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Ambarish’s service was changed by the financial committee, endorsed by the temple council, as one of many measures to balance a £96,000 deficit in the budget.
This is an attempt to correct some of the information included in an article published by “Satyam das” on VNN dated 31st January. It is not intended to provoke any further articles or arguments on the issue, and it therefore contains no opinions or speculations, but just substantiated facts.
The VNN article started “Ambarish Das was found hanged in his home on Tuesday morning, January 18th, with japa beads in his hand. He was a disciple of Lokanath Swami. It is assumed that he died on Monday evening.”
Ambarish was found hanged in his home on Wednesday evening, January 19th, his japa beads were not in his hand. It is assumed he died on Wednesday morning.
The article continued “Two days before, he had been removed from his salaried position as head of the kitchens at Bhaktivedanta Manor by temple president Vipramukhya Swami. He had told him that he was useless and unwanted. While Ambarish was at the Manor on Monday, some devotees noticed how desperate he looked. Some devotees tried to console him by saying that he had done a very difficult service very nicely for quite a few years. Ambarish replied that this wasn’t what he had been told and that he was told that he was completely useless and unwanted.”
Ambarish was told on 15th January that his service was to be changed from being kitchen manager to going back to the Life Membership Department by Prana Bandhu prabhu and Srutidharma prabhu, he would continue to earn what he was previously, if not more. Vipramukhya Swami did not tell Ambarish that he was useless and unwanted. Ambarish had been kitchen manager for about seven months on a trial basis.
The VNN article then went on to say “The devotees in the community can’t understand why he had been removed from his position (except that it was noted that someone quite friendly with Vipramukhya Swami was to take over as head of the kitchens). Ambarish Prabhu was already having financial difficulties at the time that the TP sacked him, a fact that was known to and ignored by the management. It is believed that losing this paid position doing something that he dedicated his life for (Bhaktivedanta Manor has enormous numbers of guests visiting each week and especially on holidays like Krsna Janmastami). The whole devotee community (except Vipramukhya Swami) is in agreement that Ambarish Prabhu had done a good job managing such a huge operation, every day, with long hours. His wife was out of the country at the time at the funeral of her own mother, money for which was also coming out of his meager salary.”
Ambarish’s service was changed by the financial committee, endorsed by the temple council, as one of many measures to balance a £96,000 deficit in the budget. An unpaid devotee was moved into the position of the devotee who took over Ambarish’s position. Ambarish was not sacked by the TP. There were doubts about his capability to manage the Kitchen.
The article then continued “Understanding that there is an emotional crisis in the community of devotees, several senior devotees tried to officially meet together to discuss what has gone wrong within the local devotee community. Vipramukhya Maharaja opposed the meetings from taking place.”
Vipramukhya Swami did not oppose the meetings from taking place. A family member wrote to Vipramukhya Swami asking if the meetings could be postponed. The original arranged date for the meeting was the date that Ambarish’s body was to be cremated. Vipramukhya Swami then wrote to two community devotees asking if they would postpone the meeting, to which they agreed.
The article further stated “Vipramukhya Swami had left the country suddenly the day after Ambarish’s death while the whole community was in the throws of experiencing very painful grief. Now he is back in the country. Many devotees feel that by blocking any meetings that he is trying to prevent them from trying to understand what is causing the massive dissatisfaction in the hearts of the devotees”
Vipramukhya Swami left the country on Monday 17th January, prior to Ambarish’s death, on a planned trip to New York to resolve a problem at the Long Island temple, and his departure had been arranged for at least a week. No meetings were blocked.
The article concluded with “Perhaps a future article can discuss real spiritual solutions to the practical problems the devotees in the UK are presently facing, but only after the facts are known by the devotee community at large.”
We agree. This has been an attempt to present the facts to the devotee community at large.
Your servants Bhaktivedanta Manor Temple Council
© CHAKRA 14-Feb-2000
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