Seeking The Essence

Clearing Life's Webs and Weeds….

Some Alarming Statistics

 Suicide Brain Art


According to data put out by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) the national average is 10 suicides per 100,000 people.  As a group, ISKCON gurukulis have already experienced approximately 10 suicides per 1,000 people (the estimated number of Kulis worldwide).  This is about 100 times higher than the national average!


Currently there are about 10 “high risk” Kulis living in the Los Angeles area. Nearly half of them are considered “chronically homeless.”  My guess is that there are similar situations in other parts of the world. The ratio of people that grew up in  the ISKCON gurukula experiment who are now experiencing mental difficulties seems unnaturally high when compared to other groups. Given the environment in which we grew up, it is disturbing, but not unexpected. 


Please, spread the word. We’ve got to keep making this an important topic, both amongst our peers and throughout ISKCON.  Let’s honor the memories of Nrsmha, Dhruva, Arjuna, Jivananda, Ramanuja, Ananda, Nimai Bhakti Prahlad and others by working together to help those who may be going through an extra difficult part of their lives.  Let’s look out for some of the most vulnerable and often invisible members of our Society.

October 20, 2006 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, Vaishnava Youth | 5 Comments

In Memory of Nrsmha dasa (Elijah B. Long)

Nrsmha & Daughter

 “Nrsimha was a loving person and I think that everyone who got to know him saw that sparkle in him. He was compassionate and kind. He cared for others deeply. There are many pictures I have of him laughing and having a good time with his gurukula buddies. Not all of his life was miserable because there were many beautiful, sincere moments when he knew that his upbringing in KC, was a special unique experience. He had not resolved how the abuses and neglect fit into the larger picture yet, and he compensated for the inner pain and anger by drugging himself until he was numb, but when he was lucid, he told me that I had given him something that he knew was for his spiritual advancement. He just could not figure out though, if the movement was authentic and good, or if it was damaging to the growth of the individual spirit soul. I think alot of gurukulis and their parents who suffer from past digressions, abuses, and failure of trust within the ISKCON structure, also are probably struggling with this dichotomy. And so if anything can be learned from the tragic death of my son, I think he would want what is not right to be corrected, and for all abusers and power-mongers who are covered by the false illusory energy, to be removed, so as to let what is right and good, develop and flourish.”

This is an article written by Daksi dasi about the death of her son, Nrsmha dasa, that was posted on Chakra April 19th, 2005.   She gives insights into a parent’s perspective on ISKCON’s gurukula system in the late 70’s and early 80’s and her relationship with her son throughout the years.  I include this article because it was written by a parent who sent her child to gurukula and because it discusses the untimely death of a gurukuli who struggled with his past. 

I attended Nrsmha’s memorial service in New Vrindaban July 2005.  I sat with many of his fellow gurukulis, parents, former teachers, and community members.  We cried hard and long.  It is a sad time when we gather to mourn the loss of one of our peers.  These are the times when the term “ISKCON Gurukula Veterans” seems most appropriate.

  Continue reading

October 9, 2006 Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, New Vrindaban | 3 Comments

Brijabasi Spirit Revived!

Brijabasi Spirit Vol 6 issue 2    Brijabasi Spirit Magazine Cover 1982

“A brijabasi is a resident of Vrindavan, and it was appropriate that the magazine of New Vrindaban was entitled Brijabasi Spirit. The Brijabasi Spirit first emerged in the early 70’s as a mimeographed 10-12 page newsletter which was stapled together. By 1977 it had become a 20 – 30 page magazine which included black & white photos. The issues catered to the community residents and copies were also sent to North American temples. In 1980 to 1982 the magazine added a color cover, and by 1983 it had evolved into a glossy magazine with a sophisticated layout and colored photos throughout. The articles catered to Hindu and Western visitors, highlighting the community’s planned expansion and various projects. By the late 1980′ s the magazine had returned to a simpler format. In the 1990’s it appeared sporadically until its demise in 1995. By the late 90’s the community produced a one or two page newsletter.”

This is a link to a newly revised online version of the Brijabasi Spirit magazine.  This latest incarnation comes to us through the determination of Madhava Gosh prabhu and a few others.  I am very interested in seeing how this develops.

Madhava Gosh appropriately calls his blogsite “View From a New Vrindaban Ridge.” The black and white photo from the cover of the Brijabasi Spirit magazine is of Bahulaban in the winter of 1979 (left picture, above).  At the time of the photo Bahulaban was the center of the New Vrindaban community (I moved to NV approximately 1 year after that photo was taken).  If you look closely at the upper left hand corner of the picture, through the tree line, you can see the house where Madhava Gosh currently resides and blogs.

The second photo (on the right, above) is a picture of New Vrindaban Brijabasis gathered at Srila Prabhupada’s Palace in 1982.  The resolution of the photo is not that good, so it may be a bit difficult to properly identify people in it.  Amongst others, you’ll find Sankara dasi (my mother, wearing a brown sari, fourth woman from the left, lower row) and myself (teenager wearing a red shirt, fourth from the left, standing in front of Manihara, upper row.)

October 1, 2006 Posted by | Hare Krishna, ISKCON, New Vrindaban | Leave a comment


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