What I found in Srila Prabhupada’s rooms at Radha-Damodar Temple

Radha-Damodar-TempleLast month I was in Vrindaban and visited Srila Prabhupada’s rooms at Radha-Damodara temple. This time, there was a piece of paper lying on the table in front of Srila Prabhupada’s murti. I bent down to read it. It looked like a facsimile of a letter from Srila Prabhupada. All the more so, because of a pen placed in Srila Prabhupada’s hand. This is the content of the “letter”:

“Those who stay there [at the Radha-Damodara Temple] will realize that those acaryas [Sri Rupa, Sri Jiva, Sri Kaviraja Goswami and Sri Bhugarbha Goswami] are still living there. And if one is actually advancing in the spiritual field, they can still take instruction from the acaryas living there. It is up to the individual, how he realizes this by his devotional service. By staying there you must realize how pure the environment is. The environment itself gives a high taste of consciousness. Radha-Damodara is there and the great acaryas samadhis are there. There cannot be any other better place to live than Radha-Damodara… This corner at the Radha-Damodara Temple is just like the hub of the wheel of the spiritual world — it is the center.’

“I eternally reside in my rooms at the Radha-Damodara Temple.”

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

so-called letter

Click on image for enlarged view.

The fact that the “letter” was undated and not addressed to anyone made me question its legitimacy. Even supposing that it was only an excerpt from a letter to a disciple, at the very least there should have been a reference to the original.

I wondered who was responsible for placing the “letter” in that very spot. The content alludes to the possibility of taking instruction from those acaryas who have long ago left their material bodies as well as from Srila Prabhupada. This could be construed as evidence in support of taking Srila Prabhupada to be one’s guru without any formal initiation, even of the ritvik variety.

And so when I returned to Malaysia, I looked it up in the VedaBase. A simple search for the string “they can still take instruction from the acaryas living there” returned exactly one hit:

22. Biographies and Glorification of Srila Prabhupada\Prabhupada at Radha-Damodara – Mahanidi Swami (New-2003)\PRD 11:”My Eternal Residence”…advancing in the spiritual field, they can still take instruction from the acaryas living there. It is up to the…

Double-clicking on the link took me to the following:

What are the benefits of living and serving in Srila Prabhupada’s bhajan kutir? Ksirodakasayi, who lived there for nine months in 1972, answers.

Ksirodakasayi: “Those who stay there will realize that those acaryas are still living there. And if one is actually advancing in the spiritual field, they can still take instruction from the acaryas living there. It is up to the individual, how he realizes this by his devotional service. By staying there you must realize how pure the environment is. The environment itself gives a high taste of consciousness. Radha-Damodara is there and the great acaryas samadhis are there. There cannot be any other better place to live, than at Radha-Damodara!”

These are the words of Ksirodakasayi das, not Srila Prabhupada!

For the reference to Srila Prabhupada’s rooms being “just like the hub of the wheel of the spiritual world”, again Mahanidi’s book turns up among the search results. Mahanidi concludes the 11th chapter thusly:

Although Prabhupada never stayed again in his rooms at Radha-Damodara after 1972, he did say at that time:

Srila Prabhupada: “This corner at the Radha-Damodara temple is just like the hub of the wheel of the spiritual world – it is the center.”

Even though this statement doesn’t turn up amongst the conversations recorded in 1972, Hayagriva memorialized it in his book Vrindaban Days, Chapter 5: Srila Prabhupada at Radha Damodar:

“I’m simply Vrindaban’s messenger,” he says humbly, his demeanor suddenly very serious and reflective. “Vrindaban is revealed in the heart of the sincere devotee. In reality, it is not on any map, nor is it part of any country. It was in Vrindaban that I first began writing, not for name and fame, but because my Guru Maharaj told me, ‘Spread the gospel of Krishna in the English language.’ Although he gave that instruction in 1935, I hesitated, not knowing how to go about it or how to write. Then, twenty years later, my Guru Maharaj began appearing in my dreams, telling me to give up householder life and go to Vrindaban. After several of these dreams, I knew that the time had come. My children were grown, and I could leave my wife in their care. So, I came here, and eventually, by Krishna’s arrangement, stayed at this most sanctified place, Radha Damodar. It was here that I began writing. I thought, ‘It may be published, or it may not be published—that does not matter. I will write for purification, that’s all.’

“Actually, it was my Guru Maharaj speaking through me. But I was not very expert at writing, as he was. Oh, he was a most erudite man, most refined and expert, a gentleman, a Vaikuntha man. Because I had never written before, there were so many grammatical discrepancies, yet I had to write. The subject matter was so important, so urgent. So I wrote those first three volumes of Srimad Bhagavatam, the First Canto. All of our philosophy, everything you need to know, is in those first three volumes. By Krishna’s grace, I managed to collect money to get them printed, and I took them with me on the boat to New York I didn’t go to America empty-handed. I went with the complete philosophy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, written in these rooms, inspired by the Goswamis. Thats what is pushing this Krishna consciousness movement. If I have been successful, it’s because I have delivered my Guru Maharaj’s message intact, without change or deletion. That is parampara. The bona fide guru is like the postman delivering a message. He doesn’t open the mail and write his own opinion. You may like the message or not, take it up or not—I have done my duty. I have delivered it. And it all began here. Therefore these Radha Damodar rooms are the hub of the wheel of the spiritual universe.”

As for the final sentence, “I eternally reside in my rooms at the Radha-Damodara Temple”, it doesn’t turn up anywhere in the VedaBase. Satsvarupa Gosvami did record in Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita (Vol 5) that Srila Prabhuapda had said that he lived eternally in his rooms at Radha-Damodara Temple, but Srila Prabhupada does not mention it in any book, lecture, conversation or letter. Of course we know that not every single thing Srila Prabhupada said was recorded on tape, and he very well might have said it, but authentic or not, the words have been tagged onto the end of this hodgepodge piece of work, and finally, the words “Signed, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami” complete the illusion that this is a letter from Srila Prabhupada.

I personally find it outrageous that anyone would dare to leave such a fabrication on the table in front of Srila Prabhupada.

I noticed that none of Srila Prabhupada’s original books are in his rooms at Radha-Damodara Temple — not a single one! — and over at Krishna-Balarama Mandira the changed books occupy pride of place on the shelves in Srila Prabhupada’s room. There are no original books other than the first three volumes he published before coming to USA. It was here that Srila Prabhupada dictated the Tenth Canto Part Three of Srimad-Bhagavatam up to Chapter 13, Text 64 (he passed before the work was completed), yet there is not a copy of this volume in the room! All the other books on display are the changed books and translations of the changed books. In light of this travesty, the fake letter on the table in Srila Prabhupada’s room at Radha-Damodar Temple doesn’t seem so out of place.

It all makes sense, in a perverse kind of way. Jayadvaita and his team of editors have taken licence with Srila Prabhupada’s books to the extent that reading the revised editions, one cannot be sure what Srila Prabhupada really did write after all. The changes have been documented, and it is clear that the so-called corrections go way beyond fixing typos and grammatical errors. Purports have been altered. Certainly Srila Prabhupada was poisoned – his vani has been poisoned. From 1980 onwards, no original books have been reprinted except for the books printed by Hansadutta. If not for his printing, and if not for the BBT court case, there would not have been any original books available to devotees. Additions and subtractions have been rendered seamlessly in the texts. Invisible, undetectable, like arsenic. Despite Srila Prabhupada’s own vehement objections and despite protests from several senior disciples, ISKCON leaders and rank-and-file devotees have given Jayadvaita a free hand to do any and all revisions, and so doing, they have ingested the insidious poison. Now the poison acts subtly. It does not kill immediately, but first induces a state of doubt in the potency and veracity of Srila Prabhupada’s words, and later, blind indifference. ISKCON devotees do not care for Srila Prabhupada’s original books. Rather, the opposite. ISKCONers treat the originals with disdain and prefer the changed books. Devotees are discouraged from reading or possessing the original books. We received a report from someone who was surprised that a visiting devotee invited to give class rejected an original Bhagavad-gita As It Is and demanded to read from the revised edition instead. From what we’ve heard since, this was not an isolated incident. ISKCON promotes and sells only the changed books, and even the Bhaktivedanta Archives has removed the original books from the VedaBase library of Srila Prabhupada’s works.

The business of the disciples is to preserve the integrity of the spiritual master’s teachings and put them into action, but ISKCON has failed spectacularly in this regard. Recall, too, how ISKCON GBC stooped to the level of formally declaring in reply to legal interrogatories that Srila Prabhupada’s books were “works for hire” created by employees of ISKCON. (They’ve never apologised or retracted the statement, by the way.) This blatant insult coupled with the changing of the books has had the effect of minimizing Srila Prabhupada’s place as the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON. The mentality of disrespect for the Founder-Acharya’s words has pervaded the Society, and over the last several years or so we’ve seen at least one guru openly questioning the relevance of Srila Prabhupada’s books in this day and age and calls from others for the BBT International, Inc. to edit out non-pc statements about women and homosexuals.

Devotees owe a debt of gratitude to Hansadutta for his determination to preserve and keep Srila Prabhupada’s books in print and distribution. Through the years, ISKCON made all kinds of propaganda to demonize him, and claimed he was out to destroy ISKCON and was against Srila Prabhupada! But thanks to Hansadutta, devotees can still get hold of original books. If not for his fierce defence of Srila Prabhupada’s BBT in the face of ISKCON and BBT International, Inc, today there would be no KBI printing the original books under license from BBT International, Inc. He was the only one who could save the original books, because he was the last remaining BBT trustee. Certainly Srila Prabhupada did not make a mistake in appointing him as BBT trustee for life.

I don’t hold out hope that ISKCON leaders will come to their senses and remedy the situation. But I do wish now that I could give the knucklehead who typed that scrap of paper lying in front of Srila Prabhupada a piece of my mind. What is wrong with quoting what Srila Prabhupada himself said and leave it at that! (As if Srila Prabhupada did not say enough.) Why put words spoken by another as if spoken by Srila Prabhupada? And by the way, I’d like to induce the caretaker to put the original books on display in Srila Prabhupada’s room at Radha-Damodar Temple. Can anyone please tell me who is in charge of Srila Prabhupada’s rooms in Radha-Damodara Temple? Please provide name and contact. Thank you.

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2 Responses to What I found in Srila Prabhupada’s rooms at Radha-Damodar Temple

  1. BhaktaRobin says:

    Hari Bol,
    pamho AGTSP
    according to my firend, who visits Vrindavana right now the letter was removed.

    Bhakta Robin

  2. Every word you have written is true prabhu.

    I am sure there are many goodhearted followers of Srila Prabhupada who are in the millions who would agree with you. However at present we are disunited and most are not educated about the legal complexities about BBT / BBTI, BBT Agreement / DOM etc. It takes some legal education to understand.

    But at last we have the power of social media – to educate ALL devotees about the hard facts – http://www.bit.ly/bookchanges-LIST (on Facebook) by our Public Page – http://www.fb.com/bbt2prabhupada

    And we also have http://www.fb.com/groups/bbt2prabhupada which is a Private Group that is meant for ALL the loyal followers of Srila Prabhupada (no matter which camp/sanga they belong to). Because we are all disunited, the criminal theft of the BBT’s intellectual property and all assets has gone unchallenged.

    As you rightly point out, till now the insults to Srila Prabhupada made in court (that HDG is but a paid employee of Iskcon who illegitimately tried to create the BBT – http://www.bit.ly/bookchanges7a) have never been retracted nor apologized for.

    This has continued because there was no way to educate devotees and show them all the original legal documents. But now it is finally possible.. and day by day it is happening.

    And once every knows these facts they will want to call for the apology and the resignation of all the Failed Trustees, and also the dissolution of the BBTI Inc and the BBP Inc. To do that, we need to be united – now that unity is VERY possible, and very near our grasp….

    We just have to accept that we have to be mature – respect each other’s different opinions on divisive issues – and, for the purpose of saving the BBT, let us smoke the peace pipes, and agree to disagree. We can keep our debates at the correct or appropriate platforms, but we should not destroy or disrespect each other. We are united by our love for Srila Prabhupada!

    “Your love for me will be shown by how far you cooperate to keep this movement together.”

    And as you recently confirmed when we met at your lovely temple recently, it was to HG Hamsaduta Prabhu that Srila Prabhupada had said, “Iskcon may come or Iskcon may go, I don’t care. Let it be destroyed by politics from within… but BBT must stay.. so long as my books are there, again devotees will appear, temples will manifest…”

    So once we can be mature enough to ALL unite on that platform, we, the general body of global followers of Srila Prabhupada, will be able to dictate and control who holds the office of Trustees of the GBC and the BBT – and keep them in check and keep everything they do audited internally and externally and published. Then we shall finally begin to uproot the corruption from the roots. Right now the millions of dollars of BBT money are still flowing into the hands of these crooked people and the crooked lawyer Gupta Ferowski. As you said, surely Srila Prabhupada did not want individuals to become millionaires from his books sales! HDG said that in the BBT founding doc itself – it is not for individual benenfit!!! http://www.bit.ly/bbtagreement

    So it is our duty to unite, then drive them out – they are the real enemies of truth and even of Srila Prabhupada.

    If not for yourself and Hamsaduta prabhu’s firm faith that led you to battle the crooked BBTI thru all those court cases – you WON. Now we are humbly helping to finally disseminate all the facts.

    Prabhu it took me many years to understand it all – despite my having a little background in legal studies. Threfore it is very hard for ordinary people to see the truth. We must all see it as Srila Prabhupada’s and Krishna’s mercy that a non-lawyer HG Anuttama DD could see thru it AND SO BRAVELY MAKE A LAW SUIT AGAINST ALL THE 44 failed trustees herself!!!! That action of hers, publicized so nicely by her in her very short YouTube videos – http://www.bit.ly/bookchangesyoutube – that is what inspired my research, which culminated in that series of 55+ posts listed at http://www.bit.ly/bookchanges-LIST

    It was at the suggestion of another concerned disciple of Srila Prabhupada, Her Grace Bhadra Mataji, who asked me to create the FB group named “Bring BBT Back to Prabhupada” – she asked that as soon as I had finished convincing her about the true legal status of the BBT. I found out from your posts, Hamsaduta prabhu’s posts and HG Urdhvaga prabhu’s posts. Bhadra Mataji was surprised that all the info had been online for more than a decade but it was all new to her.

    Thus we realized there is a great need to educate devotees….

    However both of us experienced brick walls when we started – why? Sectarian fighting.. “Oh I will not cooperate with Rittviks.. Oh, I will not talk to those disciples of Prabhupada with Narayan Maharaj…” But if we keep fighting over relatively petty matters, then we are guilty of allowing the thieves to continue in office and not apologize for insulting Srila Prabhupada!! Maybe we should think politics – it is taught in Mahabharata that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” So for a higher purposes – knowing that many people, especially you and your guru maharaj – do love Srila Prabhupada and love his books and his BBT – so we must respect you for that. If not for you, we would never have had a chance to know what the BBT’s legal status is, and we would never have known that it could be saved!

    Her Grace Anuttama DD has helped convince me (and day by day, more others) that WE COLLECTIVELY ARE ISKCON, and we are the beneficiaries of the BBT…. and as long as we are alive, then the BBT lives. But it is OUR duty to demand restitution of all assets back to the BBT and dissolution of all other entities that are misusing the BBT’s name, logo and monies, and demand the change of Trustees who have defrauded the Trusts they were meant to protect!!

    Thanks to her, we understood that the GBC and also Iskcon are TRUSTS too. Our silence is the problem.

    Now envision this – if already today 10,000,000 people worldwide have joined our group – http://www.fb.com/groups/bbt2prabhupada – then we all plan to all go on strike for the next 3 major festivals – can those few crooked people run all these temples and care for the deities and organize so many festivals?

    We just have to do that! And educate everyone to boycott all BBTI books. Once educated, any sincere follower of Srila Prabhupada will accept the original books and reject the unauthorized ones.

    We have been too weak because of not having a way to unite. Now we do, prabhu. We must. For the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada.

    For this task of Intrafaith unity FOR THE PURPOSE of taking joint action to protect our common interests, we have been inspired with this concept, “Social Unions for Joint Action” – one at every node/branch in every sampradaya that exists – so that we can use these unions to act in our common interest, and also, within each such union, arrange for the handling of disputes, investigate wrongdoings, and mete out punishments where appropriate – otherwise every incident that goes wrong festers for hundreds of years with no resolution! Thus we could achieve unity in diversity. I have expressed this concept in this draft platform for the ‘node’ or branching that took place at the level of Srila Rupa Goswamipad. It is at https://www.facebook.com/Rupaanugas-Social-Union-for-Action-in-service-of-Srila-Rupa-Goswamipad-102605804432158 Likewise we can have one for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada – at that level all sampradaya branches who have faith in his purity can collaborate for things of common interest at that level. Another one for Sripad Madhvacharya. Thus we may utilize Social Media to connect the masses of believers/followers so that they have a voice! (Usually we find many prefer to stay out of the management – but this way, they can all join in and have a say – please consider the potential…)

    Thank you prabhu for all you have done to save the BBT. Now let us unite – there is light at the end of the tunnel at last. While these wonderful elderly disciples of Srila Prabhupada are still around, let us save the BBT from the jackals.

    Your humble servant
    in service of Sri Guru Srila Prabhupada and Sri Gauranga,


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