हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण - कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे - हरे राम हरे राम - राम राम हरे हरे - हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण - कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे - हरे राम हरे राम - राम राम हरे हरे             Please always chant     <--     Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa  -  Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare  -  Hare Rāma Hare Rāma  -  Rāma Rāma Hare Hare
Srila Prabhupada: 'All GBC Orders are Suspended until Further Notice'

All GBC Orders are Suspended until Further Notice

Jan 17, USA (SUN)In 1972 Srila Prabhupada wrote the following letter to all ISKCON temples in response to an attempt by the then deviating GBC to create an ISKCON umbrella corporation. Srila Prabhupada stated that "under these circumstances" we should completely reject the GBC authority - the exact circumstances which have again manifested today:

"Under these circumstances, I authorize you to disregard for the time being any decision from the GBC men until my further instruction. Finally, I beg to repeat that all GBC orders are suspended herewith by me until further notice." Srila Prabhupada Letter to all temple presidents (April 8, 1972)

For years the GBC has been passing resolutions each year in Mayapur over countless ISKCON temples located throughout the world. Sometimes they "remove" a leader of one of those temples, or sometimes they order a re-vote for board members, or sometimes they ban various doctrines from the temple premises. What the GBC doesn't want to tell you is that nothing they do is legally binding to any temple in the world.

Legally the "GBC" is a recently formed "society" registered in West Bengal, India, under the Societies Registration Act of West Bengal. What control does some society in West Bengal have over religious corporations registered in the United States and other countries? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

In the United States, religious organizations form a board of directors when they are registered, and they put their main principles of operation in their Bylaws. Generally the only people who have power over these temples are the local board members. No other organization (such as a society in India registered under the West Bengal Society Act) has any legal control over these religious corporations at all. Thus it is almost comical for the GBC Society of West Bengal to pass resolutions "removing" local temple presidents from power, or "removing" board members from the board of directors. This is completely illegal, and the only way they can get away with it is if they trick the local temple members into thinking they that have legal control over the temples (something which they do not have).

Now having realized that they have no legal control over temples in the United States and elsewhere, the GBC is trying to trick the temple board members to add an amendment into their bylaws stating that the GBC society of West Bengal is the ultimate authority for the temple. What ever you do, do not fall for this trick. Srila Prabhupada was furious when the GBC tried to form an ISKCON umbrella corporation, and he completely disbanded the GBC as a result. Today the GBC is trying to do the exact same thing by adding this amendment into the bylaws of all temples throughout the world.

Srila Prabhupada wanted each temple to be registered as a separate legal entity, locally managed by the devotees serving in that temple. He never wanted an umbrella corporation to be created. The GBC have no legal control of any ISKCON temple and should not be given any legal control. They are not a legal body for controlling temples, that is what the Board of Directors of each individual temple are for.

The GBC first started their attempt at the umbrella corporation in reply to the Turley lawsuit. Rather than let each temple face the court case individually (which is what Srila Prabhupada clearly wanted for ISKCON), they presented a claim that ISKCON is one huge legal corporation with branches throughout the world. There is no such ISKCON in legal existence. In every case, each temple has been registered individually as a separate religious organization.

The benefits of individual temple corporations are obvious. As separate individual corporations, no one can legally attack ISKCON as a whole and thereby force the liquidation of ALL temples to pay for legal settlements. Now that the GBC has scammed the devotee community and presented ISKCON as an umbrella corporation, they are requiring each individual temple to submit monthly legal fees to pay for the court cases (I have original letters from the ISKCON legal department demanding payment from tiny unrelated temples in third world countries). That means that some unrelated temple in Africa or India has to send money to the GBC legal fund every month to pay for a court case that should have only been against one or two temples in the United States.

The GBC has sold out ISKCON in favor of power. Rather than let one single temple in the U.S. declare bankruptcy and arrange a small settlement, they have instead made an imaginary ISKCON umbrella corporation declare bankruptcy on behalf of all ISKCON temples in the world. After a few years when ISKCON "comes out of bankruptcy" there will be a whole new line of lawsuits ready to hit ISKCON, and at that time the bill will go to all the local temples throughout the world. There is no limit to what the ISKCON umbrella corporation can be sued for. People can sue ISKCON for anything as trivial as slipping on a wet floor - and for that temples will need to be closed around the world! Srila Prabhupada did not want an umbrella corporation for this exact reason. Literally anyone who has ever served in ISKCON has a legitimate legal case against ISKCON for exploitation, abuse or any other complaint. As an umbrella corporation ISKCON will never escape its legal woes.

Then the question naturally comes, "Why would ISKCON do such a foolish thing?" The reason is because the GBC wants absolute control over the temples and devotees. They have recently seen Srila Prabhupada's original New York ISKCON incorporation reject their flimsy legal authority and follow the Ritvik doctrine. Legally the GBC could do nothing, as the temple board of directors legally held absolute power over that religious corporation. The GBC realized that a society in West Bengal has absolutely no say over the management of a U.S. registered religious corporation. Now in response to this realization the GBC is trying to trick temples into forming an umbrella corporation by adding the above mentioned resolution to their bylaws. What ever you do, do not fall for this. You will destroy ISKCON if you do it.

Another major legal point that has come out of this is that no one actually has legal ownership over the name or phrase ISKCON. There is no true legal umbrella corporation called ISKCON, so anyone can use this name as they like provided they follow their local incorporation laws. For example, there are probably around 100 registered religious corporations in the United States that use this phrase ISKCON in their name ("ISKCON of New York, ISKCON of LA, ISKCON of the Bay Area, ISKCON of....") None of these 100 or so religious corporations are legally connected to each other. There is no legal mother corporation who oversees all the 100 temples. Thus each of these 100 registered corporations that use the name ISKCON are legally independent and each has a legal right to use the name ISKCON.

Further, the original ISKCON incorporation that Prabhupada formed in 1966 is legally against the GBC, and is run by Ritviks. Thus any argument by the GBC that the name ISKCON is owned by Prabhupada's original ISKCON organization incorporated in New York in 1966 automatically removes themselves from any control over the name ISKCON. In other words, the GBC has absolutely no legal claim to the name ISKCON, other than through their recently fabricated umbrella corporation. But legally this corporation cannot be traced to the original ISKCON incorporated by Srila Prabhupada. Thus anyone is legally free to incorporate another religious organization under the name ISKCON and run it independently from the GBC - and this has been the very way that all ISKCON temples have been incorporated till date. There is no mother organization that authorizes someone to use the name ISKCON, and there has never been any such organization.

In conclusion, I would suggest ISKCON devotees should join together and file a court case against the GBC and ISKCON leaders for illegally fabricating a nonexistent umbrella corporation which has resulted in the complete ruin and bankruptcy of ISKCON temples throughout the world. This illegal seizing of legally registered corporations (individual temples) can be challenged in court, and ISKCON leaders can be held accountable and forced to pay restitution to local ISKCON temples and communities. I would suggest all temples to bring this matter up with their Indian congregations and take their support to fight against this illegal move on the part of the GBC.

What the GBC is doing is trying to put absolute power into the hands of a few individuals, some of whom have shady pasts and even murder allegations against them. What would have happened if 20 years ago the entire ISKCON society had been an umbrella corporation under Kirtanananda? The entire ISKCON society would be ruined today and nonexistent. What is the guarantee that these GBC leaders are not just another bunch of Kirtanananda's, waiting to be exposed? Why do you want to risk the future of Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON so whimsically by putting absolute power into the hands of a few unqualified people? And most importantly, why do you want to directly disobey Srila Prabhupada's order against an umbrella corporation? This is the exact thing that made Srila Prabhupada furious and resulted in him disbanding the entire GBC. When this matter first came up in 1972, Srila Prabhupada wrote:

"Under these circumstances, I authorize you to disregard for the time being any decision from the GBC men until my further instruction. Finally, I beg to repeat that all GBC orders are suspended herewith by me until further notice." Srila Prabhupada Letter to all temple presidents (April 8, 1972)

In the present circumstances, with the GBC directly violating Srila Prabhupada's order on this matter, it is again a time to disregard all decisions from the GBC. Srila Prabhupada has already given us this standing order, that " under these circumstances" the GBC must be disregarded. Those exact same circumstances have manifested again today, so Srila Prabhupada's standing order automatically comes into effect. Anyone who sincerely wants to follow Srila Prabhupada should stand up against the GBC and follow Srila Prabhupada's direct order on this subject: "Finally, I beg to repeat that all GBC orders are suspended."