***CORRECTING ISKCON'S GURU SYSTEM***
BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI: Srila Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati Thakura was an extremely brilliant personality who attracted countless luminaries of his time within the fold of his Gaudiya Matha. However, soon after his disappearance when the Gaudiya Matha disintegrated, in spite of all those luminaries the propagation of Krsna Consciousness practically stopped.
Srila Prabhupada explained that, that happened because most his prominent followers could not understand the importance of continuing his mission through the institution he established. They held on to the traditional concept and concluded that a spiritual heritage could not effectively continue through an institution managed by a bunch of mundane managers, they defied the instruction of their spiritual master and appointed an acarya [who eventually fell down].
The institution that he so meticulously structured collapsed. Srila Prabhupada, in order to protect his ISKCON from such an unfortunate possibility, emphatically told us not to make the same mistake that his God-brothers made after his Guru Maharaja’s disappearance (and appoint premature gurus).
He advised us to continue the mission under the authority of a collective management structure. Nevertheless, after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance, we in ISKCON also made the similar mistake. Thinking that Srila Prabhupada had appointed 11 successors we also plunged into the same exact syndrome of appointing spiritual heads of the institution, presuming that after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance they inherited ISKCON (and the acharya post).
In 1987, about 10 years after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance, this mistake was addressed by concerned leading devotees of ISKCON, but was not fully corrected. Just by adding more gurus, and allowing them to initiate wherever they could attract disciples, the original mistake was only diluted to some extent but was not really corrected. Recently, the GBC body became painfully aware that through that mistake a parallel line of authority has been created in ISKCON, which is causing a considerable amount of damage to the institution and is stifling the growth of the movement.
It is very laudable of the GBC body that they have taken this issue very seriously and are working hard to rectify it. In order to effectively establish an institution we need two essential elements – the head of the institution, and its management structure. In ISKCON we have to be absolutely clear that Srila Prabhupada is the head of the institution and he will continue to be that as long as the institution lasts, and the management structure Srila Prabhupada established – the GBC, temple presidents, departmental heads, etc, must be fully functional without any deviation.
If we compare the institution of ISKCON to a corporate structure, then we must recognize that Srila Prabhupada is the proprietor of ISKCON, and the other leaders of this institution are the managers. The managers manage, and although they get their remunerations and incentives for that, the profit belongs to the proprietor. In ISKCON, it is important that we clearly recognize the fact that everything in ISKCON, including even all the devotees, belongs to Srila Prabhupada, then only this mistake that is stifling the growth of our institution will be rectified and Krsna Consciousness movement will start to spread once again, all over the world, in leaps and bounds. BCS