Go Put On White
BY: B. RADHA GOVINDA
Feb 24, 2011 USA (SUN) From my own personal experience, I can substantiate Kishore Kishori prabhu's statements in general regarding Romapada Swami's impersonalism, unethicalness and "cold"ness, which I am personally aware of. Dare it be added, on Romapada's "lending business", how can a sannyasi lend to Sri Sri Radha and Krsna -- Sri Sri Radha-Govinda (the Deities in NY) $90,000 with interest to be paid back, as well as his fronting money for devotees to purchase houses, their paying back the loans with interest to Romapada. Of course it is "a Vaisnava aparadha" or "blasphemous" to mention such things, especially about someone who is an ISKCON GBC, sannyasi and guru. I don't know about Romapada's activities or relationships with devotees in Chicago.
I've known Romapada over the years, dating back to the 1970's. He's been impersonal, cold and even downright nasty and mean to devotees who are, let's say, "not in his favor." (That's putting it kindly.)
Years ago, when I was doing active preaching programs in Buffalo, a city where there was no ISKCON temple (Kirtanananda closed down the temple in January 1978), I would direct the people to whom I preached to go to Toronto, the nearest ISKCON temple, and to the NYC (Brooklyn) temple, the nearest US ISKCON temple, so they could experience the (full-blast) beauty of Sri Caitanya's Sankirtan movement, "transported" and made manifest by Srila Prabhupada: the chanting of so many people together in one place for a Sunday program at such beautiful temples, the beauty of the Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna (in this case, Sri Sri Radha-Ksircor Gopinath, and Sri Sri Radha-Govinda), the magnificence and beauty of the temples and the altars on which Their Lordships danced.
Without going into the nasty details of what transpired because of Romapada Swami's considerations and related material motivations in seeing many people from the same city coming to visit "his" temple, and Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Govinda, Romapada made it obvious what his material desires were with relationship to these people, who were taking up Krsna consciousness seriously. It should be noted that some of these people left Krsna consciousness entirely because of Romapada.
Although Romapada hadn't been doing anything for years in terms of preaching at that time in Buffalo, until he saw many people from Buffalo coming to the Brooklyn temple, he actually told these various people that he "was the ISKCON GBC and guru of Buffalo", and convinced these people that he was. He later telephoned me, telling me he wanted me to arrange for him to do some programs, so I did.
At one point, although Romapada knew that Srila Prabhupada had given His approval for my head being shaved, his knowing my head had been shaved for so many years, including while Srila Prabhupada was physically present, Romapada told me that I should "grow my hair, put on white" (as I was wearing saffron at this time), and "should remove your tattoos", which were Krsna-related and put on while Srila Prabhupada was present on the planet. Romapada told me if I didn't do all of the above, I "would not be allowed to come to the programs," although I had originally started the programs.
Romapada expressed his anger later in a letter to me, after I had verbally told him that I preferred to use the money I was working for towards buying Srila Prabhupada's books and giving them out to people (for free) as opposed to using (wasting) money on removing tattoos, which were Krsna-related. I did agree that if it was that important to him that I grow my hair and put on white, I would do that.
I know some devotees don't agree with my being in saffron colored dress, and I can accept their difference of opinion, but it amazes me how so many of these very same devotees will accept the fact that there are quite a number of people who have accepted/taken sannyasa (or is it SINyasa?), yet live high on the money… even millions of dollars.
Years later, when I was made aware of Romapada's money-making, and the "how's" of it, I thought that it was he who should be putting on white, giving up his tridanda, and giving consideration to getting married. So Romapada Maharaj, although you wanted me to put on white, considering all the factors, me thinks it is you who should go put on white.
Maybe the wealthy sannyasis of ISKCON can consider giving up some of their money to help the devotees in Christchurch.