- Posted by Gaura Prasad das Adhikari, Oct 28, USA:
Ive very much appreciated Rocana Prabhus analytical examination of Satsvarupas Lilamrta and more recently, his exposé of Radhanathas autobiography. However, I would like to draw Rocana Prabhus attention (and the attention of the Suns good readers) to another misrepresentation of our Srila Prabhupada by an ISKCON guru.
Back in the mid-90?s Bhakti Charu Swami embarked on the Abhay Charan project. Apparently he spent over $1,000,000 to produce 108 episodes and spent a good deal of his time (as well as the valuable time and money of many ISKCON devotees) to achieve his goal. And what was the result?
The result was the cheap hinduization of Srila Prabhupada.
From the very first episode, his depiction of Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktivinod and other acaryas in our line is third-rate and erroneous. In fact, all the characters in the series are so two-dimensional and their depictions are so misleading that it would have been appropriate if a disclaimer appeared at the end of each episode This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead portrayed in this series is purely coincidental.
For example, under Bhakti Charu Swami, Bhaktivinoda Thakurs famous struggle against the yogi Bisakisen became a poorly directed, poorly scripted and poorly acted parody something like Ghost Busters meets the Telly Tubbies. It bore no resemblance to the original story. I could go through every episode to demonstrate to the readers other instances like this, but I dont think I could bear to watch the whole series. I will leave that up to the bold viewer who has a stronger stomach than I.
The scripts are never according to what we have heard from Srila Prabhupada nor according to the authorised biographies of our acaryas. Why is that? I was told by one of the devotees working on the project that when one of Bhakti Charu Swamis disciples remarked, But that is not the way it really happened, Bhakti Charus response was, I know but I saw it like this in my heart!
If the incidents portrayed in Abhay Charan are indicative of the revelations from Bhakti Charus heart, perhaps he is in need of a heart transplant
[It is the same offensive nonsense like Satsvarupa's "Plantig the Weed"]
However, the worst was in the later episodes, when Srila Prabhupada goes to the west. The actor Bhakti Charu chose to play the older Srila Prabhupada (NOT a devotee, I hasten to add, but a chain-smoking thespian from South India) resembled Prabhupada only in as much that he was old! He was so tall that sometimes he towered over the other actors. But physical deficiencies aside, how did Bhakti Charu Swami use this actor to present Srila Prabhupadas pastimes to the world?
In one of the episodes, Srila Prabhupada meets Kali personified in New York one night. Suddenly a beam of light shoots from Prabhupadas forehead and destroys Kali.
Er sorry, correct me if I am wrong, but I dont seem to remember that incident in Srila Prabhupadas life. Perhaps I wasnt paying attention or was this yet another of those poignant revelations that manifested from Bhakti Charu Swamis heart?
When he first embarked on this project, Bhakti Charu said that the thing that inspired him was that he saw that the world was in need of real heroes, and that Srila Prabhupada was certainly a real hero.
We cant argue with that.
But what Bhakti Charu has done with Abhay Charan is turn Prabhupada into a Marvel Comic superhero, or to be more specific, a cheap Bollywood imitation of a Hindu superhero. What will Bhakti Charu do as a sequel Prabhupada joins the X-Men? Prabhupada and Spidey Vs. The Green Goblin? Naturally, I mean no disrespect to His Divine Grace. I am not referring to OUR Srila Prabhupada. I am referring to Bhakti Charu Swamis [GURU] Srila Prabhupada.
Yes, this is Bhakti Charus very own Srila Prabhupada. His personal representation of his spiritual master immortalised on celluloid for generations of people to watch in awe.
Wow! Did Prabhupada really do that?
Srila Prabhupada was sooooo tall!!!
Did Srila Prabhupada say that? Cool!
Of course, Im sure that his followers and the Hindus that support (and manage) various ISKCON temples think that Abhay Charan is a wonderful TV series. They are probably even wondering why Bhakti Charu didnt receive an Oscar or an Academy Award for it. The reality is that Abhay Charan was so bad that even the Indian TV networks wouldnt take it now thats REALLY bad!
Im not wondering why Bhakti Charu never received an Oscar or a Golden Globe what Im wondering is that after Bhakti Charu finally completed this project, why didnt we hear any more about Abhay Charan? It was neither glorified or endorsed by the GBC, it wasnt propagated by individual temples it doesnt even have its own website. Strange for something that Bhakti Charu Swami spent $1,000,000 and almost a decade of his life on.
Was this suspicious silence because the GBC felt that his depiction of Srila Prabhupada was an embarrassment to ISKCON? If anyone can fill in the blanks, please let us know.
Whatever it was, I certainly feel that this sad caricature of our beloved Srila Prabhupada and the bogus pastimes that have been fabricated by Bhakti Charu Swami do more damage to the image of His Divine Grace than Satsvarupas Lilamrta ever could. After all, its much more likely that ISKCON congregational members will watch Abhay Charan than read Satsvarupas biography.
In fact, I am surprised that nobody on the Sampradaya Sun (including Rocana Prabhu) has mentioned anything about Bhakti Charus project before or perhaps the Abhay Charan series is so appalling that nobody has even bothered to watch it in order to review it.
Abhay Charan, The Video Epic, DVD -- Set Price now only: $ 99.95
BY KAY MAHARAJ
SOUTH AFRICA, May 20 (VNN) Dear Sir
I am writing this letter in an attempt to get some help for hundreds of people in my country myself included who have been cheated by some of your Hare Krishna devotees.
A few years ago some of your devotees from my city in Newcastle, South Africa began to market a video on the life of your leader Swami Prabhupada. The video is titled Abhay Charan. We were told that the producer of the video is one of the present leaders of your movement. His name is recorded on the sleeve of the video as H. H. Bhakti Charu Swami.
We were sold the first video and asked to subscribe for the balance of 25 videos. Many of us did this, consenting our banking details for a debit order. This meant that the money would be automatically withdrawn from our banking account for 26 months. We were promised one video per month. I was coerced by your leader in my area to get my friends and family members to order for this video which I did. I signed the subscription in January 1997. It is now over 4 years and all I have received is 7 videos only. Yet the money for all 26 tapes were taken out of our accounts. Despite our repeated attempts for reasonable answers from this person, all we got were stupid reasons for the delay. This in spite of our numerous complaints regarding the video itself. Some of the videos were posted to us in a different language, some with very poor sound quality or no sound at all.
During the middle of last year I was offered an apology by this person and invited to attend a conference in Newcastle whereby we were told that the producer will be in attendance. He would address the delay of the videos. This turned out to be a farce. All we get is a load of empty promises. This is really a shame and disgrace. We need some definite answers. We are being kept in the dark. What has happened to the hundreds of thousands of rands collected by your movement for this video. If the tapes are not available then at least be conscientious and refund our money.
It would be beneficial for your movement if your members could be truthful and present the correct facts rather than embark on ambitious projects and involve the public by taking our money and then doing a disappearing act. This has happened to us once to many. If we cannot get some answers for this latest round of cheating we will opt for legal aid .
Mr. Kay Maharaj (Newcastle, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)
Please also see: Bhakti Caru's Planned Conference Minimizes the Pure Devotee
Teaches That 'Living Gurus' NOT Required
Charu Swamis current living links in a bogus link sampradaya, excluding Srila Prabhupada in the chain of disciplic succession.
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!
All glories to His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!
For any questions
please write to: