UPDATE ON SRILA PRABHUPADA ‘S ROOMS IN RADHA DAMODARA
By COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT ISKCON VRINDAVANA
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
The present situation with regards to Srila Prabhupada’s rooms at the Radha Damodara Temple is that ISKCON won a recent court decision in Mathura. The court ruled that ISKCON was in legal possession of Srila Prabhupada’s rooms, and should not be illegally dispossessed of those rooms. The City Magistrate was to turn the rooms over to us, but there was a local strike at that time, and the order wasn’t issued right away.
In the meantime, Nirmal Chand Goswami appealed the local Mathura decision to the High Court in Allahabad. The deliberations of that honorable court are going on and we will inform you of that decision after it is made.
During these court cases (and before), the Goswami has made many blatantly false statements. For example, he said that immoral activities were going on in Srila Prabhupada’s room by ISKCON devotees. This was the thrust of his arguments in the court. All the ISKCON devotees who have stayed there to date have displayed impeccable moral character. We have never heard such accusations before, and the Gosvami never brought such allegations to ours or any one else’s attention in all of these years (before the court case).Neither has he ever filed any kind of complaint with any Government authority i.e. police, court etc. in this regard.
Next, he claims that ISKCON/Srila Prabhupada were never in possession of the rooms. But we all know that from 1959 to the present, Srila Prabhupada and then ISKCON have always occupied these rooms. This is a fact that the whole of Vrindavana knows. We have presented a great deal of documentary evidence
(like rent receipts and so on) to the courts to establish the truth.
Another malicious propaganda the Gosvami has made to incite the local public against ISKCON is that ISKCON is trying to take over the whole Radha-Damodara Temple, whereas our concern has always been simply maintaining Srila Prabhupada’s rooms as Srila Prabhupada himself has clearly desired us to do.
By this propaganda, some months ago, he got some local ruffians to physically manhandle the devotees performing seva puja at Srila Prahbupada’s bhajan kutir.
Furthermore, the Goswami also tried to portray this case as one of the Western foreigners versus the Brijbasis. This is a particularly provocative and inflammatory propaganda that has incited a certain amount of anti-Westerner feelings in the minds of many Brijbasis. This is a cause of concern for us as we do not want our Western devotees to be exposed to any kind of embarrassment or risk.
He also published a special edition of his newsletter, “Radha-Damodara Sudha”, and dedicated the entire issue to speaking severely ill of ISKCON and it’s members. This magazine was profusely distributed free of charge to hundreds of local Brijbasis in Vrindavana, including all the shopkeepers in Loi Bazaar. He has also sent many copies of this newsletter to influential people in Government, State administration and even the judiciary in Allahabad, New Delhi and elsewhere. The idea was to completely spoil ISKCON’s name and bias the mind of these influential people and the general public against ISKCON.
So far ISKCON has taken a non-confrontational approach to trying to solve this impasse, but the Goswami is not responding in kind. Rather he seems to be trying to take advantage of our civility. ISKCON is simply trying to carry out its lawful claim and the desire of its Founder-acarya.
The Gosvami family seems to have forgotten the more than generous contributions made by ISKCON devotees individually and by the Krishna Balarama Mandir itself in all these years. In particular, it is well known that Western devotees have been exceedingly helpful in many ways even to the extent of sponsoring the Goswami’s grandson’s education in ISKCON’s Gurukula.
In spite of this, we are pained to note the campaign the Gosvami has embarked upon. He is trying to present himself as the real spiritual heir of Srila Prabhupada. In his legal notice to us a couple of months ago, the Goswami clearly said that he and his representatives will perform the puja to Srila Prabhupada, and not ISKCON devotees. But it seems he is going against his own word, as he signed an Memorandum Of Understanding with ISKCON in 1997 agreeing that ISKCON devotees will perform the puja. At that time ISKCON gave him a generous donation of 300,000 Rs. or almost $6000.
His idea, of course, is that all the donations that come in should go only to him and ISKCON will always be at his mercy, constantly under pressure to fulfill his unending demands.
It is our request, therefore, that until you get further information from us in ISKCON Vrindavana, please do not offer any financial support to the Radha Damodara Temple. No donations should go to them, that may easily then be used to further the court case and any other false cases and false propaganda against ISKCON and ISKCON devotees.
Kindly communicate this to the community of devotees in your area by suitable means so that they may be forewarned before they visit Vrindavana.
Furthermore, we strongly suggest you not visit the temple there as even such an innocent act on your part could lead to the Goswami making up some false accusation against you in hope to further his unfounded legal position.
We will keep you informed of developments.
COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT ISKCON VRINDAVANA