Ravindra Svarupa and the Unelected Illegal GBC
"In the Direction of Management (written and notarized by Srila Prabhupada in 1970), he suggested that eight GBC be elected from the temple presidents every three years, and that four of the eight who win the election be retained on the body by choice. Theoretically, this means that two-thirds or more of the GBC could change every three years."
Ravindra Svarupa and the Unelected Illegal GBC
BY: ROUPA MANJARI DEVI DASI
Aug 16, 2010 — LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (SUN) — I was recently requested to comment on an article by Ravindra Svarupa dasa of the present unelected ISKCON GBC, published in May 2007, entitled "‘Centralization Critics Off Base,' Says GBC Leader".
For those of you who may not be aware, Ravindra Svarupa is the unelected, illegal GBC's "go-to man" for writing smooth-sounding propaganda to conceal or distort their disobedience of Srila Prabhupada's Instructions, and particularly His 1970 Direction of Management order, which calls for the election of all ISKCON GBCs to 3 year terms, by and from the Temple Presidents, seen with all correlative and corroborative texts here:
I will now answer this assertion of Ravindra Svarupa dasa (legal name: William Deadwyler) point by point, in regular text. His statements appear indented and italicized.
"Three areas of misunderstanding First, is the notable lack of awareness concerning how ISKCON in North America currently works. The web writers seem not to know how such bylaw revisions came to be proposed and formulated, and how they will eventually be adapted. Most if not all of the writers have had little if any regular participation in the life of ISKCON. It is a fact that those who have broken off from ISKCON tend to imagine it perpetually as it was during their last involvement, frozen in time. Hence the frequent astonishment of those who return after prolonged absence: "it's so different!" much of the writers' idea of what is happening now springs from their own lack of current experience."
The one and only way that ISKCON "works"—eternally—is by the Order of Srila Prabhupada, its Founder and Acharya. Deviation of any sort, to any degree, at any point in time, under any circumstance is wholly unacceptable. Simply positing that ISKCON policy and operation is something mutable or subject to time and place is an offense against Srila Prabhupada, who made clear that ISKCON was to function as He established it during the years of His appearance, with the Direction of Management, independent temples, etc., and stated in His will that:
"The system of management will continue as it is now. There is no need of any change."
In other words, forever. By this mandate, any person walking into any ISKCON temple, whether in the year 1982, 1992, 2002, or 5002, would experience an identical system of management, an identical spiritual atmosphere, and identical temple rules and regulations, as was seen in the years 1966-1977. However the ISKCON we see today is instead beset with constantly changing policies and standards, appointments and deletions, bribery in the form of salary, etc., to corroborate and vindicate the criminal actions of the illegal, non-elected GBC. Please be aware that this so-called "modernized system of management" is in total opposition to the desires of Srila Prabhupada and is therefore to be immediately rejected by all members of His ISKCON institution, and its agents, namely the non-elected, unauthorized "GBC", promptly expelled from their positions and replaced by the election of real ISKCON GBCs by the DOM.
"Second, none of the writers seem to know or remember clearly the actual management structure for ISKCON that Prabhupada set up. What was the line of authority in ISKCON during Srila Prabhupada's presence? What responsibilities did He lay upon the GBC? What powers did he want the GBC to exercise? A quick review of a few important documents should be sufficient to repair any failures of knowledge or memory."
The one and only "line of authority" in all matters pertaining to ISKCON is His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, as both faithful disciples as well as the US Court of Law will affirm, and the "quick review of a few important documents" means the suppressed Direction of Management, which would quickly invalidate this entire unauthorized statement by Ravindra Svarupa.
The reason critics of the unelected GBC, and almost everyone else until very recently, do not "know or remember clearly the actual management structure for ISKCON that Prabhupada set up" is because the GBC in 1970 made absolutely sure that this information, namely the Direction of Management order would never be seen by anyone, particularly the Temple Presidents for whom it was written, thereby eliminating Srila Prabhupada's decree for complete control of the GBC by election from and full accountability to the temple presidents.
In other words by neglecting to tell 10,000 members of ISKCON their rights given by Srila Prabhupada, they would be unable to demand them at any point in the future, thereby allowing the non-elected GBC to "make up history" as they saw fit, centralize ISKCON in direct opposition to Srila Prabhupada's desire for independent temples, and create through lies and manipulation the widespread belief that this was what Srila Prabhupada wanted, a belief which in the long absence of the unveiling of the Direction of Management, tragically persists to this day.
This is the sole reason that thousands of Gurukuli children were sexually and physically abused while their parents worked long hours distributing books, collecting money, giving their life and soul for Srila Prabhupada, all the while laboring under the illusion that their children were being well cared for and brought up as brahmins in the gurukula. Had the Direction of Management been implemented as Srila Prabhupada told ordered the GBC to do, no criminal in saffron could have gotten away even once with molesting a child. One infraction and the perpetrator would be immediately thrown out. Instead the coup formed by the GBC ensured that all children would be molested and thereby present no future threat to their centralized empire, and that is exactly what happened.
"Third, the writers have not bothered to inform themselves of the actual facts of the 1972 attempt to centralize. They have claimed the GBC is now "doing the exact same thing," but not only do they not know what is happening now, they seem to be ignorant also of what had happened then. A closer look at the 1972 incident will make it clear what Srila Prabhupada was specifically objecting to, and that will make evident the baselessness of the accusation that the GBC is "doing the exact same thing."
The reason they or anyone are uninformed of the "1972 attempt to centralize", or in other words, the illegal, unauthorized 1972 GBC meeting in New York, of which Srila Prabhupada was not informed nor to which He was invited, is because the meeting was closed and the minutes not revealed to anyone. For a closer look at this illegal meeting in which the 8 members of the GBC illegally appointed Atreya Rsi, a disciple with a background in centralizing organizations in Tehran, Iran, to the post of secretary, an action which Srila Prabhupada condemned and overruled, please view the following link:
The current non-elected GBC is undoubtedly "doing the exact same thing" of centralizing ISKCON as can be immediately seen from the 2009 ISKCON bylaws, outrageously claiming the GBC to be the "ultimate ecclesiastical authority" of ISKCON, that the GBC owns all the assets of ISKCON, and that the GBC is a separate corporation independent of ISKCON and registered in West Bengal, with its own annual "Oath of Allegiance" (separate from the Oath of Allegiance written by Srila Prabhupada and signed by His leading disciples) that each appointed GBC man must sign. The GBC of West Bengal has its own bylaws that are secret to the GBC and not public knowledge, which clearly exposes that they have created a secret society that no member of ISKCON is allowed to penetrate or understand.
Please read below for key points of these ISKCON "bylaws":
-----3. "GBC" refers to the Governing Body Commission, which is ISKCON's highest ecclesiastical authority. *The GBC is a distinct body, independent of this corporation, and operates under its own rules, regulations, and principles.* The GBC is registered in West Bengal, India, under the societies registration act, 1961, registration number s/74662, with its registered office located at P.O. Sri Mayapura Dhama, District Nadia, West Bengal, India.
---- b) To accept the Governing Body Commission as the ultimate ecclesiastical authority of ISKCON, as directed in Srila Prabhupada's last will and testament;
---- With respect to any ecclesiastical dispute between the Corporation and the GBC pertaining to the spiritual standards and activities of the Corporation, the GBC shall be the sole and final authority for resolving such disputes, and the corporation shall conform its activities, practices and religious standards to any relevant instructions given to it by the GBC.
---- Although the Corporation is incorporated under the laws of the state of ______________, the Corporation recognizes that all of its assets are held in trust for the GBC, which has a beneficial ownership in said assets. In the event that the GBC makes an ecclesiastical decision that the Corporation has deviated from the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and/or the ecclesiastical pronouncements of the GBC, the real and personal property of the Corporation shall revert to the exclusive control of the GBC until such time as the GBC appoints a new board of directors of the Corporation.
----4. Must annually sign the ISKCON oath of allegiance prescribed by the GBC;
----5. Must uphold the ecclesiastical rules, policies, resolutions and guidelines for ISKCON as determined by the GBC;
-----It shall be the duty of the directors to: 1. Perform any and all duties, both ecclesiastical and legal, imposed on them collectively or individually by the GBC laws
READ: DICTATORIAL POWER OVER ALL TEMPLES, CONGREGATIONS AND TEMPLE PRESIDENTS!
----1. The President of the temple may be removed or disciplined pursuant to the provisions set forth in article 7, section 8, subdivision 5 of these bylaws.
FORBIDDEN IN THE DIRECTION OF MANAGEMENT:
Page 5 line item 2: 8. "Removal of a Temple President by the GBC requires support by the local temple members."
"The ongoing effort to revise the bylaws is as much a product of the temple presidents as they are of the GBC."
This statement proves nothing. Temple Presidents that are paid salary will agree to whatever stipulations the GBC pose. What they (the TPs) do not yet understand is that they are and have been personally empowered by Srila Prabhupada to control the GBC by the terms of the DOM, that their duty is to vote in the GBC and replace them if necessary after 3 years in elected office, and that they are entitled to have independent temples and unlimitedly expand the Krishna Consciousness movement from their doorstep without fear of the GBC kicking them out and instating their own "yes-men".
"It had become clear that many temples had bylaws or articles of incorporation that did not embody Srila Prabhupada's chain of authority nor formally give the GBC the minimum powers of oversight needed to maintain the temples' spiritual and managerial standards—the crucial responsibilities that Srila Prabhupada held the GBC accountable for."
Srila Prabhupada placed the Direction of Management order into the Articles of Incorporation of both ISKCON Los Angeles and ISKCON of the Bay Area in 1975 and 1976 respectively, a fact which stands in glaring contradiction to Ravindra Svarupa's opinion that "many temples had bylaws or articles of incorporation that did not embody Srila Prabhupada's chain of authority". However considering that the GBC later (as in after 1977) removed the DOM from these two sets of Articles of Incorporation, it makes sense that they did so out of desire for greater than "minimum powers of oversight needed to maintain the temples' spiritual and managerial standards", which the Direction of Management completely curtailed.
Please view these two sets of Articles at the following links:
Is the point getting across?
As far as "chain of authority" is concerned, Ravindra Svarupa has apparently forgotten that in ISKCON, there is none. There is one commander – Srila Prabhupada – and everyone else servant, controlled by the system of checks and balances clearly delineated in the direction of management.
"The fact that the legal documents—often standard boilerplate texts provided by a local attorney—did not reflect the line of authority established by Prabhupada was simply regarded as one more case of the mismatch between the spiritual and the mundane. The mundane, tedious legal technicality did not really much matter."
These "boilerplate texts" were invented by inferior men as cheap substitutes for the Direction of Management in order to exercise some form of control over the temple, while still giving all power and money to the unelected GBC. Had it been the DOM and not "boilerplate texts", the temple devotees and their children would been protected from exploitation in all forms, and the GBC would have been doing its actual duty – upholding Srila Prabhupada's Standards, building new temples and maintaining existing temples, and becoming steeped in and clearly representing Srila Prabhupada's Views on all matters, not their own.
"The times, however, were a-changin'. When the GBC had attempted to remove a philosophically deviant temple president in India, exercising the responsibility placed on it by Srila Prabhupada, that president used Krishna's money to hire lawyers and go to the civil courts."
GBC cannot remove a TP without consent of the congregation. Who determined that he was "philosophically deviant" and why? Be specific.
"Then another ritvik proponent in India, by manipulating and twisting legal technicalities, managed to take a temple out of ISKCON. And then it happened right here in North America. Mundane legal technicalities had become suddenly important."
This vague, meaningless, sectarian form of writing has nothing to do with Srila Prabhupada or His Sublime Preaching Example. You will only find direct, clearly explained information in His Books and Instructions, such as in the Direction of Management, which establishes 100% of all legal operations within ISKCON, forever. There is no other valid order for such operations other than the order of Srila Prabhupada. To presume this is to commit Guru-avajna, disobedience to the Guru, and the first of the ten offenses against the Holy Name of Krishna.
Although he will not openly say so, Ravindra Svarupa is alluding in this statement to the Bangalore temple, headed by Madhu Pandit Prabhu.
There are now 28 centers in Bangalore, all of which strictly follow the direct orders of Srila Prabhupada.
They have established the Direction of Management and they elect their GBC members.
They have established a Prasadam distribution program that goes way beyond anything attempted by any temple in ISKCON, by which first class, clean, healthy, nutritious Prasadam is distributed to 1.5 million children in schools daily, hot and on shining stainless steel thalis, not cold slop served on leaf plates as other ISKCON "food for life" programs are prone to do.
Bangalore temple distributes more of Srila Prabhupada's unchanged books than all the other combined temples of India, whose book distribution, changed or unchanged, cannot compare to that of Bangalore.
"How can anyone curse them, when God does not curse them?"
"Such things were as much a concern for the temple presidents and it was for the GBC. So began a concerted, unified effort. All the current temple bylaws and articles were gathered together and reviewed, outside legal authorities were consulted, drafts of possible revisions were sent out to temple presidents and discussed, brought back for reworking, and sent out again. We aimed at consensus. Changes were adopted at recent meetings of the GBC and temple presidents with unanimous votes."
Srila Prabhupada's Will states:
"The system of management will continue as it is now. There is no need of any change." Clearly, Ravindra Svarupa does not have even the slightest regards for the direct order of Srila Prabhupada, and is confident that Srila Prabhupada's orders, such as His Will and Direction of Management can be eliminated with no effect on ISKCON's relationship to the Vaishnava Sampradaya and Krishna Himself. The "consensus" of the GBC as stated by Ravindra Svarupa has no more validity in the presence of the Supreme Lord than the worship of the golden calf had to the children of Israel fleeing Egypt, or Ravana creating a tower to ascend to heaven. Fallible human beings cannot replace divine orders with impunity. Every demon has thought that this could be done, and every demon has been defeated in his attempt to do so.
"As already noted, when the various temples in North America were incorporated, their bylaws and articles of incorporation were frequently off-the-shelf, boilerplate texts, provided by a local attorney, suitable for conventional American non-profit organizations. As a result, the formal legal documents of many temples did not reflect with sufficient clarity Prabhupada's directions regarding the authority of the Governing Body Commission, the local GBC secretary, and the temple president."
Because the DOM, which clearly delineates the power and position of the GBC and the Temple Presidents was rejected at the outset by the selfsame men Srila Prabhupada intended for it to control – the heretically ambitious members of the GBC, who had no desire to be subject to elections or the will of the Temple Presidents. Therefore, Ravindra Svarupa is correct -- they had no authorized system, viz., from Srila Prabhupada, by which to legally manage their individual centers, and instead of the authorized but rejected DOM, the GBC invented inferior, "as-needed" systems by which to continue to exercise their control while still (financially and otherwise) satisfying the Temple Presidents, who did not know of the existence of Srila Prabhupada's Order, giving them (the Temple Presidents) complete power over the GBC.
Srila Prabhupada wanted each ISKCON temple to be individually incorporated and legally and in all other ways separate from every other ISKCON temple, with its own "boilerplate", so that the incessant lawsuits launched against ISKCON due to the crimes of the GBC could not have taken place at all, due to each temple being a completely independent entity. The standardization of language created by Ravindra Svarupa and Co. has actually weakened ISKCON immeasurably and has, of course, projected the GBC into an absolute dictatorial power, completely opposite of the written and spoken desires of Srila Prabhupada, confirmed by signed and witnessed documents such as the DOM and Srila Prabhupada's second order for the DOM, the 1974 "Topmost Urgency" letter:
By the above declaration, the GBC were clearly obliged to state that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON's "ultimate ecclesiastical authority", and that the GBC are His humble and obedient servants, rather than the bald and outrageously offensive statement that the GBC is the "ultimate ecclesiastical authority" of ISKCON. The GBC is obliged to enact the Direction of Management, by which Srila Prabhupada's "ultimate ecclesiastical authority" is established in black and white. Instead, after 1977, the GBC went on to create their own concocted system of management, keeping themselves in positions of dictatorial power, with the result of widespread chaos, murder, child molestation, drug trafficking, embezzlement, and exploitation and disenfranchisement of Srila Prabhupada's sincere disciples on every level of every kind, many of whom were driven out of the ISKCON movement for disagreeing with the illegal policies of the GBC.
It seems a minor difference – Direction of Management? Directions of Management? – and yet the implications are enormous. The former indicates an entire cohesive plan for the eternal management of the ISKCON institution, while the latter implies a list of mere "guidelines". Considering the largely correct spelling, grammar and language of the piece I am analyzing, Ravindra Svarupa appears to be literate, and we do not believe he would make such a grievous mistake on such an imperative issue as the topic of the DOM, therefore we can only conclude this was a deliberate attempt on behalf of Ravindra Svarupa, by altering its title, to subliminally undermine the incredible import of this document.
Please check for yourselves what is the actual title of this document:
Ravindra Svarupa and has cohorts have created an extremely awkward situation for themselves. While on one hand rejecting the Direction of Management as Srila Prabhupada's Order for how the GBC is to act in relationship to the ISKCON temples, on the other hand, in 2004, the GBC testified in a court of law and into the court record that the GBC has no other founding document except the Direction of Management, and that everyone discusses the DOM and considers the DOM when making decisions, as seen here:
This testimony will come back to haunt GBC apologists, such as Ravindra Svarupa, who will be completely unable to reconcile the fact that the GBC has no other founding document except the DOM, as Badrinarayan stated before the Long Island court in 2004, with claims that in 1975 Srila Prabhupada Himself rejected the DOM.
"On the second day of the same meeting, this resolution was passed: 4) Resolved: there should be no change of [temple] presidents but difficulties should be worked out. In the case of an incorrigible president who 1) doesn't submit [monthly] reports or submits false reports 2) who misspends money 3) who doesn't follow regulative principles he must be changed. Three GBC men may decide on this in an urgent case and in a non-urgent case it may be done by majority vote of GBC by letter. This clearly shows how the GBC, being responsible for the management of the ISKCON, is given the power to remove a temple president in specific circumstances."
Actually this resolution clearly shows that there should be no change of Temple President - except in the case of dire circumstances.
Who wrote the language for this resolution? I doubt it was Srila Prabhupada. He was never once so crude. This "resolution" is nothing but "gray area" to be easily manipulated by unscrupulous persons such as the GBC to their own benefit. In other words, if they don't like what a Temple President is doing, they will cite this "resolution" and trump up sufficient charges to kick him out. The GBC meetings in Mayapur have frequently passed resolutions by certain GBC men packing the room with their followers to affect the vote. They have even made sure that those who might vote against their resolution were not present at the vote. Obviously the "three GBC" concept is nothing more than an invitation to create "kangaroo courts" to remove anyone for any reason by making claims as to their attitude towards the GBC. This can hardly have been a permanent desire by Srila Prabhupada as to how his movement would go on. In fact, any resolution that would lead away from Srila Prabhupada's fundamental and foundational requirement that temples and their presidents be completely independent from one another and the GBC, and cannot be seen as the actual desire of the spiritual master. In dire times there is certainly a need for emergency measures, particularly as in that year ISKCON was tending to "go to hell in a handcart".
Starting with the DOM, starting with Srila Prabhupada's desire for independent temples, starting with His clear and present desire that Temple Presidents elect the GBC, all other measures can rightly be seen as emergency precautions to prevent something worse from taking place.
Considering that a year or two before, Srila Prabhupada accused the selfsame GBC of "godless plan-making", it can hardly be imagined that in 1975 His trust in the GBC had increased to the degree that He would hand over all power and authority to men that He evidently did not trust -- a year or two before.
Ravindra Svarupa continues to cite a still-unproven "line of authority", but is missing the fact that the Direction of Management establishes an incorruptible system of checks and balances that allows no man to control any other. There is no "line of authority". The only "authority" in and of ISKCON is His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, to whom all others are subservient and equal to one another in ISKCON regardless of position or service. This is the overwhelming reality of Srila Prabhupada's preaching from His first day amongst us to His last. To pick out certain small words and try to upset the entire "applecart" of Srila Prabhupada's clear intent for His society is nothing more than a cheap trick, and would hardly be sustained in a court of law.
Whoever reads the "Oath of Allegiance" will immediately grasp that it was created to force unwilling and ambitious disciples to at least acknowledge in writing that Srila Prabhupada was their Spiritual Master and therefore their highest authority. This "Oath of Allegiance" was not created to augment the powers of the GBC, but to rather expose them as connivers and conspirators that must be held in check, and it is therefore of little surprise that "Srila Prabhupada showed particular concern about it". No oath of allegiance in history has been written for the glorification of the person taking the oath. It is designed to restrain such signers from their natural tendency to overtake and overwhelm the teaching of their spiritual master, even to the degree of declaring themselves the "ultimate ecclesiastical authority of ISKCON", when actually it is Srila Prabhupada who is and will always be the "ultimate ecclesiastical authority of ISKCON", and the GBC as clearly stated in the DOM, are to be perpetually His humble and eternal servants, not masters.
Ravindra Svarupa references the "Oath of Allegiance" and asks us to blindly believe that this is a means by which the GBC can obtain absolute authority within ISKCON as the "ultimate ecclesiastical authority of ISKCON".
We include the text below of the "Oath of Allegiance" signed by the GBC on March 27th, 1975.
Careful reading of the "Oath of Allegiance" draws us to the exact opposite conclusion that Ravindra Svarupa would ask us to believe. Every phrase in the "Oath of Allegiance" establishes in the most insistent terms that Srila Prabhupada – not the GBC – is the ultimate and final authority in all ecclesiastical, theological and managerial matters within ISKCON. There is no mention of extraordinary and overwhelmingly dominant powers being granted to the GBC by the text of this document.
Considering that Ravindra Svarupa is known to possess one of the highest intellects within ISKCON, his attempt to misuse the "Oath of Allegiance" to try to prove it to be the opposite of what it actually is, is disingenuous. The non-elected GBC has consistently misrepresented Srila Prabhupada's actual intent for completely independent temples and temple presidents by boldly lying about Srila Prabhupada's intent by stating that He had given up His true purpose in creating the Krishna Consciousness Movement by granting superpowers to the GBC, instead of leaving the power in the independent temples.
Historically, this technique is known as the "big lie". The idea behind the "big lie" is consistently repeating a falsehood openly and boldly until everyone is convinced that no one could say such a thing unless it were true.
This technique was introduced by the propaganda minister of Nazi Germany to delude and fool the German public.
Such cheap trick has obviously no place in Lord Caitanya's Sankirtan movement, represented by Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON.
Please read the "Oath of Allegiance" below, and compare it to what Ravindra Svarupa has written above.
You will find that his description is the opposite of Srila Prabhupada's purpose in writing the "Oath of Allegiance" for them to sign in 1975.
Oath of Allegiance
"I ...enter legal name and then initiated name - date of birth, at present residing at, particular nationality (i.e. American, German etc) do hear by solemnly affirm, declare and state as under as follows:
I state I have been elected or nominated a member of the Governing Body Commission/or Temple President - under the recommendation of my Guru Maharaja His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder, Acharya and Supreme Authority of the Krishna Consciousness Movement, under the banner of the ISKCON.
I state I have imposed all my faith, integrity and honesty in my aforesaid Guru Maharaja, with the result he is the sole responsible person and supreme authority of my present position and status which I have gained and I am holding in the organization of ISKCON.
I, the said - enter legal and initiated name - do hear by swear in the name of Krsna that I will bear truth and allegiance to the constitution, by laws, rules and regulations and directives which have been given, including the 4 regulative principles (listed) chanting of 16 rounds very seriously or directions given me directly by my aforesaid Guru Maharaja, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, or through his authorized person or persons, and I shall obey faithfully all instructions and directions, which shall be binding on me and that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of my Guru Maharaja, His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada and the managing body commission and or any other body appointed by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, working under the said International Society for Krishna Consciousness and I shall faithfully discharge the duty upon which I am about to enter or have already been appointed to that effect.
I further pledge that His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada is the only source of authority, represented by his instructions and books and I shall follow his instructions only - of these books. "
There is no part of this "Oath of Allegiance" which does not make absolutely clear that Srila Prabhupada, and Srila Prabhupada alone is the Source of Authority for all matters pertaining to and of ISKCON including management, an inconvenient fact for Ravindra Svarupa, which is why he only references the Oath without actually including it in his ludicrous assertion, as it would quickly and completely discredit his claims to any independent authority on behalf of the GBC. By this Oath signed by all members of the Governing Body Commission, the GBC remains totally dependent upon Srila Prabhupada's Word for 100% of its actions, and if those actions should fall even slightly away from the Direct Order of Srila Prabhupada and His Exalted Vani, then they are to be wholly rejected as heresy and blasphemy against His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.
"We can plainly see, then, how Prabhupada wanted a clear line of authority extending from him to the GBC body, from the GBC body to the individual zonal secretaries, from each secretary to the temple president."
Nowhere in the writings or instructions of Srila Prabhupada are the words "clear line of authority" and as stated above, the only authority in ISKCON, signed and affirmed by each and every member of the ISKCON GBC, is Srila Prabhupada. I challenge Ravindra Svarupa to produce even one statement by Srila Prabhupada that supports this concoction.
The Direction of Management clearly establishes that Srila Prabhupada's sense of "power" is from the bottom up, not from the top down.
Those who wish to justify their desire for totalitarian power over others always try to indicate that they are doing this "for the good of the people", whether the people like it or not.
This is not what Srila Prabhupada wanted.
"It seems, however, that some may have come to prefer our unintentionally acquired legal structure as being more "democratic" and less "hierarchical." We should carefully take note that such a structure was certainly not preferable to Srila Prabhupada, who clearly established a descending line of authority."
There is not once instance that Srila Prabhupada indicated that He wanted a hierarchy of authority within the body of His own disciples and to posit that He did, in the face of numerous statements both written and spoken to the contrary, is heretical and blasphemous. The only higher authority for the GBC to obey is the written words of His Vani, and it is the GBC's sacred duty to represent Srila Prabhupada as the Absolute Authority that He is and always will be, without adding or subtracting anything.
Srila Prabhupada never asked for "ultimate ecclesiastical authority". In fact, He never used the word "ecclesiastical" at all. It is a word derived solely from the structure of the Catholic Church, and has no relationship to Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON, or the disciples of Srila Prabhupada within ISKCON, at all.
Please view the following quote from Srila Prabhupada, which condemns hierarchy and therefore Ravindra Svarupa's concocted notion of "line of authority".
Srila Prabhupada: It is not exactly the hierarchy, but in the Christian method, Roman Catholic method, the process of the Pope, Archbishop, and..., that is very nice. There is no objection of us. But our point is that Krishna Consciousness is lacking. In spite of all arrangement, if people lost faith in God, so simply by hierarchy, what is the benefit there? There is no benefit. You see? Bambarambhe laghu-kriya, in the Sanskrit word, that you can make a very high-grade arrangement, but the result is zero. So that hierarchical arrangement is exactly not in Krishna Consciousness. (Interview -- September 24, 1968, Seattle)
Please view the following quote from Srila Prabhupada in His letter to Karandhar das, who was one of the three witness signers on the Direction of Management, on the subject of centralization and management of temples, to determine Srila Prabhupada's position on "authority" in His ISKCON Movement:
"Regarding your points about taxation, corporate status, etc., I have heard from Jayatirtha you want to make big plan for centralization of management, taxes, monies, corporate status, bookkeeping, credit, like that. I do not at all approve of such plan. Do not centralize anything. Each temple must remain independent and self-sufficient. That was my plan from the very beginning, why you are thinking otherwise? Once before you wanted to do something centralizing with your GBC meeting, and if I did not interfere the whole thing would have been killed. Do not think in this way of big corporation, big credits, centralization—these are all nonsense proposals. Only thing I wanted was that books printing and distribution should be centralized, therefore I appointed you and Bali Mardan to do it. Otherwise, management, everything, should be done locally by local men. Accounts must be kept, things must be in order and lawfully done, but that should be each temple's concern, not yours. Krishna Consciousness Movement is for training men to be independently thoughtful and competent in all types of departments of knowledge and action, not for making bureaucracy. Once there is bureaucracy the whole thing will be spoiled. There must be always individual striving and work and responsibility, competitive spirit, not that one shall dominate and distribute benefits to the others and they do nothing but beg from you and you provide. No. Never mind there may be botheration to register each centre, take tax certificate each, become separate corporations in each state. That will train men how to do these things, and they shall develop reliability and responsibility, that is the point."
For the rest of this letter, please view:
Srila Prabhupada is quite unmistakably clear in these two statements, and Ravindra Svarupa's conclusion of an outside, top-down "line of authority" in ISKCON, when contrasted with them, can be described as absurd at best, and heinous at worst.
"What Prabhupada wanted may now have been forgotten or misunderstood. During the 80s, in a number of temples or congregations, disillusionment with higher authorities led to provisions of their accidentally acquired bylaws to be more and more put into actual practice. Subsequently, some temple presidents found themselves in thrall to a board of directors or a congregation whose knowledge of or commitment to Prabhupada's standards and teachings was weak. This is precisely the kind of situation Srila Prabhupada desired to prevent."
Actually, the GBC, by declaring themselves to be the "ultimate ecclesiastical authority of ISKCON" have shown themselves to be the ones devoid of "knowledge of or commitment to Prabhupada's standards and teachings".
Does Ravindra Svarupa demand that the "blind" lead those who can see more clearly than them? Not one normal disciple of Srila Prabhupada who has read His Books would conclude in any situation or in any case, that Srila Prabhupada wanted an "ultimate ecclesiastical authority". Those capable of inventing such a preposterous concept have proven themselves unqualified to lead.
The reason "what Prabhupada wanted may now have been forgotten or misunderstood", as Ravindra Svarupa well knows, remains the same – the GBC silenced Srila Prabhupada in the criminal disobedience of His Direction of Management order of 1970, which perfectly and succinctly stated the operations of ISKCON and its GBC forever. The 1970 GBC quickly realized that their insidious plan for takeover of ISKCON would be completely curtailed by the terms of the Dom –hence why it was written—and therefore betrayed Srila Prabhupada and every member of ISKCON by hiding the document for 40 years, all the while lying and pretending that Srila Prabhupada empowered them to act as authority, when in fact Srila Prabhupada did no such thing, and in fact blatantly condemned such an idea. When 4 years later, Srila Prabhupada discovered that His Direction of Management order had been rejected by the GBC, Srila Prabhupada immediately issued His "Topmost Urgency" letter in 1974, re-stating His absolute order to the GBC to immediately incorporate the Direction of Management. Again the order was rejected by the ISKCON GBC, and hidden from the ISKCON public.
"No honest, well-informed person can find any such attempt at centralization in the current undertaking. We all understand and accept Prabhupada principles of management and fully realize the need for local empowerment and autonomy. At the same time, we also understand that Prabhupada ordered the GBC to exercise certain spiritual and managerial authority over the temples. He obviously did not see these two—local autonomy and GBC authority—as mutually exclusive."
Is that so? In that case, how does Ravindra Svarupa explain the 2009 GBC resolutions in which the GBC is stated to be a West Bengal corporation completely independent of ISKCON with compete control of ISKCON's assets, and proclaims itself the "ultimate ecclesiastical authority" of ISKCON (language that cannot be found anywhere in the writings of Srila Prabhupada, but can and is found in the edicts of the Catholic Church)?
In addition, the "GBC Society of West Bengal" asserts that they operate under a completely different structure than the bylaws of ISKCON that they forced the Temple Presidents to sign. They further state that their own governance is secret unto themselves, and not for the public to review.
This is correct – and the nature and form of that "managing" is clearly defined in unmistakable terms in Srila Prabhupada's 1970 Direction of Management, aka the founding document of the GBC, aka the "Constitution of ISKCON" (so hailed by Rupanuga Prabhu immediately after it was introduced by Srila Prabhupada in 1970 in San Francisco after Ratha Yatra), stating the purpose, jurisdiction, and election of all ISKCON GBCs for 3 year terms after the departure of Srila Prabhupada.
NOTE: THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT SRILA PRABHUPADA DID NOT WANT ELECTIONS ARE THE UNELECTED GBC.
"In accordance with Vaisnava principles, our congregations tend to be open and growing. We try to increase their commitment to and involvement with the strict teachings and practices as given by Srila Prabhupada. Yet many in our congregations have various degrees of other allegiances: to other gurus and teachers, to traditional practices of ethnic Hindu communities, to "new age" teachings and practices, to non-ISKCON Gaudiya communities, to other assorted novel concocted teaching and spiritual fads, and so on. Most of us have seen, here or there and now and then, one or the other of such congregational factions become influential in a temple or its community to the detriment of Srila Prabhupada teachings. Most temples allow a regular voice to congregational members (in the form of "temple support group" or "advisory board"), and they encourage participation and even leadership in many activities. This is all to the good, but the temples need at the same time to be able to strongly protect and maintain the integrity of Srila Prabhupada's teaching, should it come to that. This is an important consideration in the current effort to improve the legal temple documents."
Good point. The only reason such bogus fads, practices and their proponents even exist in any ISKCON temple is due to the fact that the non-elected, non-representational "GBC" has completely failed to keep themselves, what to speak of others, faithful to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. If this hierarchical system is so effective, then why has it failed to produce the desired result? Had the GBC read the "fine print" of the Direction of Management, they would have learned that their only duty was to selflessly and transparently represent the teachings of Srila Prabhupada's Vani, and not add, subtract, or concoct their own deviations from Srila Prabhupada's Teachings.
"If the parents smoke, the children will smoke". If the GBC concocts, then the temple members will feel they also have a license to concoct.
The unelected GBC defied the DOM order that plainly states their purpose as elected executors of the standards and will of the Acarya Srila Prabhupada:
"1. The GBC oversees all operations and management of ISKCON, as it receives direction from Srila Prabhupada and His Divine Grace has the final approval in all matters."
-Page 4 line item 7 of the Direction of Management
"6. The primary objective of the GBC is to organize the opening of new temples and to maintain the established temples."
-Page 4 line item 28 of the Direction of Management
Because there is no Direction of Management, the GBC accepts all forms of deviation as mentioned above by Ravindra in order to keep the donations flowing in by people who endorse them.
Book distribution, Sankirtan parties and new ISKCON memberships presently exist at an all-time low.
The unelected GBC has to keep those few wealthy donors who still support ISKCON "happy" by compromising the infallible standard of Srila Prabhupada, and watering it down with bogus ideas from unauthorized sources.
The other purpose for presenting unauthorized, bogus practices and fads is so that the unelected GBC can continue to eliminate Srila Prabhupada, His Vani, and His Sound Vibration in the form of Kirtan from ISKCON, thereby making all prospective newcomers dependent on them (the unelected GBC) instead of Srila Prabhupada (the Founder-Acarya) for their understanding and conclusions of all matters pertaining to ISKCON, and this includes to whom to give their donations and for what purpose.
With changed Books, bogus non-Prabhupada kirtan, and no Direction of Management, it is extremely easy to control the trusting devotees, who do not even realize that they are being misled, and that is why thousands of ISKCON devotees today defend the very people who control and abuse them – the unelected illegal GBC.
The GBC, far from unifying ISKCON, has created the basis of unlimited deviations from the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, due to the fact that they have deviated in every key way, in direct opposition to the conclusions of the Vaishnava Sampradaya.
Soon, there will be enlightened Temple Presidents, and re-directed wealthy donors, who will realize that the Direction of Management is pure and powerful, and they will take that empowerment to their hearts, and elect the GBC, leaving the present "GBC" with no further duties to perform. They can retire.
Eternally in the Service of my Spiritual Master,
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness,
Roupa Manjari devi dasi
Please also see:
Direction Of Management
What is the Direction of Management [DOM] ?
Direction Of Management For An Elected GBC