If you are reading this here, it could be because you have heard some gossip and wanted to hear from us (Matt and I) ~ to know our reasons for leaving the Vedic Care behind.
As per my FB post (below) at the time (Sept 2019), here is our side of the story! We have done all we could and are now continuing our seva ~ full on with the Vedic Times Foundation.
THIS IS A ‘PUBLIC NOTICE’ POST:
Hare Krsna dear friends and foes – I appreciate all of you.
Hare Krsna dear Vaishnavas. You’re the very reason I’ve co-founded and served so vigorously the VCC.
The VCC moto was *CARE, Based on Love and Trust * and the reason why we worked so hard.
Please note that there were only three trustees for the past four years (and the word Trustee is used for a reason) – Roger Siegel (Gurudas), Aradhana (myself), both of us co-founders, and Richard Dench (Rama Nrsimha das) who I personally invited to join because he was an “old friend” from London.
Here are two versions of this story. At least from where I stand:
Short version: The very integrity of the VCC is now compromised being that restructuring was needed – and for a long time – but rejected once again. This project was created to do devotee care ‘fully independent’ of any other institution and to serve equally, all Vaishnavas and spiritual seekers in need. As it looks, our once dear VCC is now for sale and had a few members who are actively doing off the books and forceful fundraising, and a new comer that is up to do fundraising “by hook or by crook”. This being, to save the purity of the project my husband and I, who have done together 95% do the work, wanted to restructure, were not permitted, and so have now resigned.
And the long version:
For the readers, and who’ll appreciate more details.
After four years of long hours per day, every day including holidays, putting aside our own company YogaMayaFilms, my involvement with the Vedic Care – an organization I’ve founded with Gurudas prabhu and my husband, Bhakta Matt (behind the scenes), comes to an end.
I’ve now resigned from being its CEO, Trustee and the sole doer of anything boring as Contracts&Legal and all paperwork. I was its Media & Social Media Producer (much credit to Matt for this), Marketer, Online broadcaster on all platforms, Producer of all Newsletters & Presentations and 90% of the VCC written charts and spread sheets (Tina did some of these), all vision boards and all VCC business plans. I was also its Retreats Manager and promoter, leader of the VCC Core and all other teams, welcomer/encourager and manager of Volunteers and Causes, Carer, and Gurudas prabhu’ PA/Secretary. Meanwhile for the past two years, I’ve also looked for a proper and decent deal for Gurudas’ photo book; a version we’ll never see. And I was also leading a wonderful literary department working on correcting Gurudas’s previous books; which I’ll deliver when done.
The VCC Internal Affairs were crazy from the beginning. When we first created a website in 2015 it was soon hacked and a lawyer wrote us demanding that we send the funds we were collecting for devotee care to the BhaktiVedanta Hospice in Vrindavan. Then in the first two years we also had a few threats of being sued for using the words Vaishnava and Care, so even existing seems to be a problem. I mean, crazy stuff. But then we were left alone, but not without one senior devotee joining us (she never did anything, ever) who watched our website and Fb pages like a hawk.
In the past two years things were already on edge with the Core Team, mostly due to too much talking during our twice a week conference calls, followed by inefficiency and inaction. Also we had a few characters who, with the assistance of one Trustee, were trying to remove me (and consequently my husband) when we reached the two years mark. Bhakta Matt and I were the very persons doing 95% of the work. “The VCC engine” I was once called.
Thank Krsna they failed at their first attempt.
Another major issue were some pushy and unpalatable fundraising techniques from a Trustee who, on the weekly calls (if he showed), was disrespectful of others’ time and our agenda, would often have someone else listening into our private calls; or if not, he was so interested that we could hear his snoring. Nevertheless we kept tolerating this, encouraging and we kept going.
Then just three months ago we finally got, with the grace of Subhadrapryia dd whom I adore, the 25+ rooms beautiful building in Vrindavan. Of course there was more work but no one came forward to assist and still no proper focus on urgent or needed tasks. No one really stepped up to the beautiful fundraising campaign – rather a second wave of “remove Aradhana” came in from London – now stronger with a Swami (who showed in January 2019) doing ‘whatever it is he does’. The same trustee had soon someone who I also thought to be a friend (and who really showed interest only after the building was there), jump on a call uninvited to suggest that I be removed. Even so, I kept going, confident that Gurudas prabhu was paying attention to ‘who is actually doing the needful’ and confident of his trust in me. After all it was four years of full on, complete and competent dedication.
It was my impression that we were doing real “devotee care”, to the best of the team’s ability, being that every-time I’d suggest more dedication I was soon corrected and preached to. So now we finally had the building in Vrindavan, and this, after a long time (4 years). During this time I had to personally defend the great VCC idea and its integrity online, by phone and emails, while pushing it with endless Fb posts and cool stuff online so to shake the community out of their hate toward anything related to ‘devotee care or neglect’ and especially “fundraising”. And often I had to personally inspire Gurudas prabhu to keep going.
After securing ‘single handed’ the Vrindavan building, and broadcasting the great news, creating all the promotional videos and materials regarding the VCC-Vrindavan fundraising campaign, our London Trustee kinda disappeared right after the second wave of “remove Aradhana’. And one can imagine that with everything else I was already doing, now there was more: like keeping up with sending proper emails to the many who came forward either for a paid position, or pushing to get in “by all means necessary”. Then a month ago, thank Krsna, two “real volunteers” (they’re precious) showed and that was beautiful. They were properly welcomed, cultivated and were working mostly with me and my husband till my resignation.
Inspired by Vrindavan, I went on to dedicate even more time to understand how to serve even better, so I did a dedicated assessment (as per the standards Matt and I defend) of the VCC services as it was provided over the past 10 months.
Seeing the assessment result and being a responsible and progressive CEO & Trustee, after a phone call, a detailed report was sent to Gurudas prabhu stressing the already ongoing serious need to re-structure the VCC. This would be the removal of one member and the slight shift of another. There was also the need and urgency to be aware and address the unacceptable ‘by hook or by crook’ fundraising tactics of a new comer, in saffron. Now I know how dangerous the sloka/tilaka/saffron/charm combination actually is.
I don’t remember any place where SRILA PRABHUPADA encouraged criminal activities, or even accepted cheating anyone out of their money in disguise of charity.
Obtaining no support from Gurudas prabhu to execute the re-structuring – rather getting a flat out rejection to do so – and to keep my integrity, if not that of the VCC as it was created (a fully independent “devotee care” initiative based on love and trust), I choose to resign (as did my husband). Before sending in my resignation letter I sent another detailed email outlining the need for internal changes and why. As Gurudas prabhu instead decided to keep unqualified and questionable characters onboard, I sent in my resignation. Matt did the same, yet still hoping that the photo book he gave loads of time to, would still go ahead.
Much too soon and without a phone call, Gurudas prabhu removed me from the VCC Bank account (one that I had started with all its demands/logistics and included him in) and went public (on his Roger Siegel Fb page) associating me with words like “politics, hate, hostile and vindictive”, so I texted him asking that we make the transition in private. This request was denied and his fb post was kept. Most likely you’re as shocked as I am and this is the reason you are now reading this.
Gurudas prabhu’s few words cannot describe the past four years.
Also, certainly most of us, who are not “blindly following” (as recommended by some in the movement) will understand. And many will condemn, gossip, etc. but if my above reasons are not enough to pack and leave, then what more reasons would one need?
The new team has enough of our work to “get on with their program”, and certainly they’re moving forward with a lot more then the 5% of their input and efforts. And our seva, done with so much love and care, mostly unappreciated by our very core team, will not be inherited by this new VCC; especially knowing that one is willing to encourage ‘criminal activities’, and the chosen leader (project manager) for the Vrindavan building has, in the past, hired (friends) unqualified doctors to serve the devotees in previous projects.
Furthermore – if the “VCC brand” is really for sale (and it’s looking like it is), then we can come to an agreement of “how much it’s actually worth”, then we’ll see if we wish to sell it. After that only Krishna knows if “devotee care” would even happen.
Do you know how easy it is to plaster a pretty photo online and show a one off success ‘devotee care story’ (done often) to encourage donors to give more? This is the very reason why we’ve had so few donors in the past, under 30 donors over all, mostly very small amounts.
So now, as always, I’ve personally written to all the ongoing VCC causes (one of them I’m still caring for as the main doctor is not doing it), donors, volunteers and team members, most of whom I’ve cultivated alone all these years; so my seva regarding the VCC is done. Srimati Radharani knows everyone’s seva, hearts, agendas, motivations and thoughts, and that is more then enough for Matt and I.
Lastly, please do not praise us at all (especially publicly) as that could be seen as hypocrisy, nor use my name or my husband’s for anything. Most definitely, we’re not for the new VCC ideals. And the activities that may be going on in the name of Vaishnava, devotee or spiritual seeker’s Care, is not our ‘cup of tea’.
Real Care is not given on a website.
Real Care is not given on Facebook.
Care is definitely not given with “your opinions”
So, if you will, please get off your computer, get on the phone or in your car and go care for someone in need.
THAT IS DEVOTEE CARE!!!
My close friends know where to find me and anyone else who feels like getting in touch please contact me (remember that I’ve no interest in gossip), at YogaMayaFilms.Com website. Thank you.
And if I’ve offended any Vaishnava, any other ‘human being’ or living entity in this endeavor, please forgive me.