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Friday, May 2, 2008

Godman held for indecency

Times of India report follows my comments;

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati may not have done any wrong doing, it may have been misunderstood from a cultural view point. I recall an Albanian Muslim father who put his little daughter in his lap while watching soccer or some indoor game in Plano, Texas and his hand was caressing on her leg, which was misunderstood by a Caucasian family across and reported it to the Child Protective Agency. Even George Bush governor did not want to hear the appeal. The kids were separated from the parents and were given to Christian foster parents.

My appeal to all parents, Hindu, Muslim, Jains, Sikh, Parsee, Buddhist, or otherwise to please register yourselves to foster parenting, should a situation like that happen, at least their kids can be placed in a similar environment. It is a serious issue in the community and hope it will be undertaken by the India Association. The Muslim Community Center has done quite a lot on this but not enough.

There is a weakness built into each one of us, the weakness to make mistakes and the weakness do the wrong thing. The Catholic Ministry has gone through so much of this. It has nothing to do with one's religion, it has to do with being human. It is human to make mistake and if one has made the mistake, he or she must be punished for messing up the lives of children.

Mike Ghouse
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The Times of India -Breaking news, views. reviews, cricket from across India
Indian godman held for indecency with minors in US
30 Apr 2008, 1833 hrs IST,IANS


NEW YORK: A prominent Indian religious leader with a worldwide following and a huge ashram complex in the US has been arrested on charges of indecency with minor girls emanating from alleged incidents in the 1990s.

Swami Prakashanand Saraswati, 79, founder of Barsana Dham, a 200-acre temple and ashram complex near Austin, Texas, has been accused of groping two underage girls on several occasions between 1993 and 1996.

According to local media reports, detectives began investigating the swami, a votary of the path of devotional love, in August 2007 but indictment on 20 counts of indecency with a child or sexual contact was handed down in April.

Barsana Dham temple vice-president Prabhakari Devi confirmed that their guru was arrested last Thursday at Dulles airport in Washington on his return from Europe where he was receiving medical care.

Denying the charges, the ashram officials said in a statement: "We believe these allegations to be groundless. Shree Swamiji (as he is known) has dedicated his entire life to serving humanity and upholding the tenets of our faith. No one who knows him would ever believe he would do anything such as this."

Barsana Dham bears the name of the place in India, where Radha, Lord Krishna's devotee, is believed to have lived. The swami's followers have been living at the ashram since 1990, practising his philosophy of "divine love consciousness". The ornate temple opened in 1995.

Born in Ayodhya, India, the swami is a disciple of Jagadguru Kripalu Maharaj, a prominent religious leader in India.

He has led the creation of several Hindu centres and temples around the world and has overseen the development of several charitable hospitals in India. A renowned scholar, he has authored many books on Hinduism.

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