New Nandagram Society for Krishna Consciousness has recently launched a lawsuit against natural people who are either negligent or criminal with Srila Prabhupada’s copyrights. The causes of action (reasons for the lawsuit) include:
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty (being irresponsible with Srila Prabhupada’s property)
- Accounting (not being transparent with Srila Prabhupada’s assets)
- Conversion (theft of the copyrights from the BBT to a suspiciously similarly named corporation, the BBTI)
- Conspiracy (defendants claimed, in court, that Srila Prabhupada never owned his copyrights)
- Constructive Fraud
Below is the text of the lawsuit. It is necessarily written in legalese, but the main points should be quite clear:
COMMON LAW COURT
THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
LEWIS COUNTY, WASHINGTON, USA COURT #001
In 1972 Srila Prabhupada protected the copyrights to his books by placing them in a trust, He named the trust The Bhaktivedanda Book Trust, and in the founding document, he named himself, Bali Mardan Prabhu and Karandhar Prabhu as trustees. In the document, he gives instructions about how the funds generated by the copyrights are to be used and he names the beneficiary of the trust to be The International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Because he had incorporated The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in New York in 1966, most people who were aware of the trust and the corporation probably assumed that Srila Prabhupada was referring to the corporation named ISKCON. However, before his physical departure in 1977, there were probably over a hundred ISKCON corporations, so who or what did Srila Prabhupada intend to be the beneficiary of his trust? All the corporations? Just the New York corporation? Or some other entity entirely?
What is the yearly revenue for the BBTI? According to the IRS, in 2016 (the last year posted), the BBTI had a total revenue of $838,859. The World Sankirtan Newsletter reports that there were over 8 million books sold that year. According to the Newsletter, a large book of 300-500 pages is equal to one book point and the total book points for 2016 was 8,146,115. What is the price that temples are charged for a large book from the BBTI? Their price list has a variety of prices, but seem to show average price of about $2.50
A little basic arithmetic shows that the income for all of Srila Prabhupada’s books for 2016 should have been well over $20 million! 8,146,115 x $2.50 = $20,365,287.50. Srila Prabhupada’s instructions about how the proceeds from his copyrights are that half the income goes to printing more books and half goes to a Building Fund to build temples or maintain existing temples. Of course some of the money from these 8+ million books would come from foreign BBTs, but the contribution to the Building fund, whether from foreign or the BBTI should be half of the $20,000,000, if Srila Prabhupada’s instructions are being followed.
I like to identify myself as being a kind and empathetic person, yet one day I found myself beating the c%#p out of my tethered and muzzled doberman.
Some months later, Rakshana, a handsome, red doberman with floppy ears and an uncropped tail bounded up to meet our guest, Maitreya Prabhu. “Meet Akshara, my ex-husband”, I told Maitreya. He scoffed, “that’s crazy, devotees don’t become dogs.”
Birdy Bird’s life was not natural or normal. He was a pigeon. Pigeons always lay exactly two eggs, and if both eggs hatch, the parents both participate in rearing the two squeakers until they are able to fend for themselves, a process that takes about a month. Somehow or other, Birdy Bird’s parents committed a mathematical error and produced 3 eggs, hatching three chicks. His parents cared for the three chicks, vomiting into their squeaky throats several times a day to keep them nourished for about a week. Then, apparently, they got around to counting their brood and discovered the mistake.
I found Birdy Bird on the floor of the loft, almost dead due to being exposed to the chill of the early Autumn air. I picked him up and although he was hideously ugly being nearly naked and embryonic-looking,
**Please note that I’ve gotten some feedback about this article that some people feel that they’re being subtly attacked while reading it. You may feel itching sensations or pinprick sensations in different parts of your body.**
As an analytical person, I’ve always been interested to understand the mechanics of
mystic powers. Reading in the Srimad Bhagavatam about how yogis are able to travel on sun rays or grab an object from miles away captured my imagination and for years I wondered how they did it. In the early 80s I was in front of the Krsna-Balaram temple in Vrndavan, outside of the gates, and a man was collecting a good amount of money from a gathering crowd. The paani wala told me, “you watch, it is mesmerizing.” Sure enough, the man collecting the money selected a teen-aged volunteer who weighed about 60 lbs. and had him lie down on a chaddar on the dirt road. The crowd gathered around and, after a few seconds, the young boy levitated about 2 feet off the ground. The boy’s body wasn’t level, like any respectable Hollywood levitation and didn’t last as long, either: after an instant the poor boy fell unceremoniously to the ground. But the crowd was pleased and thought that they got their money’s worth. What I had seen was an actual mystic levitation because there was no possibility that any props could have been erected in that dusty street that was almost continuously traversed by rickshaws, horse carts, bicycles and people. I remember thinking at the time, “I hope that one day I’ll understand how to do that.”