Understanding ISKCON’s Lines of Authority

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By Badrinarayan dasa

Please find below the final, official version of the Understanding ISKCON’s Lines of Authority paper. The themes of this paper were approved at the GBC AGM in Mayapur this February. This final version has taken into consideration all comments received in Mayapur and thereafter. The release of this version as the full and final paper has been approved by the GBC executive committee.

The next step for our committee is to help see that course material is developed so that classes on these principles are taught. In this way the principles expressed in this paper will become part of our ISKCON culture. Our committee will also turn its attention now to the dakshina issue.

Your servant on behalf of the Lines of Authority committee, Badrinarayan dasa

Understanding ISKCON’s Lines of Authority

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1 Akruranatha

Kudos to the Committee who has written this paper! It is clear, it is accurate, it is spiritually uplifting and it is relevant to issues of concern to all well-wishers of ISKCON and its members.

“If a disciple has the mistaken conviction that his or her spiritual master is
above the GBC and ISKCON’s laws and policies, that should be correctedby the spiritual master and other authorities. Otherwise, that misconception
may lead to actions which create conflict between his or her spiritual and
managerial authorities.”

It is not that there will be no disagreements. It is not that the GBC will always be right (it won’t). It is not that the disciple should have doubts about his or her guru’s perspectives. It is not that the guru must always conceal or hide his or her disagreements with management authorities or decisions. It is not that ISKCON leaders cannot work for change or improvement of ISKCON policies, procedures, and management structures, as long as it is done constructively and responsibly with due deference to Srila Prabhupada’s desires for cooperation and unity under the GBC system.

However, the gurus in ISKCON must have a deep appreciation of the importance of unity and cohesion of the organization and the legitimate organizational system that Srila Prabhupada established, and they must pass along that appreciation to their disciples.

We cannot deny the need for a system of ISKCON management or governance. To be effective in changing society on the scale Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas wanted (massive popular harinama sankirtan, mass distribution and study of Srila Prabhupada’s books at all social and academic levels, continued expansion of core membership and congregational membership through establishment of additional centers, etc.), we cannot afford ISKCON to be balkanized into mutually uncooperative personality cults of different spiritual leaders.

It is ISKCON’s great strength that it comprises many, many serious, advanced spiritual leaders working together cooperatively under the GBC structure of management for the sake of the greater mission of the Founder-Acarya. They may not all see eye to eye on every point, and they may have different styles, strategies, moods and projects for distributing Lord Caitanya’s teachings, but all of ISKCON leaders should appreciate and serve Srila Prabhupada’s vision of a united ISKCON under GBC authority.

This paper is an excellent blueprint for such cooperation.

Comment posted by Akruranatha on June 12th, 2012
2 Kesava Krsna dasa

I too felt great enthusiasm in reading this. This system of cooperative management done on such a huge worldwide scale is not very common. We do not have a world Head Of State, a Monarch, or even a single mega-financier to lead us, but a collective group of diverse Bhakti inclined individuals.

We have endured many a split and factional separatism and still through all of that, we now have a more definitive dual parallel system. This can present somewhat of a dilemma for those of us that hold either very conservative or very liberal views of Krishna conscious philosophical or social applications. This will dampen any perception that someone or other is ‚ÄėBigger‚Äô than Iskcon.

Some of those holding such views might have favoured certain types of ‚ÄėInclusive separatism‚Äô to appease left or right sentiments. This parallel system will help serve to moderate all areas of Iskcon interest. It will encourage a common convergence in keeping with our ‚Äėneed to cooperate‚Äô motto. In that sense a balanced approach of Iskcon member inclusivity and expectations thereof, fall within achievable parameters.

Since now this has been legislated, we are hopeful that the reigning in of disparate interests can help us gel stronger than before, like the proverbial ‚Äėunbreakable bunch of sticks.‚Äô This is good news.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

Comment posted by Kesava Krsna dasa on June 13th, 2012

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