By: Gadadhar dasa
Srila Prabhupada describes below his vision as to how he wants to structure and operate (Materially and Spiritually) ISKCON. This letter is dated February 1967. Thus we have to understand that HDG Srila Prabhupada was very clear in the beginning days of ISKCON about the model he wanted to use for the future development and operation of ISKCON.
Srila Prabhupada: "I wish that each and every branch shall keep their separate identity and cooperate keeping the acharya in the center. On this principle we can open any number of branches all over the world. The Rama Krishna mission works on this principle and thus as an organization they have done wonderfully."
(Letter, February 11, 1967)
The main points are:
(1) Keep identity of each branch separate (avoid centralization)
(2) cooperate keeping the acharya in the center
(3) Using (1) and (2) as criteria, open as many branches as possible all over the world
(4) Gives example of the organization model followed by Rama Krishna Mission to support his points.
Which "Acarya" are we going to keep in the center? (Founder-Acarya HDG Srila Prabhupada)
How long will that "Acarya" stay in the center? (Forever. If you have a problem with that, then jump in the lake, have a good bath, come out, leave behind ISKCON danda and dress, and start walking with your kaupin, find your roti, kapada, and makan as and where you please, and start your own center.)
Is having the Murti of Srila Prabhupada in each temple and having daily Guru Puja not enough? (No, Srila Prabhupada's Murti is not there for some lip service. Nor is it there to help "bait and switch operators" exploit the innocent. Stop cashing in on the name of Srila Prabhuapada.)
What does "cooperate keeping the acharya in the center" mean? (It definitely does not mean that in each temple there are hundreds of rubber-stamped gurus and guru candidates competing for glorification, disciples, dakshina, sundaris, and land for their dead body to have a samadhi on. Stop competing with the "Acharya" and focus on Srila Prabhupada and his message of distributing Krishna Consciousness by distributing Prasadam, Hari Nama, and his Books.)
I don't like your talk. I am entitled to my father's property and use it as I like, and he also asked me to be a Big Guru and make millions of disciples.
(Man! You have gone insane! Sir, read below and regain your sanity.)
Srila Prabhupada:"I am the Spiritual Master of this institution, and ALL the members of the Society, they're supposed to be MY disciples. They follow the rules and regulations which I ask them to follow, and they are INITIATED BY ME spiritually."
(Srila Prabhupada Radio Interview, 12 March 1968, San Francisco)
Srila Prabhupada: "He [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja] never recommended anyone to be acharya of the Gaudiya Math…. If Guru Maharaja could have seen someone who was qualified at that time to be acharya, he would have mentioned. Because on the night before he passed away he talked of so many things, but never mentioned an acharya. Therefore we may not commit the same mistake in our ISKCON camp.
(Srila Prabhupada, letter to Rupanuga das, April 28, 1974)
Srila Prabhupada: "Don't be allured by cheap disciples. Go on steadfastly to render service first. If you immediately become guru, then the service activities will be stopped; and as there are so many cheap gurus and cheap disciples, without any substantial knowledge, and manufacturing new sampradayas, and with service activities stopped, and all spiritual progress choked up."
(SP Letter (VI 1987), August 17, 1968)
Srila Prabhupada: "We haven't got to manufacture. To manufacture ideas is troublesome. Why should we take the trouble? And as soon as you want to manufacture something to my…., that is DANGEROUS. …That you are singing every day, "what our guru has said, that is our life and soul." …As soon as this POISON will come -suppress guru and I become Brahman- everything FINISHED. Spiritual life is finished. Gaudiya Matha finished, …VIOLATED the orders of Guru Maharaja.
…And as soon as you manufacture, fall down. This manufacturing idea is very, very dangerous in spiritual life. …Our mission is to serve bhakta visesa and live with devotees. NOT THAT YOU TAKE THE PLACE OF GURU. THAT IS NONSENSE, VERY DANGEROUS. Then everything will be spoiled. As soon as you become AMBITIOUS to TAKE THE PLACE of GURU-gurusuh nara matih. That is MATERIAL DISEASE."
(April 1977, Bombay)
But I am a GBC and my father gave me the responsibility to manage. (Sure Sir! Read below and follow the advice of our father, but remember you are the servant and not the owner.)
Srila Prabhupada: "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. The president, treasurer and secretary are responsible for managing the center. 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.
The GBC men cannot impose anything on the men of a center without consulting all of the GBC members first. A GBC member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power. We are in the experimental stage but in the next meeting of the GBC members they should form a constitution how the GBC members manage the whole affair. But it is a fact that the local president is not under the control of the GBC. Yes, for improvement of situations such as this I must be informed of everything."
(Letter to Giriraja, London 12 August, 1971)
Srila Prabhupada: "This is the function of the GBC, to see that one may not be taken away by maya. 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 is what I want."
(To Madhudvisa, August 4, 1975)
Thus you can see above that Srila Prabhupada:
(1) Knocked down centralization
(2) Knocked down over ambitious disciples who wanted to be Guru
(3) Knocked down ruthless GBCs like Tamal Krishna Goswami
(4) Wanted his Murti in each temple and his daily Vyasa Puja
(5) Wanted reading, learning, and preaching from his books
(6) Rules and regulations given by him are to be followed
(7) His name as Founder-Acarya on temple sign boards and property documents
Without keeping Acharya in the center, cooperation in not possible.
Pretense of lip service may help in cheating the innocent, but it will not work. Remember the words of HDG Srila Prabhupada: "you can cheat, but it will not be effective" and "what is use of producing a rascal Guru?"
How can you have Srila Prabhupada in the center when in each temple, there are hundreds of rubber-stamped gurus and guru candidates competing for glorification, disciples, dakshina, sundaris, and land for their dead body to have a samadhi on?
How can you have Srila Prabhupada's books in the center when you have disciples of hundreds of rubber-stamped gurus peddling tapes, videos, and books of their own Gurus?
Let us not turn Srila Prabhupada's Temples into grave yards of kanistha-adhikaris, cheaters, and liars, as it has already started to happen. Read "Jayadvaita Swami's Omissions" and "Several Grievances Against the Members of the GBC".
So let us water the root and not the branches and leaves. Let one moon shine the torchlight of knowledge over the Universe.
Cooperate, keeping the Acharya in the center.
That is the only choice.