It’s All About the Money

Madhu Pandit Prabhu and the devotees of ISKCON Bangalore are intelligent devotees and are dedicated to Srila Prabhupada. I think there is no one who would disagree with this. On any metric you want to take, the ISKCON Bangalore Group is very successful in following the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. They have huge book distribution, prasadam distribution, a wonderful standard of Deity worship, very dynamic preaching programs, very good management, sincere devotees completely dedicated to strictly following the four regulative principles, chanting at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily, rising before four every morning to attend the Mangal Aroti and being fully engaged 24 hours a day in serving Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.

So why is it that ISKCON is so intent on getting control over the ISKCON Bangalore Group, even though they know it is not possible really, unless the temple devotees are on their side? And the temple devotees are not on their side — they are Prabhupada men and ISKCON says: “Prabhupada is dead — you need a living guru.” So there is no way they are going to agree with ISKCON/GBC.

It’s All About the Money
By Sriman Madhudvisa Prabhu
Sep 09, 2011 Austrailia (SUN)

 ISKCON claims they are trying to eject Mahu Pandit Prabhu from ISKCON Bangalore because of a philosophical deviation, but we have examples in the past where ISKCON temples have separated themselves from ISKCON and have followed a path different from the one chalked out by the GBC.

The exact same situation occurred in Singapore where the devotees in the temple decided to accept the Ritvik ideas and operate separately from the GBC. ISKCON did not try to get the temple back, but just let them go on serving Srila Prabhupada. There was no money there so they are not concerned about this. In St. Petersburg in Russia ISKCON had their biggest and best temple. when Harikesa blooped he took that temple and a million dollars, and in that temple he preached a completely bogus philosophy. As far as I know ISKCON made no serious attempts to get the St. Petersburg temple back. At least not for many years. I do not know what is the situation there now.

There are many examples of the local ISKCON devotees deciding to take a path different from the one being dictated to them by the GBC, and ISKCON just lets them take the temples and follow their so-called deviations. Another example is Colombia in South America. ISKCON tried to throw out the leader, Paramadvaiti Swami, but the devotees in Colombia decided to keep Paramadvaiti Swami and throw out ISKCON. So now the ex-ISKCON temples in Colombia belong to his preaching mission Vrinda, and according to ISKCON they have deviated. But ISKCON has never tried to get the Colombian temples back. Of course, they have no money…

So it appears that ISKCON is not acting against Madhu Pandit primarily because he is deviating from their philosophy. The GBC knows that if the local devotees in a temple are against them and want to manage the temple (which in many cases they have built themselves) in their own way it is difficult for the GBC to counter this. Of course the GBC are trying to make arrangements to stop the temples from becoming independent of them by getting the temples to add bylaws to their constitutions to make them legally bound, but ultimately the temples are a local thing consisting of a group of devotees in a particular place and they have to be managed and supported by the local devotees. Without the support of the local devotees and the local community the temple cannot run.

The GBC can not force devotees to surrender to them; surrender cannot be legislated. If the devotees want to work under the direction of the GBC voluntarily, then the GBC can direct — but if collectively the devotees in a temple decide to reject the GBC and follow some other path, then at least historically the GBC does not seem to have been able to stop them.

The St. Petersburg devotees decided to reject ISKCON and follow Harikesh, the Colombian devotees decided to reject ISKCON and follow Paramadvati Swami, and Singapore and Bangalore decided to reject the GBC and follow Prabhupada, and at least so far, ISKCON and the GBC have not been able to do anything to stop this.

If somehow ISKCON gets control of the Bangalore properties and all the devotees leave ISKCON Bangalore and go and set up somewhere else, taking their congregation and supporters with them, ISKCON will have a lot of empty buildings… Where will ISKCON find the three hundred plus intelligent and qualified devotees to run it?

We have to remember that ISKCON did try and preach in Bangalore before Madhu Pandit, but they were unsuccessful. Madhu Pandit and the devotees he has been able to attract to ISKCON Bangalore have been exceptionally successful preaching in South India. But if ISKCON takes over and loses all the devotees who know how to preach in South India, what will they have? More empty buildings to add to the ever growing ISKCON collection of empty buildings.

Temples without devotees are just empty buildings — useless. ISKCON has so many empty buildings like this — but without an active community of devotees they are not temples, just empty buildings. ISKCON has many empty buildings like this in Europe. Even the German Nrsimha Farm which was the crown jewel of Harikesa’s kingdom is now simply an empty building, except a few days a year during the Nrsimha Caturdasi festival. Apart from this time there is only one devotee and his wife at the Nrsimha Farm. It is an empty building. They have a big empty building in Amsterdam that is supposed to be the new temple donated by one Krishnadas. But there are no devotees. So it remains an empty building. There is a temple/conference center/retreat in Germany that is just an empty building — no devotees. And of course the huge project, New Mayapur, the French farm, is just a collection of empty buildings — no life, no devotees.

So why is it that ISKCON is so intent on getting control over the ISKCON Bangalore Group, even though they know it is not possible really, unless the temple devotees are on their side? And the temple devotees are not on their side — they are Prabhupada men and ISKCON says: “Prabhupada is dead — you need a living guru.” So there is no way they are going to agree with ISKCON/GBC.

Still ISKCON is desperate to get control of the ISKCON Bangalore Group. Why? Because it is rumored they have assets and funds in excess of 3,000 crores. This is an unimaginable amount of money. As far as my dull brain can work out, that is 30,000 million rupees, which is around $650 million dollars US. So well over half a billion dollars. Of course it may not be true, but this is the rumor ISKCON is propagating.

Seeing all these assets under the control of the ISKCON Bangalore Group is driving the leaders of ISKCON completely crazy–they want the money. It appears to be as simple as that.

Madhu Pandit Prabhu and the devotees of ISKCON Bangalore are intelligent devotees and are dedicated to Srila Prabhupada. I think there is no one who would disagree with this. On any metric you want to take, the ISKCON Bangalore Group is very successful in following the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. They have huge book distribution, prasadam distribution, a wonderful standard of Deity worship, very dynamic preaching programs, very good management, sincere devotees completely dedicated to strictly following the four regulative principles, chanting at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily, rising before four every morning to attend the Mangal Aroti and being fully engaged 24 hours a day in serving Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.

ISKCON, in their money-induced craziness, is now openly declaring that they want to see Madhu Pandit and all the ISKCON Bangalore devotees behind bars on criminal charges. This is insanity. This is Vaishnava Aparada on such an unimaginable scale.

And what is ISKCON’s complaint? They claim Madhu Pandit and the ISKCON Bangalore devotees are criminals and have usurped the assets of ISKCON Bangalore and are using them for their own benefit. Firstly there is an English saying that, “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” Virtually every ISKCON temple has become a center for embezzlement, where money is collected on behalf of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna and it is siphoned off by various leaders and others for their own programs. Almost every ISKCON temple has a whole batch of “devotees” who are trying to take as much money as possible from the temples for their own programs. And they are criticizing Madhu Pandit for the crime that they are so expert at themselves? They may be thinking that, “ISKCON Bangalore has hundreds of millions of dollars so Madhu Pandit must be also taking some of this money for his personal benefit.”

However, from my experience with Madhu Pandit Prabhu and the devotees of ISKCON Bangalore Group is that they appear to be 100% convinced that the money they are dealing with belongs to Krishna and Srila Prabhupada, and they truly believe Srila Prabhupada when he says: “If you take even one penny of Krishna’s money for your own sense gratification you will go to hell.” So I don’t think Madhu Pandit or the devotees of the ISKCON Bangalore Group are taking any of Krishna’s money for their own sense gratification at all. They are simply managing it very expertly on behalf and for the benefit of Krishna and for pushing on the mission of Srila Prabhupada.

We see over the years it is very difficult for ISKCON to achieve anything that requires managing money. As soon as there is some money in ISKCON, so many devotees are trying to take it for their own programs… If the ISKCON Bangalore devotees were sucking the money out like the ISKCON devotees do routinely in many ISKCON temples, then how could they have expanded their preaching so dramatically as they have over the past five or ten years?
So at least from the information I have, I am quite convinced of the genuine nature of Madhu Pandit Prabhu and I am sure his motivation is to serve Srila Prabhupada, to please Srila Prabhupada. He is a very successful manager and he has attracted a lot of other very intelligent and successful managers and businessmen to join him in the ISKCON Bangalore Group, and together they are using their business and management skills in the service of Krishna. So there is nothing wrong with using one’s skills for Krishna like this. This is what Krishna told Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjuna was a fighter, a ksatriya, his business was to fight. So Krishna engaged Arjuna in fighting. So under Madhu Pandit Prabhu’s expert management he has engaged hundreds of intelligent young men in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna and together, using their material skills, they are expanding the preaching of Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON Bangalore Group.

I cannot detect that Madhu Pandit Prabhu or the very sincere group of Prabhupada disciples he has serving in the ISKCON Bangalore Group are in any way motivated by the idea that they will be able to suck money out of the temples for their own sense gratification. That is the claim that ISKCON is making. Practically they are saying the ISKCON Bangalore devotees are criminals, stealing Krishna’s money. But I think there is nothing further from the truth.

So in conclusion, at least from ISKCON’s side this is not a philosophical disagreement at all.

There have been many such philosophical disagreements in the past in ISKCON and they have generally let the disagreeing party go on with their service in the way the local devotees want to manage and serve in the temple. Of course, in the past none of these temples had any significant amount of money. But the ISKCON Bangalore Group is rumored to have over half a billion dollars in assets, and ISKCON has a shortage of funds largely due to the way they mismanage the money they have. So they are envious of the success of the ISKCON Bangalore Group. And if they were to get control of ISKCON Bangalore, it is likely they would also mismanage the finances there in the same way they have done in Prabhupada’s temples all over the world. ISKCON is not famous for good financial management or honest accounting — but ISKCON Bangalore is.

Over the years we have practically seen that ISKCON is very expert in turning pure gold into worthless sand. Srila Prabhupada gave them pure gold and now just a few decades later, they only have a few handfuls of sand left… Obviously Madhu Pandit does not want ISKCON to turn the gold in the ISKCON Bangalore Group that he and the devotees have worked so hard to develop into sand.

Madhu Pandit Prabhu as the leader of the ISKCON Bangalore Group has as his duty to protect the temples and the devotees under his care. If ISKCON can take over ISKCON Bangalore they will immediately declare: “Prabhupada is dead. You need a living guru. SURRENDER TO ME!” This will kill the ISKCON Bangalore Group.

So Madhu Pandit is acting as the President of the ISKCON Bangalore Group and he has to protect it. That is his duty. So a ksatriya in his duty has to engage in so many diplomatic activities and it may not be always possible for him to be strictly 100% truthful. He has to act in a political way to achieve his objectives–that is the business of a ksatriya. If one looks hard enough at anyone he can find some imperfections. This is the material world. However there is no question whatsoever Madhu Pandit Prabhu and the Prabhupada disciples of the ISKCON Bangalore Group are working together very nicely with the central point being Srila Prabhupada. They are Vaisnavas, they are devotees — even if ISKCON may have some disagreement with them they must respect them as Vaisnavas, as devotees. Otherwise they will have to suffer greatly for this severe Vaisnava aparhada.

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!
Madhudvisa dasa

Pasted from http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/editorials/09-11/editorials7727.htm

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One Comment (+add yours?)

  1. amit
    Oct 31, 2011 @ 23:10:24

    yes i agree madu pandit prabu is very great servant of prabhupada

    Reply

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