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Simply Foolish and Offensive
want to add my voice to what I hope will become a chorus of protest
against the publication of the graffiti incident in Australia.
I read the article I was angry and embarrassed. I was angry with the thugs
who vandalized a vaishnava's home and threatened further property damage,
and which, if carried out, may also lead to the injury and death of
persons who have committed their lives to the service of the Holy Name. I
was angry that the vandals posed as devotees. I was angry that the
differences among groups of devotees cannot be dealt with in even a civil
manner, not to mention in the manner of vaishnavas.
was and remain angry that CHAKRA's staff thought that publishing the
article as submitted was some sort of service to the devotees. Such
publication could only serve one purpose: to embarrass Srila Narayana
Maharaja. As Panca Tattva prabhu said so well, this is in fact vaishnava
aparadha. Whether any of us agrees with the manner of Srila Narayana
Maharaja's presentation, I don't think anyone could honestly deny that he
has dedicated his life to preaching the glories of the Holy Name of
Krishna. Nor do I think that anyone who has spent any time with him, read
any of his books, or heard any of his preaching could honestly imagine
that he would ever condone such behavior. Therefore, to try to embarrass
him in such a public way can only be seen as an attempt to vilify a sadhu,
the first and most dangerous offense against the Holy Name.
CHAKRA felt this incident was indeed newsworthy, the editors could quite
easily have edited the text to indicate that Venu Gopal's home was
vandalized by someone posing as defenders of Srila Narayana Maharaja, and
that the graffiti included threats of further, more serious, property
damage and coarse language. Why embarrass gentle vaishnavas around the
world by confronting them with the language itself? The pictures could
also have been shown in a smaller size, or new ones shot from a greater
distance, so we could see the extent of the damage, but may not be able to
make out the words themselves. It would have taken just a little thought,
and perhaps less energy, to have presented this story in a manner more
suitable for its audience.
am embarrassed for everyone connected with the incident and more
embarrassed for everyone connected with publication of this story. CHAKRA
advertises itself as staffed by "friends of ISKCON." Perhaps
they would do well to review Srila Prabhupada's Seven Purposes for the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness and consider how this
forum may better serve those purposes.
have privately lamented that World Wide Web forums such as CHAKRA often
serve only to spread gossip. Now I do so publicly. This article is neither
bold, courageous, or edgy. It is simply foolish and offensive. If we don't
learn how to behave as vaishnavas do, I fear Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's
mission will not fare well in our hands.
© CHAKRA 4 March 2001
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