Published on May 22nd, 2016 | by Sanaka Rsi dasa

The Cost of Silence — Children of the Hare Krishnas

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The Cost of Silence — Children of the Hare Krishnas is a new film produced by Sanaka dasa who was raised in ISKCON gurukuls in Italy and in India. As a child he witnessed different forms of abuse on a regular basis. Sanaka has dedicated the film to the generations of Hare Krishna children whose suffering has been ignored and silenced. The Cost of Silence was released on the auspicious day of Sri Nrsimha Caturdasi, May 20 2016.

“For you child-worship is more important than Deity worship. If you can not spend time with him then stop the duties of pujari.

“These children are given to us by Krishna, they are Vaisnavas and we must be very careful to protect them.

“Try as far as possible to discipline them with love and affection.” (Srila Prabhupada in 1972 letters to Aniruddha)

In ancient India children were placed in the care of an enlightened teacher, the guru, who was qualified to look after the material, emotional and spiritual development of his students. These schools were known as gurukulas.

Nowadays many believe that child abuse is a dark chapter in the distant past of the Hare Krishna movement and that now there is an effective child protection system in place. Although some progress has been made over the years the current policies are still inadequate.

At present ISKCON does not offer any form of support, assistance or counsel to child abuse victims.

In the Hare Krishna movement political influence and spiritual authority often rest with the same people. This monopoly has created conflicts of interest that have frequently led to a misuse of power. Generally the need to be respectful to these leaders and the sentiments of their followers has been given priority over the need to protect children. This in turn has fostered an environment where accountability has been problematic and children have suffered.

Please  SIGN THE PETITION  to register your support for Krishna’s Children

For copies of the DOCUMENTS and HISTORIC REFERENCES mentioned in the film please goto WWW.KRISHNACHILDREN.COM

Please read the complete article at: http://harekrishnas.org/the-cost-of-silence-about-child-abuse-in-iskcon-hare-krishna-gurukul-boarding-schools/

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24 Responses to The Cost of Silence — Children of the Hare Krishnas

  1. Jaggy says:

    Basicly speaking I can not say anything about child abuse in Iskcon.
    I know a little about Iskcon gbc politics, one devotee “guru”
    finished his life as a devotee in mental hospitalization.
    10 years later he reestablished some kind of preaching practice and came back as if nothing happend.
    Hearing him preach some kind of impersonal interpretation I decided to post his mental hospitalization facts in Facebook. What was the reaction ? I was the “offender” – anyways this kind childish reaction was very annoying for me but anyway I had to clarify and tolerate it. Similar things might happen when it comes to child abuse.

  2. Abhishek Bhardwaj says:

    Well it was a normal culture when I was studying in my school to beat the kids who were not good at studies. In India up-to 2008 school kids use to get this type of punishment . these type of punishments were common and we never knew that it is termed in western countries as child abuse. —- I guess this documentary has too much western influence of looking at things. Sexual allegations are serious but punishing kids in the Gurukul was a common thing in India and we students and our parents feel normal about it and this turned us into a discipline human beings. But now even in our system punishing kids in school is a crime — this came from western society— it came same way as coke and pepsi came— This documentary only represents single point of view…, Hare Krishna

  3. Profulla Thakur says:

    Mayapur Child Protection Team has been formed to protect the children

  4. Abhinav Tyagi says:

    Hare Krsna Prabhuji
    Kindly accept my humble obeisance.
    First I want to say that kindly forgive any offense I make in my further sayings as I am not much experienced and trained in Vaishnava etiquette.
    Prabhuji I agree to your point, that child protection from any kind of abuse should be immediately stopped and there should be proper active channel to address such issues promptly.
    I want to take your attention towards a different but important aspect of the problem, i.e. Cause.
    Despite of being a regular chanter from years, honoring Krishna Prasadam, hearing and reading scriptures, attending classes, what went wrong that people commit such abominable mistakes?
    This is a question coming up again and again in mind. I therefore request you to try to find and share an answer.
    As per my little knowledge our activities depends on our daily inputs whether by seeing, eating, listening, reading, associating and these all activities are pure in KC movement.
    Still all this is going on.
    And despite all of your efforts to stop it you have gained almost nothing in return except some hatred in your heart for sinner, and hatred from the people whom you are accusing.
    “Hate the sin, not the sinner” This is a quote I hear many times from my counselor. He often says to depend on prayers, doesn’t matter if the problem is easy or hard to crack, what matters is how much we depend on Krishna that, we are tiny jivas with negligible power and we are unable to stop any wrongdoings but He is all powerful and is DeenaNath and Bhakta-Vatsal and no matter what he listens and protects his devotees, once one surrenders unto him, We should keep in mind the Krishna helped Draupadi when she held her both hands up, before that, he was waiting for her to take shelter unto him.
    We must also keep faith that whatever going on is sanctioned by him, that doesn’t mean in any way that we should bear these wrongdoings silently. That only means that he has complete control and power with him to change it, so we should depend more on prayers.
    By the amount of concern you have shown, I believe that you are praying for the suffering souls, I would also like to suggest to pray for the peoples involved in the act, if someone has a disease and is not willing to take medicines than prayers for him is only solution I propose.
    We should try to find the cause and cut that off. May that be lack of proper sadhana, lack of love in their lives, proper enlightenment, whatever it may be.
    We should pray to Srila Prabhupada that ‘we being his servants are unable to help his institution (ISKCON) but we sincerely want to, kindly make arrangements, do what so ever you like, you know better than me’.
    Prabhuji I deeply feel alarmed with the situations you describe like sexual harassment but somethings like hitting a child, I personally don’t feel that wrong if it is appropriate. As far I know this has been the culture of gurukuls that Gurus may hit their students if needed. We get some instances of same in various pastimes, even Mother Yashoda used to do that with Krishna… Running behind him with a stick to hit him, remember the Damodar Lila. And in India as far I can say it has been a culture to give mild punishments to students like a slap, or hitting with stick on palms etc., if things are not getting under control by mere telling or scolding them.
    But still I feel teachers should also depend on prayers more and they should be self-exemplary so that a student learns by seeing.
    A proper training to Staff of Gurukul, from menial staff to directors and principals, everyone should go under a proper training on how to deal with child and how to deal with different scenarios. This can be an option to gain trust in them. Basic things like CCTV can also be used in order to have a proper proof to put on while investigation.
    Everyone including students, teachers, and managerial staff on a personal level have a freedom to raise their concern and they should do so, with proper understanding of the situation.
    As my Counselor say that being something can be a big task but maintaining that is bigger, and many do fail in such attempts sometimes badly. But we must have a heart with concern and compassion on condition of those who commit such things despite knowing spiritual matters and the result of such things. Still if they are unable to control themselves than it shows how tightly they are shackled in Maya’s chains. Fallen souls are first candidates of mercy.
    I am sorry for such big note and I also apologize again if anything offends you, and I apologize for trying to teach a Vaishnava much more experienced then a fool like me. I hope you will not take any offence.

    • These people who abuse children in the guise of devotees are demons, not devotees.

      Problem is in Kali-yuga there are many demons in the dress of devotees. They are not devotees. They are demons. And ISKCON is full of such demons in the dress of devotees. That is why the child abuse goes on constantly and all the “big devotees” know and do nothing to stop it. It is because they are demons in the dress of devotees. That is the reason.

      • Sasi says:

        Hare Krishna prabhu

        What is the reason for their suffering prabhu?Acharya said if he is unable to spend time with them stop the acts of pujari.He valued them so much.They suffered very heavily in body and mind.Somewhere u told it is not karma.Then what is the cause?What is the guarantee that some of them who were unable to complete KC in this life and if they get treated like this in their next life?

        If u can shed some light then it may be useful to others also..

        Your servant

        • Hare Krishna Sasi

          Generally speaking suffering is caused by the reactions to our past sinful activities.

          However, Krishna consciousness is supposed to be transcendental to Karma. In ISKCON there are supposed to be standards and regulative principles. In ISKCON illicit sex and what to speak of sex with children is supposed to be forbidden. Instead they establish these schools and the leaders knowingly staff them with pedophiles. Every leader in ISKCON knows what goes on in ISKCON schools but no one says anything about it.

          This is the business of demons. They get innocent devotee children together and attack them like this. The children are supposed to be being trained up as devotees of Krishna, instead in ISKCON schools they are trained up as sex slaves. And the ISKCON leadership knows this. It was exposed years ago and they did not stop it, just forgave all the pedophiles and gave them big positions with the children again. Now it is exposed again. But don’t expect ISKCON to stop it. That is they way they work. It is demonic.

          The demonic mentality is to destroy the devotees. So what better way to destroy the devotees than to have pedophiles molest them in the gurukul? So this is the fault of the demonic ISKCON management and the demons they appoint to look after the children.

          It is not that it was Prahlada’s karma that he be tortured by his father Hiranyakasipu. No. Hiranyakasipu was a demon and Prahlada was a pure devotee. So Hiranyakasipu tortured his son Prahlada, because that is what demons do, they torture the devotees…

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

          • Sasi says:

            Thanks for taking ur time in answering

            Your servant

  5. mo emblem says:

    Thank you for showing such courage in this enormous problem, it is world wide in fact but what a pity it is also taking place in Prabhuparda’s noble movement. Degrading behaviour whilst pretending to love God and help others is extremely detrimental to all those honest and true devotees.

    I sincerely hope your efforts will bring some sort of relief to the victims, because of these perverted self centred perpetrators of innocence, these childrens lives are scarred by the trusted authorities.

    Its not an easy subject to encounter because it does hide in dark corners and these bad men support each other in wrong doing.

  6. The film is an understatement of the problem. What has happened to Srila Prabhupada’s movement? Any caring person who finds out about these things will be forced to practice Krishna consciousness privately, if they can even get past the idea that so-called devotees can do these things to innocent children or not punish the perpetrators. The way the GBC have consistently refused to prosecute the perps makes them look like raksasas. They can’t be sincere devotees.

    Perhaps someone can help me find a place to post my personal account regarding finding out about pedophilia at a temple I was temple president at. The events had been denied and covered up by previous authorities. This was at Mt. Kailasa farm in northern California. The abuse occurred around 1979 for about 8 young boys, and I was president after 1986 when the farm was being sued. I attended the deposition of one of the boys. The so-called guru had sent the perp to India to avoid criminal prosecution and said repeatedly that the incidents had not occurred.

  7. KRW says:

    It is long overdue that the leaders of ISKCON removed all predators and pedophiles and sexually promiscuous teachers, guru’s and devotee’s from the society of devotee’s forever. Their sexual preference is children, and that will never change, just like you can’t make someone gay – straight… Or someone straight – gay. They will never change. For people like Radanatha, and Jayapataka to protect, and give position and allow prestige and worship to go towards any of these perpetrators of evil, means they are karmically involved and responsible after death for what happens to all children who are abused, and any disciples who take initiation from bogus false guru’s like them, their awful karma, goes on the heads of these awful pretenders after death. So be it! You are ruining what Prabhupada worked tirelessly to create….. ” the demons have infiltrated our movement” …. So REMOVE THEM or suffer the consequences in the after life.

  8. Hitesh Kiri says:

    What has occurred has no reflection on Srila Prabhupada and the message of Krishna Consciousness as presented by Srila Prabhupada.
    Srila Prabhupada and his teaching came in disciplic-succession. The teachings did not and do not advocate in any way, these type of abominable actions or parent absenteeism. Teachings are there to become God Conscious.
    The Individuals and Perpetrators, of these ungodly acts are accountable, they are under Material Influence and their Senses, driven by Lust. These perpetrators are not Krishna Consciousness, but simply making a ‘show of it’, they are ‘power crazy’ and think they are ‘untouchable’ or can ‘hide’. The truth will always prevail.

  9. Harish says:

    Say no to GBC Srila Prabhupada is the sole Diksha Guru

  10. Caksu das says:

    The way the child abuse issue is dealt with shows the real level of culture of a society.
    In Iskcon its an insult to the endeavor of every single devotee. Those leaders who support to cover up the perpetrators degrade Iskcon to a mere sect.
    This behavior is on the level of meat eating and weakens the whole Iskcon movement.
    How can we wholeheartedly spread the message of Srila Prabhupada with such a demoniac undercurrent?

  11. Srila Prabhupada, in 1970 (the DOM) and again in 1977 (the July 9th letter), set up an almost foolproof system of checks and balances within ISKCON. It’s not his fault if his former “drug addicted hippie” leaders, with their LSD addled brains, refuse to follow his orders because of their obvious madness. Even a karmi child can understand that an organization who’s leaders are former drug crazed hippies who now think that they are “gurus like Jesus” does not bode well for the sanity of that organization.

    This is why women and children are still being abused within ISKCON, and why the ISKCON leaders are powerless to do anything about it. Srila Prabhupada ordered, in the form of a signed, legal document (the DOM), that the GBC men must be voted on/off the GBC by the temple presidents every 3 years. The trouble is, this was never followed. In effect, the ISKCON leaders have cut their own throats by this gross insubordination and resultant lack of accountability!

  12. Ethel Pepper says:

    You know it might not be such a bad idea to introduce day schools. It might not be a good idea to submit your kids to people that consider them as enjoyable objects, It might be better to have the teacher do what has to be done and then handed over to the parents who love them.

  13. Zane Ivy says:

    I sincerely hope that your documentary helps to improve the lot of the children and the ISKCON movement. May it also inspire some within the leadership to bring in outside help for training in classroom management, school management, conflict resolution, etc.

  14. Melinda Moore says:

    Thank you for continuing to expose the abusers in Iskcon. This problem has been the pivotal issue that has kept me from fully committing to following this path. I understand that Prabhupada’s hands are clean and that it occurred without his direct knowledge, but I still have doubts because, as a pure devotee, I would have expected him to have been aware of the character of these people through his advanced consciousness. Also, when he was told of these things, I wish he had ‘held the presses’ and raised holy heck until the perpetrators were removed permanently from Iskcon. I understand that his advanced age and overwhelming responsibilities must have limited his ability to oversee everything and thus he necessarily had to rely on others to manage different aspects of Iskcon. But it still hangs like a dark cloud and continues to leave a seed of doubt as to the overall credibility of the entire movement and, by extension, the credibility of Prabhuada. I mean no disrespect to Prabhupada at all, but until someone can offer an explanation as to how this could have gotten so out of control under his authority, I fear I won’t be able to ever feel good enough about the Krishna Consciousness movement to fully commit and accept it as a valid path to God. I would very much appreciate any insights that would help me see this in a clearer light.
    Thank you.

    • These things only started on a large scale when Srila Prabhupada left our material vision in 1977. Before that Srila Prabhupada was keeping it under control. Whenever there was any hint of this he would stamp it out. But once he left the demons went crazy with the kids. And in ISKCON they still are doing it today.

      • Melinda Moore says:

        Thank you for clarifying. Your direct and succinct answer is helpful. I very much appreciate your strict adherence to the path Prabhupada set forth which leaves no room for deviation. I know that I can believe what you say is true based on that. Again, thank you.

      • Melinda Moore says:

        Dear Madhudvisa dasa,

        Thank you for your response. I always trust you because you never deviate from Prabhupada’s teachings. You’ve helped me see this in a different light.

        Thank you!
        Melinda

      • Melinda Moore says:

        Dear Madhudvisa dasa,
        Thank you for your response. I always trust you because you never deviate from Prabhupada’s teachings. You’ve helped me see this in a different light.
        Thank you!
        Melinda

    • Caksu das says:

      This issue and how it is dealt with degrades Iskcon to a sect – a mere vanity fair.
      Its an insult to the wonderful endeavor of every single devotee in this movement.



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