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Comments Posted By Prabhupad Das

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Constitution Committee Update

Greetings Caitanya Candrodaya Prabhu,

Hare Krishna! Please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Shrila Prabhupad!

When an individual takes initiation in the Gaudiya Vaishnav Tradition it is expected that the disciple will offer absolute submission and unconditional obedience to the instructions of the Spiritual Master. In this relationship, there is “no latitude” for freedom of interpretation of those instructions. The Guru-shishya relationship is 100% autocratic, with the Guru holding all power and the disciple offering 100% obedience.

“The instructions and opinions of the Acharyas are the active principle and essence of our spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys, transgresses, bypasses or minimizes the instructions of the Acaryas immediately becomes useless or ineffectual.”

[Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi Lila, Chapter 12, Text 10]

The instruction of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Shrila Prabhupad is that the ISKCON GBC is the ultimate authority in ISKCON. The GBC may or may not be elected by one method or the other, but, once elected or placed in power, it is the ultimate authority. In the personal absence of the founder, the GBC “IS” the functional Guru of ISKCON, so long as it follows his instructions. This ultimate authority feature is a manifestation of the guru-shakti potency of Lord Krishna, whereby the conditioned soul is offered transcendental knowledge, which includes active processes of purification through submission and obedience. In any relationship with Shri Krishna, one must take the position of submission and obedience, and surrender to the absolute authority of The Lord.

The Catholic Church is the largest organization on the face of the Earth, and, I say, due to the institution of the guru-shakti principle within a religious organization. This guru-shakti principle, when applied to mundane organizations, produces giant global corporations that are capable of controlling National Governments. The constant plights of the so-called democratic nations lie in the application of the theory that the rank and file, when given individual sovereignty with freedoms and rights, can properly govern themselves. Just see the Planetary mess that has come out of this leadership of shudras elected by their own! These nations all suffer various debilities that permit autocratic organizations like the Catholic Church and multi-national corporations to eventually control them.

When ISKCON fully applies this principle, by strict adherence to the instructions of Shrila Prabhupad, it too can attain Global influence.

This ancient system of submission and obedience to authority is the “un-alienable law” that permits the jiva to participate in bhakti-yoga, the divine union with Shri Krishna. This same law governs the relationship between guru and disciple and, the relationship between the GBC and each ISKCON member. It is the law that ushers in transcendental potency sufficient to overcome the influence of matter. There is no provision in any Vedic literature where the subordinate jiva obtains “guaranteed or unalienable freedoms and rights” to modify the eternal laws imposed by Lord Krishna. The entire Vedic pantheon is based on submission and obedience to transcendental authority. The attainment of spurious freedoms and rights are the operation of the illusory potency and, their arrival in the so-called modern era, as personal sovereignty, are the primary cause of the rampant degradation of the age.

I dare say that the lessening of the autocratic power of the GBC, through negligence, personal indulgence, immaturity or insufficient intelligence, is the sole cause of all problems in ISKCON. The nature of matter is that, when an anomaly appears, the reaction is to institute a different system. When monarchy fails, transfer sovereignty to the masses and establish democracy. When the Guru fails, transfer independence to the disciple; when the GBC fails, give the vote to the rank and file and establish a mundane religious institution. The Vaishnav system of rectification is called prayaschita, wherein the original system is re-established. When something goes wrong, the solution is to re-establish the principles and practices that cause optimum performance, and remove those causing the problem.

The ISKCON constitution must therefore be firmly based on the ancient autocratic system of descending knowledge, with submission and obedience, and must avoid so-called modernization. As soon as this modernization is permitted, ISKCON will more and more resemble the many non-spiritual institutions that populate the landscape of the Kali Yuga.

I remain a firm advocate of the absolute authority of the instructions of Shrila Prabhupad and the dire need for submission and obedience to them. The solution, when there are problems, is not to transfer sovereignty to the devotees, and let them debate the issues and draw “modern conclusions” through voting, but, rather, to petition the GBC to acknowledge and apply the instructions of Shrila Prabhupad, if it is found they have deviated. If the GBC passes beyond the point of receiving and acting on constructive criticism and advice, and proves incapable of correcting itself through prayaschita, when needed, there would remain little hope of ISKCON long remaining the leading representative of the instructions of Shrila Prabhupad. If the GBC in fact becomes errant, by instituting a modernized constitution, or some other gross deviation/s, time would eventually foment a revolution, and those demanding strict adherence to the instructions of Shrila Prabhupad could obtain sufficient potency to cooperate successfully and carry on his legacy, precisely according to his instructions. Shrila Prabhupad made it clear that ISKCON can be brought down, only from the inside, by disobedience of his instructions, so, whenever an instruction is neglected or changed, a step is taken toward the end of its spiritual potency.

My original comment was made as a one time observation and not an invitation to debate, thus, having replied here, I have no further interest in entering into a protracted exchange with you, since, any conclusions we might come to would not necessarily be accepted and applied by the GBC. If you are an initiated disciple of an ISKCON Guru, your only effective course of action, to address any concerns you may have about ISKCON GBC or Constitution, is to approach your Spiritual Master for instruction, and, having received that, follow it obediently. Debating the issue with me, without presenting his conclusions, would serve no purpose other than a futile exercise of contention. If you are not initiated, your next step would be to become initiated, and thus obtain the essential connection needed to understand these matters in a conclusive manner, according to the opinion of your Guru, who, being an ISKCON Guru, would concur that the GBC is the ultimate authority for ISKCON, etc. If he happened to be a non-ISKCON Guru, you would be duty bound to obey his instructions regarding your relationship with ISKCON.

My closing comment is that ISKCON makes a serious mistake by turning the Constitutional process over to a committee composed of individuals who are not Gurus, which then engages the rank and file in “dialog” to discover constitutional principles by exploration and public discourse. The GBC must be a body of Spiritual Masters acting in unison with the instructions of Shrila Prabhupad. The GBC itself must be the body that formulates the Constitution, either directly in plenary council, or by setting up a committee of Spiritual Masters to analyze the instructions of the Founder. This does not require involvement of the rank and file. In any case, the GBC must be the final arbiter of any Constitution meant to govern ISKCON, according to the instructions of Shrila Prabhupad. And, that constitution must be the autocratic blast from the past desired by Shrila Prabhupad.

With respect and appreciation
Prabhupad Das Karapurnam

Comment Posted By Prabhupad Das On 16.08.2007 @ 19:31

Greetings,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Shrila Prabhupad!
Although I am no longer directly affiliated with ISKCON, I keep abreast of developments in the Gaudiya Vaishnav Sampradaya through regular review of its internet presence. My personal instructions from His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, received in 1969, are to research the synthesis of Bhakti-yoga with Varnashram-dharma toward the development of a Global Network of Urban & Rural Temple Communities capable of withstanding “Fossil Fuel Depletion” and the subsequent “Depletion Dark Age.” On several occasions Bhaktivedanta Swami commented that the current “Artificial Oil Culture” would collapse, during the lifetime of his disciples, and the world would be plunged into pre-industrial agrarian status. He made a World Tour in 1974 to establish the first Rural Communities and, at that time, gave two important instructions to the GBC. The first was to change the economic and geographical base of ISKCON from urban to rural. The second was to study the Catholic Code Of Canon Law to understand how to establish an organization capable of expanding to include millions of adherents.

The present effort of ISKCON to fulfill the order of Bhaktivedanta Swami, to create a constitution, although very late in coming, is an essential step in preparing the movement for the onset of “Fossil Fuel Depletion” and its eventual transformation into a full blown “Depletion Dark Age.”

I am in no way qualified to give advice to anyone in ISKCON, however, I would like to make the following comment. ISKCON is an organization much like the Catholic Church in that it is founded on the “Absolute Authority” of the Spiritual Master. Any constitution ratified by ISKCON must strenuously avoid the inclusion of so-called “Modern Ideology” that supports the attribution of unalienable freedoms and rights of sovereignty to the individual. When the rank and file, who are mostly in the category of ordinary or kanishtha adhikari, are afforded guaranteed rights and freedom to determine who their leaders are, the door is open to eventual control by those vested with mundane consciousness. As soon as the constitutional committee begins to study and import the works of Western philosophers such as John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, etc., the death knell will be tolled for our ancient “autocratic” Guru system.

With respect and appreciation
Prabhupad Das Karapurnam

Comment Posted By Prabhupad Das On 14.08.2007 @ 18:45

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