9. Confessions: The Mayapur Gurukul revisited

Jai Sri Radhe!

Well, I have to confess (ha ha) that I have been having misgivings about embarking on this adventure. But I made a decision and I will carry on with it, the consequences are in Radharani's hands.

Let's go through Demian's diatribe. I am not going to spend too much time on accusations 1-4, which contain the faintest seeds of truth that have metastasized in the manure of his malice.

Let me say first that as soon as Demian's letter was posted on the Paundraka Vrindavan Today, I immediately wrote to Babaji and told him that I would resign from Jiva Institute on the spot if he felt that the accusations made in this letter were going to diminish the Institute's reputation. So far, Babaji has not asked me for a resignation. Indeed, he has expressed to me that Demian's posting on that website was a de facto admission that he was siding with individuals who had made enmity to him their purpose in life. This obviously is not a situation that can endure.

As for me personally, I have accepted the teachings of the ādi-ācārya of Braja-vāsa sādhanā, Prabodhananda Saraswati, who tells us to accept praise as a most horrible poisonous cup, and lowly condemnation to be nectar (saṁmānaṁ kalayātighora-garalaṁ nīcāpamānaṁ sudhāṁ, VMA 1.48).

In fact, it is from looking through the Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta, that I conclude that the time I am spending on answering Demian is wasted. And it irritates me that he has distracted me from more fruitful service.

At the same time, I feel that I must remind him that he is wasting the glorious opportunity to enjoy the full benefit of residence in the Holy Dham by joining the crows' club over at the Paundraka Vrindavan Today.

Anyway, I feel as though I have been taken away from my service to the Dham and from my bhajan of remembering the Holy Names and the Divine Couple to dwell on these stupid and malicious slurs. May Demian, an intelligent man and a scholar, wake up and see what he is doing to his spiritual life.

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 principal 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?

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?

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.”

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

Most of this is nonsense. Everything I said in my original letter was true, so I don't know what I can add. I am making no excuses. I have already accepted that I was responsible for the abuses, whether I knew of them or not. I was in the position of responsibility, so I am totally responsible for all the suffering undergone by the children under my supposed protection.

You could even make an argument that I am responsible for ALL the abuses that took place in Iskcon Gurukulas throughout history. After all, I was there in the very beginning in Dallas and I participated in the very first paddlings and punishments. Had I been half as wise as I no doubt thought I was, I would have rebelled against it then and perhaps it could have been nipped in the bud.

Some of the very worst and most horrific abusers in the Gurukulas were my proteges at one time or another. I never had an inkling of what they were to become. Fortunately I was not there when they became what they became. But if I had been possessed of insight and wisdom, I would have been able to stop them before that destiny unfolded.

When I started to see what had been going on under my very nose, I said, "Mahaprabhu, let me out of this den of vipers!" And Mahaprabhu granted my request.

My dear children, wherever you are, please accept my prayer for forgiveness and may you be blessed with the highest knowledge of prema or whatever else brings you fulfilment. May your birth in a human form of life be successful.

I have no recollection of any child being taken to the hospital after being abused through corporal punishment or sexual abuse during the time I was at Mayapur. Perhaps you have some evidence or eye-witnesses or hospital records. Perhaps such a thing happened. It seems I would have remembered it.

It is however clear that there is no act of contrition that could satisfy my dear guru Demian. Perhaps I can offer him a polished bamboo staff and allow him to beat me... but then why should he beat me. What pain did I inflict on him? Perhaps the pain that is inside his heart comes from somewhere else and I am merely a trigger that awakens this inchoate rage that possesses him.

As for being the sidekick of Bhavananda Maharaj, perhaps you should ask him how close we were. My nature and Bhavananda's nature are so different that I can barely contain my laughter when you say I was his sidekick. Actually, Demian, you and I are perhaps more alike than you would ever care to admit.

Bhavananda was always a vilasi. He liked silk clothes and gold watches and gold chains. He liked power and had a cruel streak that he indulged when it so took him. I stayed as far away from him as possible, and the more he increased in his power after becoming guru, the more distant I stayed.

As to writing poetry in his praise. Well I wonder who is taking hallucinogens!!! Can you produce one such poem. I am sure Bhavananda would have saved any personal glorification that came from my pen!

I did write one poem, though, it must be available somewhere and I would be interested to see it again. It was written just before the first Mayapur festival after Prabhupada's departure and rank-and-file devotees like myself at the time were accepting of the official position that Prabhupada had named eleven successors to act as Guru after his departure. Indeed, in my view at the time, in order to push Prabhupada's movement forward, it was necessary for us to give the new leaders our support.

It's funny how much of an innocent I was and I suppose that my claims of innocence -- kind of like Iskcon's Forest Gump -- and it does not play into my favor to admit how much of a fool I was. But I am telling you what I was thinking. I was a totally committed to Iskcon devotee. I participated in the system and up to that point had not been awakened from my innocent slumber.

I had the brilliant idea of writing a song that named all the eleven new "acharyas" which was meant to be sung when the first guru puja that was to take place in a kind of special epiphany at the Mayapur festival, when the eleven claimed their vyasasanas as a group and staked their collective claim over Prabhupada's movment.

The song was sung only once, I believe, before being thankfully consigned to the scrap heap. The singer was Sattvic Das, and I am sure he will be able to confirm it. So I confess to that, no problem. It was my idea, as I thought it would help create cohesion in the Society at a difficult time of transition.

I took sannyas from Bhavananda in 1979. What of it? Bhavananda Maharaj wanted to coopt me by placing me further under his control. I also think he wanted me to be out of Mayapur, so that he could keep me at arm's length. The abuse issue was starting to come into view and I expect he thought I would not be an ally when it touched him. It was also a feather in his cap to be able to make a sannyasi at the first such initiation ceremony after Prabhupada's departure. Indradyumna, Prabhavishnu and Kavichandra were the others at the ceremony. Is there something I should be ashamed of here?

Just like Good Egg said about Babaji that he showed bad judgment in taking initiation from Jayatirtha! Sure, you make bad decisions in life, and when you figure it out, you make the necessary adjustments. At least I hope you do. That is life. It is not so much the original mistake that is culpable, it is the willful perpetuation of the mistake.

I trusted the authorities. Even Bhavananda. I respected him as an authority figure until quite late. After Pradyumna came to Mayapur with his famous letter and I had a long talk with him personally, I became a little less pliable. But quite honestly, I was able to maintain a degree of independence throughout. At any rate, I don't think that any of these imaginings of yours can induce me to change a word of what I wrote or to crumble under the weight of guilt.

I do not use my ignorance as an excuse, merely as an objective statement of fact. I was in charge. I was incompetent and things happened that I should have known about.

I don't know why I said, "Who cares?" I cannot recall the context or tone, but I would suspect that it was done in the same spirit that I said “I don’t give a shit if people call me a pedophile.” I said that to you several years ago, and now the time has come when I have indeed been called a "predator" which I guess means the same thing. I did not bother to answer that accusation. Why should I let untruths affect me? People will think what they will of me, just as they will of you. And presumably, you don't give a shit what people say about you, because they are not saying nice things, true things.

To be indifferent to the calumny of others is a sign of knowledge:

jitātmanaḥ praśāntasya paramātmā samāhitaḥ |

śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkheṣu tathā mānāpamānayoḥ ||
jñāna-vijñāna-tṛptātmā kūṭastho vijitendriyaḥ |
yukta ity ucyate yogī sama-loṣṭāśma-kāñcanaḥ ||
suhṛn-mitrāry-udāsīna-madhyastha-dveṣya-bandhuṣu |
sādhuṣv api ca pāpeṣu sama-buddhir viśiṣyate ||

Samādhi on the Superself is attained by one who has conquered the mind and is completely peaceful. One who is self-satisfied by knowledge and realization, is immovable in heat, cold, happiness, distress, as well as in honor and criticism, who sees a clod of earth, iron or gold as having the same value, is called a yogi who has achieved full connection in yoga. [Of such yogis] one who is equal to friends, companions, enemies, the neutral, the impartial, the hateful, to relations, to both saints and sinners, is the most excellent. (6.7-9) (VMA 1.56)

lokāḥ svacchanda-nindāṁ vidadhati yadi me kiṁ tataḥ (VMA 1.63)

If the people freely criticize me, what difference is that to me?

śrī-vastrābharaṇādibhiḥ kara-padādy-utkarta-dāhādibhir

nindā-saṁstava-koṭibhir bahu-vibhūty-atyanta-dainyādibhiḥ |
jīvann eva mṛto yathā na vikṛtiṁ prāptaḥ kathaṁcit kvacit
śrī-vṛndāvanam āśraye priya-mahā-nandaika-kandaṁ param ||

Whether I should be covered in beautiful clothing and ornaments,
or my hands and feet be cut off or burned;
whether I should be cursed and mocked or be praised;
whether I should have great riches or be in complete poverty;
whether I live or die, the only thing I ask is
that one single thing remain ever unchanged:
that I should remain in the shelter of Vrindavan, the supreme,
the single root of all the great joys
of my beloved Lord and Lady. (1.29)

duḥkhāny eva sukhāni viddhy apayaśo jānīhi kīrtiṁ parāṁ

manyethā adhamaiś ca duṣparibhavān saṁmānavat sattamaiḥ |
dainyāny eva mahā-vibhūtim ati-sal-lābhān alabhān sadā
pāpāny eva ca puṇyamanti yadi te vṛndāvanaṁ jīvanam ||

Know suffering here to be joy.
Know ill-repute here to be the greatest glory.
Accept that being defeated here at the hands of the lowliest people
is equal to being honored by the saints.

Know that poverty here is the greatest wealth
and the greatest pious gains here are
as nothing of any value at all.
Know too that sins here also contain piety within them.
If you can know all this, then alone will Vrindavan become your life. (1.30)

To hear my own faults is as much of a burden to me as to hear the faults of another. It is faultfinding in either case, and to the extent that it is devoid of any connection to the truth is the extent to which it is the product of a heart that is devoid of prema bhakti.

kanthā-kaupīna-vāsās taru-tala-patitaiḥ kḷpta-vṛttiḥ phalādyaiḥ
kurvann avyartha-vārtāṁ katham api na vṛthā-ceṣṭayā kāla-yāpī |
tyaktvā sarvābhimānaṁ pratigṛham aṭanaṁ tuccha-bhaikṣāya kurvan
vṛndāraṇye nivatsyāmy aniśam anusaran rādhikaikātma-lokān ||

I will wear only a torn piece of cloth as a loincloth and tattered shawl, living on the fruits that fall from the trees, never wasting my time in futile endeavors or in wasted conversation, giving up all arrogance, I will go from door to door, begging for my meals, and in this way I will dwell in Vrindavan, constantly following those who have made Radharani their life and soul. (VMA 1.64)

I am not dependent on my reputation, but on my bhakti and on the mercy of Yugal Sorkar. I prefer my innocence.

And with regard to your enmity of me, here is what Prabodhananda tells this innocent I should think:

mitra-buddhiḥ sva-śatruṣu (VMA 1.65)

This is the same as the Christian doctrine of loving one’s enemy. In the most basic way, the devotee considers the person who creates obstacles, who tests his determination, who brings out hidden resentments and anger, to be rendering a service to him by so doing. In another respect, it is a reminder that a devotee is friendly and merciful to all creatures, maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca. Those who are inimical by nature are difficult to deal with, and best avoided. But one should nevertheless cultivate a spirit of positive emotion towards them by praying for their welfare.

So here is what I tell you in that spirit, in a spirit of concern for your welfare, so that you may perfect your Braja-vasa in the spirit of Prabodhananda Saraswati:

I may be a sinner, but please meditate on this wisdom from Bhartrihari,

piśunatā yady asti kiṁ pātakaiḥ

If one is a backbiter, what need has he for any other sins?(NS 55)

I cannot help but think of Ramachandra Puri, of whom Paramananda Puri said, "A slanderer like Ramachandra does not consider a person's virtues, even if he has them by the hundreds. Rather, he attempts to cleverly interpret these virtues as faults." (Antya 8.81). And here I refer you to this article based on Sati's speech to Daksha.

Ramachandra Puri's claim to fame was that he slandered even Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He got there out of practice. Malevolence towards God's creatures, for the devotees, for the Brajavasis, is ultimately malevolence towards the Divine Being who dwells in them, the Divine Being who has gathered them up to his bosom here in the Dham.

I am of no particular importance. I just happen to be a lightning rod for some deep-rooted misery in your heart. If I were not there, you would find someone else to afflict. Better you should find out what is the root of this misery in your heart, because clearly you are not fully aware of it, for if you were you would get rid of it instead of letting it grow and fester and possess you. In the end it will destroy you.

Jai Sri Radhe.

P.S. I am not going to give you a forum on any of my internet places to respond. Your place is with Alex and Bhrigu. You discuss with them.

P.P.S. On the advice of several friends, I have decided to stop here rather than to continue, at least for the time being. Mr. Demian, you are a very good troll, I bow down to your superior talents. You have also thrown in your lot with some very good trolls, may your trollerie lead to wherever it takes you. Jai Sri Radhe.


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