Ambarisa Das, Alfred Ford & Prabhupada's Poison Case

Iskcon's Ambarisa das is Alfred Ford
Ambarisa das Alfred Ford
Ambarisa Das, Alfred Ford
Mayapur 15. Nov. 2004

Ambarisa Das Seeks Professional Investigation
VNN WORLD January 3, 2004


USA, Jan. 3, 2004 VNN story 8520

ISKCON's Ambarisa Prabhu has publicly addressed the controversy over the alleged poisoning of ISKCON Founder-Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

In an open letter he endorses "a full and proper investigation" based on "honesty, fairness and justice".

This suggests, of course, that previous GBC investigations were neither full, nor proper, nor honest, nor fair, nor just.


To whom it may concern:


As a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, I [Ambarisa dasa] have to take with gravity, the statements of my Guru Maharaj. As Srila Prabhupada has stated three times in one day that he has been poisoned by someone, I have to hear these words with the utmost seriousness. To dismiss these statements as trivial or lacking authenticity is extremely offensive and cruel.

As such, I am not satisfied with the results of any of the investigations or reports issued so far. I do not believe that Balavanta prabhu was given adequate facility to complete his investigation. He has stated as much himself. Although there are some members of our society who believe this subject is better forgotten, I do not believe it can or should be until a full and proper investigation has been carried out.

We may never know the entire truth behind Srila Prabhupada's final pastimes. However, as the events surrounding these pastimes effect profoundly the dynamics of Srila Prabhupada's legacy and enduring society, I support Naveen Krishna prabhu and the newly formed November 14th Commission, in their dedicated efforts to set the record straight.

My participation is purely for honesty, fairness and justice. My role is to try, in my humble way, to keep an investigation from becoming a trial.

The process needs to be a professional and systematic gathering of facts.

Out of our love for Srila Prabhupada, I feel we need to put to rest, as much as possible, the lingering questions which are residing in the minds of many of our Godbrothers and Godsisters. We also need to create an accurate historical record. To do less would be negligent and indifferent.

Your servant,
Ambarisa dasa


In The Presence Of Guru And Gauranga

January 24, 2004   VNN8526 

EDITORIAL, Jan 24 (VNN) � Dear Ambarisa Das, Obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

We have noticed with some disquiet your letter containing accusations of 'dishonesty' and 'offence' posted on various web sites. You state in these letters, of variations on the same theme, that you cannot fathom why it has surfaced after 2/3 years. After doing the leg-work for you, Shyamasundara Das (the poster) was contacted by us. Here is the reason:

The BIF team accumulated a dossier of material relating to the poison issue for compilation into a book format. The process commenced prior to advent and demise of the N14C, the web site that originally published your letter. At the completion of the undertaking, your letter was one of the items under consideration for inclusion in the book. Being current and already in the public domain, it was given priority over material some of our members felt was of greater significance. We did not ask for your permission to use it because we felt- a) it was already in the public arena, b) We had sent you many of our articles without any response from you one way or the other, so we felt you were too busy to be bothered, 3) You may have got the wrong impression, ie. BIF was hinting for financial support, which we didn't, and don't need from you.

Your letter now places a slur on our work, which has since taken form in a book titled- "Judge for Yourself" (JFY). We have received a number of letters from readers stating concerns on this matter. The allegations of 'dishonesty' and 'disingenuous' don't wear well, since we did nothing dishonest. The truth is, your letter only just made inclusion to our book. Had you posted a retraction as you have now done, we can assure you that no one would have posted your letter anywhere. As it is, the book JFY is now an e-Book, and recently uploaded onto our web site for readers. Your letter, being part of the book, was made available to all. Shyamasundara Prabhu, copied what he saw as relevant parts of your letter and posted it to VNN. There was no cloak-and-dagger-dishonest-plot as you suggest.

Now that you know how and why the letter was posted, why don't you consider publicly withdrawing your abuse, and admitting to neglect in retracting what only you knew was redundant, ie. your letter of original belief and support for a poison investigation. Failing to do this will place blame where it does not belong, and that Ambarisa Prabhu, in the presence of Guru and Gauranga, is dishonesty.

We have taken the liberty of posting this response to the web sites carrying your letter, in the hope that there will be some civil acknowledgement of our right to reply. Although we do not carry much hope for its publication, the important point is that you act in a manner befitting your position as a vaisnava and disciple of His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada. Thank You.

Yours Sincerely

Bhaktivedanta Investigation Force

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Letter to Ambarisa Prabhu

From: RajaGuhyam Das
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 7:39 AM

Hare Krishna Ambarisa Prabhu
Please accept my obeisances. All Glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.

It was quite surprising to read your letter announcing 'my thinking on this issue has changed' as reason for disclaiming your earlier public stand regarding an investigation into the alleged poisoning of His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada. When we take into account the heartfelt words used in your earlier letter (published on VNN), the turn around is almost unbelievable. In your earlier letter you began- 'To whom it may concern', and many were concerned because Ambarisa das was expressing concern. Now, sometime later, you write nonchalantly- "Seeing as my name was invoked at the start of this thread, I want to make a comment" ( Your transcendre is a private matter between you and your Guru Dev, but when you use God- given affluence to influence the minds of others with what you feel later is an incorrect opinion, you should not wait until prodded to bumptiously mitigate your faux pas, and then, offer no apology for it. Instead, you come out swinging at others who took your lead in the first place, accusing them of dishonesty and personal affront- "Publishing this letter on VNN is dishonest and personally offensive". This is very unlike the behaviour of a gentleman, what to speak of a Vaisnava.

Another startling revelation in your reversal is seen in this comparison- 'I have distanced myself from the investigation and investigators. I am way to busy with the service Srila Prabhupada personally asked me to do to spend time doing this, nor would I want to.' Your not wanting to spend time doing such a service is easily understood. It is indeed a thankless task without VIP treatment or back-slapping celebrity status. If there is/was ever a duty that demanded commitment without social, economic or political reward, this is it. Nonetheless, your paradigm shift is somewhat disturbing when compared to your previous posting- 'As a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, I have to take with gravity, the statements of my Guru Maharaj. As Srila Prabhupada has stated three times in one day that he has been poisoned by someone, I have to hear these words with the utmost seriousness. To dismiss these statements as trivial or lacking authenticity is extremely offensive and cruel.' After all, Srila Prabhupada has not withdrawn his statement- 'three times in one day that he was poisoned', but now it seems your current disposition reduces his statements to trivia 'lacking authenticity', and, by your own standards, has placed you in an 'extremely offensive and cruel' position when you declare- "I am way to busy with the service Srila Prabhupada personally asked me to do to spend time doing this, nor would I want to". This can hardly be considered a neutral position. To the contrary, your words are noticeably in conjunction with propaganda you lined up to challenge earlier; showing a 180 degree turn in your allegiance.

In summation, considering the evidence to support an investigation still stands as it did when you first accepted it: your position appears to have been altered by political manoeuvrings; your voice is being used as a medium to influence the uneducated masses and, to promote personal and corporate concerns over truth and justice, and, of equal importance, to go against what Sastra directs devotees do under the circumstances.

Next, you say you know people who are adamant on both sides of this issue, which, if we understand you correctly, is a validation for your current party preference. However, it appears that you have forgotten the third side...the infallible and authentic side ...your Guru Maharaj, and his statements on this issue, which cannot be taken lightly or discarded. Here is one such sample:

Conversations with Srila Prabhupada volume 36, page 378.

Tamal Krsna: This seems like suicide Srila Prabhupada, this program. It seems to some of us like it’s suicidal.

Prabhupada: And this is also suicidal.

Tamal Krsna: Hm. Prabhupada said, "And this is also suicidal.” Now you have to choose which suicide..

Prabhupada: The Ravana will kill and the Ram will kill. Better to be killed by Rama. Eh? That Marica-if he does not go to mislead Sita, he'll be killed by Ravana; and if he goes to be killed by Ram, it is better.

Clearly we hear Prabhupada say on Nov 10, 1977, that his caretakers are Ravanas who will kill him. This is after the Kaviraja, Bhakticaru Swami and Tamal Krsna Goswami, confirm that your Guru thought he was being poisoned. So from the lips of His Divine Grace we have the poisoning statements (confirmed by perceptive witnesses), and then we hear him describe his caretakers as Ravanas. What else do you want him to say? It was never his duty to deal with poisoners, nor do you have the time or inclination...but it must be done by someone... and every devotee should, at least, desire clarification via an unbiased, official investigation. Whether your latest convictions comply or not, it is the right to justice afforded to all mankind. To advocate that 'God will judge at the time of death', is not enough to dismantle the justice system (God forbid!), or dispense with vedic injunction. There are two more points in your post, prompting address. If you can spare the time to correct/explain, we will be very grateful. Firstly, you write- 'At the time I was friendly with some who were launching a new investigation. I was not satisfied by the non conclusions of Balavantas report, so I voiced support.'

Okay, the two reasons given for your involvement seem plausable. But again, when we focus on the paradigm shift: Balavanta's report is still incomplete, so we can safely assume that this has in no way caused your reversal. The other reason given for your involvement is- At the time I was friendly with some....., tells us your reason for involvement in this important issue was due to influence, and not much else. This fact is further confirmed when we read in progression- I have distanced myself from the investigation and investigators. Even though it is now understood that your involvement was due only to influence, you did present some moving words and philosophical rationale in support of an investigation. So what is the philosophical basis for your about turn? Sastra recommends certain specific action under these circumstances. What is your reason for distancing yourself from the appropriate action as given in Sastra, and instead, without establishing the truth one way or another, risk involvement with suspects (and their henchmen) who were labelled "Ravanas" by your Guru Maharaj?

The second point lies in this statement made in your recent posting- "There were rumors that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was poisoned. Did Srila Prabhupada barely mention this? No, he focused like a laser on the mission his spiritual master gave him." What do you mean by rumours? Why are you reducing the direct revelations of your Guru to a "rumour"? Please check page 359 Vol.36 of the Conversation series, you will find that Srila Prabhupada confirmed- his Guru Maharaja was poisoned. And, what exactly do you mean by 'barely mention'? The fact is already well known throughout the ISKCON Society. It is documented in the BBT publication- Conversations with Srila Prabhupada Vol. 36, 359p, it can be heard on tape (T-44/B), Tamala Krishna Goswami has recorded it in his memoirs- 'TKG's Diary' 336p. Furthermore, Prabhupada spoke openly about it on several occasions. He made many references to the criminal element in his spiritual family and the ruination they had brought to the preaching mission of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta . He warned his disciples to keep away from his god brothers because of it. He himself left the association of these god brothers and their institution. What more would you have him do?

The other half of the statement is only half true when viewed in a holistic context. Because, although Srila Prabhupada 'focused like a laser on the mission of his spiritual master', he first walked away from his godbrothers whom he felt were offenders (guilty of disobeying/ poisoning/murdering his Guru Maharaj?). Now, if you want to draw comparisons between yourself and His Divine Grace, or follow in his footsteps, you had better tell it walking because the atrocities of your confederacy, and its ill repute, far exceeds that of the Gaudiya Matha at any time.

Your Servant Raja Guhyam Das
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!
All glories to His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!