The ISCKON's spokesperson has denied any association with Rupesh Gauranga Das whose video giving a speech on the Varna system went viral. However, he was involved with ISCKON at least as far back as 2016.
Recently, a video of a young man speaking about the 'Varna' system and describing the roles and importance of each 'Varna' is being widely shared on social media targetting ISCKON for promoting castism. In the video that raised many eyebrows, one could hear Rupesh Gauranga Das, a disciple affiliated with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), detailing the mythological view that humanity originated as four parts — consisting of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras.
Here is the transcript of Rupesh's speech,
It is said that Brahmanas are the head of the society. Then the Vaishyas — then the Kshatriyas, are like the hands of the society. Then the Vaishyas are the chest or the stomach of the society. And the Shudras are the leg, you know?
We know in the human body, all the parts are very much equal. We do not say these legs are least important of all. No, we cannot say like that. Similarly, in the social caste system, we cannot disrespect. We cannot say that we do not need the Shudra. We need the Shudra to do the services to all the three Varnas and Ashramas like that.
So, just take an example of any educational university.
In the educational university, we have, you know, the top-class professors, which can become part of the Brahmana. We require them also. In the educational university, we have the administrative class, who are administrating everything. They can be compared to Kshatriyas. Then we have the people who are taking care of the, you know, fee structure and collecting all the fees like that. Now, money-related matters, they can become part of the Vaishyas.
We cannot stop here only. We need the people who are service-oriented. We need the peons also. Peon, here, can be compared to the Shudra.
So if we want the society to function well, we need to you know, follow this Varnashrama system. We must have the Shudra also. We are not derogating or disrespecting people by saying they are the Shudra, you know? But they are also equal, responsible part of the society like that."
Journalist Prashant Kanojia was among many people who shared the video. While sharing the video, Kanojia wrote in Hindi, "The caste system should remain. These are ISKCON ones. Training students to become a donkey."
Comedian Kunar Kamra also shared the video saying these are the people who did not allow people to enjoy their religious rights and they want to keep doing so.
However, after the video went viral, Radharamn Das, Vice President & Spokesperson ISKCON denied any links with the video and what has been said in the video. Issuing the clarification Radharamn, "It came to our notice that some people like @PJkanojia @kunalkamra88 are using a video of a boy and making false statements. We don't know who this boy is. Connecting him with ISKCON & making false comments will result in strong legal action."
Further, in a series of tweets, Radharamn explained ISCKON's stand on the 'Varna' system.
While replying to a Twitter user who shared the same video, social media in-charge of ISCKON, Gaurav Mohnot wrote, "Stop your fake propaganda! Who is this guy? As the Social Media head of @IskconInc, I will like to put the record straight. This guy doesn't belong to @iskconinc temples."
However, further investigation revealed that the official Twitter account of Hare Krsna TV (a devotional media network that broadcasts content from ISCKON) indicates that Rupesh Gauranga Das was involved with ISCKON at least as far back as 2016. The video has now been taken down from the YouTube channel.
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