"They should not be given any salary. That is very bad.
This is against principle" 

Winter 2005/6

In previous issues of BTP, we have quoted Gauri Das, the Temple President of Bhaktivedanta Manor who has banned IRM devotees from taking darshan of the Deities there, admitting that some ISKCON gurus, sannyasis and leaders are suspected of amassing great wealth:

“Recently we had to contribute $60,000 to the legal case in USA. When we discussed sending the money many devotees who work very hard to raise it, asked ‘what about Gurus, Sannyasis and leaders who have accumulated gifted money, will they be contributing anything?’ And they were serious because there is talk about individuals especially sannyasis and Gurus having amassed gifted money.”
(Gauri Das, ‘Financial disclosures by ISKCON leaders’, January 4th, 2004)

8 years previously, ISKCON guru Jayadvaita Swami had similarly confessed that some of his guru peers had indeed stolen money from Srila Prabhupada’s movement:

FACT: ISKCON gurus have usurped and misused money, and diverted other ISKCON resources for their own personal prestige and sense gratification.
(‘Where the Ritvik People Are Right’, Jayadvaita Swami, 1996)

In BTP 2, we highlighted an example of a former ISKCON guru, Harikesa, who following his exit from the movement acquired a million dollar luxury villa. However, the charge of personal acquisition of gifted money is not confined only to ISKCON gurus and sannyasis, who by definition are meant to be the most materially renounced members of ISKCON. Some Temple Presidents and other ISKCON leaders (as admitted by Gauri Das) are also suspected to be riding on this gravy train, drawing salaries to finance their lifestyles from the large temple donations given by the pious Hindu community. This practice of “salaried brahmanas” is condemned and thus strictly forbidden by Srila Prabhupada, as we see below:

The brahminical principle

“Kings like Maharaja Pariksit had their council of advisers, and all the members of that council were either great sages or brahmanas of the first order. They did not accept any salary, nor had they any necessity for such salaries. The state would get the best advice without expenditure.”
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.16.1, purport)

“That is brahmana’s business. And in that way, whatever the disciples bring, that is his income. No salary, no contract, that “If you pay me hundred dollars or five hundred dollars weekly, then I can teach you.” No. There is no such contract. Teaching is free. It is the business of a brahmana to give free education to everyone. “
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, May 27th, 1972)

No salaries allowed in ISKCON

“Why salary? Krsna’s servant. We are eternal servant. That is the beauty of our institution. We have no hired men. Unless one is sincere, why he’ll work?
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, August 3rd, 1976)

“So here there is no question of salary. Here the institution must be maintained, strictly following the principles of Bhagavad-gita.”
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, April 15th, 1977)

“Regarding the restaurant, why they should get salary? There should be no salary. You are working without salary, so why they should take. They are not very important men. So after this month arrange for no one to get any salary there. That will be nice.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 16th, 1975)

“…But the temple should not provide them with salary to enjoy their life…But what is this? They are given high salary. Because his service is essential--”All right, you take apartment.”….You take prasadam. But why salary? Where is the question of salary? Where is vairagya, renouncement? So in all circumstances the salary process should be stopped. One who wants salary, he can work outside…In Los Angeles it is very freely going on. In the name of Vaisnavism they are drawing salary, living comfortably, having sense enjoyment. This is not good, not at all. So you all high officers, you think over it and do the needful”
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 28/4/77)

“So these things should be stopped, that they should live comfortably with husband and wife, children, and take salary from the... Besides that, in our BBT it is clearly written that “Fifty percent for printing book, and fifty percent for...” So you cannot violate this. Those who can give voluntary service, “Welcome.” Otherwise we don’t require. At least they should not be given any salary. That is very bad. This is against principle.”
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, April 28th, 1977)

False brahmanas charge fees

“No, they are not brahmanas. Those who give education in exchange for money—they are not brahmanas. For instance, we are lecturing, educating people. We don’t say, “Give us a salary.”..We are not asking money—”First of all pay the fee; then you can come and learn Bhagavad-gita.” We never say that...That is dog’s business.”
(Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, April 28th, 1977)