By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder & Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Mandate of the GBC-As Representative of Srila Prabhupada, to manage ISKCON.
As we have increased our volume of activities, now I think a Governing Body Commission (hereinafter referred to as the GBC) should be established. I am getting old, 75 years old, therefore at any time I may be out of the scene, therefore I think it is necessary to give instruction to my disciples how they shall manage the whole institution. They are already managing individual centers represented by one president, one secretary and one treasurer, and in my opinion they are doing nice. But we want still more improvement in the standard of Temple management, propaganda for Krishna Consciousness, distribution of books and literatures, opening of new centers and educating devotees to the right standard. Therefore, I have decided to adopt the following principles and I hope my beloved disciples will kindly accept them. (Srila Prabhupada in Direction of Management, July 28, 1970)
The purpose of the Governing Body Commission is to act as the instrument for the execution of the Will of His Divine Grace. And further,
1. The GBC oversees all operations and management of ISKCON, as it receives direction from Çréla Prabhupäda and His Divine Grace has the final approval in all matters….
6. The primary objective of the GBC is to organize the opening of new Temples and to maintain the established Temples.
(Particulars of the GBC, Direction of Management, July 28, 1970)
Resolved: The GBC (Governing Body Commissioned) 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 recognizes 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.
It is understood that the GBC, as a collective body of 14-members has been authorized by His Divine Grace to make necessary arrangements for carrying out these responsibilities of management. These arrangements may include delegating authority, managing resources, setting objectives, making plans, calling for reports, evaluating results, training others, maintaining spiritual standards and defining sphere of influence of the various GBC members as well as other devotees.
The members of the GBC do not have any inherent authority but rather derive their authority from the Governing Body Commission itself and ultimately from His Divine Grace. Their authority may be over a particular geographic area or over a particular function. Whichever area of responsibility be given to the various members their primary responsibility is to the society as a whole.
(GBC Resolutions, 1975 Mayapur in the presence of Srila Prabhupada)
Purpose: To handle management, philosophy questions, personal problems, keep devotional standards at the highest level
I have set up the Governing Body Commission to handle management, questions of philosophy, and personal problems. These things are too much botheration to me. I simply want time to write books to satisfy my Guru Maharaja. (SPL to Upendra, August 6th, 1970)
I have formed this GBC for that purpose, to keep the devotional standards at the highest level and at the same time to manage a world-wide organization. (SPL to Rupanuga, November 4th, 1970)
One thing is, have you GBC members decided amongst yourselves, how your zone of Far East will be managed in your absence? There must be someone there who can advise and instruct in all matters. (SPL to Bali Uardan, February 27th, 1972)
You mention that you are no longer much occupied with seeing that the rent and mortgage is paid and that the incense is sold, but GBC means to be occupied with everything in the zone. It is not that now we are preachers we can neglect all other points. No, the GBC member is supposed to know everything and anything about the condition and situation of all matters within his jurisdiction. That is the meaning of secretary …, and similarly, you shall do as I am doing. That is your real business. (SPL to Satsvarupa, July 1st, 1972)
Be Personal Example
These regulative principles are our life, if they are not respected then we fall down from the standard and the whole thing is finished. As GBC you should see the standard is perfectly maintained, and that Deity worship is perfectly done. Then Krsna will give us all protection. Neglecting the principles means neglecting Krsna's order. So you are one of the chief men of this Institution, kindly maintain your behaviour to the standard so that others will follow and the whole thing may go on nicely. It was said about Lord Caitanya: Spanl Heart prabhu jtcere sikhaya, that is, He personally used to practice Himself the injunctions and then He used to teach others. That is our principle: unless one is a perfectly behaved person, he cannot teach others. My only request is that all the GBC members should be strictly to the standard of life, and see that others are also following them. Then our centers will be well-managed. Kindly do that and advise your co-workers to do that." (SPL to Hayagriva, February 13th, 1972)My only anxiety is to guide you. Krsna sometimes makes me sick just to examine how much you have learned to conduct the business under my guidance, with a little independence. You should never act independently, because my guidance in my words are always there. The main guidance is all of us should remain spiritually strong by chanting the minimum number of rounds and following the rules and regulations. The GBC should personally observe strictly all the rules and regulations and they should become the practical example to others. Then everything will be all right. Then there will be no fear of being victimized by maya. (SPL to Bali Mardan dasa, 5th, September, 1974)
So you may remain wherever you may be peaceful. You may resume your GBC duties as secretary for the Central U.S.A. Zone. GBC means that one must be ideal Vaisnava. That means there must be strict observance in following all the rules and regulations. This is your main responsibility, and then to see that all others are following strictly. Then everything will be all right. (SPL to Jagadisa dasa, 6th September, 1974)
So I request you all to follow strictly the regulative principles, especially the chanting on the beads. GBC means to be a practical example to all residents of temples and devotees. If all of us follow this principle of purity, our spiritual position will remain sound, and maya will not touch us. mayam etam tarantite. A fully surrendered soul always remains untouched by the hand of maya. Otherwise it is not possible. (SPL to Kirtananada Maharaja, 5th October, 1974)
Regarding Sydney, that the President has left, if one does not follow the regulative principles, then he will leave. That is a fact. Has somebody else been elected? 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 in 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 I want. (SPL to Madhudvisa Swami, 4th August, 1975)
The GBC must be vigilant by following the regulative principles and teach by ideal character the presidents of the centers, and the presidents by their ideal character must teach the others then automatically all members of the whole institution will be ideal to the human society. Then we can dictate to administrators or sometimes take hold of the administration. In the absence of competent leaders we may take the post. …So our business is to keep fit as brahmanas and to train others to be ideal ksatriyas and vaisyas for advancing the whole society. (SPL to Rupanuga Maharaja, 28th April, 1974)