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“From my humble perspective, [it] has more to do with the shadows cast on [Adridharan's] own consciousness by his recent and on-going offences to his godbrothers, than any thought or deed emanating from us.”

     Commenting on fire

We didn't burn down illegal Calcutta Pandal
By Hari-sauri dasa

CHAKRA (Mayapur, India) - It has come to my attention that some rather disparaging remarks have been aimed at me by Sriman Adridharana dasa, the Calcutta temple president, regarding the recent fire, which destroyed his illegal wedding pandal set up on ISKCON property at 22 Gurusaday Rd. In an article to VNN Adridharana has done his best to seed the minds of his readers with the idea that Sriman Dayaram dasa, my fellow Co-Director at Mayapur, and myself were somehow to blame for the fire. Although I have never logged onto VNN and very rarely to Chakra, I feel some clarifications are needed to set the readers of such vitriol to rest.

First I should state quite categorically that neither myself, Dayarama prabhu nor anyone connected with us, acting directly or indirectly, had anything to do with the wedding pandal burning down. As far as we can tell it was an accident, most likely caused, as stated by the fire brigade in the Calcutta newspapers, by faulty wiring or some such other cause.

It might interest readers to note that during the same two-week period in Calcutta there were four major fires each of which required the attention of over 35 fire tenders from all over the city to put them out. A couple of important buildings were reduced to burnt-out hulks and the wedding pandal was also razed to the ground. Perhaps HG Adridharana prabhu thinks that we were responsible for those fires too? The point here being that major fires can and do occur, the pandal was one of them, and we were not in any way responsible.

From my humble perspective, that Adridharana prabhu has chosen to cast serious aspersions on our character, make false and serious allegations and in general cast us in a sinister light, has more to do with the shadows cast on his own consciousness by his recent and on-going offences to his godbrothers, than any thought or deed emanating from us. After all, he has not one iota of evidence to connect myself or any other person from ISKCON to the destruction of his pandal other than the dark conjectures of his own negatively predicated mind. Rather than see such events as the mercy of the Lord and try to learn something from them, he instead perfers to project evil intent upon his godbrothers. I can only observe that the path of Vaisnava aparadha is indeed a long and slippery one, marked by a descent in good feeling and humility towards one’s fellow devotees. Once one has taken the step of attacking the Vaisnavas it seems it is difficult to pull the mind out of this declivity.

The attempt by Adridharana prabhu to make myself and Dayaram prabhu the target of his aspersions in no way makes us guilty. Rather the reader should examine the motives of Adridharana prabhu in attempting to utilitize this event to further damage the leadership in the eyes of innocent ISKCON devotees and strengthen his ill-conceived court case.

As far as events are concerned after the pandal burnt down, I readily and happily confirm that we are doing whatever is within our power to prevent the illegal pandal from being rebuilt. I believe Dayaram prabhu has already offered some comments and I shall also explain from another perspective why this is desirable.

When I first became Co-Director in Mayapur in April this year, Mr. Chatterjee, a very nice older gentleman who happens to be the personal secretary to Sriman Radhapada dasa, aka Sri Deolal Tulsian, rather quickly approached me. Radhapada prabhu, who is very old nowadays, is an extremely humble and generous devotee, connected with ISKCON since 1974. He happens to be one of the biggest donors to ISKCON anywhere in the world. He is the gentleman who donated to Mayapur Sri Sri Radha Madhava, Asta-sakhis, and Panca-tattva. He donated the goshalla land in Vrindavana, many sets of Gaura Nitai deities to various countries in the CIS, and large amounts of money for various ISKCON projects. His total contribution may be in excess of a couple of million dollars.

He is also the man who donated the money for the purchase of the ISKCON property at 22 Gurusaday Road, Calcutta as well as the money to finally purchase the land at 3C Albert Road, our original Calcutta temple.

As far as Gurusadaya Road goes, Radhapada prabhu stated right from the very beginning that he was donating the money for the land so that a temple could be built and Deities installed. To his great dismay, within a short time Adridharana prabhu instead began to use the property for commercial purposes rather the spiritual purpose he had intended. From that time on their dealings became increasingly acrimonious. After some years an agreement was made that Adridharana would supply financial accounts to Radhapada prabhu but this was also never done. Gradually the wedding pandal became a source of a huge amount of income, much of it unaccounted for, while becoming increasingly degraded. Of recent years the serving of alchol has been allowed, much to the distress of Radhapada prabhu who cannot understand how the property he bought for building an ISKCON temple on is now principally used for illicit activity.

Now, to return to my point, Mr. Chatterjee approached me in all earnestness with a file about 2 inches thick. It contained years of correspondence between Radhapada prabhu and various members of the GBC regarding the rough and rude handling he has undergone over the years at the hands of Adridharana prabhu. I won’t go into the details here but suffice to say that somehow, although Radhapada prabhu has done so much service for the Calcutta yatra, Adridharana prabhu has dealt with him in such a way that all Radhapada prabhu wants to do is see that he is removed. He is very upset with him and has received little respite from the GBC in dealing with him due to Adridharana’s strong position as the Calcutta temple president. So Mr. Chatterjee gave me the file so that as the new Mayapur Co-Director, I would be well informed as to Radhapada’s dealings with our Calcutta management.

Then in July, the morning after Rathayatra, Mr. Chatterjee again approached me. Quite happily he informed me that the wedding pandal at Gurusaday road had burnt to the ground. It was complete news to me, I had no idea of what had happened. We rang Calcutta and through one devotee who had been at the site in the early morning, had it confirmed that it was true. Mr. Chatterjee was pleased because he finally saw, after many years, a possible end to Adridharana’s misuse of the property.

After some consultation the managers of Mayapur concluded that this was an opportunity sent by Lord Jagannatha to stop the nonsense going on at Gurusaday Road and restore it to its original intended purpose. We therefore undertook to approach various authorities in Calcutta to have the pandal permanently finished. In this we have the full backing of the donor, Radhapada prabhu.

We feel that the course we have undertaken is correct and pleasing to Srila Prabhupada. There is no doubt that Adridharana prabhu’s behavior towards Radhapada prabhu has been reprehensible over the years in regard to this property, just as his actions in dragging the GBC and our Society into court against Srila Prabhupada’s instructions is also reprehensible. He has set himself against our Society and we have no choice now but to deal with him in like fashion.

Personally I have nothing against Adridharana prabhu, and I greatly admire much of what he has done over the years. But he appears to have slipped into an abyss of faultfinding against his godbrothers and that is very regretable.

I was originally quoted here on Chakra in reference to the pandal burning down that that I think Lord Jagannath is trying to tell him something but whether he will hear it or not remains to be seen. From his recent text it appears that the Lord’s message is falling on deaf ears. This is most unfortunate but perhaps understandable. After all, when a person takes it upon himself to publicly attack his fellow Vaisnavas with vehemence and venom, how will he get the humility necessary to hear what the Lord is trying to tell him from both within and without?

Your humble servant, Hari-sauri dasa

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