Seeking The Essence

Clearing Life's Webs and Weeds….

Dhanurdhara Swami & the Gurukuli’s Faustian Bargain

Mayesvara's Photo 

“Have our militant Vaishnava youth become so jilted, apathetic or embittered that they just don’t care, can’t understand, or simply don’t believe there will be serious karma induced consequences for the open-throttled full force assault they have declared against Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan movement, regardless of how they go about justifying it?”

Here are two links to an article written by Mayesvara prabhu posted on Dandavats August 22nd, 2006. The first is a link to a preview of the first few paragraphs of the article.  The second is a link to the full article, which is posted in MS Word format. I suggest you read his article before my response (which is also posted below). At the Dandavats site you can also read comments from Kapila and an anonymous gurukuli

As you may notice, I responded a bit more bluntly than my generally concillatory manner. I want to make it clear that this is not because Mayesvara prabhu disagrees with the actions and choices made by some gurukulis. What concerns me is the tone of his article. In my reply, I hold up a mirror and ask Mayesvara to take a long and hard look.  His article is a reminder that the inflammatory, reactionary and angry attitudes towards gurukulis, as I described in A Play-full Plea, still linger and need to be addressed. 

 Mayesvara prabhu, 

Thank you for your article.  I appreciate the time you’ve taken expressing your thoughts and opinions on these polarizing issues. 

I would like to address a few things:                      

It must have been difficult for you to recognize your passive complicity in the abuse at the Vrndavan gurukula. It must have been just as challenging for you to acknowledge that you were part of an inexperienced generation that made many “immature,” “idealistic,” “overzealous” and “sophomoric” blunders that had harmful effects on children.  However, it seems you are unwilling to take responsibility for the consequences of your choices and actions.  Instead, you choose inflammatory, angry words and direct them at those who would appreciate your support or, at least, a civil dialog.   

I am not sure what increasingly “militant,” “whirlwind,“ ”gangster like” “frantic retaliatory trend” you refer to.  Perhaps you get that impression because you are late in entering the discussion and have only recently begun to come to terms with addressing the past. We might not be able to “reverse the clock” but if you are sincerely trying to get your message heard today I suggest you use a little more “caution and code-red sensitivity.” 

For clarification:

The lawsuit was a last resort after a decade of failed attempts at finding a more harmonious resolution. The lawsuit was subsumed by the federal bankruptcy case, which is where the settlement comes from.  ISKCON leaders encouraged all gurukulis who had experienced abuse in gurukulas to take part in the settlement. The bankruptcy was used as a vehicle to bring closure; at least as far as legal matters are concerned. With the legalities concluded we now have an opportunity to concentrate on some of the underlying issues. 

For 15 years, gurukulis have been consistently asking that Dhanurdhara Swami no longer be allowed to hold managerial and leadership positions, sanctioned to speak at public functions, authorized to initiate disciples, ordained with honorific titles, and designated as one of ISKCON’s most exalted personalities.  We continue to humbly request that he voluntarily retire to a more reserved life of prayer and penitence, dedicating himself to mending the damage that occurred during his term as principal at the Vrndavan gurukula 

Our request is not that Dhanurdhara Swami be ostracized from ISKCON and vaishnava sanga.  We understand that through prayer, association and repentance one can find redemption and there is a much greater likelihood for that with appropriate support and encouragement.  Kapila covered our concern in his response to you, “It is one thing to allow individuals of any description to find Krishna in the association of devotees. It is quite another to give them positions of leadership.   

Your quote, from Srila Prabhupada, comes from the purport to SB 8.4.11-12 (not verse 13 as you originally posted).  This approach is an excellent suggestion that can be applied to all sides in this situation. Perhaps you too can take this sagacious advice to heart.  It would be helpful if you also viewed setbacks from past misdeeds as blessings from Krishna and understand that they are only a token of the reactions that could have been received.  Let’s consider this a chance to recognize the importance of offering love and support to those who are vulnerable, even when it is difficult or unpopular.  In this regard, a little compassion, empathy and humility go a long way.


September 4, 2006 - Posted by | Dhanurdhara Swami, Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON

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