M O V I N G   F O R W A R D

With a Case for the Reconstitution of Srila Prabhupada’s “Mission”.

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Segment 32
How Can the Direction of Management [DOM], be Applied Today, in The Absence of Srila Prabhupada?

The Direction of Management is a legal document that was written and signed into effect by Srila Prabhupada, Founder-acharya of ISKCON, on July 28th, 1970, shortly after the Ratha Yatra festival in San Francisco.  His purpose, in doing so, was to establish the group now commonly referred to as “GBC”, or the Governing Body Commission, for the purpose of executing His Instructions for the management, and growth of ISKCON, during both, the time before and after he departed from this world, when he could no longer be personally present to direct the functions and activities of ISKCON.

Srila Prabhupada wanted that a Constitution for ISKCON be written, with the DOM, being its inspiration and guide.  The Constitution would have to “reflect”, like a mirror, the “intent”, “spirit”, “soul”, “essence”, and “heart”, of the DOM, if you will.

There are 9 Articles comprising the Direction of Management, and some of them specifically state his personal involvement.  Hence, these would have to be amended in light of his absents.  This Treatise will propose such amendments for your consideration; just as a starting point, so to speak.

 Article 1 states:

“The GBC oversees all operations and management of ISKCON, as it receives direction from Srila Prabhupada, and His Divine Grace has the final approval in all matters.” 

In light of the fact that Srila Prabhupada is no longer physically present; the implication is that the instructions in his DOM are all there is, and he has approved them.  So, what if there was some relevant need to make some kind of “amendment” to the DOM?   To facilitate this this Article could be present in a constitution as,

“The GBC oversees all operations and management of ISKCON, as it has received direction from Srila Prabhupada in his DOM, books, letters, lectures and conversations, which all has had his final approval.  Due to time, place, and circumstance, there could be a valid need to make amendments to the DOM, as long as the amendment does not violate the intent and spirit of the DOM.”

The DOM is similar to the USA Constitution.  The words of this document cannot be changed. However, there is a practical protocol for amending it; and it has been amended 27 time in the history of the USA.

Article 2 states:

“His Divine Grace will select the initial 12 members of the GBC. In the succeeding years the GBC will be elected by a vote of all Temple presidents, who will vote for 8 from a ballot of all Temple presidents, which may also include any secretary who is in charge of a Temple. Those 8 with the greatest number of votes will be members for the next term of GBC. Srila Prabhupada will choose to retain four commissioners. In the event of Srila Prabhupada’s absence (after his departure from this mortal world), the retiring members will decide which four will remain.”

The Article could be reflected in a Constitution as,

“Before the election of new GBCs, the 12 current presiding GBC members will decide, amongst themselves, which four will remain. Each retiring GBC will vote for 4, who will remain for the next term.  The 4 with the highest number of votes will remain.  In the case of a tie for the 4th, position, there will be run-off election, from a ballot of those tied for 4th place; this run-off election would take place until one of the GBC on this ballot, get a simple majority.  The new GBCs will be elected by a vote of all Temple presidents, who will vote for 8, from a ballot of all Temple presidents, which may also include any secretary who is in charge of a Temple, and the 8 retiring GBCs as well. Those 8 with the greatest number of votes, will be members for the next term of the GBC.”

Article 3 states:

“The commissioners will serve for a period of 3 years, and they may be re-elected at the end of this period.”

The Article could be reflected in a Constitution as,

“The commissioners will serve for a period of 3 years, and they may be re-elected at the end of this period as provided in Article 2.”

Article 4 states:

“The chairman is elected by the GBC for each meeting. He has no veto power, but in even of a vote tie, his vote will decide. The same will apply for votes cast by mail between regular meetings.”

No need to amend this Article.

Article 5 states:

“Throughout the year, each of the commissioners will stay with His Divine Grace for one month at a time and keep the other commissioners informed of His Divine Grace’s instructions.”

This Article is no longer relevant or necessary, simply because of the fact that Srila Prabhupada is no longer physically alive on this planet Earth.

Article 6 states:

“The primary objective of the GBC is to organize the opening of new Temples and to maintain the established Temples.”

No need to amend this Article.  This Article is very clear on what the “primary objective” of a GBC is.  Moreover, this primary objective makes it clear that this title is not one to be rewarded as a status of “power”.  The GBC position is nothing more than a management position, that will manage, “the opening of new Temples, and to maintain the established Temples.”.  In a society, the position of GBC is a “ksatriya” position; not a “brahmana”, or “vaisya”, or “sudra”, occupation.  As we will see later on, Srila Prabhupada, without a doubt, intended the GBC function to be solely a supervising one. 

Article 7 states:

“Advice will be given by the GBC in cases of real property purchases, which will be in the name of ISKCON, INC. (Trucks or other vehicles will be purchased in the name of the local president).”

No need to amend this Article.

Article 8 states:

“Removal of a Temple president by the GBC requires support by the local Temple members.

Here it is clear, that a GBC cannot remove a Temple president, by their own personal decision.  The GBC can only remove a Temple president, if it has “support by the local Temple members”.  Note, that this infers, that removal of Temple presidents, require a vote by the local Temple members.  While Srila Prabhupada did not write an article that specifies how a Temple president is selected, this Article 8, infers (deduce or conclude information, from evidence and reasoning, rather than from explicit statements), that Temple presidents are to be elected, by vote of the Temple members.  As you will see later, Srila Prabhupada approved of such a system.  Important point to consider, is that there must be a definition, of who is to be considered a voting member, of any community of devotees.

Article 9 states:

“The GBC has no jurisdiction in the publication of manuscripts, which will be handled by a separate committee; profits to be returned to Srila Prabhupada.”

The Article could be reflected in a Constitution as,

“The GBC has no jurisdiction in the publication of manuscripts, which will be handled by a separate committee, the BBT trustees; profits to be retained by the BBT accounts.”

These 9 Articles make clear the jurisdiction of the GBC, and subjects them to election every 3 years by the ISKCON Temple presidents.  Making the GBC, during the length of their tenure, a little more than a rotating group, of elected officials, who have no real power, other than to oversee, and supervise, the growth and maintenance of the ISKCON Movement, and to implement Srila Prabhupada’s Will, via His Orders and Instructions,, that are found in his books, lectures, letters, and recorded conversations.

Currently, the group presently known as the “GBC”, is self-appointed, non-elected, and has members who have held their positions for decades. They also award the title of GBC to any member who shows a certain high level of cooperation with the GBC body agenda.  Hence, at present, 2022, the GBC body is comprised of thirty-four members, who are individually responsible for overseeing the management, and spiritual standards, of ISKCON centers in assigned geographic regions.  Moreover, the very high majorly of the rank-and-file followers of ISKCON, do sincerely, and sentimentally, believe that a GBC in ISKCON, is synonymous with being “spiritually advanced”, an Uttama-adhikari.

The DOM procedure of election by Temple Presidents, for a temporary term, has never been enacted, and the power structure of ISKCON is such that all control is in their hands, rather than the hands of Temple-presidents, whom they themselves, are elected by their respective Temple congregational members.

Srila Prabhupada authorization for the election of Temple presidents is presented in “Segment 36.1: Relationship between the GBC and Temple Management; And the Election of Temple Presidents.”

This current centralized structure is against the wishes of Srila Prabhupada,, who wrote specifically and repeatedly his desire for independent, autonomous, self-governed ISKCON Temples, with only mild oversight by the GBC, to ensure the upholding of the standards, and principles, set by Srila Prabhupada, for devotees worldwide.  Srila Prabhupada stresses repeatedly the limitation of jurisdiction of the GBC, that they are simply there to make sure things are going on nicely. However, the position the GBC has assumed, as of today, is far beyond what Srila Prabhupada authorized them to have.  

Instead of a loose supervisory board of 12, the GBC has illegally assumed dictatorial powers, consolidating all of ISKCON’s assets, finances and properties, under names separate from Srila Prabhupada’s non-profit incorporation, ISKCON Inc. Temples.  Moreover, they rule ISKCON, in the form of a dictatorship, while freely changing Srila Prabhupada’s Books and Vani, via stolen copyrights, and false attribution, the action of regarding something as being caused by a person or thing.

People around the world are beginning to learn more about the existence of the “Direction of Management”, and when enough voices begin to call out for the immediate enactment of this vital Instruction from Srila Prabhupada, the DOM, the sooner we can have ISKCON as it was intended to be by Srila Prabhupada, not what it is today: an unauthorizedly institution, at the service of self-interested “GBC”, gurus, sannaysis, and Temple presidents; who all are controlled by “subtle-sex-life”, as defined by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, as “profit, adoration, and distinction”.

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