Friday, May 25, 2007


By: Vyapaka Dasa
Dear Romapada Swami, Obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for writing and having the attached message forwarded. There are some points in your email which I would like to address.

Firstly, your claim that the GBC doesn't have control over the temple board because it appoints only two members is misleading. Your proposed bylaws state the following:

BOARD OF DIRECTORS (Article 7, Board of Directors Section 2 Number): The corporation shall have five (5) directors and collectively they shall be known as the Board of Directors. The five (5) directors shall consist of the following:

(a) Two (2) elected members;
(b) Two (2) members appointed by the GBC Representative for the corporation (added emphasis), or if he or she is unable or unwilling, then by the Executive Committee of the International GBC; and,
(c) The Temple President

TEMPLE PRESIDENT (Article 8 Officers, Section 3 Appointment) The officers of the corporation shall be appointed in the following manner:

President - The President of the corporation is to be considered the highest spiritual authority in the corporation. The local GBC representative, after consultation with the Board of Directors, will recommend a candidate to serve as the President to conduct the spiritual and managerial business and the correspondence of the corporation (added emphasis), and to carry out such other duties as shall be delegated to him by the Board of Directors, the local GBC representative, and the GBC.

The stranglehold on the temple presidency, and the movement, is further defined in the following proposed bylaw:


Although ISKCON of _____________, Inc. is legally, financially, and managerially independent, all activities and powers of the corporation shall be carried out and executed in accordance with the teachings and instructions of Srila Prabhupada, as construed and applied by the GBC. The corporation shall not conduct itself in any way contrary to the ecclesiastical policies of the GBC (emphasis added).

D. Removal of a Temple President in emergency situations

(b) Rebellion against the authority (emphasis added) of Srila Prabhupada or the ecclesiastical authority of the GBC (emphasis added).

Therefore, your suggestion that the GBC doesn't have control of the Board and temple seems grossly inaccurate. The local GBC member and/or Executive Committee of the International GBC Body has firm control over a majority of the voting positions on the Board of Directors. It seems clear that your proposed bylaw changes resemble a grab for legal control over not only the assets of the various Iskcon North American chapters, but as well, attempts to exercise control over siddhanta. Cynically-put, you want to be the Pope!

The next point in your letter which is particularly distressing is the revelation that there is no GBC Resolution authorizing your changing the bylaws and that the effort was "undertaken by a number of TPs, GBCs, conscientious individuals concerned about property protection, as well as multiple attorneys in America..."

This should be of great concern to the devotees. Firstly, you admit to have no mandate from the International GBC Body and seemingly no rules of governance have been established such as what constitutes your authority, quorum, definition of members' responsibilities, etc. What is distressing is that this ad hoc, ill-defined structure is adopted to conceive and strictly implement management directives, resulting in a monopoly of secular and ecclesiastical power over local temples by what appears to be a rogue group of devotees. Doesn't this seem somewhat hypocritical? Do as I say but don't do as I do seems to be your motto.

Since you distrust the temple congregations and management, as illustrated by these new bylaws, why should your group and the GBC be reciprocated any greater level of trust from the devotional community? Your workings resemble more the elements of a coup d'etat, a drug cartel or the Costra Nostra than those of an august body directing a worldwide religious movement. Never has there been a clearer example of the GBC establishing rules for their own benefit, but never intended to be followed personally. It is striking that your proposed bylaws pose only GBC authority but with no responsibility for the body to the congregation.

Unfortunately, this situation appears to mark the disintegration of the GBC as Srila Prabhupada structured it. The new bylaws reveal that the GBC is bankrupt both morally and spiritually. You have been unable to lead the movement using guru, sadhu and sastra so now must attempt to secure secular power in a vain and desperate attempt to remain valid.

Further illustration is your claim of attempting to protect assets. Certainly this is a factor but more a of symptom than the cause. Incompetency and neglect of GBC responsibilities is very much at the heart of the matter. Two different unrelated and unsolicited sources have informed me that you very rarely visited the Long Island temple before this 'crisis.' If you had been more attentive to your GBC mandate, how could the direction of the temple have changed so dramatically and so quickly? Greater scrutiny of all facets of this situation is required before a knee-jerk reaction is undertaken by a seemingly rogue element of the GBC. If the information regarding your neglect is accurate, many could conclude that these bylaw amendments are as much an attempt to mask GBC neglect and incompetency, as they are to protect the assets of Srila Prabhupada's movement.

Unfortunately, your solution to the problem is to provide more power to an already ill-functioning and inept GBC system. This seems an illogical path for the movement to follow.
I do not want to act as an apologist but it should be noted that the institutions in question (Long Island and Bangalore) continue to follow Srila Prabhupada's programs in most or all respects which further sharpens the focus that the main issue is really about not following GBC initiation policy. That does not seem significant enough to change the system that Srila Prabhupada demanded be put in place. You and your cadre are obviously at odds with Srila Prabhupada's instructions regarding centralization which puts you at zero on the spiritual scale.

Last but not least, is that the GBC has NO secular authority to either demand or request these bylaw changes. Each individual temple is separately incorporated and the GBC has never been given such far-reaching powers by Srila Prabhupada. It is Srila Prabhupada who defined and created the GBC Body along with decentralized temple management. You have no validity beyond Srila Prabhupada's instructions and you, your bylaw team and the GBC body are not more intelligent, better devotees or better managers than His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. In this case it would be more prudent to follow Srila Prabhupada's instructions rather than speculate what Srila Prabhupada would do in these new circumstances.

GBC responsibilities are partially defined in his Will where he stated:

1. The Governing Body Commission (GBC) will be the ultimate managing authority of the entire International Society for Krishna Consciousness 2. Each temple will be an ISKCON property and will be managed by three executive directors. The system of managment will continue as it is now and there is no need of any change (added emphasis).

So if you want to implement these changes, please summon your ecclesiastical shakti and present us a case where Srila Prabhupada requested this centralization. Until then you seem to be acting in a dastardly fashion and no ISKCON centre has the obligation to follow your unbonafide speculation.

However, if this assertion is incorrect, please provide the devotees with appropriate references from Srila Prabhupada teachings authorizing this course of action. Please do so within two weeks of today's date; otherwise, we will consider you and your partners incapable of validating your efforts.

I hope this is meeting you well.

Hare Krsna,
Vyapaka dasa

----- Original Message ----- From: Bhaktimargaswami @ To: vyapaka @ Sent: Friday, April 13, 2007 2:35 PMSubject: Authorization
Dear Canadian Leaders,Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I received an inquiry from a member of the Canadian Yatra requesting information re. the GBC Resolution authorizing the bylaws changes which the NA leaders are requesting the temples in NA to adopt.

There is no GBC Resolution coming from Mayapur mandating or authorizing this effort.
Rather, the recommended bylaws modifications have been a product of an extended effort over a period of time by a number of TPs, GBCs, conscientious individuals concerned about property protection, as well as multiple attorneys in America, and others who are quite knowledgeable in this field.

The purpose of the bylaws revisions is property protection.
Bhaktimarg Swami has communicated that the Canadian TPs will carefully examine these bylaws per Canadian law before their implementation. This is just as was originally intended for Canada.

If the Canadian TPs make a specific request, I am sure that your GBC will be more than willing to consult with the GBC Executive Committee to determine if this specific effort of property protection requires a GBC Resolution.

You may wish to know that bylaws being recommended for our NA temples indicates the number of GBC and/or GBC appointed members of the Board of Directors to be 2 of 5, thus preserving local control of the Board and thus local control of the corporation.

your servant,
Romapada Swami