LETTERS TO THE VOID #12
Posted September 9 2004
Vyapaka das writes:
Dear Krsnadasa Kaviraja and Praharana Prabhus,
Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
The following message was sent to the devotees as listed below. Since you have
suffered through the endless back and forth debate, I thought why spare you
Seriously, I imagine you are interested in the process and outcome of the
debate so it is best that you be continued to be informed. I do request that
if you feel the arguments hold any water, that as GBC Deputies, you work on
individual members to reconsider the situation.
Personally, the discussion with Praghosa Prabhu has degenerated and I
feel that further correspondence with him holds little potential for
progress. However, I feel that my arguments still hold weight and are worthy
of further consideration since the downside to our movement is so grave.
His arguments have struck me as missing the point and less than forthcoming,
to be polite. I honestly do not know if he indeed reflects the will of the GBC even
though he occupies the Chairmanship.
The fear of the fallout for the movement has sparked the penning of
the following letter but this time it was sent to a wider audience of both GBC members
and leading devotees in the movement. There are certainly scores more that it
could be sent to but my email list is limited. If there are others that you
feel would be interested and influential in this discussion, please forward
it. I see no strong need for confidentiality amongst the devotees on this
As mentioned in the attached email, to take up this cause does not
signify one's belief that a poisoning occured or not. The issues are to see if
we can minimize the effects of revealing this process to the public and
to finally come to the bottom of this matter. If this hits the news
media, even if the alleged poisoning is ascertained to have never occured,
the negative effects will persist.
There are only two situations that can contain this situation. That is 1) the
GBC begins cooperating and provides oversight of the investigation and 2) that
the investigation concludes that there was no poisoning. If there was a
poisoning, then it is going to get out no matter what structure
the investigation takes. If it is proven that there was no poisoning, then it
will fizzle into obscurity with a footnote of being another
ill-conceived conspiracy theory. In any event, the truth will prevail and but
it seems that we will all have to be a bit more patient.
You both have expressed your feeling that there has been no poisoning. I have
no problem whatsoever that you hold this opinion. But if that is the case,
then please try to exert any and all influence that you have to keep this
inhouse. That can only be done if the GBC gets involved in the investigation.
They seem to harbour so much distrust for BIF, so my
question is why are they considering allowing these devotees to have
carte blanche on an investigation if BIF is untrustworthy and unethical? It
seems very short-sighted and ill-considered. It also appears that the GBC is
not acting in an arm's-length manner and this could have serious
consequences in the future if an attempted poisoning is proven factual. It
must be understood that this is no longer a contest of winning the hearts and
minds of ISKCON devotees. This is quickly becoming a criminal investigation
and forebodes criminal consequences. Buyer beware.
Anyway, that is my two-cents worth. Please do what you feel is best.
Thank you for your patience with me.
Sent: Monday, June 21, 2004 3:49 PM
Subject: On-going investigation re. Srila Prabhupada's alleged poisoning
Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila
I have been corresponding with His Grace Praghosa Prabhu,
this year's GBC Chairman, re. the request from the Bhaktivedanta Investigation
Force (BIF) to conduct a joint investigation of the alleged poisoning of
Srila Prabhupada. This letter does not aim to debate the pros and cons of
the poisoning issue so we request your patience to continue reading.
We are not in possession of a full list of GBC members'
email addresses so request that this be forwarded to those not listed in the
Cc: of this email. Copies of this letter will also be sent to other leaders in
the movement in an effort to spark awareness and debate.
On November 21st, 2003 the GBC was approached by BIF to participate in an
investigation of the alleged poisoning. For your information, this request is
contained at the end of this email under the heading "Demand To Redress"
(DTR). My understanding is that this action was initialized after
BIF's checking of "facts" published in the GBC Ministry for the Protection of
ISKCON publication, "Not That I Am Poisoned" (NTIP). The book "Judge
for Yourself" (JFY) was then published refuting much of the evidence
in NTIP. The DTR informed the GBC that an investigation was still on-going and
invited the GBC to join their efforts. If not, then BIF would be forced to
proceed utilizing the press and outside agencies as part of their
Upon learning of the situation, I began a correspondence
with Praghosa Prabhu urging him to request the GBC to take this matter
seriously. He informed me that the GBC's two concerns were that the samadhi
not be disturbed and that the expense of an investigation is beyond the means
of the GBC. BIF responded that that they had no intention or need to disturb
the samadhi and that they would shoulder the full cost of the investigation. A
GBC Deputy involved in the discussion, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Prabhu, informed me
in Mayapura that the GBC had received assurances by Indian legal authorities
that no level of the judiciary would consent to
any disturbance of the site. So the GBC concerns were put to rest
by assurances offered by both BIF and the Indian judiciary.
Throughout our communication, Praghosa Prabhu consistently
emphasized that the GBC believes that no poisoning was undertaken and they
still stand behind the conclusions of the NTIP. BIF then offered that a 5 man
committee be formed to oversee the
> >investigation with the majority of seats being given to the group
which funded the investigation (at this point in time, that would be BIF
since they are promising to finance the matter. It has been reported to me
that they have already invested US$100,000 on this effort, not including
their time and energy. The opportunity to have a majority of seats on the
oversight panel was also offered to the GBC if they would take on the cost of
the investigation. Personally, I find this to be a reasonable proposal,
especially if the conclusions of NTIP are as suspect as alleged. Transparency
and accountability must be made primary concerns if any
cooperative or independent investigation is to proceed.
We were informed in Mayapura that the GBC discussed the situation and
had passed a resolution that they would re-invigorate the investigation if
new evidence became available. All parties were informed that they would
be officially notified when the 2004 GBC minutes were made public. However,
at the time of publication, no resolution relevant to the alleged
poisoning was included, though Praghosa Prabhu alleges that one indeed has
We have been informed that the lawyer over-seeing the
publishing of the minutes decided that this resolution should remain
confidential. Initially, this was of no real concern since the purpose of the
discussion was not to publish a resolution but rather to inspire a joint
investigation. To date, this resolution hasn't led to any action or
communication on the part of the GBC Chairman with BIF regarding the issues
dealt with in the DTR.
I have two good devotee friends invovled with the BIF
effort. Personally, I am not a part of this group but do find the findings of
JFY to be more convincing than that of NTIP's. The information that has come
to me has been the result of personal communication by email and telephone
with these friends. They have informed me that they do have new evidence and
are progressing in their investigative efforts and will only make this new
evidence available to those directly undertaking the investigation. I presume,
this has been decided based upon the distrust sparked from what BIF concludes
to be inaccuracies published by the GBC in NTIP. It seems
that BIF has contacted the press, police and private investigators in India as
a first effort in continuing the investigation, since no overt effort on the
GBC's part has yet been made to respond to the DTR.
The non-publication of a resolution does not purport
sincerity on the part of the GBC to come to a conclusion in this matter but
rather appears as legal posturing. If this matter does go public, the fallout
for the movement will be considerable since I fear the main battlefield will
be the Indian press with international media organizations quickly following
suit. If NTIP is indeed full of faults, as BIF purports, the GBC will appear
to be complicit in a coverup, especially since NTIP is an authorized
GBC publication. Such a conclusion can only be reinforced by
the non-publication of an alleged ghost resolution. This will be a
public relations disaster for the movement, if allowed to occur. It will not
go unnoticed that the NTIP investigation and publication were undertaken by
a disciple of an alleged accomplice and financed by another
alleged accomplice. Please consider the optics of the situation if this gets
press. It is difficult to understand how NTIP will actually protect ISKCON as
the committee's name purports if it is indeed inaccurate in many of its
What puzzles me is that if the GBC members genuinely
believe in the conclusion published in NTIP, i.e. that no poisoning effort was
undertaken, then there is scant risk in conducting a cooperative
investigation. It will once and for all provide conclusive evidence that no
poisoning has been undertaken and the case will be finally closed. On the
other hand, if a poisoning is proven to have been attempted, then the culprits
will be brought to justice and the GBC will have played an instrumental role.
This will go a long way in proving that no ulterior motive was involved in
the inaccuracies published in the NTIP book.
Our prayer is that this email might provoke further
discussion amongst the GBC and leaders of the movement. Herein lies an
opportunity to bring this matter to a conclusion, but it is an opportunity I
fear which will not present itself much longer. As mentioned above, I am not a
spokesperson for BIF but feel and hope that they may still be willing to work
with the GBC under the conditions outlined in the DTR, even though their
defined time limit for a response has passed.
I request that the GBC reconsider its policy of cooperating
with BIF on this important matter. Not only will this matter come to closure
but it will go a long way in repairing relations amongst us and lessen some of
the cynicism throughout the movement. Otherwise, the movement will
needlessly continue to suffer under the weight of this issue.
To reiterate, the investigation is on-going with or without
GBC sanction or participation. Doesn't it seem reasonable to take a pro-active
stance and oversee the investigation? By no means does such action imply that
the GBC or any individual believes that Srila Prabhupada was indeed poisoned.
To date, no "smoking gun" has surfaced so it cannot be concluded that a
poisoning was undertaken or not. But this is an opportunity to close the issue
once and for all and to potentially stop this unsavoury issue from
being publicized throughout the world.
To conclude, it appears that a decision to cooperate with
BIF cannot produce a result worse than if BIF is ignored and allowed to
proceed independently, no matter what conclusion the investigation comes to.
On the other hand, a better outcome for the Hare Krnsa movement as a whole is
likely if a cooperative effort is undertaken. Closure of this issue seems to
be fast approaching and it is again only a question of how to manage the side
effects and publicity of the investigation that is in question.
Non-cooperation provides little influence over the collateral effects
which cannot be in the best interest of the movement.
I pray that the members of the GBC will see some merit to
these points and re-examine their conclusion not to participate in the
investigation. Time truly seems of the essence so we ask immediate attention
be given to this matter.
Note from BIF:
The DTR mentioned above, can be found in
the archives on this web site.
This letter concludes our series of
"Letters to the Void". As our readers can see, we have done everything we
possibly could in attempting to keep the investigation a family matter.
Several months have passed since our first letter to the GBC, there has been
no response; not even an indirect whisper. We have no choice but to do as we
have stated. BIF requests readers to remember this series of letters, and
place responsibility where it lies. Thank You.
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