Transgressing Vaishava etiquette and How?
I have been practicing Krishna Consciousness and am involved in the movement for several years now. I regularly contribute to the various programmes and initiatives of ISKCON Bangalore as much as possible and deeply respect the wonderful programme of Akshaya Patra which is growing rapidly all over India.
I have also been initiated as a disciple of Srila Prabhupada.
I have been following the ISKCON Bangalore v/s ISKCON Mumbai dispute and have also read about the Guru fall down and other issues plaguing ISKCON since Srila Prabhupada’s disappeance. I regularly visit ISKCON related sites like Sampradaya Sun, ISKCON Desire tree, ISKCON Times etc.
Recently, I happened to read a post in Sampradaya Sun by Sri Chandra Banu Dasa dated 6th Jun 2012. http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/editorials/06-12/editorials8639.htm and was shocked by the offensive tone of the article written by him in very bad taste.
More importantly, I was surprised to see that Sampradaya Sun has posted this defamatory and offensive article irresponsibly without any necessary review. While I greatly admire Sampradaya Sun for researching and presenting various articles of Vaishnava interest, their posting of these kinds of yellow journalistic articles is highly disappointing. How can they claim that this is a Brahminical commentary? If the editors really believe that they belong to the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, I would urge them to restrain from publishing such articles which lower their own dignity.
Chandrabhanu Dasa says in his article
“Last year during the Janmastami festival in Bangalore, ISKCON celebrated the occasion at five venues -- at its three temples (Sheshadripuram, Lingaraja Puram and Uttarahali) plus two other venues. It was a resounding success with huge attendance. Madhu Pandit dasa and company in contrast had a lackluster event. In the past, Hare Krsna Hill would be jam- packed on Janmastami, but since ISKCON was celebrating in five venues, those crowds didn't go to Madhu Pandit's. Madhu Pandit dasa had to cancel planned celebrations to be held at Kanakapura Road because ISKCON has a temple nearby, and it is reported that at Hare Krsna Hill itself, the attendance was that of an ordinary day with no increase because of the festival, as devotees were attending the festivities at the ISKCON venues.”
I have been regularly participating in the festivals of ISKCON Bangalore and have sponsored many sevas in the temple. Surprisingly, he says that the programme in ISKCON temple on Kanakapura was cancelled. The programme on Vaikuntha hill, the hillock on Kanakapura road where ISKCON Bangalore is building a Krishna Lila theme park (http://www.iskconbangalore.org/krishna-lila-park) was very well attended on the Janmastami day. It is either speculation or misrepresentation to say that the programme was cancelled. See photos (http://www.iskconbangalore.org/krishna-janmashtami-vaikuntha-hill-photogallery).
I have not attended the programme in the five locations which he claims that ISKCON conducted Janmastami. I cannot comment on how many people attended those programmes and how successful it was, but why should someone criticize celebrations in ISKCON Bangalore and downgrade its success by calling it lackluster? Why should a devotee serving Krishna think that his celebration of Janmastami is better than another? Why this material competition motivated by false ego?
Chandra Bhanu Dasa also wrongly equates all the activities that are being conducted in ISKCON Bangalore to some hypothetical “Madhu Pandit Das and Co. run enterprise”. Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa is the President of ISKCON Bangalore and it is not his personal company. There are many hundreds of sevaks in the temple and thousands of donors support the various activities of ISKCON Bangalore. Why does he refer to the activities of ISKCON Bangalore as some one’s personal activity? Does he not understand that this belittles the service of so many sincere devotees?
He also addresses Madhu Pandit Dasa and other devotees as ‘criminals’. It is very sad that such inappropriate language is being used against Vaishnavas. I personally know many of them and their sincerity and dedication towards Srila Prabhupada is indeed worthy of appreciation. I regularly listen to their lectures (https://www.iskconbangalore.org/iskcon-pravachan) and am enthused to continue my services with greater conviction. Looks like he chooses to overlook/ deny the exemplary services that Madhu Pandit Dasa and other devotees of ISKCON Bangalore are rendering in the service of Srila Prabhupada. This surely goes on to show that Chandrabhanu dasa is either ill advised or has wrong motivations.
To say that Madhu Pandit Dasa has stolen the property is a gross misrepresentation. The temple is very much on the Hare Krishna Hill, who can take it away? The temple’s activities are going on very nicely. Inspired by Srila Prabhupada, the temple was built with contributions by many pious hearted people. In fact, our family and friends had also contributed to this program in the 90’s.This project was executed by a team of devotees, incidentally headed by Madhu Pandit Dasa. As far as I know, ISKCON Mumbai did not contribute to this. Now, what right does ISKCON Mumbai have to send away the devotees who have worked hard to build this temple on Hare Krishna Hill? Apparently, their only ‘crime’ is that they have just pointed out the flaws in the current initiation system of ISKCON.
Whatever be the difference of opinion, Sri Chandra Bhanu Dasa has failed to convince his readers by using grossly inappropriate language, especially in a Vaishnava forum. If he had remained more civil, the readers could have appreciated his viewpoint better.
In any case, I personally support ISKCON Bangalore wholeheartedly in this struggle against the unauthorized Guru system and will stand by them. I also sincerely hope this fight ends soon and that ISKCON Mumbai accepts Srila Prabhupada as their Guru.
I have watched the debate on TV9 in which Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa has unequivocally explained his stance. I request all of you to do the same: