Monday, November 11, 2013

Srila Prabhupada: Role of GBC (by Dasarath Das of ISKCON Sedona Arizona)

"Srila Prabhupada on the Role of the GBC"

Srila Prabhupada: "This is the function of the GBC, to see that one may not be taken away by maya. The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This is what I want." (to Madhudvisa 4 Aug, 1975)

By Dasarath Das, Aug 21, SEDONA, ARIZONA, USA:

Srila Prabhupada wasn’t a conditioned soul like us: he didn’t commit mistakes, didn’t have imperfect senses, wasn’t illusioned, and didn’t have the tendency to cheat others. That is part of the definition of an actually liberated soul. What follows is a definition, in Srila Prabhupada’s own words, of the GBC’s duties:

“GBC does not mean to control a center. GBC means to see that the activities of a center go on nicely. I do not know why Tamala is exercising his absolute authority. That is not the business of GBC. The president, treasurer and secretary are responsible for managing the center. GBC is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute authority. That is not in the power of GBC. Tamala should not do like that.

The GBC men cannot impose anything on the men of a center without consulting all of the GBC members first. A GBC member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power. We are in the experimental stage but in the next meeting of the GBC members they should form a constitution how the GBC members manage the whole affair. But it is a fact that the local president is not under the control of the GBC. Yes, for improvement of situations such as this I must be informed of everything.” (Letter to: Giriraja — London 12 August, 1971)

Srila Prabhupada, when he was personally present, was the checks and balances on the decisions of the GBC. Now however, the only checks and balances is carried out by the GBC members themselves. And when some member does go “off” or beyond the threshold of their power and responsibility of deputation, it is the GBC only that becomes the “judge and jury”.

Unfortunately, that does leave a huge loophole for possible abuse. Many devotees who are or used to be in the formal ISKCON organization have witnessed that without their ever well-wisher, Srila Prabhupada, in the foreground and background of the ISKCON Society, standing ready to correct any situation that needs to be, placing all the executive, legislative, and judicial policies in the hands of the exclusive GBC members doesn’t always equal justice, what to speak of accountability.

Why do we have to constantly be dependent on our imperfect and speculative approaches to solutions, and utterly faithful to their innate but defective choice of “change everything for change’s sake”, a fault that Srila Prabhupada pointed out was in our American psyche? Srila Prabhupada left an authorized and hand-signature document to protect his Society on a management level, that would disallow the GBC from having too much power — power that could even lead to corruption and breed a disregard of fellow Vaishnavas, who are the major body of the Sankirtan Movement. Power does sometimes offer an infesting place for blindness to reason, callousness to the welfare of others, and disregard of the whole picture for the sake of one’s own, or for “my wants”. None of such turbulence has a place in Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtan Movement. It is only to purify the heart.

Yes, the document is indeed there, but perhaps locked carefully away in the GBC’s archives - Srila Prabhupada’s "Direction of Management". Safeguards for protecting all the managers of Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON - both temple presidents and the GBC persons themselves, are thoughtfully and logically presented by the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada himself, with an inclusive system to keep the “growing moss of illusion and attachment” from the head and heart of ISKCON’s managers and “watchdogs”. It’s a rotation system of responsibility, accountability, and also carefully maintains our most important bhakti principle of renunciation. It’s special contribution of content is in guiding the most important level of leadership of our ISKCON Society, the GBC or Governing Body Commission, in maintaining both it’s effectiveness of leadership, performance, and purity, supervised by the bigger body of ISKCON managers - the temple presidents.

One excuse often raised, why not to implement this saving and sacred document, which was chalked out by our Founder-Acarya, is the false impression and pride that “no one else is qualified to replace me”. Overlook and excuse the mistakes that such a person makes in their duration of office, what to speak of the mistake of falling prey to false prestige, the mentality that they and only they can guide and protect our ISKCON Society. But, isn’t it “Krishna who is the ability in man”? And how many times did Srila Prabhupada say that if you are sincere (keyword - ’sincere’) Krishna will give you the intelligence to perform your service? We have all seen that in our personal devotional lives. On the other hand, sometimes people in high positions of control cannot even see their own weaknesses due to the blindness and infection of attachment to control and false prestige, which the position itself, or the wrong assimilation of it, may appear to create.

Another excuse is an old one, that is cautioned by our acaryas - that of tenaciously clinging to the illusion of position, to the material power, and the thrills and frills it provides. This mantra is not in Rupa Goswami’s Upadesamrta, however.

The last excuse is that the GBC person is there for life, which some give evidence from Srila Prabhupada’s own words during his last days. Ideally, if the GBC person is responsible, capable, pure and loyal, and effective as a “grower” of the mission, honest, unattached, etc., then the service he may offer may be valuable for some time. But what if there become apparent issues of accountability and lack of performance, and maybe even an occasional rise of corruption? Then the body of the GBC is “locked” in a mechanism only they have access to - of right, denial, and sanction. That is the danger, and something Srila Prabhupada protects his ISKCON Society from, and even the GBC persons themselves from, in his “Direction of Management” proclamation and device.

95% of the leadership of ISKCON, the temple presidents, are completely subordinate to this exclusive club of the GBC, whereby the temple presidents have been put outside “the locked doors”, and have no bearing or reaction reference to enforce both performance and accountability in the GBC. In today’s GBC system of management, the temple president’s are lucky to govern their own temples, if the GBC doesn’t manipulate their removal by even unethical means, as recently happened in the USA in the Phoenix temple.

Srila Prabhupada’s “Direction of Management” paints a different picture of cooperation and trust between the two most important levels of management in ISKCON. Accountability, or lack of it, is not tilted in that scenario in favor of the GBC. That would be dangerous in any corporation management scheme. Why? As the old saying goes, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. We have to protect all our leaders from that pitfall, what to speak of Srila Prabhupada’s mission. Srila Prabhupada was thoughtful enough, and intelligent enough, to consider all options, opportunities, and also deviations in protecting and maintaining “his” Society. In following the “Direction of Management”, ISKCON remains his, and does not become the GBC’s or the initiating guru’s, and leaves no room for infestation of misuse or abuse of powers.

Anyone who does want to abuse Srila Prabhupada’s authority, may be very reluctant and non-receptive to this proposal. But where then, is their action and proposal for GBC accountability??? There isn’t any, in discussion on the table or the floor, that I am aware of. And then, who is more intelligent in safe-guarding ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada or……?

Our example and present situation today is not hypothetical, but rather an urgent need for the protection and survival of the pure Bhakti Movement Srila Prabhupada founded. We, the temple presidents, should request and demand the immediate institution of the device, “Direction of Management”, which the father of our ISKCON has willed to all his “children”. As temple leaders, we all carry the will and mission of protecting and perpetuating Srila Prabhupada’s institution. Nothing else, not brains nor brawn, but “purity, is the force” in that matter.

Perhaps we cannot depend on the GBC to acknowledge the present need or even the emergency, of implementing Srila Prabhupada’s “Direction of Management”, or even to recognize the danger of giving themselves absolute authority with no accountability. But for other leaders in the ISKCON Society, the temple presidents, who also care very much about the welfare and perpetuance of this pure Sankirtan Movement, it is in my and many other senior devotee’s humble opinion that their responsibility lay in encouraging and pushing this golden management directive of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada to the forefront.

This can be a motto if you wish: “Direction of Management” equals automatic accountability and encourages better performance, and stabilization and fortification of purity in our GBC leadership”. As things filter down from the top, the Sankirtan Movement will surge with renewed force, as more love and trust circulates amongst the Vaishnavas, and between management levels of ISKCON. We have nothing to loose and everything to gain. Fear and apathy gets us nowhere. Please don’t sit on the side benches. Persons wishing to do so can contact me at:

Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

Dasarath das
Founder of two ISKCON temples and Sedona Center of Vedic Culture


  1. Very thoughtful and precise. Excellent post. Thank you, Dasaratha Prabhu. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Sri-Sri Nitai-Gauranga! Hare Krsna!

  2. new video by ISKCON GBC: plz donate for the blind

  3. Dear Dasaratha prabhu, what you are saying is all correct and right. However, Prabhupada did not want us to interfere what his leaders are doing.

    [PADA: Where does he say that the leaders have a licence to do whatever they like and no one should interfere?]

    Prabhupada could have easily established that he remains diksha-guru and all GBC have to be elected.

    [PADA: He did establish that, he said my books will give the divyam jnanam (diksha).]

    Prabhupada could have just spoken 10 words during a lecture: I remain diksha guru for ISKCON. Prabhupada did not.

    [PADA: He said thousands of times, you need to distribute my words in my books and this is how people will get divyam jnanam (diksha).]

    Why? Because his leaders would have considered that there is an enforcement. And as happened before, they use this as an excuse to bloop, quit. Prabhupada therefore adopted another strategy. Let them do as they like and when things crash they learn it the hard way. This might sound harsh but de facto this is what we have. Nowhere any written document by Prabhupada that is 100% making things clear.

    [PADA: He made things very clear, imitation of guru takes one to hell, the guru must be pure, etc. there are thousands of quotes on these topics.]

    Therefore you cannot capture present GBC, you can also not challenge present apponted gurus. What we have is an endless back and forth debate. Therefore, only option that remains is to have things going on like right now.

    [PADA: Thats your option, many of us do not accept the option to allow fools to take the post of acharya. ys pd]

  4. This person sounds to me as just another one of the so many naive blind followers, and/or shameless compromisers of the post-1977 GBC/ self-appointed gurus regime of Iskcon. There can't be no one as deaf, as he who simply doesn't want to listen. What can be done?! My humble obeisances to all. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai! Hare Krsna!

  5. Thanks for clarification. It was somewhat clear to me but this is in the head of 99% present ISKCONites? So I tried to present it in a nutshell.
    Nice hit and sunk, tho!

  6. dasarath, you're such a hypocrite. how many people have you abused with your position as tp in phoenix and your using black tantra to cripple up and even kill devotees. the gbc is off but so are you. you're just as ambitious as any of these gurus or worse than some of them and your complaints leveled are probably because the gbc didn't give you a piece of the pie. you're a sex maniac and a user of black tantra. write all you want but krishan knows your activities.

  7. you wrote Srila Prabhupada: "This is the function of the GBC, to see that one may not be taken away by maya." how many devotees you have kicked out of the phoenix temple because of your envy of them or because you didn't want to put out money to maintain these devotees who loved srila prabhupada and were giving their all in all rendering fulltime service. you can fool people with your charm and expertise in quoting srila prabhupada's books and letters but krishan knows the facts including your lust for women and acting on that lust, using your charm to use those women for sex and doing black tantra. you can fool so many people but you dont seem to realize that krishan knows of your hidden activities. your just as dirty as the gbc who you criticise in your article.


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