The Legacy of ISKCON Gurukulas

BY: A GURUKULA ALUMNI

Sep 21, USA (SUN) — Dear ISKCON Devotees, after reading the many letters about the problems with the Gurukulas in ISKCON, such as this one, I felt that I had to speak up.

For too many years the girls of the ISKCON Gurukulas have remained silent. I have often wondered why have we remained silent and not spoken up? The Hare Krishna Movement purports to be an enlightened movement, which is kind and compassionate to all living entities. It now claims to be a modern movement which is tolerant of the concerns of the minorities within its ranks. Yet somehow through this struggle to free itself from what some devotees view as the shackles of the past, it has overlooked the little girls of ISKCON.

ISKCON even has a Womanís Ministry, an International Child Protection Office and has instituted conflict dispute procedures in the form of ISKCON Resolve, but despite all the hard work and best intentions of the devotees involved, it has failed to protect the little girls of its past and present. I say this with due respect to the fact they have also failed to properly protect their boys.

I do understand the predicament of the boys of our movement and my heart goes out to them all, yet as a girl in ISKCON I saw from a different angle. Boys always find ways to express their hurt and suffering but as a girl, I find that it's easier to keep it all in. Like a girl, I pray for someone to come and save me, protect me. But this never happened. No one came to my rescue.

Yet I can see that they have not failed to rescue and protect themselves. In designing and implementing programs to protect themselves they have excelled par excellence, in a highly professional and thorough manner.

When I think back on those years in Lake Huntington Gurukula and how the teachers, and especially Laxmimoni mataji, were so cruel and vicious to us, it still makes me scared and upset. How many times have I cried for the little girl that I was...? I remember being so scared, sad and lonely; I cannot remember how many tears have I shed for my stolen childhood? How my adult life has been tainted with this pain and hurt. How I look upon my own daughter and how I take refuge in the knowledge that I will never allow any ISKCON devotee anywhere near her!

After reading the letters by Jaya Kesava and other devotees I logged on to the ISKCON Education website and observed how effectively the ISKCON Principals and Teachers have protected themselves.

When my eyes fell upon the face of Laksmimoni, shock and a deep sense of grief welled up inside my heart. After seeing her there I took this matter further, discovering that she now holds many highly respected and senior positions in ISKCON:

    1. GBC Nominations Committee Member
    2. Board of Examinations Member
    3. Vaisnavi Ministry Member
    4. ISKCON Resolve Secretary
    5. Executive Member ISKCON Ministry for Educational Development
    6. Dean of Students & Lecturer for the Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium.

I remember only too well Laxmimoniís face as she screamed at us, calling us prostitutes. When I see little girls playing the very same age that I was in the Gurukula, I cannot understand what kind of person, what kind of woman or mother, could push a little seven year old girl's face into her stool soiled panties and rub her face into her own stool?

This may sound disgusting and horrific to all you ISKCON devotees reading this, but please also know that when one does this to a puppy it is rarely done with the hate and rage that Laxmimoni did what she did to us. I remember being locked in a terribly cold room for the whole night. Then there were the times I was sent out in the freezing cold weather to chant my rounds as punishment! To this very day I cannot chant Hare Krishna, no matter how much I love Krishna!

Even to this very day, I lucidly remember Laxmimoni forcing me to eat prasadam that was days old and when I vomited at the smell of it, she forced me to eat my own vomit. There are other things that I witnessed and had done to me that I will not mention here. Not all of what happened to me do I remember, either. I know that I have a long way to go in my healing but I can tell you that seeing that Laxmimoni is not only being protected for her crimes, by ISKCON, she is being flaunted at us girls like a hideous taunt from our childhood nightmares. This I sincerely disclose to you has not made my life better. The utter helplessness that I feel is now worse than ever.

Yes my dear devotees of Krishna, this Laxmimoni is the very same woman that you hold up so high in your esteem.

How can Laxmimoni be a member of the Vaisnavi Ministry? How can she be qualified to protect women and girls? She has no history of this! Not amongst the girls who she abused, that is for sure.

What is more disturbing is that she herself has no sense of guilt or remorse what to speak of shame for who she is. Please know that it is not a case of what she has done, it is more the case of what kind of person is she, to be able to terrorise little girls like that and then go on as if she is a pure devotee and take on the most senior positions within educational facilities.

You in ISKCON have created all these Ministries and Agencies that have nothing to do with what they purport to be or to represent. Even though I have not been in contact with the movement for many years, in one simple day of research I see that the same devotees who have caused so much suffering and problems in your society are still all working together. How can you not see this? How blind and/or ignorant do you have to be?

The names that I found that are working together supporting all the wrong people are as follows: Laxsmimoni, Braja Bihari das, Sesa das. I have no idea of who this Braja Bihari or Sesa are, but I can see that they are all working closely together.

When I asked about Laxmimoni and her connection with any Gurukula, I have heard that she was up until recently a Principal of a girls Gurukula in Alachua. Although what I have heard are unsubstantiated rumours, they have some ring of truth to them. The talk is that something happened at her school that forced its hurried and quiet closure. The girls are silent, but that is typical of girls.

I hear that the property was sold and half the money was given to Laxmimoni and the other half to her offsider as a pension plan. The fact that a major Girls Gurukula was shut down and hardly caused a murmur in ISKCON is reason to doubt that this was an above-board decision. It smacks of the very same corruption that has been the trademark of ISKCON for over thirty years. The silence of the GBC and the girls screams in my ears.

If ISKCON leaves the protection of its children to the very same devotees who have ruined them, they will never be taken seriously by anyone outside the institution. It is evident that even inside, ISKCON devotees do not attribute the GBC and its various Departments with any respect or confidence.

For some reason unknown to an intelligent or enlightened soul, ISKCON seems to believe that its Criminal Elite are beyond the reach of cognizance, culpability or accountability.

Like fairytale Princesses and Princes, they think that they can hide behind their castle walls and remain undetected and unaccountable for their most terrible and heinous sins. If in one day of research I can see them, how many others can and will see them for what they are.

In the tradition that Jaya Kesava has set, I also lend myself to the call for the resignation of Laxmimoni, Braja Bihari and Sesa das.

I would imagine that more names will be added to this list when the girls of ISKCON find their collective voice! I know I am not the first girl of ISKCON to speak up, but I sincerely hope and pray that more girls will speak up, for it is the only way that we will fully heal. For too long have we remained silent and suffered from, shame and fear.

We are letting them have the power over us. We must remember that we are no longer girls now, but women, and they are only a handful of people claiming to be devotees! However, verily these are no devotees of Krishna, they are demons in the guise of devotees and we must find our collective voice and tell our stories and heal. This is our time, now not theirs. Their time and power is over.

Gurukula Alumini



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