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Caru Swami Addresses Controversy Raised by VNN
By CHAKRA staff
CHAKRA (Bhaktivedanta Manor, England) - 18 June 2001: His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami has submitted the following for printing on CHAKRA after being ignored by the VNN web site. It is in response to an article previously posted on VNN in which a man named Mr. Kay Maharaj complained that he had been cheated by the "Abhaya Charan" administrative office and some "Hare Krishna Devotees."
Bhakti Caru Swami's submission is as follows:
accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. About three weeks
ago I was informed that the following letter was published in VNN. Immediately I
took action by getting in touch with 'Abhaya Charan' administrative office in
South Africa and asked them to contact this person and do whatever is necessary
to pacify him. They got back to me and informed, after a thorough search in our
data base and in that particular area, that there is no subscriber of 'Abhaya
Charan' by that name. I wrote the following reply to VNN to find out about that
person. However, for some unknown reason, after repeated requests, they are not
you please advise what we should do now? I think at least we should print it in
'CHAKRA' to inform many innocent readers who had been affected by VNN's yellow
hope this meets you well.
servant, Bhakti Caru Swami.
AFRICA, May 20 (VNN) Dear Sir
am writing this letter in an attempt to get some help for hundreds of people in
my country myself included who have been cheated by some of your Hare Krishna
few years ago some of your devotees from my city in Newcastle, South Africa
began to market a video on the life of your leader Swami Prabhupada. The video
is titled Abhay Charan. We were told that the producer of the video is one of
the present leaders of your movement. His name is recorded on the sleeve of the
video as H. H. Bhakti Charu Swami.
were sold the first video and asked to subscribe for the balance of 25 videos.
Many of us did this, consenting our banking details for a debit order. This
meant that the money would be automatically withdrawn from our banking account
for 26 months. We were promised one video per month. I was coerced by your
leader in my area to get my friends and family members to order for this video
which I did. I signed the subscription in January 1997. It is now over 4 years
and all I have received is 7 videos only. Yet the money for all 26 tapes were
taken out of our accounts. Despite our repeated attempts for reasonable answers
from this person, all we got were stupid reasons for the delay. This in spite of
our numerous complaints regarding the video itself. Some of the videos were
posted to us in a different language, some with very poor sound quality or no
sound at all.
the middle of last year I was offered an apology by this person and invited to
attend a conference in Newcastle whereby we were told that the producer will be
in attendance. He would address the delay of the videos. This turned out to be a
farce. All we get is a load of empty promises. This is really a shame and
disgrace. We need some definite answers. We are being kept in the dark. What has
happened to the hundreds of thousands of rands collected by your movement for
this video. If the tapes are not available then at least be conscientious and
refund our money.
would be beneficial for your movement if your members could be truthful and
present the correct facts rather than embark on ambitious projects and involve
the public by taking our money and then doing a disappearing act. This has
happened to us once to many. If we cannot get some answers for this latest round
of cheating we will opt for legal aid .
Kay Maharaj (Newcastle, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)
accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
it came to my notice that you published a letter from one Mr. Kay Maharaj from
South Africa complaining about our taking money from him in advance for 'Abhaya
Charan' video tapes and not supplying them. Upon reading his letter I
immediately contacted our office in South Africa and asked them to contact him,
find out the cause of his grievance and do whatever is necessary to pacify him.
After a thorough search in our database of 'Abhaya Charan' subscribers in South
Africa they could not find this 'Kay Maharaj' there. They also contacted our
branch in New Castle, but there also no one knew anyone by that name.
in a positive note we can consider various possibilities his subscription can be
in his wife or children or someone else's name; he may have used a pseudo name
in the letter he wrote to you, or there can be so many different possibilities,
but what really matters to us is that we contact him and make him understand
that we do not have any dishonest intension.
office in South Africa replied to his letter, explaining our difficulties and
apologizing for our defects. Please print it in your web site as our official
response to his letter. If there is anything else we can do to correct any
mistake in our endeavor to serve and glorify Srila Prabhupada then please feel
free to let us know.
also want to assure those who have paid money in advance for 'Abhay Charan'
video tapes, that if they want their money back, for the delay in delivery, they
may let us know and we will refund their money.
in the service of Krishna, Bhakti Charu Swami.
Mr. Kay Maharaj,
Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
read your complaints in VNN about not receiving 'Abhay Charan' video tapes in
spite of paying your debit order. We tried to contact you immediately upon
reading that letter. However, to our great disappointment we found that your
name as it appeared in VNN 'Kay Maharaj' from Newcastle, does not appear in our
subscriber database. Hence we are responding to you through VNN.
South Africa 'Abhay Charan' videos are being distributed by Veda Foundation
Trust, and I am the distribution manager of that trust. Therefore, I considered
it to be my solemn responsibility to reply to your complaint and apologize for
our inabilities and shortcomings.
can appreciate your discontentment and grievance. We naturally feel very
embarrassed, yet this also gives us a feeling of achievement because this act of
yours clearly displays your appreciation for this video production and for Srila
Prabhupada, so much so that the delay in receiving the tapes caused you to go to
VNN to express your grievance.
am the person ultimately responsible for getting your tapes to you and I take
full responsibility for any difficulties you may have had. We can assure you
with all sincerity that any money you may have paid for the tapes in advance is
not lost because although the production has taken longer than expected it is
most definitely going on. Out of 26 tapes the material for 18 tapes has already
been shot. The 11th tape is almost ready to be released and within a couple of
weeks we hope to be able to deliver it to you. By the way, you mentioned that
you received only 7 tapes, but in South Africa we already distributed up to the
10th tapes of the series. Please let us know where you enrolled as a subscriber
and please give us the details of your debit order, so that we can send you the
tapes that are already available here as well as the tapes that will come out in
future. Just in case you want to discontinue your subscription then also please
feel free to let us know. We will refund the balance.
production is an expression of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami's love and
appreciation for his spiritual master His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupada. I on behalf of numerous other committed members of the production
team can assure you that he does not have any intention of dropping this project
nor does he have any agenda to swindle anyone of his money.
project involves shooting in different parts of the world. Extensive shooting
has already been done in India, USA, UK, France and Italy. Some of the delays
are as a result of having to wait for the right season to do the filming and
therefore it has not been possible to finish it in one go. Moreover, during the
early part of last year the actor who plays Srila Prabhupada had a heart attack
and shooting was postponed for a quite a few months.
will admit that it was a mistake on our part to make subscription members and
make them pay through debit orders. However, at that time we could not foresee
the production of this series taking so long.
we started the debit order system in South Africa for subscription of the tapes
in order to financially help the production, but the amount generated from this
source is only a fraction of the actual costs. The purpose of this project is
not to make money but to spread the glory of Srila Prabhupada throughout the
world. In spite of the fact that this video series is not profitable, this
production will go on until it is complete. His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami
considers that the real success of this project is in making people from all
over the world aware of Srila Prabhupada's greatness.
prior to your article appearing on VNN, I had no knowledge of the difficulties
we were causing you. There are also other subscribers who have had similar
problems. In each case brought to our attention we have done everything in our
ability to ensure that the subscriber was satisfied. Where faulty tapes were
reported to us, we promptly changed them. When tapes were not reaching the
subscribers, we simply sent replacement tapes before even trying to locate the
original tapes. Where subscribers were uncomfortable with the idea of paying in
advance of receiving their tapes, we simply changed the debit order to a cash
system where they would pay when the tapes were delivered. Where the amounts
paid exceeded the number of tapes produced, we refund the excess paid by the
subscriber so that no credit remained with Veda Foundation.
Foundation administration department is run separately from the temples or nama
hattas. In South Africa there is a central administration office. Unfortunately,
possibly due to some shortcoming on our part, there are still some subscribers
that are unaware of this. However, we will resend our contact information to the
subscribers with the next tape and we will also try to get it published in the
Hare Krishna Newsletter.
again I humbly beg for your forgiveness for any incompetence in my service. As I
mentioned earlier, I was unable to find your name in our database to contact you
personally so I would humbly beg that you or any other subscriber having
difficulty please contact me at any one of the following numbers:
7001630 Home 082 3767 202 Cell (031) 700 6772 Fax email@example.com
hope to speak to you soon and fix whatever difficulties you may have to your
in the service of Srila Prabhupada Ramvijay das (Adminstration Department Veda
Foundation South Africa)
© CHAKRA 18-June-2001
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