GODMAN or GOON?
Organized Religion is like Organized Crime; it preys on peoples’ weakness, generates huge profits for its operators, and is almost impossible to eradicate — Mike Hermann
Organized religion is genesis to sting operations that have far outdone the Mafia or any other known criminal organization in the history of man, res ipsa loquitur. Among us humans, godmen occupy a different status to others. Those who encounter saintly persons by hook-or-by-crook in a twenty-first century environment, cannot help but muse at the ease of fiscal progress afforded these strangely adverse mouthpieces of Heaven. Where common citizenry cringe wither and waste under the heavy hammer of government imposed levies, holy men tap-dance well-heeled and invisible beyond the tax threshold.
Gone are the days when visiting curates worked tirelessly to convince parishioners of the need to bequeath their estate to God's work ; or the excessive endeavor in opening a hospice for entrapment and exploitation of the aged ; or intense exorcism rituals that lasted only as long as the demon was covered by insurance. What was once a grin-'n'-grind for the godman, is now a state-of-the-art tickle-'n'-take for the tax thief. When Henry VIII hollered- "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest ?" he had no idea that State would replace the Crown and clergy would enjoy regal immunity across the globe. The emaciated pin-up renuntiatio of yore, has been replaced with a square-jawed, cigar smoking cardinal in the Vatican, and sub-machine gun toting gunman-of-the gods in India. No more does a push-bike padre or a filthy-footed fakir compute successful religiosity in a modern world. Today's denominational dandy is a jet-setter, a real estate tycoon, an investor in stocks and bonds; a money launderer; an entrepreneur who has nothing new to offer on old doctrines but has nonetheless taken the God business from rickshaw to Rolls Royce. He wears Armani suits in the West and delicately spun silks in Asia with a Rolex watch and an air of financial contentment that befools cockeyed postulants into believing God plays favorites.
From those who have studied godmen up close and personal, a picture emerges of frustrated politicians juggling diplomacy demanded by business with truth recommended by doctrine. It soon becomes clear that the godman of organized religion is, at least, a corkscrewed politician with heaven in his eyes and money on his mind. But mostly, he is a professional criminal with a niche in crime via government legislated laws. The difference between the criminal in politics and the criminal in religion, is that the politician uses party influence for illegal gain, whereas the godman evanesces his loot under a tax exemption cloak provided, inexplicably, by revenue grabbing governments globally. Strange bedfellows in a complex relationship, but when viewed through the optics of crime, similarities are stark and the bottom line is extortion....by God or by Government.
For a better understanding, we bring to desk a recent CNN-IBN post exposing the entwinement of godmen/politicians in a laundrette, using tax exemption status to steal money from public coffers. Before going any further may we point out- when the BJP were made aware of the criminals within their ranks, they worked expeditiously to remove them; an act that remains alien to godmen societies such as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) whose Law Books stress the need for protection of criminals within their ranks, a resolve that has given 100% protection to its cabal since conception in 1977: Iskcon Law No: 12.8 ".......and however much he may be dissatisfied with the exercise of that jurisdiction, he shall refrain from invoking the supervisory power of the Civil Court, but shall seek redress of any grievance(s) through the ISKCON judicial process. Otherwise, he may be removed from office and / or his membership in ISKCON terminated.(88)." This law reveals a cult giving authority to its kangaroo court above corpus juris: the leglislated laws of State and Nation. A far cry from clerical appointments of the past, which added to fiduciary obligations the written clause: Quamdiu Se Bene Gesserit- As long as he shall behave himself well.
In the exposé by CNN, we find a politician- Ram Vilas Vedanti; a former member of the Indian Parliament who deserted his profession to take on the holy title of 'Maharaja': a title used extensively by criminals posing as mendicants in the godman business. It would seem the former politician discovered via his experience in government, that the pickings of criminals in politics were meager by comparison to the government sanctified ipso facto endorsed launderettes of Heaven. Working in the same strike zone with Vedanti 'Maharaja', was another godman- Surya Nambudri. Our man Surya claims to be a prophet: an exclusive area in the godman business that demands theatrics and an ability to lie bare-faced. (The ISKCON cult's cause de célèbre on this stage was John Favors (late), who was also given the title of 'Maharaja' to facilitate expansion of the cult's percentages. He lectured and published books on aliens from Atlantis and the Lost Continent of Mu, claiming to have acquired his knowledge via physically linking to higher dimensions. Unfortunately for him, the higher dimensions had no cure for cancer.) The third character in the expose was literally, a high flyer- Kapil Advait, a former wing commander who had come to realize God's money was not up in the clouds but down on terra firma. He converted from high-flyer to low friar and did a barrel-roll into God's same-day laundry returns. To minimize collateral damage from wing commander to pick-pocket-prophet, Kapil Advait took on the title of- 'Pilot Baba', which subtly suggests- his bomber hangs out in Heaven's hangars.
Using their new professional status as godmen under tax exemption halos, Surya Nambudri, the prophet, was caught in a sting, agreeing after a tough bargain to utilize God's industrial top-end-loader to launder 100,000,000 @ 15% commission. Kapil Advait (Pilot Baba), raised the stakes to between 20% & 50% for a guaranteed quick return. His investors were convinced high-flyers are quick-dryers.
In a typical 'honor among thieves' reaction, organizations operating in the same grey area of tax-exemption, protested heavily re. the exposés. Some even claiming, in spite of the evidence, that the accused were in fact upstanding pillars of society. Members of religious organizations in India and Britain, were quick to accuse the CNN of maligning Hindus. However, former Income Tax Commissioner Vishwabandhu Gupta came to CNN's rescue with this startling revelation:
[This is] a fit case for criminal proceedings. Two of the biggest religion mafias are the Ram Janmanbhoomi Nyas and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad amongst the Hindus. They have 10 bogus trusts floated from the same address. The names are there (in our record) and so are the addresses. They are getting money from 50 countries abroad and are also getting tax exemptions. There are no accounts as well. You see, this is a big menace. We have calculated and found that religious leaders annually earn $3 billion which is about Rs 10,000 crore -Rs 15,000 crore worth of money. What they do is they get land at throwaway prices. During the last government, 11 including that Sadhvi Ritambhara – whatever her qualifications are – got a fantastic (sic) piece of land at a throwaway price for the services that she heads today. They have fraudulent names, addresses, existences and expenditures.
...and then again:
For instance, the RSS does not have FCRA clearance and cannot directly accept foreign donations, so has created service wings like the Sewa International and Sewa Bharati which have FCRA clearance. The RSS’s fundraising fronts abroad — IDRF, SewaUSA, VHP of America, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Sewa International UK, Hindu Forum of Britain etc. — divert funds to the RSS through Sewa Bharati and Sewa International. Given the Sangh Parivar’s access to state power and propensity to violence, its brand of fundamentalism poses the biggest danger to a pluralistic India, but the role of Christian fundamentalist groups like World Vision (which apparently disbursed 95 crores in India last year) cannot be glossed over either.
It is not simply the volumes of cash flowing through religious organizations, but also the fact that these government priviledged godmen live beyond the realities of award wages, salary caps, casual or permanent wage brackets, and conditions/levies associated with such employment. The truth is, by employing staff without so much as a written contract, religious administrations have no need to declare employee wages. As a result of verbal contracting, they become invisible to tax offices. And, when all inflowing cash is noted as donations through various tax exemption umbrella corporations, profit and loss is not an issue and therefore not reported as income. The end game is: because religious organizations (e.g., ISKCON) do not make declarations on employee wages, the organization is invisible to revenue collectors. And since employees of the organization, from godman to doorman, do not make tax declarations, the entire outfit enjoys monies pinched from coffers of the citizenry.
How a government elected by the people for the people, can create a sine qua non ficilitating such scullduggery is beyond comprehension. How is it that religious leaders who pop up in shocking media reports with monotonous regularity, and whose only product is a DIY stairway to Heaven, can be allowed to swindle the citizens and government coffers to the staggering mantra of THREE BILLION earthly dollars annually....is just plain inconceivable. God help us, because we don't understand it. What we do know is that the eradacation of these gold-digging-godmen is not an option any longer, it is a dire necessity.
Organized Religion and Organized Crime