So here we have it. No answer to direct questions put to the author of these “critiques”? Instead more theoretical, inaccurate “critiquing”!-Armchair Speculation at its best.
The questions asked were:
1. Why has he not till now asked and clarified to get all the documents, background information, constraints that we are working in due to the ongoing lawsuit, inquired from various original disciples of Srila Prabhupada etc. so that he can FIRST UNDERSTAND fully the reasons behind the various clauses made? (How can one reasonably claim to know all behind these amendments/documents and pose as an “expert” without this inquiry first?)
2. Will trying to fault or “critiquing” without first following Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Prabhupada’s instruction to inquire confidentially and revealing one’s mind enhance love and trust between devotees?
3. What is HIS solution to bringing about long-term cooperation among the Prabhupadanugas worldwide?
(Has he ANY practical experience or success in bringing about the said Cooperation or this is just theoretical philosophizing?)
4. Is bringing about worldwide cooperation among the Prabhupadanugas any of HIS goals?
5. What is his MOTIVE in writing all these emails?
IT SEEMS THE SELF-MADE CRITIC HAS NO ANSWER because - he has no answer!
Instead he posts that criticisms ought to be heard and not neglected, and he has taken it upon himself to do this duty to “help” us and “teach” us. He is making insinuations that we are not open to hearing from others and that we are hence “demonizing” the critic!
This statement is utterly false and has been and is again strongly rejected.
WE ARE OPEN TO ALL CRITICISMS; WE ARE OPEN TO HEARING FROM ALL. --BUT, to SAVE TIME of all, and to prevent falsehood being permeated among Prabhupadanugas who are already so jittery of being controlled by others and there is already so much DISTRUST, we are respectfully requesting that the critics FIRST FIND OUT THE PROPER TRUTH BEHIND THE MATTER, read the documents, find out the background information, inquire confidentially etc. etc. ---this is the instruction of our Sampradaya Acharyas. If THEN not satisfied, anyone has the opportunity to do as one wishes.
The author half heartedly admits that he made a mistake in not READING the CURRENT incorporation documents before writing his initial postings, putting the blame on others for his misunderstanding. He is similarly mistaken about scores of other facts, which he has STILL NOT FOUND the HUMILITY or the Need TO INQUIRE.
1. There was no “coup plot”, members elected 9 trustees in 2004 as they had been doing every 3 years for many times earlier already. I just happened to be one of them and was also elected president as the previous president desired to leave the temple and he favored me and as members and trustees saw that no one else is coming forward to fight with the GBC Society onslaught.
2. ALL trustees were not “of the same mentality as mine” they were not “my crew”, a few have always been local donors, some were opposed to me, and we have had our share of intense differences.
3. We did not “change the principal place of worship to LI temple”-has already been there legally for 16 years previously at least if not from earlier. This is what even the GBC Society says. We only filed a resolution in 2005 as such in the local county as was a beuracratic rule without which we could not file the new amendment in this county.
4. The amendment to the Incorporation was adopted by a majority vote of around 50 members, not “by a few elected trustees that I appointed”, of course the draft was prepared by me but I had to convince them and explain the different clauses and it was modified on feedback. The amendment CANNOT be just adopted by a few Trustees by NY law in a kind of “secret meeting” as is being insinuated. It can only be done so by a long process to call publicly for corporate meeting of all members, sending ALL of them the new amendment by post, and then holding a vote in a public meeting. This is the procedure that was followed.
6. These amendments were not made to “help with the coup”, but were solely done to follow Srila Prabhupada’s example of using ISKCON, Inc. to compile and link all of his centers around the world to ISKCON, Inc., thinking this could possibly help Prabhupadanugas come together on ONE Organizational platform following Srila Prabhupada’s example in his Direction of Management. We mostly put together the amendment with whatever official corporate kind documents we could find relevant to ISKCON, Inc. focusing mainly on bringing all like minded together 1st of all on the same organizational platform.
(Note: Right after the Amendment, I started working on inspiring Prabhupadanugas to work on the Constitution of ISKCON that would replace this Amendment—these articles Constitution of ISKCON (Part 1 and Part 2) were written in early 2005. This was with the purpose that these Amendments were STEP 1 accomplished. STEP 2 will be to replace them with the NEW Constitution made by many many devotees worldwide working together. So this intention has been well publicized and well known.)
7. That there are NOT “majority Indians business minded devotees running ISKCON, Inc.”---I am the only Indian body devotee in the LI temple. All 4 other full time devotees are “white” body American devotees, and “white” body devotees are in majority in the current Trustees. 95+% of affiliates worldoverare non-Indians. So the elected GBC members are (going to be) non-indians by a large majority.
At a certain time, BLR group of temples had affiliated with ISKCON, Inc.(but for almost 1+ years are no more) , and we were working on getting all the other Prabhupadanugas worldwide also affiliated. At that time the GBC election being done in BLR was only for the Indian region-so of course there would be Indian devotees involved in it and there were many constraints involved due to which Trustees of ISKCON, Inc. were elected from among them too. (As Election to the Trustees happen every 3 years from among the local members).
But as we have done now, we were going to conduct elections for GBC in different regions of the world and all these Trustees were planned to be replaced by these newly representational GBC which would automatically be non-Indians in majority.
THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING---related to his lack of understanding of the background.
One might want to ask him where did he pull out the “coup plan”, my crew”, “indian minded business devotees”, “we changed the principal place of worship” etc. ?
THE AUTHOR’S UNDERSTANDING OF THE LAW is EVEN WORSE. Sorry, but I do not have time or energy to go through them one by one.
It is for all this reason I asked him to answer the questions in my last posting re-stated(paraphrased) at the start of this post. Otherwise I have refused to answer any more of his questions ---unless he inquires first and also gives alternative solutions.
He states that his experience with us 4 years back was that we do not want to listen to others—ie..him. Is it any wonder that given his evident habit of giving unsolicited advise to anyone and everyone, WITHOUT FIRST UNDERSTANDING THE INTRICACIES INVOLVED WITH ALL THE PEOPLE AT THE LI TEMPLE AND THE CONGREGATION AND THE LONG FIGHT WE ARE IN WITH THE GBC SOCIETY, without having practical experience of running a temple, with mainly a theoretical knowledge, most devotees would turn off this critic after some time of trying to reason with him. Theoreticians can usually quote, but cannot work towards a goal of taking a groups of devotees or organizations from Point A to Point B towards higher and higher standards. Nor can they show by example as they cannot gather trust in them from a group of devotees to be elected leader to guide them.
I asked at the temple if they remember Bhakta Mark, and I was told“it was the most distressful thing in their lives to be subjected to”! He of course has his viewpoint and is fully welcome to air it and keep polluting the air and “serve “ Srila Prabhupada.
Finally I only asked him, why don’t you make an example temple of his own and show by example what should be done! To show us how a temple ought to be run in these times(forget even that we are under a siege for so many years by the GBC Society of West Bengal and that most of our resources and time are going to defend).
I also asked him that why cannot he use another community or temple to use to install CaturbahuPrabhu as “the King, the Raja” of the subsequently developed Varnasrama Community? [As that was his main reason to come to LI temple]On his answer that CaturbahuPrabhu does not have any other temple to go to as he was kicked out of the LA temple soon after Srila Prabhupada disappeared, due to airing his views about Prabhupada, I inquired from him doesn’t it state in BG that Ksatriyas are supposed to be RESOURCEFUL? I asked him why cannot a true Raja, King, make his own field and develop a few projects and then use them for developing Varnasrmaa Community and THUS SHOW ALL OF US BY EXAMPLE and be appointed Raja of “that” kingdom?
He says I made a mistake in stating that I talked with him only a couple of times from India. He is mistaken. I had communicated with him a few times BEFORE going to India. But when in India he came to the LI temple for a few weeks and during that time, there was no way I could talk to him practically “every day”. I talked to him a couple of times from India, and that was enough for me understand that what the other devotees were telling me about him was correct and Prabhu here is on his Theoretical trip so I did not encourage him from then on. Only told him we are at a low standard here but cannot change due to so many extenuating circumstances. But please show us by example. Soon he left. I received a few group emails from him cced to me, and quickly scanned them to see if he was still on his theoretical speculations and proclamations or is he into doing something practical preaching or developing a Varnasrama project as he was pushing us to do. On seeing no movement in that direction, I blocked him as useless waste of time reading his emails.
Now as he started posing as an expert on these ISKCON, Inc. documents and proclaiming to having inside secret knowledge of the going ons at the LI temple and the legal stuff for his having stayed at the temple for 6 weeks 4 years back, AND USING THAT TO MISSTATE Scores OF FACTS, intentions and Law, and then to try to portray that we are trying to centralize, which can cause mistrust in devotees with his postings, I had to call his bluff and was forced to reply.
The author is unfortunately inspite of having good intelligence and able to at least read and partially understand legal documentation and making some good points, which could be quite useful in Srila Prabhupada’s mission if employed with humility, not aware of the practical difficulties and objections that diff communities have to be able to work together due to lack of his practical experience with this service. Otherwise he would not be giving out these vibes of “trust at your own peril”! His half hearted attempts at finding some positive points in his critique are covered over by his negativity.
But these amendments overall inspire confidence among the Prabhupadanugas. THAT IS THE PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE FOR ALL TO SEE. DEVOTEES FROM AROUND THE WORLD ARE FINDING THEY CAN TRUST WITHOUT EVEN MEETING US-Just by reading these amendments and talking to GaurangasundarPrabhu.
A TRUST, that is the SOREST quality that is lacking among the devotees currently. Is it BY CHANCE that so many Prabhupadanugas are desiring and are able to work together from different regions in the world?
These amendments, and the publicly stated intention to replace it with a commonly adopted Constitution inspires confidence, as the basis of both of them are Srila Prabhupada’s documents and instructions.
They have been made to understand that any imperfections would be handled in the process of drafting the Constitution by all the devotees together. This clause is listed right in an affiliation letter that they are sending us. (of course the critic does not have a copy of this letter too, as he never bothered to ask!)
They understand well that these Amendments propose in ISKCON, Inc. a decentralized structure, and their affiliation means they are joining one in thinking with ISKCON, Inc. We have been extremely careful to NOT have anything centralized other than the obvious protection of assets of ISKCON, Inc. which needs to be done by its Trustees, especially the safeguarding of the future Constitution which only GBC could do?They are being made to consciously understand that ISKCON, Inc. is not a controlling organization but a binding organization being made by Srila Prabhupada himself.
Let me finish here with the appeal to ALL Prabhupadanugas to come together in a mood of mutual respect and affection, to discuss these proposals in a mood of inquiring and revealing one’s mind in confidence, we have a lot to learn from each other’s knowledge and experience and thereby become strong combinedly.
We are holding festivals and get together in different parts of the world, to explain in detail what we are planning to do, to listen carefully from senior devotees, and requesting that let us work together as one organization by working on a Constitution together based upon the Direction of Management. A Constitution that the GBC Society of West Bengal has not been able to do even after 35 years of Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance inspite of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions for the same.
Your humble servant,
Nimai Pandit Das