Response to Ravindra Svarupa

By: 
Janmashtami Dasa

Note: Republished from SUN

Ravindra Svarupa has kindly weighed in as a character witness to testify to his knowledge of Radhanath's character, based on his co-operation with the government against New Vrindaban. He has offered us these assertions:

I wish to offer a few remarks in regard to some emails concerning H.H. Radhanatha Swami, Tirtha Prabhu and others.

As some of you may recall, in 1987 the North American GBC decided that, for the protection of Srila Prabhupada’s movement, it should cooperate with the government in its case against Kirtanananda Swami and others. On three occasions, I myself testified in court as a prosecution witness. And I spent some time in consultation with the lead federal prosecutor, Michael Stein.

The team of prosecution lawyers and FBI agents made their cases not only against Kirtanananda but against many of his lieutenants and foot-soldiers. Some of them, to protect themselves, eventually testified against Kirtanananda.

The government had no antagonisms toward Krishna consciousness, toward ISKCON, and toward the many misled New Vrindavan devotees. Michael Stein told me that in his view, Kirtanananda had taken a genuine religion of sincere people and perverted it into a criminal enterprise.

“Radhanatha is a saintly person - not like Bhaktipada,” Michael said, “yet he supports Bhaktipada. Why is that?” I answered, “I don’t know. He had some difficulty getting a hold of Maharaja, who of course spent much time in India. But finally Radhanatha Swami came in, voluntarily, for a meeting (or maybe an interrogation).”

Some time later, Michael Stein told me that he had concluded - from his talk with Maharaja and whatever else he’d gathered from the government’s investigation - that Radhanatha Swami was not implicated in any of the criminal activities in New Vrindavan.

And then Ravindra prabhu offers us his infallible conclusions (if he has offered these opinions in his capacity as Jagat Guru, we must assume they are "infallible" conclusions).

Of federal prosecutor Stein, Ravindra prabhu has told us:

"I accepted his judgment, and, in spite of these recent belated allegations, I still do. I think the federal prosecution had better judgment and more disinterested intentions than anyone now calling its decisions into question."

"The government is not going to reopen its case. I am certain that any investigation of our own will serve only to cause distress, agitation, doubts, and so on, without getting us one millimeter closer to a firmer resolution. Since it takes only a little common sense to recognize this fact, I conclude that the real intention of those calling for such an investigation is, in fact, to bring about distress, agitation, and misgivings."

"Tirtha asked me: “Now what should I do?” He said the government had been pressuring to talk, but he had never opened his mouth: he didn’t want to side against devotees, and he did not want to become a snitch. Now, however, he was wondering what to do."

Ravindra advised Tirtha, "answer all the government’s questions truthfully".

Kirtanananda’s first conviction having been overturned on appeal, “the Swami” underwent a second trial, in which Tirtha’s testimony was crucial. After Tirtha’s time in the witness stand, the defense clearly wanted to avoid at all costs sending the decision to the jury.

In jail, Tirtha told me: “I belong in here.” In my experience, Tirtha Prabhu, in jail, shows much evidence of sincerely cultivating the Holy Name. I have had much more association with H. H. Radhanatha Swami. In my experience, he clearly exhibits the symptoms of one advanced in sincerely cultivating the Holy Name.

I am seriously concerned, on the other hand, about Janmashtami Prabhu and Giri-Nayaka Prabhu. From the evidence of these emails, it seems that they have wandered from the path into the quicksand swamp of fault-finding. If so, I pray to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna to send one of their agents to help these two devotees before they fall further and further into mortal danger.

Ravindra Svarupa das

With the proper amount of respect due an individual following Srila Prabhupada's instructions as well as Ravindra prabhu has, we thank him for his stated concern for "our mortality". We agree with his conclusion that this mortal world is not a fit place for such a gentleman. Having known Ravindra prabhu for as long as I have (did X’mas sankirtan from Philly temple parking lot from 1980-1986), we have known him to "wear any number of hats": resident spiritual authority, guru reformer, frequent contributor, and even assisting Satsvarupa Goswami adhikari prabhu in his efforts as spiritual mentor for an entire region of this planet. Such an awesome undertaking must be seen for exactly what it is. We hope these discussions somehow or other push things in that direction.

To comment on certain of his inclusions:

"As some of you may recall, in 1987 the North American GBC decided that, for the protection of Srila Prabhupada’s movement, it should cooperate with the government in its case against Kirtanananda Swami and others."

We hereby formerly request a copy of the minutes from that meeting, complete with its stated conclusions that, "since the time of Lord Chaitanya, the philosophy of Bhagavad gita no longer applies. We accept the Chaitanya philosophy, that since the time of Lord Chaitanya, we can no longer kill demoniac individuals, the use of lethal force that was so apparent in the Kurukshetra aftermath is no longer acceptable Vaishnava behavior".

This is only hearsay at this point, because Jaya Advaita and Gopal Krishna would not speak to me directly as I was not "a Prabhupada disciple". I have known Jaya Advaita since our first life membership in NYC in 1972, taken from Toshan Krishna prabhu. It was for exactly that reason that, in the late 1990s, we sued Ravindra prabhu in DC Federal Court, as well as Radhanath prabhu, representing New Vrindaban Community and my $10,000 'apartment for life (building 1, apartment 7)'. They were represented in court by Radha Cornia (Mrs. Jeff' the hitman' Cornia, Yudhisthira from San Diego and the Sulochana killing infamy). We arbitrated a settlement that had Radha carrying our message to the then GBC, Ravindra prabhu, so that the matter would not have to go to future litigation, as they requested in the West Virginia courts. We reluctantly agreed, but in the spirit of devotee co-operation, we trusted the settlement signed by Tapah Punj and Radha Cornia. Six months later, Radha Cornia returned some of the documents that she requested, that we acquired, that we had notarized, that we had copied, and that we had sent to her. Immediately following that, we were denied entrance to any New Vrindaban property, even for festivals, such that West Virginia troopers were present for Gaura Purnima celebration to incarcerate me if I were to show.

"the team of prosecution lawyers and FBI agents made their cases not only against Kirtanananda but against many of his lieutenants and foot-soldiers. Some of them, to protect themselves, eventually testified against Kirtanananda."

Is this then the ISKCON admission and approval for Radhanath in his admission that he turned "snitch" on Kirtanananda?

"The government had no antagonisms toward Krishna consciousness, toward ISKCON, and toward the many mislead New Vrindavan devotees. Michael Stein told me that in his view."

As void of scriptural references as Ravindra prabhu's thesis is, we find his recent history of "his government's" dealings with its religious fanatic elements to be even more lacking. Philadelphia based federal informant Josh Kunkel (it's not a felony to out an undercover who has already been ousted) was a long time regular at the Philly temple since the days of drugs and prostitution at the South Street Food for Life programs. The drug use was even into the temple proper, with five to seven "devotees", at any one time from the Allen’s Lane temple using cocaine supplied by Josh.

Ravindra prabhu was more interested in having as many of his pictures for sale in the devotee gift shop as what Satsvarupa had, kind of like the littering that goes on in the U.S., posing as an electoral process. He may have missed it, but his Temple Commander, Stita-dhi Muni can confirm that when Ravindra and Sesha knew that Sulochana was killed, and how involved Radhanath was AT A TIME WHEN KIRTANANANDA WAS INCAPACITATED, Ravindra was part of the cover-up that allowed Radhanath back into ISKCON.

It still protects the criminal elements, just like the rapists, primarily Radhanath disciples that gang raped a 14-year-old girl and settled with her (for peanuts!!!) in 2004, during the recent trials over child abuse. The case had been closed on child abuse by the Janet Reno justice department and their embedded agent, Amy Hobson (Janet Reno's niece), who had slept her way up the chain of command to become "spokesperson for the Palace of Gold", no longer Prabhupada's Palace, by 1998.

"He had some difficulty getting a hold of Maharaja, who of course spent much time in India. But finally Radhanatha Swami came in, voluntarily, for a meeting (or maybe an interrogation)."

The grand jury hearing was "by subpoena only", so it was not, in fact, "voluntary", as Ravindra prabhu has perhaps unconsciously misreported here. If he is, in fact, reporting about the varieties of other meetings that Radhanath has had with government officials, since Ravindra prabhu has "brought it all out into the public domain", as it were, we would hope that Radhanath prabhu, the only true authority on what he did and why he did it, would care to join this very important spiritual discussion. At what point did his fanatical support of Kirtanananda reach the point that he had to make other spiritual arrangements, and, for GOD's sake, "WHY DIDN"T THEY TELL THE REST OF US?" I've been wondering this for years now. How can "their ineptitude" be made out to be "my bad"? Can imaginations stretch that far?

"Some time later, Michael Stein told me that he had concluded-from his talk with Maharaja and whatever else he’d gathered from the government’s investigation-that Radhanatha Swami was not implicated in any of the criminal activities in New Vrindavan."

Which is obviously why he is stuck in a "no future" position like "the Wheeling office". And it would seem to indicate to some that some sort of a deal had been reached between Radhanath and the federal prosecutors, which now, under the Freedom of Information act, should be de-classified. We request Radhanath, who has been brought into this more by his own surrogates than by others' allegations, to clear the air on this matter lest everyone's impending demise that "Srila" Ravindra prabhu has warned us of, overtakes him with errands that need cleared out. Not a nice place for guru, or disciple!

Then "Srila" Ravindra prabhu enlightens us, much as he must enlighten those that have chosen to put their spiritual lives into his hands, that he has reached the following conclusions:

"I accepted his judgment, and, in spite of these recent belated allegations, I still do. I think the federal prosecution had better judgment and more disinterested intentions than anyone now calling its decisions into question."

Are we to assume that this is another "infallible" enlightenment?

"The government is not going to reopen its case. I am certain that any investigation of our own will serve only to cause distress, agitation, doubts, and so on, without getting us one millimeter closer to a firmer resolution. Since it takes only a little common sense to recognize this fact, I conclude that the real intention of those calling for such an investigation is, in fact, to bring about distress, agitation, and misgivings."

This "certainty" of Srila Ravindra prabhu's may be 'the life and soul of his disciples', but it in no way convinces us of the obscurity that has covered these events for years, that it was, in fact, "a good thing". Ravindra Svarupa seems to think that it is, and that everyone else should also accept that the obscure understanding of events of "the higher ups" activities are limited to those few that may have profited from the sales of Srila Prabhupada's temple properties, BARRED BY HIS LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT FROM EVER BEING SOLD, that were sold.

We demand full financial disclosure statements from all these events, as well as the current net financial worth, total assets, FULL DISCLOSURE, from all "in good standing" sannyasis and gurus. It is the only proper way to understand who is and who isn't "a pounds, shillings, pence man" that Bali Maharaj has ordered us that we must reject. The sale of the Potomac property was in the millions. What came of that money? "Not a farthing for sense gratification"?

Tirtha asked me: “Now what should I do?” He said the government had been pressuring to talk, but he had never opened his mouth: he didn’t want to side against devotees, and he did not want to become a snitch. Now, however, he was wondering what to do....advised tirtha," answer all the government’s questions truthfully".

To the degree that Tirtha successfully followed bonafide spiritual instruction; there can be some hope for success.

Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Antya 2.171:

visvasa kariya suna caitanya-carita
tarka na kariha, tarke habe viparita

SYNONYMS
visvasa kariya -- with faith and confidence; suna -- just hear; caitanya-carita -- the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu; tarka na kariha -- do not uselessly argue; tarke -- by argument; habe viparita -- will get the opposite result.

TRANSLATION
Please hear the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with faith and confidence. Do not argue, for arguments will produce a contrary result.

To hope against hope that more of the same type of behavior that got you in there to begin with, the thuggery and the threatening brutality (which is also included and underlined in Ravindra Svarupa's admonition of 'mortal danger'), is the 'solution' and not 'the problem', is to admit that 'there still is a problem'. We wish these individuals all the best, however divergent from our understanding of Srila Prabhupada's instructions they have "strayed".

We wonder if that "murky swamp of faultfinding" we are accused of being lost in, is not the same one "Srila" Radhanath prabhu has led us into, and left us to drown in, in the aftermath of his unilateral plea bargain with the federal authorities. The authorities who, in spite of Ravindra prabhu's firm faith in their judgment, their integrity, and their vision for the direction of Srila Prabhupada's mission, we might just interject, "just wait one bloody minute. We don't accept these package deals from a leadership that is in bed with everything from the FBI, the justice department, young boys, young girls, massage therapists, and what not." Not with our portion of Srila Prabhupada's legacy, you don't, mate!"

But who would hear us? Maybe Srila Prabhupada (who can't "go back to Godhead" until all of his disciples do) can settle this matter, once and for all, as the arrogant have often accused those still claiming to "take initiation from AC Bhaktivedanta Swami". Ravindra prabhu has often challenged, "when you write to Srila Prabhupada, you let me know what he says", well, let this be a small portion of that package, with much more where this came from, life after life, until a little more humility and honesty returns to these devotee forums.

"Kirtanananda’s first conviction having been overturned on appeal, “the Swami” underwent a second trial, in which Tirtha’s testimony was crucial.

After Tirtha’s time in the witness stand, the defense clearly wanted to avoid at all costs sending the decision to the jury."

The only reason that the second trial differed so much from the first was that Tirtha had changed his version of the truth, based on his new-found understanding of Kirtanananda's deviations, to implicate a whole new cast. That's the reason a convicted criminal's testimony is practically worthless. What wouldn't they say for a bag of Doritos?

"In jail, Tirtha told me: “I belong in here.”

Is this an attempt to cite Tirtha as "an authority" on his own fate? Based on what shastric evidence, and please spare us that "hate the sin, but not the sinner" psycho-babble that often poses itself as "KRISHNA conscious philosophy". Our Bhagavad gita, pre-GBC approved changes instituted in 1983, says that a murderer should be hanged and that is in "his best interests", not that he hangs out with his homies and they say KRISHNA to get special dietary privileges. Did that philosophy change? I must have missed the memo. Also, I haven't gotten my BTG's since ISKCON threw me out of New Vrindaban. Am I still entitled to them?

"In my experience, Tirtha Prabhu, in jail, shows much evidence of sincerely cultivating the Holy Name. I have had much more association with H.H. Radhanatha Swami. In my experience, he clearly exhibits the symptoms of one advanced in sincerely cultivating the Holy Name."

"In my opinion" is the final definitive statement from a person with pretensions of "infallible behavior". In Ravindra Svarupa prabhu's opinion, Tirtha is "sincerely cultivating The Holy Name" and Radhanath is "advanced in sincerely cultivating The Holy Name". And if that assessment is incorrect, many others will be led away from the path of true KRISHNA consciousness by a pretender who waffles more than John Kerry.

Ravindra Svarupa prabhu's endorsement of the character of Tirtha and Radhanath may not be accepted by all, but he has certainly made it abundantly clear that "they stand or fall together", and that must be quite a disconcerting thought for Radhanath at times. We await further participation from those with valid information that may be in the best interests of all true spiritual seekers.

Liberated Yogi Collective.

http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/editorials/01-07/editorials1111.htm

 

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