Kṛṣṇacandra Dāsa – Vṛndāvan: The email [below] was sent anonymously to PrabhupādaVision regarding an apparent incident which involved one of the past managerial employees of the MVT. Although this incident is a rather minor one, it does draw attention to the fact that the Māyāpura Vṛndāvan Trust Fund perhaps requires a reality check.
This fund was very close to Śrīla Prabhupāda and he dedicated much of his funds towards this trust fund to ensure that the Deities of the two principle Temples of ISKCON, the Māyāpura Temple and the Vṛndāvan Temple would always be properly maintained on a daily basis.
It is perhaps time that the devotees who have been given the opportunity to serve not only His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda, but also the Lordships of the respective Temples are also given the opportunity to prove that their service is above board, so to speak, in light of these accusations.
However, having said that, it is incumbent on the MVT Trustees to publically disclose their accounts and give a historic account of any business transactions, financial records, salaries, reimbursements, loans, investments or property purchases / sales – that have taken place over the last three decades.
According to the ISKCON Law Book:
23.4 Mayapur-Vrndavana Trust (MVT)
The MVT Committee, which controls the funds of the Mayapur-Vrndavana fund, shall submit yearly reports to the GBC on the expenditure from this fund. (77)
According to the above law, the MVT should be able to show substantial records of the expenditure accounts, however how detailed they are will not be known until full disclosure of the Funds accounts etc are revealed.
It is only then that our Vaiṣṇava society or perhaps even the various Government bodies responsible for fraud or charitable trusts can be satisfied that they are above board and pleasing Śrīla Prabhupāda and his honest disciples.
Following is the email that encouraged me to research into the subject matter.
Subject: Re: Trinadapi’s stay
From: [email protected]
Dear Advaita Krishna (Advaita Chandra?) prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Śrī Guru and Gaurāṅga.
Are you saying that Trinadapi prabhu should be allowed to stay in Jagannath prabhu’s
apartment for eleven days for free because he served the MVT for so long? And it is
inappropriate of me, as Jagannath’s representative (you have the letter to that
effect), to ask MVT to reimburse the owner?
Where are your values?
First of all, MVT put Trinadapi in the apartment last November without asking
Jagannath. That was wrong and it is you who should apologize on behalf of MVT.
I have been in MVT since 1996. I and many others have seen numerous instances in
which MVT has used or rented absentee owners apartments for their own guests. The
managers have even bragged about this on occasion. I personally know apartment
holders who have returned to find old bedspreads when they left new ones, empty gas
bottles, and air conditioners that were missing parts.
I am sorry to say that in the past, MVT has not been trustworthy in this regard.
Unfortunately, the fact that this incident occurred last November is proof that the
practice still goes on. You told me you were planning to speak to Jagannath (after
the fact), but he did not come to visit you. Well, you very well could have written
to inform him, yet you did not. And you think I am not being congenial? How about
you not being responsible?
As far as Trinadapi prabhu’s serving MVT, he was paid very well for that service. Do
you not know that? Trinadapi, Dhanañjaya, Bala Gopāla and Braja latā were together
paid $30,000 US dollars a month for their services. Dollars.
That is $360,000 a year. They were paid from the MVT accounts in L.A. In addition,
they received free apartments, free bhoga, free cleaning services, free transportation,
and (at least Dhanañjaya and Bala Gopāla) free round-the-world tickets.
Trinadapi was paid $10,000 a month. In addition, he had time to do contract work on
numerous construction projects, including Kīrtan Ashram, Pranada’s house, and work
for Gopal Bhaṭṭa prabhu.
There were other money-making endeavors as well. I am sure you are well aware of
them, as are all of us who live here.
And you say that my asking to be reimbursed for Trinadapi’s stay in Jagannath’s
apartment reflects a less than congenial atmosphere? I am asking for ethics and
honestly on the part of MVT. There is no congenial atmosphere without that. I am
appalled and disgusted that the MVT trustees would allow that much money to be given
in salary to people running a 30-room guest house and 70-unit apartment complex that
is only 1/4 full on the average.
In India. In Vrindavana! Our sweepers make Rs.2,500 – 3,000 a month. Did you also know
that the MVT has refused to show its account books to the GBC oversight committee
that asked to see them? Remember, there are account books in America as well as India.
You say, in big letters, All Glories to ŚRĪLA PRABHUPĀDA. Let this not simply be lip
service. The MVT was built with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s trust fund money. You are
servants of Śrīla Prabhupāda. You have to be a Vaishnava. You have to have the
highest standard of behaviour. You have to be exemplary. Apartment holders are
asking for transparency. Give it. No more lying and double-dealing. (Most recently
in regard to the monkey cages.) Don’t be afraid of the truth. This is the only way
to check misuse of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s sacred trust.
Again, I ask: Trinadapi prabhu stayed in Jagannath prabhu’s apartment for eleven
days (this is what Trinadapi told me himself) in November, ending November 23. The
MVT Guest House charges Rs.950 an night. Jagannath’s place is a two-bedroom. I am
asking Rs.1,000 a night. Total Rs.11,000.
No, Jagannath prabhu does not need the money. But it is MVT that needs to give it.
I am not asking for a favor; I am asking for what is fair. Please understand that only
acting as an honest, exemplary Vaishnava will create the congenial environment you
are searching for.
If the above letter is true then what was the response of the MVT? Who are the MVT trustees accountable to? The salaries described above are far beyond the claims by the respective managers of the MVT in Vṛndāvan that they were being paid locally 7,000 rupees per month (not to mention the vehicles, accommodation, meals, and travel included). This salary package [$120,000US + benefits] would be more or less equal to CEO of a corporation rather than humble board and lodgings of a volunteer in a Charitable Trust Holiday Unit.
The most difficult to understand is just how many devotees were recipients of this email and how not one single word of it has been made known to the general devotees of ISKCON. These are not inconsequential accusations and statements; they speak of embezzlement of Śrīla Prabhupāda monies; a ‘failure to act’ on Śrīla Prabhupāda’s direct and legally binding instructions in the articles of association of the MVT fund, and also display a distinct ‘failure to act’ and blatant disregard for the Deities of Śrī Vṛndāvan and Śrī Māyāpura Dhams.
We must never forget that any official member of ISKCON has the legal duty to operate under the Charitable Trust Act and Articles of Association of which our various trusts are founded and so they have a legal obligation and duty to not use the trust for private profiteering as described in the above email.
If these accusations prove true then what are the legal consequences? Will this be properly investigated and the appropriate authorities informed according to the law of the land? Or will this be covered up by the institution as if it never occurred and go on as if it is business as usual…
Unless they are brought to justice, the monies embezzled will never be recovered and the salaries, wages and benefits will continue to be given to their employees instead of these roles being carried out by volunteers who do not desire to earn an income from our devotional society which is supposed to be comprised of Brahmanas.
MVT Trustees Being Trustworthy?
BY: CAITANYA DAS
Apr 15, 2011 — USA (SUN) —
The Mayapura-Vrindavana Trust (MVT) was established by Śrīla Prabhupāda in 1972 to safeguard the daily worship of the Rādhā and Krishna Deities in his major Indian temples, especially Māyāpur, Vrindavaa, and Mumbai. He deposited the majority of donations given to him into the MVT account. He authorized loans from the trust to fund ISKCON projects, e.g., a loan for the purchase by ISKCON of an apartment building near the temple in Los Angeles. Since then, MVT has occasionally loaned funds for ISKCON temple construction projects with the approval of a majority of GBC-appointed MVT trustees.
Given the above, I was surprised to learn that the MVT trustees recently agreed to loan a substantial sum of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s lakshmi from the trust fund to an individual ISKCON devotee for a bed-and-breakfast business in New York City. The scheme is not an ISKCON project, but the devotee’s personal business.
This appears to be an alarming deviation from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s expressed wishes and purpose in creating the MVT Fund. Wouldn’t it have been more in line with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s wishes had the MVT given financial support for rebuilding ISKCON temples in Japan and New Zealand, severely damaged by earthquakes during the same period, rather than to loan Śrīla Prabhupāda’s funds for personal business?
While it is rumored that the loan hinged on a promise of high return, isn’t that exactly what fuels most risky investments and Ponzi schemes? If this trend continues, a scenario could easily occur where the trust fund is completely bankrupted.
As information about this deal becomes known, a number of questions have been raised from the ISKCON community:
1) Did Śrīla Prabhupāda ever want his MVT funds loaned for personal businesses?
2) Is it legal for a Charitable Trust such as the MVT to loan money to an individual?
3) Where can the written documentation of the application process for securing a loan from the MVT be found?
4) Does a devotee need to have ISKCON friends in high places to secure an MVT loan?
5) Are the MVT trustees amenable to loan Śrīla Prabhupāda’s MVT trust fund money for any type of personal business?
6) Is it allowable for individual MVT trustees to accept gifts or services in exchange for approving loans from the MVT?
1) If the above questions concern you, feel free to seek answers from your local GBC representative or MVT trustee.
The current MVT trustees are: Abhirāma Prabhu, Advaita Chandra Prabhu, Hari Śauri Prabhu, Gopāla Krishna Goswami, and Jayapatākā Swami.
I have it on good authority that, allegedly, the main devotees involved in this transaction are Abhirāma Dāsa, the MVT Chairman who authorized the loan ($50,000US) and Pañca Gauda Dāsa, the Vṛndāvan Temple President, who used the loan for a new business Bed n Breakfast venture in New York. The source claimed that there was a very high level of interest to be paid for that loan and they wondered what is happening to that interest?
It is a well known fact that both Abhirāma and Pañca Gauḍa are close personal friends who are now residing in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham. Abhirāma is the Chairman of the MVT Fund on site in the Vṛndāvan MVT Complex, which is at the rear of the ISKCON Kṛṣṇa Balarāma Temple, where Pañca Gauḍa is the Temple President.
Both have been heavily involved in looking at ways in which to develop the various ISKCON properties such as the ISKCON Goshala, the Gurukula building and a prospective large scale acreage for a farming/residential community. Abhiram has various other personal property development plans in the Vṛndāvan central district. One of which is with a local businessman/property developer (known to be a local land mafia).
Pañca Gauḍa, it has been claimed, has a large acreage palatial home in Alachua, a medical/therapeutic complex in Gainsville and Bed n Breakfast facility in New York and a private home with a swimming pool in Vṛndāvan. It is claimed that the above loan was to purchase another Bed n Breakfast facility in New York and when he could not arrange finance, his friend Abhirāma, the MVT Chairman, arranged for a mutually beneficial private loan with MVT Funds.
When several devotees challened Pañca Gauḍa’s business activities in Sri Vrndavan Dham, as the temple president, his wife loyally attempted to protect him and explained his activities.
“I can only say that Krishna reciprocates with my husbands efforts, he is a bold and enthusiastic “gambler” and we have the debts to prove it.” [Gaura pūrṇimā Dāsī Pañca Gauḍa’s wife states]
If the devotees involved in the above loan are in fact the two who have been disclosed by several very reliable informants then Abhiram’s move to Vṛndāvan can possibly be a very strategically lucrative situation with Pañca Gauḍa being the Temple President of Vṛndāvan and Abhiram being the Chairman of the MVT.
With these two businessmen / devotees having a monopoly over all the property development deals in ISKCON Vṛndāvan the who is to safeguard Śrīla Prabhupāda properties and finances when the two main ISKCON facilities are being run by businessmen of somewhat ill repute? Abhirāma history is well known and Pañca Gauḍa, by his wife’s own admission, is a ‘bold and enthusiastic gambler’????
The History of the MVT Fund as found in its incorporation documentation as a Charitable Trust under Federal Law in the Unites States is as follows;
1) The Māyāpura Vṛndāvan Trust Fund was setup by Śrīla Prabhupāda to specifically provide for the regular sevā pūjā of both the Māyāpura and Vṛndāvan ISKCON Temples. This means the regular or daily ‘maintenance’ of the Deities of both the above mentioned Temples. To further explain this point that means the daily maintenance of these Temples as directed by the respective Temple Presidents.
III – PURPOSE OF TRUST
This Trust Fund is created and shall be operated exclusively for the regular maintenance of two Temples at Māyāpur and Vrindaban (India) of the INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, incorporated by me, and qualified as a tax-exempt religious organization both in the U.S.A. and India under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. The income from this Trust Fund will be specifically spent for regular sevā pūjā (temple worship) of the two Temples at Māyāpur and Vrindaban set forth in particular. This trust shall exist independently of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
As one can conclude from the above determination set by Śrīla Prabhupāda in this legal document, the MVT Fund is specifically for tax-exempt religious organisations established under the Internal Revenue Code and the sole stated purpose of the MVT Fund was ‘exclusively’ for the regular sevā pūjā or Temple Worship.
Even though this trust was independent from the ISKCON institution all profits from the fund were to be given for the regular sevā pūjā of the Lordships of the respective Temples. The trust was also used by Śrīla Prabhupāda to loan money to official projects such as building Temples etc but its main purpose was to regularly deposit profits for the Māyāpura and Vṛndāvan Temples.
I – TRUST FUND
Money invested in Government bonds and other securities, debentures, and properties all over the world shall constitute the Trust Fund including all donations given to me from time to time by my disciples and others, as well as interests earned and accrued from the Government bonds and other security investments, as well as rents and incomes derived from properties and houses, specially in the U.S.A., of which country I am registered immigrant as Founder and Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Incorporated.
In the above it is very clear that all profit from any rents, bonds, debentures, securities and properties shall comprise the ‘profit’ of the MVT Fund and shall be used primarily for the daily sevā pūjā of the above mentioned Temples.
III – PURPOSE OF TRUST
“I direct that no part of the Trust shall inure to the benefit of any private individual”
Part three of this document clearly states that no private individual shall benefit from this trust as is the case of any such charitable trust. There is no provision for the MVT Fund to loan, gift or grant money to any individual for any purpose.
This part is very important when reviewing the accusations by XYZ Dāsī. The claim is that officials of the MVT Fund serving in the capacity of Management have been receiving personal remuneration from the Fund that fails to constitute ‘maintenance’ and is more in line with Corporate Salaries.
Maintenance in a residential facility may be understood as Board and Lodging for a devotee engaged in sevā in the process of the advancement of their Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It does not constitute salaried wages and perks that accompany corporate management executives as is claimed by XYZ Dāsī.
IV – USE OF THE TRUST
The Trustees or any Manager deputed by the Trustees shall collect all proceeds from the Government bonds and other securities, One Hundred Percent (100%), as well as donations from all members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Temples or others, as well as all rents and incomes from properties and houses, and divide these proceeds into two funds, one-half (1/2) for the regular sevā pūjā expenditure of the ISKCON Māyāpur Temple and one-half (1/2) for the regular sevā pūjā expenditure of the ISKCON Vrindaban Temple, as directed by the Trustee A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami during his life time. After his demise, as decided by the board of Trustees as mentioned above.
Here it further states that 100% of the profit of the Fund or any donations given to the Fund is to be divided 50/50 between the respective temples. When considering the prime purpose of the Trust Fund and the purpose and importance of the above mentioned Temples it must be clearly understood that the Lordships welfare is of utmost importance and dominates any prospective loan or project that the Trust may be involved in from time to time.
The last sentence where it states that “After his demise, as decided by the board of Trustees as mentioned above” must be understood to refer to the Trustees keeping with the purpose and guidelines established therein and does not give license for the Trustees to change the terms and conditions of the trust or to make personal loans or give salaries to private individuals or to use the money to loan to ISKCON projects etc. The Trustees have been trusted by Śrīla Prabhupāda to follow his instructions to the T and not to add or subtract anything.
Any changes that have been made to the trust were to take into consideration of the Temples in India such as Mumbai Temple, however, the duty of the Trustees is to make sure that the principle Temples named above are first and foremostly taken care of on a daily basis.
Any change to that process would go against His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda’s intention for establishing the trust fund and his personal wishes that the respective Deities of the above mentioned Temples be always taken care of.
It is important to note that the MVT claims that the MVT – Fund was established by Śrīla Prabhupāda to “SAFEGUARD” the Deities as if in the case of an emergency. This doctrine is not to be found in the articles of the Trust that is described above and can only be considered to be misleading. The following is an excerpt from the MVT Website which states the purpose of the Fund as they have interpreted it as being:
Brief History of the MVT
The Mayapura-Vrindavana Trust (MVT) was personally established by Śrīla Prabhupāda in 1972. It is a fund to safeguard the daily worship of the Deities of Krishna worshipped in his major temples in India, especially Māyāpura, Vrindavana and Mumbai. – MVT Website
The propaganda that the MVT fund was to safeguard the Deities of Māyāpura and Vṛndāvan is intentionally misleading for a reason. The Trustees know full well the purpose of the Fund and what was to be done with the interest or money gained from it and how it was to be used in the manner in which Śrīla Prabhupāda clearly mandated and was not intended for any other use. So the only conclusion is that they have used the profits for their own undisclosed personal benefit. What other conclusion can be drawn from this???
Ātreya Ṛṣi Dāsa queried Śrīla Prabhupāda on the point of the meaning of ‘Sevā Pūjā’ and Śrīla Prabhupāda clarified this point in keeping with the MVT Fund articles of Incorporation as being for the “daily expenditure of Sevā Pūjā or worship of the deities only.”. He further stated that all the rents shall be collected and sent to India to be the responsibility of the ‘man in charge’ or the Temple Presidents of the Māyāpura and Vṛndāvan Temples.
There is no provision for official, managers or staff of the MVT Fund properties to receive wages or salaries or personally benefit from any of the proceeds of the Fund.
Letter to Ātreya Ṛṣi — Los Angeles 13 September, 1972: I have received your letter dated September 5, 1972, duly delivered to me by hand of Śyāmasundara., and I have noted the contents carefully. Regarding your questions, Sevā Pūjā* means only for daily worship of deities. The building fund will construct, the book fund will maintain, and this fund is for daily expenditure of Sevā Pūjā or worship of the deities only. So far your administrative duties as secretary of Mayapur-Vrndavana Trust Fund are concerned, that will be informed by you. For the time being, rents should be collected by Karandhara and sent to India. How it will be done I shall think over and let you know. As for the responsibility for proper spending, the man in charge or the president will be responsible in Māyāpur and Vṛndāvana.
Whatever has happened to the millions of dollars that were invested into the MVT fund over the last three odd decades? How much profit would there be in this account from interest etc had the account been used for the purpose it was legally intended to be used as instructed by Śrīla Prabhupāda? How much of it has been bled out of the trust that Śrīla Prabhupāda established so that the Deities of both his temples in India were to be nicely looked after every day so that They would never wont for anything. A fund that left the Temple to not have to bother with the daily sevā pūjā expenditure, as the MVT fund would look after that and they could go on with preaching.
The money was spent and is being spent on what? Where are the accounts? Where are the unbiased auditor’s reports? We need to know exactly where that money is or how it was spent and whose greedy hands it fell into?
How long will the general devotee of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON sit on their hands and do and say nothing. What is it going to take to stand up and make a stop to this whole scale defrauding of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Society and his resources and manpower???
Our ISKCON society and especially the Institution are in need of a complete shakedown to remove the unwanted dysfunctional people, programs and policies. Śrīla Prabhupāda trusted his mission and the ISKCON institution to his disciples and supporters to diligently and sincerely manage.
Over the decades the society has been taken over by corrupt self interested individuals who lack not only any spiritual acumen but common decency and integrity.
To date there has never been an individual in any senior official capacity of the ISKCON institution who has acted with integrity and honour and has stood out or spoken out against the obvious corruption and corrupt individuals who are feeding off ISKCON.
The various GBC men who have occupied managerial positions over the decades selfishly have taken what they could for as long as they could from the institution and not one single so called Sannyāsa or Rubberstamped Guru or Trust member etc has spoken out against this corruption and betrayal of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda. NOT ONE OF THEM!
Before I published this article I sent [below] an email to the parties who are MVT Trustees and are therefore responsible for the ‘safeguard’ of all the monies earned by the Trust and are entrusted to ensure that the instructions that Śrīla Prabhupāda gave in the founding of the Trust are enacted to the letter, without change or adulteration. To date there has been no word of reply.
Their silence shouts guilt. Well we all know that…
From: Krsnacandra Dasa
Sent: Friday, August 19, 2011 7:53 PM
Subject: MVT Fund Improprieties
To Whom This May Concern
All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.
We at Prabhupāda vision were in receipt of this email [provided below] that was sent to the MVT trustees regarding very serious accusations of improprieties and misappropriation of the Trusts funds.
As you know very well the MVT fund was established for the regular sevā puja of the Deities in Śrī Vṛndāvan and Māyāpura dhams and not as your propaganda suggests, as a ‘safeguard’, that implies – if in an emergency.
We at Prabhupāda Vision have prepared an article regarding these accusations to be presented to the Devotional Community of ISKCON as you to date have failed to take action, other than ‘sit on’ this email.
Below are some suggestions that these accusations have brought to light and therefore it would be wise to comply with in them in order to rectify the situation that is obviously existing in the MVT fund.
1. We would like to take this time to offer you the option to confirm or deny these accusations.
2. We would also like to request that the MVT Trustees provide a definitive statement regarding whether or not it is following the mandate that Śrīla Prabhupāda has legally instructed in the MVT’s incorporation articles of association. If it is not following the very clear edicts of Śrīla Prabhupāda then state why they are indirectly interpreting the ‘regular sevā puja’ to mean ‘safeguard’? Please provide the specific authority to which you refer to when indirectly interpreting this definitive edict.
3. We formally request an independent and full audit of the MVT fund’s accounts over the last three decades to be published on the various ISKCON websites.
4. If there is any impropriety with regards to any ‘trustee’ then we request that they are requested to tender their resignations and submit to any legal implications that may arise from any misappropriation of the MVT funds and holdings.
a) That the replacement of a trustee shall be determined by their credentials of being trustworthy to serve and obey the instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda. The prospective member must be screened by the devotional community and not hail from the existing members of the institution or MVT trustee friends or associates.
5. We request that any trustee / official of the trust / or employee of the trust be formally and/or legally requested to immediately pay back any of the misappropriated funds that were afforded them either as salaries / wages / loans / grants / gifts etc.
6. We request that the MVT begin to follow the mandates of the MVT fund as given by Śrīla Prabhupāda to the letter and begin to negotiate with the respective Temples outlined in the Trusts articles of association and commence paying for the regular sevā puja of the Deities residing in that particular Temple.
a. The Temple Presidents must provide detailed accounts showing that the funds are utilized specifically for the purpose of the regular sevā puja of the presiding Deities of the respective Temples.
7. We also request that effective immediately all salaries, wages etc for so called employees / officials and others is stopped and devotees are engaged in doing sevā at the respective departments / properties belonging to the Trust etc.
8. Publically disclose any successive amendments to the original trust documentation. Further that should any of these amendments negate Śrīla Prabhupāda expressed instructions and desires these amendments should be removed. Or show cause how these amendment are necessary.
Your swift reply would be most appreciated. There are other matters that this has brought to light that are not contained in this letter that must be brought to the attention of the world wide devotional community. We will publish the article whether or not a reply is received in a few days as it is not dependent on your reply.
For too long has ISKCON and the various subsidiary bodies bathed in the comfort of not being exposed. This time is now over and the truth is beginning to be brought out.
It would be prudent that you all take stock of the situation in ISKCON and your loyalty to Srila Prabhupada and do the right thing and stop thinking that whatever you do is righteous and rectify.
Yours in the service of Śrīla Prabhupāda
Prabhupāda Vision Staff