Aspects of Vaisnava Theory & Practice
Rasing Our Spiritual Standards
Chapter 11
The Conscience of ISKCON “III”
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Part 3

Management Means the Mode of Passion. One Cannot Help But be Influenced By It

No doubt the GBC may not take kindly to being called ksatriyas, nevertheless, management means the mode of passion. One cannot help but be influenced by it. Whether one thinks himself above that influence or not is really a moot point when we consider our history and the practical example of elevated souls like Yudhishthira and Ambarisa. They were pure devotees, yet they took counsel from brahmanas.

To look at the matter another way, if we have the arms, the GBC, where is the head of the social body we call ISKCON? In terms of this popular analogy, we are a headless organization. The proof that something is amiss is that the symptoms of passion and ignorance are often prominent in dynamics of our society.

Again, in terms of the strict science of our philosophy, can ISKCON achieve the humanitarian dynamic without taking into account sattva guna, the brahminical role? How can we do without it and count our mission a success? Unless we adopt Krishna’s system I do not see the social order working any other way. The Supreme Person, Lord Krishna, says that the result of the mode of passion is grief, misery. Krishna says that varnasrama is “My system”.

Bhagavad-gita 4.13,

“According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.”

How can it not be the solution to our organizational problems? He further says that doing things according to the three modes of nature is “the wisdom.” As His bhaktas, following His instructions should be our highest priority: we should be taxing our every waking moment how to apply this supreme wisdom.

Bhagavad-gita 14.1,

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Again I shall declare to you this supreme wisdom, the best of all knowledge, knowing which all the sages have attained the supreme perfection.”

Some temples and communities have formed brahminical counsels to help the temple management. Time has revealed this need and we have evolved to that in some places. This example only goes to prove my point: that we need to apply it on the GBC level to assist the GBC.

If current members of the GBC abhor this proposal owing to a perception that such a body will pre-empt the GBC, minimize their role in some way, that is not a problem. All they would have to do is step down from the GBC and participate in the brahminical function. With all their years of experience and with a more detached or distant role, their contribution would be vital.

However, this body should not become an exclusive “old boys circuit” stacked with yes-men. It should be inclusive. It should be dedicated to the practice of collegiality. If we create a climate in which such collegiality can flourish, there can only be one result—better administration. 

That will result in a more wholesome society. It will help to increase the humanitarian dynamic. It will yield better utility of manpower and resources.

Implementing this idea may be a little rocky at first. That should not deter us, however, because, happiness in the mode of goodness “is like poison in the beginning but nectar in the end, and it leads to self-realization”. What sober, sincere administrator will want to miss such an opportunity? What we have to do is get some devotees to invest the time to work out how such an idea as proposed here can be executed.

We do not have a sense of where we are headed in the 21st. Century. We should though, because Srila Prabhupada has made his wishes known in his books, and our mission is to execute his wishes. Building up Mayapur, book distribution, opening centers, and developing various preaching programs are but some of his many desires for this Krishna consciousness movement. Our not having a plan for systematically fulfilling all Prabhupada’s desires, after all these years, is a terrible state of affairs. It says something about our priorities. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. An advisory body could take this responsibility.

The time has come for us to encourage critical thinking and be more visionary in our outlook. Let us unite to create the social order that lives by the dynamic that will enable every devotee to become a true hero of the human race, able to face the ultimate isolation—death—without flinching, without a qualm.

Quotes Applicable to Chapter 11:

  • Two cheers for democracy: One because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism.
  • Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.
  • Many of the insights of the saint stem from his experience as a sinner.
  • A good catchword can obscure analysis for fifty years.
  • Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.
  • Every man has his little weakness. It often takes the form of a desire to get something for nothing.
  • The Provincial Congress of the yet to be formed USA issued these instructions for raising an army: “Let our manners distinguish us from our enemies, as much as the cause we are engaged in”. Manners, of course, was to be understood in the old sense of the word, that is, as a reference to the moral aspects of conduct. Socrates, who had a tendency to reduce all philosophy to manners, argued that the greatest wisdom, the best manners, allowed you to differentiate between good and evil. In our day manners refers to the way you hold your fork. calamity greater than discontent, novice greater than covetousness.
  • Man must not check reason by tradition, but must check tradition by reason.
  • Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many.
  • The best way to make a problem last is to sail around it.
  • Real independence is achieved by the acquisition of capacity by all to resist authority when it is abused


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