[PADA: This man has made a good analysis of the very similar world situation and the ISKCON situation, in sum: -- The mass of rank and file devotees need to stand up and protest the bogus leaders of ISKCON, just like Occupy Wall Street is protesting that corruption. Bravo.
Srila Prabhupada: "So those who are GBC's, they should be very, very careful to administer the business of ISKCON. Otherwise they will be punished. As the post is very great, similarly, the punishment is also very great." ys pd]
BY: MAHAPURUSHA DAS
The results of unchecked financial growth as well as corporate and political corruption have plunged the world into economic catastrophe. Bankers literally played dice with the deeds of mortgages and the wealthy cashed in on a neo-conservative philosophical agenda that has been a half a century in the making. Protests have since spread all over the world, modeled after the occupation of a small park in New York City near Wall Street. These assemblies have given a new voice to the disenfranchised. Their main agenda is to rally against corporate greed, arrogance and power and the accusation that the richest 1% of the population holds inordinate power over the other 99%. All around the world, simultaneously, there is a surge in populist uprisings and the last remaining dictatorships are crumbling.
In ISKCON, there is a similar catastrophe of unchecked power. I have tried to detail some of these problems in my previous articles, "The Servant Leader" and "The Model Imperative". Just like the entitled leadership of western industrialized countries, the leadership of our devotional society has also had a long reign of absolute authority. The basic cornerstones of checks and balances of power, such as the ability to remove corrupt leaders, have no existence in our community.
[PADA: Right, had a dozen devotees stood outside EVEN ONE temple in 1979, with signs saying "These people have made deviants into gurus and we do not accept that," we could have severely hampered these false gurus. Of course the same protest could be made even today.]
There is no system of internal justice, especially for the average members. There is extreme economic disparity between the leaders and the average members. There has never been the formation of an ISKCON devotee constitution. There hasn't even been a clear presentation from the leadership of what our definition of ISKCON membership is. In other words, the leadership has created and maintained a complete dictatorship where the members have absolutely no rights and the leaders wield inordinate power.
When Srila Prabhupada was personally present, he was the checks and balances of power. He made sure that things were running according to the principles he established and would personally deal with all types of problems, such as philosophical and behavioral deviations. And, of course, he established the Direct Order of Management, which detailed very specific procedures to run our society. Unfortunately, this order was completely ignored and the leadership only gives vague and undocumented reasons for why it was never followed.
Since Srila Prabhupada's departure, we have seen a complete breakdown of our devotee society as a result. Srila Prabhupada repeatedly gave the wisdom that "good locks make people honest". He also told us to be completely pragmatic and judge any process by its result.
The actual history since his physical absence speaks for itself. Literally every crime has been committed by the leadership. Theft, physical and psychological torture, fraud, racketeering, embezzlement, murder, etc. It is important that devotees step back from the situation using creative sociology and try to see what it looks like from the outside! It is absolutely horrible and represents the exact opposite of what a devotional society should be. What to speak of the spiritual deviations that we aren't even directly accountable to general society for? It is a real inconvenient truth that no one wants to deal with. And calling a thief a thief is not an offence. Understanding our dysfunction and social pathologies is critical if we ever want to begin fixing them and setting up the structure to prevent them from happening again.
The core of this dysfunction is the culture of entitlement and elitism in ISKCON leadership. It goes against everything we believe as devotees of Lord Krishna. The leadership culture does not represent the general culture of servitorship. In other words, the leadership no longer represents the people. How could anyone have faith in a leadership that has acted so contrary to the principles we hold so dear? The reason this has gone on for so long and been allowed to mutate into the organism it presently is, is because it has had unbridled power with no accountability. The history of the modern world proves that absolute power brings out the worst in human beings.
Intelligent leaders instill checks and balances of powers on themselves and others, knowing that the darkside of human nature is too powerful. A wise person understands that laws and regulations are there to protect the individual and others, and the founders of all great civilizations have painstakingly sought to protect society from the wrath of unjust leaders. We must similarly have the humility and intelligence to instill checks and balances of power on ourselves. We have to be humble enough to admit that any temptation of power and lording it over others may drag us down to our lower animal nature. We have to understand that for the temporary plunder of power and wealth, countless others and future generations will pay the price. It's just not worth it.
It is time for the society of servants within ISKCON to take back our culture. The false masters who beckon your worship and adulation have no care for you. They will only damage our society further by demonstrating the very worst qualities of exploitation. In a society of servants, we are all equal in our servitorship. Srila Prabhupada wanted us to work together in harmony to propagate this mission, not to work in the service of a small percentage of leaders who clearly have a different agenda. We have to be living examples of that cooperation and equality, and not risk mirroring the entitled character of a leadership that has been mostly an unbridled display of arrogance and corruption.
Our society is supposed to be the ideal model of what it is to live in harmony with the Laws of Nature and God. It is the worst disservice to Srila Prabhupada to let the society he founded be led by people who are so totally juxtaposed to his values of servitorship and charity. God help us.
[PADA: God will help us, protest the bogus leaders and establish the correct system of managing that Srila Prabhupada wanted. ys pd]