Discrepancies Between Radha Raman’s Letters: 1998 & 2021
Much of Lokanath Swami’s defense hinges on a very recent letter that Radharaman Swami sent to Bhakti Chaitanya Swami.
Radharaman Swami (Radharaman das at the time) was Lokanath Swami’s servant during the time the abuse happened, and it is for this reason that we should examine his testimony for accuracy and reliability.
Radharaman Swami was also one of the people who signed a letter in 1998 discussing these incidents.
There are some differences between the recent letter and the 1998 letter which are explored below.
“… [Lokanath Swami] had hurt his ankles a couple of weeks before on Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama… ” (1998)
“[Lokanath Swami] had fractured his leg in Mayapur during Kirtan.” (2021)
This is the first red flag, it is not clear whether Lokanath Maharaj had sprained both of his ankles or fractured one leg???
There is a big difference between two sprained ankles and one broken leg!
In the 2021 letter Radharaman Swami writes what is perhaps his most important statement, which if true would/could go a long way to exonerate Lokanath Swami.
“During our stay there I was always with HH. I was never away even 20 feet from him.” (2021)
However, this absolute statement suggests that for an entire week Radharaman Swami never napped, showered, or used the toilet.
This is simply incredible and practically speaking impossible, but it also contradicts the statement of the victim, where she says that she was alone with Lokanath Swami when he abused her on more than one occasion.
The only semblance of an incident in the 2021 letter by Radharaman Swami is as follows:
“While she was reading HH [Lokanath Maharaj] was tapping his thigh with his left hand and at one point he started tapping his hand on her thigh. It momentarily (four/five seconds) rested there. This incident of tapping and resting of HH hand on her thigh lasted no more than half a minute.” (2021)
“They were both holding the book in their hands. Maharaja’s hand holding the book rested on her lap as she read and then his hand touched her thigh in an inappropriate way. The girl looked up at him with a surprised expression and he realised that this was an inappropriate gesture and retrieved his hand.” (1998)
The two accounts given by Radharaman Swami are not only different between themselves, but they are also starkly different from the account given by both the victim and Lokanath Swami himself in his admission letter.
Lokanath Swami wrote:
“During my visit, there were some very regrettable incidents that took place between me and their eleven and a half year old daughter Satya, in which I sexually abused her.” (2010)
“As we sat reading together, I touched her right thigh and moved my hand between her knee and upper thigh, over her clothing. While I was touching her upper thigh region, I also touched her private part.” (2010)
If we look at the statement written by the victim in 2010 she stated:
“It did NOT just happen one time in the living room, on the sofa, but rather throughout the week that he stayed he touched me various times inappropriately.”
“He PLACED HIS HANDS ON MY CROTCH, NOT ON MY LAP, and said I am keeping the book from touching you there, so just keep reading. He kept his hand there, and any time my mother would walk by the room, he would QUICKLY REMOVE HIS HAND AND PLACE IT ABOVE MY HEAD (around me). He did this several times throughout the course of an hour…”
In his 1998 statement Radha Raman das wrote:
“Rumors usually have an element of truth, and the fact is that ‘something’ did happen.”
We now understand that the “something” that happened in 1990 was that a 41 year old male, who was a sannyasi and guru in ISKCON, sexually molested an 11 year old girl.
Radharaman Swami ends his 2021 letter with:
“My dear honorable Maharaj, with all honesty and truthfulness in my command I swear in the name of Krsna that I have described exactly what had happened, to the best of my knowledge.”
Upon a brief analysis, it is evident that the recollections given by Radharaman Swami in his 2021 letter cannot be entirely accurate and therefore are not credible.
Naturally this casts a shadow of doubt on the reliability of his testimony.
Original letters below for reference:
Message from board members of Prabhupada House:
Dear disciples and friends of His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaja,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and all his dear servants.
A group of senior disciples of Lokanatha Maharaja and members of the Directing Board at the Prabhupada House have decided to write this letter in light of the recent barrage of bad publicity from the press here in India.
By now all of you have probably heard about the blasphemous words recently printed in many newspapers in India about our dear Guru Maharaja, His Holiness Lokanath Maharaja. In these articles, Maharaja was accused of having molested a teenage girl. Many of you have probably also heard wild rumors circulating in ISKCON concerning Guru Maharaja. Rumors usually have
an element of truth, and the fact is that “something” did happen, but as you will see in this enclosed report, this “something” is far removed from the blasphemous accusations of the news media in India.
On November 13th, 1998, H.G. Pancaratna Dasa (ACBSP), the chairman of the ICC (India Continental Committee) wrote to our ISKCON leaders in India:
> Most of you have probably read or heard of the allegations made against
> Lokanath Maharaj in recent news articles. I wanted to write to everyone to
> assure you they are inaccurate.
> There was an isolated incident of inappropriate behavior in 1990 that was
> fully investigated by a GBC committee with outside professional help. The
> GBC committee found, that although the action was objectionable and
> inappropriate, for a sannyasi especially, they found no cause to determine
> Lokanath Maharaj unfit for the sannyas ashram or for his duties as an
> initiating guru. There has never been any charge of child molestation
> brought against him.
Gurumaharaja wants his disciples and aspiring disciples to know the details.
They are as follows:
In 1990, during Padayatra America, Gurumaharaja spent a few days in the house of an Indian family; as he had hurt his ankles a couple of weeks before on Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama, he needed a place to recover his strength and health. One Indian devotee, Radha Raman Dasa, was accompanying him. Once, at the request of one of his hosts, Lokanath Maharaja encouraged their 11 years old daughter to read Krishna book. She sat next to him on the couch in the living room. They were both holding the book in their hands. Maharaja’s hand holding the book rested on her lap as she read and then his hand touched her thigh in an inappropriate way. The girl looked up at him with a surprised expression and he realised that this was an inappropriate gesture and retrieved his hand. Maharaja stayed on few more days with the family. On the day of his departure, the whole family, including the girl, accompanied Maharaja to the airport.
It was not until 1993, almost 3 years later, that the girl related the incident to someone who decided to pursue the matter. As the family of the girl felt that an apology was in order, they contacted the North American GBC who appointed a committee to investigate the issue further. It was decided that Gurumaharaja would not be able to accept disciples for a few years and he would have to undergo psychological tests to see if there were any deep psychological problems in him, sexual perversions or tendencies to abuse children. A series of extensive (and expensive: around US$ 2500) tests were conducted. It was found that he had no trace at all of being a child molester, but the results in fact revealed quite the opposite: his inexperience innocence in the matter of dealings with the opposite sex, his undeveloped sexuality and his very low level of libido were established. The impropriety that took place was the result of a momentary lapse of the right consciousness. Based upon their investigation, the GBC subcommittee concluded that Maharaja was fit to maintain his sannyasa ashram and position as a spiritual leader in our society.
The GBC dealt with this incident in a confidential and appropriate way, since it was not necessary to broadcast this isolated incident and rectification had taken place. The whole thing should have stopped there, but human nature being what it is, someone started to talk, the news got out and rumors started to circulate. Until today, where we have to read exaggerated and misleading statements in leading newspapers of India.
We hope this letter will answer your questions about why Maharaja was wrongly accused, clarify the doubts you may have had and correct the false rumors you may have heard. If you need any more clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact the devotees listed below. Or if you prefer you can contact Lokanath Maharaja directly. We are at your disposal, to help to dispel the cloud of negativity hovering over our dear Guru Maharaja’s head. The GBC report and the report of the psychologists are also available upon request.
Radha Ramana Dasa, Vaisnava Dasa, Atmanivedana Dasa, Ekalavya Dasa, Rajarishi Dasa , Hari Kirtan Dasa, and Gaurangi Dasi
June 21, 2021
Most respected Maharaja,
Please accept my humble obeisances at the dust of your lotus feet. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I was in Washington, DC with a team of approximately 15 devotees helping in the preparation of an East-Coast Padayatra. We were scheduled to walk from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. during April, 1990. Srila Prabhupada disciple, Badarayani Prabhu was the team leader.
His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaja arrived at the Washington DC Airport from Mayapur. We were saddened to see his pitiful condition. His leg was covered in a hard white stuff. He could not even bend his leg/knee. He needed support to walk anywhere. He had fractured his leg in Mayapur during Kirtan. He had to be assisted with getting into the vehicle. We drove to Potomac temple.
After staying a few days at Potomac, we drove with Maharaj to Philadelphia. Padayatra was scheduled to begin in Philadelphia. He gave a lecture at the Philadelphia temple. While he was lecturing, I took the luggage to the room allocated for his use. His room was on the upper floor of the temple building.
After the lecture, we had to help HH to climb the stairs to get settled into his room. The condition of his leg was so severe at the time that he was struggling hard even while being supported by two of us. Kamal Nayan Pandey, one of the guests at the program took note of the difficulty we were having in assisting Maharaj to climb the stairs to his room. He personally joined us in helping Maharaj. It was a narrow staircase. So far, we had climbed one floor. At that point KNP requested HH to stay in his house and HH agreed.
We climbed down. I brought the luggage back from the room to the car. Four/five devotees escorted HH to the house of KNP. He was driving ahead of us leading our way to his house.
We all entered the house. We settled in and all other devotees returned back to temple. I stayed with Maharaj. I was assigned to live with him to assist him around. I was helping HH even to go to bathroom. The condition was that much severe.
During our stay there I was always with HH. I was never away even 20 feet from him. Every day, before taking rest in the night, KNP used to massage one leg of HH another leg was fractured so obviously, no touching.
KNP had desperately requested Maharaja to help his entire family, and especially his younger daughter to advance spiritually.
Morning before breakfast, Maharaj would read Krsna book. Every day I prepared an Asana by spreading chaddar on the top of a sofa for Maharaj to sit in drawing room. I brought Krsna book for reading. KNP would bring his daughter to listen. She obeyed the father and sat and listened. She was too innocent to disobey her father and too young to appreciate Krsna book reading.
Reading session would last for Thirty to forty minutes.
I sat in front of them, and we were all facing each other separated by a table two feet in height. Sometimes I would read and sometime KNP’s daughter would read. Frequently, Maharaj would interrupt and give comments telling stories. I was present there during the whole session either reading or listening. KNP had to go to office for his job except on week-end, but I never ever step out of the house for the entire time we were there.
One day while we were reading Krsna Book, KNP’s daughter was sitting next to Maharaja. I entered to HH’s room which was only seven feet away from our reading place and came back with the original Sanskrit text of Srimad Bhagavatam and I was holding it. KNP’s daughter was still reading. While she was reading HH was tapping his thigh with his left hand and at one point he started tapping his hand on her thigh. It momentarily (four/five seconds) rested there. This incident of tapping and resting of HH hand on her thigh lasted no more than half a minute.
A couple of mornings Badarayani Prabhu, our Padayatra leader came and joined Krsna book reading. Otherwise almost every day in the afternoon he came to meet HH for managerial meetings and he took lunch with us. I was the cook. Krsna Book reading took place for four/ five days. On the first day and last day reading did not take place.
On last day, KNP hosted a feast for HH and for the padayatris. Couple of padayatris came to KNP’s house at early morning to cook. It was a mini festival. Towards the end of the feast, KNP handed a donation to HH and he touched maharaja feet with his forehead. He was the happiest person of the day. The house was resounded by cheers of joy. KNP handed an envelope to each devotees including me. We assisted maharaja to sit in the car. We left the house for the temple. We proceeded to the place where the padayatra was to start via temple.
My dear honorable Maharaj, with all honesty and truthfulness in my command I swear in the name of Krsna that I have described exactly what had happened, to the best of my knowledge.
I beg to remain
Radha Raman Swami
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