Open Letter to the GBC Regarding the Assault of a Devotee By Ravindra Svarupa Dasa
Posted July 10, 2012
Note from Chakra staff: Chakra respectfully invites Ravindra Svarupa prabhu to respond to these allegations.
With deep regret and after much deliberation, I must sadly report the viscious attack of a female devotee by Ravindra Svarupa dasa. The incident occured over a month ago and I was personally informed of the attack by the victim. Several other congregants were also informed of the attack by the victim. He has also "bragged" about the incident to several others, which is, in itself, deeply disturbing and suggests severe moral and ethical degredation. The devotee was assaulted in the pujari room as she was about to perform deity service.
The devotee was running late for the offering and Ravindra Svarupa dasa verbally attacked her, screaming at her she was a terrible and offensive devotee and then violently kicked her in her buttocks. The victim has been obviously terrified. I and several other senior devotees have been working to help her. But after lengthy discussions and soul searching, we feel that the only way to address the issue is to make it public.
We are demanding the immediate resignation of Ravindra Svarupa dasa from all positions of authority within ISKCON in accordance to ISKCON's zero tolerance abuse policy. This is obviously a severe abuse of power, especially considering that the devotee is one of his disciples. As a professional educator, I have a professional duty to report all incidences of abuse. If this were to happen at my job, he would be arrested, fired and promptly sued. I feel that not only should Ravindra Svarupa be subjected to the same level of accountablity as any one else, but being in a position of spiritual leadership makes the incident even worse. I am also planning on contacting the police as well as social services.
This incident has weighed heavily on my heart. Being an initiated disciple of Ravindra Svarupa makes this letter even harder to write. I have, unfortunately, witnessed many examples of abuse of power by Ravindra Svarupa throughout my years of association. I do not believe in anyway that this incident or any others represent the character of a balanced person what to speak about the actions of a Vaishnava Guru. I am writing this letter publicly to induce the GBC to act appropriately, swiftly and thoroughly, especially considering ISKCON's previous problems of abuse. The handling of this incident is being watched carefully by other senior devotees as well and I am also willing to report this incident to the general press. Nothing less than his immediate resignation and removal from ISKCON leadership and properties will be accepted.
I am also writing this letter to inform my dear Godbrothers and Godsisters. I feel they have a right to know about this incident and have the right to make up their own minds about how to personally deal with it. I am also writing this letter to as a personal plea to the devotee community to help this individual victim. She is an amazing devotee and absolutely does not deserve to be treated like this. She is living in total fear of retribution and has been systematically harassed and threatened with being thrown out. Being a full time servant of Krishna, she has very little material resources and I am imploring the communtiy of devotees to help her.
I am praying that the Lord will touch Ravindra Svarupa's heart and reveal to him the need of total repentence and contrition. The fact that he gloated about the incident is so horrifying to me and suggests severe mental problems. I have personally forgiven him for the horrible things he perpetrated against me. The subject of these actions are outside the scope of this letter. One of the hardest things is to forgive someone who doesn't feel bad about what they have done. I believe that once the Lord reveals the heaviness of the material world alongside His own Maginficence and Glory, it is easy to see how anyone could do anything. Especially considering when power, money and prestige are involved. We are all ultimately "victims" of the material energy and those who transgress the Laws of Nature and God unfortunately suffer more personally than any suffering they cause others. I believe that everyone, what to speak of Srila Prabhupada's disciples, are there to teach us what to do and also what NOT to do. Unfortunately, Ravindra Svarupa dasa has chosen to teach me the heart wrenching lessons of the latter.
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