Chakra Discussions

Dispossessed From the Sanctuary

by Krsna Das and Satchitananda Das, Interfaith League of Devotees

Posted October 20, 2006

Srila Prabhupada would sometimes quote a Bengali proverb regarding the story of the mouse and the snake: "The mouse very laboriously digs a hole in the ground wherein he will live, then along comes one snake that proceeds to eat the mouse and live very comfortably in his hole".

We members of the Interfaith League of Devotees at 25 1st Ave. (directly behind 26 2nd Ave.) in New York City have worked hard for at least 12 years building our six-storey 'hole' -- familiar to many as the Sanctuary Restaurant. We had initially planned to make a grand offering to the disgraced Kirtanananda Swami upon his release from prison two years ago, so in 1994 we purchased what was then a gutted trucking warehouse, and completely renovated it from top to bottom. Our ground floor restaurant was quickly lauded amongst the best six vegetarian restaurants in New York City, and our temple room, home for Sri-Sri Radha-Murlidhara, although small, is quite striking in its elegance.

Eventually, we concluded that we could no longer accept Kirtanananda as guru and spiritual mentor. About a year ago, the Bhaktivedanta Ashrama, a group of eight brahmacharis, was invited to take up residence in the Sanctuary as tenants, thereby helping things financially as well as bringing more spiritual energy to the project.

Somehow or other, things got switched around, board members were shifted and rearranged clandestinely, and we, the original 'mouse' dasas, found ourselves dispossessed from the Sanctuary. Yajna Purusha das began presenting himself as the occupying landlord and temple president. His present intention, we believe, is to drive us out and then live very peacefully in our six-storey hole.

Presently we are all in court, wasting thousands of dollars (both sides) in legal fees. Certainly Srila Prabhupada would not be happy to see so much of Krsna's Laxmi being spoiled, and we are not happy to be engaging in this way either. Our only alternative was to be kicked out on the streets of New York, while all that we have worked for was taken from us.

Now, we are humbly appealing to Srila Prabhupada's family -- particularly those of you who know Purusha prabhu personally -- to please request him to continue his preaching at 26 2nd Ave., not by trying to capture something to which he has neither legal, moral, ethical nor spiritual claim.

[Chakra editorial note: The Chakra editors are aware that there are at least two sides to every story and invite Yajna Purusha prabhu and the Bhaktivedanta Ashrama brahmacaris to submit a response.]