Bhaktin Rachael – UK: Dear Prabhus and Matajis PAMHO AGTSP. Please forgive me if I offend anyone in what I am about to say but I feel it needs to be said. I have been a devotee for no more than four and a half years. In this time I have not taken on a guru although I have been pushed by other devotees who have gurus to take on an ISKCON guru.
I joined because of taking prasadam at a devotee’s house who was having a feast and I went along with my boyfriend who was at that time interested in Krishna Consciousness. I liked eating vegetarian food and I loved curries but at first I was not so interested in the philosophy. In the following six months I went to the temple quite a lot to attend the Sunday feasts and began reading the Bhagavad Gītā which really changed my life.
My boyfriend left me as I found out that he was interested in another girl who attended these programs so I was free to do what I wanted and what I wanted was to find out more about Krishna consciousness. So I read the Bhagavad Gītā twice and then the Science of Self Realization four times before I could get my head around it.
I met many devotees in this time but I did not meet anyone who really knew much about the philosophy as I thought they would. I scoured the internet and found out more and more about the ISKCON society some of it good and some of it bad. I was happy at least there was open dialogue with devotees discussing the problems of the society in websites such as this one but I could not help but feel that there is something overall wrong with the ISKCON society.
Having such a great soul as Śrīla Prabhupāda as their teacher the best pupils to come out of his tutelage were the gurus of ISKCON who it seemed were not following the regulative principles. I read the articles about Prabhavisnu das falling with prostitutes and went on Harinama with Indradyumna Swami where I was flocked by his ‘girls’ as you call them, who wanted me to travel with them and take initiation from him. I was close enough to Mahārāja, even though we did not speak, to see his very expensive camera and see him snapping away at rather ridiculous subjects which, as you have said included, little girls.
Anyway the point of this is to say that it seems to me that should I continue on my path to serve Śrīla Prabhupāda and Krishna the way I understand it to be then I will have to set myself against the bulk of the devotees in ISKCON.
I am not sure that I want to do this. I want Śrīla Prabhupāda and Krishna but at what cost will this be to me? Will I be shouted at or run from the temple by the very devotees who I have known for nearly four years? Will I be their enemy?
Then I think about the years before me when the disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda were left with his loss. I know from reading it must have been hard for you all but why didn’t you stand up against these devotees these 11 that were mentioned in the many articles around the internet?
Because you didn’t, it will be up to every new devotee who joins and does not want to take a cheap guru, to fight against the institution if they want to be part of a temple which I don’t think is very fair at all.
You see I didn’t allow this to happen the older devotees did. Those who stayed instead of leaving to a large extent remained silent and from what I have read most of you stayed and supported the 11?
So how is it my fight? Why should I join a society where the older or veteran devotees who from as far as I can see get so much respect and honor and yet hardly any of them will help to change the situation? How is it my problem to fight off the Temple devotees who are attached to their fake gurus?
You see this is my problem I want to be a devotee and sure I want it easy I gave up so many thing to come this far and now I am smitten by this I see that the real problems I have to face is inside the very society I want to join.
So my advice is that this is the legacy of the older devotees who want everyone to think of them as being senior and deserving of respect simply because they were present in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s time and took initiation from him. I want that they are the ones who fight for us. We will help but it is not our fight it is your fight a fight for your guru.
It is easy for you to say that Śrīla Prabhupāda is your guru but from where I stand it is not so easy to stand up and say that he is mine. This is because of you not me. So without meaning to be offensive if Śrīla Prabhupāda is your guru too then before you die I beg you to please correct the wrongs that your god brothers and god sisters have done in the name of Śrīla Prabhupāda to make it easier for us and future generations to join.
I wanted to add that I don’t want to join any group affiliated with ISKCON I want to be in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON so please don’t, as others have, suggest I join their ISKCON society I want this society sorted out so I can join what Śrīla Prabhupāda started thank you.
Please forgive me if I have spoken fiercely it is not really my nature. I know I am only a neophyte but in this horrible world my only straw is Śrīla Prabhupāda and I need to be much more a part of his society than I am now.