Published on April 17th, 2002 | by1
No More Kirtan
My name is Krishna-das. I went to several gurukulas, South Africa, Mayapura and Mauritius to name a few. I went through the same torture, neglect and abuse as the gurukulis who’ve taken suit against ISKCON. I often question myself as to why I still think myself to be an ISKCON devotee. After everything that this movement has put me through, (after it has raped my parents of their youth.
How could I join a law suit against ISKCON, a society my parents struggled to build and something that is as much a part of me as the air I breath? Today I realized why I should join this suit. It isn’t ISKCON!
In Toronto we have a small community of gurukulis. Over the past few years we’ve been growing, ever so slowly. We go for mangala arati on the weekends. We lead far out kirtanas. Infact so outrageous that we’re still sore a week after. Recently we’ve even started a Food For Life program. We purchase all of our own groceries. We prepare it all and go out and distribute it ourselves. It’s wonderful!
Our Sunday feast kirtanas in Toronto are led according to schedule. We know who will be singing as much as two months in advance. There are devotees here who specially mark their calendars eagerly awaiting our rocking kirtanas. Infact prior to our involvement I remember going for a mangala arati where even the kirtana leader himself fell asleep. Now no one in the temple can sleep when we are there, it’s so ecstatic.
But as with any success there are always envious people who will try to drag you down as a means of bettering themselves. It is a shame when they are the very people who should be protecting and supporting our efforts in spiritual advancement, our temple board. Today my heart was ripped in half as I saw one of our gurukulis forbidden from leading kirtana. This is a person who’s had so much trouble growing up in our movement. He struggled through our Mayapura gurukula. He went through some real rough times and is now on a spiritual rebound. He’s trying to better himself materially and spiritually. He was even in the process of organizing mridanga classes for our temple children. He’s one of our best kirtana leaders. But because one of the temple collectors doesn’t like his fashion sense he has been asked to stop leading kirtana.
Moments before the sandya arati he was pulled aside (he was wearing a dhoti and t-shirt with the picture of his guru on it) and told that he could not sing till further notice. When asked why, he was told that it was because he occasionally wears tank top shirts with his dhoti when he sings. “They are to revealing, inappropriate for temple dress.” By this logic Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was indecently exposing himself as he performed His Nama Sankirtana in the streets of Navadvipa Dhama wearing dhoti and chadar. I’m assuming that there must be more reason to this, but every board member we talked to referred us to another. Apparently our GBC was even involved in this decision.
This is ludicrous! We have become an organization powered by money, not Sastra or even human goodness. ISKCON is a business. It’s all a show! Whom ever brings in the money makes the decisions. This is depriving one of our gurukula youths of the opportunity to perform a service he has trained his whole life to perform. Have our temple authorities become modern day Chand Kazi’s?
Kirtana is what kept me away from suing ISKCON. Today I have finally come to the realization that what all my friends saw so long ago is true. If there are any of you reading this whom are on the Turley suit against ISKCON, please let me know how I can join and or what I can do to help. To those of you whom are waiting for that last straw to break your back, join up. Waiting only prolongs the suffering.
The faster our temples are dissolved the sooner Lord Chaitanya’s mission can continue clear of this impurity we call ISKCON.