Concerned Australian Devotee – Australia: BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO – All glories to the devotee from Brisbane temple who has finally had the guts to come forward and disclose the activities of the criminals who run the Australian yatra. We refer in particular to Ramai (so called Swami), Tirtharaja (the money launderer), and Ajit (the destroyer of devotee’s lives).
For more than 20 years Ramai has developed the art of exploiting innocent devotees so as to maintain his opulent materialistic life style. For years his brahmacari collectors, collecting under the guise of feeding starving kids for Food for Life, gave him their daily collection to feed his rock and roll life style. For 15 years he travelled around with his rock and roll band, playing second rate rock music, under the name of preaching. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were wasted on this program and in 20 years he has not made one devotee from his so called preaching. So many of the men who were on his bus program left in disgust, most of them ended up blooping. One devotee was so traumatised by his association that he had to leave the country. Ramai has become very expert at looking after his lazy life style and will go to great lengths to protect himself.
He has fallen out with ninety per cent of his Australian godbrothers who have rejected him for his sannyāsa charade. He has become expert at character assassination and anyone who disagrees with him is immediately denigrated in the eyes of his cronies and with the junior devotees. He is so intimidating that the young naive Australian devotees are scared of him. He has stated so many times that he doesn’t want so many devotees in the temples because they only create a head ache. Well why not just close down the temples. Ramai is no longer respected by anyone. Everyone is awake up to his enjoying nature and he hasn’t inspired any devotees for the last 20 years. No one can trust this man.
Ten years ago when Tirtharaja was the temple president of Brisbane Ramai sat back as Tirtharaja tried dubious scam after scam. When the Hartigan family sued New Govardhana, wanting the $80,000 donation they had given, returned, Tirtharaja arrogantly dismissed their plea and his defiance cost Iskcon $400,000 due to a failed court case. At one stage he turned entertainment entrepreneur and brought out Hema Malini to do a fund raising concert tour. He had big ideas but he forgot to do any advertising and lost $75,000. Then he thought he’d hit the jack pot. Krishna Kirtan came to him and introduced a friend who presented a money laundering scam. He was asked to launder money through an Iskcon account and send the money to offshore accounts, he and Krishna Kirtana being paid a substantial commission in return. Tirtharaja is a very ambitious person and wanted to become a GBC member, and he had just been appointed treasurer of the International GBC account, and had transferred that account to the nearby Indooroopilly, Brisbane branch of Westpac Banking Corp. He was thinking that if he made a lot of money this would impress the GBC and his elevation would be forthcoming.
So over the next year fourteen and a half million dollars was deposited in the International GBC account and transferred to overseas accounts. Tirtharaja and Krishna Kirtana each receiving $80,000 in commission. Now any one in their right mind would have to question where such large amounts of money were coming from. Obviously it came from illegal sources. Blinded by the quest for easy money, he eagerly encouraged his associates to process more money through the account. He gave them permission to deposit the money and to make the transfers. At no time did he have permission from the GBC to make these deposits and to transfer them. As an officer of Iskcon he was operating fraudulently. It transpired that these men were laundering drug money from sales made by Columbian drug dealers. They were making deposits of half a million dollars at a time. The bank became suspicious of the large amount of cash deposits, especially as some of the notes were soaking wet because they had been frozen.
The bank alerted the Australian Federal Police. They tracked these men down and wire tapped them. They were able to determine the time of the next deposit thru the wire tap and waited in the bank and arrested two men as they made the deposits. When busted the deposit was in cash in big bundles of notes and was more than more than$500,000. Tirtharaja was questioned by the police and lied his way out of the charges, claiming he didn’t know the source of the money. The law has since been changed and if he kept it up he would have been jailed. The plan had been to launder $400 million through the Iskcon Account.
The whole story only came to light when some time later two seedy looking characters appeared at the Sydney temple and asked Atmarama to help get their money back. Incredulously he asked What money? They told him that the police had taken their $500,000 and they wanted him to help them get it back. They offered him to keep half if he would help. Atmarama immediately went to GBC member Bhir Krishna Goswami and asked him what to do. Bhir Krishna got in touch with Ramai Swami who told him to keep out of the affairs of the Australian yatra. Ramai succeeded in covering the whole thing up. This must be the greatest crime in the history of Iskcon, and the GBC did nothing about it!
It’s interesting to note that this account had not been audited for 3 years. Are the GBC so incompetent that they can’t even audit their own account? This is just one of the cover ups that have happened over the years under Ramai’s reign. Just recently Tirtharaja had resigned from being TP of Brisbane temple, leaving the temple more than $300,000 in debt, and the temple has disintergrated. There is no temple at this time. The deities are being kept in some house. The Brisbane devotees are demanding to know how the temple got into so much debt. So many Indians gave so many donations and now the Indian community wants to know where the money went and are furious with Tirtharaja.
Lo and behold what do the GBC do, they promote Tirtharaja to being a GBC deputy. And we hear that he is trying to become GBC of China. So the bigger the crook, the better the chances for becoming promoted to the GBC.
For the past two years Ramai Swami has resided in a holiday unit next to the beach in Surfers Paradise, Australia’s premier beach resort. He lives in the unit on his own and devotees are not welcomed to visit him. He does a small time kirtan program two nights a week to a small band of Indians. He does a bit of chanting, gives a short class and leaves. He doesn’t stay for prasadam and doesn’t preach to any of the guests. Sometimes a few devotees go to the program but are not impressed by his presentation. He lives 45 mins from Brisbane temple but never goes there, for two years Brisbane was rapidly falling apart, but he did nothing to rectify the situation. He simply didn’t care. He lives one hour to the north of New Govardhana farm but rarely visits. This year he didn’t even come to Janmastami and Srila Prabhupadas Vyasa Puja.
This man is in maya and has become a laughing stock of the New Govardhana community. The devotees in Brisbane are totally confused and are in disarray. Ramai Swami has done nothing to help the situation. He is too busy attending the Mayapura meetings. The devotees want answers from the GBC. What does this man do all day? He lives a secret life on his own, is never seen chanting rounds, and as far as we know he no longer practices any sadhana while living at the beach. He is only seen for three hours a week. What is he up to? Some innocent devotees cover for him and say that he is busy with management on the internet. Well if he is then all we can say is that he is a bad manager and the collapse of Brisbane temple proves that. NOT to mention the enormous debts of the Melbourne temple (alleged $1m.), and Adelaide temple ($450,000). Where is his GBC duty? The Australian yatra has really suffered over the last couple of years with the nonsense of Prabhavisnu and Ramais virtual disappearance. There should be an investigation.
Ramai’s living situation should also be noted. He has been spotted by devotees visiting Video shops, and has been seen walking along the beach in the early morning without his japa bag. The whole area he lives in is the notorious red light district known as Sin City. Within a one kilometer radius of his unit there are 50 nightclubs, many of which are strip joints. During the day the streets are full of girls wearing brief bikinis and very revealing clothing. Where he walks along the beach many of the women sun bathing are topless. This is not a proper situation for a so called sannyasi.
The most unfortunate consequence of Ramai’s mismanagement has been the poor spiritual advancement of the Australian devotees. As the resident sannyasi he hasn’t made any attempt to enrich the lives of the devotees. He has given no leadership and has not instigated one program in 20 years. Here in Australia we have to wait for Indradyumna Maharaja, or of late, Janananda Maharaja to give inspiration to the younger devotees. With respect to Prabhavisnu Das, Ramai has made no attempt to console the fallen guru’s disciples. This man is not qualified to be the leader of the Australian Yatra. It has been said that when Ramai first heard about Prabhavisnu’s fall down, he was actually happy that he had fallen, because they hated one another and could not work together.
Not only had he fallen out with one of his sannyas god brothers but he has a record of falling out with so many others. A few years ago he was at war with Atmarama (ex Sydney TP), when Atmarama had wanted to expand the preaching in Sydney. Ramai was totally against Atmarama’s ideas. As a result the Sydney temple barely functions today. He has fallen out with other senior men such as Hari Sauri, Bhagavat Ashraya, and the regional secretary of Indonesia Gaura Mandala Bhumi Prabhu.
In retrospect when looking back over the 20 years that Ramai and Prabhavisnu were in charge of the Australian yatra they have very little to show. No new centers have opened in that time. The Melbourne and Sydney farms are empty. The Sydney farm has four devotees to carry out a restricted program of Radha Krishna deity worship. Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane temples have become Hindu temples with very few locals joining. Most of the pujaries are Bengali and Russian imports who surprisingly disappear after they gain their residency visas.
Remittances to the BBT are at a minimal and are well below the 50% rule that Srila Prabhupada wanted. At best the temples remit no more than 5% of their income. Ramai illegally tampered with the Australian National Council by stacking the vote and brought in Devamrita Swami to drive out Atmarama. Devamrita was also brought in to revive book distribution, but his fanatical preaching style failed to ignite the Aussies and he has since called his band of followers back to New Zealand. Ramai and Prabhavisnu are renowned for their indecisiveness. They never dealt with the devotees problems and have no interest in counseling the devotees. They are just like the ostrich when confronted with some problem in that they simply bury their heads in the sand and hope it will pass. They have no spiritual potency and have no public recognition what so ever. Well, we now know why Prabhavisnu was so impotent, and one has to question Ramai’s virtual invisibility.
Ramai has become expert at exploiting his position as a sannyasi. He has become a parasite on the society, eagerly holding out his hand for donations. Now there is nothing wrong to give daksina to a sannyasi, but bone fide sannyasis give back spiritual guidance and enliven the devotees. Ramai just takes the money and runs. Spending it on his latest expensive car or updating the latest computer gadget. Years ago he was famous for updating to the latest watch. One devotee who lives near him says that every time he drives past his unit he can see that the TV is on. The question has to be asked what does this man do all day? The GBC has to question his life style. Visiting sannyasis have been informed by various devotees about his life style but they have done nothing about investigating him. There must be an investigation into the virtual collapse of the Australian yatra under Ramai Swami’s watch.
This year’s chairman of the GBC has stated how the GBC must be more prepared to listen to the devotees. So let’s see how serious they are about listening.