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Comments Posted By Krishna Dharma das

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A PROPOSAL FOR IMPROVING ISKCON

Dear Mikael prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thank you for your comment. Regarding initiations in the presence of one’s guru: this is only a minor point in my paper. I don’t think it is critical, but my understanding is that one should take prospective disciples to one’s guru while he is present, but if the guru gives permission then one can accept the disciple as his own.

On your other point; I agree that having diksha initiation is not necessarily any sign of one’s spiritual status. Also, even in a spiritual movement we are sadly not always free from the sectarian mentality born of the bodily concept. Our present system of approving gurus probably contributes to this problem, but I don’t think it is its cause.

yhs
KDd

» Posted By Krishna Dharma das On Jul 1, 2006 @ 8:30 am

Dear Gaura Keshava prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment. Regarding my first points: these were a distillation of an earlier paper I wrote in 1994 outlining my perceptions of the guru system (it’s on my website – I can’t give the link but just Google my name and you’ll find it). After ten years trying to establish a new ISKCON centre I (as a ‘non guru’ preacher) had reached the conclusion that the guru system presented an almost insurmountable obstacle to my success. However, any suggestion that it be removed usually created so much panic that I felt it necessary to present an alternative model. Thus some five or six years later, after having come up against a brick wall in all my attempts to voice my concerns about the guru approval system, I wrote the paper you see here. This was a last ditch effort by me to remain involved with ISKCON on any level. I was still struggling to establish my small centre, although by then had resigned from all other ISKCON management responsibilities. (I was the UK national secretary for some years). The paper went down like a lead balloon, as they say. We could not get past even the first point regarding a basic definition of ISKCON as an educational movement. The GBC rep of the time disagreed, saying that in his view ISKCON’s primary purpose was ‘propagation’. In fairness, there was a fair amount of agreement on the point of dual lines of accountability due to our guru system – I think more and more devotees are feeling the pain of this particular problem – but we got nowhere at all on the discussion about what to do about it. Soon after this I resigned my position as a TP and since then have had no involvement with ISKCON at all. I would not even try to preach on behalf of the movement at present, although obviously I remain its well wisher and supporter. In this mood I posted this paper, as Praghosh prabhu (the current UK GBC man) asked me for a contribution to the website, and I had no time to write anything new. To be honest, I have not really thought much about any of this for the last five or six years. Perhaps the Direction of Management could be a basis for a new model, although it may be dated in some respects, having been written in 1970 and possibly superseded by later instructions. For example, I believe that Srila Prabhupada later made the GBC into an oligarchic entity did he not? And there is that quote that “GBC means for life” that we often hear, which has led to the formation of the Emeritus body.

In any event, my main point was more to do with how we can function together as an effective preaching force, particularly keeping Prabhupada’s instructions in his books at the very centre of all our operations. How this might be achieved is perhaps a matter for debate, but in my view it is our only hope of success.

Yhs
KDd

» Posted By Krishna Dharma das On Jul 1, 2006 @ 6:33 am

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