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NOTES FROM A THINK TANK
“As I understand it Maharaj, GHQ is going to be a think tank with the mandate to prepare a paper with proposals to the GBC to check apasiddhanta in the form of ‘feminism’ in ISKCON. . .”
(Basu Ghosh Dasa, president of ISKCON-Baroda, September 24, 1998)
“I do not resent criticism, even when, for the sake of emphasis, it parts for the time with reality.” Winston Churchill
The contents of this text Notes From a Think Tank are divided into two portions. The first contains 25 Articles and the second constitutes the appendix which is divided into 14 Sections. This appendix contains voluminous quantities of exculpatory texts that “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” and the Women’s Ministry doesn't want you to see. These texts totally exonerate GHQ. The Articles discuss point for point the contentions of “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” in his expose. They show in great detail how “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” contrived to distort the truth by selectively editing and taking out of context GHQ texts that were stolen from a private conference. “Ardhabuddhi Dasa’s” use of emotionally charged language is analyzed. It is clearly shown that members of GHQ were not conspiring but rather following ISKCON law regarding how to implement change. Why Secrecy is necessary for such discussion. How the GHQ conference got started is explained. The popular notion of “Rights and Propensities” gets debunked by sastra. The actual importance of the Dharma of Women conference and why so many women support it. Many testimonials from women supporters all over the world especially Sri Dham Mayapura our spiritual heart. It is demonstrated that “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” selectively cut and paste texts not only to make GHQ look bad but to hide the identity of Mother Madhusudani Radha dd (an editor of Chakra) who is caught doing things she would not like to be known in public (Article 9). We reveal leading feminists in ISKCON addressing each by their military rank. It is clearly shown why there were no women on GHQ; it was by there own choice not because they were shut out. It is demonstrated that the feminists desire to become “empowered” is nothing but the same materialistic aspiration of the karmis. You will see texts where leading feminists actively dig for “dirt” on their opponents. The idea that the members of GHQ were not seriously concerned about the welfare of women is thoroughly smashed and debunked. The false notion that GHQ members toned their rhetoric for cynical motivation is also thoroughly demonstrated to be wrong. The real reason was fear of vaisnava-aparadha and a desire to maintain a higher consciousness. Most importantly a thorough analysis of the real conspiracy is given showing a plausible scenario where the real conspirators were the Women’s Ministry and supporters like HH Mukunda Maharaja. If you read only one article this is the one you must read; Article 25, it is a real eye opener. If you have any questions about the content of “Notes From a Think Tank,” contact Sriman Jivan Mukta Prabhu at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Maharajas, Prabhus, and Matajis,
Please accept our most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
First of all, we should like to apologize to all those devotees whose feelings were hurt by the contents of the private letters revealed by “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” in the article Conspiracy To Terminate The ISKCON Women's Ministry. It is very understandable that if selected sections of private correspondence are presented to the unsuspecting public, with the motivation to create ill feeling, then the sensibilities of devotees will be hurt. After all, those great souls dedicated to spiritual life have finer sensibilities and are thus more easily hurt. So, although the presentation of “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” was a malicious, gross distortion of the views and attitudes of GHQ, nevertheless all the GHQ members are very sorry that so many devotees have been adversely affected. It was never our intention to offend anyone. And even though our words were tormented and distorted beyond recognition of their actual intent, still we are pained to know that something originated by us became a cause of distress to others.
We are also disturbed that the bona fide objectives of GHQ have been portrayed as repugnant. The elephant is noble and majestic, whereas a poisonous snake is a justly condemned creature. If a trickster leads a blind man to touch only the trunk of an elephant, the trickster could easily convince him that the noble elephant is actually a loathsome snake. And this is exactly what “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” has done to the innocent devotee public----who are effectively blind to the factual reality of GHQ, by not having access either to the 911 texts that were exchanged on GHQ (as of November 17, 1998) nor the hundreds or perhaps even thousand(s) of e-mails exchanged between individual members before and after the formation of GHQ. By showing the innocent readers a mere 49 of those texts, “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” has succeeded to deceive most into believing that an “elephant” is actually a “snake.”
As a result of “Ardhabuddhi’s” disinformation all the members of GHQ have been subjected to all kinds of abuse and slander. A mob mentality has developed to the point that some devotees have even threatened violence against us. Others have literally urged that we all be “hung.” (See Section 13.7) Both the North American GBC Executive Committee and the International GBC Executive Committee have Censured the members of GHQ solely on the basis of “Ardhabuddhi Dasa’s” paper without even bothering to contact any of the active members of GHQ. This uninformed, public censure by the GBC has aroused even more animosity and hatred towards GHQ members.
However, having said that, even though we have all suffered greatly none of us regret that this has happened. The reason for that being that prior to the distorted revelations of “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” the members of our think tank were concerned that no matter how hard we worked to make a presentation to the GBC it would be put on the back burner because of so many other pressing issues such as the Rtvik heresy. But now because of “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” our concerns will surely get much greater notice than they would have before, this has made our suffering tolerable.
The GHQ event has prompted many devotees to focus upon an extremely important and relevant issue; and that will prove only beneficial for the future of ISKCON. As with the rtvik heresy, the feminist heresy also must be confronted if we are indeed serious to fulfil the orders of our beloved founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada, to establish varnasrama-dharma. We have reached a fork in the road: one path leads us to secular feminism (just another “ism” for fulfilling material desires); the other path takes us to the ideals of Vedic culture and pure Krsna consciousness. On which path will our leaders take us? Will they be courageous and adhere to the path of varnasrama-dharma, as Srila Prabhupada has shown us? Or, to maintain temporary popularity or prestige or to avoid criticism, will they unceremoniously lead us down the path of heretical feminism?
While we are happy that our cause is drawing so much attention, we are genuinely dismayed that the tender sentiments of others have been disturbed in the process. To redress this hurt, we propose to demonstrate to our respectable readers the actual mission of GHQ; we will also answer the various charges placed upon our heads by “Ardhabuddhi Dasa.” We will present volumes of exculpatory texts which “Ardhabuddhi Dasa” hid from the reader in order to create a false impression; and we will venture to speculate on the motivations of “Ardhabuddhi Dasa.”
And finally, we will now also apologize for the long duration of time it took for us to prepare our response. The research of looking through several thousand texts and the coordination of several devotees for the gradual compilation of this report was indeed an arduous task. (It takes a gunman only a moment to pull a trigger and flee----the medical team will take weeks to put the patient back on his feet.)
We therefore humbly request that you, O respected reader, be kind and patient enough to read through the entire presentation. Since by now, much vitriolic cyber-ink has flowed on this topic--mostly from our opponents-- we therefore appeal to your sense of fairness and veneration for the truth, so as to give us a fair and full hearing. We beg to remain,
Your humble servants,