Notes from a think tank

Favorable senior devotees

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Favorable senior devotees


12.1 Devotee men in the West have gone from aversion to the other extreme.
From: Basu Ghosh (das) ACBSP (Baroda - IN)
Date: 23-Sep-98 17:25
To: Prithu (das) ACBSP [13206]
Cc: Bhakti Vikasa Swami [8526]
Cc: Rasananda Swami (USA) [2817]
Cc: Shyamasundara (das) ACBSP [4959]
Cc: Dayaram (das) JPS (Mayapur - IN) [8166]
Cc: Jivan Mukta Dasa (sent: 23-Sep-98 17:31)
Reference: Text COM:1711990 by Prithu (das) ACBSP
Subject: What do you think, Prithu Prabhu? Are you willing to get involved?
> Women are mothers. They ought be respected like that and not be
> entrusted with anything beyond that. Dayaram is right and I will certainly > stand by what he and what you say.
> Its very true that quite a lot of our western, even big devotees, have little
> ideas of true culture and have gone from aversion to the other extreme - so > much for the big brains. It all boils down to culture, and that you can’t get
> in the West or just by going to Mayapur, Vrindaban and back to the West,
> for a fortnight, once a year.
> I agree we got to preach to get this nonsense out of our system. And if we
> don’t, well it happens anyway, by the inconceivable energy of Krishna, as
> we have seen over and over again.
> yspda

Thank you very much Prithu Prabhu for your praiseworthy response to my most humble appeal.

A private conference is being organized to formulate a proposal/resolution
to GBC. It would be kind of you to participate in that.


Basu Ghosh Das
(Text COM:1713290) -----------------------------------------

12.2 Ananda Prabhu's letter to HKW

Refers to next letter by Hari Sauri Prabhu.

Letter COM:1646873 (111 lines)
From: Shyamasundara ACBSP
Date: 30-Aug-98 17:28
To: Hari Sauri (das) ACBSP
Comment: Text COM:1651600 by Hari Sauri (das) ACBSP
Subject: Ananda Prabhu’s letter to HKW
Mark my words. The feminists can potentially be even worse than the Rtviks
for introducing maya philosophy into ISKCON. This is going to get bigger not
smaller. This is my prediction.

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

Letter COM:1643627 (95 lines)
From: Internet:
Date: 29-Aug-98 06:52
To: Dharma of Women [1149]
Bcc: Shyamasundara (das) ACBSP [4018]
Subject: Ananda Prabhu’s letter to HKW
Ananda Prabhu (USA) wrote a letter to Hare Krsna World in February in
response to Pranada Mataji’s article about the Women’s Conference in LA.
His edited letter was printed in HKW but we thought the conference members would like to read his original, uncensored letter. Comments are welcome, as Ananda is now a member of this conference.

YS, JMd, Sdd

Dear HKW

Thank you for your valuable service of keeping Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON

family informed and connected about Devotee’s preaching programs around the world. My family and I enjoy this publication and look forward to each

Unfortunately I have to take exception to the way HKW covered the ISKCON

Woman’s Ministry’s story, i.e.: to let Pranada Dasi (who sits on IWM’s board
as Treasurer) write the lead story about an event (First Annual Woman’s
Conference ) with which she is personally involved with. This would not be a
problem if you call HKW “The Editorial Paper of ISKCON” instead of HKW as
“The Newspaper of ISKCON” which implies objective journalism. The article
was written in the guise of an outside non-biased reporter covering a hot
story. The headline read “Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rocks ISKCON” and
quotes like “event of the decade” definitely got my attention. I was struggling to understand why it was touted as “the single most significant event in ISKCON this year if not the decade.” Excuse me, but wasn’t Srila Prabhupada’s Centennial this decade? With my hopes up, I read on’ but there was no substance to merit the hype. The story’s credibility waned as the reporter’s enthusiasm grew. Being vague on facts, heavy on adjectives, and quotes on people’s feelings, left me hanging. When I read Pranada’s other article “Mending Our Social Fabric” it sounded like a mixed agenda of Socialism, flowery words of the Vedas, and modern day feminism. The gist of her story was basically, if ISKCON were to put spirit souls with women’s
bodies on the GBC, then that would be the panacea for all that ails ISKCON.
“Bring heart to the GBC”, implying the present GBC has no heart. On one side
she portrays women as helpless victims of ISKCON policies and therefore
unable to preach, and on the other side calls for leadership positions. This
mentality of blaming someone or something for one’s inability to preach is
quite prominent nowadays; no one wants to take responsibility for his or her
actions or reactions, or to accept one’s plight as Krsna’s Mercy, as Queen
Kunti did. How many times have we heard an individual blame his or her woes on a Godsister, Godbrother, Temple Pres., GBC, or El Nino? “Forget the past that sleeps, and of the future ne’er dream at all, but act with times that
are with you, and progress you shall call.”

These two articles blame ISKCON ( Srila Prabhupada said he was ISKCON) for:

#1. “stifling” and “disparage” women
#2. “valuing projects over people”
#3. Not “understanding the needs of devotees, and how to care for them”
#4. “incorrect stereotypes and distorted philosophy”
#5. “make women feel unwanted, devalued, and unempowered”
#6. Having “policy and unspoken law” that disagrees with “the basic tenet”
that “alI souls are equal”

Without clarification, this “basic tenet” that “All souls are equal” is impersonalism.

#7 and accuses the GBC members of having no heart or compassion.
All in the name of “ending negative propaganda and internal strife.”

Srila Prabhupada never blamed or demanded anything from the Gaudiya Math. In the mood of servant he carried out the order of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta without demands or approval of the Gaudiya Math.

After two articles, still your readers have not been told what the IWM is
about. Can you please publish a statement from the IWM, about their goals,
and intentions? Can IWM please present to the assembled devotees, their
interpretation of traditional Vedic roles, etiquette, and responsibilities for men and women? Do these standards still apply today? If not, then what is the standard?

If IWM’s intentions are to preach, set good example of motherhood and

dedication to family, like Mother Yasoda, Draupadi, and Queen Kunti, then
that’s great. But to form another faction of ISKCON, to bellyache over past and present wrong doings, is not healthy. We have enough of that now. What’s next, brahmacari Ministry complaining about lack of Maha, sleep, etc. Temple Pres. Groups demanding more Pujaris, cooks, and pot washers. Don’t ask what Srila Prabhupada (ISKCON) can do for you; ask what you can do for Srila Prabhupada (ISKCON).

Undoubtedly in the past, many immature, irresponsible men (individuals in

ISKCON, not ISKCON) who should have never accepted the position of husband or father caused a lot of suffering among our mothers and children. To be a good father and mother is of course very fundamental and extremely important for the well being of any society. The women and children must be protected cared for and loved. These points are very important, but in a sense elementary. Srila Prabhupada made a point of the kind of people Jesus was preaching to, to necessitate explaining the most basic concepts like, not to kill, steal, etc. In the same way, it is a sad commentary on our society if
we need to form groups to tell us to care for our family members. There are
numerous examples in Srila Prabhupada’ s book, about being a good father,
husband, wife, mother. Let’s embrace those ideals, and get on with preaching
them, by example and book distribution.
Your servant Ananda Dasa
(Text COM:1643627) -----------------------------------------
(Text COM:1646873) -----------------------------------------
12.3 “Now is the time for us to declare that Prabhupada was right and did not make mistakes. ‘He is my lord birth after birth....’"
Text COM:1738364 (31 lines)
From: Shyamasundara ACBSP
Date: 02-Oct-98 07:01
Subject: Now is the time declare that Prabhupada was right
---------- Forwarded Message ----------

Letter COM:1655282 (42 lines)

From: Hari Sauri (das) ACBSP
Date: 02-Sep-98 21:00
To: Shyamasundara (das) ACBSP [4141]
Reference: Text COM:1654034 by Shyamasundara (das) ACBSP
Subject: Ananda Prabhu’s letter to HKW
> I think it is time to take a holiday from ISKCON. What do you think?

Not me. I don’t have anywhere to go. I don’t think that Prabhupada would want me to hide away on my own and watch his society get torn apart

without trying to preserve it. I would feel guilty for the rest of my life. Now is the time for the sincere to step forward and do their bit to preserve what he gave us.

This is not an attack on ISKCON, it is an attack on Srila Prabhupada-- the feminists don’t actually like Prabhupada--they think he was a chauvinist; the ritviks don’t respect him either--they can’t tolerate his passing on the mantle of leadership to his disciples; the Gaudiya Matha followers hold him as insignificant--someone to take advantage of but not to follow. All this disturbance ultimately gets down to the fact that the Kali-yuga population don’t like to follow anyone. They don’t want spiritual leadership, they want to dispense with it and declare themselves as their own gurus.

Now is the time for us to declare that Prabhupada was right, and did
not make mistakes. “He is my lord birth after birth....”
(Text COM:1738364) -----------------------------------------

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