Spring 2004

1) "Srila Prabhupada gave the GBC the authority to manage ISKCON in any way they saw fit."

False: The GBC were only ever authorised to carry out the orders exactly as they had been given by Srila Prabhupada:

"Resolved: The GBC (Governing Body Commission) 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 recognises 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."

(Definition of GBC, Resolution 1, GBC minutes 1975 as personally approved by Srila Prabhupada)

This means that the GBC are an executive body only. They can only execute the instructions which Srila Prabhupada has already given NOT MAKE UP THEIR OWN NEW ONES. Hence, according to the above definition, any body which does not act under the parameters above has forfeited its right to call itself the GBC, and is in fact no longer the GBC. Just as if the Police force suddenly began arresting innocent citizens and protecting the criminals, they would no longer be the Police since they would be acting in opposition to their very definition.

2) "Srila Prabhupada's Last Will and Testament States the GBC is 'the ultimate managing authority' for ISKCON, and therefore they were authorised to stop the Ritvik system once Srila Prabhupada departed."

False: The VERY next clause of the Last Will and Testament, as we noted in BTP 2, states the following:

"The system of management will continue as it is now and there is no need of any change."
(Srila Prabhupada's Declaration of Will, 4th June, 1977)

The ritvik system was Srila Prabhupada's chosen way of managing initiations within ISKCON. And we saw in myth no.1 above that the GBC can only act within the parameters of the definition Srila Prabhupada gave them. Hence as the ultimate 'managing' authority, the GBC were expected to continue managing initiations in ISKCON in the manner which Srila Prabhupada had already ordered which was the Ritvik system as set out in the July 9th directive sent to all GBCs and Temple Presidents. The GBC had no right to terminate that system, and then concoct their own. As Srila Prabhupada warned:

"The standards I have already given you, now try to maintain them at all times under standard procedure. Do not try to innovate or create anything or manufacture anything, that will ruin everything."
(SP Letter to Bali Mardan and Pusta Krsna, 18/9/72)

3) "Srila Prabhupada wanted us to follow whatever the GBC said, even if they were wrong."

False: Nowhere did Srila Prabhupada ever say such a thing. Indeed when in 1972 the GBC attempted to introduce an unauthorised centralization system, Srila Prabhupada actually suspended the functioning of the GBC:

I AUTHORIZE YOU TO DISREGARD FOR THE TIME BEING ANY DECISION FROM THE GBC MEN UNTIL MY FURTHER INSTRUCTION. You manage your affairs peacefully and independently, and try to improve the spiritual atmosphere of the centers more carefully. […]
(Letter to all Temple Presidents, 8/4/72)

"But I have been very much disturbed recently by the meeting which you all have had in New York, wherein you have passed so many resolutions and elected Atreya Rsi to GBC Secretary, and made so many other changes. I am very much puzzled by the whole business. Therefore I have not approved of it, and you may by now have received my letter why I have temporarily suspended the GBC. […]
From now on, the temples will operate independently and try to improve their spiritual life more carefully, so there is no more need for such financial arrangement of centralization, as you have proposed."
(Letter to Satsvarupa, 10/4/72)

So the GBC are not a law unto themselves but must follow the directives of Srila Prabhupada, otherwise they have no authority to act.

4) "The GBC were authorised by Srila Prabhupada to rubber stamp new initiating Gurus via a majority voting system."

False: Nowhere did Srila Prabhupada ever mention such a system as currently practiced by the GBC; in fact he specifically warned against such unauthorised practices:

"Mundane votes have no jurisdiction to elect a Vaisnava acarya. A Vaisnava acarya is self effulgent, and there is no need for any court judgement."
(C.c. Madhya, 1.220, purport)

"Srila Jiva Gosvami advises that one not accept a spiritual master in terms of hereditary or customary social, and ecclesiastical conventions."
(C.c. Adi, 1.35, purport)