Vrindavan Gurukula – A Tribute or Insult to Srila Prabhupada?

Posted by in Vrindavan

Vrindavan Dasa – USA: Supporters of the Vrindavan Gurukula posted on FISKCON websites that a minor Hindi language newspaper ‘selects’ the BGIS school as ‘Top school in Mathura and second in the state of UP’. This disclosure does not include the actual article for verification and comes with a link to a low tech Hindi website.

(Note: All attempts to verify their claims to the alleged article on the provided newspaper’s website link failed due to the alleged Major Newspaper having a substandard low-budget website. Also all attempts at locating a hardcopy of the paper by my associates in Vrindavan failed due to it being such a minor publication which is hardly read by locals.)

The Director of BGIS, Ananda Vrindavanesvari devi dasi, was overjoyed upon receiving the news:

“This is a tribute to Srila Prabhupada who opened this school in 1976. I take this as recognition of his genius in wanting schools that not only taught academics, but also focused on the moral and Krishna conscious needs of students.”

Ananda Vrindavanesvari claims that Srila Prabhupada’s genius is in wanting schools that not only taught academics, but also focused on the moral and Krishna conscious needs of students.

The ‘academics’ she is referring to is the secular academic curriculum termed the ICSE that her school offers to educate their children. The ICSE is considered to be the toughest secular government accredited (‘Slaughterhouse’, as Srila Prabhupada termed it) curriculum and examination procedure in India today. Good luck to the boys if they can ‘focus’ on their Krishna conscious needs when they have to meet the rigorous demands of such a heavy academic workload.

If we analyze this claim of hers, we will see that she is stating that it was Srila Prabhupada’s desire that his children be educated by using a rigorous government accredited academic curriculum. This is a very interesting revelation. ‘Academics’ refers to a course of study that is theoretical as opposed to a ‘work’ or ‘experiential’ based learning process. In the secular sense, the ICSE sense, this refers to a government accredited curriculum and syllabus that is mundane, secular (atheistic) and comes with extremely rigorous and intensive examination procedures.

This ‘idea’ of academics by her is most definitely not the expressed desire and instructions of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada, knowing full well of the perils of the western secular school system of the west, instructed us to relocate his Gurukula to India which was more adaptable and Vedic friendly. In India his Gurukula could be developed without the atheistic and extensively restrictive curriculum and ethos of the western academic model. Academia in the modern or secular sense is a highly sophisticated developmentally graded indoctrination process that is an integral part of the secular state.

Further, Srila Prabhupada never instructed that ISKCON educates his children in run-of-the mill religious boarding schools. The Catholic and Protestant Churches have used the systems of boarding schools for centuries. The core curriculum of these boarding schools, like her school, utilizes the western academic secular model, so where is the “genius” she boasts about when her school is portraying the same old hat system which has been in use for centuries by pseudo-religious educational institutions? To attempt to make people believe that this is something that Srila Prabhupada devised is naïve and a blatant display of her ignorance about the true nature of Krishna consciousness and our philosophy. More to the point, it is most certainly an insult and offence to Srila Prabhupada.

If Srila Prabhupada intended us to incorporate western secular academia as the main core course of study for his children, we would hear of this in his books, lectures and tapes. But there is only mention of the contrary.

Letter to Aniruddha, Calcutta, March, 1972:

“They can learn our method of Krishna Consciousness by rising early, cleansing, plus knowledge of Sanskrit, English, a little Mathematics, history, geography, that’s all. We haven’t got to take any help from the government by getting so-called accreditation. If outsiders want to send their children to us, it will not be for their accreditation, but because they will get the best education for relieving them of all anxieties of material life and for this education the government has no idea.”

The truth is that her school is the brainchild of her discredited and infamous husband, Braja Bihari and his latest guru, Bhurijana. It is most certainly not her ‘tribute’ to Srila Prabhupada, and is more like a slap on his face.

Sri Vrindavan Dham is the central land of our movement and is meant for renunciation and contemplation on the highest spiritual topics. Anything that ISKCON does in this holy dham must faithfully represent our Founder-Acarya, His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

The old FISKCON educational regime, since the traitor and guru offender (Acarya aparadi) Jagadish, has never followed Srila Prabhupada’s instruction on the education, care and welfare of children in his school. The diehards of this regime are Bhurijana, Braja Bihari and his wife, and it is far time that we as a movement stand up and speak for Srila Prabhupada and put an end to this disobedient and wicked regime once and for all.

They do not represent ISKCON nor Srila Prabhupada, but only their own self-interest. No decent and intelligent parent in ISKCON has sent their beloved children to this school for many years. The school claims to have 200 children at present, but hardly a handful of them are ISKCON children. The school has failed to attract one single intelligent and mature devotee to not only teach the children, but to provide spiritual shelter for both teachers and children. There is no Guru in the Gurukula! The majority of teachers are highly paid unionized Indians and non-devotees.

Financially, the school is in trouble. Even though they are charging high fees, they are also losing money in paying high wages to their ‘employees’. This is another aspect of their school that is important to note: Srila Prabhupada wanted Brahmins as teachers and Brahmins cease to be Brahmins when they are salaried. He also did not want students to pay for their education, as Vedic education is free. Yet here the children have to pay very high fees, according to Indian standards, for their academic, secular, slaughterhouse education.

Morning Walk, Johannesburg, October 16, 1975:

Srila Prabhupada: “There is no need of money. The brahmana teaches everything free of charge. There is no question of money. Anyone can take education as a brahmana or a kshatriya, as a vaisya. There is no… Vaisya doesn’t require any education. Kshatriyas require little. Brahmana require. But that is free. Just find out a brahmana guru and he will give you free education. That’s all. This is society. Now, as soon as… At the present moment, as soon as one wants to be educated, he requires money. But in the Vedic society there is no question of money. Education free.”

The school has always maintained the unhealthy and criminal ‘zero disclosure and external accountability’ policy of its children’s health, welfare and child protection status. The township also lacks any proper law, health or welfare agencies to provide these essential services for the children.

This administration has a very poor track record of protecting children, and they excel in producing students of low moral and spiritual character. The future of the present children, as posted on their website, claims only to prepare children for either higher secular education or the non-devotee workforce. This is hardly a good result of thirty odd years since the establishment of this so-called prestigious ISKCON School.

This woman’s husband was (before he had to resign in disgrace) the official, and as far as we know is still the nonofficial ‘in charge’ of all aspects of accountability within the movement, so the likelihood of any disclosure of criminal or unethical behavior in the school is highly unlikely, due to his wife being in charge of the school.

The school is also in a very bad state of disrepair and maintenance due to the neglect of this administration, which has only made the odd rare superficial facelift (cover up) as opposed to doing any real repairs. Structurally it is also possibly unsound and has been in dire need of structural repair for well over fifteen years, and may pose a building hazard and an endangerment to the children. All of which would never be tolerated in any civilized and responsible school, and most definitely Srila Prabhupada would never have approved of such a neglectful and deviant administration.

To claim that this school is a “tribute” to Srila Prabhupada is one of the most stupid statements ever to be uttered by representatives of that school.

To claim that the ICSE government accredited secular (atheistic) curriculum is the genius of Srila Prabhupada is a lie.

And lastly, to believe that readers will be fooled by a mention in the back pages of a local Hindi newspaper by a local journalist is nothing but a cheap promotional gimmick in a vain attempt to try and convince them that the school is doing fine.

Why the GBC and ISKCON allows irresponsible liars to be in charge of this very public and important educational facility in our Spiritual headquarters and the residential home of our Founder-Acarya Srila Prabhupada is beyond all forms of sensibilities and defies all logic.

What is amazing in all of this is that even after her infamous husband’s disgrace in ISKCON, she still maintains her position in the Gurukula instead of resigning in shame and disgrace for her role in the ruination of not only the educational system that Srila Prabhupada instructed us to do, but, the corruption of so many children’s lives for all the years that she and her husband have been irresponsible for that school.

Vrindavan Das