Summer 2006


In 1970 Srila Prabhupada established the Governing Body Commission (GBC) to assist him in the management of ISKCON. Their powers and ambit were very clear. They were only to be administrative and managerial in function, who were to simply implement and maintain the instructions Srila Prabhupada had already given, NOT introduce new ones or change them. Thus they were purely an executive body:

“The GBC (Governing Body Commissioned) has been established by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to represent Him in carrying out the responsibility of managing the International Society for Krishna Consciousness of which He is the Founder-Acarya and supreme authority. The GBC accepts as its life and soul His divine instructions and recognizes that it is completely dependent on His mercy in all respects. The GBC has no other function or purpose other than to execute the instructions so kindly given by His Divine Grace and preserve and spread his Teachings to the world in their pure form.”
(GBC Resolution No.1, 1975)

However, as soon as Srila Prabhupada departed the GBC immediately exceeded their brief, kicked Srila Prabhupada out from his position as Guru, and became gurus themselves. Here we see some instructions from Srila Prabhupada prophetically warning of these deviant tendencies in the GBC.  

GBC dictatorship condemned

“GBC members are simply to see that things are going on. Other centers have got president, secretary, etc. and they are managing separately. That is the formula. So how is it that the GBC are the final authority? They are simply to examine that things are going on nicely, that is all.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 9th, 1971)

“GBC does not mean to control a center. GBC means to see that the activities of a center go on nicely. I do not know why Tamala is exercising his absolute authority. That is not the business of GBC. […]
GBC is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute authority. That is not in the power of GBC. Tamala should not do like that […]
A GBC member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 12th, 1971)

“GBC men should not dictate very much, simply supervise and see that the standards are maintained.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 14th, 1972)

GBC’s actual function

“The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 4th, 1975)

GBC ambition leads to falldown

“It is now evident that some of our top men are very much ambitious and there has been so many fall-downs.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 27th, 1975)

“But the difficulty is that our GBC men are falling victim to maya. Today I trust this GBC and tomorrow he will fall down. That is the difficulty. If the GBC men are so flickering then what to speak of the others. Unless this problem is solved whatever we may resolve it will not be very useful.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, December 16th, 1974)

GBC’s guru programme condemned

“Our mission is to serve bhakta-visesa and live with devotees. Not that you take the place of the guru. That is nonsense, very dangerous. Then everything will be spoiled. As soon as you become ambitious to take the place of guru—gurusu nara-matih. That is the material disease.”
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, April 20th, 1977)

“Now has the GBC become more than Guru Maharaja? As if simply GBC is meant for looking after pounds, shilling, pence. The GBC does not look after spiritual life. That is a defect.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 10th, 1975)

GBC punishment will be very great

“Therefore we have created these GBC. So they should be very responsible men. Otherwise, they will be punished. They will be punished to become a sudra. Although Yamaraja is a GBC, but he made a little mistake. He was punished to become a sudra. So those who are GBC’s, they should be very, very careful to administer the business of ISKCON. Otherwise they will be punished. As the post is very great, similarly, the punishment is also very great.”
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, June 4th, 1974)

Future GBC destruction of ISKCON predicted

“What will happen when I am not here, shall everything be spoiled by GBC? So for the time being, let the GBC activities be suspended until I thoroughly revise the whole procedure.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, April 11th, 1972)

“I made the GBC to give me relief, but if you do like this, then where is the relief. It is anxiety for me. This is the difficulty, that as soon as one gets power, he becomes whimsical and spoils everything.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, September 12th, 1974 )

“I am training some of my experienced disciples how to manage after my departure. So if instead of taking the training, if in my lifetime you people say I am the Lord of all I survey, that is dangerous conspiracy.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 8th, 1974)