BY: COSTA RICA DEVOTEES, Jan 30, 2009 — We inadvertently posted Part 2 of THE LEGITIMACY OF THE HARE KRISHNA MOVEMENT IN COSTA RICA before posting first its Part 1. In order to have a sequential, step by step exposition, refutations, and analysis of Yadu das to “The Problem in Costa”, which is the Official stance of the GBC on this topic, and which is part of THE COSTA RICA ISSUE Part 2,” (our posting), we are publishing below Part 1 of THE LEGITIMACY OF THE HARE KRISHNA MOVEMENT IN COSTA RICA: The Right to Self-Government. Thank you. [Editors]
PART ONE – The Right to Self-Government
This document is written in collaboration by the following senior devotees related to the Hare Krishna Farm of Costa Rica: Lokaswami, Upendra, Yamuna Jivana, Yadu, and Aniruddha. Wherever we refer to ourselves in the course of this document we are going to use the third person for better clarity.
Upendra and Yadu are Costa Ricans by birth, and they have been related to the Hare Krishna Movement since 1975, that is, since the very beginning of the Movement in Costa Rica. Upendra was the first President of the Bhaktivedanta Cultural Center, and has always been living in the country.
Yadu has served without any remuneration in the translations of Srila Prabhupada’s books in Spanish, both in Los Angeles and in Spain. Since 1991 he has been in India, living a simple life and engaged in studying the Scriptures, Vaisnavism, and Vedic culture, and has kept close contact with the devotees of the Central American area and Costa Rica.
Yamuna Jivana has been related to the Hare Krishna Farm since 1986, that is, even before Mrs. Vera Cecilia Gonzales Volio (or Radha Govinda devi) formalized the donation of the farm to the Hare Krishna Community in 1987. Also, Yamuna Jivana was the President of the Farm and the Hare Krishna Community of Cartago for eight years.
Aniruddha has been related to the Hare Krishna Movement in Central America since the time the Movement came to this part of the world (1971). He, Harinamananda and others were the founders of the Hare Krishna Movement in Central America and Panama, circa 1975.
Lokaswami served in the Hare Krishna Movement in Colombia during Srila Prabhupada’s time, and later, as a householder, he moved to Costa Rica, where he has been residing for the last 20 years. Currently he is the Vice President of the community of the Hare Krishna Farm in Costa Rica. Actually, for months he has been the acting President, because our elected President, Mother Sevya, had to go to the United States.
About Mother Sevya, it is enough to say that she is one of the original members of the Hare Krishna Movement in Costa Rica. In 1974 she donated her house in the capital city (San Jose) for the establishment of the first Hare Krishna temple in the country, and also she donated a 150 acre farm in Turrialba, with the intention of developing a solid Hare Krishna Community in the country. Therefore, in all justice, she can be considered the founder of the Hare Krishna Movement in Costa Rica, of course, under the directions of Srila Prabhupada.
It should be noted that all of us -the devotees collaborating in writing this document- are members of the Hare Krishna Movement since Srila Prabhupada’s time (with the exception of Yamuna, who even so should be considered a senior devotee, since he has been engaged for more than 25 years in devotional service and sadhanas).
We have given some personal information about us to draw our readers’ attention to a key point: Those who opposed the preservation of the Hare Krishna Farm in Costa Rica have proclaimed themselves as the “official” representatives of the Movement, and with the weapon of “officialism” they pretend to discredit the devotees who today are struggling to preserve the farm.
The self-proclaimed have published an article entitled “The Problems in Costa Rica”, but none of them dared to sign it. The question a serious reader may ask is: “Who wrote this article? And, why nobody signed it? ” Reliable journalism is differentiated from the unreliable (from fake and charlatans) in the sense that in reliable reporting the journalists sign their articles, and the name of editor-in-chief is also made public. The reason these self-proclaimed officials do not sign their article is because it is not truthful, and nobody wants to accept the responsibility for the lies it contains.
Since the purpose of our document is to prove the facts and to show the falsehood in the statements written by the authors of “The Problems”, we need to refer to them every now and then, and since they don’t sign their article with any specific name, we have to use a generic one. Following the analogy of reliable and charlatan journalism, perhaps we should call them “The Charlatans”, but for now we are going to call them the self-proclaimed. (We know who are behind this, and their names are automatically revealed in the course of this document.)
We, who are in favor of the preservation of the Hare Krishna Farm in Costa Rica, have no personal interest. We are doing it for two reasons. One: to comply with Srila Prabhupada’s directions; Two: to respect the donor’s family.
Having said this much, we proceed to present our evidences. From now on this documentation is divided in parts. What we have said so far is a sort of introduction, and what follows is the First Part.
The Right to Self-Government
In 1977, in his last will, in reference to the properties of the Hare Krishna Movement, Srila Prabhupada says:
4. [...] I hereby will that none of the immovable properties standing in the name of ISKCON in India should never be mortgaged, sold, transferred, borrowed against, or in any way encumbered, disposed of, or alienated. This direction is irrevocable.
It is necessary to understand that what Srila Prabhupada desires for the Hare Krishna Movement in India, are also his desires for the Movement in other parts of the world. His specific order is that properties in India should not be sold, and therefore, it can be logically concluded that he also desires that the properties in Costa Rica should also be preserved. This is corroborated by the next clause in his will:
5. Properties outside of India IN PRINCIPLE should never be mortgaged, sold, transferred, borrowed against, or in any way encumbered, disposed of, or alienated. But if the need arises, they may be mortgaged, borrowed against, sold, etc., with the consent of the GBC committee members associated with the particular property.
Srila Prabhupada has made it very clear in his last will that the properties of the Hare Krishna Movement should not be sold. In reference to properties outside India he made the concession that “if the need arises” it would require the “consent” of the members of a committee. (Such committee is known as the Property Trustees, who may be or may not be members of the GBC, as demonstrated by Srila Prabhupada’s will itself, because in it some of the Property Trustees selected by Srila Prabhupada were not GBCs, like Gour Govinda Swami, who was appointed GBC ten years after Srila Prabhupada’s departure, in 1987, by resolution # 29.)
The word consent used by Srila Prabhupada is of tremendous importance because it means that it is not the GBC who can take an initiative for selling. The need should arise from the local devotees, and if they propose such a thing, it should be approved by the GBC and the Property Trustees. This is the meaning of the last will. Therefore, Guru Prasad Swami, Bhakti Bhusana Swami, and Virabahu, should have never claimed that they have the right to decide to sell the property, and their decision has been a violation to Srila Prabhupada’s will, and an abuse as GBCs.
What Srila Prabhupada has stated is the official law of the Hare Krishna Movement. Whatever is against Srila Prabhupada’s statements can never be official, as the self-proclaimed are pretending. The official position of the Hare Krishna Movement of Costa Rica can only be the one that agrees with Srila Prabhupada’s will, the one that asserts that the Hare Krishna Farm in Cartago should not be sold, and that it should be preserved for the purpose it was donated: to develop in that very place a Hare Krishna Community. Anything contrary to this in the name of “officialism” is simply cheating.
In 1972, when Karandhar das, member of the GBC, tried to centralize all the properties so that they could be controlled by the International GBC, Srila Prabhupada wrote:
I do not at all approve such plan. Do not centralize anything. Each temple must remain independent and self-sufficient. That was my plan from the very beginning, why are you thinking otherwise. Once before you wanted to do something centralizing with your GBC meeting, and if I did not interfere the whole thing would have been killed.
Do no think in this way of big corporation, big credits, centralization-these are all nonsense proposals. Management, everything, should be done locally by local men.
Never mind there may be botheration to register each centre, [...] become separate corporations in each state. (Extracts, letter to Karandhar, December 22, 1972)
Please note the strong words Srila Prabhupada uses to reject the idea that local properties be managed by an international group. He calls it nonsense proposals. Nonsense means absurd, foolish, stupid. It is a very strong term. And then he emphasizes that EVERYTHING should be done locally by local men.
Therefore, this is another official law of the Hare Krishna Movement, promulgated by its founder. And so the local devotees who desire to protect and preserve the Hare Krishna Farm in Costa Rica have the right to do so. Not only they have the rightbut also they have the obligation, because this is the vision and the order of Srila Prabhupada, that every program must have its self-government.
From this order from Srila Prabhupada it is clear that Guru Prasad Swami (from the United States), Bhakti Bhusana Swami (from Germany), Virabahu Das (from Venezuela), and Manonath Das (from Italy), ( NONE OF WHOM RESIDE IN COSTA RICA) have no right to decide the destiny of the Hare Krishna Farm in this country. This right belongs only to those devotees who form this Hare Krishna Community, which, since 1986, has settled at the farm, peacefully and publicly. This in itself constitutes a legal proof of who the real owners are.
These international leaders (Guru Prasad Swami, Virabahu, Bhakti Bhusana Swami and Manonath) regardless of how many titles they claim to possess as GBCs, RGBs, Gurus, or Zonal Secretaries, have NO right to violate the directions Srila Prabhupada recorded in his last will and in his letter to Karandhar. Their desire to sell the Hare Krishna Farm and their desire to dismiss the rights of the local government of the Hare Krishna Community are an abuse of authority as international leaders and a violation to the official laws of the Hare Krishna Movement, as stated by the FOUNDER ACHARYA, Srila Prabhupada himself.
In 1975, the first resolution of the GBC in the Mayapur meetings was:
1. Resolved: The GBC (Governing Body Commission) has been established by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to represent him in carrying out the responsibility of managing the International Society for Krishna Consciousness of which he is the Founder-Acarya and supreme authority. The GBC accepts as its life and soul his divine instructions and recognizes that it is completely dependent on his mercy in all respects. The GBC has no other function or purpose other than to execute the instructions so kindly given by His Divine Grace.
Since the instructions from Srila Prabhupada are: 1) That properties cannot be sold; 2) That everything should be done locally by local men, then Guru Prasad Swami, Bhakti Bhusana Swami, Virabahu and Manonath, as foreign leaders DON’T have any right to try to become the owners of the Hare Krishna Farm in Costa Rica and sell it (claiming to have this power after intimidating and manipulating the local devotees and putting the farm in their names). The only function they can have is to execute the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada. And according to these instructions the local devotees who desire to preserve the Hare Krishna Farm, do have the right to protect it and to develop it; they do have the right to self-government. Let’s go back to Srila Prabhupada’s will.
In the first clause of his will, signed in 1977, Srila Prabhupada says:
1) The Governing Body Commission (GBC) will be the ultimate managing authority of the entire International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The GBC has been nominated as authority for managing, NOT for changing Srila Prabhupada’s instructions. And it was Srila Prabhupada himself who in 1972 instituted the right of the local devotees to have their own government, right which has never been rescinded in any clause in his last will. The GBC, as the highest managerial authority, has as their function to supervise that the directions from Srila Prabhupada should be implemented, but they NEVER can have the authority to change them. Therefore, neither Guru Prasad Swami, nor Bhakti Bhusana Swami, nor Virabahu, nor Manonath, nor ANYBODY ELSE, can legislate that in the Hare Krishna Movement there should be no right to self-government.
In his will, Clause One, Srila Prabhupada mentions that the GBC is “managing authority”, NOTHING MORE. Their authority is for managing according to his instructions, not for changing his instruction. These were the instructions left by Srila Prabhupada in his last will, in 1977. And in Resolution One of 1975 (quoted above), the GBC pledged that its only purpose was to execute the instructions of His Divine Grace, saying that Srila Prabhupada is the supreme authority. But in 2008, in their resolutions, the GBC declare themselves as ecclesiastic authority. Their own words: “The GBC in its role as the sole ecclesiastical authority for ISKCON [...], relying solely on its own authority [...]”. Is this not a change in Srila Prabhupada’s instructions? Where did Srila Prabhupada name the GBC as the sole ecclesiastical authority? Where did Srila Prabhupada say that the GBC should rely solely in its own authority and not in the authority of his instructions? Besides that, what is the point in proclaiming themselves as such, when Srila Prabhupada says that one should not accept an ecclesiastical guru? (Cc. Adi 1.35.)
The truth is: In ISKCON, in the Movement founded by Srila Prabhupada, the irrefutable argument is that Srila Prabhupada is the authority, both spiritually and administratively, and therefore his instructions should be implemented. Consequently, the initiative from the devotees at the HaHHHare Krishna Farm in Costa Rica to organize themselves as a society and create their own board of directors is a legitimate right stipulated by Srila Prabhupada. The devotees from the Hare Krishna Community who desire to preserve the farm are acting totally in a correct way. Let us examine now the foundational principles of the Hare Krishna Movement.
In 1966, when Srila Prabhupada incorporated the Hare Krishna Movement, or “International Society for Krishna Consciousness” he wrote seven clauses that are known as the Mission Statements, in which he clearly delineates the objectives of his mission. Since these seven clauses could be called “The Original Constitution of the Hare Krishna Movement”, we should know that no GBC resolution can overrule them. These seven points are the following:
1. To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
2. To propagate a consciousness of Krishna (God), as it is revealed in the great scriptures of India, Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
3. To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus developing the idea within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).
4. To teach and encourage the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy name of God, as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
5. To erect for the members and for society at large a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krishna.
6. To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.
7. With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.
Points 5 and 6 deserve our special attention because they have a direct connection with the Hare Krishna Farm of Costa Rica.
On the other hand, we should also know well what Guru Prasad Swami (William Hendricks), Bhakti Bhusana Swami (Steffan Kess) and Manonath (Mario Savelloni), with the support from Virabahu (Marcos Zafarani), have done. Their acts reveal their intention: to claim the ownership of the Hare Krishna Farm and to dismiss the local devotees’ rights to stay there, though they have been the ones residing at the place, peacefully, and publicly holding all the Hare Krishna programs since 1986.
These four international leaders simulated the creation of the commercial company “Lifter of the Hill, Limited”, incorporated as a private business owned by Mr. Kess and Mr. Savelloni (Bhakti Bhusana Swami and Manonath), in the year 2005-2006, and then put the Hare Krishna farm in the name of the company. But such a company has nothing in common with the objectives of the Hare Krishna Movement, as conceived by Srila Prabhupada in 1966. Let us prove this with the transcriptions of the objectives of this Lifter of the Hill, Limited (Certificate # 691825-2007; Incorporation # 3-101-429862):
OBJECTIVE: Legal and financial advice; investigation and consultation; commerce, industry, agriculture, acquiring, selling, mortgaging, and disposing of properties and rights, serve as guarantor in loans, goods, and mortgages.
These are the objectives as they appear on the front page of the certification of incorporation issued by the National Registrar. They are a summary of the fourth clause of their statutes, which literally says:
FOURTH: The partnership will have as its main objective selling services in legal and financial advice, investigations and consultation on this matter, carry out operations in commerce, industry, agriculture, cattle [...] representation of foreign companies, dealing in real estate properties [...] It can be engaged in buying all kinds of movable and immovable properties, selling them, mortgaging them, leasing them, sub-leasing them, and disposed of them in the broadest possible way[...] It can be united and merged with other foreign and national companies [...] It can serve as a guarantor in all kinds of loans, goods, and mortgages, [...] when by virtue of such dealings it perceives an economic retribution.
From these passages it can be clearly seen that the objectives of the Lifter of the Hill, have nothing to do with the Mission Statements of Srila Prabhupada. Not only that, but they are actually in total contradiction with what Srila Prabhupada has stated in his last will.
Therefore it is concluded that Guru Prasad Swami, Bhakti Bhusana Swami, Manonath, and Virabahu, and the commercial company the Lifter of the Hill, do not represent the wishes and will of Srila Prabhupada, and consequently they can never be the official voice of the Hare Krishna Movement of Costa Rica, because the official voice cannot contradict the voice of the FOUNDER ACHARYA, Srila Prabhupada.
The Hare Krishna Movement of Costa Rica, to be authentic, first and foremost must obey Srila Prabhupada, for the simple logic that he is the Founder Acharya, and because obedience to the Founder Acharya in a sacramental principle in the spiritual traditions of India. The GBCs, like Guru Prasad Swami, have no power whatsoever to exercise an independent authority. Their authority can only exist if supported by what Srila Prabhupada has left written in black and white.
If the behavior and plans of an international leader or GBC (like Guru Prasad Swami), is not in compliance with the directions from Srila Prabhuapda, the local devotees are not obliged to cooperate with him. Such a circumstance already happened once in Costa Rica with the ex-guru Bhakty Abhay Charan Swami, also known as Angel Perez Franco, from Spain and former spiritual leader of the Hare Krishna Community of Cartago. The devotees of the Hare Krishna Farm refused to follow his leadership, and up to now nobody can say that they did not do the only correct thing.
Let us examine once again, side by side, the statements from Srila Prabhupada and the statements from the Lifter.
This is what Srila Prabhupada says in his last will:
Properties outside of India in principle should NEVER be mortgaged, sold, transferred, borrowed against, or IN ANY WAY encumbered, disposed of, or alienated.
But Guru Prasad Swami, Bhakti Bhusana Swami, Virabahu, and Manonath, through the creation of the Lifter say:
That its objective is: Selling services in legal and financial advice; dealing in real estate properties, selling them, mortgaging them, leasing, and disposing of them IN THE BROADEST POSSIBLE WAY. Serve as a guarantor in all kinds of loans, goods, and mortgages, when by virtue of such dealings it perceives an economic retribution.
These four international leaders are acting in total contravention to Srila Prabhupada’s directives. The declaration they made through the Lifter to act “IN THE BROADEST POSSIBLE WAY when they perceive an economic retribution”, is a shameless declaration in reference to the Hare Krishna Farm of Costa Rica. Such objectives show a lack of respect for Srila Prabhupada’s will, and a lack of respect for the rights of the devotees of the Hare Krishna Community.
Our question is: “Is there any international leader among the GBC members who can understand that this is a shame?” Our answer is: “Of course, there must be”. Otherwise, the international leadership of the Hare Krishna Movement would have reached a total degree of corruption.
The devotees pro the preservation of the Hare Krishna Farm in Costa Rica have not deviated from Srila Prabhupada’s instructions as given in his Mission Statements and in his Last Will. We are following him, both philosophically and administratively. But who can say the same thing about the Lifter, and the four leaders behind it: Guru Prasad Swami, Bhakti Bhusana Swami, Manonath and Virabahu?
Continues in the SECOND PART