25TH APRIL 2000

This year's GBC resolutions have their usual mix of contradictions and absurdities. Though being mindful of that, this years seem to be the shortest ever on record, with only around 40 resolutions passed. It seems the GBC themselves, surveying their rapidly ever-shrinking empire, realise that there is just not that much to say anymore. We will comment on some of these resolutions here:

The Annual Apology

It now seems to be an annual tradition for the GBC to apologise to the many different groups and individuals that they have mistreated in the past. They have already done the Gurukulis, Pradyumna prabhu (twice) amongst others, and this year it was the turn of the women:

1. The members of the Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness offer their humble apologies to the women of Srila Prabhupada's society who, because of our own shortcomings and those of the Society, have suffered due to a lack of protection, support, facility and appreciation for their service, devotion and vast contributions to the Society, and ..."

This raises the following points:

  1. Is there any group left the GBC have NOT mistreated?
  2. If this continues, maybe the GBC will be apologising to the ritviks before long as well, since they seem to want to apologise to anyone who will listen?

The Annual 'Put Srila Prabhupada in the Centre' Resolution

Due to the overwhelming pressure put on the GBC by the success of the IRM, the GBC always tries to pass a resolution to appease those who maybe sympathetic to the Ritvik position. This year was no exception:

"Section 600: INTERNAL ISKCON Srila Prabhupada's Siksa Position 601 [ISKCON LAW] A duly initiated disciple in ISKCON can accept Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of ISKCON, as his principle siksa-guru. During his devotional life, he may experience that he derives more spiritual inspiration from Srila Prabhupada's books and vani than from his own diksa-guru."

This raises the following points:

  1. If Srila Prabhupada can give MORE spiritual inspiration than the 'living' diksa guru, then how can the 'living guru' be a necessity, since the GBC admit that he may not even give the same level of spiritual inspiration as a 'non-physical' guru? 
  2. According to the GBC Srila Prabhupada can give lots of 'spiritual inspiration' via his books and vani, but he does not possess the spiritual potency to give diksa. For that we still need the 'non-spiritually inspiring' 'living' guru!
  3. All these attempts at moving closer and closer to the IRM position, raises the absurdity that every year the GBC have continued to 'deviate' towards a position that they claim is the most deviant!

The Annual Check 'if the Gurus are Actually Gurus' Resolution

Having imposed a bogus Guru system on the long-suffering devotees for over 23 years, you would have thought that the GBC would at least be sure that the Gurus we have are actually Gurus. Unfortunately not. This year the GBC have decided that our Gurus are so advanced that they need a committee to evaluate them for highly esoteric qualifications such as whether or not they are:

  1. Chanting a minimum of sixteen rounds per day and having a visible sadhana
  2. Responsibly engaged in his service within the Society,
  3. Has an appropriate understanding of the siddhanta of Krishna consciousness as given by Srila Prabhupada 
    (LAW 608 - Guru Services Committee)

They have also decided that maybe now it would be a good idea to:

"B. Establish committees to research and deal with the philosophy and practical issues concerning gurus within ISKCON."
(LAW 608 - Guru Services Committee)

We have all heard about 'better late than never' but this is ridiculous.

And then we wonder why devotees are deserting the ISKCON Gurus in their droves to take shelter of the 'older Indian sadhus' of the Gaudiya Matha.

The Annual 'Cover Our Backs' Resolution

Though we are supposed to follow the GBC because all their position papers are according to 'Guru, sadhu and sastra', very often (i.e. usually every year), they realise that maybe their papers are not according to 'Guru, sadhu and sastra' after all, and that instead they need to be 'reviewed and reassessed' to see if they are 'still correct':

"Disciples Initiating in the Presence of Their Spiritual Master 610 [ACTION ORDER]
A subcommittee shall be formed by the newly appointed GBC Guru Services Committee to review and reassess the GBC Law 6.3.2 on Srila Prabhupada's grand disciples initiating as well as the GBC position paper on disciples initiating in the physical presence of their diksa-guru."

Please note we were expecting this 'review' for a long time since the GBC position paper in question has given the IRM some of their best arguments. For instance the paper states famously (as quoted in 'The Final Order'):

"In Logic Later Statements Take Precedence Over Earlier Statements".
("Devotees Initiating In the physical presence of their diksa-guru")

The paper also states that the 'law of disciplic succession' as given in the letter to Tusta Krishna Dasa, and which is used as the GBC's main evidence against the IRM position, is not really a law after all! We await this review with interest. If they do nothing then their position remains hopelessly flawed, and if they change, then that proves that as little as 5 years ago they were in complete illusion and have been forced to change by the IRM papers.

The Annual 'Another One Bites the Dust' Resolution

It also seems that our Sannyasis are very keen to make sure that the Grhasta asrama is continually receiving a healthy influx from their number, just in case we run short of householders. In the meantime devastation is wreaked upon the many unfortunate disciples: 

"Sri Padambhuja Das 613 [ACTION ORDER] 1. Sri Padambhuja Das (formerly known as Bhakti Abhay Caran Swami) shall not be privileged to wear saffron cloth and shall be referred to by his initiated name given by Srila Prabhupada. He is indefinitely suspended as a spiritual master, therefore, he cannot initiate nor maintain an absolute siksa position in relation to his disciples and he must follow other aspects of suspension as per ISKCON Law. 

2. The GBC Body encourages those who have taken initiation from him to take shelter of Srila Prabhupada and his other followers, as Sri Padambhuja Das is not competent to deliver absolute instruction or receive gifts or veneration at this time."

In the meantime we are told to make do with Srila Prabhupada - but if we had decided to accept Srila Prabhupada BEFORE our Guru falls down then we are labelled the biggest deviants ever known in Vaisnava history!

The Annual 'Let's Tell Lies to Get Money' Resolution

In their desperation for money the GBC are not beyond telling lies to fill up their coffers. In a cynical ploy to extract money from Indian temples, the GBC have decided to scare them into thinking that the IRM court cases propose a threat to their properties and hence their livelihoods:

"WHEREAS, the ritviks are presenting a dangerous concocted philosophy and we stand to lose ISKCON properties if we do not defend with the best legal help. 

616 [ACTION ORDER] IT IS RESOLVED THAT every GBC Body member and every guru must contribute five hundred dollars (US$500) this year towards the legal costs. Indian temples are to help pay for the legal costs by dividing amongst the Indian temples based on the percentage of total collection for the last year."

The truth, as the GBC very well know, is that the court cases do not involve ANY temple properties at all. The cases relate only to the manner in which the Guru system is operated by the GBC. Therefore it is impossible for any properties to be 'lost' since the individual temples are not subject to any court action. The only thing that could possibly be 'lost' as a result of the court cases is the diksa gurus flying into the temples and siphoning off tons of money in Guru daksina - money which otherwise would have been going to the deities.

The Annual 'You'll Be Lucky' Resolution

The GBC also never cease to amaze us with their hopes for regulation of the Gurus. They now claim that they are going to get a full declaration from all GBC's and Gurus of all their assets and funds:

"IT IS RESOLVED THAT: 614 [LAW] 1. All GBC Body members, gurus, sannyasis, international project directors, Regional Secretaries and Temple Presidents are required to file annual personal financial reports to the Executive Committee of the GBC Body and, where requested, their national executive body. These reports shall contain a standard Income Statement and Balance Sheet (to be reported in a Quickbooks or other standard software format). The report should also include a list of all ISKCON related bank accounts (including account names, signers and balance) for which these individuals are a signer or have some control. All guru-daksina must be included in this report. 

3. The Executive Committee shall provide an annual report for the GBC Body prior to the annual meetings containing information on the number of GBC Body members filing, names of those not filing and a summary report of the financial data including high, low and median numbers for income, assets and expenses."

We await with bated breath this 'annual report' and no doubt will not be surprised at all to discover that most ISKCON Gurus are very poor, and have no bank accounts in Switzerland. After all the declarations will no doubt be totally honest and fully comprehensive!

The Annual 'And Pigs Will Fly' Resolution

The GBC are also very confident at how all those who have pledged money will actually come through with these commitments. We are told that the Child Protection Office should be receiving a quarter of a million dollars for the coming year:

"1. US$15,000 of the GBC annual assessment funds will be allocated to the Child Protection Office in the year 2000. 

2. FURTHERMORE, a) The North American Temples need to raise an additional $5,000 b) The Indian Temples need to raise an additional $ 5,000 c) Mayapur Temple will commit half of its agreement from a recent CPO recommendation for funding this effort, equalling $5,000 d) Other GBC Body members and Emeritus' not previously pledging, including Mukunda Goswami, Giriraja Swami, Hridayananda Goswami, Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Swami and Balavanta Das, are officially requested to support this effort, collectively we hope for a total of not less than $ 20,000 

Total to be pledged $ 225,579"

We remember how this time last year the same Child Protection Office was also confidently pledged a million dollars, no doubt to try and appease the Gurukuli lawsuits. We wish the Child Protection Office the best of luck in receiving this money, and assume that they will be more successful in receiving these funds than they were in receiving the 'million that never was'.

All this nonsense is actually very sad since it concerns the esteemed body that is supposed to be running Srila Prabhupada's sacred mission. We hope the devotees around the world will rise up and restore sanity to this mad state of affairs and join the IRM in reviving ISKCON back onto its former path of glory.