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September 5, 2000   VNN6206   Related VNN StoriesComment on this storyAbout the AuthorOther Stories by this Author

Nirmala Has Stolen My Day In Court


BY RAGHUNATHA ANUDASA

USA, Sep 5 (VNN) — Letter To Turley--Nirmal Stole My Day In Court

Nirmala Has Stolen My Day In Court Prabhupada vs. Jagadish

Most of you have heard about the lawsuit filed against ISKCON by the Turley Law firm. The following is a petition I'm circulating to send him. The reasons for this petition are given below in my letter to Turley. I will include your responses to him on this matter unless otherwise requested not to.

To: Mr. Turley
640 North Central Expressway Suite 1000
Dallas, Texas 75206

Raghunatha Anudasa
PO box 1108
Hilo HI 96721
323 696 4727

Nirmala Has Stolen My Day In Court
Prabhupada vs. Jagadish

Dear Mr. Turley,

I was ready to join the lawsuit. Then I met Nirmala Chandra, Mr. Hickey. And I saw his Dad, Jagadish, the ex minister of education. No one in the last 5 years has been more abusive with me then Nirmala was in 20 minutes.

Nirmala was furious because I have been rallying my guru-kula friends to join the lawsuit so we may use our portion of the settlement to buy back the temples of our choice. To many guru-kulis like myself, there is no sweeter justice then winning the beautiful temples of our childhoods from the hands of the monsters who tortured us.

If justice for the victims is the issue at stake in this case, then our interest in these temples is as legitimate as those who wish to have the cash. It maybe more legitimate then demanding cash, for the temples are the spoils of our enemies--abusers.

There's something even more pressing. Temples provide shelter to hundreds of women and children as their only room and board in addition to offering them a religious and cultural center. Temples offer parents an instant community for their kids in an age otherwise deprived of community. How can I live at the expense of innocent women and children in the name of some cause. This is exactly what was done to me and my friends and Mata, Mother, when I was a boy. I must give these innocent dependents the consideration otherwise taken from me as a child or else, I perpetuate the heartlessness of my abusers crimes.

Then we have Nirmala: "I don't care what other guru-kulis want." If 2,000 guru-kulis wanted the temples while he remained the only one who did not, so what. It makes no difference to him.

For Nirmala, this case has little to do with guru-kulis, their abuse and their justice. This case is about Nirmala. Nirmala was your first contact and so it appears that Nirmala has set the tone, the agenda and the priorities of this case. Nirmala has turned our cause into a case about Nirmala's personal prejudices against Indian culture.

Nirmala Chandra considers everyone a deviant should they have any affections for the charms of India; Indian culture, Indian religion or anyone even lightly associated with them. You see, Nirmala's hatred is not for ISKCON and Prabhupada per say so much as it is for anything Indian.

Nirmala and Siddhababa, Ben, said as much. They beat up on me because I happen to love India. The country can be demanding on the best of us but when you see things as the Taj Mahala or the Himalayas or South India, its beyond compare. I love Indian culture. Hands down, they have some of the world's best vegetarian cooking, some of the most exotic music, dance, fashion and antiquity. I have found direction from its spiritual teachings and a great deal of solace from many of its practices such as yoga, meditation and devotion. This makes me nothing less then an enemy to Nirmala.

Nirmala has successfully ostracized a number of abused victims like myself from joining while making many others who are on the lawsuit feeling unsettled at best. Nirmala has taken an issue of justice so important to thousands of other guru-kulis and turned it into a case about his agenda, not ours.

I can take a poll should you care to see how true this is. I will circulate this letter to my other friends to get specific names and numbers of gurukulis who feel the same.

Why, out of a thousand or even two thousand abused children, have hardly 40 signed on after a year with another 50 or so only now considering? In one word-Nirmal. He insists on going after a culture most guru-kulis have respect for and as often, a great deal of affection.

Here lies the problem. Nirmala is compromising my simple case of child abuse by his hatred of anything remotely associated with Indian culture. It may only be a building once used by those who partook in Indian traditions. He hates such a building. Anyone who could want such a building must also be virulently condemned. He harshly berates such guru-kulis. Constantly.

The bigotry of this radical stand provides a great deal of leeway for the abusers of my childhood. They can legally maneuver their crimes into the mantle of India's glory. That is the last excuse I want these criminals to use in their defense. They will hold up the legitimacy of India, Indian culture and the rights of religion to hide their abuses. I will fight them-anyone--to keep them from hiding there.

Their crimes have nothing to do with India, its people or its culture just as it has nothing to do with religion, one's right to practice it or the US Constitution. It's much like the witch-hunts that killed millions of women. It has little to do with the bible or true Christianity. To have a case that says as much give these abusers little room to hide. I want them to face the full fury of their guilt. Anything less would not be true justice.

Walking out of Nirmala's house left me reeling. I was feeling Nirmala was playing right into the hands of the abusers by radicalizing our legitimate case of child abuse. I felt demoralized, disgusted and hurt. Very hurt.

See it from my eyes. Here's Nirmala chandra. Nirmala was given VIP treatment as the son of the Minister of Education. Where was his abuse while I was being systematically tortured in every possible way under the stewardship of his father?

I had to watch year after year after year as Nirmala was exempted from most every abusive teacher and practice while I was subjected to its harshest as the movements oldest, longest standing and most 'troubled' child. I was the one made to bare the beatings, the starvation in the name of discipline, the one left locked in cold showers for days in winter and sexually abused while he remained sheltered under his father's position and influence.

And now today, I have to again see Nirmala, but this time, he provides safe haven to his father under the cause of my abuse by his father.

Nirmala has taken the abuse of me and my friends and used it for his cause of hatred of Indian culture and protection for his dad.

I now have to listen to Nirmala tell me that his father, Jagadish, is innocent.

No matter that his dad knew of my abuses.

No matter that Jagadish knew of all the abuses of all my friends throughout the world since the very beginning. No one knew as much, about so many. A secret his dad carried with poise for more then a quarter century.

No matter that his dad crafted the policies of abuse, promoted them more then any other and then instituted them throughout more schools then all others combined.

No matter that Jagadhish spent decades justifying them. He was not a 20 something hothead youth. He knew better or should have after 30 years, 2,000 students and as a mature man of 50.

No matter that Jagadish hid the crimes and aggressively defended the abusers to other GBC leaders, parents and devotees at large. When these criminals could no longer find amnesty in one of his schools, he arranged for their transfer. It was not other leaders, but Jagadhish. Jagadish sent them to other schools under his guardianship. He did so without informing the leaders of those places what to speak of parents. His 'teachers' again abused children, but did so more aggressively the second time around. The teachers ended up abusing the children of the local leaders. This was Jagadish's doing, not the leaders whose children where abused by his teachers.

No matter that all of this was done exclusively with the money collected and provided by my mother or other parents bullied by him to hand us over to his 'protection.' Guru-kula was his cash cow. That's how he made his money. That was his living. My dear Mata, Mother, alone gave him up to a quarter of million dollars. Money that was supposes to go to guru-kula. It was suppose to go to me and my friends. I was the last to get the benefits of her money while he was always the first. The money covered his many tickets and those of his children. My Mata's money went to Jagadish's VIP privileges from specially furnished quarters and vehicles, to good medical care and his own cook for meals not allowed other devotees, children or me. He could have at least shared some with me. It was my Mata that sent him the tens of thousands of dollars every month for years. Nope. That was his decision. No one else's.

No matter that Jagadish perpetrated these crimes using the powers vested in and taken from the comforts of the very highest office the society had to offer on any given year. He did so till his very last day. He happily enjoyed the luxury afforded his office and continuously employed the full power of his post as Minister of Education. He did so as one of the select few members of the GBC. He again did so as a sanyasi priest before moving onto the highest position of all, that as venerable guru. The post of guru comes with nothing short then all the honors bestowed upon Christ himself.

Each of these positions Jagadish returned to after having left them and the society for months at a time. Jagadish would leave every 3 or 4 years and did so for most of his entire 30 years he was a leader in ISKCON. His conflicts remained severe and for good reason. Yet, he always returned. That was his choice. He remains the only person in the history of the whole society to have been reinstated so many times. He has always been privileged more then most anyone in the movement much as Nirmala has been privileged more then most any other child in our guru-kula schools.

No matter that Nirmala was protected by his dad's post throughout the decades of his dad's reign while I suffered horribly at his father's hands. Nirmala some how feels the right to tell me his dad is suddenly innocent. Not tell me, but to berate me publicly when I come in respect and good will for his birthday party.

Abuses of other guru-kulis in the cause of justice are no different then the teachers abuse of guru-kulis done in the name of religion. Let's not become the monsters we so disdain.

Never till this day have I spoken an ill word against Jagadish. Not in 35 years. I started the newsletters that exposed the abuses of the guru-kula schools and its teachers when devotees considered such material blasphemous and when other guru-kulis wanted nothing to do with guru-kula past. I managed to interest both parties leading to the guru-kula reunions, which I also started, and the reform movements against child abuse in ISKCON. Yet after hundreds of pages of such a newsletter and thousands of letters of correspondence on the subject, I avoided condemning Jagadish. I did so out of respect for what seemed to be his genuine remorse for these abuses.

But, I ask you; what am I to do? Nirmal now mercilessly attacks me for not joining him in blaming Prabhupada. Jagadish, meanwhile, sits by mutely knowing full well how he beat me, how he had others beat me severely and that it was Prabhupada who stepped in on my behalf to have a teacher, Jitaparan, thrown out when informed by Bhagaji of his beating me. Beatings Jitaparana did for years with Jagadish's knowledge and support. Only when brought to Prabhupada's attention was Jitaparana asked to leave. Jitaparana was gone the very next morning.

One of the only times Prabhupada uses the word "beat" was after nearly a half hour of prodding from the teachers. It's a revealing conversation because Prabhupada recommends a series of other options for disciplining a child. Prabhupada covers everything from finding the child a different engagement, another place or an entirely new setting like a farm. Finally, Prabhupada recommends the Hydrabad farm. The teachers will not hear of it. They insist there is no other way but corporal punishment. They again press Prabhupada. Who leads this charge? Jagadish. Prabhupada goes on about 10 times, 'have the boy transferred' and as many times, Jagadish pushes for beating the boy. Count them when I send you a copy of this discussion. This conversation was very much like Jagadish in Dallas years before; prodding Prabhupada into his idea of child rearing.

Who is leading who? Was it Prabhupada's policies or those imposed upon him by Jagadish? You will find this same scenario played out time and again when it came to Prabhupada and the GBC.

Prabhupada told Rameswara to return Robin Goerge to her parents. Rameswara instead hid her, shuffling her from temple to temple and implicating each of those temples in the court case her parents later filed against ISKCON. ISKCON lost millions. Who's responsible, Prabhupada or Rameswara and the many others who also hid her?

Here's Prabhuapda, an 80-year-old man, being told by his most senior men and most senior teachers what was needed-to "beat." These teachers had been taking care of the kids' day in and day out since the beginning of guru-kula: Rupa Vilasa, Dhanur dhara, Yasodananada and most of all Jagadish. Jagadish was one of Prabhupada's most trusted and senior men. Jagadish regularly told Prabhupada what to do as repeatedly demonstrated in their conversations and years of correspondence. I will send copies of this later. Prabhupada finally says 'send this boy away and only then if he is still misbehaving, then you can "beat." Prabhupada follows this up by restating it's better to send this boy away then corporal punishment.

I know the time, place and friend they talked about: Jagaman, Vrindavan India, 76. I think the most pertinent point is that Jagaman had a great time at the Hydrabad farm as Prabhupada suggested. Ask him. Nor was Jagaman ever hit again.

The very fact Jagadish was pressing for permission to "beat" demonstrates that Prabhupada could assume kids were not otherwise hit. Prabhupada could only assume this in degree he could trust Jagadish. Was Jagadish worthy of this trust?

You must read the conversation. Jagadish starts by relating how early he wakes us kids up in the morning: 3:30 am. Prabhupada is surprised. Reading this amazed me for I thought that such an early schedule was on Prabhupada's insistence. Low and behold, it was not. This will surprise most guru-kulis, parents, and even many teachers & leaders. In fact, Prabhupada expresses concern. Prabhupada points out that Mangala arotic is at 5 am. and then asks: Why wake the kids at 3:30 am? Prabhupada ask this several times and as many times Jagadish reassures Prabhupada all is fine.

Prabhupada is similarly amazed and then concerned about the duration of class time 1 hr 45 minutes, the lack of food, the lack of sleep and the lack of play time. Again, just as many times, Jagadish continuously reassures Prabhupada everything is fine. In spite of these reassurance from Jagadish, Prabhupada still presses that class time be reduced by 60%, that there must be breaks, that more meals be added, that the kids get more play time, etc. The conversation personifies the very heart of the issue-Prabhupada vs. Jagadish.

I also know how this conversation played out as policy in Guru-kula. The teachers pressed the point that they needed corporal punishment to keep the rest of us in line. Prabhupada repeatedly dismissed the idea. And that was the result. That conversation marks when the teachers stopped hitting us for the first time in years. They kept their hands off us till Prabhupada's passing.

The teachers instead twisted Prabhupada's later recommendations of using peer pressure to influence the younger. The teachers rallied the bullies to beat up the weaker kids who fell from teacher's grace. Finding this too troublesome, teachers reverted to lining us up in front of a misbehaved student. The teacher then made each of us slap this boy. If the teacher felt the slap was not hard enough, we were made to slap our friend again and again. This was a daily ritual.

Teachers also started working us for hours, denying us meals and locking us in bathrooms for days. This was all done to honor Prabhupada's demand that we not be hit. The teachers reverted to these drastic measures to keep us terrorized without hitting us. The stories go on and on how they distorted "Prabhuapda said" into incredible tortures. This was their doing, not Prabhupada's.

How could a cultured, 80 year old, Bengali gentleman imagine these seemingly smart, mature men, Jagadish, doing such horrible, horrible things? How could anyone of Prabhupada's generation ever imagine atrocities being born of such gentle and simple recommendations? How could anyone imagine?

Jagadish wrote the official guide for all schools in the movement referred to as the Guru-kula Handbook. He wrote this about 15 years after Prabhupada's passing. To my utter disbelief, Jagadish changed Prabhupada's letter to read that children should not live with parents when the letter (like many others) actually reads just the opposite. This was to be a book read by hundreds of teachers and devotees who would certainly catch such a brazen lie. Devotees did catch this lie within months of the books release.

These are but a couple out of hundreds of examples that I can gather from parents and teachers, devotees and leaders. I will send them copies of this letter to get their own first hand recollections of Jagadish. They will relate story after story how Jagadish ignored, strong armed and lied outright about teachers, abuse, students and worse of all: "Prabhupada said."

I have hundreds of pages worth of stories like this about Jagadish and the teachers vs. Prabhupada. I can fill in hundreds more on the GBC vs. Prabhupada. Yet, Nirmala despises me for not joining him in pointing the finger at Prabhupada.

Nirmala has made it simple: 'You are either with us or you are against us.' No middle ground. No pause for consideration. He leaves no possibility that there could ever be another side to this story. If there is, he does not want to hear it. This is the very fanatism I crew-up with. Bigotry under any heading is evil. Pain and suffering of the innocent means nothing in the march of their cause. I will not be part of that even if done in the name of my justice.

How can I join Nirmala's cause against Prabhupada when I know the truth about his father's role in these crimes? I know first hand all his fathers crimes against me. A truth Nirmala knows little about and one he cannot and will not hear. Nirmala cannot afford to hear the truth for it's his family that carries much of the blame. I remained respectful throughout the whole of Nirmala's tirade, but now I must speak.

The final travesty of this whole thing is that Nirmala uses the podium of my abuses, like those of my friends who also suffered at his father's hands, to now shove his lie down my throat. He does so on the very day I was to have justice from my abusers starting with his dad. I feel Nirmala has stolen my day it court. I feel crushed.

It's comparable to a son of Hilter telling Jews that Hitler was innocent. 'You can't blame Hitler. Those mass exterminations are really just an extension of German culture, and the German people.' What bull. It's worse then bull. Such a dreadful lie would be so terrible; it would overshadow all the other crimes of Hilter's entire Third Reich.

The simple truth is that Jagadish over saw the greatest crimes against humanity ever committed in this country in nearly a half century--40 years. He over saw more child abuse then most anyone else in the 'civilized world.' He alone stands as the only common link to most every crime committed in our schools. No one else comes close to being associated with the number of abusers, abuses, places, decades and victims. No one.

Remember; Prabhupada was only around for about 5 years of guru-kula. 2 of them was in resignation due to his failing health. That's just 3 years. Jagadish carried on guru-kula with those schools abuses growing in severity for 2 more decades after Prabhupada's passing. That's nearly a quarter of a century. By then, Jagadish was the high command. Jagadish wrote the book on guru-kula. Jagadish has nowhere else to look but Jagadish.

That guilt cannot be excused, allowed excuses or given safe haven no matter who his son or attorneys wish to implicate. How can anyone but the victims offer immunity to such a man? This is exactly what the GBC did when it came to one of their 'own.' You are repeating the corruption of ISKCON all over again before you've taken your first step. See how easy it is to fall into this trap. To protect Jagadish against our specific request is the final crime to his victims and the ultimate betrayal of justice.

I implore you. Please, don't do this to us. Not you. Please not you. Don't be taken in by this man or his son. All the students, parents and my dear Mata have paid a terrible price for this same mistake. I know the charm of Jagadish's soft spoken and thoughtful manner, the sincerity of cause, the straightforward and self-deprecating style and most of all, the so reasonable justifications for his sorry story. It was this very charm that assuage victims and parents alike and that left leaders and devotees speechless in their fury over the abuses. Worst of all, it made Jagadish's role invisible to the world and to himself. Must I see this same sham repeated on my own day of justice? Please.

There would be no greater travesty then the Man-of-Justice starting this entire case by defending Jagadish and then doing so to me and his other victims. You've found the right case. You are starting with the two worse possible persons: Jagadhish and his son.

Nirmala chandra can only blame his dad and mother for these crimes. These are Nirmamla's only two choices: either blame his parents or blame Prabhupada. It was his father who was there in the background through all these crimes while his mother took the foreground as the societies longest standing and most senior teacher in the world. They set the tone and mood for both teachers and parents. I'm sending a copy of this letter out to parents who can also confirm this point. Still, Nirmala chooses to blame Prabhupada.

Nirmala simply does not know better. He was too young, too sheltered and then left too early to know what was going on with anyone else but himself. He was about 2 when Prabhupada started guru-kula in 72 and hardly more then 6 when Prabhupada passed away in 77. I was a teenager by then. All Nirmala can know is what his dad told him. This is true of most of Nirmala's generation such as Ben. They only know their abuses and what they were told about Prabhupada.

I am one of the few who knows most guru-kulis, who knows about most abuses, who lived in most every school, under most every teacher in the movement back in the day and experienced them under the different GBC administrations. I'm probably the world's longest standing guru-kuli still active in the movement and the guru-kula cause. I am one of a handful who knew Prabhupada, who was there under Prabhupada's care and who was old enough to have clear recollections of those times.

Those in my peer group share a common affection for Prabhupada-especially if they where in Vrindavan in Prabhuapda's last days: Deva deva, Jagaman, Jagaddanda, Dwarkadish, Vrindavan, Dirodhata, myself, etc. It was this group who went through the harshest abuse and yet they don't blame Prabhupada. Do they know something Nirmala does not? This goes without mentioning the other 90% of the 2,000 guru-kulis who are also quite upset that Prabhupada is being accused-by Jagadish of all people.

My request is that you kindly give us consideration when we say the blame lies not with Prabhupada, but with the GBC and teachers such as Jagadish. How can you have Prabhupada's name on your lawsuit when Jagadish is hardly mentioned? Do you see the insanity of this?

We are happy to leave it up for debate but please do not deny us the opportunity of sharing our insight on those we know are to blame. Nirmala has already denied 90% of us from speaking on his web site and conference because of our feelings for Prabhupada and yet dares claim it the VOICE of guru-kulis. I pray that Nirmala has not created a climate where we will again be denied our voice in our own court case.

Nirmala and his dad may have convinced you there is no choice but to blame Prabhupada. I simply ask that you hear us out. I encourage you to review Prabhupada's role in setting the policies and tone of ISKCON and those of guru-kula. However, please review this with input from those who where actually there and who were not criminally involved. Hear the TRUE VOICE of the guru-kulis.

You now find yourself in the same seat shared by the leaders of ISKCON past and present. You have found the full truth. It directly points to your very own man. Will you ignore the truth in the name of your cause or bury it, bury me, as so many GBC men did before you? Am I once again to be ignored?

You now have a small taste to the struggles faced by the GBC. The truth is sloppy, terribly inconvenient and as often, not a pretty site. Are you ready to change your entire strategy if necessary to find the truth? Or have you already been locked-in much as the GBC was held captive by criminals in the name of a greater cause?

You do not need Jagadish or Nirmala chandra just as ISKCON did not need Jagadish and his men. Jagadish's crew had a big part in destroying ISKCON just as they can now destroy the credibility of your case, our case, my case, by once again hiding behind the cause of guru-kulis.

If you need conspiracy I can show you one. But it is not on Prabhupada's part, that I am happy to debate. That is all I am requesting, that you allow us to at least debate the point.

I'll write more on that in my next letter. For now, here's what I ask:

1) That Nirmala Chandra be asked to step down as your spokesmen just as you asked of others such as Pratyatosh who failed to represent this case appropriately. Having Jagadish's son speak for us is distasteful at best.

2) That Nirmala's cultural prejudices for India are understood to be unrepresentative of the goals and issues of this lawsuit. These prejudices don't reflect the vast majority of the guru-kulis feelings and we consider it detrimental to our cause.

3) That you kindly consider revoking Jagadhish's immunity. Providing him any kind of amnesty against our wishes is the final travesty of justice to his victims. If Jagadish wants to do something useful, he can start by apologizing-to me and all the hundreds of others so severely abused for decades while under his administration.

4) That you at least entertain the possibility that the Hare Krsna movement was high jacked from Prabhupada in both intent and control and therefore the corruption was of the GBC's making, not Prabhupada's. This is the general feeling of the vast majority of guru-kulis and parents.

5) That Vaisnavism be recognized as more then some money laundering operation and of sound religious legitimacy. Indian culture is not to blame for these abuses. Again, this sentiment is reflected by the majority of the guru-kulis.

6) That the victims, guru-kulis, be allowed to spend their settlement money on buying temple properties without condemnation or prejudice. Further condemnation is the last thing we need.

The terms of justice are important or else, it is not justice at all. Your prompt attention to these issues would be very much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

Raghunatha Anudasa
(John Michael)

Please reply to Anudasa@aol.com
323 969 4727
PO Box 1108, Hilo HI 96721


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