Concerned Community Devotee – London UK: I write to inform you of some of the latest devious politics and questionable changing trends that are taking place at Bhaktivedanta Manor`s school and the Manor`s management. The management consists of Gauri dasa (the CPO convicted child abuser), Prana dasa, Sruti dasa and Sita Rama dasa. The behind the scenes moves are being made to ensure that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Gurukula system is abolished and the National Government Accredited Secular System is made the official educational process for our ISKCON Society. The total eradication of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Gurukula system is being spearheaded by the GBC Pragosh dasa and the ISKCON Ministry for Educational Development and is currently being enacted here at the Manor.
A very good friend of mine who is actively involved in ISKCON UK Management recently got in touch with me but for obvious reasons prefers to remain anonymous. He expressed some serious concerns and doubts in regards to the direction the management of the ISKCON UK & EURO Zone is heading, especially when it comes to future educational models. He confided to me the latest thing that just happened;
Some time back the above mentioned management members invited the (female) faculty members of the Gurukula school to a private meeting where the above management proposed that the ISKCON Gurukula at the Manor be moved to ‘Holland Farm’ (the facility adjacent to the Bhaktivedanta manor`s Goshala land) where the Manor would build them a new and better school.
They presented the teachers with a very good idea which would mean that the Gurukula, presently housed in the small Manor building, would be relocated to its own purpose built facility on land belonging to the Manor which would make the Gurukula and the future of the Vaiṣṇava ISKCON children more secure, so the teachers enthusiastically agreed to this proposal. The faculty members of the school were then made to sign a legal document with the – I FOUNDATION – as an agreement to the above given proposition. The I-Foundation’s link with ISKCON is yet to be clearly established but to all extents and purposes appears to be a Hindu run and funded organization.
The I-FOUNDATION is a group comprised of wealthy businessmen who are interested in establishing Hindu schools in the UK whose aim it is to integrate Hindus within the mainstream culture whilst maintaining links with their Hindu culture through a mentor system. However the main curriculum is the National secular academic model.
The I-Foundation was formed by 4 anonymous investors, below them are the shareholders, below them are the governors of the schools and up to this point none are Vaiṣṇava or vegetarian or following any dharma at all. The I-Foundation funds and oversees the secular Avanti Krishna School in Hartford which is a Hindu school. The shareholders and investors of the I-FOUNDATION dictate what happens in the schools not the teachers. It is a private corporation which has zero to do with Srila Prabhupada or his teachings…..
The “ruse” was to get the faculty to ‘sign off’ on moving the school out of the Manor itself by offering them the Holland Farm with the promise of obtaining the appropriate Council Permits etc, however, the permits were not only for a educational facility but also for a ‘resource’ center.
The readers have to understand that the Manor approached the local council on numerous occasions in the past to obtain the planning permission to construct a Wedding Hall, which was never approved by the council. Hence they devised this new proposal for “new educational facility- resource centre”, hoodwinking the council into granting them the permit, deceiving the faculty members and the council in one act. Ingenious cheating scam it is.
As the real intention of the Manor authorities unfolded, the school faculty was then told that there was a better plan in store for the school as the first one suddenly wasn’t the ‘best’ nor ‘viable’ anymore – “priorities of the making money trumps our children`s education” the new “improved” proposal was that they should leave the Manor premises all together and relocate to a site somewhere off the temple campus.
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s gurukula would only mean training our children for a life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness whereas the Marriage Hall reaps in a million pounds annually (approx 1 and a half million US Dollars) which will increase exponentially with the addition of a large Hall designed specifically to conduct Hindu weddings.
Consequently the management has allegedly pledged to organize grants from the government which would buy them a piece of land and also be enough to pay for the building of the new school. Catch twenty-two is –that due to the acceptance of the government grants it would mean the school would need to teach full national (secular) curriculum and accept a vast number of non devotee children and faculty members from outside, just like the already operational Hindu Avanti School that is managed by I-Foundation/Bhaktivedanta Manor. In one foul sweep the Manor school unwittingly signed off on their own demise and the demise of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Gurukula for the Manor. No more Gurukula that was till now teaching K.C. education for devotee children as per the instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Due to the signing of the legally binding document with the” I-Foundation”, the Manor management are saying that they (the faculty members who were running the original school) cannot be involved anymore and that the school`s members must deal only with the “I-Foundation” that misleadingly coerced them into signing this legally binding document thus shifting the supervision of the future school out of the hands of ISKCON and into the hands of the I-Foundation successfully removing ISKCON from any role to play in the education of our children.
Furthermore, the Manor management and the I-Foundation are seriously threatening the faculty members (consisting of only Vaisnavis), that if any one of them leaks this devious plan to outsiders (devotee community-web, etc), they will never have any service opportunities in England, that they might be banned from entering the temple premises and/or be even legally prosecuted.
This all took place during the last closed door meeting which was several days ago where the Manor management told the teachers that they must go. The Vaisnavi teachers, who were totally cornered by Manor management`s dishonest and manipulating tactics, were mostly in tears……..
Additionally, the confidential source also revealed that the planning for closing down the Manor Gurukula was set in place for a while, and that the people involved in this behind the scènes operation are all high ranking UK – EURO ZONE- yatra managers and that Pragosha Dāsa, the UK/EURO GBC, is spearheading this push for unauthorized secular educational restructuring within our movement.
After my initial skepticism, I was allowed to read a document of the meeting and its resolutions that took place three years ago. Within the resolutions was one that stated that the Gurukula in Manor will be closed down, and it also stated that the one faculty member Gurucaranapadma Dāsī, who is the wife of the local guru Kripamoya Dāsa ‘The Corporate Man’, will have her future (employment) secured in the new educational facility (once it is operational). . I could not believe my eyes this had been planned well in advance. They most certainly take care of their own.
The ‘concerned confidential’ informant also further warned that Pragosh Dāsa’s (and the company’s) plans are far from over and is stating that Pragosha is strongly pushing for a permanent resolution on the GBC level to shut down all existing Gurukulas within ISKCON and implementation of a systematic replacement with the secular government curriculum based educational facilities only.
All these drastic decisions that are on an educational shift that is diametrically opposed to the instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda, are taking place quietly behind closed doors without the awareness and opinions and suggestions of the children`s parents or the devotee community and its members. In actual fact the GBC have been systematically closing down all Gurukulas across the globe and replacing them with National Government secular schools for years but they have never admitted that this is their policy.
Such clandestine management is very dangerous, and needs to be stopped immediately. If these people are allowed to continue to manage in such a covert way you will never know whose future in ISKCON is threatened, just as is presently experienced by the Gurukula faculty members. For now it is clear that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s ISKCON’s future is being threatened.