Wednesday, 4 July 2012

“What is the constitution of ISKCON?”



(Incorporated by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya, 1966)


The American Heritage Dictionary defines "Constitution" as follows:
 3. a. The system of fundamental laws and principles that prescribes the nature, functions, and limits of a government or another institution. b. The document in which such a system is recorded. c. Constitution The fundamental law of the United States , framed in 1787, ratified in 1789, and variously amended since then.
The  Merrian Webster Dictionary defines "Constitution" as:
"kän(t)-st&-'tü-sh&n, -'tyü-
Function: noun
 a : the basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it
b : a written instrument embodying the rules of a political or social organization
The constitution of ISKCON would ideally consist of:
- The Basic principles of ISKCON
- The Duties & Powers of GBC and Temple Presidents who are to organize ISKCON, with its members, for the fulfillment of these principles
- The Basic Rights of the Temple Members 
And there should be a WRITTEN INSTRUMENT embodying these rules.
Did Srila Prabhupada say or make something for ISKCON in that regard ?
Our research shows - Yes. .
(Note: Below is the "Constitution of Association" - the Basic Principles or Objectives of ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada made it in 1966 while preaching from 26 2nd Ave, NY, NY. It was filed with the IRS in November of 1966, as proof that ISKCON's principles are religious. The same document was used by Srila Prabhupada while legally organizing ISKCON in England and Kenya . The very purpose of the GBC and TPs is to ensure the organization of ISKCON for the fulfillment of THESE principles. Temple members are to follow THESE principles.
The duties and powers of the managers and the rights of temple members are delineated by Srila Prabhupada via the "Direction of Management" constitution document, made on July 28, 1970, quoted in the next email "Constitution of ISKCON - part 2”)
“10 b. A copy of the Constitution...under which the Society is presently operating is annexed hereto.”
(Letter to IRS, November 14, 1966(attached 1), Steven Goldsmith, Attorney representing International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. Letter authenticated by Gregory Scharf(Gargamuni Das), Treasurer.
The letter to IRS was accompanied by this Constitution of Association(attached 2))

1. The name of the society is The International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

2. The headquarters of the Society are located at Radhakrishna Temple , 26 Second Avenue , New York City , 10003, USA .

3. The objectives for which the Society is being established are:
(A) To educate the greater human society in the techniques of spiritual life as the basis for a balanced psychic and biological development, and thereby achieve for the first time in human society a real peace and unity among the contending forces in the world today.
(B) To propagate the Sense of Godhead, the all attractive Personality of primal and eternal Form, as He Himself revealed in His own words in the Bhagavad Gita, the Holy Scripture of the Lord Sri Krishna, the Godhead.
(C) To bring together individuals in a Society, regardless of nationality and irrespective of creed or caste, in order to develop a nearness to the Godhead and thereby the idea that within the members and humanity-at-large there is an infinitesimal soul-spirit that is part and parcel in quality with the Godhead, and that all life is meant for the satisfaction of said Godhead, the Supreme Soul.
(D) To encourage the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who demonstrated practically the transcendental process of approaching the absolute Personality of Godhead by His acts of congregational chanting of the holy name of God, a process known as Samkirtan.
(E) To prove by active work and preaching that Lord Sri Krishna is the only enjoyer of all the outcomes of individual and collective sacrifice, penance, meditation, arts, culture, science, because He is the Supreme Proprietor of the whole universe, eternally apart of Him everyone knows Him as a friend. Real peace can be attained when this is realized, in fact.
(F) To assist whenever and wherever possible in the building of a social structure on the real foundation of spiritual progress and establishment of peace and unity between men throughout the world.
(G) To attempt to save men individually from the chain of victimization the ongoing trend in modern civilization operates by, in the name of ideologies of false sentiment, so that Man may again be a free soul, to act and live freely with spiritual vision. This is possible by individual spiritual initiation, Diksha, when a man can see everything in Godhead and Godhead in everything.
(H) To further toward realization this highest truth as revealed by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamins headed by Srila Rupa and Sanatana Goswamins.
(I) To have for its objectives amongst the others four principles which the Goswamins had in view. They are the following:
1. To erect a holy place of transcendental pastimes as well as a place where members of the Lord Sri Krishna can flourish.
2. To propagate all over the world in the form of missionaries the process of devotion, the transcendental service to the Godhead, and to make known that this devotional service is the main function of the human being.
3. In order to accomplish this, to adopt proselytizing methods of peaceful means and to establish a broader society of association for all members, including scholars and admirers, to engage in this service as put forth in the Srimad Bhagwatam.
4. To install, wherever it is possible, the worship and temple of Radhakrishna and that of Sri Chaitanya, and to give facility to everyone to become trained in the modes of Archan or preparatory principles of devotional service.
(J) To introduce to the members of the Society and humanity-at-large a simpler and more natural purpose in life by means suitable to the particular place and time, and as enjoined in the Bhagavad Gita.
(K) To organize educational programs, such as classes and lecture tours, and to institute services, such as mailing, for the benefit of the members of the Society and humanity-at-large.
(L) To publish periodicals, books and/or pamphlets in all important languages in order to reach human society and give an opportunity to same to communicate with the Society.
(M) To invoke the quality of goodness particularly in every member of the Society, individually by the process of Diksha and by establishing one in the status of a Brahmin (good and intelligent man) on the basis of truthfulness, knowledge and faith in the transcendental service of the Lord.
(N) Among the secondary objectives of the Society, it shall undertake the following activities:
1. To revive the scientific system of social orders of classification based on intelligence, martial spirit, productivity and common assistance, generally known as the four castes with reference to quality and worth for the common cause of world society.
2. To discharge as a matter of course the vitiated system of supremacy of one man over another by false prestige of birthright or vested interests.
3. To popularize the vegetable-grain diet under approved methods in order that full value of protein, carbohydrate, fat and vitamin benefit may be derived therefrom.
4. To discourage intoxicating or addicting habits of all descriptions and dimensions and to expose such persons thus afflicted to approved methods of spiritual realization.
     A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Acharya
     Raymond Marais
     Michael A. Grant
     Robert Lefkowitz
     James S. Greene
“I am little concerned about your attempt to form ISKCON Ltd. My idea is that we should not form a separate organization in London . The same International Society for Krishna Consciousness as we have branches in different places in USA , a similar branch may be opened in London or in Germany . The basic principle of our preaching work, methods and management must be the same.
So my final desire is that whatever you do, you must do it strictly on the principles of our society as we are doing in the US .
So I hope you will take necessary precautions in the matter of registering ISKCON Ltd. ISKCON is the short cut of our society's name, but when you actually register, the full name, the aims and objectives as they are stated in our prospectus, must be mentioned.
(Letter of Srila Prabhupada to Mukunda in London on October 1, 1968(attached 3))
“So far the original text of our aims and objects of the society, I have read it and I don’t think there is any need of changing the preamble. But so far section of the law is concerned, that has to be altered according to the English law.”
( Letter of Srila Prabhupada to Mukunda in London on October 13, 1968(attached 4)) 


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