Request for Public Debate re: ISKCON's System of Management
BY: AMEYATMA DAS
Jan 23, USA (SUN) I want to bring to the attention of the members and well-wishers of ISKCON the latest article I wrote concerning ISKCONís System of Management. I will only give a short synapses of the topic here in this news-brief as the full article is a bit lengthy. The purpose of the article and of publicizing it widely is to try and spark a public debate on the topic. Many ISKCON GBC and sannyasis have been emailed requesting their participation. All who are concerned are requested to at least read the article and follow the debate or participate in it.
I invite all who this may concern to please read the full article located at www.16108.com/som-debate.
A brief explanation of the points of the article are as follows.
On June 5th, 1977 Srila Prabhupad executed his last Declaration of Will. In it he wrote:
"Each temple will be an ISKCON property and will be managed by three executive directors. The system of management will continue as it is now and there is no need of any change.Ē
In my article I point out very significant aspects of the system of management concerned the guidance of the devotees. By 1972 and onward Srila Prabhupad had requested that his disciples take their guidance in matters of management of the mission, philosophy and personal issues from the senior disciples. He requested this, that we cooperate together and that the senior members of the society manage everything and relieve him from answering such questions.
The point is that that majority of Srila Prabhupadís disciples joined after this time and thus the majority of Srila Prabhupad disciples did not approach Srila Prabhupad directly for such issues, especially for personal problems and issues. We abided by Srila Prabhupadís request as we approached our senior god-brothers, sannyasis, temple authorities and GBC members for such guidance.
This was a very significant feature regarding ISKCONís System of Management during the early 70ís up to Srila Prabhupadís disappearance in 1977. The point I make is that this System of Management has changed substantially since 1977. It has changed in that newer devotees only seek out their diksha gurus for such issues, especially regarding their personal issues. Yet we, Srila Prabhupadaís own disciples were instructed by Srila Prabhupad himself not to approach our diksha guru to resolve such matters, and instead go through the system of management that he had established.
I present this and other arguments in more detail including describing how this has weakened the authority of the GBC. These are very significant changes that have occurred and they began immediately after Srila Prabhupadís disappearance. I am making a plea for all members to understand this, and then to work together cooperatively to undo the changes in accordance with Srila Prabhupadís request that there was no need of any change.
To undo the changes, letters and requests must be made by the GBC and current diksha gurus the same as Srila Prabhuapd made wherein he requested his followers to no longer approach him directly for such guidance, but instead to approach the senior members, including the seeking of guidance concerning personal problems. The existing grand-discples and newer devotees would then no longer seek out such guidance from their diksha gurus, but would seek such guidance from ISKCONís senior members. Just as we, the majority of Srila Prabhupadís own disciples had done.
Outwardly it seems to be only a small detail. However, here is the dilemma: As I have presented this to a number of senior devotees many agree that the system has changed, and they agree that Srila Prabhupad did not want it changed. But, when the results of reviving this system are examined, many drop discussing the issue or are forced to reject it. Why? Because the results of reviving and re-instituting this simple change would mean that the current diksha gurus would not perform any other practical duty or function in ISKCON other than to officiate over the formal initiation ceremony. Before and after the initiation the devotee would be seeking all guidance from the senior devotees through the System of Management that Srila Prabhupad had set up. The same system that he requested all his disciple follow (especially from 1972 and onward). This would then leave the new diksha gurus with no other duty or function within the society other then that of what a rtvik priest would have. Since this is considered unacceptable to many current gurus and GBC, they reject the idea of re-instituting the system of management and guidance for the devotees that Srila Prabhupad had established and requested that it not be changed.
This is the dilemma and the basic premise of the article and arguments I present. I am openly inviting all devotees, especially the senior devotees and managers of ISKCON to discuss and debate this openly and publicly.
Again, the website address is
www.16108.com/som-debate. After reading the full article you may participate simply by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please take the time to read the article and to reply or comment as you see fit. The goal is to restore ISKCONís system of management to the condition and function ability that Srila Prabhupad worked hard to set up and create.
Aspiring to become your humble and worthy servant, the most unfortunate Ameyatma das