My duty was to first appoint twelve (12) persons to my free choice amongst my disciples and I do it now.
Interesting is the fact that 11 of the 12, were householders; disciples who were married to some of his women disciples! The 12th was a brahmacari. There is a not-so-nice history of most of these twelve disciples. However, it is not the intent of this Treatise, to discuss it.
These personalities are now considered as my direct representatives. While I am living, they will act as my zonal secretaries, and after my demise they will be known as Executors.
He is clearly stating that while he was with us physically, each of these disciples would act as his “zonal secretaries”,
While Srila Prabhupada was present, these personalities were “direct”, (without intervening factors or intermediaries), “representatives”, (persons chosen or appointed to act or speak for another).
Moreover, after his demise, he stated that they would be known as “Executors”. There are two relevant meanings to this word “Executor”, one is a legal term, and the other is in general.
- Legal: a person or institution appointed by a testator, (a person who has made a will or given a legacy), to carry out the terms of their will.
- A person who produces something or puts something into effect.
According to my experience, both of these definitions apply, and can be used to understand Srila Prabhupada instruction in depths, for they specify the fundamental duty and responsibility of a GBC.
I have already awarded Sannyasa or the renounced order of life to some of my students and they have also got very important duties to perform in this connection.
Here Srila Prabhupada is categorically stating that those disciples who he awards Sannyasa too, have specific duties, to perform, that are unique to such an appointment.
The Sannyasis will travel to our different centers for preaching purpose as well as enlightening the members of the center for spiritual advancement. The Sannyasis will suggest for opening new centers in suitable places and the GBC will take action on it.
Here is clear instruction for what the activity of a Sannyasi is. While the activities are well defined, the most import instruction is that Sannyasis “will travel” to different centers. He did not say that they should “stay in one center”, like they do today. Since ISKCON is a “totalitarian centralized” institution. The positions and duties and activities of ISKCON Sannyasis, Gurus, and GBCs, have become overlapped in one large power grab, so to speak.
In Gaudiya-Vaisnavas Siddhanta, the Guru is the ultimate authority for a disciple.
However, the GBC body claims to be the ultimate authority, where the Gurus are subordinate to the GBC; because the GBC body votes who can be a Guru. Gurus are subject to the injunctions of the GBC. History has shown, that Gurus are appointed, suspended, and removed, by GBC resolutions. The centralization of ISKCON is simply a messy disorganized mixture of Gurus, Sannaysis, and GBCs. All of them want to have a “spicket” on the “Cash Flow” within ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada stated three functions for a sannaysi,
- Will travel to our different centers for preaching purpose.
- Will enlighten the members of the center for spiritual advancement.
- Will suggest, to the GBC, for opening new centers in a suitable place.
These instructions are unambiguous, unmistakable, clear-cut, explicit, and definite. To take sannyasa, is a big responsibility; it is a position of a brahmana, not a GBC, whose function is “management”, and “administration”. Note that Srila Prabhupada did not appoint any of his sannaysis, as GBCs. Appointed as GBCs where 11 grihasthas, and one bramachari.