The Mayapur Fracas


Feb 21, 2016 — CANADA (SUN) — Reports have been bulleting across the Net about the recent disturbance going on in Sridham Mayapur. Much of the information being relayed appears to be tinged with the political leanings of those who are (re)packaging and pushing the content. For that reason, we have not rushed to report on it here at the Sun.

Over the years we have editorialized about the likelihood of serious problems for ISKCON management in Mayapur when Jayapataka Swami leaves his body. How local devotees will queue up to claim their 'inheritance', in the form of managerial power, remains to be seen. The situation is complicated by the complexities of the TOVP project, GBC mis-management of land acquisition and holdings, the presence of various corrupt personalities who have been installed in positions of power, local corruption in real estate, and many other social and political pressures unique to Mayapur Dham. All these things have been discussed by the grassroots devotees over the years but as usual, there has been essentially no public disclosure or guidance coming from the GBC themselves on the issue. It is no surprise then, that when 'all hell breaks loose' on the ground, there are many conflicting reports being heard.

What seems clear is that a cadre of unhappy Bengali devotees have taken aim at Mayapur management, exerting enough threat-pressure to cause Bhavananda, Hansarupa and Pragosh prabhus to depart Mayapur. In response to one reporting of events filed by Mahasrnga dasa, the following statement was released by Braja Sevaki devi dasi on February 21st:

    "This is Braja Sevaki, from Mayapur. This article is slightly incorrect. Let me tell you what really happened: No, Radha Jivan was not "fired." He wanted something from Ambarisa prabhu and the TOVP, and Ambarisa refused him. He then abused Ambarisa in public, calling him the most vile names. The next day he held a public rally, loudspeakers and mikes, calling Ambarisa and Bhavananda all sorts of names. Vile and embarrassing. At *that* point he was removed.

    I am a TKG disciple, as is Radha Jivan. I was angry at him for his embarrassing behaviour and most particularly his offensiveness in public. I went to confront him as a godsister. No one knew I was going, no one stopped me, no "women blocked my way." That is wrong. What happened was that halfway to his room I stood down on the request of one devotee whom I had told I was going, and who said it would be misunderstood, create dissent, and make things worse. So I didn't go to Radha Jivan---I never went near his room. Instead I went into the temple and sat in front of Nrsimhadeva for 20 minutes, and then went to make my way home. At that point, inside the temple, I was surrounded by a group of MEN, not women. They were sent by Radha Jivan, who had found out I was on my way to him and asked these men to stop me.

    It was in fact confusion: they thought I was there because I supported the GBC, Praghosa, management, etc. In fact I do not. My issue with Radha Jivan was personal. But this mob, they attacked Madhu Sevita prabhu when he came to my rescue (Prabhupada disciple, GBC from Italy). When he went to retreat to his room in the Conch Bldg, THAT is when a group of women blocked the stairwell so he couldn't reach his room. In short it was a misunderstanding; the head of security assured me today this was an error, assured my safety, said it was a mistake that this mob thought I was acting on behalf of GBC/Praghosa/management, that I'd been "sent by Praghosa" to harm the leader of their objectionary party.

    Regarding the objectors: these people are locals, long time devotees. Their complaints *are* real, they *have* been treated badly, so there is substance to all of this. Unfortunately the less intelligent think "all westerners are enemies" and that is what management have been working hard to reverse these last 2 days since this incident, and even before, when western managers have been threatened. Not all westerners are evil, and the majority of them share the concerns of these objectors. Their main problem is Praghosa (from Ireland) who they feel has dissed and offended and sidelined all local management, treated them like dirt, and the GBC in their desire not to get involved were happy to wash their hands of responsibility and leave it to Praghosa, giving him more and more power, which he abused. That is the GBC's failing.

    In a way I'm glad this happened: this crowd could have sat on their hatred and churned and churned and then organised themselves and done something majorly harmful to too many innocent people: my very "random" decision and its timing spurred them into action, and the explosion happened....could have been big had it been organised, but in this way it's diffused. Now all is calm, said they want no violence, they wish to execute their plan peacefully, they just want Praghosa out. He left when this happened. Please print this not as a comment, but as an article that all will read: it's my nothing-to-gain version of what REALLY happened. I was pointed to this page, I do not read it, I will not answer comments, and I have nothing further to say. I simply want the right version of the story to be known. And I repeat, I am supportive of the very people who came to attack me: their understanding of my intention was an error that they've admitted to. Things are changing and moving forward. We pray it will continue to do so in as peaceful a manner as possible."


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