Balaram Dasa: New evidence has come to my attention on the role Braja Bihari plays with regards to the covering-up of child abuse within ISKCON. This new evidence illuminates Braja Bihari’s role in the Dhanudhar Swami case and how his endeavours to protect Dhanudhar Swami precipitated the Turley Class Action suit against ISKCON. It must be understood that the survivors of the abuse in our Gurukulas would never have taken the drastic action that they did in commissioning the Turley Class Action Suit against ISKCON if the GBC had not bent to the influential pressure that Braja Bihari placed on them via the then BOE.
Over that past year or so, a groundswell of disclosures from Gurukulis and other concerned devotees have painted a very dark picture of this individual’s complicity in not only protecting the criminal at the expense of the child victim, but also showing him to be the mastermind behind the establishment of corrupt devotional community support services.
To further demonstrate Braja Bihari’s complicity in protecting known child abusers see the case of Gauri das, where Braja Bihari is pushing for corporal punishment as a viable solution – “1995 Gauri das Investigation, Part Two – Operation Coverup!” in the Sampradaya Sun.
Needless to say, Braja Bihari’s activities are based on the premise that the criminal and philosophical deviant is to be protected and the victim and sincere devotee is to be suppressed, oppressed and neglected. For him, a ‘win win’ situation is where he wins and so does the perpetrator.
If any devotee has any doubt regarding Braja Bihari’s role in this and his power to corrupt even the GBC body, then his following email will clear those doubts. (There is more, but this email is more than enough to satisfy the doubters)
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 1995 04:25 SST
From: “COM: Braja Bihari (das) BJD (Vrindavana)”
To: badrinarayan.acbsp @ iskcon.com
Cc: 70324.1511 @ compuserve.com, Naveen.Krishna.acbsp @ iskcon.com, Afn09663 @ freenet.ufl.edu, bhurijan.acbsp @ iskcon.com
Subject: Dhanurdhara Swami and Vrindaban Gurukula
Dear Board of Education Members, Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. (I have sent this in three parts due to bad COM connections)
I have recently received a COM message from Bhadrinarayana Prabhu explaining the present situation regarding Gurukula alumni in America and their staunch objection to reinstating Dhanurdhara Swami as Principal of the Vrindaban school after his presence in Vrindaban is again permitted by the GBC. As most of you know, some of them are seriously threatening legal procedures.
I’ve spent the last few days contemplating a Vrindaban Gurukula without Dhanurdhara Swami. I considered the finances, the curricular development, the teacher’s needs for guidance and encouragement, the school’s vision for future development, the children’s needs, the parent’s concerns, my contribution, the recruitment and training of new teachers, the role of leadership in the school , the role of management, the school’s reputation, the asram training, and the school’s contribution to ISKCON. Especially in the form of providing trained preachers. Though Maharaj doesn’t necessarily contribute to every one of the above categories, my conclusion is that he is indispensable.
He is the spiritual leader. The inspiration. The coach. The cause of the present glimpses of success. Even though the Yankees had Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris they still needed Casey Stangle to win the pennant. Removing him from the Vrindaban gurukula and expecting everything to just carry on, would be like removing Harikesa Maharaj unceremoniously from his zone and expecting the same enthusiasm and results in book distribution. (continued) Part 2 – I you like, we can discuss this conclusion I’ve come to. I can state my reasons, and discuss other’s reasons why they feel Maharaj is unnecessary.
I realize that my conclusion may be hard for some of us to accept, but this is my observation seeing the miraculous transformation the school has gone through after DDS was again put in charge 5 years ago. (he was, by the way, again put in charge by the insistent begging of the GBC Tosan Krishna Prabhu.)
My request, and it is a tall one, is that we suspend our personal feelings towards Maharaj and in the best interest of the Gurukula, the teachers, the students and the parents, work together to come to a more unilaterally satisfactory arrangement with the alumni. I’m not suggesting we in anyway ignore these young men. Rather, as Badrinarayana Prabhu mentioned, they are good-standing members of ISKCON. I’m certain, however, that they are not conscious, as many of you may not be, of the School’s need for Maharaj’s ongoing involvement, and devastating effect his removal would have. I am aware this won’t be easy. The alumni sound determined and DDS can sometimes be hard to communicate with. Several of you, moreover, have weak relations with Maharaj, at least when it comes to this topic. I have heard, however, that Maharaja has made some contact at least with Mandala Bhadra and Caitanya Mangala Prabhu, and the talks were cordial. Please, let’s try. I am making this request, that the BOE work on behalf of Vrindaban Gurukula, and just as a lawsuit is out of the question, adopt the concept that replacing Maharaj is equally unmentionable.
What about mediation? Sesa Prabhu and Krsna Lila Mataji (in NY) are both experts at mediation? Would the two parties get together? LA Ratha-yatra? Mayapur What about us openting up communications with the alumni, explaining the results their request would have on ISKCON education and/or Vrindaban gurukula. etc. Asking them if they have an alternative solution that they would still be satisfied with, but would have positive, rather than negative ramifications?
(perhaps some financial remuneration, community service-let’s be creative.) Who should do this? I’ll write them if it would help. I’d fly there if I thought it would help. Somebody put in charge of school this year (I’m not sure who: DDS? GBC? BOE? ) so acting in the capacity I’ve been asked to, I am making these requests. What about one of you? Should we start a COM conference about it? I don’t know if he is on COM, but I have a voice mail # for DDS: 212-726-1516.
My situation is a though one. I naturally do not fully agree with everything DDS says or does. But I am awed at what he has done here in the last 5 years. I’m not on the BOE. I’m not expert in primary education. I am swamped with two other full-time services. I do have some interest in communications /conflict resolution, and that sort of stuff. If I can be somehow an instrument of help bring about an auspicious solution to this mess please let me know. I will do anything to help in that way. So often we have some these situations and we “blow away” one party or the other. Let’s try not to settle for that kind of solution. A WIN\WIN solution, I feel, would be by far the best offering to Srila Prabhupada.
Falling at your feet. I remain. Your servant, Braja Bihari dasa
Chariman of the Steering Committee,
Bhaktivedanta Swami International Gurukula, Vrindaban.
PS This request, is of course, contingent on the GBC’s decision when to allow those involved in Rasika Bhakti back to Vrindaban. I’m not making any statement about tha, only that whenever the “ban” is lifted, Maharaja again resume his service.
In this email Braja Bihari is appealing to the then BOE, or the ISKCON Board of Education, to not only reinstate Dhanurdhar Swami, but he is trying his best to prove that his leadership is both managerially and spiritually irreplaceable. The original BOE members were: Tosan Krsna das, Chairman; Jagadish Goswami, Sivarama Swami, Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami, Ravindra Swarup das, Bhurijana das, Vrikodara das, Kirtiraj das, Sri Rama das, Dhanvantari Swami, Vrisha das.
It must be noted that in the years since this email, these key players in ISKCON education took a back seat while Braja Bihari slowly but surely reconstructed ISKCON to meet his requirements. As it stands today, he is in control of all the accountability structures and people in ISKCON, as evidenced by the following:
When one notes the procedure for the investigation of child abuse charges in ISKCON, we will see how effectively these devotees are controlling every aspect of accountability in ISKCON, especially with respect to child abuse reporting.
GBC Guideline on Child Abuse #1990-119 – CHILD PROTECTION GUIDELINE:
122.3. All suspected or confirmed incidents of child abuse must be reported immediately to the local GBC secretary, and within thirty days, to the ISKCON Board of Education. The ISKCON Board of Education shall review the investigation and give a finding as to the status of the alleged perpetrator as confirmed, suspect, or innocent/not-suspected.
In the GBC meetings 2008 it was decided “For the more effective functioning of the Board of Examinations, it shall no longer function as a separate entity but shall now function under the direct control of the Ministry of Educational Development.”
It is now evident that Braja Bihari, from the very beginning of his role in the ISKCON Gurukula system, has worked to cover-up child abuse in ISKCON by protecting the abusers and formulating programs and departments that merely paid lip service to the protection of our children and focused on protecting the abuser and the institution.
It must be remembered that Braja Bihari, along with other Gurukula Principals including Laxmimoni and Murlivardaka, were responsible for establishing the Child Protection Teams and the centralization of Child Protection in ISKCON with the full blessing of the GBC. Some of the main devotee abusers that Braja Bihari has protected are as follows:
1. Murlivadika, the main developer of the Child Abuse Protocols, who was subsequently charged with Child Sexual Abuse, was working alongside Braja Bihari for many years before he was discovered.
2. Laxmimoni, after many years of being protected by Braja Bihari, is now being accused by her past students of child abuse. (See “The Legacy of ISKCON Gurukulas)
3. Gauri das is a violent child abuser who Braja Bihari has protected for over ten years, knowing full well he was guilty.
4. Dhanudhar Swami is another violent child abuser who we now know Braja Bihari fought hard to protect, as proven in the above email.
If ISKCON is to be taken seriously for its alleged ‘Zero Tolerance‘ of child abuse, then it must act responsibly and enforce its own laws and statements in relationship to child abuse. For example under:
GBC Resolution 119 – 1990 Point 8) — The local GBC man (or men) are directly responsible to implement the measures outlined above. Should the GBC Body find a GBC man or other ISKCON manager responsible for suppressing or covering-up complaints of child abuse, or supporting intimidation of those who might complain, the GBC man shall be open to censure or probation, and the ISKCON manager shall be open to appropriate disciplinary action.
ISKCON is required by its own admission and definition to act to charge and prosecute Braja Bihari for his role in covering-up child abuse and subsequently inflicting immeasurable suffering and emotional trauma not only on the children of ISKCON, but also their families and friends, what to speak of the loss of millions of dollars as a result of the Turley Lawsuit against ISKCON.
The above documented evidence should in itself be enough to enable a full scale investigation into his complicity in child abuse within ISKCON and demonstrate the lengths he is willing to go to in order to protect known criminals at the expense of the victims, the hardworking and sincere devotees of ISKCON and the good name of Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON.
It is not sufficient that Braja Bihari is forced to resign in disgrace or be allowed to resign on his own accord. He must be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of ISKCON Law and censured (excommunicated) from ISKCON for his traitorous and disgraceful role in the violation of our children and the irreparable damage that he has caused to the good name of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada and the thousands of other sincere devotees of our movement.
Your humble servant,
Originally Published: 16th November 2010