Feb 17th, 2012

more on the DOM issue:

ISKCON Law : Is The "Direction Of Management" A 'Legal' Document?

[Part One of 2 articles written by Ameyatma das regarding the Direction Of Management]

I have been 'offline', so to speak (as far as getting involved with issues online), for quite some time. However, I recently came across an article by Mrgendra Prabhu that he wrote and published on Sampradaya Sun in Dec. of 2010, and I felt compelled to write a rebuttal.  In his Dec 2010 article he argues that, at least in the eyes of the U.S. courts of law, it is incorrect to refer to the Direction Of Management or Topmost Urgency Constitutional Amendment documents as 'legal' documents.  Being a lawyer in the U. S. he bases his opinions on his interpretation of current US law. 

At the beginning of Mrgendra Prabhu's article he states:  "I would like to comment as to the effect of those documents under U.S. law. I will not comment as to their possible effect in any other jurisdiction, for example India".  

As followers (and direct disciples) of Srila Prabhupada, I would like to point out, however, that there is another "jurisdiction" that for the followers of Srila Prabhupad cannot be ignored. And, rather, it should be the only 'jurisdiction' that we, the members of ISKCON, should be concerned with.   

The 'jurisdiction' I refer to is the jurisdiction of Srila Prabhupad's teachings and instructions.

What does 'jurisdiction' mean?   From dictionary.com:
1. the right, power, or authority to administer Justice by hearing and determining controversies.
2. power; authority; control: He has jurisdiction over all American soldiers in the area.
3. the extent or range of judicial, law enforcement, or other authority: This case comes under the jurisdiction of the local police.
4. the territory over which authority is exercised: All islands to the northwest are his jurisdiction.

In this context Srila Prabhupad, and His teachings, His books, have jurisdiction over His disciples and followers.  In the U.S. the laws of the land have authority by means of physical force.  The laws, written by materialistic and conditioned souls who are caught up in the throngs of maya, illusion, and sense enjoyment, are enforced upon the general public via the local, State and Federal police who have the physical means to administer punitive measures should one be found by the courts to have violated the laws of the State.  

Srila Prabhupad, on the other hand, has the right to administer justice, via his teachings, to discern what is actually right and wrong in accordance with the divine law, Sanatan Dharma, which is legislated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His representatives, the Manus (Manu Samhita) and saintly acharyas.  Ultimately the Divine Law of Sanatan Dharma is enforced by the various demigods such as Yamaraj, Durgadevi, Indradev, etc. Srila Prabhupad is given such Divine Authority by the Supreme Godhead Himself.  And, thus, for those who have the proper understanding, and proper vision to see, we are not wrong, naive or bound by ignorance when we refer to formal writings given by His Divine Grace as being "Legal" documents.

Shastra has several meanings.  In reference to the Vedic scripture shastra is a compendium of the laws, or commands, instructions, given by the Godhead for humanity to abide by.   Shastra also means a weapon. The sword or a knife used to make surgical incisions.  Shastra, the sword, is used to enforce Shastra, the word and commands or laws of God.  Shastra, the divine law, contains words that cut like a sword the illusions of maya.  Srila Prabhupad's books are the Shastra, the scriptural laws, for his followers, and for the future of this planet earth.

At some point in the future Srila Prabhupad's teachings, His books especially, shall become the law books for this world.  Yet, Srila Prabhupad's followers have, at the present time, accepted Srila Prabhupad's teachings, His books and written as well as verbal instructions, as the laws that govern our lives in our life time. Srila Prabhupad's teachings definitely have full jurisdiction over those who follow him.

What is Jurisdiction?  The Latin roots are ius, iuris (juris) meaning law (dharma).  And dicere  (decree, diction) meaning to speak.

Mrgendra's contentions, however, is that the DOM is not a 'legal' document, at least in his professional opinion, in accordance with modern US law. And, many followers of Srila Prabhupad appear eager to agree to this idea, upholding the view that it is wrong to refer to an official and formal document written by Srila Prabhupad as a 'legal' document.   Mrgendra's argument (or opinion) is that such documents are not viewed as 'legal' within the jurisdiction of modern US law and it's court system. However, as followers of Srila Prabhupad we must understand that this concept is superfluous to our lives.  Yes, of course, the current US courts or legal system may rule as they please. We fully understand Mrgendra's point that Srila Prabhupad's instructions may not have 'authority' in such US Courts and the police or executive branch of the US government is not going to police or enforce His instructions. Nor would a judicial court rule on the basis of His teachings (not at this time, but there will come a day).  Yet, We Must NOT Lose Sight That Srila Prabhupad's Teachings DO Hold Full AUTHORITY over Our lives and over the ISKCON mission that he founded.

ISKCON's Executive branch is the GBC (Governing Body Commission).  Srila Prabhupad defined the GBC as the Executors of his will, or instructions (in both the DOM and his last will and testament). The GBC is to manage ISKCON in accordance with His instructions and, to the extend they are able, enforce His instructions.  Seen in this sense, Srila Prabhupad is the divine legislator of ISKCON Law. Just as Manu is the Law giver of mankind, Srila Prabhupad is the Law Giver for his followers and the members of ISKCON.

Therefore, within the circle of Srila Prabhupad's followers, within his ISKCON society, we certainly must accept Srila Prabhupad's teachings as the LAW of Srila Prabhupad's ISKCON society. 

Seen in this way, in the context of what we, the followers accept as ISKCON Law, the Direction Of Management is most certainly an ISKCON "legal" document.  And, so too is the "Topmost Urgency" amendment document. 

Another issue I want to address is that Mrgendra (and others) refer to the DOM and Topmost Urgency documents as "letters". I vehemently object.

It is like calling the Bill Of Rights, or Declaration of Independence mere "letters" rather than official or 'legal' documents of historic proportions.

Referring to the DOM or Topmost Urgency documents as 'letters' has the effect of reducing their level of importance from that of an official binding document or signed order or signed decree by the Founder-Acharya, to that of a lessor important letter of personal correspondence.  Neither of these documents are  'correspondence letters'.  Neither document is addressed to a particular person.  Rather, the Direction Of Management was authored by Srila Prabhupada explicitly as a formal, official and 'binding' document for his ISKCON society.  Years later in 1974, we find letters where Srila Prabhupad instructs the GBC to refer and adhere to the DOM.   ie:
Regarding replacing Abhirama and Damodara I refer to the "Direction of Management'' as follows: "Removal of a Temple President by GBC requires support by the local Temple members.'' Therefore you should take a vote of the Temple members and do the needful. A.C. B.S.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Rupanuga:  --  Bombay 7 November, 1974
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.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Mukunda:  --  Mayapur 29 September, 1974
I have already written you that the local members must agree for him to be removed by you, according to the "Direction of Management.''
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Rupanuga:  --  Bombay 8 November, 1974
In the above letters Srila Prabhupad makes reference to and quotes from the Direction Of Management showing his intent that the GBC strictly adhere to the rules, mandates, or laws, given by him in his Direction Of Management.  It is clear that Srila Prabhupad had fully intended the DOM to be a 'binding', or 'legal' document (in the terms and context of ISKCON Law) that was to have jurisdiction over and establish the foundation and set the limits of the authority of the GBC. 

The entire nature of the "Topmost Urgency" amendment of 1974 is written such that the entire society, all temples, were to be bound by it's contents, to the point of being bound even by current State government's jurisdiction of law, by the fact that the very document was to have been amended as part of all 'legal' or incorporation papers and by-laws of all ISKCON centers. 

As viewed from the internal perspective among the members of ISKCON and followers of Srila Prabhupad, these document very much so, must be seen and referred to as 'Legal" and binding documents.  

Srila Prabhupad wrote these documents with the full intent and expectation that his followers will accept the mandates expounded in these documents as binding. He expected his followers, especially the Governing (GBC) members to be bound by and adhere to these mandates.  These documents are Divine Decree, Divine Law, given by His Divine Grace, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON. 

It must be noted that even though we find no mention of the Direction Of Management for a 4 year period in the Vedabase, from July of 1970 to July of 1974, still, 4 years later we find that Srila Prabhupad never wavered from his original intent and expectation that the GBC be bound to the mandates (laws or by-laws) of the DOM.  These are documents that he clearly expected our society and its system of Governance to adhere to.   

Mrgendra's point was that they are not 'legally binding' by the US courts or enforcement agencies.  Yes, we understand this, however, this is not something wonderful. The fact that the US or State Courts do not uphold Srila Prabhupad's formally written documents as being 'legally binding' in their courts does not mean that we should follow or accept their opinions and advocate the offensive idea that such documents are also not legally binding for our own society and the followers of Srila Prabhupad.   Ultimately, the current Standards of Law opined by the so-called Honorable Magistrates of State Law is not the standard of our ISKCON society's system of governance.  We are not to look to the judicial system of the US or any other State government, for determining which of Prabhupad's teaching are to be accepted as 'binding' and which to be rejected as 'non-binding' for the ISKCON society or for our personal lives.  The formal written orders and instructions given by His Divine Grace are legally binding for the followers of Srila Prabhupad (legal referring to Divine Law - Sanatan Dharam).  That is the only real view we should have.  Yes, we understand Mrgendra's point, but his point of view should not be accepted as the standard that we personally, or within our society, should adhere to.

The DOM is the foundational or constitutional law by which Srila Prabhupad formed and created ISKCON's managerial or governance system, namely the GBC.  For us, it is an Official and Formal and Binding Document of Codes and Rules (laws) legislated by ISKCON's Founder-Acharya in which His full original intent was that such codes and rules be duly obeyed by the society of his followers.  That, in our view, constitutes a 'legal' document within the jurisdiction of ISKCON law and the ISKCON mission and society that Srila Prabhupad founded, irregardless of how the US judicial system and the attorneys who practice such modern laws of the State may or may not view them. 

As with U.S. laws; when a law is written by the legislature and duly signed into law by the executive branch, the only way to rescind or change, modify that law is by either formally amending it in accordance with the established procedure, or writing a new law that explicitly rescinds or cancels and/or replaces the originally signed and duly executed order of law.

And, this is the point that many of us are making.  The DOM was written, signed and executed by Srila Prabhupad in a Formal and Official manner. It stands not only as the original founding formally written and signed document, but is also stands as the one and only such document that Srila Prabhupad authored and signed which explicitly instructs how he wanted his society to be managed. 

The only way for these laws or rules to be rescinded or changed would be for Srila Prabhupad to have signed and executed another document that would explicitly rescind and replace or amend (modify) the earlier document.   

The "Topmost Urgency - Constitutional Amendment" document was also authored and signed by Srila Prabhupad in a formal manor. He not only signed it, but had it co-signed by 2 other GBC men.  Srila Prabhupad's full intent was that this document was to be amended to all of ISKCON's legal papers,  as this is what was stated in the document's own title in all upper case letters.  This document provides clear evidence regarding the procedure that Srila Prabhupad considered was necessary (and also that any State court or legal system would deem as the proper method) to enact a formal amendment or change to previously established 'legal' or formal documents.   Srila Prabhupad wanted his amendment to be made to formal legal binding documents, and the procedure he employed to execute this was via his authoring, signing a formal document which was then co-signed by 2 GBC officers which inherently contained an order to see that the document was duly executed.  The title states:


The content of the document was the content that was to be amended, without changes, and the title also acted as Prabhupad's Decree, or Order, commanding action to be taken,  the amendment was to be added to all ISKCON legal and corporation papers Immediately.   And, there was the unique emphasis given on the upper left-hand corner - "TOPMOST URGENCY".

This was how Srila Prabhupad acted to make a formal change or amendment to a previously authored and executed formal document.  

Yet, we do not find that Srila Prabhupad had ever authored or signed any other document in the same formal manner showing his intent that he wanted the DOM to no longer be adhered to or, or where he formally amended or changed the DOM election procedures.  In 1974-75 he wrote letters to various GBC stating that they must adhere to the rules, laws and by-laws of the Direction Of Management, and yet we find no later letters where Srila Prabhupad rescinded or changed that request.  We find no written order by him where he explicitly states that he no longer requested the DOM to be adhered to. 

In Mrgendra's article he wrote:
'Letters such as the DOM and the "Topmost Urgency" letter would be relevant in any U.S. court case to show the desires of Srila Prabhupada at the time that he signed the particular documents. However, it only causes confusion to your readers when you refer to those letters or other documents as "legal documents", which is a meaningless phrase. What you appear to want to convey by using the term "legal document" is "a document with clauses that would be enforceable by a court of law".'

What "court of law"?   Lets keep ourselves focused on Who we are, What we are, Who Srila Prabhupad is, and our relationship with Him.  These documents, first of all are not correspondence 'letters' as Mrgendra incorrectly portrays them to be, they are the laws that must be upheld by the Executors of ISKCON law, ISKCON's Governing Body, and in the ISKCON courts of law, irregardless of how the US courts may or may not see them.   To refer to these documents as 'Legal' Documents (within the jurisdiction of ISKCON Society) is not 'a meaningless phrase'.  For the followers of Srila Prabhupad, the only real Laws that matter to our personal lives are the words, instructions, emanating from his Lotus Mouth, his books and these formal and official documents authored and authorized directly by him.  For us, the true Prabhupadanuga's, the true Followers of Srila Prabhupad, the Only Law that concerns us are the Laws, or Teachings, given to us by Krishna's authorized representative, Srila Prabhupad.

We abide by the current laws of the land, the State law, as much as it does not interfere with 'our' laws.  But, when there is interference we will give our lives to uphold 'our' laws, not the laws of the State.

For example, in the 1960's, 70's and 80's it was "illegal" to posses the Gita, or other of Prabhupad's books in the Soviet Union. In many places in the Soviet Union it was 'illegal' (by the demoniac laws of the State) to hold ceremonies worshiping God, Krishna, including congregational bhajans or kirtan even in one's own home.  At the risk of prosecution and severe punishment, however, devotees broke those so-called laws given by the demoniac State.  Some Western devotees risked their lives and freedom by smuggling Srila Prabhupad's books into the Soviet Block countries.  Some devotee residents of the Soviet Union were imprisoned and tortured and even willingly gave up their lives at the hands of the State for their violation of such demoniac, oppressive and irreligious State laws. 

For devotees, for the true followers of Srila Prabhupad, State law is NOT held as the standard by which we govern our lives.  State Law is NOT the standard of authority that we look up to.  The laws (teachings) given by Srila Prabhupad, the authorized representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are what we hold as the standard to govern our lives and our society.  Therefore, contrary to Mrgendra's contention, it is not "meaningless" to refer to official documents authored and duly signed by Srila Prabhupad which were intended by Him to be binding codes by which his mission was to be managed - as 'legal' documents.

For us, the US courts and State laws are superfluous and for the most part, 'meaningless', to our lives, even if we are punished to the point of death for rejecting the State laws that prohibit us from performing our service to Guru, we still maintain such laws as 'meaningless'. But, Srila Prabhupad's words, his formally written documents we shall never refer to as being 'meaningless' in any context, especially in reference to being instructions to be held as binding upon our lives and his society.

Additionally Mrgendra wrote:

Further, neither the DOM nor the "Amendments - Topmost Urgency" letter are even close to being a valid "Last Will and Testament" even though they could be interpreted as containing hints of what Srila Prabhupada might later put in a valid will. In any case, the statements of Srila Prabhupada in his later will as to the GBC and real properties can only be considered advisory, as there was no indication that Srila Prabhupada had legal title to any of the real properties in the United States at the time that he passed away...

From the above: "...there was no indication that Srila Prabhupada had legal title to any of the real properties in the United States at the time that he passed away..."

Here Mrgendra is expressing his views in terms of his karmic non-devotional profession as a lawyer of US State laws, and thus he bases his view on how the US courts, and the corporate and contractual laws of the State, would view these documents, and how they would view Srila Prabhupad in accordance with "Their" laws.

Here Mrgendra is arguing that, in his opinion, at the time of Srila Prabhupad's disappearance Prabhupad had No Legal title to any of the real properties, the brick and mortar buildings that made up the physical assets of his ISKCON mission.  Mrgendra is depicting, here, how he thinks a US court of law would view Srila Prabhupad's status of authority in reference to the laws of the State.  According to Mrgendra this is how the US Courts would rule if cases came before them to determine the legally binding viability of the DOM in terms of their laws, and the level of Authority that Srila Prabhupad carried in view of their State laws. It ailso appears that this is how Mrgendra thinks that the GBC and Prabhupad's followers should accept as our own standard as well.  In otherwords, it appears that Mrgendra expects that we should accept as our own standards the view point from the perspective of modern State laws, and not adhere to our own standards.  In other words, since the US courts do not see Srila Prabhupad as an authority and do not view his words as binding law, then, it appears that herein Mrgendra is arguing neither should his followers.

However,  "WE" the followers of Srila Prabhupad are not disciples of the State laws.   Yes, the courts may rule that Srila Prabhupad's teachings have no authority in their courts,  but,  in OUR Lives, and in Srila Prabhupad's ISKCON mission Prabhupada's Teachings Are the Only Laws his followers accept as valid. 

This highlights the inherent flaw of taking our internal ISKCON issues, or controversies, to the modern non-devotee courts of law to have them, the modern courts, decide what is right or wrong or binding or not for our society.  The flaws are many, and deep, and thus decisions made by the modern courts concerning our internal affairs, especially in regards to Srila Prabhupad and his teachings, can be completely wrong and destructive to our society and to the future of the world.

For example, as Mrgendra noted, according to the modern laws, and courts, at the time Srila Prabhupad left this world the courts would not accept that Srila Prabhupad had any actual title to the ISKCON temple properties.  Thus, Mrgendra is saying that the instructions Srila Prabhupad wrote in his Last Will regarding how He wanted the ISKCON properties and temples to be managed, the courts would see this as only 'advisory', and would not recognize that Srila Prabhupad had any 'legal (by their laws) authority' to give instructions that would be legally binding (by their laws).    They would see Srila Prabhupad as not possessing any intrinsic or substantial 'legal' or 'binding' authority, in view of their laws, over the ISKCON properties.   Thus, they would view his written instructions given in his last will as merely the Advice of a common ordinary man.

This is why I say "To HELL with the modern courts and their attorneys and barristers and their views and their so-called 'legal' decisions" in regards to the standards and operations of the internal affairs of Srila Prabhupad's ISKCON society.  To Hell, especially, to their attempts to try and define the reaches of Srila Prabhupad's 'Authority'.  Such demoniac courts of law have no qualifications to rule one way or the other whether Srila Prabhupad had real authority or not over the temple properties.  

For the Prabhupadanuga's, Prabhupad's followers, there is no question as to Srila Prabhupad's position of Full and Absolute Authority over HIS temples.  He had such authority vested by Krishna, God Himself.   To Hell with the modern courts and their attorney's of law who have no eyes to see, who have no qualification whatsoever in trying to determine such things.  Srila Prabhupad's followers and members of ISKCON are to submit to His instructions, not to the instructions of robed mlecchas. 

But, if we go to the US courts and take advice from Attorneys who practice the laws of the current demoniac State, then, following their advice and legal or judicial decisions, we would be left having to accept that Srila Prabhupad's instructions in his Last Will are simply "advisory", and Srila Prabhupad himself simply a common ordinary man who was giving nothing more than his personal, but non-binding, advice. We would be left to accept their view that Srila Prabhupad actually had no Authority over his ISKCON centers or his followers !!!!    OR, are we, as Srila Prabhupad's followers, to accept his instructions as Divine LAW, to be strictly obeyed, and that Srila Prabhupad himself has full authority to give such binding Divine Laws because he was, and is, God's authorized representative ?   Srila Prabhupad possessed full Authority over His centers, having been given that Authority by Krishna, God, Himself.   Courts of mundane law, manned by unqualified non-devotees, have no qualifications to pass judgement on Srila Prabhupad or even remotely attempt to define the limits of his authority. 

Are we to look to modern US or World "Law" to determine how ISKCON is to be managed, or are we to turn to Srila Prabhupad's books and other written works, especially those formally written documents intended by Him depicting how his society is to be managed as the standards by which his mission is to be managed?   

This point that Mrgendra makes is not to be taken lightly.  It clearly shows just how dangerous it is to try and settle the internal controversies of the ISKCON mission in the modern courts. 

The fact is, currently, Srila Prabhupad's true position and true authority, his authority over his followers and his mission, is outside of the comprehension and jurisdiction of modern laws.  Modern State law and it's judicial courts are completely inadequate and unqualified to enact judgement regarding the validity or binding effect of Srila Prabhupad, and his teachings and writings.   Today, those who wear the robes representing justice in accordance of US law fully lack the moral purity and intelligence, what to speak of the devotion, to pass judgement on Srila Prabhupad's position and authority.  These matters can only be truly resolved internally within our own society. 

What is sad is when the GBC will not properly consider descending views, will not allow or engage in open discussions with many of Srila Prabhupad's senior disciples. They engage in their private meetings and make their final decisions and then declare all descending opinion as deviant and those who express descending views as bitter, envious fallen rascals, to be disdained by the society.  Many, rightly, view the current (past 34+ years) GBC system as flawed and unhealthy and not able to properly deal with many issues facing the society.  But, none of our internal issues can be resolved by accepting the judicial decisions of unqualified men in the modern current judicial system of State laws. Thus, turning to the courts, by either the GBC or those who disagree with their decisions, is futile, or worse, destructive to Srila Prabhupad's mission. 

Those who sit on the court benches, the judges and their attorneys, for the most part, do not follow the principles of religious life (they are meat eaters, cow killers, take intoxication in the form of alcohol and drugs, and engage in illicit sex). They are conditioned souls firmly caught in the grips of illusion. Many are atheists, and certainly they are not engaged in chanting Krishna's name 16 rounds of japa a day.  Taking our internal issues to such courts is wrong and sad.  Unfortunately, the totalitarian governing tactics of the GBC for the past 3 and half decades have not been healthy or beneficial for the society.  And, there has been no means for the rank and file members of ISKCON to effect any real healthy change.   This is why many senior devotees when they discovered the suppressed Direction Of Management and Topmost Urgency documents saw them as divine solutions to the dilemma's facing our society, because the 'election' and term limit aspects of the DOM would provide ISKCON society with an equatable means of a very badly needed system of checks and balances (in the second part of this article I will discuss this topic in more detail). 

Mrgendra also wrote:
In reference to their position as disciples to their guru, the GBC and temple presidents would have been expected to try hard to bring Srila Prabhupada's directives to fulfillment, but that is not a duty that would have been enforceable in a court of law, absent a binding written contract between the title holders of real property or Boards of Directors of corporations and His Divine Grace.
Again, this is further evidence why we must not try and resolve our internal affairs in the modern demoniac courts of law who have no qualification to see and accept the Divine Authority of Srila Prabhupad.  Srila Prabhupad, as the Divine Representative of the Supreme Godhead did not need a written contract that is recognized by the mleccha courts as binding, to have binding authority over his followers.   None of us, his immediate disciples, signed any such contract.  But, we did take our oaths, our vows of surrender.  Mrgendra was most likely correct in his depiction of how State courts would see Srila Prabhupad,  but, our point is that we must not take their low-class a-vaishnav standard as our own.  The courts 'should' see Srila Prabhupad's teachings as binding... but since they do not,  they have no qualifications to pass judgements regarding our society's internal affairs.   The Direction of Management and the Constitutional Amendment Topmost Urgency documents are the only official, formal written and signed documents that Srila Prabhupad authored and formally authorized concerning management of the ISKCON centers.  Therefore his followers are obliged to accept these documents as Legally Binding within the jurisdiction of ISKCON, internally, irregardless of what the modern courts would consider binding or not. 

[From the Direction Of Management, after listing the names of the originally appointed 12 GBC secretaries]
"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."
In Srila Prabhupad's presence the GBC were His secretaries, after his demise they become Executors.  Executors of what?  The Executors of the Laws, or instructions given by Srila Prabhupad. Or as Srila Prabhupad defines, they are to execute His 'Will', meaning his instructions. 

'The purpose of the Governing Body Commission is to act as the instrument for the execution of the Will of His Divine Grace.'"
Srila Prabhupad acted as the Divine Legislator of ISKCON Law, and after his demise, the GBC is to act as the Executor of those laws that our society is to abide by.

In actuality the DOM does stand as a written contract between the managers of ISKCON, the GBC, and Srila Prabhupad. The Temple properties were to be in the names of more than one GBC for that zone.  Thus, the GBC are bound by the DOM contract and the Last Will, at least in accordance with our own ISKCON Law.  They are to manage Srila Prabhupad's ISKCON society in accordance with the Divine Law of Srila Prabhupad's instructions.

And, had the GBC of the mid 1970's actually executed the TOPMOST URGENCY written orders given by Srila Prabhupad and had amended all ISKCON corporation papers with that very document, as Srila Prabhupad had ordered them, in writing, to do, then there would have existed a binding mechanism, or agreement, where the ISKCON temples and the ISKCON GBC would have been bound to accept Srila Prabhupad's authority and the authority and binding effects of the DOM.   Whether the US courts accept these documents as binding by their own terms is superflous to our society.  They are binding in terms of our own society and our own view as to His Divine Grace and his Divine Authority. 

It is the FAILURE of the GBC of 1974 that has caused the whole 'legal' problem we are facing today.   Because had the GBC of 1974 followed this most Urgent and Topmost written and signed order by Srila Prabhupad, then the DOM would have been included as part of the by-laws of ALL of ISKCON's legal papers world wide.  If nothing else, it would have brought the very existence of the DOM to the attention of Prabhupad's disciples and the Temple Presidents in 1974.   As it was, most, if not all of those who served as Temple Presidents in 1974 had no knowledge that the DOM even existed. Had the GBC of 1974 actually faithfully carried out the TOPMOST URGENT written order of Srila Prabhupad at that time, then at least the Temple Presidents would have gained knowledge of the DOM and would have approached Srila Prabhupad about it.   They would have then been given copies and would have seen that they, the Temple Presidents, had been authorized by Srila Prabhupad to hold elections over the GBC members every 3 years.   Thus, if the GBC of 1974 had duly carried out the TOPMOST URGENT order they were given, the whole direction of this ISKCON society would have changed dramatically and the elections aspect of the DOM would have become firmly established.

What is most poignant to understand is that the TOPMOST URGENCY constitutional amendment and it's Decree or Order to be executed, signed by Srila Prabhupad in 1974 - STILL STANDS.   The order to execute that document still stands.  It was an order given by Srila Prabhupad in which he had given it the most emphasis he had ever given any other written order,   ie:  TOPMOST URGENCY.   And, no other written or even verbal order has been found that was given by Srila Prabhupad rescinding that order.  Thus, if we are to follow ANY instruction of Srila Prabhupad,  if we are to follow ANY of his other orders, or contend that we are Followers of His instructions,   we MUST follow this order, the 1974 TOPMOST URGENCY order as it stands unique as having the most emphasis ever given by Srila Prabhupad of any of his orders, as he gave this order in writing, signed and co-signed with the emphasis of TOPMOST URGENCY.  And, he never rescinded this order.   Thus, it still stands to be executed.   To argue that this order is not to be obeyed would be to argue that NO  Other instruction given by Srila Prabhupad should be followed.  

Therefore, the real solution to this issue is simply to Obey and Follow and EXECUTE this written order,   which means that all temples must amend their legal papers with THIS amendment,    where not one single word is to be changed.   This will them introduce the DOM into all legal constitutions of ISKCON temples.   This will then lead to the acceptance of the elections system given in the DOM.  And this will finally open the path to restoring the greatness of Srila Prabhupad's ISKCON mission.  

What caused all these problems is the Failure of the 1974 GBC to have properly and faithfully executed Srila Prabhupad's Topmost Urgent written and signed order to them.  And, this is where devotees should focus our concern, and seek to rectify via internal means. We should investigate why, or how what it that the GBC of 1974 did not obey this TOPMOST and URGENT signed order?  Was it simply due to their ineptness? Or, was there some hidden agenda by one or more members to keep this order suppressed?  It is important to know the answer as it may affect other aspects of GBC decisions since that time, so this begs to be investigated.   Yet, regardless of how and why the GBC of 1974 disobeyed this order, the order still stands.   To rectify the situation we must stat by rectifying the failure of the 1974 GBC who ignored or disobeyed this Topmost Urgent order of Srila Prabhupad.  To do this, all temples must adopt this amendment AS IT IS, without changing a single word and must remove all the recent wordage the GBC forced them to adopt.  Then, this will then bring the DOM into the by-laws of all ISKCON temples.   That is the only real solution to this issue.   The solution is, therefore, to Obey and Execute the still standing order given by Srila Prabhupad, and that order is the 1974 Topmost Urgency amendment. 

Thus, in conclusion, as I have stated, it is not naive or ignorant or wrong, or meaningless, for devotees to refer to the Direction of Management or the Topmost Urgency document as 'legal' documents.   Within the jurisdiction of ISKCON law, these are binding documents that were written by Srila Prabhupad with his intent that his followers adhere to and follow them as the Laws of ISKCON. 

Thus ends Part One, dealing with the understanding that the Direction Of Management and Topmost Urgency Constitutional Amendments are "legal" documents.

Part Two will deal in more general terms with this ongoing controversy, and will ponder the question:
"Would the inclusion of GBC elections and term limits, as Srila Prabhupad proposed in the Direction Of Management, be beneficial or detrimental to ISKCON in the long run?"