Friday, July 8, 2016

New Vrndavana Kuli Mela Report (Update)

I came across your blog and you asked for some anonymous info on the Kulimela.

There were many people drinking all night long, running around, being crazy and creating a noisy ruckus around the family's with children trying to sleep. There was also some "electronic dance" music playing out of loud speakers until very late, which also kept some people from sleeping.

Radhanath swami was supposed to be there for the whole 5 days, including for the 24 hour kirtan. There were however a lot of people who didn't want him to show up there, because they see him as complicit in the molesting program. Some non specific threats to his safety (and reputation) were supposedly made, so he never showed up.

I'm not surprised Radhanath was a "no show," since he ignored many reports of molestation and rape back in the Kirtanananda days. He did however charge some of the devotees $42 to hear him speak for 30 minutes about his book in Pittsburgh, later that weekend. We also heard he asked many of his followers to each buy hundreds of copies of his book, so they could make it look like "a best seller." Some of the victims report they had no money left to buy important essentials after they spent so much money buying a stack of his books.

Then on Saturday, the temple president and his head honchos set up a payment booth in front of the prasadam lines, demanding the kulis pay an additional $50 to get something to eat. The receipts the kulis paid originally said nothing about additional $50 fees for prasadam at the 24 hr kirtan. 

New visitors, those who were only going to be there for a few hours, were asked to donate for food. Some kulis protested they had no spare cash, but they were told $50 or nothing. A hundred or so people thus got turned away from a very low cost simple prasadam lunch. Then, the Boston temple president got word and he was totally disgusted, and he sponsored $ for the meal for the remainder of people who didn't leave. A lot of kulis thought this was a mean trick to make people pay to eat without announcing this charge beforehand.

Some devotees actually started speaking up, stating Srila Prabhupada had said "Prasadam is free, no one should go hungry within 10 miles of a temple, kirtan is free, knowledge of Krishna is free". There was another good deal of people questioning about the $12,000,000, millions that the temple received to frack the land. Somehow the temple couldn't afford to buy some beans, rice and lettuce even though they have plenty of $$$?

Local musicians and kirtan singers were denied performance time slots at the 24 hr kirtan. At least one ex-kuli woman was crying because they would not give her three minutes on the stage after she had spent months practicing her routine. She had been looking forward to performing and they would not even allow her three minutes of time.  

Many outside performers were flown in business class, all expenses paid. Then the temple wants the locals and visitors to pay for this. Devotees camping in tents were asked for $95 each for use of toilet / showers for the event. 

It was a very disheartening thing to witness. 

And now, the kulis who put on the program are supposedly $10,000 at a loss, they seem to have big unpaid bills left over. But the big leaders, who are sitting on millions and millions in fracking money, won't give them any help. So its sort of making it look like PADA is right, these leaders are exploiting others for their own benefit. Please keep my name anonymous, I have enough troubles with these people already. 

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