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“From what I understand, he repeatedly violated the spirit of the agreement.”


Spiritual Leadership is a Privilege, Not a Right: The Case of Dhanurdhara Swami
By Krsna Avatara das

Dear Vaisnavas,

When I first read Vraja Kishor's letter, recently posted on VNN, I thought that I should not waste my  time responding to Dhanurdhara's disciples.  However, upon further reflection,  I thought that it would be good if someone clarifies the misconceptions, and variations of the truth being espoused by Vraja Kishor.

Vraja Kishor wrote: "Please kindly also note that the initiates and the guru were waiting patiently in honor of the GBC's requests for five solid years before the initiation."

This statement is interesting, and contradictory.  The Office of Child Protections (OCP) gave their judgment only last fall. How then could the GBC have come to this conclusion in 1995?  Either the second generation  was lied to, while backroom deals were made, or this is a falsehood.  But it  cannot be both.

"Dhanurdhara Swami never disobeyed anything asked of him by the GBC for a period of five years, even at the strong urging of all of us, or at least me"

 From what I understand, he repeatedly violated the spirit of the agreement. I understand that he went so far as to have an ex GBC/guru performing initiations on his behalf. Please correct me if this is wrong.

"In summary, he did not give a class at any ISKCON function, did not give the diksha ceremony to a group of very qualified candidates, and did not even reside at an ISKCON property for a period of approximately five years"

Again with the five years. When I visited Towoco, NJ three years ago, Dhanurdhara  seemed very much in charge of the temple, albeit his disciple was the temple president.  I  understand that he recently gave class in Boston.  It appears as if he is the de-facto GBC or guru of the Northeast.

"He did all this without a grudge, even though such sanctions were almost entirely a political move by ISKCON to attempt to lessen their legal liability in the lawsuit being rightly brought forward by the viciously abused gurukula alumni."

He may not have a grudge, but he has only complied while kicking and screaming.  If you are trying to imply that the GBC are playing politics with Dhanurdhara to avoid a lawsuit, apparently their efforts were fruitless.

 "However, this anger being focused on Maharaj is a natural result of the GBC somewhat less-than-subliminally focusing the entire gurukuli case unto the shoulders of Dhanurdhara Swami (who, however, is certainly responsible for some of it). Having allowed him to become the focal point of gurukula alumni anger, they perhaps hope to evade the main brunt of the gurukulis rightful fury."

If you think Dhanurdhara is getting a bad deal, look at the decisions rendered  against the small potato, or the "has -been".   Some of the people that are  small devotees were kicked out for 5 years.  Some of the people whom have  left ISKCON were given harsh penalties-this is not a hard thing to do.   Dhanurdhara, on the other hand, is allowed to initiate.  In addition, Dhanudara is the only  ex-gurukula teacher I know of who wants to have a high profile  job in ISKCON.  If he did not want to be a guru so badly, I think that there  would be less antagonism towards him.  Perhaps if he were humble, did some  pots, and cleaned the bathroom, instead of causing so much trouble trying to  be something he is not capable of being in this lifetime, his ex-students would show him some compassion, instead of beating him with sticks.

Most of his ex-students did not think much of the OCP's decision.  We felt  it was insufficient. We felt that the punishment was a slap on the wrist,  coinciding with a wink.  We feel that spiritual leadership is a privilege, not a right.  I would have been satisfied with expulsion of his  leadership, meaning sannyasa, and guruship. Furthermore, I was told that the  GBC could not overrule the punishment of the OCP, but this it did by  modifying the OCP ruling. It is apparent to me that collectively, the GBC  does not care about the people that were sexually molested or abused under  their care. So the only thing that I can do is to advise anybody that is thinking about accepting Dhanurdhara as a guru to reconsider.  In my humble opinion I don't think he is capable of taking anybody back to Godhead.  He  is a unrepentant child abuser, who acquiesced to sexual abuse, and who is  too attached to his position to make advancement I don't think he can make  it back to Godhead himself, until we have forgiven him-I think this is given  in the shastras-in the story of King Ambarisha.  You should take shelter of  Srila Prabhupada.

Hare Krishna

Krsna Avatara

© CHAKRA 26-May-2000

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