Sunday, June 17, 2018

7. Confessions: Bhakta Demian challenges me to confess more

This is Part 7 of a series called "Confession and the Authentic Self."

1. Prologue.
2. Setting the scene. The saga of the Paundraka Vrindavan Today.
3. Staking out the high ground. The frequentations of swans and crows.
4. Confession, a religious act. A concealed provocation.
5. A profession of love and respect for Babaji.
6. Aiming again at the high ground, and a concern troll

We are now closing in on the purpose of this series of posts.

When I published my response to Alex's publication of my "confession letter" on May 31, Bhakta Demian posted as a comment the letter you see below. On reading it, I had to almost laugh at the venomous diatribe, the pent-up nastiness, and the utter absence of any sign of genuine spiritual insight or understanding, the kind of visceral hatred that should be completely absent from the heart of a devotee... well I refer you to my comments on the first article in this series.

Even now as I read this article, the same feeling of darkness descends. I will leave the reader to enjoy the sentiments that he expresses here. Perhaps when one cultivates the spirit of Braj, the spirit of Rupa Goswami to develop a heart that is free from the tendency to find fault in others, the manifestation of a piece of writing that is almost entirely free of that spirit has the effect of a shocking contrast, like suddenly stepping in a piece of human feces while walking barefoot in a garden paradise.

As I have been trying to explain, and I hope that the foregoing articles have shown how I was trying to deal with a practical crisis. There was some concern that we were under siege and fears that there could be serious damage, and there was also a strong desire not to succumb to the lower forces that were being unleashed.

I haven't written much here about Alex, though to be honest, he had also been levying a mocking criticism of me. Even when one stands back as witness, detached from criticism, there is still some effect on the heart.

The purpose of the troll is to draw you in, to bring you down to their level. They want you to become absorbed in their suffering. Misery loves company, as they say. My armament was and is my holding fast to my God, to my Ideal, of what it means to be an ideal loving human being, a premi bhakta, a Gaudiya Vaishnava ("shaped through and through by Gaura's love, that is a Gaudiya Vaishnava!"), a  Brajavasi engaged in Brajavas sadhana according to principles found in the Vrindavana-mahimamrita..

I take these principles seriously. I don't know if it is wise or not. When I first started the Vrindavan Today project, I spoke to Vineet Narain, who is famous throughout as an investigative journalist. He seemed to think that I would be an "investigative journalist." Well, that was not what I had in mind, even though I know quite well that it "sells papers." Indeed, there were a couple of stories that I published that were "investigative" and I regretted them each time. Over the years, I have become less and less inclined to publicly expose the evil-doers. I follow the Vrindavana-mahimamrita, which has a "see-no-evil" policy.

I am a Dale Carnegie man. I believe in winning friends because that is how you influence people. I believe in being generous in my approbation and lavish in my praise. You promote the qualities you think are best, even in the hypocrites. De Rochefoucault said one of his pithy aphorisms that I particularly like, that hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue. In other words, the whole point of hypocrisy is that you have to pretend to be pious and good, even when you are using it as a smokescreen for wicked deeds. This means that a hypocrite can still be motivated to do good if he is convinced that he can profit from it. So you praise the good works of even the hypocrite, because that is what will influence his behavior.

namratvenonnamantaḥ para-guṇa-kathanaiḥ svān guṇān khyāpayantaḥ
svārthān sampādayanto vitata-pṛthutarārambha-yatnāḥ parārthe |
kṣāntyaivākṣepa-rukṣākṣara-mukhara-mukhān durjanān dūṣayantaḥ
santaḥ sāścarya-caryā jagati bahu-matāḥ kasya nābhyarcanīyāḥ ||

The sadhu lifts others by his own humility,
he reveals his own good qualities by praising those of others;
he achieves his own goals by making extensive efforts
to achieve the welfare of other persons;
by his tolerance in the face of their insults,
he reveals the wickedness of his detractors.
These are the amazing characteristics of the good,
and they are justly praised in this world.
Who would not praise them?

(Niti-satakam, 70)

Moreover, the goal of Vrindavan Today is to glorify the ideals of Braja-vasa, whether they can ever be realized in human society or not. Unless you can find common ground with others, you cannot influence the direction of community development. You don't achieve it through internal conflict. There are other people with that samskara who will expose the cheaters and I hope the cheaters get the full karmic force of their illegitimate actions, but that is not going to be my job.

My job is to love Vrindavan. My job is to imagine Vrindavan and to create Vrindavan in the image that tradition has presented it, and out of necessity, to realize that image, and if necessary to improve upon it.

Anyway, I already mentioned in the previous post that I had some reservations about talking about myself personally on Vrindavan Today. And certainly I did not think it wise to make VT a forum about me and my sins. So I responded to Demian as follows:
*This post has been removed by the editors. Demian, we recommend that you post these accusations where they will no doubt be more welcome, namely on the Paundraka VT site. I am sure that you will find friends who will take great delight in disseminating these revelations of yours. Thank you for your understanding.*
Now, let me tell you, that this was a bit of a test for Demian that I fully expected him to fail. Demian lives at Jiva Institute. There have already been incidents that I will mention later that showed he cares nothing for the Institute as a project that requires solidarity of its principals, which for me means solidarity with Babaji. Therefore, when Demian went to Alex's Paundraka Vrindavan Today, I understood that Demian is not simply against me, but he is against Babaji and against the Jiva Institute, and against everything that I do, without questioning whether it is of any independent value. Needless to say, he is also against Vrindavan Today. He wants to destroy it because that will be a way of destroying me.

I also said to Alex: You think you are being very clever and righteous, but all that will come from this is that you will be known as a traitor, someone who betrays his friends. This is the kind of venomous snake you really don't want to keep around. A person who is so blinded by malice and animosity that he will destroy anything in order to pursue his malevolent goal. This is what I think deserves to be exposed. We all live by our reputation. Do you really want to be known for this?

So enjoy:

Jagat, you can also take the opportunity to confess:

1. That you are the major responsible for ALL the abuses suffered by the children in the Mayapur Gurukula while you were the principal from 1975 to 1979. Do you really think that you can get away with it just by claiming that you “didn’t know anything?” Can anyone possibly believe that although every single child there was continuously abused in multiple ways for months and years, the principle didn’t know anything? That he never noticed the bruises all over their bodies? That he didn’t know that some of the children were even sent to the hospital after being spanked or raped?

2. That you were Bhavananda’s avowed sidekick, to the extent that you even engaged in composing poetry in his praise and was proud to receive ‘sannyasa’ from him. Is it mere coincidence that he and his ‘associates’ were indicted as child molesters? What were you doing while the children under your ‘care’ were being sexually abused one after the other?

3. That you replied, “Who cares?” when I asked why don’t you take any steps against the perpetrators “now that you came to know the facts.”

4. That you told at my face, “I don’t give a shit if people call me a pedophile.”

5. That you are a drug addicted and spend your ‘free time’ in Vrindavan smoking ganja and bidi, something which the staff and residents at the Jiva Institute can also attest. Do you think I don’t feel the smell from my room?

6. That you are a libertine and don’t have the slightest hesitance to indulge in illicit sex in Vrindavan. Before moving to the Jiva Institute, you were living at the house of your ‘girlfriend,’ who is supposed to be someone else’s wife. On the gate there we read “Ananga Sukhada Kunja” (The grove that gives the pleasures of Cupid). When I purposefully asked you about this name, you replied, “Ananga is my guru.” By the way, I was behind the milkman one evening when he knocked at your door at the Jiva Institute and you asked for a moment because you were naked. Although the light was off, I could see a lady lying on your bed when you opened the door. I also saw when she left your room. So also admit that besides not having respect for Vrindavan, you have zero respect for the other residents of the Ashram. For those who don’t know, ‘Ashram’ is a residence for monks.

7. That your name has already been several times reported to the police in India for different reasons. One of them was Caru Krsna dasa (Gaurapada dasa)’s accusation that you had been plotting to murder him.

8. That last year I myself have reported you to the police in Mathura for instigating a thug who invaded my room, attacked me and gave a death threat.

9. That you told me at my face that you deliberately instigated that thug to ‘give me lesson’ because I call a spade a spade, a thug a thug, a pedophile a pedophile, a druggy a druggy, and so on, which is enough to convince you that I am a bad character and need to be urgently corrected.

10. That you pester everyone who lives at the Jiva Institute beyond limits by loudly and hysterically growling/screaking daily until late at night and blasts at anyone who dares to complain of not being able to sleep. (To clarify, he thinks he is ‘singing’ and does it in such a way that can be heard even from the street. His ‘singing’ usually consists of meaningless words or shrieks (aaaahhh, oooohhhh, uuuhhhh) out of tune and without any rhythmic sense. Anyone who hears that can immediately conclude that this can be done only by someone high on drugs or a psychopath. Or both. Yet he thinks he is delighting the neighborhood with his talent. Has anyone read the tale of the donkey singer in Hitopadesa?)

11. That you hysterically demand that others show you respect?

12. That recently you even wrote a message to the director just to complain that I don’t show you respect? By the way, he advised me to keep distance from you, so do me a favor and next time you see me NOT EVEN LOOK AT MY DIRECTION.

By the way, there is an increasing number of devotees who say that they will not stay again in the Ashram because to tolerate you is a way too much. To mention one, Radhanatha prabhu even added that just by seeing your face one should immediately jump in a river fully clothed, as prescribed in the scriptures to get purified.

On the other website, he responded to my refusal to post the above in the following way:
As Jagat is very devoted to transparency and truthfulness, he wrote to me a private message saying that he won’t post my response on his site because the contents don’t seem to be “in the interests of Vrindavan Today and those associated with it.” In other words, it is not to HIS interest to actually confess anything. Of course, this is a convenient way to avoid the matter, otherwise he would be caught in a dilemma as to whether he should deny the charges — and take the risk that I may post hardcopy evidence on the web or that more people may come forward to corroborate some of my statements — or admit them and try his ‘best’ to justify himself or give a twist...
Alright then, so what did I do?

One of the points I have been trying to make in these posts, an undercurrent, if you will, is about friendship. I have been saying, is that very few really cultivate the art of devotional friendship. Bhartrihari tells us what to expect from a friend, and by its opposite, what to expect from an enemy.

pāpān nivārayati yojayate hitāya
guhyaṁ nigūhati guṇān prakaṭīkaroti |
āpad-gataṁ ca na jahāti dadāti kāle
san-mitra-lakṣaṇam idaṁ pravadanti santaḥ ||

The signs of a true friend:
he keeps you from sinful acts,
but engages you in beneficial ones;
he keeps your secrets,
but announces your virtues;
he does not abandon you in difficulty,
and even helps with money if needed. (ibid. 73)

My intent is to again take the high road and hope for the best. And, assuming the best - in keeping with the principles I am attempting to apply - means that I will accept that - despite what I think is an objective display of irrational malice - Demian's intentions are good, that he is trying to "keep me from sinful acts" out a loving and charitable disposition, and that is how I have decided to respond.

As Babaji says, we are not mahabhagavatas. We all have faults. We should become introspective when our flaws are pointed out in public. So I will respond in the way my Inner Master guides me.

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