This is for the female disciples of Krsna-Ksetra Prabhu. or Krishna-Kshetra Prabhu (or Kenneth R Valpey, since he’s now going full dark on his different identities.) I never wrote a manifesto? Well here it is, and it’s dedicated to my former sisters.
You are beautiful, intelligent, capable women. I want to tell you about my journey so you might learn something.
If you haven’t met me – I’m the one who got all emotional and cried trying to talk about and to her godsisters during an impromptu offering at a Vyasa Puja in Oxford – some time in 2002? I’m the one who went into painting distribution in Germany in 1991, when our Guru Maharaja wanted to go preaching, and who collected lots of Lakshmi for his van (that he ended up using only a couple of years.) I’m the one who was unceremoniously dumped to Sweden when I got burned out after 4 years and who was stupid enough to try and find a husband from a pool of altogether 80 people. I’m the one who messed up her life, thinking that after all of her hard work, somebody would speak up for her (and yes, Guru Maharaja met the people involved, but did anyone speak up for her? No.)
I want to ask you to examine these ten things.
The facebook group
s we have created might just as well be any other group of fans where we share pictures and sound bites of our ‘star’ and envy those that are close to him. We think it’s ok because we’ve been taught that to love the guru is a spiritual thing. Is it though? What about the current attempts by ISKCON leadership to focus us all on Prabhupada (seen the course from Radhadesh? http://bhaktivedantacollege.com/online/gbc-program/
) This is not a new attempt either, see this letter from 1999
, after Harikesa left. Does that mean what we’ve been told before was wrong, and why would that be? Again, if you’re anything like me, the only thing that would make you work harder and be more obedient, was direct love, and the only love you could experience without breaking any principles, was love to a far away living guru.
2. We have a beautiful bunch of people. Our guru is cool, American, gorgeous, academic, seemingly quite independent-minded, has a job. AND is a spiritual master. It’s the perfect illusion for somebody who joins for intellectual reasons and stays because they ‘love’ (see above.) All the best people.
3. Have you ever been in a situation where you struggled with uncaring authorities or other typical problems, needed support from our guru and didn’t get it? That wasn’t your fault. You think anyone cares? Likely as not, nobody actually does. We are dealing with people here who have clear priorities, and if their life can be made easier by forgetting you exist if you are too much trouble, you’ll be dropped. Never mind how much you have done for ‘guru and Krishna’ in the past.
4. Do you think you deserve to be looked after because of who you are, not because of how well you follow some principles, or how well you are able to integrate yourself with people who may or may not be total pretenders? YOU DO. A guru you are worshipping from afar, who has made a career out of not getting involved because he’s ‘oh so spiritual’, cannot and will not look after you. So find someone who will, or START LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF.You deserve it.
5. Do you make decisions based on what’s good for you? (see above.) Think about it, And then DO IT. Nobody is going to be scandalised, it’s not going to kill your ‘spiritual life’, it’s not going to take you further away from anything, because your relationship on your guru is based exactly on what you want it to be, and you are not going to die if you decide to change, or end it. Do you follow some sort of pattern that’s an illusion anyways, because now even the GBC tells you your love for you guru needs to change? Don’t mind them. Take the stuff that’s holding you back from leading a happy life and chuck it out.
6. How independent-minded is our guru really? I can tell you, in my dealings with him he has repeatedly prioritised his own relationship with Prabhupada (to the uninitiated: that guy’s been dead since 1977) over his relationship with me. And yes that is after I’ve been a disciple for over 20 years and have done, oh, quite a lot for him in the past. He forgets things that are really important for me in my relationship with him, and now that I have made my point, I mean absolutely nothing to him. That’s NOT a loving relationship, that is misguided idealistic love, and yes, I regret all the years I thought this was real.
7. Does our guru send mixed messages? Yes, he does, it’s not just your perception (and I’ve been out drinking hot chocolate and eating restaurant pizza with him), and don’t ever think less of your perception because you have picked up on it. Do you hope he will guide you towards ‘real’ spirituality, away from a cult? I doubt it. I have asked him directly and he is not going to give up all the perks he has as an ISKCON guru for YOUR benefit, he doesn’t care enough about you. Or his own principles.
8. Do you love him, or anyone, more than yourself? Think about it. Living in ISKCON, you very likely do. Well, here’s the news: DON’T. You’re very likely a beautiful, intelligent woman, and you should shine. Find a loving relationship or don’t, study, work, or travel. But do everything based on what YOU really want to do with your life, not based on somebody else’s ideas. It’s not worth it, and it will not make you happy. In the worst case you will wake up at the end of your youth wondering why you’ve thrown it away for something or someone that doesn’t care about you.
Are you tempted to stay within the organisation and follow the GBC resolution, do the Bhaktivedanta College course, and make the required changes in your heart? Remember, the guru you are now supposed to ‘love’ had very strong views of women. I recommend the chapter ‘Women and Sex’ of Ekanath’s study into the books http://radhe.ch/index.php?id=301
. To remind you, the positive statements about women, other than Vedic role models like Kunti and Draupadi, in Prabhupada’s books can be broken down to: None. Read the link if you don’t believe me. Ekanath has done the counting. (By the way he married another very talented and brainy godsister of ours, Dyanakunda. She’s gotten out too.)
10. And finally: Let’s keep in touch. I know many of you and genuinely like many of you. I’m not a monster just because I’ve made the decision to turn back on things that hurt me, and neither are the others who have done this before me, as much as your ISKCON training might tell you so. Get in touch with me if you see this reposted anywhere. I’m easily found, my name used to be Anuradha, it is now Anke Holst.
Good luck with it all.