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On Responsibility, Gender Issues, Preaching... -

braja - Wed, 17 Nov 2004 22:19:51 +0530
The following is apparently an email sent by Rambhoru, Prithu's wife. It is a very sad read and, although I've put this under the ISKCON section, I think there are principles here that are applicable to all of us as aliens in an alien land, as converts to an ancient creed. Some of the key issues are devotional service versus family life, varnasrama, women's roles, etc. It amazes me that there are still people propagating a dystopia where women, primarily, are defined not by what they are here and now, but by a distant ideal (that may or may not have ever been a reality). I met Rambhoru during the time she moved to Mayapur and have a lot of respect for her. Nila Madhava, her son, was a student in my Critical Thinking class and I vividly remember some of the fantastic drawings and inventions he would come up with. This morning I went to my wife's school to read to the kids and coming back to read this made my brain spin. I cannot fathom the callous person or creed that neglects children. But we have many examples in our tradition of saints who walked away from their families. Perhaps the collectivist culture, the extended family and all, made that somewhat different from the flawed imitations Western sadhus? I don't know...

    Dear GBC members, Godbrothers and Godsisters,

    Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    It is not my desire to challenge my good husband, yet in light of the recent events surrounding him, I would like for you to please hear my story.
    There are many devotees who are still present in this movement who can verify my claims as truthful. Typical of the way many ISKCON marriages were arranged in the 70’s without couples ever having spoken with one another, Prithu prabhu’s and my marriage (1976) was made following an instruction from our local GBC representative. As was also typical of ISKCON members during that era, we followed diligently all instructions coming down to us through the parampara system, via our local authorities.

    For the duration of our marriage of 30 years, I never shared any kind of private living or sleeping facility with my husband, as he expressed his inability to preach Krishna Consciousness and participate in family life at the same time. Endeavoring to be a faithful wife I followed him in his lifestyle of choice, although admittedly, it was often, difficult to do so. Before we had children, I lived in the brahmacarini ashram, engaging in temple worship while my husband distributed Srila Prabhupada’s books full time. I saw him briefly every week or two on weekends, and then only to pick up his dirty laundry and deliver it a day later, washed and pressed. We never engaged in friendly conversation with each other as my husband viewed it to be a frivolous time-wasting exercise. When my husband decided “I” needed to have a child, he insisted I continue
    to live in the temple rather than secure a home where together we could prepare to welcome our first child into the world. Hence, although we performed the garbhadhana samskara by chanting 50 rounds, the fact that he never provided a home for our child sent a clear message to me that he viewed him as “unwanted.”

    Once our first child, Madan Mohan, was conceived, our lives virtually continued as before. I lived in the brahmacarini ashram; my husband continued distributing books. I remember how painfully insecure, helpless and humiliated I felt, living among temple residents, many of whom found householderlife repulsive. For example, in order to prevent my crawling son from going into any room but his own, devotees put 2-foot high boards in the thresholds of their doors. When he found a way to crawl over it, several devotees lifted him up, holding his entire body-weight by the fist-full of cloth they could grab at the back of his neck, and literally throw him out of the room. Instead of being joyful over my pregnancy, I felt I was being shunned although I had followed Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. Meanwhile, instead of supporting me, my husband avoided being seen with me together due to his embarrassment over our being married. By this time, my rational mind began seriously questioning how it could be pleasing to Krishna that a husband continued to perform sankirtan while his family was left uncared for. My husband rationalized in response to my request to move outside, “What is the use of enjoying mundane family life, if it meant not going back to Godhead at the end of our lives?” I wanted to leave the temple to find peace for my child, but I had no means to go. Had I been able to, the fact that my husband always kept my American passport in his possession meant I could never leave German without his permission.

    After giving birth to my eldest son, I returned to a life of isolation in the temple’s small attic room; far enough away so no one could see me or hear the cries of my child; except when I descended to attend temple programs. This was in 1977. In 1979, I began preaching with my husband in Ireland. When I say “preaching” I mean, I did all the temple cooking, cleaning, shopping and organizing for the community, meanwhile having the added responsibility of minding my child, now crawling around at my feet or sleeping on the bhoga in the kitchen pantry. For this reason, I rarely attended lectures or other temple programs.

    I was taught that the Vedic way of salvation for a woman was by assisting her husband in his preaching. In good faith, I did my duty. My husband was always the temple leader wherever we went, so I remained his shadow “cleaning lady” often finding myself unsupported and alone in the kitchen washing pots and floors while he slept or relaxed with a group of “select ” devotees.

    For the next 10 years, our lives continued in much the same way. Eventually, we found ourselves on opposite ends of the preaching front; my husband, now enjoying life in the “Bell Tower” of ISKCON’s leadership while I continued my scramble for survival among the grassroots.

    By 1986, I had a second child, Nila Madhava, who was conceived the same way as Madan Mohan. My husband and I still maintained separate living facilities within the temple. Now, I lived together with both my children; one 9 years old, the other still an infant in a 15’ X 15’ foot room next to the brahmacarini ashram, sharing a bathroom with 12 other women. Meanwhile, my husband lived on the opposite side of the Inish Rath Manor in a room 4 times its size with an attached bathroom and office he never had to share. When I expressed my need to have more facility to raise my children in, my husband insisted that it would make the other devotees envious should he provide his wife with any comfort in their midst. He repeatedly used his “preaching profile” as an alibi for his neglect of his family. I continued to follow for several reasons:

    1) I was living on an island in the middle of the North Sea with an infant;
    2) I had grown to doubt my own intelligence because I genuinely thought I was anyway just a stupid woman, whose only business was to disturb her husband’s service to Krishna;
    3) I wanted to associate with devotees and knew if I caused too much commotion, I would be labeled “ Maya Devi” and shunned by Prithu’s followers;
    4) the thought of becoming a single parent with 2 children was horrifying and I didn’t think I could cope, having been trained only in temple living; 5) I had no marketable skills, nor any knowledge of how to live in the “material” world. My only solace was knowing that everything was Krishna’s mercy and that He knew how much I suffered and how much I tried to please.

    By now, as well as being responsible for the deity and devotee cooking, I was instructed to go on the altar and dress the temple’s 3 sets of deities, mind my 2 month old son (still in diapers) and educate my 9 year old son, materially and spiritually. My husband took no part in helping me do this. Instead, he often interrupted my attempts by instructing me to go whimsically in the kitchen and cook pancakes for “his guys” while our children were left unattended. One time while I was thus cooking, my youngest son who was 2 years old, fell from a steep staircase onto the concrete floor below, cracking his head and causing him to be hospitalized for a week. Naturally, my children would run freely around the temple as they saw it as their home as well as the other devotees. This was often annoying to the celibate students who, on several occasions physically or verbally abused them. When my oldest son became old enough to realize he had a father, he often appeared at his door. Immediately, my husband would look at his watch and
    scuttle him away, saying he was taking precious time away from his preaching.

    Madan Mohan, yearned to have the companionship of his father, and often begged him for some private, personal time. However, my husband never allowed him any entry into his life as a parent. In due course of time, my children and I became absorbed into the temple structure; only allowed to take Prithu’s “darshan” in public places.

    You will remember, I’m sure, the “revolution” in Ireland that went on in Ireland in the late 1980’s, when Prithu prabhu was asked to leave and take his disciples with him. During that time, I was left in Ireland alone with my 2 children, with no money or place to go, while “rebel” leaders and my husband hashed things over in India during the Mayapur GBC meetings. Several devotees who remained on the island took this opportunity to unleash their hatred for my husband by verbally abusing and beating both of my children; my youngest, then under 2 years old. In the aftermath of this controversy when only my husbands’ 10 disciples remained, I was left alone with my children to do a
    full-scale Radha-Krishna worship and manage the temple, while they all were sent out on book distribution. While offering my obeisances after putting Their Lordships to rest at 9:30pm, I often would fall asleep in that position and wake up a couple of hours later to find it was now midnight.

    I started to resent having to do all the deity worship along with my other duties and realized there must be something seriously wrong with the way I performed “devotional service.” If devotional service was joyfully performed, why was I feeling so much hatred? I was profoundly overworked. I approached Prithu prabhu on this issue several times, and he always said there was no one else to do it.
    Later, I witness him personally pacifying some disciples who no longer wanted to do their services as they had to go on sankirtan, say, “Don’t worry, my wife will do it for you.” When I complained that I was being exploited, he laughed in my face saying I was doing a PR job on him so I wouldn’t have to surrender.

    By 1990 we had relocated to Vrindavan where the GBC suggested Prithu resettle with his disciples in order to figure out what Krishna wanted them to do next. Again, Prithu chose to live strictly with his disciples in the temple’s bramacari ashram, while I had to live in various non-ISKCON facilities. Many of these places were not only unsafe to sleep in but a dangerous walk away from the ISKCON temple, especially with small children. This meant I generally was unable to attend morning programs before sunrise or after sundown. On numerous occasions, my youngest son, now 4, and I were stalked and attacked by local Brijbasis, while we traveled alone without the protection of a husband.

    My husband knew this, but he never attempted to protect us from these dangers by staying with us. He remained comfortably living in the temple compound. Eventually, Prithu’s disciples decided to collect money to buy an ashram facility near Krishna Balaram where I was “allowed” to stay while they traveled and preached in India. Being in India, more-than-ever, I felt pressured to cut the much romanticized profile of being the self-sacrificing Vedic Woman, happily scurrying around taking care of the needs of everyone except her own. Any Vaishnava Indian woman will tell you that their lives are not how it appears to be from the western male’s perspective. She cooks. She minds her children. She cares for the family’s elders. Even the poorest woman hires someone to wash dishes and laundry. She works closely with her husband sharing responsibility for the family business, which in our case was spreading the sankirtan mission. Somehow, my husband had the notion that his “real” family members were those he brought to the movement, instead of the ones he brought into the world. He often told me that he was married to ISKCON, and not to me.

    All of his energy went into his “spiritual sons” instead of his children. I was taught it was unnatural for a woman to preach herself but that she should rather assist her husband’s preaching by being his menial servant. On several occasions my husband expressed his desire for me to fan him with a peacock fan and offer him arotik like a “real” Vedic woman should. When I refused to do this, he would become insulted. I dropped out of college in 1976 because I recognized Lord Chaitanya’s message as the perfection of Christianity. I feel cheated that I was not given more encouragement to follow my hearts inclination to preach Krishna Consciousness directly and rather instructed to fulfill some Hindu dharma. That is not to say that I do not feel blessed to have given birth to 2 very special children. It is just to make a statement on behalf of the need for the young mothers in our movement to be given the facility and encouragement to cultivate their philosophical sense along with their mothering. Many women who are attracted to our philosophy find it inconsistent that we offer lip service in regards to being spirit souls who are off the bodily platform, yet, many of our male members continue to exhibit averse and disrespectful attitudes and behaviour towards women. This sends any intelligent woman away disappointed, meanwhile still hankering for the true religion.

    When my youngest son entered the Vrindavan Gurukula (1991), I began assisting some of the teachers there as I saw much there to improve in order to make the school pleasing to Srila Prabhupada. My husband was very unhappy for me to spend time there and discouraged me from doing anything unrelated to his preaching. Even though he and his “boys” were absent for months at a time, while I stayed alone in the Ashram, he still did not want me using my energy anywhere else. As women were not allowed to go on the altar or cook for the deities in the Krishna-Balaram Mandir, there was virtually no service I could offer directly to Srila Prabhupada’s mission in Vrindavan. I felt useless,
    discarded and unwanted. Praying at the feet of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, I asked if, in spite of the fact that I was unwanted by my husband, there still might be something more I could do to serve the sankirtan mission.

    After petitioning the deities in this way, I had a dream that clearly revealed Prabhupada calling me to take care of his personal body in the form of ISKCON by assisting Lord Nityananda in caring for the householder community. Very soon, I was invited by some of Niranjana Swami’s disciples to travel and preach in the Former Soviet Union, which I began to do for 2-3 months out of each year. My main service was counseling confused and disheartened grihasthas trying like me to figure out how to participate in Lord Chaitanya’s movement and meanwhile remain sensitive and responsible parents and spouses. When it came to my attention that my youngest son, now 10 years old, was repeatedly running away from the Vrindavan Gurukula, and that his ashram teacher had run away and gotten killed (killed himself by a drug overdose?) in Thailand, I realized the hypocrisy of my preaching to other householders to be responsible and take care of their children, when my own children were in trouble.

    I returned to Vrindavan to discover my son, Nila, living in the so-called care of my husband’s disciples who had been instructed to beat and lock him in a room, should he not comply with their instructions. They did this several times. Before Nila ran away from the gurukula for the last time, Prithu had personally beaten him and sent him back to school, feeling betrayed and unloved by his father. The previous year, my eldest son, aged 17, had been given permission by Prithu prabhu to travel to Rajasthan with a crazy brahmacari to go treasure-hunting, when they got arrested by Indian police and put in jail for 3 days. As a result, Madan Mohan had to flee India because the bramacari failed to show for their trial, leaving Madan Mohan and another gurukuli to fend for themselves against the Indian government. To this day, Madan Mohan still risks being locked up by the Indian police should he ever enter India. He has taken shelter in the New Dvarka community ever since. I stopped traveling and preaching in Russia and remained in the Prabhupada Vani Ashram with my youngest son, while he attended the Porter Burchard
    Methodist School in Vrindavan. After an incident where he, Nila Madhava , was beaten to unconsciousness by some of his classmates with bricks, I organized for both of us to move to Mayapur where he could attend the Gurukula there. We did not have the money to live in the grhastha sector of Mayapur Dham and attend their day school, so I put him in the boys ashram and became a teacher for the school which offered me a room and a salary of RS 1500 (now aprox. $35.00) per month.

    During the 2 years I taught there, I lived alone in a neighboring apartment while my son lived in the ashram. I only saw my husband for 5 days out of every year, and then only because he anyway had to come to the yearly GBC meetings in Mayapur. Every so often, he would call to say he would be sending some money. On every phone call, I expressed that my son and I were very unhappy in this situation and that were he to continue to neglect our family, we were going to stop waiting for him and situate ourselves in a more secure and healthy environment. He blamed me for my lack of surrender saying that my children would simply adopt whatever attitude I took, and so if I would just happily
    do my service, they would not feel any lack in their lives. In response to my requests that he spend some time with my youngest son, he promised to take us on a trip to Jaganath Puri for a week without having to be lumped together with his disciples. By the time we left for the trip from Mayapur, he had invited 20 disciples to accompany him on this trip. He decided to share a room with us for the first time in our lives, but as the room only had one large double bed which he did not want to share, my son and I slept (slept?) on the floor next to the bed on a single dirty saree. When all the devotees shared their meals from the Jaganath temple, neither my son nor myself were allowed by Prithu to speak to him nor his disciples while we were in their company. As soon as I would open my mouth, he would wave for me to be silent. This insulted me to the core.

    The more I examined my situation, studied Prabhupada’s books and prayed to Lord Chaitanya, the more I began to understand that I could no longer follow my husband’s instructions. My duty to my husband as the mother of his children was to take care of their health and education, first and foremost. Somehow, Prithu never understood that, and rather wanted me to serve him and his mission and neglect his children. I knew I had to make a change towards recovering my children’s and my own life, but I had no money or means to do it. As a teacher at the Mayapur Gurukula, I could see that none of the children were receiving an education that would equip them for living in the world in the 20th Century and realized that if my son was going to live and work in the west, in all fairness to him, he would have to be educated in the west, not India.

    In June of 1999, I took a trip to the USA to renew my visa, deciding that if I could find an ISKCON community where I could give my son appropriate education, I would not return to India. Although the Hillsborough Community would not accommodate me, Urmila Dasi agreed to give Nila Madhava room and board in exchange for payment during the week while he attended her school. I would take him on the week end. Having no money and no place to stay myself, I lived in a borrowed car for a couple of weeks, parked alongside Hillsborough country roads until my father suggested I return to Guilford College where I began my Bachelor’s degree in Religion (1974) and see if I could finish it while Nila was at Urmila’s gurukula. Guilford is located 45 minutes from the Hillsborough community. Happily, all my professors, who had worked with me in the 70’s were still there. One professor, in whose home I had rented a room as a student 25 years earlier, offered me a place to stay and found me a job washing dishes in the back of a Vegen restaurant near the campus. I lived there during the week and picked Nila Madhava up on the weekends, bringing him back to my room, still no larger than the one I had had in ISKCON; 15’ X 15’ feet. I shared a bathroom and kitchen with the rest of the family. On many weekends, due to cold, rainy or snowy weather, Nila and I sat in that room for the entire 2 days waiting to return to Urmila’s school. We had no money to go anywhere else.
    Urmila found that my son, although an 8th grader, only had learned to read in our Indian gurukula’s to 5th grade level. By the time we left her school in 2001, Urmila had increased his reading capacity to that of a 9th grader, which prepared him to enter the public school system. While at her school, however, my son received serious emotional abuse from Urmila’s son-in-law who criticized his family members, tortured him about his weight problem and forbid him to speak during meals while he dominated the conversation. Meanwhile, my son and 3 other live-in students personally witnessed him giving his 2-year old daughter freezing cold showers as punishment for her not submitting to his demands. I probably never would have returned to college, had I not have seen it as a means of bringing my family back together. It provided me a way to fund ourselves through scholarships and loans; biding us time until we could learn some marketable skills. During the course of my stay in Greensboro, North Carolina, I began to reconnect with my eldest son, Madan Mohan by weekly phone calls which revealed the deep unhappiness each of us felt over having not shared with each other more of our lives. Madan Mohan had been living in Los Angeles since 1994 while Nila and I were living in India. Neither of my sons knew their brothers.

    When I graduated from Guilford, we decided that we should reunite what was left of our family. Hence, I applied to and was accepted into the Claremont Theological Seminary in California. In this way, I could continue to cultivate my interest in preaching and also be a concerned and responsible parent. Prithu had always told me it was not possible to preach and have a family at the same time. I was so determined to refute this notion of his that I did my senior thesis project researching married preachers who had made major contributions establishing religious movements while remaining faithful and Responsible to their spouses and children. I found zillions of examples in history of men
    and women who preached strongly the path of love for God while doing their householder duties.

    By this time, Madan Mohan had completed writing his Burnt Laddhu theatre production and began showing it in various ISKCON temples around the world. If you have seen this production, it will give you a window into some of the pain he has experienced growing up as a “Preachers’ Kid”.

    In spite of all the austerities my family and I have undergone, the one redeeming thought that has kept us alive throughout all of these years is that Prithu prabhu was out there spreading Lord Chaitanya’s mission and that we were somehow getting some spiritual benefit from all our sacrifices. Now, however, to learn that all along he has been breaking the regulative principles has shattered our lives. Not because he has so-called “fallen down”. In Kali Yuga, even the most saintly persons take their falls. None of us are perfect. However, knowing that as his family, we have been left entirely out of the
    equation, not only from Prithu prabhu’s point of view, but from the viewpoint of his disciples and the GBC body, has disappointed me deeply. In all these years of service, I have never once been asked by GBC members my opinion regarding Prithu’s behavior on any issue, or if I needed help; even in this one.

    Many senior devotees who knew well our lifestyle encouraged me to file for a divorce so at least I would qualify for financial aid from the government. But, I never did this due to the respect I had for his position and for Srila Prabhupada. I did not want to jeopardize Prithu’s service by shedding bad light on his family life. It is very hurtful that, even in this current crisis that GBC leaders were first and foremost concerned with Prithu’s disciples and Prithu himself, meanwhile, no one was considerate enough even to email us or call us on the telephone. Do we ever count as having any significance in Prithu’s life? Does the pain and suffering we have endured amount to anything at within the Vaishnava community?

    Although it is certainly honorable and commendable Prithu has “come out of the closet” even if so late in life, it certainly does not free my memory of the pain I have suffered over the past 30 years. Nor does it repay all the financial debts I have incurred trying to put our family’s life in order after years of taking out college loans and borrowing money to survive.

    For years, we have been unsupported by ISKCON while my husband has gotten virtually a free ride. His disciples have paid his air fare to places around the globe. He has slept in the best of facilities; eaten his choice of foodstuffs; spent months and months in some of the best vacation spots around the world recuperating from diseases, spending over $10,000 getting his teeth fixed or hiding out somewhere writing a book that mysteriously since 12 years never gets finished. Once I asked Prithu to please give me his rough draft so I could help him put it into some legible form. He said that there was nothing coherent that he could give me.
    Is a mere apology really enough to compensate for the lives that have been hurt? At the very least, Prithu prabhu needs now, more than ever, to take an active role in offering concrete support to his family by clearing them of all of their financial debts so they can at least have the time-freedom to recover their spiritual equilibrium. It is not appropriate for ISKCON to simply nod their head like the Catholic Church does and say, “your sins are forgiven”
    Prithu and I both desire to settle our karmic accounts with each other so that we may both sit down peacefully, chant Hare Krishna and leave our bodies.

    My worry is that, if Prithu does not undergo some kind of practical atonement for his offenses, he is going to have to take birth again…next time in the body of a woman, married to a man who neglects him the same way that he has neglected his family. This is the price we all have to pay for not being respectful or compassionate to people we offend. I, on the other hand, may have to take birth as a man…maybe his husband, to personally mete out his punishment as the neglectful husband who has not been respectful or compassionate to their wife. This is what happens if one is unable to reconcile their resentment for someone who has offended them in this life. Neither of us wishes to repeat this scenario. Never. Having consulted counseling professionals regarding the unstable psychological condition Prithus prabhu exhibits, I found the general opinion to be that such persons must lead a stable and regulated life performing some kind of practical work. We all know that doing something on a regular basis is the power behind devotional service. I personally feel that, more than ever, Prithu prabhu needs to do some kind of practical work that will raise him out of his depression and stabilize his consciousness. I also feel that I will never be able to reconcile the suffering I have undergone in his service unless he can, at least make an attempt to practically support his family financially. Even if he can only do some simple work for an hourly wage and send it to his family, that would be greatly appreciated. By this I do not mean begging from his disciples for the money. I mean precisely performing some kind of honest labor by his own hands and getting paid for it with the specific intention of sending it to his family as symbolic retribution. Furthermore, after laboring at college for, going on 6 years, I finally have connected with scholars who are strategically linked to important theological circles. They are open to understanding the path of Bhakti as presented by Srila Prabhupada and are happy to hear it from one of their doctoral
    students. However, it is almost impossible for me to continue to preach scholastically in such circles, while having to work at a juvenile prison 40 hours per week, which is currently how I make money. I seriously feel that having been neglected all these years, thinking I was supporting my husband’s preaching while he was sexually abusing himself, warrants him now to switch roles with me and support my preaching financially. In this way, before leaving his body, he will have the opportunity to clear his debt to me, and allow me the satisfaction of, in this way, letting go of the deep resentment I feel towards him, and thus truly be able to forgive him.

    Thank you for listening to my story.

    Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada,
    Rambhoru Devi Dasi

arekaydee - Wed, 17 Nov 2004 22:55:48 +0530
Certainly a sad state of affairs. It amazes me how people can neglect their family in the name of preaching (or supposed preaching). It's as if raising a KC family responsibly is not preaching or beneficial. It's certainly disheartening to realize some took no personal responsibility.

I reminds me of one devotee, a resurging book distributor of course, who was passing through Boston with his family scolding his young 4 or 5 year old son for crying on the temple stoop. "Stop crying, it's bad preaching. Either go up to your mother [on the fourth floor women's asrama] or stop crying. It's bad preaching." Although, many children I feel are more "advanced" than myself is spiritual matters, I never thought that I child's main focus would be preaching at such an age. Never once did he ask what was wrong or if there was anything he could do. Perhaps he already had and I just missed it, but I'm guessing based on his personality no such conversation took place. In the end he just jerked the kid up by his arm and dragged him away thus causing a bigger scene. I thought the whole incident was despicable.
Jagat - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 00:07:54 +0530
I feel like crying. I could not finish it. It's like something out of a Dostoevsky novel. Isn't "preaching" meant to come of love? Where's the common sense?

Is it any surprise that Prithu was so little loved?

I'd like to write Rambhoru Devi and offer her a word of sympathy and encouragement. Is there an address?
Babhru - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 00:22:44 +0530
Ouch! Where did you find this?

This is indeed heart-rending, and I hope it will cause ISKCON's leaders to spend considerable time and re-examining the culture they have created. I have met both Prithu and Rambhoru, as well as both boys. Prithu showed up at the San Diego ISKCON center one Saturday evening a few years ago, as I arrived to do some Deity service. He was travelling with Madan Mohan, who had approached him in tears, reminding him, "I'm your first disciple." Prithu said he was running away to Mexico to spend a week getting to know his son. I was charmed by this, but apparently not as much came of it as I hoped. Some time later, the whole family spent a few days in San Diego, and she seemed very much the dutiful wife, although it was clear she had plenty of qualification in her own right.

I recently wrote Prithu a letter offering good wishes for him and especially for his family. He replied that he intended to give more to his family, but he never responded to specific questions I posed (not about the specific nature of his "falldown" but about the culture among ISKCON's leaders).

I also felt a stab in my heart when Rambhoru described the abuse Nila got from Urmila's son-in-law. He was one of my first gurukula students in Honolulu in the late '70s and '80s. I've heard that he has also treated his stepmother rudely over a period of years, although she treated him as her own son as he grew up. I'm afraid I'm going to have to go somewhere to cry when I get a chance later today.
Audarya-lila dasa - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 00:57:40 +0530
What a sad, sad life story. It is so unthinkable that one who came to Krsna with such high ideals had to endure such difficulties 'in the name of preaching'. If it I didn't know it was true I would never believe such foolishness and idolatry possible. I am truly saddened by this example of an ideal gone completely wrong.

I with you Babhru - I don't know any of these devotee personally as you do - but I can't help but cry over such a sad plight.

Audarya-lila dasa
Madhava - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 04:10:33 +0530
Sad enough, though it didn't come to me as a surprise. I'm glad Rambhoru had the strength and courage to put this together. About the only thing I remember of Prithu, meeting him in the 90's, is that he would have his wife cook pancakes for him, that he seemed to have a good time with a flock of disciples around, and that he kindly educated me in the principles of household life: women are stupid, and stay happy when you give them money and jewellery. Either Prithu didn't throw in enough money, or something is seriously missing in his equation.
Anand - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 05:38:27 +0530
I am shocked to hear of this lady’s living in a car while in my community years ago. Had I known of her situation I would have offered her a place to stay. I remember her son being a schoolmate of my daughters’ at the Hillsborough gurukula. I would have never imagined then that she was homeless. What is even more sad is to know that this type of abuse still goes on in some communities, even as we discuss stories of the past that surface and even as courageous women here and there speak up. I think it fitting at this point to give an example of such ongoing abuses, since this lady mentioned her son being abused at the Hillsborough gurukula. In this same school, the most recent case of a child being abused has happened within the last month. This time a 14-year-old girl who had attended that institution for nearly 10 years, because of coming to class sporting a haircut, was called lusty and "a bitch” in front of all the other students by the headmaster Mayapurcandra das, Urmila’s son-in-law.

According to the girl’s mother, the girl was so humiliated and shocked that she chose to lock herself in a closet, remaining there for about two hours, while no one but a schoolmate came to offer her some water and a snack. When the mother was located by the school staff, it was to be informed that the child was to be expelled due to "unvedic behavior," she said. Apparently the incident is being investigated under the instructions of Bir Krsna Goswami, member of the schoolboard and guru of Mayapurcandra das. Over the years, it has been a known fact that Bir Krsna Goswami has been approached by more than one family complaining about the headmaster’s abusive actions towards the students, but has alleged he cannot make any changes because he cannot "control" his disciple.
Madhava - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 05:43:20 +0530
"Unvedic behavior"? If anyone, they should be expelling gurus for unvedic behavior. After all, that's where the standards ought to be highest, and where you should be most on the verge of getting booted if you engage in unholy unvedicness, and I won't start listing examples of unholy vedicness I've come across, even recently.

In principle, I wonder how come one cannot control a disciple, that is, if that was a factual statement. Especially a GBC executive should be able to control just about anybody in the ranks but his peers, and possibly his senses.
Tamal Baran das - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 06:28:51 +0530
I have read the letter together with my wife.

We have absolutely no words after reading this. We just silently hug each other and our little son.

Rambhoru Dasi is beyond anything we have heard (except the stories about child abuse in Iskcon...). Admiration and respect for her from Our side, are just little insignificant words in this moment to describe the feelings we have about her, and her two children along with other abused gurukulis and abused and neglected women and men of so called Iskcon.

Speaking of the other party.... Both of us have known Prithu Das very good. My wife was supposed to get married to one of his most important disciples (before she met me). Unfortunately, it is not only Prithu who is like that. He has legacy in people like that Das who was behaving to my wife exactly like his Guru while she was trying to get engaged with him for almost 6 months and more. She hardly ever got any little time to talk with him, while he will close the office doors in her face while welcoming good looking women for talk in his office about business. He was TP in temple in San Francisco at that time in mid of 90es.

That same man told me once later, that he knows what to do when his now wife doesn't listen to him, ...he gives her broom to clean, for her mind to have something to do.

Speaking of Inis Rath...i don't have single comment about them. I was last year there and i will never go there again. Pure cult.

Is this spiritual organisation? I doubt it... Who are this people? They certainly don't represent Lord Krishna on this planet.

I cried tears with my family over the years. Especially during my sisters and my brothers Gurukula years. It was horrific.
My brother being forced to distribute cookies while being small kid in the cold streets of Sweden so his feet were bleeding. My sister was being left by brahmacaris alone for hours in Swedens heavy winter while it was raining for hours on the streets , while they were picked up from sankirtana, and then nobody ever come to pick her up. Explanation was she is woman, and she can't be in the same vehicle with brahmacaris. She was in shock for days from that, sick physically too. She was constantly verbally abused.

My brother being hit by his then Guru in Sweden while serving him. My mother being forced to pay dandavats in snow to the whole village, house by house, family by family, forced by that same sannyasi in charge, or she will be thrown out of community, because she objected to authorities with only one sentence, about the treatment of devotees.
Myself trying to educate people in training and education and studying books, so Haraka Das (Bhaktivedanta Swamis German disciple in Sweden) told me that devotees don't need to study books, they have to do first hard work, and he took pupil out of class in front of my eyes.
And what to say then about racial abuse and discrimination towards my family, because they came from Croatia, in that Swedens so called Iskcon farm? You don't want to read that, so i will spare you of that.
List is very big and much longer.

How is my family today? My mother has rheumatoid arthritis and permanent thyroid gland disorder, takes heavy medicine, and my sister has permanent thyroid gland disorder too.
My brother has serious problems with his heart.
My sisters Guru never even cared about how she is, while she was collecting money to give him donations for his studies, while my family didn't get nothing to eat (and they were living in Swedens ISKCON farm comunity)....

I don't want to write you here story about my wife and myself in Iskcon, and things i have found just about one year ago.

I am beyond any possible feelings expressed in any way (verbally, orally, written, by sign language) found in this planet for the Iskcon. To say anything about them will be just understatement. I still believe that there are some nice and kind people there, but in overalll they are just a cult devoided of any human feelings and understanding of life around them, and also in great denial about themselves all together.
People like that Blog man quoted on the beginning of this thread in Brajas letter make me feel sad, because i see that they will just continue with their farce. IMHO Iskcon doesn't even exist anymore, so i don't see that Blogman relevant with his pseudo intellectual rhetorics.
Some people say: I drink to forget ,and i say: I chant to forget, where i was (alongside with my whole family).

Therefore, again when i write my thanks to certain devotees in my life, which have helped me to come to my Gurudeva, Sri Babaji Maharaja, trust me, i really sincerely write that appreciation with my full heart in that. I am more than blessed and that is how i feel every day, just thinking of my Gurudeva, and being able to just read certain topics on this Forum, knowing that in this culture of Krishna consciousness, there are nice and kind devotees like most of You in this sanga or Forum.
Thank You for that. And again, especially You, Madhava as my Gurubrother.
babu - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 06:41:35 +0530
I think this "preaching" is given way too much importance. Heck, even my partner and I who have great love and adoration for each other can't stand when I preach to her so what to speak of bringing any positiveity and evolution to the world through such efforts.

Devotees should give up preaching and if they feel any inclinations to spread the Good News, maybe make a good tear jerker movie about Mahaprabhu or Krishna. But this doesn't seem to be happening as recently we had the Woodstock Film Festival and there weren't any vaisnavas there and so as far as films go, there are two truths:

1. There are no vaisnava film producers.
2. When at the Toronto Film Festival, discount the currency and the applause by 35%.

I actually have a great idea for a film if anybody wants to send me 2 million dollars. I almost had the cash to make it when my mom was going to go on vacation as I was secretly going to sell her house while she was away but my plan came unwound. Anyways, she got wind of it and has been all pissy ever since. Parents just don't understand our passion to serve the Lord. And now she's been spending my inheritance on frivolous trips to Europe. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Madan Gopal - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 06:49:37 +0530
I think I'm gonna be sick. I've been in touch, known, been in all of these stories and with these people in these past 3-4 years. Rambhoru often came to our restaurant in Greensboro while going to school, knew her son Nila. These are all things I'm aware of but I daily run away from by enjoying the association of "normal" people - people that Hare Krishna's call "karmis". This is the kind of stuff that makes me ashamed to associate myself with ISKCON. I guess that's why I don't. I'm depressed. crying.gif

Rambhoru is a very intelligent, wise woman. Great person to discuss religion with. Somehow I'm sure she'll be awarded for her austerities.
Elpis - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 08:06:33 +0530
A sad story indeed. So much for Caitanya's golden age... Shakespeare had Edgar tell Gloucester that "the prince of darkness is a gentleman" (King Lear), but those following his ways in ISKCON are simply brutes. ISKCON seems to have been caught in the three nets of Belial from the very beginning.
braja - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 09:14:44 +0530
I couldn't even read the entire letter initially. Having struggled through it now, I am devastated.

I don't have Rambhoru's contact information but I will try to get it. (I only have an email address for one of her sons.) I would like to send her a donation also.
Rasaraja dasa - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 14:03:44 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

I remember Rambhoru Dasi from a period where she stayed with Prithu and Nila Madhava in the Philadelphia Asrama in the early nineties. It was one of the first times I had returned to the Ashrama after I had moved out. Most of the devotees there didn’t care for me as I was in maya because upon the death of my Mother I decided that it was best for the both of us that I move home.

I remember that Prithu and a Maharaja preaching to me about surrender and that I shouldn’t be so sentimental. I was told that my Mother’s tragic death was a result of her and my karma. I was crushed as I sat on a log in the backyard. I remember looking over and seeing Nila Madhava running around the yard in circles. He looked exactly like his father. He ran over to me at one point and say that I was crying and started talking to me. At that time his Mother came over and I remember the stark difference between her and her husband.

She was sweet, understanding and empathetic. I always remember that. Not just because of what I was experiencing at that point but because those types of exchanges were so rare.

I would like to get her address so I can send something.

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa
Indranila - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 14:22:19 +0530
What a heart-breaking story. I feel so sorry from the bottom of my heart for this noble woman. I have seen her here and there in India, and she always smiled and said some friendly words. I never liked Prithu, but I could have never imagined what she was going through. She seemed the perfect, dedicated and mature SP disciple.

She will pull through, but Prithu better do all he could to make it up to her because otherwise he will be carrying this enormous sinful karmic burden to his next life or maybe many lives.

I also want to send her a donation, please post her contact info if you find it. Maybe you could ask her son, since he was one of your students. He must be on

As for Urmila, I find it a strange coincidence that her son-in-law starts to resemble her husband who was reportedly a monster. I remember a few years ago when she was looking for a husband for her daughter and advertising her as a model Vedic girl, perfectly trained to please a husband. And she even complained that there were no eligible gurukulis for her daughter with the same high-quality Vedic training. It makes me wonder what this so-called Vedic standard does to men....

Madhava - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 19:30:06 +0530
I remember a few years ago when she was looking for a husband for her daughter and advertising her as a model Vedic girl, perfectly trained to please a husband. And she even complained that there were no eligible gurukulis for her daughter with the same high-quality Vedic training. It makes me wonder what this so-called Vedic standard does to men....

The Vedic husband is the leader of the family, whose duty it is to beat the mridanga and the wife. The Vedic husband, because he is a representative of God for his wife, can order his wife around all he likes while sitting back and relaxeng on the veranda. The Vedic husband dutifully performs his dharmic duty of taking it easy.

Or so they say. huh.gif
DharmaChakra - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 20:59:34 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Nov 18 2004, 10:00 AM)
I remember a few years ago when she was looking for a husband for her daughter and advertising her as a model Vedic girl, perfectly trained to please a husband. And she even complained that there were no eligible gurukulis for her daughter with the same high-quality Vedic training. It makes me wonder what this so-called Vedic standard does to men....

The Vedic husband is the leader of the family, whose duty it is to beat the mridanga and the wife. The Vedic husband, because he is a representative of God for his wife, can order his wife around all he likes while sitting back and relaxeng on the veranda. The Vedic husband dutifully performs his dharmic duty of taking it easy.

Sign me up blink.gif
I wonder how long before my wife would place a cinder block squarely upside my head?

In all seriousness, I find this to be such a sad story. It shows that misogynistic behavior knows not the boundaries of religion or culture. I'm sure this story is shared by many woman from all walks of life.
braja - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 21:47:04 +0530
I can't get over the sad irony of people adopting--or forcing others to adopt--social roles and ideals that are foreign to them while rejecting raganuga bhakti, lila smaranam, etc., as fanciful and imitative. How is changing what someone is, physically and emotionally, considered practical or even desirable, yet attempts at forming a spiritual identity are rejected? One approach sure seems a hell of a lot less likely to do harm. And maybe, just maybe, the focus on Radha-Krsna seva instead of the exploitation, er, protection of others might even work.

Madhava - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 22:05:17 +0530
QUOTE(DharmaChakra @ Nov 18 2004, 04:29 PM)
Sign me up blink.gif
I wonder how long before my wife would place a cinder block squarely upside my head?

Malati was thinking she might want to start a Kung Fu school for the local ladies. I have a gut feeling it might be extremely popular. smile.gif

Seriously some people (those not polluted by Western ideals) in India, wives included, think it is perfectly normal that they get beaten, even regularly.
Anand - Thu, 18 Nov 2004 22:48:16 +0530
Malati was thinking she might want to start a Kung Fu school for the local ladies. I have a gut feeling it might be extremely popular.

Not to worry Madhava, things are not that bad, it seems, after all. Many a young lady these days, although not necessarily arming themselves up with muscles, have learned to protect themselves through reason and sense. They do not buy into this vedic marriage myth anymore, but instead are attempting to create healthy alternatives which seem to be taking care of things. These are actually brave and insightful young women devotee, who find (luckily) support among the young male section too (your own example is commendable, btw).

I hate to keep using the folks at my community here as examples, but justso to illustrate the idea, I will refer again to this young man, Mayapurcandra das, married in the so called vedic way, and headmaster of a school where nearly 15 teenage girls at some point were being supposedly educated under his direction. None of those girls today anywhere approves of the idea of leading a so called vedic married life as instructed by Mayapurcandra das, because they could see the flaws in his recommendation thorough his bad example. These girls are bravely coming out now denouncing these flaws and questioning the whole system. They are actually the ones giving parents and senior devotees a good example.
babu - Fri, 19 Nov 2004 01:25:23 +0530
What men really want is an Avedic wife.
Jagat - Mon, 22 Nov 2004 19:45:31 +0530
I couldn't help but think of Prithu when I read this Doonesbury--

user posted image
jijaji - Mon, 22 Nov 2004 21:49:28 +0530
It is a sad sad account here, if not one of the worst I have ever heard associated with Iskcon men and their abusive behaviour.
This stems from a general hatefulness towards women as far as I am concerned that is fed by a zealous missonary male-centered anti-female off-shoot of Chaitanya Vaishnavism.

Granted that Sri Chaitanya himself was adverse to renunciates associating with women, his primary associates i.e. Nityananda and Advaita certainly had different standards that allowed lay-diciples who were householders to advance along the path to God-Realization.

Men who mistreat women in this manner are the lowest scum and the fact that they find support in a religious mission and can even maintain the position of their fake Guru-ship shows the sickness of it all.

Madanmohan das - Mon, 22 Nov 2004 23:09:55 +0530
Fie upon that stoney heart that does that's not moved by that letter. Surely those big GBC bodies must experience a revolution in their thinking, if they read it.
It is an outrage, but I fear it's not uncommon.
Madhava - Mon, 22 Nov 2004 23:14:41 +0530
ISKCON, including the GBC, are pretty much torn asunder over these issues. You have extreme misogynist groups like the GHQ, and then the extreme liberals who are for womens' rights and so forth, and yes that includes some sannyasis and GBC officers. So it's really hard to label ISKCON as a collective as a misogynist organization. However there are some truly disturbing elements in action there.
Anand - Tue, 23 Nov 2004 04:53:19 +0530
From another thread:

“One cannot hear it without sympathizing with them and thinking how cruel the world is to have treated them as it did.”

Switch the words “the world” with “Krsna”, and “it” with “He”, and the subject of our conversation will be women (gopis). Lets not forget that ours is a religion whose God is a torturer of women. Can’t exactly blame some simple fellows if they get their interpretations mixed up a little.
jijaji - Tue, 23 Nov 2004 10:17:32 +0530
Enough is enough!


Can we not see the result of inappropriate sexist idiots who cannot see the times they are a changing?


Let us come together and forget this ignorance and uselessness that has damaged many, especially our womanfolk and innocent children who need our proper understanding!

I beg you sincerely my blessed vaishnavas..

Jaya Sri Krishna and Radhika..

DharmaChakra - Tue, 23 Nov 2004 19:04:32 +0530
QUOTE(Anand @ Nov 22 2004, 07:23 PM)
From another thread:

“One cannot hear it without sympathizing with them and thinking how cruel the world is to have treated them as it did.”

Switch the words “the world” with “Krsna”, and “it” with “He”, and the subject of our conversation will be women (gopis). Lets not forget that ours is a religion whose God is a torturer of women. Can’t exactly blame some simple fellows if they get their interpretations mixed up a little.

Just my $.02 here, but this kind of abuse and misogynistic behavior is not due to a 'reinterpretation' of our beliefs. This kind of situation transcends ISKCON > Gaudiya Vaisnavism > India > Asia > The World. You can hear this same story told by Buddhists in China, Christians in Europe and athiests in the US. The cultish environment that holds down members makes it all the worse.

I'm always struck by the irony that Bhaktivedanta Swami initially thought his ISKCON would attract the 'best and brightest' of the United States, yet it fails even to this day to have members that could contribute to society on the whole. Women much the worse. Rambhoru Mataji dropped out of school to join ISKCON, and has no 'real world' skills to earn a living.. when things go wrong she's washing dishes at 50. This is one of the mechanisms that holds members to the organization, and its a shame and shortsighted.
Rohini - Tue, 23 Nov 2004 21:33:10 +0530
>>Rambhoru Mataji dropped out of school to join ISKCON, and has no 'real world' skills to earn a living.. when things go wrong she's washing dishes at 50. This is one of the mechanisms that holds members to the organization, and its a shame and shortsighted.<<

I think things have changed a little bit at least in this regard since the 70's. When my friends and I wanted to join the LA temple back when we were fanatical new devotees in 1999 with 2 years or so to go to graduate, they told us no and that we should finish college first. Of course, it may be totally different in temples that are short-staffed though.
Madhava - Wed, 24 Nov 2004 00:32:43 +0530
Tired of talking, looking for the kind Krishna - the tortilla of mixed moods. Moved into a separate thread.
Anand - Wed, 24 Nov 2004 16:29:36 +0530
Just my $.02 here, but this kind of abuse and misogynistic behavior is not due to a 'reinterpretation' of our beliefs. This kind of situation transcends ISKCON > Gaudiya Vaisnavism > India > Asia > The World. You can hear this same story told by Buddhists in China, Christians in Europe and athiests in the US. The cultish environment that holds down members makes it all the worse.

The whole of human society, at all times, is a perverted reflection of the ideal environment. Nothing can be changed here; it goes on according to its nature.

(My aplogies to those who have written protesting my comparing Krshna with mundane males. I meant to call attention to mundane males who might compare themselves with the Lord.)
Anand - Thu, 25 Nov 2004 00:11:56 +0530
Yesterday my 16 year old daughter, by chance, came upon this thread and insisted on reading through Rambhoru’s letter. Naturally, as a mother, my thought was that I must protect her, and so I asked, “Are you sure you need to read through this? It is very sad and might give you a very bad and twisted impression of devotees in general.”

Her answer was, “It concerns me too, doesn’t it? I like to know about the bad things as well.”

I had to let go but kept coming back and checking on her as she bravely read through the whole letter, something I did not do – I couldn’t. At the end she finally looked at me with one of those smiles that are actually an exercise in fighting back tears. She managed to hold her voice almost steady and said, “I remember mother Rambhoru when she used to visit Nila Madhava at the gurukula. She is such a sweet lady. Why did she have to live like this?”

I told her that I think the answer is that suffering in this world is inevitable. She was quick to think of joy though, and even as she confirmed that indeed the little girl was forced to take icy cold showers as punishment, (“Everybody knew that”), she confided to me that it was also at that school that Nila Madhava had actually found his first love. She explained to me that her friend Srimati and Nila Madhava started to "like each other" then, and that they have been each other’s official fiancés since a couple of years ago. “Well, actually,” she explained further, “they broke up some time ago but now they are really, really good friends!” She also informed me that Nila Madhava is much healthier physically now. “Want to see his picture, its on,” she offered. I declined but assured her I have no doubt he looks healthier and happy.

And then my daughter concluded, “You know, what I think is really good is that mother Rambhoru does not blame Krsna for her problems and she is still a devotee, and now she can actually help her husband."

So far so good, I breathed with relief. It seems my daughter is protected for the time being.
braja - Fri, 26 Nov 2004 07:04:18 +0530
Prithu's response was posted on Chakra:

by Prithu das

Posted November 25, 2004

Rambhoru prabhu's letter reveals the pains of a wife whose husband was preoccupied with institutional concerns and services such as traveling, preaching and opening temples while she was focused on the needs of the family.

Even from start, our relationship was marred with compatibility problems, and at some stage we decided to call it quits. Later we got together again; things became slightly better. Maddi arrived in due course, but all in all our marriage was not a bed of roses. That we don't live together -- as I am working in other areas of the world -- has not helped either.

Further debilitating factors are, of course, the often general lack within ISKCON of deeply understanding Vedic Culture in terms of marital relationships and family life in, the lack of priority that was and is still given to the needs of women and children in our movement, the troubles of an arranged marriage, where often partners, as in our case (without even knowing each other), were thrown at each other at the whim of the temple authorities "to beef up the Sunday feast".

While most marriages of those days broke up, we stayed on, but remained somewhat disconnected from each other, not just emotionally but also physically, myself being absorbed in institutional works in other parts of the world while paying towards the basic needs of the family, such as rent (my financial means being slim), while she was taking care of the children and scraped the rest together.

Having said all this I must say that my wife is not at fault. Only now it sinks into my brain how it must feel to be at the receiving end of an attitude permeated with institutional concerns, with its seemingly almost inbred tendency to leave women and children out of the equation. It is this area where I am facing a painful realization of human failure, which is deeply unsettling, for which I feel very sorry and for which I realize to have to take responsibility. That I recently resigned from various responsibilities in ISKCON allows me to re-think and shift from societal works towards their needs with the idea to get to a better place.

Indranila - Sat, 27 Nov 2004 00:21:34 +0530
A new letter by Rambhoru with a request for financial help posted on

Dear Vaishnava Community,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

As you must understand, my sons and I are experiencing a great deal of stress associated with the admission of falldown, and resulting resignation of our husband and father. In my last letter you must have gleaned a minute insight into the financial and emotional difficulties we endured in support of Prithu prabhu’s preaching. Now, to know that all of this suffering was for naught, and to understand more specifically the emotional disturbance that was behind my husband’s distant and cold-hearted nature – we are, to say the least, shattered.

To help my family overcome the emotional trauma we are currently experiencing, I am requesting financial relief so we may begin the process of healing our lives.

My sons and I need the long-term support of a paid counselor experienced in religious abuse and mental illness and its effects on us as family members. Free or sliding-scale counseling offered by inexperienced Phd. students earning internship hours is not sufficient to speak to our needs at this time. Any therapy worth receiving costs a minimum of $150 per hour and more. For all of us to receive appropriate counseling, it will cost a minimum of $1,000 per month for at least 6 months, $6000 total.

Secondly, I need a minimum of 1 month respite to hear, chant, render emotional support to my children and reevaluate my life. This is going to cost $2700.00 per month for me[1]; additional funds will be utilized by my sons for the same purpose.

I know there is currently some negotiation going on regarding the Vrindavan Prabhupada Vani Ashram. When (and if) these funds do become available, they will be immediately consumed by the payment of long-standing debt (we have truly been struggling) and my children’s much deserved education. That property has been undergoing sales negotiations for over 5 years. It may require several more years before funds are made accessible to us.

In all the years as an ISKCON devotee, nothing has prepared me for the current unexpected turn of events my family and I are undergoing. Nor have we ever asked for any help from the ISKCON for any of our personal needs. Now, we really do need immediate financial assistance to derive some relief from the combined mounting pressure of the upheaval of our lives along with the increasing financial burden we presently face.

For this reason, I am respectfully requesting your thoughtful sympathies, support and assistance. If you would like to have more information regarding our situation please contact me either by phone or by email. (tel) 310-839-3685 or


Rambhoru Dasi

PS It is very easy to send us funds from any part of the world. You only need to go to and request to send cash to my email address which is The money will be placed in a paypal ‘holding tank’ which will be transferred into my account when I sanction it. It only takes a few minutes. If you would rather send funds by check, please make it payable to my legal name, Robin Brinkmann, rather than Rambhoru Dasi.


Rambhoru Dasi’s monthly expenditures

150.00_________Water. Gas. Electricity and phone.
70.00_________Car insurance.
280.00_________Gas for car.
1,000.00_________Food and basic living needs for myself and my 2 sons, e.g.,
soap, toothpaste, laundry soap, medications, washing
liquid, etc.
400.00_________Credit Card debts incurred while making the transition to CA
from NC to recover my family (2001).
200.00_________miscellaneous expenses, e.g., clothes, car maintenance (smog
DMV renewal, minor repairs, long distance phone calls, internet service, emergencies, etc.
25.00________ washing machine in temple laundry room.
$2680.00_________aproximate total expenses per month

-800.00_________Monies sent by Prithu Das monthly (until now)

$1880.00_________to be paid monthly by Rambhoru Dasi

**I earn between $1200.00 and $1800.00 maximum per month, working 40 hours per
week, depending on the substitute teaching jobs I get.

$2700.00 our family’s financial needs for one (1) month

+ 6,000.00 professional counseling for our family for 6 months

$8700.00 Total immediate financial assistance needed by us.

** Even if people only send us a few dollars per person, it will help ease the
pressure we are experiencing in our current crises. Little Drops of Water Wear
Away the Stone.


[1] Please refer to page (3) of this document for a countdown of our monthly expenditures.
Tapati - Fri, 03 Dec 2004 12:45:32 +0530
Welcome Rambhoru! May you find some shelter from the storm in this gentle and thoughtful group of Vaisnavas and well-wishers. I have found them to be extremely warm and welcoming and I'm sure you will too.

Blessed Be*

Tapati dasi