Rape in holy places

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Why do terrible things, like the rape of a lady devotee, happen in Vrndavana?

Someone asked me to share my consideration about violence in holy places.

How come horrible things happen in a place that should be like a paradise?
In particular, why does it happen that young women are assaulted and raped?

I will say some things from different perspectives.

The first thought is from a material point of view.

For decades, it has been said in all possible ways that ladies Vaisnavis, young or old, should not go around alone in Vrindavana or anywhere in India without a man accompanying them. Never be alone with a local, and never go around in the evening or even during the day in isolated places.
There is no sufficient emphasis: Do not make this mistake. You could pay it dearly.

Second point.
There is the conviction that if one is born or lives in Vrindavana, that person must be a liberated soul from Goloka Vrindavana, but it is not so.

Putana was in Vrindavana. Aghasura was in Vrindavana. Kamsa was born in Mathura. Bakasura, Kaliya, Aristasura, and all the demons we read in the scriptures were all “Vrajavasi” who killed so many men, women, children, cows, animals and vegetation. Just read the Sastra carefully and you will find this.

If someone would reply to me, “But those were lilas.” I would answer, “Then, you could take the rape of a young girl as a lila.” How do we know it’s not like that?

Even today in Vrindavana there are so many demons. Just like, lila or not lila, Krishna exiled Kaliya, in the same way we must exile our stupidity to put ourselves in dangerous situations.

Give mental respect to all Vrajavasi.
Not being able to know if they are bhaktas or raksasas, is another thing. Mentally respect them, but you should not trust them externally.

Now, this is the philosophic point of view.
I will tell (very shortly) two stories that will make us understand how a Vaisnava should think. If we put on dhoti and saris, but we continue to think like Europeans, Americans, Africans or Asians, then what we are doing will be of little use for our spiritual advancement. We must think like Vaisnavas philosophers. History and philosophy teach us how a Vaisnava thinks and sees reality.

First story:
Kamsa killed one by one the first six newborn children of Devaki and Vasudeva.
Think about it. This big demon grabbing a cute and tender baby and throwing him to the floor breaking all his bones. If they were making a film, we would have to shed a lot of tears, and humanly it would not be wrong to cry about it.
But Srimad-Bhagavatam says that the first six sons of Devaki were, in their previous lives, sons of Hiranyakasipu and were six asuras.
Knowing this, the tears settle down.
Thinking of those six as big and bad men, with beards and mustaches brandishing swords and axes and being the children of one of the greatest demons in history, makes our minds calm down because we realize that it would no longer be worth weeping over it.

Second story:
Ganga kills the first six sons she had with King Santanu.

Imagine this scene.
A beautiful, tender baby is born and his mother takes him and throws him into the river. Not just one, but seven of them die drowned like that.
All of us, together with Maharaja Santanu, feel anger against Ganga and shed abundant tears. It’s not right. It is sadism, infinite cruelty. What kind of mother is that? What kind of woman is that? What kind of human being is that?

Then, it becomes known that those seven babies were the incarnations of the eight Vasus (who are a type of celestial beings). They had been cursed by Vasistha Muni to be born in this world for stealing his Nandini cow.
They did not want to be in planet Earth because life in the heavenly planets is way much better. They prayed to the sage to be merciful and to withdraw the curse.
At the end of a long story, Vasistha tells them that only the one who has physically taken the cow will stay on this planet for a long time and that the other seven will be able to return immediately after birth to their natural home.
The eighth Vasu, named Prabhasa, would live a long time on Earth, respected and revered as Bhismadeva, one of the greatest Vedic authorities. Ganga agreed to play the role of his cruel mother.

Now, knowing that the seven babies could not wait to be thrown into the river to go back home, all the tears and sobs stop and we think, well, then it was not so bad.

A note:
Those of you who might think now that this philosophy justifies or rationalizes violence did not understand anything of what I am saying.

Philosophy and history are a way of being, of thinking. Let’s study them so that they become one with our way of thinking.

And so,
1) Be wise, do not put yourself in danger.
2) Do not think in a sentimental way that those who live in Vrindavana are all saints.
3) The soul is eternal and often has a load of karma to pay.

This is a section of the book “A Sidelong Glance”.

To buy the complete book, click above



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