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Response to Hari Sauri: recollections of the Calcutta Pandal issue
By Harivilasa dasa

CHAKRA (Seattle, WA, USA) - September 22, 1999

In response to your inquiry about my recollection of the meeting that took place between Radhapad Prabhu, Mr. Chattergee, Mahaprabhu das from Bombay, yourself, and myself in the Calcutta temple in 1996, I remember distinctly the conclusions of the meeting and agreement.

I remember that the first two hours of the meeting was very strained. Radhapad was frequently making caustic remarks about the GBC and leaders of the movement. When he calmed down after prasadam we were able to discuss the issues.

The issues were pending for five or more years before the GBC. Finally, I was appointed by the GBC subcommittee to mediate between Radhapad Prabhu and Adridharan Prabhu. Radhapad insisted that his name be indicated on a recognition plaque at Gurusaday Road property as the only donor. After careful discussion of the history and facts of the procurement of Gurusaday Road property, it was clearly established that Radhapada was neither the only donor nor the major donor for that property.

Radhapad gave one of the initial donations of approximately 10% to 13% of the total value. Virtually simultaneously, many other donors came forward who gave in cash important sums. The person who offered the property, Mr. Thakkar, who is now deceased, offered the property at a quarter of its actual value. He was the factual biggest donor.

He objected vehemently to Radhapad Prabhu posting his name as the biggest or the only donor. I negotiated an agreement between Radhapad and Adridharan Prabhus that stipulated that Radhapad’s name would appear above everyone else’s names and be designated as the principle donor. Although Radhapad and his secretary, Mr. Chattergee, had previously remarked that they never imagined the Gurusaday Road property would be used for marriages, during the conciliatory meeting they did not mention this point, although they could have.

Their concern was that Radhapad’s name be prominently displayed as the only donor. The meeting lasted the whole day to conclude. Mahaprabhu left after scolding Radhapad for his uncompromising and seemingly self- centered demands. I tried my best to satisfy Radhapad and at the same time reach a compromise that Adridharan Prabhu could accept without offending the other 15 or more donors.

Adridharan remained polite and actually consented to a compromise knowing well that his other donors would be displeased. My personal experience with Radhapad has always been cordial and I have appreciated his sincere efforts to push on ISKCON’s missionary activities, however, like Mahaprabhu Prabhu, I was also very shocked by his unwarranted criticism of ISKCON leadership and his seemingly selfish demands to promote himself as the only donor at Gursaday Road. However, I was very relieved by the end of the day by the compromise agreement that was agreed upon. Mahaprabhu’s preaching to Radhapad was the event that turned the tide.” 

See also "We didn't burn down the Pandal" by Hari Sauri.

© CHAKRA 22-Sep-1999

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