BY: ROCANA DASA
July 30, CANADA (SUN) A weekly response to Dandavats editorials.
Today's Obeisances is in response to the recent letter of apology from Satsvarupa das Goswami, which read:
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I have come to realize that my book “Sanitorium” contains explicit sexual scenes and references. I am sorry I have written it. I apologize and promise not to write a book like this again.
Yours in service to Prabhupada, Satvarupa das Goswami
Interestingly, this apology letter was submitted to Dandavats with an opening statement from the Euro-GBC. Why it is that such a communiqué on Satsvarupa didn't come from the North American GBC, since Satsvarupa has spent his time in North American for many years now?
It undoubtedly comes as no surprise to the regular reader of the Sampradaya Sun and the HareKrsna.com website that I have a personal long-standing grievance with this individual. My primary difficulty with Satsvarupa is with respect to his role as a Zonal Acarya, and his authorship of the Lilamrta. Beyond that, my relationship with him was developed over many, many years of working directly with him as my GBC during Srila Prabhupada ISKCON lila period. I have made a commitment to exposing the Lilamrta, his most famous 'literary' work, and I hope to prove beyond a shadow of doubt that it's serious flawed and demonstrates an abject lack of realization on Satsvarupa's part as to who Srila Prabhupada really is.
The above apology letter is but the latest in a string of apologies. As always, Satsvarupa calls upon his writing prowess to pluck all the sentimental strings he can in regards himself and, of course, his unique relationship with Srila Prabhupada. That relationship has essentially immunized him from getting any kind of direct reaction for all the mistakes he's made over the last years. He is definitely the most Teflon personality in all of ISKCON's history.
This latest edition in a whole rolodex of apologies is by far the most terse and unapologetic of them all. He didn’t even bother to spell his name correctly - or the title of his book. Satvarupa put no effort into explaining to us how it is that he has "come to realize" that his Sanitorium book contains explicit sexual scenes and references. Of course, anyone with half a brain in their head would question this opening sentence, asking how it is that while he was writing, editing and publishing this book he didn't come to realize that explicit sexual scenes are included in it. Why did it take a public outcry for the author to figure out that explicit sexual narratives are not something a Vaisnava sannyassi/guru in our Sampradaya would ever conceivably think of writing - quite the opposite! We're supposed to spit upon such things.
Of course, coming in the wake of his previous apology for falling down with his female devotee "counselor", I suppose the latest dime store novel apology is simply an appendix to the former. Keep in mind that in his extensive apology on the falldown issue, written on May 10, 2004 (only three years ago), he promised that he had straightened himself out and protected himself in regards to bad association with women. Then he writes this book - and decides to publish it. We don't know when he wrote it, but it was clearly influenced by his counseling sessions with the woman he feel down with. And if that's so, then why didn't he throw it in the trash as part of his post-falldown remediation process? Why did he insist on having it published? From inside information we've been privy to, he apparently insisted on having it published even though his staff and followers at the Gita Nagari Press were not in favour of it, for obvious reasons. Regardless, what in the world could they have been thinking to have participated in any way, shape or form with the publication of this book?
It's hard to ignore the fact that Satsvarupa said that he was simply going to withdraw from circulation any remaining copies of the book. You would assume that if he sincerely thought he'd made another big mistake in writing the book in the first place, he would instruct everyone that has already gotten a copy of the book to throw it in the trash. This is certainly what I'd recommend, along with the majority of his other books, which are simply the product of his insane mind. Instead, we find that Satsvarupa's apology was so insincere that he hasn't even bothered to take the promo shots of the book down from his website.
Following the many terrible early experiences I had with Satsvarupa, which I've mentioned in other articles, I've never received a personal apology from him. He didn't see fit to give us an apology for backing the women's abuse program or trying to block the report that I helped to research and compile, which he tried to keep from reaching Srila Prabhupada. Neither did he give me an apology for ordering me, as my GBC, to return to my temple shortly before Srila Prabhupada departed from the planet, which deprived me of the opportunity of being by his side. He did manage a brief apology to the devotees for being a Zonal Acarya on September 21, 1985, which follows:
" .... I personally do not feel it was wrong to perform the guru-puja in these past eight years. IF THE DIFFERENT WORSHIP SYSTEMS WE INSTITUTED ARE EXCESSIVE, MY ANSWER IS THAT WE DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO BECAUSE THERE WAS NO PRECEDENT OR SCRIPTURAL RULE THAT SPECIFICALLY TOLD US WHAT TO DO.
Specifically regarding the guru puja , we took the precedent of Srila Prabhupada himself who accepted a daily guru puja and considered it an important function. However, as years have gone by, some God brothers have been disturbed by the guru-puja of their guru-Godbrothers, and even more importantly as some of the designate gurus have fallen down from religious life, it has become apparent the daily guru puja is questionable.... I wish my disciples to see it as follows; For eight years we performed this function and there is nothing wrong in doing so, but seeing the evolution of ISKCON with many gurus, and with the need to establish Prabhupada's pre-eminent position we should now cease in this function.... The ceasing of the guru puja dos not mean that your spiritual master is not to be worshipped as good as God or that he has become an ordinary man, or that he has misbehaved in some way.........."
Satsvarupa das Goswami
Considering that he spent eight years as the official spokesman for what he calls "a mistake", if you read his apology the only thing he really says he's sorry for was having daily guru pujas. And he insinuates that it's only because some of the godbrothers have raised a stink that he's apologizing at all. In fact, he didn't even admit that it was a wrong thing to do. And of course, he doesn't mention the Lilamrta or all the position papers that he wrote for the Zonal Acaryas, nor the fact that he attended meetings where senior Srila Prabhupada disciples were thrown out with no justification. I could go on and on for hundreds of pages describing Satsvarupa's participation in the Zonal Acarya era, but that's for another day.
Whether he wrote an apology for his Gopi Bhava Club participation I'm not sure, but he was certainly a key participant. Here is an interesting article about Satsvarupa's relationship with B.V. Narayana Maharaja.
As a Zonal Acarya, in every circumstance where Satsvarupa has been involved, it's not only that he supported the Zonal system verbally and in writing supported it, he also exploited his so-called brahminical persona, causing many devotees to conclude that if Satsvarupa's behind it, it must be OK, because he's so pure and brahminical.
I don't mind saying that Satsvarupa is definitely the equivalent of a snake with a gem on its forehead. If the truth be know, he is the worst of the worst, and he remains so to this day. You can only wonder why the GBC and all the big ISKCON authorities don't formally sanction him and remove his status, as they have so often in the past done to devotees who have transgressed far less than Satsvarupa ever has. While the other devotees are long gone, Satsvarupa remains untouched and without any formal sanction from the GBC. Of course, this doesn't come as much of a surprise when you consider that if the author of the Lilamrta -- the official ISKCON presentation of Srila Prabhupada -- is exposed for what he really is, a crazy man, then one would have to accept the Lilamrta for what it really is. It is the collected writings of a madman, let alone of a neophyte who was so envious that he usurped Srila Prabhupada's position immediately after he departed.
I invite the readers to carefully read the most extensive apology we've gotten from Satsvarupa over all these years, from May 10, 2004. While he's a writer, even this apology isn't really written by him - it's actually just a series of Q&A from his having been interviewed. As a writer, you would assume that in every one of his apologies, he would have given us a small book on all the philosophical deviations that he now realized were wrong. But of course, we're not privy to this at all. The only thing that stands as archival evidence of his apology is this Q&A document, which in all honesty, is pathetic. We also note that the last sentence of this apology letters was: "And please read my books."
Satsvarupa doesn't once mention the likely real cause of the debilitating headaches that he's had for so many years, which he says are "anticipatory anxiety syndrome". Of course, from our siddhantic and spiritual perspective, one would call this simply a reaction due to offenses that he's committed to Srila Prabhupada and the sincere devotees. But of course, this never occurred to him as being the source of his problems, even though our whole philosophy is based on the principles that pure devotees can transcend any type of material circumstance, but conditioned souls cannot. This never comes across in his Q&A apology letter.
I'll restrain myself from commenting line by line on his May 2004 apology, and will instead leave it up to the reader to see for themselves how absolutely foolish it is. The answer to these questions should in themselves disqualify anyone who in our Sampradaya would even be saying such things, let alone doing what he did, which is fall down with a woman while in the dress of a sannyasi. Of course, he's claiming that it only happened once, but how can we believe him? Especially when he just published his latest book, which is focused on the same activities. So really, the Sanatorium book in itself should nullify any shadow benefit of a doubt that a neophyte would give him as a result of reading this apology letter from a few years ago.
In this Q&A apology, Satsvarupa mentions the fact that he wants to keep all his disciples, and that even after falling down with this woman he actually initiated more disciples, and he still feels that he's connected to them. In the letter he mentions the fact that he has many disciples in the area where he was a Zonal Acarya -- Vancouver, and the Sarangati Village - but to my knowledge he hasn't been in this area for 15 years or more. I've been told by many of his disciples that he's never written to them. In fact, he's completely lost touch with the great majority of his disciples. Yet in his 2004 apology letter he makes it sound like he's still willing and able to act as their "guru". The truth of the matter is that Satsvarupa was never a guru, and he never connected anyone to Srila Prabhupada - in fact, he did the exact opposite. He depicted Srila Prabhupada in a demeaning way, as a sadhana-bhakta, and his Lilamrta is full of envy. His own activities since Srila Prabhupada departed, and before, demonstrated just how contaminated and envious he is.
And as far as I'm concerned, his headaches, this book, and all the other mistakes he's made prove positively to anyone with any common sense just what his character and level of spiritual advancement are. Reading even an introduction to one of Srila Prabhupada's book will enable anyone to easily see that this is true. The fact that the GBC and some foolish disciples can think any other way is just a testament to how ISKCON has become a mundane religion. In fact, Satsvarupa in his own letter says that he considers Krsna consciousness to be his "adopted religion". Even so, today we find ISKCON notorieties like Giriraja Swami taking association with Satsvarupa. Sesa desa actually quoted Satsvarupa in one of his recent articles - and he's in charge of writing the Constitution for ISKCON! In my opinion, nothing that Satsvarupa's influence touches can be trusted.
So if you want to be in a religion where people like this crazy man are representing the Founder/Acarya, and who is honored and praised by the leadership of the movement, then you've come to the right place. But you'd better start questioning your own chances for making advancement, because if you want to please Srila Prabhupada, you should reject this person and everything he's written - and particularly the Lilamrta.
Obeisances to Dandavats and to the GBC, who are urged to take decisive action on Satsvarupa and his Lilamrta.