Report from the parallel lines of authority GBC committee
By Badrinarayan dasa
1. What is the goal of your committee?:
Our committee deals with the situation we often find in ISKCON where there are two lines of authority in ISKCON: the initiating spiritual masters and GBC body/GBC member/Temple President system created by Srila Prabhupada.
Our goal is help craft a shared, supportive, and shastrically sound system for guiding devotees in ISKCON. Rather than sometimes working at cross purposes, the aim is to have a system that respects, guides, and nutures the devotees in general, as well as all those senior devotees who give siksha and diksa in ISKCON.
One of the elements in this formula is having open and transparent standards for all of our leaders and a clear system of accountability and assessment.
2. What successes are you hoping for?:
Well, how successful we are only time will tell. These are sensitive issues that have torn apart other institutions. One success is the fact that we are talking about it at all. Srila Prabhupada started something revolutionary; a multi-guru system all serving under a govering body. How that all works out so that the disciples, the gurus, temple presidents, sannyasis, and congregation are protected and enlivened, while keeping Srila Prabhupada central as our founder-acharya, for generations to come, is no easy task.
3. What are the challenges facing your committee:
Let’s take just one of the questions on the table for example: “Who delivers the jiva?” It is not just the diksha guru and everyone else is chopped cabbage. Whoever is giving genuine siksha is essential to the process. There is the mercy of the holy name, the Deities, sadhusanga in general—there are so many factors. How to develop a mature society that reflects all these dynamics?
4. How do you see this translating into the lives of the devotees?
We are working towards a future where all our gurus are spiritually strong, simple, and happy. A world where disciples are making solid spiritual advancement and feeling enlivened. We are working towards an ISKCON with increased cooperative spirit, focus on the spiritual care and growth of the individual members, and where the preaching work is growing expotentially. After all, Srila Prabhupada said that his nature was that he could not think small. He intended ISKCON to be a powerful means to change the world and it is our sacred duty to deliver on his promise and vision.
5. How can devotees participate and contribute in this?
Give us some time, your prayers, and suggestions. We are working on training manuals, guide books, philosophical support papers, retreats, and seminars. I believe that the goal is eventually to have a website set up with the work of all the GBC’s strategic planning committees work posted there but in the mean time devotees can contact our committee chair, Prahladananda Maharaja at Prahladananda.Swami@pamho.net.
Thank you for asking and Hare Krishna.