Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ISKCON Bangalore vs ISKCON Mumbai: GBC puts road blocks in peace

In this article I am going to give you a rough sketch about ISKCON Bangalore vs ISKCON Mumbai case, backend talks, GBC Meeting discussions and proposed peace agreement between Bangalore group of entities and ISKCON Mumbai. 

As we all know about the ongoing case against ISKCON Bangalore vs Mumbai on Hare Krishna hill property. There are few things which are not visible to general public and even people within ISKCON. Let me tell you briefly about some major twist and turns in this case.
As you all know the dispute began with the team of devotees in Bangalore deciding to embrace the rtvik ideology in late 1990s which later distilled into a property dispute with some of the followers of Jayapataka Swami, trying to take over the temple in Bangalore and the Bangalore devotees seeking court intervention and applying. IB filed a suit seeking an injunction of noninterference in its affairs by ISKCON Mumbai. The court battle lasted over a decade and had various twists and turns with the civil court finally ruling in favour of ISKCON Bangalore. ISKCON Mumbai went on appeal and High Court of Karnataka ruled in favour of ISKCON Mumbai. ISKCON Bangalore filed its appeal before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court expressed its hope that both parties settle their differences and make serious attempts to reconcile and protect the august institution of ISKCON. Based on this a peace proposal is being discussed by both warring parties, lesser known to even people who are closely associated with ISKCON. We got reports from some of our genuine sources about this Peace Proposal with exclusive detail on the contents of the Proposal and Some details on the backend talks between ISKCON Bangalore and ISKCON Mumbai.
Let me give you a brief about the contents of the Peace Proposal as given by the close sources of ISKCON Bangalore and the GBC.

1. All ISKCON Bangalore group of temples & trusts will be integrated with ISKCON Mumbai and there will be one umbrella under which the entire preaching activities will expand in India.
2. The system of initiation for ISKCON Bangalore group of temples will be the rtvik system of initiation.
3. No gurus will be worshiped in ISKCON Bangalore temples other than Srila Prabhupada
4. Both parties will bury all the animosities and work co-operatively.
5. Some of the senior devotees of ISKCON Bangalore will also be made part of the ISKCON Mumbai.
6. Madhu Pandit Dasa and some of the senior leaders in Bangalore temple will not be part of the management on Hare Krishna Hill but will take up in other temples of their group as presidents. 

These are the few basic points which I got from my sources in ISKCON Bangalore and Mumbai. These are the broad details, if one goes further micro details of the proposal will only make too technical, but essence is this ISKCON Bangalore group of devotees will be allowed to preach and expand the Krishna conscious movement and they will have the freedom to practice their faith of accepting Srila Prabhupada as their guru but will not be victimized for it. In effect rtvik order will become part of ISKCON at least in India be it in the form of an unwelcome guest.

GBC Meetings

The Strategic Planning midterm meetings for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) which was held from October 21–26 in Tirupathi, India. This meeting covered almost all points about Committees, Initiatives, Communications, Global Finance and more but what’s not known is that the meetings also covered case of ISKCON Bangalore and a discussion on the new peace proposal.
Discussion on the peace proposal was held during the meeting held on 30th October. It was attended by 28 members including

Bhakti Caitanya Swami (GBC Chairman)
Tamohara Das (First Vice-Chairman)
Anuttama Das (Second Vice-Chairman)
Bhakti Purusottama Swami (GBC Secretary)
Jayapataka Swami (Zonal Acharya of Bangalore)
Sesa Das (Ministry of Justice)
ISKCON Dispute Resolution Committee members
Dayaram das
And others members/ gurus

Sources from Mumbai stated that just over 50% of them voted against the peace proposal, only one voted for and the rest abstained. It seems that basically Ravindra Swarup Dasa and Badarinarayan Dasa opposed this proposal and were not in favor of giving room for rtviks within ISKCON. It is also learnt that some of the people Jai pataka Swami’s and some from Radha Nath swami’s team rejected the peace proposal given by Bangalore group.” The source also stated that “Members from within ISKCON GBC wants this peace proposal to be taken into consideration but some of the Mumbai devotees are not willing to give a chance to ISKCON Bangalore group.” However one of the Bangalore sources said that “The Jai Pataka Swami demanded that he will initiate devotees from Hare Krishna hill and that the devotees need not worship him or place his picture on the altar but will have to accept him as their diksha guru if the proposal were accepted. This proposal however was rejected by ISKCON Bangalore devotees and even some members of the GBC.” Bangalore sources also said that “Mumbai wants to change leader at ISKCON Bangalore particularly the Hare Krishna hill which was accepted by Madhu Pandit das”
International GBC is always hard on any kind of peace proposal given by rtviks and they have proved it again by voting against the proposal.


1. Voting: when the GBC voted on this issue in 1999, 90% of the votes was against rtvik order, however this time only 50% had voiced their opposition and others abstained (which means that either they were not clear or they were not having the strength to fully oppose the motion to stop the peace proposal.) So there is definite climb down in the GBC body in its stand against the rtvik although the ground realities have not changed much.
2. However ISKCON Mumbai which is independent legal body by itself can agree to not agree with the GBC, whether they will take this hard step only time will tell.
3. If ISKCON Bangalore group wins votes and this peace proposal does go through, then it will be a historic win for ritviks and ISKCON Bangalore will become the first ritvik temple officially recognized within ISKCON, but chances are bleak and court battle looms large.

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