Sridevi dd, asks about ISKCON’s clear stand on investing in the share market in any form
March 15th, 2011

Is it a breach of the principles?… and other questions.

42 Responses to “Sridevi dd, asks about ISKCON’s clear stand on investing in the share market in any form”

  1. Madhupati dasa says:

    Dear Guru Maharaja,
    Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

    The question whether investing in the stock market constitutes a breach of the regulating principle of refraining from gambling has interested me for quite some time.
    It is a complex question and I do not have the philosopher’s stone in my pocket, either. Still, there are some aspects worth considering:
    1). Companies: back in the 17th to 19th centuries, companies limited by shares (like East India Company etc.) were founded because such ventures needed more capital than one or a few rich people could put together, therefore the small investors’ monies were gathered. The motivation of the small investors was the expectation of the dividend; in other words, they shared the risk of the venture and got a share in the profits.

    In the modern stock market, dividend is the least important factor. The biggest corporations, IBM, Coca Cola etc. rarely pay dividends and if they do, those are too skinny alone to pay for the risk taken by the investors. Practically all investors invest because they expect the share price to increase and they plan to realise a profit on the fluctuation of the share price which depends only to a small extent on the profitability of the company; rather, it is changing in line with the speculative expectations of other investors, among many factors.

    As far as I am concerned, when I had funds to invest, I used to buy real estate, specifically, apartments. Such investment is not speculative; they are assets that exist in reality (as their name suggests) unlike certain financial “products” that are so complex that even those who sell them don’t understand them. The latter make the financial system extremely volatile, as the developments in October, 2008 clearly showed. Real estate also have the advantage that they can be rented out, producing an income while the investor can hang on to the asset…

    Gold and similar metals (silver, platinum) involve no questions similar to the above. However, I do not think they offer quick returns, rather, bullion is good to keep or increase the value of an investment in the longer run.

    Your servant,

    Madhupati dasa

  2. Payonidhi das says:

    dear Sivarama Swami
    Please accept my humble obaisences
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada
    Obviously for sannyasis to do such business is out of line.
    Real Sannyasis renounce wealth to do such things in the name of yukta vairagya is crazy.Srila Prabhupada obviously would never have approved of it.
    It is more than sad this addiction to wealth by some in the renounced order of life.In the case of Harikesa he invested
    disciples money and then later got married and fell down.
    It should be seen as a way to falling down, because this is what it is.Not the duty of sannyasis but of vaisyas in the grhastha asrama .Even for them as devotees they should not waste time in such gamble.
    your servant
    Payonidhi das

  3. Payonidhi das says:

    dear Sivarama Maharaja
    Please accept my humble obaisences
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada
    As devotees we should always keep these prayers of queen Kunti in mind:
    SB 1.8.26: My Lord, Your Lordship can easily be approached, but only by those who are materially exhausted. One who is on the path of [material] progress, trying to improve himself with respectable parentage, great opulence, high education and bodily beauty, cannot approach You with sincere feeling.

    SB 1.8.27: My obeisances are unto You, who are the property of the materially impoverished. You have nothing to do with the actions and reactions of the material modes of nature. You are self-satisfied, and therefore You are the most gentle and are master of the monists.
    your humble servant
    Payonidhi das

  4. Payonidhi das says:

    “Sannyasi stockholders”

    Dear Sivarama Swami,
    Please accept my humble obaisences
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada

    It has come to our attention that a certain sannyasi in ISKCON invests in the stockmarket in the name of Yukta vairagya. Take some money from “disciples” and invest it.There is only one word for it:”MAYA”.This reflects badly on those sannyasis that are strict.And in my opinion this is most sannyasis in ISKCON.Most of us will agree on that. Sannyasis is an asrama of few possessions .Actually Srila Prabhupada allowed disciples to ,to some extend to use laxmi for monuments to him, like in New Vrindavan.However Srila PRabhupada never lived in this Palace.However the neophyte disciples makes a show of opulent worship to the Guru in the hope he will have the same.This is strictly against the teachings of Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Prabhupada, lets not forget Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada. Only the greatest degraded person can imagine Srila Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada approving of a sannyasi investing in the stock market,it is simply fraud in capital letters:”FRAUD”.

    In the case of our former (socalled ) Guru, Harikesa, he also did this and at the same time developed attachment for women though a sannyasi and he got married to a socalled female disciple and left ISKCON with many millions of dollars.Now recently the GBC members swore that laxmi they have obtained should not leave ISKCON in case they do….ouchhhh.First of all there is no garantie if a fallen “Guru” finds a female disciple he likes and he has enough money for life he will not leave.What guaranties is there?.Are sannyasis above the law?Where is the sannyasa ministry? Maybe this is the reason that sannyasa is forbidden in kali yuga, Srimad Bhagavatam 12 Canto also states that sannyasis in kali yuga often are overly eager to accumalate money .I have often seen this in my 32 years as a devotee. The argument is :”We are doing this for Krsna”, my rebuttal is:” No it is for yourself to enhance you prestige and wealth both are enemies of Bhakti”.

    Have we not read Vaisnava Ke or Srila Prabhupadas Vaysa puja offering from 1961,where he chastised some of his god brothers for collecting wealth? Srila Prabhupada points out that grhasthas go to such sannyasis and beg for money and why not, they have crores of rupees in the bank . Here in US one devotee told me how his Guru gave him cash money to buy a house, and he is praying him back with interests,This is not even legal
    according to US laws, however the same sannyasi has been a GBC chairman .These few rotten apples may spoil the rest as Kali yuga goes on. We can clearly understand that such persons are not on the spiritual platform, and that they are rejected by Lord Caitanya and His Parampara. (for that matter any strict vaisnava sampradaya). Harikesa promised us” disciples” he would build us some facilities in Mayapure so in old age we could retire in peace and do sadhana bhakti. Did he try to” catch the fish and simply got wet “by his stockholder investments, (from money all by foolish disciples), or is it more that he used these
    foolish disciples to become rich?The answer is obviously yes.I will not pay my obaisences to a fraud in the name of sannyasi that is addicted to wealth I will not even look at him or talk to him ,I reject him and pray to Surya to purifie my vision should I see such a sinful man,dressed as a sannyasi. The GBC should kindly make a list so persons like myself and others can avoid such offenders to the sannyasa asrama. As Aindra Prabhu would have said:”SHAME ON THEM”.Let them walk with a sign in Mayapure that says: “I invest in stocks”.Even strict grhasthas do not gamble like this.Deenabhandhu Prabhu told me one sannyasi recently also lost 6 -7 million dollars doing this, so it is also gambling. Does the GBC expect us to see such persons as its representatives ?The GBC should clearly explain this, but they can not as they can not control
    these persons, that are out of control. so the next best thing, make the oath of” financial chastity”.What a joke really. But I am not laughing.Are we envious or jealous of such persons, certainly not, we pity them at the bottom of our hearts, they are far away from pure bhakti, with their sakama bhakti behavior.
    But theire sakama disciples also see nothing wrong with this as that is also their motivation,anyone who thinks this is ok is surely a sakama devotee. And yes the karmis are right in one sense, never give to the Guru ( because he will hang himself with this money),better is to beg chapaties and chant peacefully than this animal life. The blind is leading the blind for sure,I have brought a sunlight here,those who can see will see, others stay in the fraud of selfdeception.

    I like HH Gopal Krsna Maharaja who flies economy class and rejects fancy cars for himself and has no personal house, and does not invest in stocks ,there is 2 sannyasis(maybe more) and they should learn from him and other sannyasis, they know who they are….the question is will the GBC do anything?
    Queen Kunti has advised against this attachment to wealth as one can not feelingly call out to Krsna,Jesus Christ used to say ,it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. This is not a time to stick the head in the sand..but do you have any suggestions to what can be done on GBC level?

    your humble servant
    Payonidhi das

  5. HareKrishna,

    So, answer is, we can not invest in share market in any form…

    i got my answer, thanks.

    Gaur Gadadhar das

  6. Please see Srila Prabhupada’s Codicil to his Will dated June 5th 1977 wherein he instructs the executor’s of his will to purchase fixed income government bonds for his grhasta family. Also look at his instructions for the Bhaktivedanta Charity Trust -” It must be invested in fixed deposits or government bonds.” There is no need to speculate. Room Conversation — October 30, 1977, Vrndavana.
    By asking what is ISKCON’s policy on investing in the share market in any form, I would suggest more clarity is required. If the question is should ISKCON or its related non profit organizations invest in the share market we can look to Srila Prabhupada’s direction regarding the BCT wherein fixed income and government bonds are acceptable. Regarding and individual member of ISKCON the direction is less defined as it should be.

    Common sense tells us when a responsible householder starts a new venture to support his family he is “investing” in a business which by all risk management measures is much more speculative than investing in an established company with a track record of success. Yet, we see that going on all the time. Also the notion that “real estate” is real value has recently been exposed as speculative as well in recent times. Also, by simply placing your money in the bank you are in effect providing the bank with your money so they can investment in different investments which include; mortgages, corporate bonds, corporate stocks, government bonds and a host of other complex “speculative investments.”

    So from an individual householder position I would suggest one look at their values, risk tolerance, investment time frame and seek advise from a qualified “Financial Advisor” to build a well diversified portfolio should they have money to invest as a means to provide for their family during and after leaving this temporary physical body.
    Krishna Gopal das