Thursday, October 23, 2014

ISKCON devotees injured as bus hits tree

Nineteen ISKCON devotees were injured when a Vrindavan bound bus rammed against a tree after one of its tyres punctured near Maghera village falling under Vrindavan police station today. 

"While eleven devotees were rushed to district hospital, eight were taken to Paras Mani Hospital. Nobody is in critical position," Dy SP Anil Yadav said. 

The accident occurred this afternoon when a tyre punctured and the bus, carrying 50 pilgrims, hit a tree. 

The pilgrims are on Kartik parikrama, and were proceeding to ISKCON Vrindavan via Goverdhan from Badrinath temple falling under Chaurasi Kos Parikrama. 

"The pilgrims have come from ISKCON Juhu Mumbai and are on Braj Mandal Parikrama," PRO Vrindavan ISKCON, Madhunath Das said.

Monday, October 20, 2014

ISKCON disciple from Australia held for raping help

Smith Arthur Harold
PuneMirror: An Australian national, disciple of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), was arrested on Saturday for raping his domestic help for one-and-a-half years, after promising her marriage.

Smith Arthur Harold (64) was arrested in Mayapur, the headquarters of Krishna movement in Bengal's Nadia district. He was remanded to 14-day jail custody by the CJM of Krishnanagar court.

Though disciples from all over the world are provided with accommodation inside the ISKCON campus, Harold was living in his own apartment in Gournagar. The complainant started working as his cook one-and-a-half years ago.

In her FIR filed on Friday, she stated that Harold first raped her when she started working for him. From June 2013 onwards, he raped her repeatedly. She filed the FIR after he kept going back on the promise of marrying her.

Denying all allegations, Harold said, "I have a happy family back in Australia. My wife is in Australia, and my son works in London. This woman wanted to marry me. When I refused, she trapped me with baseless allegations." Harold was charged under sections 417, 376, 420 of IPC.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Los Angeles Diwali Benefit Raises $500K for Akshaya Patra Foundation

IndiaWest: Palos Verdes, Calif. — A “Summer Formal Diwali Benefit Dinner” organized by Akshaya Patra here Oct. 5 featured guests of honor Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, Emily Rosenbaum and actor Manish Dayal, star of the highly acclaimed film “The Hundred Foot Journey,” while Shekhar Kapur, director of hugely successful films like “Elizabeth,” made a surprise guest appearance.
The program was kicked off by opening remarks by Vandana Tilak, chair for the group’s Los Angeles chapter, followed by an introduction of Deshpande by Mallika Chopra, daughter of Deepak Chopra. The event focused on raising awareness and funds for Akshaya Patra, which has won gold medals in accounting and transparency and their single-minded focus on serving 1.4 million meals every day for 220 school days of the year. More than $500,000 was raised for Akshaya Patra that evening.
The presentation by Indian American entrepreneur Deshpande focused on excellence, efficiency and shared prosperity. Akshaya Patra’s ISO 9000 certified kitchens cook for over 100,000 children in a matter of five hours every day in ten states across India and transports food to government schools providing midday meals.
Most often that one meal is the only meal of the day for the children, but it is one that makes a difference. The children focus better in class, are strong and take part in athletics.
Over the past 12 years, attendance by girl students has increased, and the number of children going to work in factories and farms has been reduced. It takes only $15.00 to feed a child for an entire school year after public and government subsidies. Ninety percent of Akshaya Patra’s budget is raised in India, while only ten percent of the funds are raised in the U.S. and the UK.
Kapur spoke about the very subtle separation between living a life of entitlement and opening the heart to see what is around us.
The 200 guests enjoyed dances on stage by the Nrityodaya Kathak Academy and Vinaini Jayasinghe of Savitri Arts Academy.
Ravi Tilak summarized the intent of the evening by sharing the definitions of Prakruti, Vikruti and Sanskruti. At a high level, Prakruti is when you are hungry and you eat what you need. Vikruti is when you are hungry and you eat more than you need. Sanskruti is when you are hungry, and you eat, but you also leave some for someone else in need, he said.

With this latest fundraiser, which was emceed by Sailesh Ranchhod, Akshaya Patra seems to be well on its way to reaching its goal of feeding 5 million children every single day by 2020.
The volunteer team of Akshaya Patra-Los Angeles chapter, along with Gururaj Desh Deshpande (chairman of Akshaya Patra), Emily Rosenbaum (CEO of Akshaya Patra USA), Manish Dayal and Shekhar Kapur. (photo by Andy Shah of Andy Shah Photography) taken from indiawest.com

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NGO Akshaya Patra to feed 38,000 Agra schoolkids

Akshaya Patra, a project of ISKCON Vrindavan, Thursday began its operations here to provide quality mid-day meals to children in government schools.
The facility set up at Lopamudra School near the Taj Mahal by Pareek Foundation will cater to more than 38,000 schoolchildren in Agra area, said District Magistrate Pankaj Kumar while inaugurating it.

By implementing the mid-day meal scheme in government and government-aided schools, Akshaya Patra aims to fight not only hunger but also help to bring children to school and thereby provide food for education.
Started in 2000, Akshaya Patra is the world's largest, not-for-profit mid-day meal programme serving food to over 1.4 million children in 10,661 schools across 10 states

Monday, October 13, 2014

Techniques of Mass Deception in Action: A Case Study

IRM Back To Prabhupada, Issue 40, Summer 2013

When you do not have evidence in the form of documented orders from Srila Prabhupada to support the deviations you wish to engage in, what do you do?
The response of ISKCON's leadership has been to use different techniques that are designed specifically to deceive devotees into accepting false conclusions regarding Srila Prabhupada's teachings. Throughout previous issues we have been presenting examples of some of these Techniques of Mass Deception ("TMDs") in action. Here we categorise, in ascending order of deceptive influence, some of the major TMDs that devotees may encounter, so that they may be able to recognise and resist them.

TMD1: Senior Vaisnavas

One technique is to present the "understanding" of "senior Vaisnavas". For example:
"on May 28, the leaders of ISKCON who were present with Srila Prabhupada were clear that Srila Prabhupada gave the instruction that after his physical departure those who would initiate would be 'regular guru'..."
(GBC letter to ISKCON Bangalore devotees, 9/3/2013)
In this way we are presented with the authority of what "all the senior Vaisnavas" understand, to urge us to also accept this understanding. But the only understanding which matters is that of Srila Prabhupada, as given by his direct statements, and not that of others.

TMD2: Tradition

Another technique is to claim we have to follow tradition, or what has happened historically. For example, GBC-elected guru hoaxer Bhakti Charu Swami ("BCS") states:
"The difference is that rtviks are saying that Prabhupada will continue to give diksa. That is the point that we cannot accept because there is no such precedence in the past." 
(BCS Lecture, 14/8/2004)
As with the previous TMD, this is just another way of saying:
"We can't present any evidence directly from Srila Prabhupada stating what we want."
For, if it was the case that Srila Prabhupada had ordered that in ISKCON we follow a tradition from the past, then that evidence from Srila Prabhupada himself would be presented!

TMD3: Guru, sadhu and sastra

Like "tradition" in the previous entry, "guru, sadhu and sastra" is misused to propose or reject conclusions while hiding the inability to present Srila Prabhupada's teachings establishing the same. This is covered separately in detail in the next article.

TMD4: Phantom quote

Another technique is to simply falsely claim that one is referencing a specific quote from Srila Prabhupada, and then just hope that devotees will not go and double-check in Vedabase!
A variation of this technique is to claim that Srila Prabhupada "said" something on the authority of someone claiming he was told this by Srila Prabhupada. However, anything can be claimed, but:
"Unless it is there from me in writing, there are so many things that "Prabhupada said."" 
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 2/9/1975)
Thus, whenever anyone claims something Srila Prabhupada supposedly "said", unless recorded evidence from Srila Prabhupada is presented, then, again, it is just another way of saying --
"We can't present any evidence directly from Srila Prabhupada stating what we want"
-- and, therefore, you just have to take our word for it!
We present multiple examples of these techniques on pages 6 and 7 of this issue.

TMD5: Half-quote

When presenting quotations, it is common practice for the sake of brevity to omit those parts which are of no relevance to the argument being proposed. But if you deliberately omit parts of the quotation which are relevant, then this is just cheating. For example, in the quotation from the GBC presented earlier, it goes on to claim:
"Srila Prabhupada gave the instruction that after his physical departure those who would initiate would be "regular guru" and that the initiates would be, in Srila Prabhupada's own words, 'He is granddisciple... disciple of my disciple'."
(GBC letter to ISKCON Bangalore devotees, 9/3/2013)
Only, the actual words spoken by Srila Prabhupada are:
"His granddisciple...when I order you become guru he becomes regular guru. That's all. He becomes disciple of my disciple."
In this case, omitting the part of the quotation which states "when I order you become guru" is highly relevant, because then we would have to see if such an order was actually given!
Thus, all relevant parts of Srila Prabhupada's statement must be presented.

TMD6: False conclusion

Finally, we come to a TMD which is the most dangerous since it relies on using full documented quotations, and thus appears to have the direct support of Srila Prabhupada, giving it the greatest power to deceive. Here an accurate quotation from Srila Prabhupada will be used to claim that it actually states something else! For example, GBC-elected guru hoaxer Sankarsana Dasa ("SAD")presents the following quotation:
"Then, in future... Suppose you have got now ten thousand. We shall expand to hundred thousand. That is required. Then hundred thousand to million; and million to ten million." 
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 6/4/1975)
and claims that this quotation states that:
"Srila Prabhupada predicted that ISKCON would have ten million initiating gurus (acaryas)."
(Sankarsana Dasa, 11/8/2005)
But, the quotation states:
"suppose you have got now ten thousand. We shall expand to hundred thousand. That is required. Then hundred thousand to million; and million to ten million." (Emphases added).
That is, the 10 million would be an expansion of something that already existed at around 10,000 in 1975, when the statement was made. SAD claims this refers to "initiating gurus". But, we know for a fact that in 1975 there were not 10,000, or even 100 "initiating gurus". There was only one, and that was Srila Prabhupada. So clearly, the expansion to 10 million from 10,000 does not refer to "initiating gurus" as SAD claims.

Conclusion

1. As soon as you hear or read a claim regarding what should be done in ISKCON, or what Srila Prabhupada taught, see if there is a direct, documented quotation from Srila Prabhupada produced to support the claim. If not, ask for such a quotation.
2. If such a quotation is produced, verify it is an accurate and full quotation, and then check if what is claimed about the quotation matches exactly what the quotation states.
In this way, all 6 TMDs can be foiled!

IRM Back To Prabhupada, Issue 41, Autumn 2013

Above issue's cover story described various Techniques of Mass Deception ("TMDs") deployed by ISKCON specifically to deceive devotees into accepting false conclusions regarding Srila Prabhupada's teachings. These TMDs were categorized under 6 separate headings:
TMD1: Senior Vaisnavas
TMD2: Tradition
TMD3: Guru, sadhu and sastra
TMD4: Phantom quote
TMD5: Half-quote
TMD6: False conclusion
As confirmation, just after our article went to press, right on cue, GBC-elected ISKCON guru HG Kripamoya Dasa ("KMD") gave a lecture on 3/8/2013, which contained the following extract:
"Prabhupada was 63 at the time, the brahmacaris were much younger. They took Prabhupada to one side and they said, 'You can't initiate. Only in our asrama, only Kesava Maharaja initiates'. So the next day Prabhupada went to Kesava Maharaja. He said, 'Is this true?' Kesava Maharaja said, 'Yes, that's the custom, each asrama has one'. And Prabhupada said, because Kesava Maharaja had given him sannyasa, he said, 'Oh, so you have got me married, but now I cannot have any children?' (1) So it's quite clear that Prabhupada saw initiation as a vital component of giving Krsna consciousness to others. (2) When he said in 1973, 'So all of you will be the spiritual master next', he actually meant it (3). So leaving aside that particular debate -- how one becomes a guru in Krsna consciousness (4) -- one essential point we can take from this is it means to bring a person, our preaching means to bring a person to the point of commitment. (5)"
And, as we demonstrate below, the above utilises multiple TMDs in just a few sentences! For ease of reference, we have labelled these sentences with numbers which we shall refer to throughout this case study.

TMD 4: Phantom quote

In (1), KMD opens with some statements Srila Prabhupada is supposed to have made when he was 63. However, there is no evidence Srila Prabhupada actually made these statements, because KMD admits when questioned over a month later that he is not relating statements from Srila Prabhupada, but a story told by Srila Prabhupada's Godbrother:
"Its a story that was told by Srila Prabhupada's godbrother Krishnadas Babaji. He found it amusing".
(KMD, personal website, 10/9/2013)
It is significant to note that in the original lecture, KMD fails to declare that he is merely relating a story from the Gaudiya Matha, rather than presenting quotes directly from Srila Prabhupada. This is an example of TMD 4: Phantom quote, since Srila Prabhupada does not accept such "stories" as authoritative:
"Unless it is there from me in writing, there are so many things that "Prabhupada said.""
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 2/9/1975)

TMD 6: False conclusion

KMD states this supposed story about Srila Prabhupada in (1), because KMD uses it to claim in (2) that any person preaching Krsna consciousness should also initiate:
"So it's quite clear that Prabhupada saw initiation as a vital component of giving Krsna consciousness to others."
KMD then uses this to support the same overall conclusion he offers in (5):
"one essential point we can take from this is it means to bring a person, our preaching means to bring a person to the point of commitment."
However, the story states that in any asrama, only one person who is the head initiates. KMD's guru colleague, HH Bhakti Charu Swami ("BCS") agrees, and states that for ISKCON:
"ISKCON is Srila Prabhupada's asrama. [...] Generally the guru has an asrama and he hands over the authority of the asrama to one disciple. He appoints a successor. But Srila Prabhupada didn't do that in ISKCON." 
(BCS, Disciples' Meeting, 1/8/2007)
Therefore, even if this story was true, it does not change the fact that in the ISKCON "asrama", only Srila Prabhupada should initiate, since he did not authorise anyone to succeed him, as BCS, whom KMD fully supports, admits above. Thus, without any succession authorisation from Srila 
Prabhupada, KMD cannot claim that persons who are preaching in ISKCON, such as himself, should initiate instead of Srila Prabhupada.

TMD 4: Phantom quote

KMD goes on to state that Srila Prabhupada did authorise guru successors who would initiate, by claiming in (3):
"When he said in 1973, 'So all of you will be the spiritual master next', he actually meant it".
Only, Srila Prabhupada never stated in 1973 that "you will be the spiritual master next", as KMD claims here.

TMD 6: False conclusion

The quote KMD refers to is actually a statement made in 1969, where Srila Prabhupada says:
"Every one of you should be spiritual master next. And what is their duty? Whatever you are hearing from me, whatever you are learning from me, you have to distribute the same in toto without any addition or alteration. Then all of you become the spiritual master. That is the science of becoming spiritual master. [...] Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana tara 'sarva-desa: "O My dear disciples, I tell you that you, all of you, become spiritual master. Simply you carry out My order. That's all." "And what is Your order?" "The order is the same: yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]*."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 5/9/1969)
*"Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krsna as they are given in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam."
The process Srila Prabhupada describes above, of becoming spiritual master by spreading his teachings unchanged, was followed by his disciples for many years after receiving the above order in 1969. It resulted in all persons in ISKCON becoming initiated by Srila Prabhupada, and not by those doing the preaching. That is, the preachers acted as instructing spiritual masters on Srila Prabhupada's behalf. And Srila Prabhupada does not state above that this process should change in the future, whereby those preaching his teachings should become a different type of spiritual master, who would replace Srila Prabhupada as the initiator of ISKCON.

Conclusion

Two years ago, KMD changed his position to become a GBC-elected guru, thus initiating those whom he preached to as his own disciples. In the above excerpt, KMD employs multiple TMDs to try to support his position that those preaching should initiate. However, Srila Prabhupada does not state that preaching in ISKCON means that he is to now be replaced as ISKCON's diksa guru by those doing the preaching.

This case study also demonstrates how one must scrutinise statements from ISKCON's leaders very carefully, as even a handful of sentences can be dripping with deception!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Food offered to bogus gurus does not produce Krishna prasadam - proof from Prabhupada

Compiled  by Dama Ghosha Dasa (Seattle, USA)
Below we have a concise analysis (from Prabhupada's quotes) that food offered thru bogus Iskcon gurus is not Krishna Prasadam. Sounds alarming? Then please read further.....
Over the years, we have all seen a lot of damage to the once prestigious worldwide Iskcon organization. Now, it is only a mere shadow of its past glory. And here below is one key reason. The present leaders of Iskcon have minimized the actual instructions of Srila Prabhupada, and created their "own" version of Bhakti Tattva.  Starting every day with the offering of bhoga to turn it into Krishna Prasadam thru the un-authorized gurus of Iskcon, everyone there is eating sinful foodstuffs, and not Krishna prasadam.
See the proof below.
Conversations, June 13, 1973, Detroit
Prabhupada: Who is my disciple? First of all let him follow strictly the disciplined rules.
Devotee (2): As long as one is following, then he is...
Prabhupada: Then he is all right.
Letter: Jayapataka, July 11, 1969
Out of the ten kinds of offenses, the number one offense is to disobey the orders of the Spiritual Master. The instructions given to the disciple by the Spiritual Master at the time of initiation should be strictly followed. That will make one advance to the spiritual path. But if one deliberately defies such instructions, then his advancement is hampered from the very beginning. This defying means to disconnect the relationship with the Spiritual Master. And anyone who defies and therefore disconnects the relationship with the Spiritual Master can hardly expect the assistance of the Spiritual Master life after life. I hope this will clear up this question sufficiently for you.'
Without going into all the hundreds of changes the Iskcon GBCs have authorized, merely changing whimsically, only ONE instruction, disconnects themselves from the param para and renders that "service" useless. What to speak of main instructions-like first of all-HOW TO OFFER  FOOD TO GOD !! Now here below is the actual words of Srila Prabhupada , where he tells his early disciples the process of offering bhoga or food to God, Krishna. And there are many other quotes like this one.
Letter to Arundhati, 16 June, 1969,   New Vrindavan
"Regarding your question about offering Prasadam, whatever is offered to the Deity actually it goes through the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master offers to Lord Chaitanya, and Lord Chaitanya offers it to Krishna. Then Radha Krishna eats, or Jagannatha eats, then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu eats, then the Spiritual Master eats, and it becomes Mahaprasadam. So when you offer something, you think like that and chant the Gayatri mantra, and then everything is complete. At last, ring the bell, take out the plate and wipe the place where the plate was kept."
Letter to: Devotee & Hamsaduta, August 1967, Vrindavana, India
"One who understands and appreciates the disciplic succession is certainly advanced, and we should always be very careful to give full respect to those who have so carefully handled this Divine Fruit of transcendental knowledge before us. Even a slight change will spoil it. That is why I have always been so careful to give you only those things which I have heard from my Guru Maharaja  "
…do we follow Srila Prabhupada’s personal example or the shastra that he gave us???
My contention is that we must follow the shastra that he has given us, and we must not imitate his personal example when it does not technically follow shastra.
So the system of arotik in all Gaudiya Vaishnava temples is to first pay obeisance to the guru and take his permission for worshiping Lord Krishna. Then worship Krishna first and then Radha then Mahaprabhu and the guru parampara in descending (senior to junior) order, lastly the arotik items are to be offered to the assembled devotees. In ISKCON Srila Prabhupada instituted another order offering the items to the guru first. In this case the item cannot technically be offered afterwards to the Lord having first been enjoyed by the guru. This is technically not correct. Therefore we must in this case follow shastra and adapt our worship method to the one followed by all Vaishnava sampradayas. The doctrine or principle of worshiping the guru first is correct but the technicality of HOW that is to be done is incorrect.
By the way this system is followed in most temples in Europe where I standardized the deity worship in the 1980s. It is not followed in some temples like LA because some Prabhupada disciples find it difficult to accept and they have no experience of the correct technical details as practiced in India.
sincerely
Gaura Keshava das
Letter: Dhruvananda, January 4, 1973    
The greatest danger to our movement will come when we manufacture and create our own process for worshiping the deities. So don't ask any more new questions, whatever is going on, follow it just to the exact standard as I have given you, that's all.
The reason Iskcon, thru Gaura Keshava, and before that, all the Gaudiya matha in India, have taken to this system of offering bhoga to Krishna is because they have disobeyed the orders of their own Acharya - both Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaj and our Srila Prabhupada in the matter of who is to become "guru" or Acharya of the institution when the real acharya departs. Since both the Gaudiya matha and Iskcon disobeyed their Acharyas orders (Gaudiya matha was to not elect any Acharya but work together and an Acharya (Srila Prabhupada) would emerge amongst themselves, and Iskcon’s order from Srila Prabhupada was to have ritvik priests take on the business of initiating new disciples on behalf of Srila Prabhupada--because neither of these organizations did what they were told to do, the result was so many fall downs amongst their so called guru leaders, that they were forced to amend the offering process  so that food would be offered first to God, or Krishna and not to fallen gurus, so that way they felt, everybody would be "assured" of having only Krishna Prasadam to take.
Only thing is - it's all wrong !! One doesn't go to God directly, but has to go thru His representative-for everything!! Even the Christians know this as Jesus said "only thru me can you go to the Father". 
Therefore, the conclusion is - it is not acceptable by Krishna because they have not followed His order and system to approach Him.
This approach, Iskcon's way, is very arrogant since they think they can directly go to God and bypass their own guru. Since Iskcon's own "gurus" are constantly falling down, then how can the blind followers be assured the offerings they personally make to Krishna, thru their own Iskcon guru actually go to God, or Krishna?
This is a big problem for the GBC. So what do they do? They change it all around to fix their current problem - gurus who are constantly falling down, by saying - No we don’t offer to guru first but to Krishna, then it comes back to us as "Prasadam".
The only thing  is all they are getting - is contaminated kali yuga "prasadam" and not pure 100% transcendental Krishna Prasadam.  
Now here below we hear from Krishna's actual representative, Srila Prabhupada, where he explains that if a guru is bogus, (which he becomes- simply by changing only one item of devotional service, what to speak of hundreds of other changes) then how can anyone go forward to Krishna, with any kind of devotional service or bhakti yoga from that incorrect starting point??? If you add 2+2 and get 5, even if you do everything correct after that, it’s still all----- WRONG !!
Now let us hear what the real Acharya A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada has to say on this important matter.....
Lectures, December 23, 1970, Surat    
Devotee (3): In regard to worshiping arca-vigraha form, you have explained that if one receives a mantra from a spiritual master who is not bona fide, that mantra has no effect. So I would like to ask if one is worshiping a Deity and his spiritual master is not bona fide, so that Deity cannot be considered the Supreme Lord?
Prabhupada: Well, first of all, thing is if the spiritual master is not bona fide, how his mantra can be bona fide? Your statement is contradictory. If you say the spiritual master is not bona fide, then how his mantra becomes bona fide? If he is bona fide, then his mantra is bona fide.
Devotee (3): Then why is he giving instruction to worship the Deity? If the spiritual master is not bona fide, then is the Deity also not bona fide?
Prabhupada: I do not follow. What does he say?
Tamala Krishna: His idea is that if one receives a mantra from a spiritual master, if the spiritual master is not bona fide...
Prabhupada: Then there is no question of mantra. There is no question of worshiping Deity. These are all bogus things. If you are not... Just like here is a young medical man. If he has not received instruction from a bona fide medical college, so what is the value of his medical, being... That is... What is called? What is the technical name?
Devotee (4): Quack.
Prabhupada: Quack! (laughter) (pronounces like "quark")
Lectures, November 1, 1976, Vrindavan       
So for that there are so many practices, regulative principles, mentioned here. The first thing is hamse gurau mayi bhaktyanuvrtya. This is religion. Adau gurvasrayamIf you do not get a qualified guru, then everything is bogus. If you, by good fortune, if you get the association of a guru, qualified hamsa, paramahamsa... Paramahamsa guru means sannyasi's last stage is paramahamsa. Kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya, and paramahamsa, these are the different stages. .....then he is paramahamsaSo one must find out a guru who is paramahamsa. Neither kuticaka, nor bahudaka, nor parivrajakacarya. Paramahamsa.
Lectures, December 19, 1970, Surat      
So we have to accept religious principles from the leaders of the sampradayas. Otherwise it is useless. Sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te viphala matah: "If you do not accept mantra initiation from the disciplic succession of the sampradaya, then it will be useless." Sampradaya-vihina ye. So people are manufacturing religion without any reference to these authorities.
Letter: Dinesh, October 31, 1969
Regarding the disciplic succession coming from Arjuna, disciplic  succession does not always mean that one has to be initiated officially. Disciplic succession (also known as  initiationmeans to accept the disciplic conclusion. Arjuna was a disciple of Krishna and Brahma was also a disciple of Krishna. Thus there is no disagreement between the conclusions of Brahma and Arjuna. Vyasadeva is in the disciplic succession of Brahma. The teachings to Arjuna was recorded by Vyasadeva verbatim. So according to the axiomatic truth, things equal to one another are equal to each other. We are not exactly directly from Vyasadeva, but our Gurudeva is a representative of Vyasadeva. Because Vyasadeva and Arjuna are of equal status, being students of Krishna, therefore we are in the disciplic succession of Arjuna. Things equal to the same thing are equal to one another.
So, if one has a guru (in Iskcon) who is not authorized by Srila Prabhupada and/or his instructions are contrary to Srila Prabhupada’s, then how the offerings made are Prasadam?) And on the other hand, if you DO follow Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, then the result is Bhakti yoga or pure devotional service if done under his instructions.
Letter: Tamala Krishna, August 19, 1968     
The chanting of Hare Krishna is our main business, that is real initiation. And as you are all following my instruction, in that matter, the initiator is already there. Now the next initiation will be performed as a ceremony officially, of course that ceremony has value because the name, Holy Name, will be delivered to the student from the disciplic succession, it has got value, but in spite of that, as you are going on chanting, please go on with this business sincerely and Krishna willing, I may be coming to you very soon.
Similarly here, because if one follows the real guru’s orders, then he is present there and the food offered does go to Krishna and return to  us as prasadam. Unlike the Iskcon scenario where the link to God, Krishna, has been cut or severed by their unauthorized methodology of first offering to God. As Prabhupada says - "these are all bogus things."  
Letter: Bal Krishna, June 30, 1974    
Allow me to congratulate you and your wife for giving birth to a new child. Now see that she is raised in Krishna Consciousness so that at the end of this life she can go back to Home, back to Godhead. As far as my blessing is concerned it does not require my physical presence. If you are chanting Hare Krishna there and following my instructions, reading the books, taking only Krishna prasadam etc., then there is no question of your not receiving the blessings of Lord Chaitanya whose mission I am humbly trying to push on.
OK, now let us depart to a slightly different topic. Assuming we are all on the "same page" with the above, let us see about accepting foodstuffs from impure places and people, and whether or not THAT is acceptable by Krishna??
Antya 6.275  
" 'My consciousness is impure because I (Raghunatha das Goswamiaccept all these goods from people who are interested only in pounds, shillings and pence. Therefore by this kind of invitation I only get some material reputation.
PURPORT
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura remarks that people who are under the bodily conception of life are called materialists. If we accept the offerings of such people, place them before the Lord and invite Vaishnavas to partake of the prasada, that attempt will gain us only a material reputation, not the actual benefit of service to a pure Vaishnava. One should therefore try to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead by fully surrendering at His lotus feet. If one engages for the service of the Lord whatever money one has honestly earned, that is spiritual service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master and the Vaishnavas.
Antya 6.276  
" 'At my request Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepts the invitations because He knows that a foolish person like me would be unhappy if He did not accept them.'
PURPORT
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that people who are advanced in learning but attached to material enjoyment, who are puffed up by material possessions, by birth in an elevated aristocratic family or by education, may offer show bottle devotional service to the Deity and also offer prasada to Vaishnavas. Because of their ignorance, however, they cannot understand that since their minds are materially polluted, neither the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, nor the Vaishnavas accept their offerings. If one accepts money from such materialistic persons to offer food to the Deity and Vaishnavas, a pure Vaishnava does not accept it. This causes unhappiness for the materialists because they are fully absorbed in the bodily conception of life. Therefore they sometimes turn against the Vaishnavas.
Antya 6.278    
"When one eats food offered by a materialistic man, one's mind becomes contaminated, and when the mind is contaminated, one is unable to think of Krishna properly.
PURPORT
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura suggests that people who are materialistically inclined and sahajiyas, or so-called Vaishnavas who take everything very casually, are both visayi materialists. Eating food offered by them causes contamination, and as a result of such contamination, even a serious devotee becomes like a materialistic man. There are six kinds of association -- giving charity, accepting charity, accepting food, offering food, talking confidentially and inquiring confidentially. One should very carefully avoid associating with both the sahajiyas, who are sometimes known as Vaishnavas, and the non-Vaishnavas, or avaisnavas. Their association changes the transcendental devotional service of Lord Krishna into sense gratification, and when sense gratification enters the mind of a devotee, he is contaminated. The materialistic person who aspires after sense gratification cannot properly think of Krishna.
Antya 6.279    
"When one accepts an invitation from a person contaminated by the material mode of passion, the person who offers the food and the person who accepts it are both mentally contaminated.
PURPORT
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that there are three varieties of invitations--those in the mode of goodness, those in passion and those in ignorance. An invitation accepted from a pure devotee is in the mode of goodness, an invitation accepted from a person who is pious but materially attached is in the mode of passion, and an invitation accepted from a person who is materially very sinful is in the mode of ignorance.
Lectures, May 6, 1973, Los Angeles      
So do not think that "We have made such nice, sumptuous plate for Krishna. Krishna must eat." No. There is no such thing, "must." You cannot make Krishna must. That is not possible. So Krishna will see how much you have love for Him. Then He will accept. Otherwise He'll reject. Therefore, it is forbidden, those who are nondevotee,those who are not initiated, those who are not chanting regularly, their offering to Krishna will not be accepted. We must be very careful. We must know our position, whether I am sincerely following the principles of devotional service. Then Krishna will acceptYo me bhaktya prayacchati. The real thing is bhakti. So either you offer Krishna prayers or you offer foodstuff, everything must be along with bhakti, devotion, love. Then Krishna will accept.
Conclusion----Srila Prabhupada has said, spiritual life is like a razor’s edge!!
We have to be so careful and conscious , as he says above, of what we are doing....

Monday, September 29, 2014

Food Contamination At Akshaya Patra Kitchen Ruled Out

It may be recalled that on Friday, September 19, 2014, some students of Government Urdu Higher Primary School, DJ Halli, Bangalore, had complained of stomach ache and vomiting. As reported in the media, about 350 students were rushed to Dr B R Ambedkar Medical College & Hospital. The students were under observation for a few hours and all of them were discharged the same evening as there were no serious medical issues.

The leftover of the food from the school was sent for investigation to the State Public Health Institute (PHI). Today the PHI has released their report and has said that the count of E-Coli and Coliform pathogens are within safe limits (PHI report enclosed).


The media had also reported that a dead lizard was found in one of the rice container in the school on Sept 19th. The PHI report also says that there were no traces of Salmonella bacteria, which is associated with lizard poisoning.


Akshaya Patra has a protocol for testing & documenting   the  ingredients  that are  used in it's kitchens on a periodic basis from certified NABL accredited laboratories apart from following well established  in-house quality control protocols .

Akshaya Patra reaffirms its commitment to provide safe nutritious food to the school going children. Akshaya Patra kitchens are ISO 22000 certified, which involves Good Hygiene practices (GHP), Good House-keeping practices, Good manufacturing practices, strict documentation of the various stages of production process, tracking all critical points in the process flow, periodic training of kitchen staff on safe food handling, etc. 

Akshaya Patra also affirms a culture of continuous improvement to make the food served daily to children is safe, nutritious and tasty. In the entire Akshaya Patra cooking process there is minimum human handling to ensure hygiene and food safety.

Akshaya Patra invites government officials, school teachers, public leaders, media representatives, etc. to make a visit to the kitchen, with or without prior notice, to understand the process and precautions we follow. We also welcome any suggestions for further improvement. 

Akshaya Patra requests the support of the government, donors and media in our humble efforts to serve school-going children with mid-day meals and support their nutrition and education.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

ISKCON Bangalore vs Mumbai Case: Update from Supreme Court of India

On 25th, after hearing us for the full day the Supreme Court passed the following order:-
“Leave granted. Heard learned counsel for the parties in part. The Registry is directed to take steps to secure the original record pertaining to Civil Suit No.7934/2001 before the 9th Additional City Civil & Sessions Judge, Bangalore.
List the matter on 18th November, 2014 as part heard.”

By the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, Leave has been granted as per our Special Leave Petition (SLP) after hearing our preliminary merits for granting the leave in spite of the opposition by opposite party ISKCON Mumbai to reject the Special leave petition SLP from the day we entered the portals of the Supreme Court in 2009.

For those not familiar with the Supreme Court procedures please read below:

What is this granting leave?

The Supreme Court of India does not accept appeal directly wherein they are bound to hear any petition against High Court orders like lower courts below them do. In India, suit begins at munsiff court, then district court then High court and then Supreme Court. Only for Constitutional matters like fundamental rights etc one can go directly to the Supreme Court.

One normally starts litigation based on the jurisdiction of the property etc. We started with the district court as our Temple was located in the city. In Bangalore there are rural munsiff courts also. 

Anywhere you lose in a lower court, you can appeal in the next court and it will be called appellate court of the court below where you can go in appeal. We won in the Trial Court in 2009 and ISKCON Mumbai went on an appeal in the High Court and won in 2011. That is when we came to the Supreme Court against the order of the High court.

As I said in the Supreme Court, you can only enter with a special leave petition SLP seeking permission to file an appeal and cannot file directly an appeal. It is the petition seeking leave or permission to file the appeal. If it is granted only then your appeal will be heard.

SLPs are heard on Mondays and Fridays. Each court will have about 250 matters on that day. There are 13 courts in the Supreme Court. Two judges preside over these courts. In Supreme Court single judges don't preside over the court. On Mondays and Fridays they will they either say 'issue notice' to other side or will refuse to issue notice and reject the SLP. If they issue notice then SLP will go to next stage of hearing the SLP on a subsequent date in the queue. If they refuse to issue notice that is the end of your story. On that day you only get two minutes before the judge. That is the first critical point for any litigant who enter the Supreme Court. Mostly the judges would have read two three para 'synopsis' in advance in their Chambers and come. Many cases not even two minutes. They would have read and come and just lift the file and say SLP dismissed. Less than a minute. They won't even allow the lawyer to speak. They will say, we have read it


In 2011 we crossed that stage without getting thrown out. We got one leg into the Supreme Court that day. The most dangerous stage mainly because there are limitations how much the lawyer can communicate and judges can understand in two minutes. Once rejected, you simply have to go home even if you had so much merit. 

Any Supreme Court judge who reads our High Court judgement will get shocked that there is a finding given of such a huge number of documents being fraudulently fabricated. No judge will get opportunity to see the documents at this stage to verify if it is true or not and they won't think of verifying also. By default they will think it is true. If you tell a very big lie people don't verify. We tend to think 'how can such a big thing be a lie'. Our high court judgement is like that. Out of two fifty three documents , High Court has given a finding that 106 documents filed by us are tampered and manipulated by insertions and affixing of seal of Karnataka society to make it look like our society document which really according to them are Bombay society's documents. No judges at the SLP entry stage will think that two high court judges will make such a big mistake. Actually if you go into the documents and verify you won't find any seal or insertion on any of these. On this point (so called seal and insertions), the judges rejected these documents as having no evidentiary. With such a judgement with finding of fraud, normally the party won't cross the first stage of ‘issue notice’. In our case, ISKCON Mumbai appeared on the first date of hearing to support the judges to get the SLP thrown out without issue notice. By Prabhupada's and Krishna's mercy instead of two minutes the court took half an hour on that day in 2009. Not only 'issue notice' to them was ordered but the court gave a two page status quo order allowing us to continue in management since we showed newspaper cuttings that they are trying to forcefully enter the temple on the strength of the High court judgment. It is then that the Supreme Court gave us the status quo order saying we only will continue to manage.That was our first victory in the Supreme Court against their opposition to get the SLP rejected without even issue of notice. This, ISKCON Mumbai could not digest. 


Once ‘issue notice’ happens in a case, they have to file counter and we file a rejoinder to the counter and SLP is heard as to whether leave to be granted to file an appeal against the high court order or not on a listed date. It is during one such date of hearing they also filed an application saying that since fraud is the basis of high court judgement they wanted to be jointly managing the property in the interim period by telling stories about real estate diversion of temple funds etc. But we vehemently opposed it but agreed to an alternative to have a supervisory Oversight Committee headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge. That is how Oversight committee was appointed, but with no change in management; only supervising the Bangalore Society who will continue to manage. That was our second victory against them. 

After the Oversight committee was formed the SLP was getting listed on several dates but our number was not reaching before the court closed for the day. This is very normal. Two years have passed by like this. Unlike Mondays and Fridays where they ensure atleast 250 matters for each court. On other days only about 20 to 25 items are listed. Still our matter was not reaching. 
This is the stage after 'issue notice' to other side where the court will decide to hear on preliminary merits to admit the case by granting leave (permission) on our SLP to file the Civil Appeal (CA). If they see no merit in converting it into an appeal you get thrown out at that stage. That is again end of your story. If they see merit in hearing the appeal then only they will grant leave. When this is done, automatically the court converts the SLP papers into a civil appeal CA with a new number. Such leave granted matters will come in the normal course after 4 to 5 years. In our case on 25th, last Thursday we crossed this second stage where leave was granted which means after hearing a full day the Supreme Court saw merit in giving us leave or permission to convert the SLP into a CA. The court could have rejected the SLP by dismissing it. This was the lurking danger on all the hearing dates till now since 2011. The court could have potentially said: 'we heard you, but we don't see any merit in hearing in depth through a Civil Appeal therefore dismissing the SLP.' 

Once leave is granted, every CA has to be heard in full and a detailed judgement will have to come out. SLP is disposed off as merely orders without a judgement. Only CA will have a judgement and an operating order. Now the court has ordered to get all the documents from the original court in Bangalore. If our side takes ten days to show every document, the court won’t push us to hurry but will patiently hear both parties. Till leave granting stage the pressure of time before the court is always there. The court before granting leave can say 'no we don't want to hear anymore and get into details and we are not granting leave and dismissing the SLP'. Now having granted leave they are hearing the CA or Civil Appeal and not the SLP. Both sides will take their own time and judges will have to write detailed judgement. This is the stage we are in today after leave being granted. We crossed two major hurdles and now both our legs are in the Supreme Court. When notice was issued we put one leg into the Supreme Court and when leave was granted our second leg is also in. Now it is a full fledged fight on merits of the CA or Civil Appeal. 

Why our matter, after granting leave is coming so fast for hearing instead of four or five years? 

In our case there is an application of urgency before the court from us saying that all our projects which are not even connected to litigation are affected due to Oversight Committee insisting on having jurisdiction to supervise over not only Hare Krishna Hill, but over all the properties of Bangalore society by interpreting the wordings in the order which created this Interim Oversight Committee. In between this application was heard, and the court said it will be heard with the main matter as it had no time and gave a short date for final disposal. So we have been showing urgency by mentioning that fact several times to the court. So that is why after granting leave it is posted for immediate disposal in November instead of going into the que to come after four years. Plus you see in the order there is mention of the word 'part heard'. This is another good thing. It won't be going from one bench to another and delaying. These two judges won't sit together in November as mostly the roster changes after holidays. But on November 18th and for further dates they will sit together only to hear our matter and will go on for about ten to twelve sessions like that till the case is closed. Now we have ample opportunity to show the perversity of the High court judgement by showing each of the 106 documents. Plus we can prove that how they have fabricated an audit report of 1991 by forging the signature of our then auditor to show as if he was their auditor. We have filed a separate criminal case against them in Bangalore for this. 

To get to hear the matter immediately instead of after three or four years is our third victory against their strategy to go on dragging the SLP just to harass our Vaikunta Hill Krishna Lila Theme Park project through the Oversight Committee who have already taken a stand that we cannot create any liabilities on the land where Krishna Lila Park is to be built.

Before the court rose it made a request to the counsel for both sides. Being august institutions, they expressed the opinion that the counsels for both the sides help the parties to come to some mutual settlement if possible. Our counsel said we have tried everything. Then one of the judges asked ISKCON Mumbai’s counsel as to why don't they try to accommodate ISKCON Bangalore under the big umbrella of ISKCON. The ISKCON Mumbai’s counsel replied that in a month long gap till next hearing he will speak to his clients on the same. 

Please continue with your prayers to Srila Prabhupada and Deities to ensure that Srila Prabhupada's position as our dear spiritual master as well as our service to His Divine Grace is protected through the final outcome of this case as it pleases them, which can come out by December.

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