Krsnacandra Dasa – Vrndavan: The Final day of the FISKCON – GBC meetings was described in the following article by Sraddhadevi dasi on FISKCON’s Dandavats Apologists Blog.
A highlight of the GBC’s annual general meeting’s closing day was a presentation from the mundane charitable project – ISKCON Food Relief Foundation which is a philanthropic program offered by none other than FISKCON’s most charismatic new age philanthropic Rubber Stamped guru Radhanatha Swami.
Radha Krishna dasa traveled all of the way to Mayapur from the Radha-Gopinath temple in Mumbai to present the outstanding achievements of the Midday Meal project. The Midday Meal project, implemented by ISKCON’s Food Relief Foundation, strives to alleviate two major issues that thousands of Indian children face—hunger and a lack of education.
Radha Krishna Dasa travelled ‘all’ the way to Mayapur… Wow what an endeavour!
The website of the Food Relief Foundation project strategic plan is found below
In the long run, education is the key to solving the problem of hunger. It empowers an individual to work with society to fulfill one’s needs and aspirations. Hence few educated people go hungry. Yet, hunger is a stumbling block for education for poor children and locks them into a vicious cycle: hunger and poverty obstructs education as they are forced to drop out of school and take up menial jobs. Lack of education curtails opportunities for development. Since they are not able to develop themselves, they remain hungry and poor. The Mid-day meal program aims to liberate them from this vicious cycle.
I wonder what Srila Prabhupada has to say about secular education?
Prabhupada: No they say, they simply give primary education (indistinct) they can read, that’s all. And (indistinct). They don’t send because everyone knows that sending boys to the school means spoil them. That’s all. I have seen intelligent boys, they go to school and he is spoiled. Yes, spoiled. He learns how to smoke, how to have sex, how to talk nonsense, how to use knife, how to fight, these things. At least at the present moment. Yes. Simply slaughterhouse, this so-called school is called slaughterhouse. Yes, slaughterhouse.
Prabhupada: Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1.2.6]. Unless one becomes a devotee of God, there is no question of religion. It is all cheating. By opening hospital, schools,… There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of years, the hospitals and schools are being opened, philanthropy. What is the result?
Bali Mardana: Atom bombs.
Prabhupada: Atom bomb. Result is atom bomb.
There is a qualitative difference between; grhastha’s ringing a bell to invite their neighbours to take Prasadam in their homes / Temples giving Prasadam and spiritual shelter, and the feeding of people Prasadam en-masse.
Of course anyone who takes Prasadam is benefitted but there is a stark difference between philanthropy and Theology and the GBC and Rubber Stamped Guru’s of FISKCON apparently cannot or will not see this.
Prabhupada: Yes. If you have got enough food grains…. Just like in our headquarter in Bengal, we are giving food daily, at least one thousand men.
Scheverman: So you are feeding the hungry at your headquarters in (sic:) London. You do utilize then the direct approach as well.
Prabhupada: No, our process is that everyone who is hungry, come and take your food. But our program is going on, but feeding the poor is automatically there. If anyone comes to our temple, even here, anyone comes and take prasäda.
Kern: Couldn’t get in. If a poor person came here, they could not get in to eat. (laughing)
Makhanlal: No, we have many people coming from the neighborhood here. They are coming regularly. Even young children. Everything. They are coming. We have groups, community groups are coming.
Kern: Oh, do you? Very good, that’s fine.
Scheverman: And we too. We have always responded to those who have a need for food or clothing or shelter. This comes to us every day, too.
Kern: But to make a person ask is not the right kind of society. Shouldn’t, if a person be the first-class citizen and therefore independent and therefore seek his own so that he could serve God by his own intelligence and his independence…. There’s no virtue to be giving; it’s more of a virtue to receive.
Jayadvaita: He’s suggesting that because we are requiring that a person come to us for food, that somehow this is interfering with his independence.
Prabhupada: Where is that independence? With his family he can come and take food. What is wrong there? We say that we should not…, we are not simply supplying food. Anyone who is coming, he is getting spiritual education. Not that it is a free hotel. No. It is not that. We give them spiritual education. You come here, you take your shelter, you take your food and learn how to be first-class man. That is our program. Don’t be implicated in sinful activities. Be God conscious and live here with us comfortably, take your food. We have got this nice palace.
Srila Prabhupada wanted that we open our Temples to feed people who so desired, independent of being poor or rich. His vision was if there were enough grains produced then no one would be hungry. Our program was to offer people Prasadam as well as offer them Krsna Consciousness, not open up kitchens under government programs in order to get grants and tax free donations simply to do mundane feeding programs.
Our purpose is to educate people on the real purpose of the human form of life, which is to become conscious of Krsna. We are supposed to be Brahmins who deliver Krsna conscious theology, not mass caterers engaged in mundane charity.
“The Midday Meal project is markedly successful in meeting this challenge. Inspired by Srila Prabhupada’s desire that “No one within a ten-mile radius of an ISKCON Centre should go hungry,” members of ISKCON, such as Radha Krishna dasa, formed to specifically address the need for children to receive a healthy and nutritious meal while also receiving an education.
In 2004, the first lunches provided by Midday Meal were served. Within six months of operation, over one million meals were distributed to schoolchildren in various parts of India. Over the years, the project has considerably grown in scope and reputation. Today, over 850,000 children are fed from eighteen centers in eight states per day. Such distribution adds up to 255 tons of food per day and 355 plates of lunch served every minute. Moreover, all meals are cooked in kitchens with a notably high standard of cleanliness certified by American Systems Registrar (ASR).”
It is not our duty to aid Secular Society to educate their children to fit into the urban workforce.
It is, however, debatable whether or not educating children from the poorer and low class stratum of society with secular education will result in employment as opposed to secular educated and unsatisfied hankering masses of unemployed people.
It can be easily argued that unless there is sufficient employment to offer these children that this program will only ‘set the children up to fail’ rather than empower them. The result will be urban migration and increased urban unemployment. There is no win/win situation here. The children end up losing and so do we.
Our time, resources, funds and manpower needs to be utilized in performing the duties that Srila Prabhupada has prescribed for us and we need to stop wasting time on the plans of the so called leaders of ISKCON who desire to become rich and famous and refuse to follow Srila Prabhupada’s instructions.
The GBC are either really stupid or they are purposefully allowing Srila Prabhupada’s mission to be converted into a mundane pseudo religious society.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada