Jayadvaita's BBT takeover attempt
Jayadvaita's BBT takeover attempt
December 27th, 2009 by Bhima das
Do you mean what you say?
Dear Jayadvaita Maharaja,
In response to your The Reluctantly Given License, posted up on the Sampradaya Sun December 25th, 2009, I’d like to point out a couple of anomalies.
1. First of all, with reference to Srila Prabhupada’s letter of March 14, 1974, which is titled “Memorandum to All ISKCON Centers”, wherein Srila Prabhupada directs that his works should not be printed independently by temples or centers, but only by BBT, maybe you would like to explain to the devotees a little of the history of the BBTI or Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc – why and how it was conceived by ISKCON GBC and incorporated and fronted as Srila Prabhupada’s Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, and took over the assets and publishing operations of the BBT – without any legal connection to the BBT and without mandate from Srila Prabhupada. BBTI was not and is not the BBT – so please explain to the devotees how BBTI for so many years since its incorporation in 1988 up to the present has complied with Srila Prabhupada’s “Memorandum to All ISKCON Centers” posted up at BBTonly.com.
While you’re at it, explain also how Ramesvara ran the “BBT”… that he registered the name “Bhaktivedanta Book Trust” as a fictitious business name for ISKCON and was conducting business under this guise, not as the legally constructed trust that Srila Prabhupada set up in California in 1972.
Both Ramesvara’s “BBT” and BBTI were designed deliberately to bypass the real trust and trustees and terms of the trust. ISKCON threw up a clever smokescreen in the free use of the name “Bhaktivedanta Book Trust” or “BBT” and words like “trustee” (BBTI has no trustees, but only corporate directors) and the BBT trademarks and logos.
This ruse was very effective, enabling ISKCON to take over the BBT operations (practically ensuring the demise of the real BBT) and furthermore enabled you and your team members to go about your revision work without any oversight or interference from the BBT trustees. Thus you and your fellow cohorts have published Srila Prabhupada’s works independently of the BBT since the time of Srila Prabhupada’s departure in 1977.
You write that the license was reluctantly given to Krishna Books, Inc. … “to keep a fallen ‘guru’ from taking over the BBT.”
But the BBT had already been taken over by fallen gurus, fallen disciples – disciples who did not keep faith with Srila Prabhupada’s directives and instructions and legal arrangements. Srila Prabhupada insisted that the BBT be kept separate from ISKCON, and the trust deed clearly states that ISKCON shall have no jurisdiction over the BBT or the BBT trustees.
How can you reconcile ISKCON’s takeover of the BBT (and your participation in the scheme) with your statement: –
“Srila Prabhupada’s letter speaks for itself. There is no need for anyone to twist or turn or make arguments. He said precisely what he meant. He said it loud and clear. He said it for all his devotees. And he said it as the authorized and pure representative of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That’s why the letter is there for all devotees to see on BBTonly.com. Now all we have to do as sincere disciples is follow what Srila Prabhupada said.”
2. For that matter, Maharaja, why do these same words not apply to Srila Prabhupada’s BBT Trust Agreement? Or to Srila Prabhupada’s directive on initiation, the letter of July 9th, 1977? Or to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions pertaining to unauthorized changes being made to his books (see Srila Prabhupada on Changes to His Books)?
3. In 1999, after the BBT courtcase was settled, you wrote a letter of apology to me, and said that the law suit should never have been brought in the first place. I noted at the time that you wrote no such apology to Hansadutta. ISKCON and BBTI demonized Hansadutta. You, even today, resurrect this projected image of Hansadutta to suit your purpose. Worse, ISKCON and BBTI belittled Srila Prabhupada and set out to deconstruct and annhilate his BBT. You were a party to this, Maharaja. ISKCON and BBTI applied to the court to declare that Srila Prabhupada’s BBT never existed or in the alternative that it was legally invalid and that the trustees appointed by Srila Prabhupada were never trustees. And argued that the BBT never held the copyrights because Srila Prabhupada never owned them in the first place – ISKCON owned the copyrights because the books Srila Prabhupada produced were “works for hire”; in other words, calling Srila Prabhupada a hired worker of ISKCON. In sworn court documents, each and every GBC member and temple president was named as witness to this testimony – and you were at the time more than this; you were calling yourself a “BBT Trustee”, representing BBTI, so you cannot say that you had no knowledge of this unspeakable offence to Srila Prabhupada. What have you done to Srila Prabhupada and to his books and to his BBT? ISKCON and BBTI tried to stop the heartbeat of Srila Prabhupada, and you were personally party to this. Moreover, in undertaking to revise his books, making so many unauthorized changes, you have undermined the integrity and authority of his books. What kind of disciple-devotee does this make you? Hansadutta stood up to defend the BBT against ISKCON’s and BBTI’s attack. He stood up to defend the integrity of Srila Prabhupada’s original books and to defend the copyrights invested in BBT. For this, ISKCON and BBTI labeled him a demon. So what does that make you, who have joined those who bypassed Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and arrangement (BBT) and attempted to stamp it out in court? A homosexual saint?
4. If you and the BBTI are not happy with the licensing arrangement, why not just end it? You’re not so stuck as you say. There are provisions in the agreement that you can use to terminate the license. You complain that it was not satisfactory to give the license to a “gun-toting, drinking and womanizing” Hansadutta, but Maharaja, you know very well that what really happened was that the license was given over to Fedorowsky aka Gupta das and his gang comprised of Niscintya, Veda Guhya, Bhagavan and later Tulsi and Yashodanandan and that Fedorowsky ditched Hansadutta and “Hansadutta’s people” right from the beginning. ISKCON and BBTI cooperated fully with Fedorowsky’s legal maneuvers. ISKCON’s legal counsel submitted to the court that ISKCON and BBTI recognized Fedorowsky’s corporation rather than the licensee that was originally created with the settlement of the court case. If this outcome was so unsatisfactory, why did ISKCON immediately turn around and reward Fedorowsky with appointment as legal counsel to represent them in the Turley $400 million Gurukuli lawsuit against ISKCON?
Admit it, Maharaja, you are not unhappy with the licensing arrangement because of who the licensees are, but because they are supplying a demand for Srila Prabhupada’s original books. You’re working in the gold foundry, casting what is advertised and sold as good as 999 (24 k) gold, and you’re unhappy that competitors have set up shop and are selling 999 gold in the market place – because of the risk that the fraud that your “gold” is in fact 9 k will come to light. There is market demand for 9 k gold, there is even market demand for cheap gold-plated trinkets, but not for the same value as 999 gold! For sure, you can sell your revised “Prabhupada” books wherever fake Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton bags are in hot demand (the customers know and accept them as fake), but if you cross the line to uptown where the genuine branded goods are sold and try to pass them off as the real thing, you risk arrest and jail. The market dictates the supply, in this case, nothing less than the pure, unadulterated, original books of Srila Prabhupada. You can’t claim that the licensee is competition if you are not publishing the original, unrevised works.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you expect anyone to believe your words, then you’ll have to resign your guruship, recall the revised books and instead publish the original books, and finally put Srila Prabhupada’s BBT back in place. Are you sure you’re up to following what Srila Prabhupada said to do?
Jayadvaita do you mean what you say ?
Do you mean what you say
BY: BHIMA DAS Jan 1, 2009
So here’s an update to this letter. I have received a reply from Jayadvaita Swami, but sorry, can’t publish it in its entirety because he marked it "NOT FOR PUBLICATION". Why? I dunno, maybe he wants to be able to back up at some point? He does seem to have a problem with owning his words – he’s practically rewriting Srila Prabhupada’s books, but still using Srila Prabhupada’s name on them. Might as well call them what they are: Jayadvaita’s books.
I will, however, paraphrase the email here just to let readers know that essentially Jayadvaita did not acknowledge the inconsistency of his words and actions as noted in my letter.
He thanked me for my letter and informed me that my letter “conveys various misconceptions”, mainly having to do with “legal matters” but does not state what those misconceptions might be. He certainly does NOT offer any explanation for how the BBTI and before that Ramesvara’s fictitious BBT bypassed and took over the real BBT. Nor does he offer any apology for the legal tack BBTI and ISKCON took in calling Srila Prabhupada a hired worker. But back to the contents of the email. Jayadvaita Swami then went on to give his opinion that my use of the word “fallen” is different from his. Here I will take the liberty to quote Maharaja:
Regarding “fallen” I think I was using the term differently from you. You seem to use it to refer to disciples who in your subjective judgment have not properly followed their spiritual master’s managerial instructions. I used it to refer to disciples who were objectively (for example, as determined by the California police) not following the four basic regulative principles.
Uh, Maharaja, I meant fallen as in faithless and disobedient and defiant against Srila Prabhupada’s explicit orders – whether managerial or otherwise is aside from the point.
Then Jayadvaita Swami winds up his email saying “Despite all, I have affection for Hamsaduta and wish him well” and acknowledges that Hansadutta “has a deep attachment for Srila Prabhupada and Krsna”, and that this is something that he (Jayadvaita Swami) and I perhaps could agree on. So that’s the gist of his email. It’s what is known as an “unresponse” or “unreply”. It doesn’t amount to a reply, and although on the surface it seems to be something more than outright silence, it is really the same thing as stonewalling.
Srila Prabhupada’s books, his teachings and authority are under assault. In presuming to “improve” the words of the Acharya, Jayadvaita Swami and his team have opened Pandora’s box, and now everything that Srila Prabhupada has spoken or written is thrown up to question – “Did he really say that? Perhaps he meant to say this instead” has morphed into “His words should be taken into the context of the times; he belonged to different era and culture, whose social mores do not apply to this day and age”. It is a very sad day for the devotees who have dedicated their lives to sankirtan, distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books. –