It has been suggested, assumed, that I lost faith because of having committed offenses, but I don’t buy it. I feel that I was sincere and dedicated enough and with sufficient integrity to warrant spiritual protection if Krsna was real.
I remember in or about March 2005, I was elected to the community board at Gita-Nagari, but I did not seek the position and was afraid of the unavoidable offenses that would come with it. I went before Sri Sri Radha Damodara and prayed for Their protection and guidance, and eventually left feeling I should accept the duty and accepting that my qualifications were good.
Then a few weeks later, I happened to see a complaint lodged from a person in Puerto Rico about a devotee whom in a few more weeks arrived in my community, although I did not immediately realize that they were the same person.
This Vakresvara Pandit Das, I had never met him before but respected him as the fine devotee I assumed him to be, until one day I saw him with a group of kids burning all the woods undergrowth between the Gita-Nagari temple and cow pastures. My wife and children and I cried in horror as we loved that woods and were afraid of anyone breathing poison ivy smoke. I had thought Vakresvara had been talking about removing garbage when he said he would clean up the forest.
The CPO (I was in touch with Tamohara Das, gbc) would not provide any detail of Vakresvara’s record, but I obtained a verified copy of ISKCON’s Official Decision finding him guilty of child molestation, and confirmed that he had been and remained in contempt of the rectification plan it required for him to step foot on ISKCON property.
I followed the best etiquette I knew and took painstaking efforts to address my concerns discretely and with no progress whatsoever until Bhakti-Tirtha Swami passed away. That night I had an inadvertent confrontation causing me to believe Vakresvara Pandit Das was a thug wearing tilak. Anuttama (gbc) ordered him to extinguish the huge fires he had created with his forest clearing boys, but I went out to do it since he was neglecting it, and I was afraid he would punch me then when I verbally offered my obeisances he scornfully rejected it.
The next day I saw my guru and he agreed that I should continue to investigate and pursue a satisfactory resolution. I soon realized that no one in the community would talk to me about it. I was told Radhanatha Swami would only agree to meet with my wife but not me, and then left town when we said we were not comfortable with that arrangement.
Thoroughly frustrated, I inquired on the BT Swami email group whether anyone knew what were his views on the subject, and they responded with condemnation of me in various ways. Secret board meetings were held to devise a way to impeach me from the board, and several brahmanas lied to me to conceal them before giving me papers to sign over my conscience to them, which I did not. My guru,Bhaktimarga Swami lied to me about his involvement with this exposed conspiracy, and broke his promise to arrange a mediator.
I could find no spiritual shelter and plunged onto severe depression gore nearly two years, hanging on just to maintain my family.
Then I cracked, and assumed fault for everything and begged forgiveness to be with devotees again. However nobody apologized for how they treated me. I failed at regaining confidence in my guru and became interested in the rtvik view but found that frustrating as well.
I prayed so much and shed so many tears begging for Krsna’s mercy, until it occurred to me that as an aspiring devotee I was perplexed, but if God were a delusion then all this would make perfect sense. It’s been about two years since that idea set in, which makes it seem that all my bhakti practice was pointless.
Lastly, I learned last year that ISKCON Law requires the authorities (gbc tp) to notify and poll for approval from householders in the community when a past child abuser wants to stay at a temple. So I was acting on behalf of a molested (former) child to uphold an ISKCON law that I did not know of, while the authorities were violating that law. How could I be judged as the offender in this?