Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mediation between ISKCON Bangalore & ISKCON Mumbai

Please find attached a set of documents to update the devotee community re. on the progress of the ongoing mediation. These documents consist of correspondence between between Madhu Pandit Dasa , the GBC Bureau and the ISKCON GBC :

Justice Raveendran (the retired Supreme court justice who was appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the present management at HK Hill, by the ISKCON Society of Karnataka a year ago) took an initiative to bring about an out of court settlement between two parties thru several mediation sittings.

The Bangalore group offered to bring the property in dispute in the court, which is the Hare Krishna Hill temple under the ownership of ISKCON registered in Mumbai if Bureau assured before the Supreme Court that the rtvik system of initiation practiced now will be the only system to continue and the preaching that Srila Prabhupada is guru of everyone in this temple will also continue. Then we went further to offer all the group properties, worth about 500 million dollars, about 20 temples in India to ISKCON registered in Mumbai with same condition on initiation.

To avoid court battles, they even offered that Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chanchalapathi Dasa and Jai Chaitanya Dasa will be out of management of the Hare Krishna Hill temple, which is disputed before the court. The Bureau had its meeting with GBC on March 9, 2013 and rejected the condition on initiation and rejected the settlement offer. The Bureau's foul cries that rtvik is just an excuse for Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa's plan to grab properties now stands exposed as just mud slinging tactic. If they really believed this to be the case, why don't they take the offer that would have included Madhu Pandit's offer?

The attached documents should be read in the following time sequence:

 Letter dated Jan 25th, 2013 to Justice Raveendran

Final Offer of Madhu Pandit Das to GBC and Bureau March 5th, 2013

From: Madhu Pandit Dasa
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 8:46 PM
To:;;;;;;;;; Bhaktarupa (das) ACBSP (Bhubaneswara - IN)
Cc:; Chanchalapathi Dasa; Jai Chaitanya Dasa (Eco Agri)
Subject: Bureau meeting GBC

Without Prejudice to all connected matters pending before the Supreme Court

Dear Prabhus,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Though we had closed the mediation exercise on 7th February formally withdrawing all our earlier offers through my email to you dated 3rd February  , we will still await your  fresh  offer, if any, from your side for which we would respond afresh. Just for your assurance to continue to endeavor for settlement we wish to communicate that  the basic offer of ownership and rights over all the properties will be unchanged from what was offered till 7th February. More details needs to be discussed afresh with regards to certain extra safeguards required to prevent any victimization of the leaders who have been leading this theological issue apprehensions and to allay fears  that the bureau and GBC is going through this exercise just get hold of the properties and later stamp us out. If your real intentions are identical to what is being expressed openly to us , there should be no problem for you to ensure all those extra safeguards.  We can discuss  that after you first communicate to us that the July 9th initiation system can be put in place for our group of temples. 

I consider the meeting tomorrow as a very crucial meeting towards a positive settlement. My reason for this clarifying note  is  that the rare opportunity that has arisen for the bureau to meet the GBC to  get a clear black and white answer either way towards the settlement  should not go in vain again due to the mistake  of  taking off  in the direction of discussing philosophy. We want you to know  what exactly is being offered by us.

After CPD presented our position to the Bureau on 10th  Feb for information, instead of discussing the other settlement terms , the discussion took off in a direction to make us change our  philosophy. Both sides exchanged drafts with good intentions .  Each succeeding draft from our side would include statements that protected the officiating system of initiation as per July 9, 1977  directive  and in response we would get drafts from your side with changes which make sure that  it is not a representational system of initiation but just a diminished regular guru system. CPD agreed to  these exercises with the team of  Rasaraj Prabhu, hoping, as  assured by him,  that  he would in the end derive the  same system that we are practicing now.  Both sides have learnt  that it has failed to produce any satisfying solution and we were back to square one after several days of exchanging drafts back and forth. Thanks to Rasaraj Prabhu and Bhanu Swami who tried sincerely worked hard to make two ends meet. I am writing this  so that we do not take this route once again in the current endeavor.

We have also agreed that post settlement of the dispute, we would participate in the discussions as part of a Guru issue Committee which includes representations from GBC members, members of ISKCON Bureau, selected members from national bodies around the world and ISKCON Bangalore Group of devotees. At any  post settlement stage  if there is consensus among the Bangalore Group of Devotees for any change from the present system allowed for us  before the Supreme Court, we will change. But if there is no consensus we will not change the system agreed before the Supreme court.  Though any miracle can happen through Guru issue Committee, we frankly feel that that settling a common initiation system seems like a far cry as the position of both sides on this guru issue is mutually exclusive. Two non interfering groups serving and growing together respectful to each other under one legal structure with a pre decided code of conduct  is the spirit  of this settlement as we understand. Therefore I insist that we be understood properly for the sake of a genuine settlement not only letter but as well as its spirit.

Whatever settlement we are seeking now , we want to ensure that our stand on initiation is  understood by your decision makers right from the start  not only  in letter but also in  spirit . Let me repeat  that changing our present understanding of initiation or the system of initiation has never been offered to the Bureau at any point of time. Even the last proposal sent to you by CPD on Mantra guru/Officiating Acarya ,  which you are proposing to discuss does not change our stand on initiation if you carefully study. On the face of it , It is quite a confusing document as these exchanges of drafts were being made in a rush to close settlement and can lead the reader astray if some statements therein are  not clarified. Anyway the conclusive stand is scripted by us  in a nut shell through the very last line of that document which says in red  “ We do not consider or call ourselves diksha disciples of Mantra guru or Officiating Acaryas.” 

The only change we have made during the discussion of different drafts on initiation with Rasaraj Prabhu  is that , the Officiating Acaryas  are  institutional gurus and not just priests  who give first and second initiation on behalf of Srila Prabhupada. However we consider ourselves as receiving the two components of transcendental diksha in terms of di+ksha  divya gyan and ksapayati from Srila Prabhupada, not only at the formal  initiation ceremony as the current link in our parampara  but also on a ongoing basis forever, beginning from the first day a devotee faithfully  hears Srila Prabhupada’s vani .

Our continued stand is that since  Srila Prabhupada , as the Founder and Acarya of ISKCON,  his prominence as the Primary guru to whom everyone directly  surrenders should be institutionally  preached and promoted  in ISKCON temples, notwithstanding the fact that there may  be many pure devotees in ISKCON. Such pure devotees would do everything by preaching and by their conduct  to keep this prominence of Srila Prabhupada  in life of the devotees of ISKCON.  If at all any faith that can be justifiably institutionalized for promoting in ISKCON , it is only this faith in the Founder Acarya of the institution as the Primary guru. Srila Prabhupada has wished without doubt to remain active as long as the institution exists in this capacity as the Acharya. All other followership relationship in ISKCON should be geared to promote this Prominence of Srila Prabhupada in the heart of ISKCON members.

In the last proposal we have also agreed that considering the sensitivities involved in ISKCON on newly initiated in  ‘calling ’ ourselves diksha disciples of Srila Prabhupada, we would just call ourselves as disciples of Srila Prabhupada or Prabhupadanugas. Nevertheless from the rest of the document it is clear that Srila Prabhupada is our transcendental diksha guru. Again  we are seeking all these liberties of a different system of initiation only for our group of temples. We will still stand by that offer to call ourselves only as disciples of Srila Prabhupada.  

Having said all this , all this  is nothing but implementation of July 9th 1977 directive.  Easier than narrating all these faith matters and beating around the bush, it is easiest and elegant to state before the Supreme court that in our group temples, the system of initiation will be as per July 9th 1977 directive of Srila Prabhupada since that is what our real proposal is and has been always including the one sent last by CPD. Live and let live under one umbrella. July 9th 1977 also do not use the word diksha disciple for those initiated. It just says disciples.

Therefore please do not work on the that last document sent by CPD which needs clarification and explanation on many points.  We have already officially withdrawn that offer w.e.f. from 7th February for this very reason.  Instead we are attaching a  ‘synopsis’  herein  which is just compilation of the points in red in the same CPD’s last document that are  applicable to our group of temples with some elaborations for greater clarity.  Our group of Temple Presidents are yet to approve the attached draft. But that should not be a problem as we are moving forward as per the general direction given by that body.

For us, since this faith is the very genesis of this dispute arising from being expelled from ISKCON  for the same , we need to ensure that there are enough legal safeguards and mechanism  in the settlement decree for the Bangalore Group of devotees to have a locus standi to go before the court for enforcement of any violation on the agreed system of initiation by the bureau or if we are victimized directly or indirectly for holding and preaching this faith in our group of temples. We not want to make any secret out of this possibility. Such a possibility will never be there if the live and let live principle is adopted.  I hope this is understandable considering that the ownership/rights of properties  are being offered irrevocably and we cannot ever go to court for revoking the same and the GBC wishes to retain  in its book  draconian law on banning  rtvik doctrine in ISKCON. 

The GBC and other bureau members should also be informed  of the salient features of the other terms like opening  more temples by Bangalore group of devotees for ISKCON Bureau as properties for ISKCON Mumbai as per the other non- philosophical terms orally discussed once.

Let me state again that when we are not seeking any in between solution which needs any philosophical discussion. Such discussions are bound to drag forever . We are expecting a clear answer on 8th  or 9th March giving in-principle approval to our specific proposal in writing. Then we could work out all other details before the next OC committee meets and file before the Supreme Court. If this fails we would restart the discussion after the Supreme Court case is over.  Our desire to integrate ourselves under one umbrella will always remain.

From now on I will be the single point of contact from our side for all purposes of this settlement .  I thank Ambarisha Prabhu and  Radhajivan Prabhu for their recent involvement in this settlement efforts.  

Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada

Madhu Pandit Dasa

Final Synopsis offered to GBC by MPD on March 5th, 2013

GBC cover letter March 9th, 2013

GBC statement Final March 9th,2013

Reply to GBC and Bureau March 14th, 2013

Final letter to Justice Raveendran March 22nd, 2013

Without Prejudice:
Justice Raveendaran,
Oversight Committee, ISKCON Bangalore.

Dear Sir,
Hare Krishna. Please accept our greetings.                    
We are grateful to you for having mediated with ISKCON Mumbai for an out of court settlement on our mutual request.
ISKCON Mumbai and the GBC have jointly written to us at last with finality that, it is not possible to accept Srila Prabhupada as the sole Guru/Acharya of our group of temples. Further they, ironically, are asking us also to become “regular gurus” and make our own disciples by becoming Gurus/Acharyas.  Copy of their communication is enclosed.
As you are aware we offered a lot to facilitate the settlement only considering that it is bad to spend temple money on lawyers. We offered first the ownership of suit property (Hare Krishna Hill temple). Then we extended the offer to bring all other properties of our group which is materially worth 20 times the suit property. We even went to the extent of offering myself and few others to step down from the management of Hare Krishna Hill if only they accept that Srila Prabhupada would be the sole Guru in our group of temples and the same is decreed by the Supreme Court.
Unfortunately ISKCON Mumbai only want to take what we offered  without acceding to our simple demand of leaving intact  the system of initiation that is currently being practiced in our group of temples which is in accordance with the written directive of our Founder Acharya, His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Thus we regret that mediation efforts have unfortunately failed to bear any positive result of an out-of-court settlement with the bureau and GBC expressing their inability to accommodate our faith that is being currently practiced in our group temples.  Right from the outset, we got interested in the mediation only because Sri. Dayaram Das of ISKCON Mumbai stated that there is the possibility of the Bureau of ISKCON Mumbai allowing Srila Prabhupada to be the only guru in our group of temples if the property is given to ISKCON Mumbai.  
We cannot accept their rejection letter to be in the spirit of settlement. It is merely as demand for total surrender and not a compromise.  This would mean we have to give up our faith that Srila Prabhupada as our dikhsa guru. This is simply impossible to give up. The self-made gurus rule the GBC and the Bureau. It is this very dogmatic approach wherein the Founder Acharya, Srila Prabhupada cannot be considered as one’s diksha guru has thrown out thousands of sincere followers of ISKCON movement all over the world. They do not want to give up their guruship as it would stop their ‘guru dakshina business’ for themselves independent of the temples and their own rubberstamped follower camps within ISKCON. When we brought up this very matter in the year 1999, the GBC passed a resolution expelling us from ISKCON. It was at that junction, we asserted our legal independence that we are members of a legally independent society in order to protect our services to the Lord and the society from the expelling action of the GBC for holding that Srila Prabhupada is our sole guru and refusing to accept the self-appointed gurus of ISKCON.
It is only to fight us, the ISKCON  reformists, world over, they are united. Otherwise they are fragmented in to as many camps as there are self-appointed gurus in ISKCON. They have hijacked Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON.  This moral and financial corruption is the very genesis of this dispute and they do not want to budge an inch on this demand. On the other hand they have gone to the extent of asking us also to join them in the league of self-appointed gurus.
It is clear that they are not satisfied with offer of ownership of properties under ISKCON Mumbai but they want to continue their multi-guru system even in our group of temples.
We have replied to their communication indicating our unacceptability of their demand to continue multiple self-appointed guru system in our group of temples. A copy of the said communication is also enclosed.
We have suggested in our reply to GBC and Bureau if we can peacefully co-exist and expand as separate groups in service of Srila Prabhupada. We have stated in our letter:

And we hope if this new approach can bear fruit. We shall continue to try our best. Meanwhile the matters before the Supreme Court could continue and we shall leave everything in the hands of Lord Krishna with regard to the suit schedule property. We thank you once again for your kind efforts to bring about an out of court settlement.
Yours in service of Lord Krishna,

Madhu Pandit Dasa,
President, ISKCON Bangalore.
1. Final Offer of Madhu Pandit Das to ISKCON GBC and Bureau on March 5th, 2013 on matters concerning philosophy.
2. Synopsis of SYSTEM OF INITIATION (as applicable to ISKCON Bangalore group of temples)
3. Statement of the Governing Body Commission (GBC) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) adopted on March 9, 2013.
4. Joint letter of the GBC and Bureau to the Leaders of the Bangalore Group of Temples dated March 9, 2013.
5. Joint letter of the Temple Presidents to the GBC and Bureau dated 14 Mar 2013.

Follow Me on Pinterest
Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More