Natesvari’s Letter to the GBC
August 2, 2021
Hare Krishna dear GBC members,
Please accept my humble obeisances, All glories to Srila Prabhupada and the Guru Parampara!
My name Is Natesvari Yogini Devi Dasi, my initiating spiritual master is HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaja and I have been an active member of Iskcon since 2012. I served as a Bramacarini for a few years at Iskcon New Raman Reti (Denver), Krishna House in Gainesville, and The Harmony Collective (Ypsilanti). While my main seva was preaching and book distribution, I feel blessed to also have offered seva to some of Iskcon’s Sunday school and Gurukul programs.
In light of the recent, very public Lokanath swami case, I wanted to share some of my feelings on the matter. In the last few years, I have discovered so much about the abuse that has gone on in Iskcon. I have felt extremely broken-hearted and confused about how to relate to or fit into a society that simultaneously has the most amazing and absolute philosophy in the universe and not only excuses abusive people but also glorifies them. Now, this topic being debated so publicly is such a disappointment, child abuse is never ok and should never be ignored. While I understand that there are many followers of Lokanath that will be disappointed if action is taken on the matter, isn’t it better to ensure the safety of all our beautiful children in ISKCON now and in the future? Isn’t it better to once and for all show that child abuse is no longer tolerated in Srila Prabhupada’s family? Isn’t it better to show justice for the little girl who felt scared and disgusted by a man who everyone worships? to show justice for all the little boys and girls who have felt that way before her and after her? to let his followers know the reality of the situation and understand the nature of this world and this yuga?
Lokanath made a mistake, yes. Ultimately it is ok to make mistakes I suppose, and we should all individually find a way to reconcile this matter in our own hearts but to allow someone who made a mistake of this caliber to continue to initiate people and represent a vessel for transmitting this very sacred knowledge to the masses is just not right. An apology is not enough, so much time has passed now, maybe some of you are desensitized to the topic, but please consider how continuing to endorse the abuse of innocent people who are trusting you with their spiritual lives will be detrimental to the future of ISKCON, especially as times are changing and the world is growing less and less tolerant of these kinds of things.
When I first joined this movement, as many of us, I thought ‘what a blessing it is to be born into the association of the devotees’ and it is really sad to see that may not be true for many children who have grown up in ISKCON.
Here are a couple of quotes from Srila Prabhupada on the topic of child protection:
“These are not ordinary children, they are Vaikuntha children, and we are very fortunate we can give them chance to advance further in Krishna Consciousness. That is very great responsibility, do not neglect it or be confused.”
“If we are able to make a whole generation of our children into fine Krishna Conscious preachers, that will be the glory of our movement and the glory of your country as well. But if we neglect somehow or other and if we lose even one Vaisnava, that is very great loss.”
“So take care of these children. If you can make one child Krishna conscious, it is a great service. Krishna will be very pleased. So, so many children will come.”
“Please take care of your children and make them perfectly Krishna Conscious. That is very great service. If by your endeavor one or two souls who come under your protection become liberated in this life, that is a great transcendental service to the Lord.”
I hope this email meets you all in good health and please forgive any offenses I may have made,
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