Friday, October 7, 2011


The invitation advises “Be there…Don’t miss out.”
But there are a few investors who wish that they had not been there and would have missed out!

COCOBEACH, GABON, AFRICA (SUN) — Welcome to ISKCON!…where the callousness of the GBC is shocking.

After reading of the heartbreak and financial woes that ISKCON Governing Body Commissioner His Holiness (sic) Bhakti Caru Swami has imposed upon some trusting devotees, I can only say with the greatest consternation, “Welcome to ISKCON!” Many on ISKCON’s uncaring GBC have a long history of mistreating devotees once the innocent have been milked dry of their resources.

Misappropriations of a few thousand dollars seldom hit the headlines. But now with the figures running into astronomical amounts things have gotten out of hand in Ponzi-land. The GBC might be unable to answer letters or phone calls when a lender or donor would like an explanation, although their wolf-like grins continue to greet potential benefactors at their open doors. Welcome to ISKCON.

It is said in India that whether one steals a khira (cucumber) or hira (diamond) he is still a thief. That is why Srila Prabhupada was so particular to keep an honest standard, especially among the Society’s leaders.

He knew that if the self-appointed elite members allowed themselves the privilege of cheating in small amounts by ripping off trusting devotees for fifty dollars here, or a hundred dollars there, then it would only be a matter of time before such a cheating propensity would balloon to grand schemes involving millions of dollars.

And that is exactly what has happened in the case of Bhakti Caru’s unlicensed plans for easy money. It is heartbreaking for the sincere rank and file members of the sangha to look on helplessly while callous swamis in silk trample upon the faith of the genuine devotees.

Srila Prabhupada often pointed to the cheating escapades of Indian so-called holy men — as well as so-called preachers of the Bible in the West — whose interest lay in getting rich in the name of God. For the information of people like Bhakti Caru and other GBC members who apparently have not caught on, Srila Prabhupada’s lectures on the subject were not simply for our entertainment.

No, Srila Prabhupada did not speak for our sense gratification, but in the hope that we might learn a little humility and commonsense. His Divine Grace narrated such examples so that his disciples — especially the so-called “leaders” — might understand the moral message and the reactions for cheating in the name of Krishna. As disciples we are expected to comport ourselves as honest representatives of the Sampradaya Acarya.

But apparently for some members of the GBC, the staff of sannyasa is not a symbol of renouncing wealth. Shamefully, it is being used as a means of attracting it.

What words of solace are there for the trusting (or gullible) individuals whose lives have been shattered by the multi-million dollar rip-off scheme engineered by Bhakti Caru Swami? Common sense says that when a sannyasi — of all people — comes begging for huge sums for investment in risky schemes, it should raise a bright red flag.

Wisdom dictates that the phony renunciate should be given a piece of your mind and not a piece of your wallet. He should not exploit the sacred kesari ranga, or color of renunciation he wears. Learn from the mistakes of other trusting souls, listen to your heart and slam the door on the greedy face of the pretender renunciate. Send the Maharaja packing back to his limousine with a handful of rice.

Sannyasis are supposed to be preachers and are not meant to be involved in risky financial ventures. Those who ensnare the congregation in shaky transactions only cheat the innocent devotees. They misrepresent their positions as swamis and as GBC members. They deceive their own spiritual master and they disgrace the entire sampradaya.

Such arrogant persons even think that they can even cheat Lord Krishna directly. No one has ever cheated Krishna; it is not possible to cheat the all-knowing Supreme Personality of Godhead. Every shrewd demon who challenged Krishna paid dearly. The Battlefield of Kurukshetra was strewn with the heads, limbs and torsos of those who thought Krishna could be challenged and cheated.

We can learn something from the followers of Christ who often remind us, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16.26). We wonder what answer Bhakti Caru has to this Biblical inquiry now that his using Krishna’s money for risky investments has been exposed.

The problem with the fat cats on the GBC is that money breeds envy. They believe that they are heirs to easy money and that they have no obligations to the plebeians of the sangha. Seeing highfalutin swamis decked out in their ironed silks and gold jewelry furthers the enviousness of their peers based upon material expansion.

It is for this reason that each and every sannyasi on the GBC with overstuffed private bank accounts should be garlanded with shoes and summarily placed on donkeys and escorted out of town at the next Mayapur meeting.

Doubtless other sannyasis have noted that some other Swamis of ISKCON like Romapada and Hridayananda are living the so-called “good life.” Probably these Phalgu renunciates want their own portion of Mom’s apple pie, too.

The foolish antics of ISKCON’s latest investor are no surprise. After all, the GBC is supposed to be a revolving position. It is meant to be based upon trust and the individual members are supposed to be put in office by the votes of the temple presidents.

Instead they have set themselves up like a cadre of millionaire politicians who vote themselves into office for life like remote tribal potentates. Not surprisingly, in their typical we-can-do-no-wrong stupor, they even offer prayers to themselves. Nero may have fiddled while Rome burned, but the GBC prays to themselves while devotee investors are forced to work 80-hour weeks to pay the interest on their self-adoration.

As far as Bhakti Caru is concerned, his self-congratulatory blurb on Wikipedia states, “In 1987 Bhakti Caru Swami became a member of the Governing Body Commission and an initiating ISKCON Guru.

He has gained respect throughout the movement for his scholarship and Vaisnava qualities.” Despite the fact that the Wiki puff piece alludes to his huge scholastic contributions, it lists only one actual article written by Bhakti Caru. It is significant that the Wiki article minimizes Srila Prabhupada by omitting “His Divine Grace” from the proper name of the empowered representative of Lord Krishna from whom Bhakti Caru’s supposed authority is obtained. Divinity is handed down the sampradaya, it is not stolen.

It is too bad that the trusting persons in their innocence whose lives Bhakti Caru has nearly ruined did not do some homework about the swami’s character here on the Sun. This so-called leader of Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON is well-known to be a chronic minimizer of Prabhupada Some weak arguments opposing that article by Bhakti Caru’s flock quickly followed it.

Defending that a half-naked woman was featured on a poster advertising Bhakti Caru’s New Age festival, the arguments were put forth that if Prabhupada is featured prominently at the festival, then who will attend it? Well, apparently Srila Prabhupada did not attend, because the pure devotee does not go where cheating is carried out in the name of the Supreme Lord.

And that is why Bhakti Caru’s business activities, mundane altruism and mayavadic New Age preaching is also doomed to failure. Srila Prabhupada is not there either. When the Spiritual Master is not pleased by one whose spiritual bankruptcy is shown by his minimization of the paramahamsa, them moral and economic bankruptcy are not far behind.

Perhaps in response to the worldwide Internet criticism for his failed economic schemes, Bhakti Caru’s flock has begun some damage control. They have published some recent articles about how he is ecologically conscious and saves money, too, with some pretty nifty solar energy devices.

Well, when Bhakti Caru saves $20,000,000.00 he should whip out his fat checkbook and repay the fantastic sums to his poor “investors” who were suckered into his pie-in-the-sky schemes. In the interim, by all means those investors who have been left high and dry by Bhakti Caru should definitely proceed with whatever legal action that the law allows. Even a bankrupt person finds the money he owes when his back is put against the wall by the legal system.

The GBC members should cease and desist their covering of the tracks of reprobate investors and others who do not follow Srila Prabhupada on their force. Such rogue members must be dismissed. For the good of the limb, the gangrenous finger must be amputated. Now Bhakti Caru should be excused from further GBC involvement until these affairs are settled to the satisfaction of all parties involved and the Society is no longer disgraced by foolish schemes, the likes of which he had no business getting involved with in the first place.

Then when he has resolved the dilemma, the GBC can decide if they want such a man back on the GBC or not. As long as he is involved in such issues, how can he give attention to his work other than polishing a badge that says GBC on it to impress starry-eyed junior members who believe a man in saffron can do no wrong. For now you can bet your bottom rupee that it is the Society’s feeling that the services of such people are no longer required and he must leave the GBC.

A society is composed of people and not buildings. Buildings are meant to facilitate the individuals. If the GBC holds nothing else as sacred, at least the members should have some fidelity to the sanctity of ISKCON — and to the trusting members of ISKCON — both initiated and non-initiated — without whom there is no meaning to the Society.

Never forget that ISKCON is a worldwide effort meant for saving souls and not for cheating them. This Society is what Srila Prabhupada gave his every breath for, for the disciples he loved.

It should be pointed out that Srila Prabhupada created ISKCON out of thin air by following very scrupulous principles of honesty. As His Divine Grace said, “I am a Calcutta boy”, meaning he knew how to deal with all sorts of business people including real estate sharks, lawyers, bankers, businessmen, professionals, etc.

He was never naïve, but he was never dishonest either. As an example of Srila Prabhupada’s airtight honesty, the following letters should be understood. We know that the GBC members and sannyasis read the Sun, even those who pretend to dance in tune to the party line (and therefore look the other way when scandals like Bhakti Caru’s come to light). To such personalities, the GBC members, we exhort you to read the following letters of Srila Prabhupada one thousand times so that you do not disgrace Srila Prabhupada’s movement as your good ol’ boy colleague Bhakti Caru has done. 

On Repayment of Honest Debts

Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to Janardana — 12 April, 1967

My Dear Janardana,

I am in due receipt of your very long letter of April 10, 1967. On the same day I received also your wife’s letter requesting me to pay $300.00 which she gave in loan to the Society. I have at once replied to her letter through Rayarama that the money, $300, which she has given in loan to the Society must be returned to her, and I am glad that you are going to repay next week.

If you, however, find any difficulty to repay her, then write to me and I shall manage to send her the $300. Of course it will be difficult for the managers to send $300 while they have lost $6,000. Still, I do not wish to put your wife into trouble for the money which she faithfully loaned to the Society. So kindly let me know that you are going to repay her loan. Otherwise I shall send her the money.

I can understand that there is some difficulty in meeting the regular expenditure of your Society—namely $350, as you have stated in detail. I apprehended this difficulty in San Francisco when you first informed me of opening a branch in Montreal, and I discouraged the enterprise. But you were, both you and Kirtanananda, all enthusiastic.

Now when you have opened it is not good to close it; that will be a discredit for the Society. Try to continue the branch by cooperation. I can understand that you are a family man. You cannot expend the whole amount you earn, but as your wife has proposed that she can allow you to spare 50%. So either 50% or any per cent you can easily spare for the Society, we shall welcome.

Don’t be overburdened. We don’t want anyone to be overburdened. Rather I shall ask Kirtanananda who is not a family man to take the whole responsibility. So don’t be agitated. Prosecute Krishna consciousness in peacefulness. One thing I shall request you and your wife: to translate into French all our books. Money; because you are a family man and you require money. I hope this will satisfy you.

Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami 

On Misuse and Abuse of Society’s Funds

Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to Balavanta – 10 June 1974

My dear Balavanta,

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated June 6, 1974 and I have carefully noted the contents.

My point is that I cannot employ the society’s money in political campaigning. Moreover it is illegal for the society which is a religious society to pay for political campaigns and would cause us to lose our tax exempt status. The alternative, to make a separate brain, separate funds, and separate manpower is a diversion from our spiritual goal.

The other political parties are spending lavishly so how can we compete with them. We do not have enough money nor do I wish to spend our money in this way. Therefore I say it is better to stop. You say you plan to run for U.S. Congress.

But for this, you can draw no money from the society. So your plan is utopian. Better concentrate on developing the brahminical qualities in the devotees there; that is more important than running for political office. I hope you understand my points.

Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Follow Me on Pinterest
Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More