Jakob Smahl – Hungary: After reading the disturbing expose on inappropriate behavior of a popular ISKCON “swami” namely Indradyumna and his girls, and subsequent request from a large numbers of devotees asking the
Sannyāsa Ministry to correct this sahajiyā behavior, I looked who are the Members of the GBC Standing Sannyāsa Committee that ought to correct the misguided Indradyumna . Not surprisingly, one of the Indradyumna`s dear and intimate friends Śivarāma, is one such member.
We have to ask our self’s; how can an individual like Śivarāma ‘correct’ his deviated godbrother if he himself is guilty of a pretence; that he is a Sannyāsī?
Sure he may internally speak out against his behaviour and recommend that he be sanctioned, but they will be light sanctions nowhere near what he deserves. If Sivarama is in fact a true friend then he would know how many years Indradyumna has been off the rails of his devotional life and would have stopped him. After all Sivarama is the senior of the two and more experienced.
But he does no such thing for Sivarama is just guilty in other ways and he knows it. They both know that they are disgracing their sannyāsī vows of renunciation. They both know they are disgracing Śrīla Prabhupāda and Vaisnavaism yet for some ungodly reason they push on with their disgraceful behaviour.
This is pointed out in my article below (REVISED AUGUST 2011)
Śivarāma Swami’s Kingdom
Some time back there was a publication on ISKCON forums written by Śivarāma Swami, giving his divine idea of who may be considered a member of ISKCON, and therefore who is not. I found the Swami’s proposal amusing. This is especially so since the ‘Kingdom’ that he is so pompously proud of in Hungary is not legally registered in the name of ISKCON, and is a privately incorporated project. ISKCON gurus and GBC’s are beginning more frequently to privately incorporate their projects, however, they continue to use Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON’s
name, fame and systems in order to staff, fund and promote their activities.
Śivarāma Swami’s privately owned corporation has its own charter that has nothing to do with ISKCON. In fact, all of his pet projects (New Brajadham Farm) and others in Hungary are independent projects which have been incorporated in their own right, and have nothing legally to do with ISKCON.
This begs the question – who are the devotees who serve in these projects, anyway? Are they members of ISKCON, or are they Śivarāma Swami’s private volunteers? If a person is recruited, trained up and serves in independent projects can they be deemed members of ISKCON, or are they members of these independent projects?
If ISKCON applied their new laws and profiles of what is an ISKCON devotee to them, how would they fare? Of course this they would never do.
What is more, if you come to Krishna consciousness via these private projects and the ‘preaching’ of corporatized gurus such as Śivarāma Swami and Radhanath Swami, are you really a member of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON? All that they have to do is ‘say’ that their volunteers are ISKCON devotees to the GBC and they are accepted as such, even though legally and technically speaking they are not?
Why do these people fear incorporating their projects under the banner of the ISKCON they have recreated and now own? What drives them to establish these separatist, individually owned private projects if they themselves own and control ISKCON itself?
It makes me wonder about other private entities as outlined in the Sampradāya Sun’s ‘Corporate ISKCON’ series. I would love to see the bank accounts that are linked to these entities to know where all the money is, and then we will know who is controlling the money.
ISKCON GBC and Guru, Śivarāma Swami stated that his private project in Hungary is the ‘real Vrindavana‘. That apparently Vrindavana (India) that we know and which has been pointed out by our Vaiṣṇava Ācāryas is
no more. It simply moved to Hungary.
Furthermore, by the use of a mirror, a map and a GPS system he can ‘see’ or ‘divine’ the precise spots where the Holy places that were once in Śrī Vrindavana Dham are now situated in ‘his‘ private Vrindavan – New Brajadham. Places like Rādhā Kund, Govardhana Hill, Nandagram and Varṣāṇā, etc…
Śivarāma Swami even wrote a book about this. This allegedly divinely inspired claptrap can be purchased for a staggering $350 USD.
Perhaps those unfortunate souls who presently reside in the Holy Dham of Vrindavana (India) should now relocate, as did the Holy sites, to Hungary and Śivarāma Swami’s private fabulous spiritual fairyland?
Śivarāma Swami has also written many books on the intimate pastimes of the Divine Couple. As with so many other people who write on these very high subject matters, they make additions to the past Ācāryas’ work in an attempt to make readers believe that they have direct access to these pastimes. Śivarāma Swami goes to the length of claiming that he uses ‘artistic license’ to help embellish these works.
One would have to wonder why he would believe that artistic license is appropriate when writing about these intimate pastimes, when it is only his own speculative concoctions. If someone is actually realized in Krishna Consciousness, then surely they would have direct access to these pastimes and not have to resort to artistic license? Why write at all when the works of the Ācāryas are already published, except for fame and glory?
Perhaps he should write books on his own realizations, and be truthful and honest.
One really has to wonder at what drives this man and makes him believe that his speculative ideas and concoctions are required and are on par with the Vaiṣṇava Ācāryas?
What is more, one must really wonder at the intellectual capacity of his disciples and others who have been taken in by the speculations of this individual.
We also have to address his double standards when it comes to taking śikṣā outside of ISKCON. Śivarāma Swami has a penchant for taking śikṣā outside of ISKCON himself, yet he wrote a book wherein he states
that it is forbidden for rank and file devotees to go outside of ISKCON. In the past he was a senior member of the infamous Gopī Bhava Club, who were taking śikṣā from Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, and at present he is known for taking śikṣā from a baba in Jagannātha Purī.
Don’t do as I do – Do as I say!! – appears to be his modus operandi, as it is with many other Corporate ISKCON duplicitous leaders and gurus.
Śivarāma Swami is also not shy about his luxurious lifestyle. He quite possibly is the topmost member of the ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’ ISKCON sannyāsī/guru club. He is well renowned for his regular secret getaway retreats and holidays in top-shelf luxurious hotels and resorts, whose three and four figures per night price rate (US) is no bar to his budget.
Śivarāma Swami has a very opulent expense account that receives funding from many sources. One is the farming community that he boasts of is self-sufficient, in proclamation only, for it is maintained by five donation collection teams based throughout Europe who have huge mandatory quotas. These teams are sanctioned by Pragosh, the GBC of these regions.
If we observe the (industrialist) opulent lifestyle that Śivarāma Swami is living, we can understand that he has no idea what self-sufficiency is. So any claims of the success of this project are false, if it requires volunteers to hit the streets to raise money for it by begging. This is truly a false economy and any claim to self-sufficiency is an outright lie.
He has a group of his volunteers go to various prestigious universities in Europe to promote his so-called self-sufficient farming community, with remarkable success. These volunteers claim that their project is the only self-sufficient farming community in Europe. The problem with this is that they are not self-sufficient at all. Self-sufficiency means precisely that — self-sufficiency. You cannot make a claim of self-sufficiency when you need funding in order to maintain the project and you need to buy outside agriculture.
Self-sufficiency refers to the state of not requiring any outside aid, support, or interaction for survival; it is Therefore a type of personal or collective autonomy. The term ‘self-sufficiency’ is usually applied to varieties of sustainable living in which nothing is consumed outside of what is produced by the self-sufficient individuals.
These claims of self-sufficiency are nothing but propaganda and lies. Either you are self-sufficient or you are not. They are not.
It is unknown just how many secret homes Śivarāma Swami owns. We know that he has a private home in the now redundant (by his self-proclamation) Vṛndāvan, India. Much of this affluent sannyāsī guru’s life is private and secretive. I am sure that this is not the life of a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī or an ISKCON guru following the instruction that Śrīla Prabhupāda has given us for the sannyāsa āśrama.
He appears to come in the line of the affluent ISKCON guru/sannyāsīs like Rādhānatha Swami, who is infamous for his fat wad of hundred dollar bills that he always carries with him wherever he goes.
Śivarāma Swami’s proposal for defining who is and who is not a member of ISKCON needs to be seen for what it is. It is either the empty words of an aging man who has lost his way and knows no better, or it can be taken seriously as an attempt to systematically profile who is a volunteer of ISKCON and who is not, according to his desired standards and not the standards of Śrīla Prabhupāda.
In this way the institution can legally define who they want as a devotee of the Corporate ISKCON, and it is looking like anyone who is not an adherent of the neo-corporatized gurus or an apologist of the new ISKCON will be pushed out.
Śivarāma Swami knows which side of his bread is buttered. He has the bucks, position, lifestyle and image of a Hollywood guru and his followers have to unquestionably do what they are told, or leave. It is either his way or the highway.
This is the same with Rādhānatha Swami’s independently incorporated Chowpatty temple, as well. Either you meekly follow his rules and regulations (regardless how contrary to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s they may be), or leave. They do not follow Śrīla Prabhupāda, but it is mandatory for their volunteers to incontestably follow their immediate authority.
No one can question or challenge these affluent ISKCON gurus without being severely reprimanded or kicked out of their private projects.
It is abundantly clear to us what Śivarāma Swami is setting up, with his new protocols of who is and is not an ISKCON devotee. Yet he leads a very affluent and luxurious lifestyle. He is also part of the latest sannyāsī trend of keeping female servants and female secretaries, like many of his sannyāsī peers.
Jealous? Envious? Me!? Well in some ways I am. Sure, I would love the fame, the fawning followers, the money they shower upon me, the flowered garlands they layer me with, the sumptuous food they feed me, the dedication, the gifts they adorn me with and the many houses and apartments/cars and computers and all the modern cons that they have in possession (perhaps even a ‘gravity free chair’). Sure, I would love being an affluent ISKCON guru sannyāsī. Sure I would love it… but I prefer remaining a simple follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda much more.
Then again, maybe ISKCON spokesman Basu Ghosh prabhu, who is one of the institution’s pandits, can answer\comment if the present gurus/sannyāsīs (Śivarāma Swami and others alike) with their affluent high-flying luxurious lifestyles and their speculative activities meet the śāstric requirements of a Vedic/Vaiṣṇava Sannyāsī in our line? (I don’t know Basu Ghosh personally, but I was told that he is a Vaiṣṇava scholar-pandit and would appreciate his comments.)
If living this lifestyle is simple living and high thinking, then where do I sign up?
The idea that Bhakti Cāru Swami has, that so long as a guru is rubber-stamped by this corporation then they are godly nitya-siddhas, is nothing but an apologist’s highly speculative viewpoint, and is based on the fact that he himself is a multi-millionaire businessman/sannyāsī.
It must be said that Bhakti Cāru Swami personally owns businesses with an estimated value well in excess of $40 million dollars. How is it possible that an ISKCON Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī can own private (undisclosed) businesses and still be considered a sannyāsī?
But I think he has it around the wrong way. The reversal of God in Godly is dog. So perhaps they are Dogly and not Godly, as their activities are the polar opposite of Godly.
You can fool some people sometimes, but not all of the people at all times. If the GBC and these corporate gurus, with their ISKCON franchised businesses in the name of religiosity, commence profiling devotees in the manner in which they are presently attempting, devotees who are not volunteers in these businesses will rebel.
No true followers of Śrīla Prabhupāda will bend their knees to these Fascists with their protocols and persecution programs. If they push on, then we will see an even greater rift between the true followers of Śrīla Prabhupāda and these usurpers than is already in existence.
This may eventually prove to be their undoing. For the intelligent person coming to Krishna consciousness will clearly see the difference between the two and choose for themselves. Now they have no choice. You have a choice either to support the hypocritical sham that is now institutional Corporate ISKCON, or perish.
Even a blind man can see that every single thing they do only serves their purpose to completely and utterly undermine and/or destroy Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mission and convert it into one of their own making. It is a far cry from the once warm, beautiful, spiritual family that Śrīla Prabhupāda established, to the cold impersonal and ruthless corporate entity that it is now.
You can tell that ISKCON is well on the way to becoming an impersonal corporate entity when they allow people like Greg Stein (aka Gopal Bhaṭṭa) to pay $500,000 USD towards the corporatization/privatization process.
They know full well that he is a ruthless businessman whose spiritual standard is way below that which would be considered acceptable for an ISKCON member in Śivarāma Swami’s new protocols. They know full well that he dreams of being appointed or anointed as the CEO of this Corporate ISKCON.
Śivarāma Swami himself can hardly be termed a sādhu by any stretch of the imagination. He too appears to be a shrewd, old money, businessman whose goal is to gain and enjoy as much wealth and power as he can.
When you listen to these people, see how many times they refer to their ‘devotional’ activities as a devotional career (the general progression of your working or professional life). To them this is a career, not sevā. So who are these people, anyway? How do they demonstrate to us that they are actually devotees and not career orientated businessmen?
It is about time that devotees woke up to their tactics and their betrayal of Śrīla Prabhupāda. The present Corporate ISKCON that is claiming to represent Śrīla Prabhupāda no longer even pretends to do so. They boldly change everything they can in a very systematic and thorough manner, and rarely if ever explain themselves. This demonstrates intention, their intention. So far as we can see, their intention is to usurp Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON and dismantle his mission, replacing it with their own concoction.
If you don’t believe me about Śivarāma Swami, then find it out for yourself. If you don’t know what people like him are doing to change, warp and twist Śrīla Prabhupāda’s movement and our very philosophy, then do the research yourself!