When the Love of Money Trumps Principle


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 62, Vol 2, 2019

On his official website, GBC-elected diksa guru HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS") runs a podcast series titled "Nectar Drops", which publishes glorifications of himself. In a recent such "nectar drop", titled "Five Pound Notes", it first explains that:

"the Bank of England published a new five-pound note [...] they had used tallow in order to produce the note [...] in particular some cow fats [...] (Bhaktivedanta) Manor had decided to refuse a five-pound note and was asking no one to donate those five-pound notes".

As the notes were reported to contain "beef tallow", Bhaktivedanta Manor, ISKCON UK Headquarters, refused to accept a product made from cow flesh. However, the "nectar drop" continues that SRS disagreed, and instead said:

"‘It's okay, if anyone has any five-pound notes they'd like to donate then they can give them to me.' [...] Guru Maharaja [SRS] was serious [...] he said that he would leave a basket next to the donation box, and anyone who was wanting to donate five-pound notes could do so in his basket and he would take them home."

The "nectar drop" justifies SRS's behaviour by claiming that:

"I think maybe for many, unexpected, but [...] Guru Maharaja wants to use everything, anything and everything in the service of Radhe Shyam, and no matter what the source may be, because Radhe Shyam are absolute, anything used in their service in pure devotion is removed of any inebriety [...] he has no fear of the sinful reactions involved in handling and using such money because he will use it in pure devotion".

1) As stated, SRS's action was for "many, unexpected". And it is unexpected, because, if there is anyone one would expect to reject commercial products derived from cows, it is SRS -- for, as we documented in BTP 59, "The Dangers of Non-Krishna "Preaching"", he has even rejected the use of cow products such as commercial milk (which he called "blood milk").

2) SRS has also explicitly rejected the principle that one can use everything in Krsna's service "no matter what the source may be" since there is "no fear of the sinful reactions". For he said that commercial milk must be rejected because one cannot "philosophise away" that one will be freed from the karma incurred even if the milk is offered to Krsna:

"So whereas we can philosophise away, or try to, the consumption of that type of blood milk doesn't really quite wash". (SRS Podcast, 15/7/18)

Even though Srila Prabhupada states that, if offered to Krsna, commercial milk would be freed from sinful reaction:

"offer to Krsna, then it's purified. Then you are free from all sinful activities. Otherwise, even if you kill vegetable, you are sinful because it has got life. [...] Therefore the solution is that you take prasadam. If there is sin by eating vegetable or meat, it goes to the eater. We take the remnants, that's all." (Srila Prabhupada, Room Conversation, 23/4/76)

3) Thus, we find here a double contradiction from SRS:

a. When it comes to money, he contradicts his position that one should not use products from unprotected cows. In this case, the contradiction is particularly galling, since he is happy to accept products containing cow flesh, but not milk, which he even accepts can be a bona fide product when sourced from a protected cow.

b. When it comes to money, he sets aside his explanation that commercial cow products cannot be "purified" even if used in Krsna's service (SRS allowed these "nectar drops" to be published without any correction).

Whereas, if SRS was principled, he would be consistent and adhere to his stance (even though it is wrong by Srila Prabhupada's teachings) of rejecting all commercial products derived from cows. But it seems that if money is involved, he is more than happy to jettison his own principles!

4) The cause of such contradictory, hypocritical behaviour may be explained by SRS's revealing admission that he is on the mundane platform of a vaisya (merchant), who is always thinking about money:

"I always think about money. And that is the quality of a vaisya. And it's also my bloodline. [...] I'm not a brahmana, I'm a vaisya."
(SRS, Varnasrama Seminar, published Feb 2016)

And hence, when money was involved, it trumped his supposed principles in regards to products derived from unprotected cows, and resulted in a double contradiction.

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