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“Although I have heard devotees talking about your dishonest and duplicitous nature, this was the second time I was personally experiencing it directly.”

Ritvik Dissention in Calcutta
By Sridham das Brahmacari (Calcutta)

An open letter from inside the Calcutta temple by Sridham das bramacari serving under ritvik leader Adridharan das


Dear Adridharan prabhu, Hare Krsna!

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

When you disappeared from Calcutta, I wrote you letters expressing my doubts about Sattvik's managerial capacity and his dealings with devotees, especially in relation to my situation. You simply ignored the whole topic and instead replied only to that part where I had written about Suresvar's implication in the alleged rape case, as personally told to me by Sattvik. Instead of dealing with Sattvik's behavior and his comments, you were simply hell-bent on proving to me that Suresvar was an innocent person and that Basanti Devi was not raped. You were so interested in portraying yourself as Mr Clean and Suresvar as Mr Innocent. I was amazed as to how you were trying to fool yourself when there were many instances when you, Sattvik and Mahajan agreed and accepted that Suresvar was guilty of illicit sex.

1) You told Kuldip that "sex took place". 2) Sattvik personally told me on August 11 at approximately 11am in the library room on the fourth floor of our building at 3C Albert Road, Calcutta, that "sex was there". This was also heard by Saci Dulal who was present there. 3) During Rathayatra, Sattvik also said that "there was consensual sex". 4) While Suresvar was in jail, Sattvik told some devotees: "He couldn't control the little thing between his legs and is therefore suffering in jail." 5) Mahajan told two different devotees on two different occasions: "danda to ghusaya tha" (translation: he inserted his rod inside). First he said this to Kuldip, then to another devotee who would like to remain anonymous because he is afraid of your backlash.

So, there you have it. At least six times you, Sattvik and Mahajan admitted that illicit sex took place. I recall reading somewhere in Srila Prabhupada writings that as soon as something is repeated three times, it is taken strongly. So here, you three top ritvik leaders were doubly sure by saying it at least six times.

After disappearing for more than two months, you returned to the Calcutta temple on September 14, a day after getting anticipatory bail from the High Court for your involvement. Then we had a discussion - you, Sattvik and I - on September 19. You called me into your office after five days of planning your moves very nicely. You were there with your crony and "yes man" - Sattvik. And there was Manohari as a supposedly neutral observer. In that discussion, Sattvik, from the word go, acted as if he had been taken by complete surprise and completely denied making the statement "sex was there". No doubt, you had your grounds well prepared. Later on, I realised that I had made a mistake by putting faith in you and allowing you to act as judge when your name itself has been recorded in the police report as an accomplice to the crime. Obviously, you are going to defend the stand that Suresvar is innocent, even if it is false. I should have realised that Sattvik after all is your paid man and will surely parrot whatever you want him to.

Although I have heard devotees talking about your dishonest and duplicitous nature, this was the second time I was personally experiencing it directly. The first time was on January 6 when you called me "a liar" just for asking a question. That was my first taste of blood. Although you knew that was a witness present - Sacidulal - when Sattvik told me "sex was there", you didn't even want to ask Sachidulal, although he was there around the temple at that time. Somehow you decided to conclude that Sattvik was speaking the truth and that I was a liar! Wonderful was the way you dealt with me after 10 years of dedicated service, working day and night, ha!

Then you brought up the topic of me campaigning against you purchasing unlicensed, illegal, revolvers. I denied making such a campaign, although I had told devotees that my disagreement with you was on the issue of illicit sex and your support for the alleged offender. My reasons for disagreeing are the above-mentioned instances when you, Sattvik and Mahajan acknowledged before witnesses that there was illicit sex.

I told you that I had never campaigned against guns. It's because I was afraid for your security, after you had warned us many times that ISKCON Mayapur may take over our temple. So although you might have acted illegally in acquiring guns, I never took it too seriously, may be because you had never harmed any devotee with those guns. Although it is a serious matter, somehow or other I had overlooked it and had no intention of troubling you on this point. Actually I had completely forgotten about the guns. More troubling for me was why you insisted on supporting Suresvar when your own Vice-President and General Manager were openly saying that he had done wrong. Then these same leaders turned around and started defending Suresvar, together with you. To me, it all looked completely hypocritical and showed lack of any ethic or morality.

Anyway, I told you that during the heat of the situation, I might have spoken about guns to someone. Then you got Shankar as a "witness". There was no witness, it would have been my word against Shankar's. But I did not deny because, as I told you, there is a possibility that I might have inadvertently spoken about this to someone. I cannot remember it, but I am not a liar. I also told you that I was given this info by Balai, the person who sold you the revolvers.

Then you called Balai who simply denied ever speaking about guns to me. This was not a surprise, but I was upset, to say the least, that everyone seemed afraid to speak the truth. And what was my fault? My fault was that I was simply speaking the truth. So I became a liar in your books, but now I want to tell you that I don't give anymore credibility to your judgement. I am now seeing that you have broken the last leg of religion which is truthfulness. There is no dharma left in you or in your leadership. Later, on September 22 at around 8am, Balai expressed his inner feelings to me. He told me that he felt bad to tell a lie against me. Not only that, he also informed me: "I told Adri that I did reveal to Sridham about his purchasing guns from me 200 times. I said, I am working with Sridam on my ads, he is my friend." Instead of calling me back and straightening things out, you asked Balai: "Why did you tell Sridham?"

From this, I understand that Balai who is not a practising devotee (although born to a Prabhupada disciple, Hari Lakhi das) but a paid staff, has more conscience than you. He admitted the truth to me and to you separately. But you, after 25 years as a devotee, 20 of which as temple president, now a leader who is trying to reform all the GBC and ISKCON leaders, seem to have no conscience left. It didn't bother you that you are falsely calling me liar when it was you and your buddies who are lying. What has happened to you, prabhu?

I would also like you to know that Balai also informed about how the police dealt with him because of some complaint about this illegal selling of unlicenced guns to you. If I wanted to cause trouble for you, I could have gone to the police and told them about Balai's confession to me - which incriminates you for buying illegal weapons. I didn't want to put Balai or you in any sort of trouble. Therefore, I didn't do anything about it, except for making some passing comment to Shankar or someone else which you are using to call me a liar. Do you still want me to prove that I am not lying?

After everything, you simply told me that I can do any service I want except computer service. I fail to understand the logic behind this. You were very tactful with me in your discussion. You had everything well planned out as I saw that you were looking at the points in your diary while you were speaking to me on these issues. You persuaded Sattvik to change his stance. I am not surprised. You even lied to the Indian government by signing a declaration on an ISKCON letterhead that Sattvik does not hold any managerial position. Sattvik is obliged to you. You didn't bother to call Mahajan to the discussion, although he had also said that Suresvara had done wrong. Likewise, you ignored Saci Dulal, although he witnessed Sattvik's admission to me. Sattvik said this on his accord, in front of Saci Dulal. I personally feel that Sattvik is not such a bad guy to lie outright to save an alleged rapist. But I see that by your association he has lost his good qualities. He is lying probably to save you. There must be evidence that Suresvar forced himself on Basanti. Why the police had him locked up for over a month and disallowed bail? You engaged the best lawyers in Calcutta to work on this case, yet you failed to get him released.

If it was a false case as you claim, why wasn't it dismissed soon? One week, two weeks, I can undertand. But locking him up for 35 days when all reports showed "negative" as you claimed while the best legal brains were working fulltime to get him released, using the funds at your disposal? Why can't you come clean and admit the facts of this case. After all, Basanti Devi is the widow of Dibya Golokanath prabhu who served Sri Sri Radha Govinda for more than 15 years. Although he and his family were not against ISKCON gurus, they served faithfully under you - even after you filed a court case against the GBC and gurus. She is a poor widow whose poverty was exploited by your so-called innocent gentleman. I fail to understand why you are so bent on covering up Suresvar? Did he know something about you which he would have revealed? Or are you just going on a false ego trip because your name was mentioned in the police report, so you want to prove to the world that Suresvar is innocent, to clear your name?

Why can't you admit to the mistake that you shouldn't have sent Basanti to Suresvar? How will that make you guilty of rape? If you had sent Basanti in good faith that Suresvar would help her but that rascal exploited her, that is not your fault entirely. So whatever degree of fault it is, accept the punishment and finish the matter. Why blame Basanti and others and support Suresvar? After all, you are trying to reform ISKCON - to make it a more honest, truthful and spiritual society. Would Srila Prabhupada support your stand on this rape case? Your false stance makes me wonder whether you had any hand in this incident? I hope I am wrong, but were you forced to protect Suresvar because he knew some dark secret of yours which should not be revealed, therefore you were forced to cover up for him again and again? Suresvar was on that property on 22 Gurusaday Road for many years, has seen and heard many things, and handled many monetary transactions which no one else in the temple knows, apart from you. So this possiblity is now coming to my mind more and more.

Otherwise, I cannot see any reason why an intelligent man like you will go to such extent to protect Suresvar in this scandal. You didn't protect Dinamani, another brahmacari of our temple, when he was charged with theft. I was in charge of the guest house then and you didn't even talk to me about it. When I came back from a preaching program, I heard that Dinamani was already in jail. There was no proof but you had already handed him over to the police. Even the police couldn't make a case against him and ultimately he was released since they couldn't prove anything against him. But in Suresvar's case, why so much endeavor on your part?

When you started this ritvik fight, I had so much hopes for you. But now I strongly feel that the biggest hindrance in the preaching of ritvikism is your own behaviour. How can you even judge Suresvara's case when your name is involved in the police report. You are a party to the dispute, so how can you judge? When the GBC rejected ritivkism, you were mocking to everyone "how can gurus judge a case against gurus". And I agreed with you. Now I am pleading with you to practice what you preached. You don't accept any authority. You don't accept the GBC. So please tell me who is your authority? I think because of all the unethical things you have done - purchase of guns, sending Basanti to Suresvar and then taking a false stance against her, falsely accusing devotees who hardly have any relation with Sureswar of killing him, falsely accusing even myself of lying whereas the fact is that you have lied together with Sattvik; I think the best thing for you to do is to resign from all managerial positions that you are presently occupying.

This is Srila Prabhupada's instruction: "Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated December 20, 1972, and I have noted the contents carefully. As you are temple president, that is a great responsibility. So you must try to execute it with great care. The main thing is that you must set nice example for the others by following very rigidly the regulative principles, such as chanting 16 rounds on the beads, reading the books, getting up to attend mangala aratrika, etc. In this way everyone shall be encouraged. We must be so careful to train the devotees nicely. Now they have come from the realm of maya to Krsna's place, so it is our duty to keep them there, not that they shall again fall victim of maya." (letter to Rajivlocan)

So, my request to you is please take a break and chant 16 rounds daily and attend morning programs nicely in some temple without any managerial position. Then Krsna and Srila Prabhupada may empower you to reform ISKCON. In your present mood and no proper sadhana, you can only deform, not reform. You were so enthusiastic in giving Bhakta Rupa prabhu advice on chanting, but what about yourself? Doesn't charity begin at home? Anyway, going by your present nature, I don't think you will resign. But from now onwards, as far as I am concerned, I am not going to listen to you anymore. I am not interested in talking to you anymore. You have proven yourself to be an immoral person with no integrity. For no fault of mine, you took away my computer service, giving a bunch of lies as excuse. For all of Sattvik's faults, he was not even questioned. It is apparent that because Sattvic is your "yes" man, your paid man, you want to keep him and because I know the truth which you find unpalatable, you want to harass me and ultimately drive me out of your temple. You are simply interested in keeping your post by hook or crook.

Prove your loyalty to Srila Prabhupada and then I will be obliged to follow you, otherwise I am not obliged to you for anything. Henceforth if you want to tell me anything, please do so in writing. I am sick of you people changing your words and I don't have a recorder to record every word you, Sattvik and the others say.

I was also warned that I may be assaulted. One reliable source told me that if I go to the Gurusaday Road building, I will be provoked and then beaten up for speaking too much. I am stating this for the knowledge of all devotees that if anything happens to me, whether it may be an accident or anything else, either in Gurusaday Road building or Albert Road temple or anywhere else, you are the sole person who is to be held responsible for any such incident. You are already treating me like an enemy. This is very unfortunate for me. But what can I do? There is no security for me now except Krsna.

What a character you are? Instead of protecting a widow like Basanti, instead of protecting a dependent like myself, you are simply putting us into trouble. I state again for the record, whether I die of suicide or homicide, whatever it may be, any untimely death, or physical disability, or accidental death or whatever, you are to be investigated. I am sending this letter to GBC's, Bureau members and other devotees. I request them to take appropriate action. I hereby put on record that Adri may implicate me in some case, or harm me physically, so I request all truth-loving Vaishnavas to help me and pray for me.

I want everyone to know the truth about Adri's style of working. Hence I request that this letter be forwarded to all appropriate forums, specially the Women's Ministry. It would be best if they can send a delegation or ask the GBC to send a delegation to investigate this alleged rape case.

I also request Madhu Pandit prabhu to do some independent investigation on behalf of the IRM and help sort out this issue.

I also request if someone can get Adri to at least let me use the temple computer which he took away from me for no real reason. I really need it to keep in communication. Otherwise, if someone can help in some other way, I will appreciate it very much. If I have communication facility, I can answer further queries. There are many more things which I will be able to tell the world.

I do not want to leave this Calcutta temple in which I have served Sri Sri Radha Govinda for 10 years. I request all authorities concerned to direct Adri not to further abuse me physically or psychologically, or implicate me in any false case. I pray to Sri Sri Radha Govinda and Srila Prabhupada to give Adri some good conscience and detachment from the post of temple president.

Your servant, Sridham das

© CHAKRA 7-October-2000

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