May 15, 1999 VNN3871 Comment on this story
Tantrums And Death Threats From A Nice Amigo?
BY RADHA KRSNA DASA, MEXICO CITY
MEXICO, May 15 (VNN) What is it these days about managing in ISKCON that draws out the worst in people? One would expect spiritual leadership to engender devotional qualities, but it seems instead to induce otherwise sane and gentle people to act in reprehensible ways. Murders, embezzlement, fraud, child abuse, and malfeasance abound at the hands of so many of the individuals who have taken up administrative duties on Srila Prabhupada's behalf. In this regard, please allow me to relate a recent personal experience involving HH Guru Prasad Swami, a person many would consider a mild-mannered vaisnava, incapable of hurting even an ant.
A couple of months back a group of devotees in Mexico, including myself, requested the GBC Body to investigate Guru Prasad Swami's managerial shortcomings. These failings include his general incompetence, his mismanagement of Srila Prabhupada's assets, his toleration of immoral acts by local leaders (such as adulteries and abortions), and his direct participation in criminal acts. The GBC Body took up the matter responsibly, and appreciated our taking the issue to them rather than turning him in to the police or immigration authorities (he is in violation of his visa status). Although that would have been simpler for us, we decided better to make it a GBC "case study" now that there is widespread interest in reform.
Unfortunately, but predictably, Guru Prasad Swami's reaction to the investigation has consisted of denial, manipulation, threats, fear, etc., as demonstrated in an internal message sent to his followers on April 13:
"Honestly, I DO NOT believe that you can treat him (Radha Krsna dasa) as a gentleman, simply through conversations. Let me know what you think. In my opinion you should tell him what he really is, an expert and dirty politician. But if you don't accept this it will be better that I resign in complete disbelief of how gullible you are. I think that we should find who are behind all this and lay them to rest forever."
If we analyze this response, we first observe his attitude of denial. The appropriate GBC procedures were followed in presenting this case in hopes of finding an internal solution that spares the local Society from outside legal entanglements. Nonetheless he dismisses the issue as a dirty manipulation by a single individual (me) without acknowledging that this is a group action presenting clear evidence of illicit acts and incompetence.
Second, we see the obvious attempt to manipulate. He tells his subordinates that he wants their opinions, but at the same time threatens to resign if they don't agree with him. We would suggest they go ahead and trust their own judgment, since he requested it, even if this means disagreeing with Guru Prasad Swami. We can then see if he goes forward with his resignation or if it is just a bullying tactic.
Third, he clearly states (in Spanish): "Hay que ver bien quienes estan traz de todo esto y poner a descansar por siempre." This translates as those criticizing him should be laid to rest forever. This instruction distributed among a selected group of "faithful" disciples ready to do anything for Gurudeva could potentially produce the desired effect. No wonder ten people who read this all agree it sounds more like Al Capone than a Vaishnava sadhu. Haven't we seen this already in ISKCON? Ask Sulocana Prabhu.
In point of fact, we are not really worried about our safety. This note is being presented mainly to show what kind of people currently constitute the GBC and guru lineage in ISKCON. All too often, behind the mask of purity and sainthood lurks a darker face. For those of us who were the "target" of this note, we little expected a nice amigo, particularly one who has been worshipped for years as a liberated Gurudeva, to compose such irresponsible messages.
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