A Reply to Govinda dasi
BY: TEJAPRAKASH DASA (ACBSP)
Jun 21, 2011 USA (SUN) Dear Govinda dasi, PAMHO AGTSP. I was very disheartened to read your recent article. You're the one, not I, who chose to enter into this dialogue with your several recent postings under the name of "Hawaii Community of Devotees", wherein Vatsal and his good wife have been being attacked. As stated previously, based on the advice of some well-wishing very senior godbrothers, I finally felt the need to reply to your allegations based on these postings, wherein your name was mentioned along with the others.
In our ISKCON society these days it is unfortunate that if one remains silent when accused of something they are often assumed guilty by many. In His pastimes with Ramacandra Puri, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught us tolerance by His personal example. The Vaisnava society shouldn't rush to judge anyone on account of their silence. Only a shallow minded soul will accept one side of a story as factual, unless of course it is coming from a maha-bhagavata. A maha-bhagavata is defined by Srila Prabhupada in the Nectar of Instruction, text 5 as "one whose heart is completely devoid of the propensity to criticize others."
Sura prabhu is a senior respected devotee and was the BBT accountant for over 20 years. His letters I previously posted about the Hawaii finances speak for themselves. Apparently this wasn't good enough for you. You know better than me that after I resigned as President, there was another outside accountant hired to review the books, which also proved no wrong doing. Why can't you accept the facts and give up your mentally concocted views on ISKCON Hawaii's finances while I was President?
On approval of ISKCON Hawaii's Board of Directors, I started my own restaurant. I am a grhastra, after all. At that meeting were HG Ravindra Svarupa dasa, HG Sesa dasa and HG Suresvara dasa, who all unanimously approved. The board meeting took place on October 31, 2006, the minutes are in the temple files. Not a penny of temple funds were ever used at any stage for any part of the restaurant. With the exception of Gokulshyam dasa, (who helped me lay tiles for a few hours one afternoon), not one temple devotee ever helped. Besides me, all other work was done by Jitavrata prabhu or outside help, who were paid from my own checking account.
Again you brought up why we banned Daiva and others. This was addressed in my last article. It was done as a last resort, when all other attempts failed. As far as Mother Malati being asked to move out of the temple, again, as a group we all decided it would be better for her to live outside of the temple. She is a very soft-hearted, nice mataji whom I have a lot of affection for. I do not want to offend her, but as you have distorted the facts about her situation I feel obliged to answer. As you well know, she had a problem with intoxication, and her being a pujari only made the situation worse. No we did not throw her or her belongings out. We dealt with her in a very gentle way. We also kept her belongings safely until her daughter came and went through them, which is what Malati asked us to do. I even offered to purchase her a round trip ticket to India, which she refused at the time. It's unbelievable the way you just distort the truth and fabricate stories!
As stated in my prior posting I never made important decisions without getting approval from a group of devotees. There were always very valid reasons with all decisions that were made. All decisions were made by a group of very dedicated, some very senior devotees. Detailed minutes of all meetings were taken and are in the temple files. If you need any more details, go and have a look.
As far as the Deena Bandhu incident. Again, its simply not true. I cleared this allegation up years ago, why are you bringing it up again? I was a rank and file devotee in Miami at the time with no influence in such management decisions. You might as well say that everyone in the Miami temple had something to do with it. I initially heard that you were circulating this rumor to discredit me back in 2004. Eventually I contacted him about it. In August 2007 we had a nice series of letter exchanges wherein Deena personally acknowledged in writing to me that I was not the one to blame for this incident. In one of his letters he said: "You can tell the girls to not misquote me. I never told anyone that you beat me. I mean this incident is over 30 yrs old, what's the use of bringing it up now?"
You are one of the most senior Vaisnava matajis in our movement. How could you write such a letter of falsities? Since your posting a several days ago I have received a number of letters and calls from devotee acquaintances that are shocked by the tone of your letter and malicious statements. They can't believe you could say such things. What kind of example is this for our next generation if the senior devotees deal with each other in such harsh ways? Srila Prabhupada said that our love for Him will be tested on how we cooperate together in His absence. He also said that our movement could only be destroyed from within.
Do you actually think that Srila Prabhupada is pleased with this kind of behavior? The facts of ISKCON Hawaii say that with all the wonderful things you have done in the early days, you also have a history of causing problems to and ignoring many if not all the GBC's in Hawaii. All anyone has to do to confirm this is ask anyone who has ever been a past GBC for Hawaii. Some more recent GBC's were HH Kavicandra Maharaja, HH Bir Krishna Maharaja and HG Ravindra Svarupa prabhu. Similarly any temple president in Hawaii that is not under your control sooner or later becomes your target of gossip, innuendo, and meddlesome politics. Covering the last 10-15 years besides me are Rajendranandana prabhu, Ramananda prabhu and the current President, Vatsal prabhu. Puskar prabhu was also a president there at some point in the past. These are all Srila Prabhupada disciples, your godbrothers. Most of these sincere, dedicate disciples of Srila Prabhupada have been offended, some even scarred by you. All anyone has to do is simply ask any of these GBC and temple presidents or their wives as to how they were treated by you. Any sane person can see that there is a pattern that has developed with you and the ISKCON Hawaii management.
How many letters has Ambarisa prabhu written over the years asking all concerned to follow the hierarchy that Srila Prabhupada has set in place, only to be constantly ignored? How many headaches have you caused him? I spoke with Ambarisa prabhu a few days ago and his statement is that rather than having the property management descend into chaos again that he is going to sell the property, give some money to establish a smaller more manageable center, and spend the rest of the proceeds on the Mayapur Project. You will be the main person to blame if this happens.
This quarreling must be stopped. In a letter to Rayarama dated Feb 20th, 1969 Srila Prabhupada gives the following story:
"So far as your fraternal quarrel is concerned, I may recite in this connection one story: An old father required massaging so all the children wanted to serve the father. The father divided the right and left portion of his body to be served by the children. Later along with the service, there was some quarrel between the children, and they were competing by hitting the parts of the father which was assigned to the opposing party. So the father said that you are hitting my different parts due to your opposition to one another, but I am therefore dying. Similarly, either this department or that department, if you quarrel amongst yourselves it will be detrimental to my missionary ambition. Please therefore stop this unnecessary strain."
The only thing I did was to try to bring the temple up to Srila Prabhupada's standards. If you call following Srila Prabhupada's instructions and bringing sanity, law and order to Srila Prabhupada's temple a "Reign of Terror" then so be it. The facts are that when I assumed management in 2003, the temple had bullies, lazies, crazies and druggies living there. It took me the better part a year just to bring the temple to a sane, manageable level. A few of the residents were regularly smoking pot. People were selling drugs on the temple grounds at the Sunday feast. Some devotees would come to the temple bhoga rooms and walk-in coolers during the week at their leisure, fill up their backpacks with bhoga and leave. It was a free for all circus with so much chaos.
You personally told me that Srila Prabhupada had a special, slack standard for Hawaii and this is the type of temple activity that a slack standard cultivates. The fact is that He wanted everything to rise to strict Vaisnava standards as quickly as possible and have all of His temples run at the highest standards. Some of His heaviest lectures came when He was in Hawaii. Many of His strongest purports came when He was translating from his room in Hawaii.
While I was there the temple building and property was improved to a great degree. Many say that it hadn't been so renovated and fixed up so much since Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. We started a very successful prasadam business at the University of Hawaii that continues to this day. So many other positive things took place. You are personally aware of most of the very positive things that were accomplished under my administration but don't care to see them.
Srila Prabhupada was a cent percent pure devotee, tri-kala-jna and therefore he knows perfectly what's best for each and everyone of us. You had the fortune to have his personal association and instruction on many occasions. In the following letter dated April 30, 1974, He gave you the following priceless advice:
"…To you my advice is, because you are very intelligent and educated girl, you forget your relationship with _____________. Now you become mixed up in Krishna business and live like a chaste Hindu widow woman. There are many ideal young Hindu widows who do not dress nicely at all, do not comb the hair, and who take bath three times daily in the Ganges, wear white sari and are engaged 24 hours a day in chanting Hare Krishna Mantra. The vivid example is Visnupriya devi, Lord Caitanya's wife. When Lord Caitanya left home accepting the renounced order of life, sannyasa, at that time Visnupriya was on the summit of youth, 16 years old, but when her husband became sannyasi she also became greater than sannyasa. She was chanting her rounds on the beads and after one round she was collecting one grain of rice. In this way all day and night, as many rounds as she could finish, that many grains she would cook and eat. Just she how much austerity she underwent! Visnupriya is the incarnation of the Goddess of Fortune but to teach us how much austerity and penance she underwent, I think you should follow the footsteps of Srimati Visnupriya. You have good writing capacity, and good artistic ability. Now devote your life to chanting Hare Krishna and if possible write articles on Krishna Consciousness, as many as possible with your own paintings and send it for publication to BTG. Forget this nonsense _____________. These are all material relationships and have nothing to do with spiritual advancement.
Engage your life fully for Krishna Consciousness. Only chant Hare Krishna Mantra day and night, read books and expressing the philosophy in your own words write articles for publishing in BTG. Don't bother anymore with rascals like ____________ or anyone else. Take Krishna, as your Supreme Protector and Krishna will help you in all respects. Practice this prescription and you will be happy eternally."
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Mataji, its never too late to follow these flawless instructions, specially tailored just for you by His Divine Grace. You are so fortunate to have had so much association with Srila Prabhupada. You have so much potential to preach on His behalf and enliven devotees all over the world. Please don't abuse your position and status. Please turn your attention to these instructions of His and stop spending your precious time bullying devotees and causing politics, dissension and disruption in ISKCON Hawaii's affairs.
Mataji, you have my email. If you need to write to me in the future please have the decency to contact to me personally. If at any time in the future you have a change of heart I would be happy to meet with you, one to one. We are all connected with our eternal father and thus our relationships are even more important that our material ones. I pray one day we can all serve Srila Prabhupada peacefully. This will bring Him great happiness.