Thursday, 30 August 2012

ISKCON Long Island, NY, implements S.P. Direction Of Management

by Nimai Pandit das, Temple President Long Island, NY
Subject: ISKCON Long Island, NY
Testimonial Ref: Direction Of Management (DOM)
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2005
Dear Mukunda Prabhu,
Please accept my most humble obeisances! All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Prabhu, thank you very much for compiling the Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta As It is. The box of books which we got, we have been distributing to our congregation and many have liked it. I had sent one box to Kapindra Maharaj and 1 box to Nara Narayana Prabhu, as instructed by Jaya Krishna Prabhu. We read from the book every day after Srila Prabhupada's Guru puja.
I have read your postings about the Direction of Management implementation - that now is not the time to implement it, more need is there to concentrate on Hearing from Srila Prabhupada and raising the general standard of the Temples.
I agree with you to a large extent. Your compilation book "All of Us should hear Srila Prabhupada", has been well read and distributed by us for the last 4 years. We hear from Srila Prabhupada extensively in the temple, the ISKCON Long Island, NY. We also all read and distribute His Divine Grace's original books and we go out and chant(singing in the original style of kirtan as taught by Srila Prabhupada), distributing prasadam and books weekly thrice and doing house programs. When the colleges start in September, we will start regular college programs too. I myself read at least one hour daily Srila Prabhupada's books and letters. In the temple we have Srila Prabhupada singing kirtans 24 hours thru speakers in all places in the temple. We even have a 24 hours internet radio station where one can log onto and here the temple kirtans and lectures or singing/lectures from Srila Prabhupada or his early disciples all day/night long. All in the temple are being trained to be Srila Prabhupada's disciples. The deities Sri Sri Nimai Nitai, were installed by Srila Prabhupada in 1975 and were worshipped by Visnujan Maharaj. We change their clothes twice daily, daily abhishek and make offerings 4 times a day. We have been gradually trying to implement the original way of deity seva instituted by Srila Prabhupada in his ISKCON temples.
So, at least by some standards, this is a functioning ISKCON temple, as Srila Prabhupada desires it to be. Obviously, we could do much more to purify ourselves and others. And we will continue to increase our endeavor's specially by the blessings and instructions of devotees like your good self.
We came to know of the Direction of Management last year in court (Supreme Court of New York) during a hearing on a lawsuit brought by the so-called "GBCs" who were trying to kick us out of the temple, on the charge that we are "ritviks". It was their argument that they are appointed GBC by Srila Prabhupada according to the document- the DOM. Hence they had the right to demand obedience!
That is the time Sriman Nara Narayana Vishwakarma Prabhu told us the importance of Srila Prabhupada's DOM and the weak points in the presentation of the "GBCs". He even submitted an affidavit to the court to lay the real background of this document. Especially that these are not the real GBCs as they have not been elected.
Partly, due to his brilliant exposition of the document, the judge ordered the so-called "GBC"s to stay away. So now, for the last almost 1 year, we have been free to practice KC, as ordered by Srila Prabhupada to his disciples, in an organized manner.
We do not associate with the so-called ISKCON temples. All "GBCs" or their representatives have to take permission to come in the temple - which they have never asked for. Basically, we are practicing Krishna Consciousness, keeping the Acarya in the center and associating with like-minded devotees around the world.
During the lawsuit, we requested Locanananda Prabhu to come and speak about the Gurukuli abuses to show the corruption in the current ISKCON to the Judge. His 5 minute testimony was powerful and moving, even he choked up! We have also been helping the poison investigation, details of which I am not at a liberty to reveal.
My point is that even though we are an ISKCON temple, we do not associate with the corrupt ISKCON "leadership", rather are trying to educate others(innocents) about it.
Since last year's court battle, we have also been implementing the Direction of Management in the temple - gradually.
We have resisted the "GBC"s pressures to change our name from ISKCON to something else, Direction of Management specifically is made by Srila Prabhupada on the letterhead of INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INCORPOATED. This is the legal organization which owns our temple property. So this is the first thing we have done in implementing DOM. Not to change the name to anything else other than ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada moreover says,
"Then in 1966, July, I incorporated the Society under the name and style the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, briefly ISKCON. The lawyer was Mr. J. Goldsmith. Gradually the Society increased, and one after another branches were opened. Now we have got thirty-four (34) branches enlisted herewith".
Srila Prabhupada is specifically saying he incorporated a society name(d) .."briefly ISKCON".
All real property should be in the name of ISKCON. This is his order.
"7. Advice will be given by the GBC in cases of real property purchases, which will be in the name of ISKCON, INC. (Trucks or other vehicles will be purchased in the name of the local president)."
Hence these are the first instructions of DOM that we have already implemented here. We considered that these instructions we heard from Srila Prabhupada via his DOM are as important as his instructions we heard from in his lectures. I am sure you will agree and see the practicality of the situation. I have found here that devotees are more agreeable to help and cooperate if they can work under the name of ISKCON. You can understand that fighting a lawsuit to defend ourselves, keeping the temple program going daily, keeping regular preaching programs in NYC and taking care of the medium size congregation, for the last more than 1 year, takes some amount of resources, organization and cooperation among a good many like-minded devotees.
Another instruction of Srila Prabhupada from the Direction of Management which we have implemented is the next one:
"8. Removal of a Temple president by the GBC requires support by the local Temple members."
All devotees in the temple(currently 5 brahmacaris, 2 grahastha couple) know it and have seen this in writing and have been told by me several times, that if the devotees feel that the current Temple President, myself, is not doing his duty properly and is not qualified to do the service, then he can be removed by the Temple Members and a new one can be elected by the Temple Members. This instruction became paramount to implement now as devotees are all serving here, voluntarily, and giving up all their material possessions, and they wanted to know who is my authority. As I am definitely not a pure devotee, I found it a very good question to think of an answer of. Who is there to correct me? Srila Prabhupada. But what if I refuse or am unable to take the chastisement or correction from Srila Prabhupada. Is there another method Srila Prabhupada has set up in his organization for the managers to be accountable? According to the DOM, GBCs supervise Temple Presidents. But what if there are no real GBCs supervising me, as is the case now? At least the temple members have a say in keeping me in check if I become autocratic. Without that safety check, which intelligent, Brahman like devotee would like to surrender fully in such a temple environment for a long time? Otherwise, generally we have seen, and I know you have also experienced in "your" temple, the devotees in the temple start feeling that the TP thinks it is "his" temple.
I see that this DOM instruction of Srila Prabhupada would work the other way round too, when there are elected GBCs, they wouldn't be able to remove a TP whimsically, and hence a householder would feel much more secure in making his house into a preaching center in the name of ISKCON, legally, and put his hard-earned earnings in ISKCON's bank a/c to be used according to the instructions of Srila Prabhupada for preaching. This is how the new centres were opened in the early days. To insure that kind of trust again, without the DOM as a safety check, how will the householder's make their home's into ISKCON temples?
The other DOM instructions we have implemented are based upon this instruction of Srila Prabhupada
"They are already managing individual centers represented by one president, one secretary and one treasurer, and in my opinion they are doing nice."
At that time, according to my research, and I may be wrong, there were regular istagosthis of the devotees. In the temple the men and women were living separately in the respective ashrams, even if they were married. All devotees would attend the whole morning program, especially the TP, and they would go out on sankirtan, which meant, distributing Kirtan, books and Prasadam. So we are gradually implementing these instructions. You are welcome to come, stay with us in the Men's ashram and check and give suggestions on what more can we do.
Another statement of Srila Prabhupada is "Gradually the Society increased, and one after another branches were opened. Now we have got thirty-four (34) branches enlisted herewith." So we are trying to see which other temples/preaching centres around the world, whether called ISKCON or not, are willing to form the real ISKCON organization, under the banner of INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS. Maybe in a year's time, things will get cleared up, on who are real ISKCON temples and who are not, so that new contacts can be told the references of the temples.
We are trying to make new ISKCON centers, based upon Srila Prabhupada's formula of householder's opening preaching centers, men work initially, and in spare time, they go out on sankirtan. NY has many householder's who are Srila Prabhupada's disciples, and we are working with them, having regular Istagosthis in their homes, and generally helping them start their own centers in their homes -gradually. Of course, as you say, the first thing is to infuse in everyone the strong desire and importance of hearing from Srila Prabhupada. And to understand that Srila Prabhupada is a nitya-siddha associate of Lord Caitanya, Personality of Servitor Godhead and that all his activities are executed from a platform of ecstatic love of Lord Krishna. Krishnalingita Vigraha. I am not under illusion that it will take some years before these places would become ISKCON centres. But this is where we have started, and simultaneously these are the principles of DOM which all of us are familiar with while preaching. They know that the temple is governed by Srila Prabhupada's Direction of Management and in some years when there are enough temples, and most of those temple presidents feel that "we have increased our volume of activities, now I think a Governing Body Commission (hereinafter referred to as the GBC) should be established. " Then we would be in a position to implement even this instruction of Srila Prabhupada in his expanding real ISKCON.
I can definitely say that I would not be today talking to you as President of a functioning growing ISKCON temple(albiet small), if I had not started studying the DOM with the understanding that this is a practical instruction manual kept by Srila Prabhupada to manage his institution. And I can also safely say that this understanding has been progressively made possible by the assistance of our senior Godbrother Sriman Nara Narayana Vishwakarma Prabhu. I am grateful that he preached the importance of DOM in ISKCON to us, we won the lawsuit partly due to this angle. I see that he is preaching to ISKCON temples with a view to enlightening some other ISKCON temples like us with the hope that some of them will overthrow the corrupt leadership so that they can implement the hearing process of Srila Prabhupada in the right environment. Otherwise, maybe some intelligent devotees may come out of the temples on coming to know of the reality.
The hearing process of Srila Prabhupada, as emphasized by you is of paramount importance and should be really propagated. This is the most effective method to change our base qualities of nature to goodness and then to suddha goodness, from which platform we can preach. I do not see from his postings or in his temple that Nara Narayana Vishwakarma Prabhu is not agreeable to this fact. But I can also maybe bring to your kind attention that to maintain the hearing environment in an organized temple setup, which can provide a powerful tool to hear and discuss in an association, progressive implementation of Srila Prabhupada's Direction of Management is essential. I can testify to it.
Thank you for your great contributions to the resuscitation of ISKCON, and look forward to hearing from you.
Your humble servant,
Nimai Pandit das
Temple President
ISKCON Freeport
Long Island, NY

No comments:

Post a Comment