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“Thank you for this letter that you have submitted to the Vaisnava community.”

BHAKTI-TIRTHA SWAMI
      Replying to Raghunatha Stocker

GBC Member to Raghunatha Stocker
By Bhakti-tirtha Swami

My Dear Raghunatha,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to ISKCON’s Founder-Acarya, Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for this letter that you have submitted to the Vaisnava community. It is very profound, to the point and very embarrassing.

Every time I hear how the youth have suffered so much in this movement I realize even more how merciful Srila Prabhupada was and how fallen we are. It is overwhelming to think that a movement that is supposed to offer solutions to the world is so full of contamination. It would have given Srila Prabhupada so much pain to know we have not protected women and children in this movement. This in one of the dangers when one is in the mode of ignorance and one is in the mode of passion. In other words so many of our devotees are not working out in the mode of goodness which then naturally connects us with transcendence.

I actually hate the fact that I am a leader in a movement that has such a poor history. At the same time, however, there is such fantastic ordinance, philosophy and many wonderful individuals. Just as the movement has wonderful people who make so many amazing sacrifices, the movement also has so many dysfunctional people and so many hypocrites.

Of course, we as adults can alter our environment much more than the children could or can, but we make up the environment that the children experience. If I had experienced some of the things that you had experienced maybe I would have committed suicide or have taken someone else’s life. If we can’t find shelter from the representatives of God, what is the value of anything?

However, I do know a little bit of what it is like to be disappointed and mistreated by being a minority. Although I have lived with it most of my life, I have learned to feel sorry for those who act in such dehumanizing ways. Of course, I realize they actually harm themselves much more than any harm given to me because those that have abused you will have to undergo terrific karmic punishment.

You can blame the institution, but what is an institution? It is an aggregate of individuals. There are so many different types of devotees in the Hare Krsna institution that is unfair to not to appreciate so many souls who would sincerely go on from day to day. You may say, “but the nature of the leadership is very poor that it has allowed such abuses to go on,” or you can turn this around and say “how amazing Srila Prabhupada was that he was so kind to try to pick up so many low class men and try to make us gentle Vaisnavas.”

So, do we say that for the most part Srila Prabhupada has failed? I think it would be more accurate to say we have failed him. What you and those like you have experienced we can never fully apologize for, although we must continually apologize. However, our real apologies are based on how we each do our part to strengthen our spiritual culture of ISKCON. We can surely minimize this ever happening again.

Is their anything that I can personally do in the present as well as your future? Actually, I pray that there is something. We need such opportunities to assist and to serve for our own rectification and purification. What is the value of all of these big projects? What is the value of this entire institution if our own children hate this institution that has made them misfits and dysfunctional? But how wonderful it is for those who do connect with the institution, or the unconditional love coming down from Krsna, Lord Caitanya, the Goswamis and Srila Prabhupada. Now the question is that with the experiences that you have had, will you use it to try to help others and try to bring out the real institution or will you also make other innocent people suffer by trying to destroy the basic vehicle that Srila Prabhupada tried to establish?

Yours in Srila Prabhupada’s service,
With love
Bhakti Tirtha Swami

Ps. I hope those authorities in India will respond to your specific concerns in reference to His Holiness Gopal Krsna Maharaj’s interview as well as Satadhanya’s involvement.

© CHAKRA 28-Sep-1999

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