GBC Admits IRM Guidance Required


IRM

Back To Prabhupada, Issue 53, Autumn 2016

In BTP 51, we highlighted the continued minimisation of Srila Prabhupada by ISKCON's gurus and GBCs, due to them using the honorific title "His Divine Grace" for themselves (please see the article "Taking Credit for Srila Prabhupada's Work"). This is in spite of the fact that the GBC itself banned the title in 1999 for use by anyone other than Srila Prabhupada.

After reading this article, a BTP reader decided to ask the GBC to intervene. He presented evidence to them of the personal use of this title by HH Bhakti Charu Swami ("BCS") – the most persistent and egregious offender in this regard. In response, the GBC corresponding secretary, Ananda Tirtha Dasa ("ATD"), forwarded the following reply from BCS:

"Thanks for reminding me about the inappropriate way some have addressed me during that occasion. I am sending this email to the managers of Ujjain so that they inform the devotees about the proper etiquette, and make sure that such a thing never occurs in the future."
(BCS reply in email from ATD, 30/9/16)

The "occasion" BCS refers to here is his 2016 Vyasa-puja ceremony wherein his Vyasa-puja book contained references to him being addressed as "His Divine Grace". To say that BCS's response is disingenuous would be putting it mildly. BCS claims that he needed to be "reminded" about how others had addressed him in this book. However, as we have previously documented, BCS himself promotes the use of this title, by specifically asking for letters of glorification of himself using the forbidden "His Divine Grace" title to be shared with all his followers. Here is one such example:

"Guru Maharaja [BCS] asks to me to post my ‘Thank You' letter related to his recent preaching tour in Europe. [...] ‘Still a word Guru Maharaja to sincerely thank Your Divine Grace so much for all the indescribable association'. " [Letter continues on in similar vein, with many "Divine Graces".]
(BCS Istagosthi, 10/8/11)

Thus, not only is BCS fully aware of how he is addressed by his followers, but he has promoted such use.
As part of his reply quoted in the mail from ATD, BCS also supplies the following message from one of his disciples:

"We sincerely apologize for our mistake regarding using the term "His Divine Grace" for H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaja for his Vyasa-puja Book. We assure you that this was completely unintentional and the term got missed out from the attention of editors."

This statement was invented to try and distance BCS from the serious offense that had been committed. Because the same Vyasa-puja book had printed, at the front of the book, the term "His Divine Grace" as part of the very pranam-mantra that is offered to BCS by every one of his disciples. And the term "His Divine Grace" has been used for BCS in his previous Vyasa-puja books as well. Thus, the use of "His Divine Grace" was very much intentional, and was "missed" only because it was not considered incorrect to begin with.

The mail from ATD ends by stating:

"If you know of other such breaches, kindly let me know for similar follow up. Naturally the EC and GBC can only correct such situations when made aware of them."

Hence:

a) The GBC issues a resolution in 1999.

b) This is continually violated for many years by one of its own GBC members.

c) The GBC, however, was not only unaware of this, but states that it needs to be made aware of any future deviations by a BTP reader, who in turn is being made aware by the IRM!

Therefore:

i) Not only is the GBC unable to do its job of managing ISKCON and making sure its own resolutions are followed;

ii) But the GBC is also admitting that it needs the IRM to do its job for it, by telling it what its own members are up to!

Thus, the GBC itself is admitting why the IRM is very much required.

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