Crass Materialism at ISKCON Seattle
BY: SUN STAFF
Oct 18, 2011 CANADA (SUN) We recently reported on the Durga-puja festivities celebrated at ISKCON Seattle, with a video of the demigoddess being worshipped right in front of the temple's presiding Deities. But a Sun reader has called to our attention an important detail we neglected. In fact, we didn't mention it because we didn't quite recognize it for what it was. Even we weren't inclined to believe that things could have degenerated to this point under Hari Vilasa's 'leadership' in Seattle.
On the table holding the Durga altar, to the left of the murti is a black monitor. We saw it in the video, of course, but assumed it was something like an iPad screen, perhaps with a mantra being chanted to the demigod. But as the close-up photos indicate, it was actually a small credit card processing unit. Leaving no stone unturned, Hari Vilasa & Company made every convenience available to milk the congregation of their cash while demigod-worshipping sentiments were running high. What better way than to put the credit card reader right there on the same table with the murti?
Congregants wishing to donate in their own name, or anonymously, could simply swipe their plastic card, plug-in their pin number, look Durga in the eye, and make a wish. Surely whatever material cost was incurred in digital currency will come back to the worshipper at least…. tenfold. Maybe more!
Always the servant of the servant, Hari Vilasa has not only elevated the prohibited act of demigod worship to a new level by brazenly conducting it right in front of the Deities (never mind Srila Prabhupada's and Krsna's injunctions against it) during Their arotik, he has raised it to a new ISKCON high by putting the debit and credit card machine right there on the altar. He only forgot one thing… he neglected to put a garland around the LED screen.
Every self-respecting member of the Seattle yatra who has any love in their heart for His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, should demand that Hari Vilasa make a public apology and promise that such a thing will never happen under his watch again, at ISKCON Seattle or anywhere else.