Submitted for publication as an article to a number of Vaishnav news sites - , by ameyatma das (ACBSP)
Please accept my humble obeisances, All Glories to Srila Prabhupad, savior of the world.
The Direction Of Management, it is now 36 years since Srila Prabhupad wrote this and signed it. And now, 36 years later, it has appeared to bring unity in the face of a seriously, and otherwise seemingly fatally, fractured movement. To shed the shinning light of a blazingly bright future for his mission, over which has been hanging increasingly dark and gloomy clouds for so many decades.
What I see in this document is nothing less then absolutely splendid.
Not just what the document says, but the very fact of the timing of it’s becoming public. It has the power to unite together all diverse factions of devotees that have sprung up over the years. So many diverse factions that have caused so many splits and have broken up the followers. Factions that have broken the fresh vibrant spirit that was always found in the ISKCON of old. Factions that only threatened more fracturing. Factions that only caused more dis-unity. It is nothing less then total amazing that today such diverse camps as the rtviks, the feminists, the dharmists, the gurukulis, those who want to see action over the child abuses, every camp, every sort of follower, no matter what their particular interest or slant on the philosophy is, no matter what their service or background, this simple 4 page 36 year old document that was kept silent and hidden for so long, now finally been properly exposed to the full light of day, and this simple document can be seen to hold in its power a seemingly impossible act – that of being able to UNITE and Re-Unite the whole diverse body of devotees to come together, hand in hand, over this.
Unity, that is a very important aspect of this amazingly simple document. From the new bhaktas, to the most senior of men and women who first joined ISKCON, to the current GBC members to the temple presidents to the dish washers, to the congregational members, to the Hindu organizations, this simple and 36 year old document has the power to UNITE Everyone. That is nothing less then totally and astoundingly amazing. Amazing.
This is something that we can all hold in our hand. It is concrete. It is something we can all agree on, and point to, and hold up for others to see, and we can all agree upon it. That is something totally amazing, is it not? In the face of all the diverse factions, isn’t this simply amazing? I see it as nothing less then Krsna’s mystical play. He is always the Supreme Controler, and for reasons only He knows, He has arranged for this to come out now, and now, when it seems totally hopeless that ISKCON has become so dis-united, this one document has the amazing power to re-unite the whole of ISKCON.
Everyone who is now, one by one discovering this document, is seeing how this simple document makes so much sense, and how it can totally change ISKCON only for the better.
So many of Srila Prabhupad’s senior men and women have for so long known that something was simply not right. Something fundamental was just not working out right. Many pointed to the rtvik issue, the poison issue, the GBC management issue, child abuse issue, feminists issues, whatever, all of those things may have some merit, but not any one of those had the power to unite everyone else. This issue, however, does have that power. Because now there is one single and concrete item that everyone can point to, can hold in their hand, can read and understand, and relate to, and say, here, this is it. This is where things are not right. This is where the foundation, the very basic foundation of how Srila Prabhupad wanted our society to be set up and run, this basic foundation has been OFF-SKEW.
Srila Prabhupad wanted a GBC body that was Answerable to the devotees. The system that he set up had viable Checks and Balances. Now we can see, the current system that has developed by not incorporating the system that Srila Prabhupad wanted, is totally lacking those checks and balances. The GBC was ‘never’ to have had the power to remove or select a temple president. Maybe they ‘could’ recommend someone, but not simply appoint. That was only to be done via congregations elections (that is not directly written in the DOM, but is supported by letters written by Srila Prabhupad (see 74-09-29 to Mukunda, 74-11-07 and 74-11-08 to Rupanuga).. This is a major consideration, as in the past GBC men have whimsically appointed and removed temple presidents to suite their liking. And, for decades most of the congregations simple accepted this, assuming that this was the system that Srila Prabhupad had set up. Assuming that the GBC were given such powers by Srila Prabhupad as ultimate managers over ISKCON. How surprising to find out that in fact, just the opposite was the intended plan. The GBC are to be elected by the Temple Presidents only are to only a limited term. Rather then the power given to the GBC men to remove and appoint temple presidents according to their whim, instead, it is the Temple Presidents who were to have the authority to elect the GBC members. And, the members for GBC were to come from among the Temple Presidents themselves.
This represents a monumental shift in the management system, from that of a top heavy dictatorship where a group of good ‘ole guys call all the shots, to one where the true power lies at the local levels, among the temple presidents. GBC men were never given the power to either remove or appoint temple presidents (they may, can and should notify a temple congregation if a temple president is found to be fallen and in the GBC’s eyes unqualified to act as Temple President, but that is all the further the GBC can go. They were never given the power to remove or appoint, only the temple’s congregation has that authority and power. So, even if the GBC felt a certain temple president was not qualified, the real power to decide was held by the local temple congregation, not by a dictatorial GBC. What a shift of power this is for our movement). Not only this, but, couple this with the revealing fact that the GBC members where never given the power to select who ‘they’ wanted to be added to the GBC. Since 1978 the GBC have held meetings and in their meeting it is THEY, and virtually THEY alone who would decide who was to remain a GBC and who THEY wanted to add to the list of authorized GBC. This is a system that is totally without any checks or balances. It also becomes a breading ground for making a good ’ole boy’s environment in which those who are in power only chose to add to their numbers those whom they want, not based on what is best for Srila Prabhupad’s mission, but what is best for their own position. They decide, not only who they wanted as temple presdents, but also who they wanted to include on the GBC board.
This also provided a bad environment in which, as the analogy goes, “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine”, or, “I’ll not say anything about your fall downs if you don’t say anything about mine”. Because the current system lacks the proper system of checks and balances it has allowed so many unqualified men/women to remain on the board that simply do not belong there, simply because they were no longer qualified.
It was so refreshing, so absolutely refreshing, to discover, 36 years later, that the current system is NOT what Srila Prabhupad wanted. It is NOT what he instructed to be set up. It is so vibrantly refreshing to find out that what Srila Prabhuapd wanted was a system that was well balanced. One which makes so much sense.
Under the DOM (Direction Of Management), new GBC men are elected by the Temple Presidents, from among themselves. And, in other letters and documents we find that Srila Prabhupad wanted that only the local congregations of the local temples had the authority to remove or elect a new temple president Thus, the congregation has a voice, a conduit, to the GBC. If the congregation does not like their temple president or GBC because that person is not performing their duties properly, they can, first, remove that temple president and elect one that is qualified. And through that temple president the congregation has a vote as to who the GBC will be. It is a very equitable and reasonable and manageable system. Especially when coupled with the idea that the GBC member has an term limit. By limiting their term the GBC is now directly answerable to the body of temple presidents on a routine and regular basis. If that GBC has fallen from grace, or in any other way is not performing their duty properly or up to the standards expected, then the temple presidents have the authority and duty to remove that GBC. What a wonderful system Srila Prabhupad wanted set up.
What we can see is that the whole make up of ISKCON’s hierarchy will change when the DOM is finally and properly established.
I and so many others can only see a very bright and brilliant future for ISKCON once the DOM is established. It does not matter if one accepts or rejects rtvik, or this or that, we now have in our hands a one single issue to come together on and stand united on.
And, once you again have a UNITED ISKCON – a UNITED society of Vaishnav’s, you will again have a powerful society that will again blossom and grow exponentially and become a powerful and purifying force in this world.
And, that is something that everyone can unite on, and will unite on. And, that is nothing less then absolutely, positively, amazing.
Before I end, I would like to add that I have posted additional article on my website that gives some evidence, based on my personal experience, how the GBC of the 70’s was capable of trying to keep this document hidden. Why they did not want it followed seems obvious. The GBC had been formed to take over the managing and running of ISKCON, and as long as they were members of the GBC, this meant that they were in charge of Prabhupad’s mission. If temple presidents knew that they were to elect new GBC from among themselves, and that the current GBC were to only serve limited terms, then those then in posts as GBC may very well be voted out. Thus, they did not like that they would no longer be in charge. So, some among them obviously chose to not only ignore following this, but to also keep these documents hidden away from the other members. This amounts to no less then a conspiracy. I can really not think of any other reason why these documents were kept hidden. And, that idea seems to be supported by the letter Srila Prabhupad wrote in 1974 in which is written TOPMOST URGENCY, see http://16108.com/DOM/dom.htm, or www.16108.com/DOM/index.htm . In that letter Srila Prabhupad considered there to be a TOPMOST URGENT need to add to all ISKCON legal papers that 1) he remained the supreme authority in ISCON, and 2) that the GBC were to follow the DOM. Srila Prabhupad would not have needed to write such a letter as a topmost urgency if he did not feel there was a challenge to his authority, and if the GBC were not already following the DOM. The additional article I wrote that shows the GBC of the 1970’s may have actually been of the character to have purposefully hidden the DOM can be found at www.16108.com/DOM
And, one last thing, I would like to add that over 2 years ago I wrote an article and posted on my website (at www.16108.com) regarding the System of Management and the need to restore the system of GBC authority as it was constructed by Srila Prabhupad. I then wrote to the GBC members and requested that they read the article and discuss the points with me. I got virtually no response from any of the GBC. I was disappointed, and did nothing for some time. Then, last January (2006) I wrote another article (System Of Management, No Need of Any Change) and posted it, and again wrote to all the GBC asking, begging, that they read it and reply. Again - NOTHING. Not one GBC member even replied.