Public Response Directed to GBC Chairman Bhanu Swami,
Regarding the recent GBC decision on the Dhanurdhara case, it is unclear whether Dhanurdhara has actually been restricted from continuing to act as a guru. In Resolution 312.B, the GBC tries to clarify what is meant by the term “Positions of Leadership.” They do this by specifically including the position of initiating guru under this term whenever it is used in a CPO ruling. The only problem is that the term “Positions of Leadership” was not used even once in the CPO’s ruling on Dhanurdhara. The two terms that were used were “management position” and “position of management.” Here is the relevant section from the CPO ruling:
D. Managing Within ISKCON As a lifetime restriction, Dhanurdhara Maharaja must not assume any *management position* in ISKCON. He is encouraged to inspire others to establish and manage temples, print and distribute books, and develop other preaching projects, but he himself should never hold any *position of management.* This injunction results from the fact that many of the difficulties in the Vrndavana gurukula were due to his failings as a manager.
In a seperate section of the CPO ruling, “positions of leadership” are alluded to, but that exact term is not used. Furthermore, such positions are not completely restricted. Rather, the CPO says that they “feel” such positions *should* be restricted. Here is that statement from the CPO ruling:
“we feel he should be restricted from assuming any position implying leadership.”
However, after making this somewhat unclear statement, the CPO ruling goes directly into describing how Dhanurdhara should go about accepting disciples. So it is difficult to know exactly what they meant.
Of course, we would like to assume that the intent of the GBC is in fact to remove Dhanurdhara from his guru position. But legally speaking, as the language of the resolution now stands, no action whatsoever has been taken on the Dhanurdhara matter. So we would like to formally inquire of the GBC whether they did in fact mean to remove Dhanurdhara’s guru status. If they did, we formally request that the language of GBC Resolution 312.B be changed to “management position” or “position of management.”
If these terms are not considered suitable, another possibility (which is probably the superior option) would be to direct the CPO to issue an “Additional Ruling,” specifically stating that Dhanurdhara is restricted from accepting all “Positions of Leadership.” Our proposed language for the Additional Ruling is: “Dhanurdhara is restricted from holding any positions of leadership within ISKCON.” Short, sweet, and to the point, and it shouldn’t take very long at all. A speedy answer and action on this important matter would be very much appreciated.
We also see that one member of the second generation, Kapila, has already responded on some forums. However, he has assumed that Dhanurdhara has actually been removed from his ISKCON guru status. But as the language currently stands, that is not the case.
Proofreading is the Essence, The Gurukuli Proofreading Club.
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
As the Director of the ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection, I would like to respond to the concerns about the status of Dhanurdhara Swami raised by the “Expert Gurukula Proofreaders.” I was also a member of the GBC committee that drafted the resolution that was passed in Mayapur, so I can speak to the intent of both the CPO decision and GBC resolution.
The issue centers on the wording of the GBC resolution that states that whenever a CPO ruling restricts that devotee from positions of leadership, that will automatically include the position of initiating guru. The concern is that the CPO Official Decision on the case of Dhanurdhara Swami restricted him from positions of “management”, rather than “leadership”.
In my position as CPO Director, I can officially state that the CPO Decision did indeed intend that Dhanurdhara Maharaja be restricted from the types of leadership position indicated in the GBC resolution. Further, the intent of the GBC resolution was clear, that Dhanurdhara Swami and any others in his situation should not act as initiating spiritual masters within ISKCON. There was no intent for ambiguity or loopholes.
While the concepts of “leadership” and “management” or somewhat different in other contexts, in this specific instance, they are used synonymously. So that there is no misunderstanding, we can categorically state that Dhanurdhara Maharaja, and any others with similar CPO decisions, may not act as initiating spiritual masters in ISKCON.
Director, ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection