settle their differences and pledge cooperation.
all my disciples must work combinedly and with cooperation
to spread this Sankirtan Movement.
If you cannot work together then my work is stopped
Society is like one big family and our relationships
should be based on love and trust. We must give
up the fighting spirit and use our intelligence to
(Letter from Srila Prabhupada to Upendra Prabhu,
dated 6 August 1970)
Hare Krishna. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada. All
Glories to Lord Nityananda
and Lord Caitanya.
The BBTI-Hansadutta court case is over. By the grace
of Krishna, the devotees involved were able to settle
the matter without need of a trial. On November 13,
the devotees appeared before the judge and placed their
settlement on record, thus putting their legal dispute
to an end.
In dispute had been several issues: Is the original
American BBT trust, founded by Srila Prabhupada in
1972, still valid? Is it the true owner of the copyrights
to Srila Prabhupada's literary works? And was Hansadutta
rightfully entitled to serve as a trustee?
After some eighteen months of researching, analyzing
and litigating the matter as adversaries, the devotees
began to see clearly that to reach a final and lasting
resolution, we had to shift from adversarial positioning
to spiritual cooperation. Accordingly, after several
weeks of intense negotiations, we reached an agreement
meant to satisfy our various concerns. It was this
agreement that was then officially accepted by the
The agreement reaffirms the validity of the Bhaktivedanta
Book Trust formed by Srila Prabhupada on May 29, 1972.
This was a legal California trust into which Srila
Prabhupada conveyed the copyrights to his books. All
sides agree that this trust is still legal and alive,
and that it is the true owner of Srila Prabhupada's
copyrights, as Srila Prabhupada desired.
This was an outcome upon which all the devotees, in
a spirit of cooperation, submitted their willingness
to agree. Now all sides are pleased to see Srila Prabhupada's
copyrights secure within this original trust.
Hansadutta Dasa, Veda Guhya Dasa, Bhagavan Dasa,
and Dasa Dasanudasa Dasa Dasi have voluntarily stepped
down from any role they might have had as trustees
of the 1972 trust. And all concerned have agreed that
now the trustees will be four trustees from the BBT
International: Brahma Muhurta Dasa, Naresvara Dasa,
Svavasa Dasa, and Jayadvaita Swami.
All parties agree that the
rightful beneficiary of the trust is the International
Society for Krishna
Consciousness, founded by Srila Prabhupada in 1966
and further defined by the GBC. (The "beneficiary" is
the person or organization that a trust is supposed
to benefit. So, for example, when the BBT allots funds
for constructing temples, they are to be used for the
With the validity of the California trust now reaffirmed,
what about the BBTI? Is it redundant? Is it useful?
Is it needed at all? It's too soon to say. For now,
the 1972 BBT trust will serve mainly as the safe shelter
for Srila Prabhupada's copyrights. And on its behalf
the BBT International will continue handling the active
side of BBT operations.
Meanwhile, devotee attorneys who opposed one another
in the case will work together to study how best to
take advantage of the two legal units--the BBT and
the BBTI--to serve Srila Prabhupada's desires. Gupta
Dasa (who served as the attorney on Hansadutta's side
of the case) will work on this with Amarendra Dasa
(who served on the ISKCON side).
Another part of the settlement is a liberal licensing
arrangement that allows for cooperative publishing.
Under this arrangement, Hansadutta Prabhu and the devotees
working with him will form a company that can publish
Srila Prabhupada's books in the editions published
before 1978. These will be available for sale in markets
where they won't directly compete with distribution
by the BBT and by ISKCON temples.
The theme is "cooperation, not competition." The
new company may also buy books from the BBT, or vice
versa. Or the two may work together on joint projects.
Finally, in recognition of the strong legal claims
and defenses presented by Hansadutta's side in the
case (both in America and in Singapore, where the matter
first started), the BBTI will reimburse Hansadutta,
and the devotees who supported him, for their attorney's
fees and costs.
Clearly, the devotees involved in this case were
able to settle their differences only by treating one
another respectfully, as spirit souls, servants of
Srila Prabhupada. They had to focus together on strengthening
and expanding--rather than weakening and limiting--the
The resolution of this lawsuit, a case full of emotionally
and spiritually charged issues, called for a great
deal of personal, emotional and spiritual healing between
the devotees involved. We hope that the spirit and
example of this unique resolution can now become a
model for resolving other controversies affecting the
Hare Krsna movement and its devotees.
We're all servants of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna,
and we're all meant to work cooperatively in their
service. Case closed, with pleasure. Hare Krishna.
Jayadvaita Swami and Gupta Dasa
With the agreement of all the devotees directly involved:
Akruranatha Dasa, Amarendra Dasa, Bhagavan Dasa,
Bhima Dasa (from Singapore), Brahma Muhurta Dasa, Dasa
Dasanudasa Dasa Dasi, Gopal Krishna Goswami, Gupta
Dasa, Hansadutta Dasa, Madhusevita Dasa, Naresvara
Dasa, Svavasa Dasa, Veda