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

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Segment 34.1
Bylaw Adoption: A Coup Attemp.

The following is an article written in 2005, by Nimai Pandit Dasa Temple president of the ISKCON Long Island Temple.  This article was found to be in the same mood as this Treatise; hence it is presented for your consideration.  After reading this you will understand why the so-called, in name only, entity who are calling themselves as to be GBCs of ISKCON, are unscrupulous, untruthful, dishonest and frauds.

Sixteen years have passed since Nimai Pandit Das tried to warn the followers of Srila Prabhupada about what was going on with the management of his mission.  At that time in 2005, it was “A Coup Attempt”.  Today, 2022, one can say without a doubt, it has become “A Successful Coup”.  I have done some grammatical editing, and have added text for the purpose of clarification to the reader.  In all regards, this editing absolutely does not change the message found in its contents.

Article Written by Nimai Pandit Das.:


As you all may be aware by now, the “GBC” has ordered all temples in North America to adopt a set of Bylaws, which in essence makes a ISKCON GBC Society, registered in West Bengal, the centralized controller of all the temples, very much against the direct orders of Srila Prabhupada who did not want such centralization of his ISKCON. It is very dangerous for our future generations. This is going to kill ISKCON as Srila Prabhupada desired it to be. I implore you to please take a little of your valuable time to go through two articles posted on Sampradaya Sun recently, if you have not already done so.

Jan 21, LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK (SUN) —
Nimai Pandit das is Temple President of the ISKCON Long Island temple.

Navadvipchandra Prabhu, in his article “All GBC orders are suspended until further notice”, (See Appendix B.), has accurately discussed the position of the phantom ISKCON GBC Society of West Bengal with respect to Srila Prabhupada’s temples around the world. This is the single most important issue facing our society right now.

For the record, there is no ISKCON Umbrella Corporation, as yet. Initially, Turley tried to sue an imaginary umbrella corporation – ISKCON – but the lawsuit was dismissed. The name “ISKCON” was found to be “just a work of art”, not a legal entity. Then he brought the new lawsuit against 13 individual corporations, and most of them simultaneously declared Bankruptcy under the Article 11 reorganization plan. With the new bylaws, the ISKCON GBC members are deviously trying to form just that – an umbrella corporation of the name “ISKCON GBC Society of West Bengal”.

There are many Governing Body Commissions of various organizations all over the world, most prominent being the Governing Body Commission of the Indian Railways (from which historically Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada took the name and function for his Gaudiya Matha). The Governing Bodies generally operate and oversee their respective organizations.

How do we distinguish them from one another? To state that “this person is a GBC member”, does not automatically mean that the concerned person is a member of “THE” International Society for Krishna Consciousness, incorporated by Srila Prabhupada in 1966. In other words, there can be many religious organizations, each with their own Governing Body Commissions. Hence when one refers to the “GBC”, one can rightly ask “of which organization?”

Herein explains the greatest “sleight of hand job”, (the use of cunning, especially so as to deceive), some members of the ISKCON GBC Society of West Bengal have managed to pull off on the whole of the ISKCON world for so long.

This Society has legally NOTHING TO DO with Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON. They have just named their society to look like it is the authorized GBC of ISKCON. But it is not so. Srila Prabhupada never registered the GBC as a separate society. He formed the Governing Body Commission of his ISKCON society in 1970 by a legal directive called the Direction of Management of July 28th, 1970. 

Badrinarayan Das, a member of the ISKCON GBC Society of West Bengal, passionately preached about the importance of the Direction of Management in the Supreme Court of New York in 2004, as part of his testimony under oath, (under his legal name of Robert Morrill):

(Holding the Direction of Management in his hands)

Morrill:

“This is Prabhupada, the founder of our Society, founding the GBC.”
“And I should mention that this document is quoted, it is referenced, it is well known. It’s the basis of the decisions, the basis of our authority.”

Attorney of Morrill

“It’s a historical document?”

Morrill:

“Historical document that’s referred to repeatedly.”

Mr. Morrill and his Attorney go over the duties and powers of the GBC from the DOM, but manage NOT TO GO OVER points 2, 3 or 4, setting up the election of GBC from among the Temple Presidents every three years. The actual portions of the transcript of his testimony are downloadable here in a .pdf version.

In that court case, various members of the West Bengal Society repeatedly, over many years, have been positioning themselves as the great lovers of the DOM, dependent upon it with. That includes Hrdayananda Goswami, Romapada Swami, Bir Krishna Goswami, and the entire West Bengal Society represented by its then Chairman Pragosh das. Anyone can check their filings in public court records.

It will come as a surprise to many who claim that the Direction of Management has become obsolete, or that Srila Prabhupada changed his mind after 1970 about election of the GBC. On July 22, 1974, Srila Prabhupada, signed and counter-signed a “Topmost Urgency” letter to include election of the GBC, according to the Document Direction of Management (underlined in the original document), for “AMENDMENTS TO BE IMMEDIATELY ADDED TO ALL OFFICIAL REGISTRATION DOCUMENTS, CONSTITUTIONS, INCORPORATION PAPERS, ETC.”.

This directive is very important and clear. If these amendments would have been added in all the legal papers and bylaws, as Srila Prabhupada ordered, ISKCON would have been in a completely different state right now. Since 1978, GBCs would have been elected about 10 times, totally escaping the zonal acharya system, child abuse, Kirtanananda episodes, Bhavananda episodes, Hrishikesh episodes etc. We will cover this point in another article. Suffice to say that, the current plan of the West Bengal Society to change the Bylaws of the corporations would have never come about.

Just a cursory look at this document, is enough for any sincere follower of Srila Prabhupada to see that Srila Prabhupada wants the GBC to be elected by the provisions of the Direction of the Management. Just on the basis of this document alone, the whole Bylaws Amendment proposed now is absolutely and fully against Srila Prabhupada’s scope of services order.

The original GBC of ISKCON, is left abandoned now. All of its original members have either died or abandoned their duties. There are no active members of the authorized GBC of ISKCON today!

In the absence of the real GBC, members of the “ISKCON GBC Society of West Bengal” have staged a “coup” behind closed doors, and have declared themselves the GBC of ISKCON.

In the preliminary hearing in New York Supreme Court in 2004, the members of this West Bengal Society were questioned about the basis of the GBC of ISKCON, whose members they are claiming to be. On finding no legal basis, these members had to bring in the Direction of Management as their formation document. HOWEVER, the GBC ordered by the DOM, has to be elected by the Temple presidents every three years. Hence, it can be easily proven that these members have no other basis for their existence. They wanted to use the basis of the Direction of Management to prove that they are THAT GBC, but not being able to prove that, are now trying to adopt these bylaws – so as to make the West Bengal Society legal, giving them complete control over all Srila Prabhupada’s temples and assets.

As yet, none of the temples are legally under the control of this West Bengal Society. This new Bylaw adoption will change that, and give this foreign society legitimacy in USA. This move is against Srila Prabhupada’s wishes.

This foreign society does not even have a constitution! All the civilized governments on this planet have a constitution.

As written in previous articles, a constitution delineates powers of the ruling authority, and simultaneously provides for the rights of the members. 

This is done to protect the innocent members from being exploited. The young gurukulis, the single mothers, the older devotees, or any other devotees have not been given any voting power, (to elect Temple presidents), by this “GBC Society” and this has given rise to exploitation. As can be inferred, deduce or conclude from evidence and reasoning, in Srila Prabhupada’s DOM, Srila Prabhupada desired certain rights to the Temple presidents and to the Temple members. Each Temple member has a vote in changing, (electing or removing), the Temple president, and each Temple president has a vote in electing a new set of GBC every three years.

Srila Prabhupada has provided us with the following protective system of checks and balances, whereby, if we strictly adhere to the DOM, we can use our voting power to practically remove any child molester, exploiter, murderer or any person, who does not represent Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.

Direction of Management:

Point 2 – “His Divine Grace will select the initial 12 members of the GBC. In the succeeding years 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 of the next term of GBC.

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

Point 8. Removal of a Temple president by the GBC requires support by the local Temple members.

We all know that ISKCON is designed by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Srila Prabhupada, to deliver the whole world.

Srila Prabhupada states in Purport to Caitanya Caritamrita,, Adi 1.171:

“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to preach the sankirtan movement of love of Krishna throughout the entire world, and therefore during His presence He inspired the sankirtan movement. Specifically, He sent Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami to Vrindavan and Nityananda to Bengal and personally went to South India. In this way He kindly left the task of preaching His cult in the rest of the world to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.”  

However, we still see that the Society, which is designed to cure the ills of the world, is itself suffering from the same evils. Something is drastically wrong. We need to take care of the young generation of ISKCON, the widows, the older devotees, all devotees who have dedicated their lives for Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. Even the members of the ISKCON GBC Society of West Bengal. Yes, even they need to be helped by us by not letting them have absolute power, not designed by Srila Prabhupada, for any of his disciples.

The GBC of ISKCON needs to be elected by the Temple presidents, from AMONG the Temple presidents, who themselves can be changed by a vote of the temple members, hence there is accountability and restrain on all. The Ishwara mentality of a leader in ISKCON can be controlled, by following these protective orders of Srila Prabhupada.

Mostly humble caring mature devotees will emerge as leaders, given the general devotional character of most of the voters. If not the first time, then the next election can change the problematic leaders.. As the leaders will be, they will attract followers of the same kind.

My appeal to all the responsible Temple presidents, leaders and members of ISKCON is, please do not allow this transgression to Srila Prabhupada’s direct strict order to happen. This will continually harm the devotees of ISKCON, the leaders of ISKCON, and hence the whole world. Instead, we should elect a GBC as instructed to us by Srila Prabhupada.

By following this dictate of the members of the foreign “ISKCON GBC Society” of West Bengal, all the temple members will lose their rights forever. All the Temple presidents will be always kowtowing, (act in an excessively subservient manner), to these members, otherwise they can be removed any time. Is this what you see your life to be like?

Will you sit idle and give away all your legitimate powers, given by Srila Prabhupada to protect you?

Do you think history will look kindly upon all of you if you disobey this direct order of Srila Prabhupada and not elect your Own GBC, from amongst You, the Temple presidents?

As leaders, do you not have responsibility to take care of the spiritual and to some extent the material lives of your dependents, is it not your duty to stand up on their behalf?

As parent, is it not your duty to guard the future life of your innocent children?

Can you really give these lives over completely to somebody — without the accountability designed by Srila Prabhupada?

 The first step to reclaiming the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is to implement the DOM, our God-given constitutional rights from Srila Prabhupada Srila Prabhupada, and electing a true GBC.  Such a GBC will act as the servants of the Temple presidents, who will act as the servants of the congregations, rather than the other way around.  

ISKCON by the DOM, means a perfectly internally balanced system of checks and balances, giving autonomy and self-rule to each Temple and in fact to every individual comprising the ISKCON body.  In this way ISKCON can spread unlimitedly without threat from any person or group, inside or outside, giving its members the freedom to work cooperatively together to expand the Movement, and gradually take over the modern world with the highest Vedic standards of Daiva Varnasrama Dharma[1], Srila Prabhupada’s Vision for the world in this Golden Age of Kali Yuga.  

This is our first step to a Krishna Conscious world, and the deliverance of mankind from this world of illusion.  By the Direction of Management, we can, and will pave the path to a perfect world, through the total prevention of corruption, and deviation found only where one man believes himself to be inferior to another.  

We have the responsibility to liberate ourselves from such a material conception of life, via the implementation of Srila Prabhupada’s DOM order, and thus embark upon the path of self-realization, which exists exclusively upon the Spiritual Platform, and is available to all living beings.

Another major legal point that has come out of this is that no one actually has legal ownership over the name or phrase ISKCON. There is no true legal umbrella corporation called ISKCON, so anyone can use this name as they like provided they follow their local incorporation laws.

For example, there are probably around 100 registered religious corporations in the United States that use this phrase ISKCON in their name; “ISKCON of New York, ISKCON of LA, ISKCON of the Bay Area, ISKCON of….”.  None of these 100, or so, religious corporations are legally connected to each other. There is no legal mother corporation, who oversees all the 100 temples. Thus, each of these 100 registered corporations that use the name ISKCON are legally independent and each has a legal right to use the name ISKCON.

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FOOT  NOTES

 

[1] Varnasrama-dharma—the system of four social and four spiritual orders established in the Vedic scriptures and discussed by Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita.

Varna—one of the four Vedic social-occupational divisions of society, distinguished by quality of work and situation with regard to the modes of nature (gunas); Brahmana-a member of the intellectual, priestly class; a person wise in Vedic knowledge, fixed in goodness and knowledgeable of Brahman, the Absolute Truth; One of the four orders of occupational life, brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra. The brahmanas are the intellectual class and their occupation is hearing Vedic literature, teaching Vedic literature, learning deity worship and teaching deity worship, receiving charity and giving charity. Brahmana; Ksatriya-third of the four orders of the varnasrama system. A warrior who is inclined to fight and lead others. The administrative or protective occupation according to the system of four social and spiritual orders. Ksatriya; Vaisya (Vaishyas)-member of the mercantile or agricultural class, according to the system of four social orders and four spiritual orders. Vaisya; Sudra-a member of the fourth social order, laborer class, in the traditional Vedic social system. He is meant to render service to the three higher classes, namely the brahmanas, the ksatriyas, and the vaisyas.

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