Krishna Dharma’s Statement
June 22, 2021
Statement by Krishna Dharma Prabhu on the Lokanath Swami case:
Listening to the testimonies of our second generation regarding the abuse they received at the hands of older devotees brings tears to my eyes. I am literally shocked to the core by some accounts. How could so-called devotees be so heartless? I am a father of three children and the thought of them receiving such treatment utterly reviles me. In fact, when my son was approaching five years old, my wife and I seriously considered sending him to gurukula in India. We met the sannyasi in charge, and he assured us it was the best possible choice for our son. However, when other devotee parents with children in gurukula heard what we were contemplating, they exhorted us to change our mind, warning us of the very abuses we are now hearing about. We listened to them, and now, after reading the letters posted by Sarasvati Devi from various senior devotees, we feel sure we made the right decision to not send our son.
It is a sad situation, made even worse by the derisory response so often received when these issues are raised with ISKCON’s leadership. It seems to be a litany of denial, minimisation, cover-up, victim-blaming, and general avoidance of responsibility. In the Mahabharata, it is said that Lord Brahma created power to protect the weak. If abused, that same power destroys its abuser to the roots. The text goes on to say that if a weak person, being afflicted, cries out for protection and finds none, the divine rod of punishment descends on the king and all his ministers. Virtue protects those who protect virtue, and destroys those who destroy it. Sooner or later, there is a reckoning. I am reminded of Srila Prabhupada speaking about Yamaraja in one class. He called him the ‘GBC of Krishna’ who, due to a small mistake, was punished to take birth on earth as Vidura. Prabhupada went on to say,
“There we have created these GBCs. So they should be very responsible men; otherwise, they will be punished. They will be punished to become a śūdra. Although Yamarāja is a GBC, but he made a little mistake, he was punished to become a śūdra. So those who are GBC, they should be very, very careful to administer the business of ISKCON. Otherwise they will be punished. As the post is very great, similarly, the punishment is also very great. [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.13.15 — June 4, 1974, Geneva / 740604SB.GEN]
I understand that our leaders want to protect the preaching and ensure the good reputation of ISKCON, but I think it is a miscalculation to not be thoroughly honest and transparent, acting with the highest integrity. That will always be respected, even if mistakes are made. If there is an honest admission and acceptance of due consequence, no one will criticise. Surely as Krishna’s representatives we must evince the highest morality without a tinge of doubt. Just see how Lord Rama responded when there was not even a transgression committed. The merest suggestion of doubt in his integrity elicited an immediate and firm response, even though it broke his own heart. Again, see how Lord Chaitanya responded to Chota Haridas, who had only committed but the slightest offense. Or even Lord Brahma, who after simply contemplating a sinful act gave up his body, considering it contaminated. Srila Prabhupada writes in that connection,
“The best way to compensate for one’s sinful acts is to give up one’s body at once, and Brahmā, the leader of the living entities, showed this by his personal example. Brahmā has a fabulous duration of life, but he was obliged to give up his body due to his grievous sin, even though he had merely contemplated it in his mind without having actually done it.” (SB 3.12.33)
Note how Srila Prabhupada calls Brahma’s mere contemplation a ‘grievous sin’. Okay, maybe we should not give up our bodies, which we can use in the Lord’s service, but surely we can give up some status and power, stand down and take a humble position if we have compromised our integrity. What is there to lose? Devotional service does not depend upon external status. We can serve the Lord in any situation, heaven or hell. And if we please him, even try to please him, we will become glorious, without any doubt. But any glory achieved at the cost of truth will surely in time turn to infamy.
Anyway, I am just a humble soul, aspiring to serve the devotees, so please forgive me if I have given offense. I am merely speaking out of a desire to see ISKCON succeed and become the force for change that Srila Prabhupada wants. May the Lord bless us all with the right intelligence to succeed. Hare Krishna.
Krishna dharma das
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