INFRASTRUCTURE BY S. G. DAS

Posted September 9, 2004

Dear Devotees,
Obeisances.  All Glories to His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada.
 
Communication, it has been said, must always jump above any one person's particular viewpoint to a bridge of generality connecting one person's reality with another's.  Such a platform of understanding is difficult to achieve even where qualifications are in place.  In an organizational context, where one party is accredited/authorised to communicate, the other needs research and trust in the communicator's qualifications to do so.  With this criterion in place, we find Malati dasi' post- "Accepting authority is not mere "blind obedience" (CHAKRA. 23rd March, '04) to be questionable: her credentials, along with those of her 'colleagues'- members of the Governing Body Commission (ISKCON).
 
In her 'challenge' to Niscala dasi' article Malati wrote-  In Niscala prabhu's otherwise fine essay on critical thinking, "A step in the right direction", she made a blanket indictment of the GBC, claiming that the GBC expected the general population of devotees "to follow them blindly". I challenged her to provide specifics, asking simply, "Could you precisely explain where this archaic attitude is still presumed?"  
 
The archaic attitude, as defined by Malati dasi, is not presumed.  It was, is, and always will be GBC policy, unless steps are taken to introduce elections as per the instructions of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder/ Acarya of ISKCON.  As it is, rank-and-file devotees have no idea why a particular GBC member is appointed; the criteria for selection, what accreditation/experience the candidate brings to the position, their election promises, background, or who they are until declared share holders in the Temple stipend by GBC announcement.  As such, rank-and-file members are 'blindly following' commissioners whose appointments have/had absolutely nothing to do with them, and whose authority, as bespoken by Malati, must be accepted with 'obedience'. If intelligence means surrendering to a higher intelligence, we must request Malati dasi and her colleagues to post r�sum�s before calculating on obedience or, dare it be said, acceptance ad infinitum
 
Management in ISKCON is- For and By management.  It follows the law of organization that promotes "Officers for Life", which, as it becomes complete becomes rigid and growingly dictatorial; a cultic phenomena that for its own sake puts men in bondage, and defuses the dynamic of growth beyond managerial competence.  In a spiritual organization, the criteria for surrender begins without end, and at the lotus feet of its preceptor.  Even in this basic accoutrement the GBC have left postulants exposed to contravention by removing them from the protection of Srila Prabhupada, and placing them under the influence of those who legislate that a guru, appointed by them, can "engage in sense gratification", "violate the principles" and be "rectified": ISKCON LAW BOOK Page 69,Text 6.5.1.3. "If a guru is engaged in sense gratification, violating one or more of the regulative principles, but there is hope that he can be rectified, then his disciples should not reject him but should allow time for such rectification to take place....."
 
In her challenge to Niscala dasi, Malati states: "In fact, I can't imagine anyone actually choosing to accept this type of authority nowadays, in ISKCON or anywhere else" We wish to express our concurrence, and hasten to add that authority in ISKCON is imposed. The membership never did CHOOSE to accept this 'type of authority'.  The question of choice arises only in that there never was any.  Authority in ISKCON is enforced via a regime who reject civil rights to side with dictatorships in establishing themselves as officers in continuum- Officers for Life.  Whereas the only choice presented by the GBC is- our way or the highway, our merciful Founder- His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, did give the privilege of vote to all members of the Society, in writing, and in his 'Direction of Management' (D.O.M); a privilege that was revoked without counter-signature or explanation; a fact shrouded in time and secrecy.  Here is an excerpt from the D.O.M, legislated by His Divine Grace on 28th July 1970 in Los Angeles, and witnessed by Rupanuga das, Bhagavan das and Karandhar das:
 
PARTICULARS OF THE GOVERNING BODY COMMISSION
 
" The purpose of the Governing Body Commission is to act as the instrument for the execution of the Will of His Divine Grace.  And further,
 
1. ....[....]....
 
2.  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 incharge 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, the retiring members will decide which four will remain.
 
3.  The commissioners will serve for a period of 3 years, and they may be re-elected at the end of this period".
 
In regards to the election of Temple presidents and its dynamic, Srila Prabhupada states:
 
"In India, when there was a congress election among the executive members, each year a person was elected president.  I think this system may be followed in our institution 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." (SPL to Gurudas, 2nd March, 1970)
 
"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". (SPL to Jayapataka Maharaja, August 24th, 1971).
 
NOTE:  It has been suggested that an audio recorded 'statement' made by Srila Prabhupada on May 28th 1977, supercedes provisions on the D.O.M.  This suggestion is utter nonsense.  Besides the fact that audio recordings are inadmissable as Will and Testament, the suggestion erringly supports a blatant misinterpretation of reality in a bid to condone the revocation of voting rights, as constituted by His Divine Grace. 
 
Researchers will discover the above excerpts to be a powerful legal tool in questioning the right of authority vis-a-vis directives of His Divine Grace.  Clearly, one of the most important principles garnered from the BBT litigation, by which the California copyright trust was revalidated at great expense to ISKCON, was to maintain strict fidelity to the Founder/ Acarya's original plan for the legal structure of his Society.  Congregational members frustrated by an incompetent management, such as ISKCON Catonsville (VNN. 17th March), in whose appointment they have had no vote, may take heart in the Court's decision to honour the directives, intentions and explicit wishes of our Founder/Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, as per his Direction of Management.  The recent New York Court decision to remove the GBC from management at Long Island, highlights the legal implications of GBC deviation from Srila Prabhupada's dictates.  Our prediction is that soon many temples in Europe will follow suit.
 
So, before Malati dasi can expect any genuflection in obedience, we must question her authority, and that of her confederacy?  In so doing, we must also reiterate our request for Malati and her colleagues to post, for scrutiny by members, any nationally accepted academic qualifications/distinctions they may have in claiming the post of commissioners.  In the event of them failing to do so, ISKCON's rank-and-file membership must recognise the leadership to be both intellectually unqualified and, as per Srila Prabhupada's directives, bereft of authority.  As such, whether leading or following, the Society is prone to ditches that lie before its blind-following-blind policies.
 
...the truth is that the State in which the rulers are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are most eager, the worst. (Plato)
 
In the service of Srila Prabhupada,
 
S. G. Das
Bengal/Australia