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

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Segment 36.1
Relationship between the GBC and Temple Management; And the Election of Temple Presidents 

Morning Walk—December 16, 1973, Los Angeles:

Svarupa Damodara:

“Because they need law and order.”


“Yes, there must be. In our organization… Just like in each temple we elect a president. Then we get GBC. Then above all, I am. So that is needed. It is not conventional. It is needed. Therefore, above everything, there must be God.”

Letter to: Jayananda — Delhi 29 September, 1967 67-09-29:

I congratulate you on your being elected as president of ISKCON San Francisco branch. Your election as president is a recognition by Krishna and therefore, I have got full support for you. Mukunda and other members have rightly selected you as president.”

Letter to: Mukunda — Los Angeles 28 July, 1969:

“I understand from a letter from Gurudasa that you have elections for officers for your temple, and the men filling the posts are all very well suited for their position. Now all of you please make quickly the march towards the goal of Krishna Consciousness Movement being very successful.”

Letter to: Jagadisa — Los Angeles 27 February, 1970 Toronto:

“I am glad to learn that after deliberation between Jayapataka and Raktaka, you have been asked to become the president of Toronto temple. The idea is that whoever is competent to manage affairs will accept the post of president by mutual consent. Our main business is to be fixed up in Krishna Consciousness by keeping steady in the prescribed duties of devotional service. So, I have got all approval for your being elected president; that is nice.”

Letter to: Gurudasa — Los Angeles 2 March, 1970 London:

I am so glad to learn that you have been elected president for this year. In India, when there was congress election among the executive members, each year a person was elected president. I think this system may be followed in our institutions also. Of course, it will depend on the local situation, but in a round if each person is given the chance of managing the whole affairs, that means everyone becomes responsible officer”.

Letter to: Jayapataka —London 24 August, 1971Calcutta:

And who has been appointed treasurer and secretary? The president, secretary and treasurer elected by the members of the center cannot be changed at least for one year; better to continue it for three years. All combined together should be responsible for keeping correct accounts. Giriraja is responsible and he should be made the treasurer. You should remain as president and Acyutananda Swami as secretary. So, make arrangements in that way.”

Letter to: Umapati — Los Angeles 9 July, 1971San Francisco:

GBC members are simply to see that things are going on. Other centers have got president, secretary, etc. and they are managing separately. That is the formula. So how is it that the GBC are the final authority? They are simply to examine, that things are going on nicely, that is all.

Letter to: Giriraja — London 12 August, 1971Calcutta:

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: Hamsaduta — Madras 14 February, 1972 Hamburg:

So as GBC you must see to it that the highest standards of routine work are maintained throughout all the centers, and that chanting, rising early, cleansing, and all other aspects of our regular program may not be neglected. That is our first business. GBC men should not dictate very much, simply supervise and see that the standards are maintained. The individual presidents should be more managerial, more individual, and you can supervise, and if some defect is detected, you can make suggestions how to correct it. But if we lose individuality and simply become mechanical, what is the point.

Letter to: All Temple Presidents — Tokyo 22 April, 1972:

“The formula for ISKCON organization is very simple and can be understood by everyone. The world is divided into twelve zones. For each zone there is one zonal secretary appointed by Srila Prabhupada. The zonal secretary’s duty is to see that the spiritual principles are being upheld very nicely in all the Temples of his zone. Otherwise, each Temple shall be independent and self-supporting. Let every Temple President work according to his own capacity to improve the Krishna Consciousness of his center. So far, the practical management is concerned, that is required, but not that we should become too much absorbed in fancy organization. Our business is spiritual life, so whatever organization needs to be done, the Presidents may handle and take advice and assistance from their GBC representative. In this way let the Societies work go on and everyone increase their service at their own creative rate.”

Letter to: Tamala Krishna — Los Angeles 11 January, 1974 Bombay:

“Regarding the aeration to remove Tejas: No, Tejas must not be removed. Stop this. This is a clique. I do not want this. Why has Subala Maharaja gone there. He is an outsider, why are they interfering. Subala left India now why has he returned without permission? This removal of the president is very unconstitutional. The devotees who do not like to work with Tejas should immediately go away from the temple. But he may not. Those who feel against him can go away. Devotees come from the outside and interfere. No, they cannot change the president. Who sent Janmanjoya there? Why is he talking to politics? So, your opinion is also mine, that Tejas is the sincerest worker of the lot. Please stop this.”

 Letter to: Hamsaduta: — Vrindavana 12 September, 1974 12 Los Angeles,

“Regarding Madhavananda being the president, if he received the vote, why you have opposed? You must be impartial. My recommendation is that he must be the president. He has been chosen by the vote, and I am giving the casting vote for him. He is doing things very nicely there, so he must be the president. Prabha Visnu should go on Sankirtana, and Madhavananda should be president. Everything must go on. The women are doing nicely, so why are they being changed from the pujari to the Sankirtana? These things should be done by the President. These are internal things, and you should not interfere. I do not approve of your changing the women. It should be the choice of Madhavananda who should be the pujari.

Why did you close Edinburgh without asking me? Paramahamsa reports that you have closed the Edinburgh temple. Edinburgh was doing nicely. You cannot” close a temple without asking me? Is this too much to do this? Our propaganda is opening temples, and you are closing them. We are not for closing but for increasing. I do not approve of this. If possible, the Edinburgh temple must be re-opened again.

If you close the temple, what is the management? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu pushed the Sankirtana movement, but He never said to close the Jagannatha temple or the Govindaji temple. In Edinburgh we had a nice house, why you have closed it? Why you have whimsically done this? If possible, the Edinburgh temple must be re-opened. Do not do anything whimsically without consulting me.

I made the GBC to give me relief, but if you do like this, then where is the relief. It is anxiety for me. This is the difficulty, that as soon as one gets power, he becomes whimsical and spoils everything. What can I do? If anything has to be changed, that can be decided at the annual GBC meeting, but not whimsically.

Regarding the election at Bhaktivedanta Manor, as you have suggested an election of all members present should be held to make a final selection. I have already suggested this to Mukunda. Another meeting should be held, and I have already asked Bhagavan das to be present, so there will be two GBC’s and all members present. Out of the two candidates whoever is elected by the majority vote, may be the president.”

Letter to: Mukunda — Mayapur 29 September, 1974 Bhaktivedanta Manor:

Regarding the election of President, a president can only be changed by vote. If no vote was taken, then the president cannot be changed. Neither Hamsaduta can change the president whimsically or can anybody else change the president. According the “Direction of Management” the GBC cannot change the President but only by vote can it be done. The GBC’s business is to see that the President and the members are doing nicely, following the regulative principles, and chanting 16 rounds and that other things are going on nicely.

If it was decided by vote that Hamsaduta would select the president then Hamsaduta is right. Without authority Hamsaduta cannot change the election. If the vote was in favor of Madhavananda, then Hamsaduta cannot whimsically change the vote. But, if by vote he was authorized to select the president, then whomever he selects is right. I was not informed by my secretary that Hamsaduta was authorized by vote to make the selection. But, why was Hamsaduta authorized if the vote was already taken? This I do not know.

On the whole I understand there are so many contradictions, so in the presence of all members you may take the vote again and decide finally.”

Letter to: Jayatirtha — Johannesburg 16 October, 1975 Berkeley:

“The local management has to be done by temple president, GBC should see whether management is going on nicely, and if there are any discrepancies that will be discussed at the GBC meeting in Mayapur. That is the process. Sannyasis are meant for preaching only. That is the principle.”

Letter to: Gurukula — Honolulu 18 May, 1976 Melbourne:

“I have spoken with Sukadeva das Adhikari, the Honolulu Temple president. It appears that because you had made some derogatory racial remarks against him in the presence of other devotees here in the temple, it has become difficult to manage and win the respect of this devotees. If the GBC undermines the efforts of the temple presidents how will things go on smoothly. This situation could have been avoided by sober dealings in a Krishna Conscious manner.

I do not want that Sukadeva be removed from his position as I can see that he is sincerely following the principles at present. The GBC cannot whimsically change the temple president, there is a resolution to this effect. Why have you threatened to remove him and unnecessarily created this situation? Please be very sober in your dealings with these Temple presidents, they are undoubtedly rendering a valuable service and are worthy of respect and encouragement.”

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