as far as we know, encouraging the GBC to sue the program that feeds 1.3 million mostly children, so he favors the idea of MASS starving EVEN MORE children, and worshipping people who also starve children while eating themselves into having a stroke. So here they are, after orchestrating starving and abusing of children, and eating like a hog, and providing the ISKCON children with molester messiahs pooja, and getting so large he got a stroke, Bhakti Vikas thinks this is the greatest program from heaven. thanks pd
Letter to Bhakti Vikasa Swami
by Lalita Madhava d.d.
Posted May 16, 2008
Dear Bhakti Vikasa Swami,
Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. As you are undoubtedly aware, your disciple Caitanya dasa has been writing a blog entitled "Hare Krishna Diary" as a vehicle for propagating your "teachings." Throughout it, purporting to quote Srila Prabhupada, he pervasively vilifies women as "whores," "prostitutes" and "animals" and consistently vilifies them in abusive language in numerous additional ways. His statements are deeply disturbing and offensive. Even more disturbing is the fact that you are at the very least allowing, if not encouraging, him to do this, which reflects very poorly on you and casts you in an extremely unfavorable light. That you would impart such a distorted and dangerous version of "Krishna consciousness" to young, impressionable devotees in your care reveals a serious deficiency in your judgement and calls into question your qualification to act as an initiating guru on behalf of ISKCON.
In addition to his own distasteful statements, Caitanya dasa also quotes and provides numerous links to your texts from the infamous "GHQ" conference. www.vnn.org/world/WD9811/WD18-2521.html. This conference and the statements made by its members (only one of whom is known to have ever had the decency to apologize) were emphatically repudiated by the North American GBC 10 years ago. Therefore it is most surprising that you appear to be encouraging your disciple to actively propagate these very statements, which the GBC described as "demeaning," "ill intended," "ridiculing," "berating" and "vilifying" and thus strongly denounced as "crossing the line of decency, morality and Vaisnava etiquette."
In this way, whether you have merely tacitly allowed these things to go on (though one has to wonder how your newly-initiated disciple, a mere 2-year devotee, happened to come into possession of all of your old GHQ writings and one has to to assume that he would surely not have published them without your permission) or whether you have actively encouraged them, you are fully responsible for the abhorrent, vulgar, offensive and abusive statements made by your disciple and consequently must be accountable to the Society of devotees for them.
Therefore I am requesting you to please do each of the following:
1. Publicly apologize for the offensive and disturbing statements made by your disciple with your tacit or overt permission. As these statements are being publicly disseminated on the Internet, a public apology from you is similarly in order.
2. Compel your disciple Caitanya dasa to also publicly apologize for the offensive and disturbing statements he has made.
3. Compel your disciple Caitanya dasa to remove this offensive blog from the Internet. Its existence is a liability for ISKCON in every way.
4. Forbid your disciple Caitanya dasa from ever again using the sacred words "Hare Krishna" in any title or in any writing disseminated via any medium which propagates hateful, vulgar, offensive, abusive and misogynistic rhetoric. Calling that repugnant blog the "Hare Krishna Diary" is a disgrace to the Holy Name and a disgrace to Srila Prabhupada that dishonors his legacy and everything he sacrificed to make "Hare Krishna" a household word.
Thank you very much.
Lalita Madhava d.d.
PADA 21. May 2008
Protesting women a bit too much eh?
Conduct of Bhakti Vikasa Swami's Disciple
BY: KRSNA DASA
The personal character and conduct Of Bhakti Vikasa Swami's disciple, Caitanya dasa.
Less than a year ago, Caitanya dasa, the disciple of Bhakti Vikasa Swami who is posting all of Bhakti Vikasa Swami's anti-woman GHQ propaganda on his blog, and who also claims to represent Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON on the Internet, was caught "prank" chatting on Krishna.com under disgusting and sexually explicit aliases. He admitted to these actions and was reprimanded by his sankirtan leader, Jivananda Prabhu.
During these chats he would say a lot of sexually perverted things. These things are actually recorded in live chat scripts from Krishna.com and can also be verified by his sankirtan leader. This is the first time Caitanya dasa's horrible behavior has been publicly exposed, but it is necessary because he has now gone too far with his ranting. People should know about his behavior and mentality. This also says a lot about Bhakti Vikasa Swami
PADA: It seems a lot of these "big sannyasis" are always thinking about women anyways, and so that is why Srila Prabhupada said that sannyasa is not working and that everyone should get married. People like Hrdayananda are always not only lecturing about women but he is always talking to dozens of them right in front of the LA temple. This is why Sulochana calls them "sex"-yasis. And then we have Narayana Maharaja, a big supporter of the anti- women and children false gurus and he even embraces Kirtanananda. I rather embrace our neighbor's dog "Ace" personally. thanks pd
PADA BLOG 27. May 2008
Bullies of women need to be exposed
by James Wymer a.k.a "bhaktajames"
Upon reading the Open Letter to Bhakti Vikahsa swami, I first wrote three letters to Caitanya dasa voicing my concern about his cyber-bullying of women. I received no reply. I then wrote to his Guru Maharaja, Bhakti Vikasa Swami, again voicing my concern. Once again I received no reply. Therefore, I am now voicing my concern to the society of devotees and to those who directly or indirectly support this behavior.
Do you think it is okay to abuse women with your cyber-words? Are you aware that cyber-bullying is a crime? Are you aware of the woman who was just indicted in California because of her cyber-bullying, which led a young girl to hang herself? Are you, Bhakti Vikasa Swami, encouraging your disciple to write this blog? Are you prepared to go to prison, along with your disciple, because of the next young girl who takes her life? Are you prepared to answer to Srila Prabhupada and the parampara for driving people away from Lord Caitanya's sankirtana movement?
I have been chanting the Holy Names of the Lord for 28 years, and during that time I have seen many devotees step out of line. Just know that the world is watching. Srila Prabhupada is watching. Radha and Krishna are watching. And the courts are watching.
Lalita Madhava prabhu has had the courage to stand up to the pretenders in ISKCON. There are many great souls throughout history who have had this ability to stand up and fight. Srila Prabhupada himself had this type of courage. For those of you who like to pick on women, I ask that you pick on me instead. Please direct your hateful words toward me, and leave the matajis alone. I am trained to handle guys like you and do it for a living. [note from Chakra: we will forward letters to Bhakta James]
Srila Rupa Gosvami recommends:
anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah
nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate
Man and woman should live together as householders in relationship with Krsna, only for the purpose of discharging duties in the service of Krsna. Engage the children, the wife and the husband all in Krsna-conscious duties, and then all these bodily or material attachments will disappear. Since the via medium is Krsna, the consciousness is pure, and there is no possibility of degradation at any time.
July 22, 2000 VNN6104 VNN
This story URL: http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET0007/ET22-6104.html
Corruption At The Highest Levels Of ISKCON
EDITORIAL, Jul 22 (VNN) (HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami)
The status of the GBC in the eyes of the general devotees is rock bottom and could hardly go lower. A far cry from the Prabhupada days, when GBC men were practically worshipped. Those who are responsible for this demise should kindly accept moral responsibility, or be forced to do so. Unless punishment for abuse is extended beyond that of child abusers, injustice will be done in the name of justice and reform will not go to the roots.
At present, deviations by GBC members are simply not taken seriously enough.
I was told by a GBC member that another GBC man recently slept in a van with a brahmacarini, and regularly bought flowers for her. But no action is taken. There is no accountability for the GBC, and thus they can do whatever they like and get away with it. In extreme cases, they may get a temporary suspension from initiating, which they don't follow anyway. This is abuse.
The lack of character and moral responsibility in our top leaders created an atmosphere in which child abuse flourished and was allowed to continue unabated until some ex-abusees got vocal about it.
Child abuse is the tip of an iceberg of improper behavior that has led to massive lack of confidence in Iskcon and its leaders, and mass desertions.
If Iskcon leaders are serious to truly restore the good name and missionary dynamism of the society, the first step is that they must have enough courage and character to own up to their mistakes and be prepared to take the consequences for them.
I am not in favor of punishing devotees, but if at all there is to be punishment, then it is unfair that --- and a few others are punished for past sins, while the leaders who presided over the whole catastrophe and whose policies have caused untold distress to thousands of devotees, not only go scot-free, but continue to enjoy the honor and position of great saints.
Does not big position bring with it big responsibility? Should not the --- GBCs accept responsibility concomitant to the unparalleled honor, facilities and personal finances that have been bestowed on them for so many years?
Even in karmi corporations and governments, it is not uncommon for top leaders to resign when subordinates make major blunders, especially blunders that are injurious to people's lives and well-being. Even if the leaders were unaware of their subordinates' malpractices, they take moral responsibility for it.
The logical extension of this should be a sincere desire to make amends, to reform and to start a new era of zero tolerance for all forms of abuse, especially that perpetrated by leaders, whose moral responsibility is greatest and who are therefore more guilty for any crimes they have committed.
Several top leaders in Iskcon have abused their positions and scorned the faith placed in them, by deviating from the high standard desired by Srila Prabhupada. It is therefore in order to also take retroactive action against Iskcon leaders who propagated erroneous and highly damaging speculations such as zonal acarya-ism, premature gopi-bhava etc. Those who deviated from their initiation vows by failing to regularly chant 16 rounds, or who engaged in grossly sinful activities after initiation, should also have punitive action taken against them. Child abusers are banned from giving class, leading kirtan, initiating, or holding any leadership position, and the same measures should be taken against those who have abused their leadership roles.
We are informed that child abusees often feel placated if they see real measures being taken against abusers, and if abusers express genuine remorse. Conversely, they feel disgusted and reject Iskcon if they see gross offenders carrying on as if nothing had happened. The same applies in the case of abusers and abusees of all types.
If we accept the concept of psychological abuse, then there is hardly a devotee outside the top ranks of this movement who was not abused -- especially in the zonal acarya era. Thousands of devotees who came to ISKCON with hope, later left or were driven away in bitterness. Excesses by leaders even led to cases of murder and suicide.
The grossest manifestations of abuse mostly fell on the weaker sections of the society, namely the women and children. The leaders of ISKCON are surely responsible for the ethos of abuse they created and presided over. Child abusers in ISKCON may be victims of misguidance by leaders more than they are criminals.
If we were really remorseful about abuse, we would not punish only child abusers, but abused of all categories. We show no interest in coming to terms with, for instance, the shattering abuse that has been perpetrated in the name of guruship. In light of the profound, all-pervasive abuse that took place throughout our society, to target only child abusers is biased and hypocritical. Thus, while campaigning against abuse, we perpetrate more abuse, all in the name of justice.
Reports of child abuse investigations take much care to persuade us of the fairness of the proceedings. Yet there is inherent unfairness in pinpointing only child abusers. If there is to be justice and retribution, let it be at all levels.
Why are only child abusers being punished? It is illogical to think that we can contain the legal effects of abuse by punishing a few individuals. The child abuse storm may seem like a big problem, but it is only a warning of worse things to come. Today the ex-gurukulis are threatening legal action, but tomorrow there may be thousands of devotees suing for psychological abuse. We will be as incompetent to rebut their accusations as we are with the ex-gurukulis, because their claims are true. Our movement has a horrible history of abuse.
Srila Prabhupada made a house for the whole world to live in, but we have made it uncomfortable for anyone to live in, including ourselves. We are all collectively responsible, and the leaders more so.
We needed a mass catharsis years ago, and it may not still be too late if we dare to look into our hearts and be honest before Krsna about our massive failure. But will it happen? Unlikely. The GBC are the perpetrators. How then, are they going to put themselves on trial? They have already been judged and tried by thousands of devotees, who have voted with their feet by walking out.
But the GBC goes on with its mutual lauding and platitudes, assuring each other that everything is basically all right, and that we're really doing a good job of cleaning up the house. Dear GBC men: is it possible that you open your eyes? The house is in worse shape than anyone could have imagined.
There are many angry people both inside and outside it, and they can no longer be easily fooled or appeased.
Unless and until there is a real change of heart, and a genuine attempt to overcome the terrible mistakes of the past, those angry people are not going to let us go. We will be smashed again and again until the name of Srila Prabhupada's Iskcon will be universally shamed and scorned.
In the absence of sincere apologies from anyone for the horrendous and massive abuse of the past, let's get on the case of all abusers, not only child abusers. (BTW the same thing is going on today--devotees known to be spiritually sick are allowed to go on initiating. Is this not abuse of the prospective disciples?)
However, I maintain that if we are really serious about cleaning out abuse, we should do so at all levels. It is imbalanced, at best, to come down heavy on child abusers while neglecting the widescale abuse that pervaded our whole society.
If I am cynical, I am not alone in my cynicism. Everywhere, devotees are expressing discontent with the way things have been going on for the last so many years. Many senior leaders, including temple presidents, sannyasis, and even GBC men, have expressed to me their discontent with the state of the movement and with the policies and attitudes of the GBC. I am not one to go looking for tales of discontent, but nevertheless hear enough of them to understand that there is something basically out of sync in our movement.
Many devotees have resigned themselves to living and working in an organization in which they feel uncomfortable, but feel helpless to change.
My personal experiences in trying to communicate matters to the GBC have been most discouraging.
In response to my recent postings, a senior and respected devotee wrote to me:
> I very much enjoyed and appreciated reading this from you, Maharaja. I
> share your anger. My specific service is ****, but I completely agree that
> there is deep corruption and hypocrisy in ISKCON leadership, and
> practically the ISKCON so-called leaders are the only ones who don't see
> it, and thus devotees more and more do not try to take shelter in the GBC,
> as the GBC body does not command respect, and in fact has become a
> laughingstock, at best, and perhaps an abject tragedy. Hare Krsna.