Kṛṣṇacandra Dāsa – Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham: Vraja Dham or specifically Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham was Śrīla Prabhupāda’s home before he left for the West in order to inaugurate the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness and it this very same home that he returned to so that he could leave our physical presence and enter into Samādhi. It is also the most sublimely special and precious area within this particular universe as it is the only such area where the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests His Vraja līlā.
Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham is where Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His dearest associates perform Their most sublimely intimate and preciously confidential pastimes in the mood of Mādhurya rasa. These pastimes are the most treasured pastimes of the Lord and His damsels headed by His supremely sweet consort Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
We must be very careful when approaching or residing in this Holy of Holy Dhams not to display our lusty or irreverent hearts and minds. The Holy Dham is where we come to purify our senses and absorb them in following the order and instruction of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda. We must always remember that it is Śrīla Prabhupāda who revealed the true nature and quality of the Holy Dham to us and it is Śrīla Prabhupāda who will guide us through the difficult journey of our spiritual upliftment in order to attain the prayojana or goal of life, Kṛṣṇa prema.
For the true follower of Śrīla Prabhupāda, the utmost place of pilgrimage is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Samādhi, as direct access to the pastimes of the Lord is only attainable by pleasing Śrīla Prabhupāda. To please Śrīla Prabhupāda one must comply with his ‘vāṇī’ instructions very carefully and if we do, then according to Kṛṣṇa’s sweet will He will reveal Himself and the Dham to us. There is no other way, so we should be very mindful for it is not possible to jump over the head of the spiritual master Śrīla Prabhupāda when visiting or residing in the Dham. We must also be very mindful that when we either visit or reside in the Holy Dham that we represent Śrīla Prabhupāda and so we must be very careful not to besmirch his good name and the good name of his society, ISKCON.
Many hundreds of thousands of pilgrims make their way to Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham from all over the world to have darśana of the Lords and along with them are many thousands of ISKCON devotees. The Kṛṣṇa Balarām Mandir was established by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda for the benefit of his disciples so that they had a spiritual sanctuary to refocus and rejuvenate their spiritual lives.
It is in his beloved Kṛṣṇa Balarāma Mandir that Śrīla Prabhupāda resides in Samādhi and is manifest in his mūrti form in many areas around his Temple/home. His beloved spiritual master His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswati Mahārāja is seated beside Śrīla Prabhupāda along with the presiding Deities Gaura Nitāi, Kṛṣṇa Balarāma and RadhaShyamasundar on the main altar.
The Kṛṣṇa Balarāma Mandir is the beating heart of our worldwide Kṛṣṇa conscious society and its importance for mankind over the next ten thousand years cannot be stressed enough when considering its role and function in this Kali-yuga.
As the Kali-yuga progresses, the corruption and degradation of mankind and the world in general will become increasingly more destructive and so we as an international religious society must make every effort possible to ensure that the standard maintained in the Kṛṣṇa Balarāma Temple is the highest possible standard of worship and loyalty to Śrīla Prabhupāda.
The GBC, as the Managerial Authority of ISKCON, must ensure that they are themselves first class devotees who are strictly following the standards and instructions of His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda, for only if the GBC are pure can they be qualified to appoint and supervise what to speak of take responsibility for those whom they are directly responsible. So the GBC members entrusted with the Holy Dham must be of high moral and spiritual calibre and of impeccable character and standing in the Vaiṣṇava community. Therefore they will be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding and practical realization of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings and instructions.
It goes without saying that any devotee who occupies a post of GBC or Upper Management of the Kṛṣṇa Balarāma Mandir in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham is to exhibit a high degree of spiritual realization and moral integrity. They must also have a sound working knowledge of community development and growth and be able to create and maintain a Kṛṣṇa consciousness atmosphere.
The post of Temple President in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham should be of prime importance to the GBC. The devotee who fills such an important and vital function within our international society must be of high spiritual and moral standard. They must be able to demonstrate sound and thorough understanding of the teachings and instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda and must have a demonstrable relationship and knowledge of the Holy Dham and familiarity with the local community. Last but not least they should have a thorough working knowledge of community growth and development and a practical vision of how they intend to increase the spiritual, moral and community standing of our ISKCON society in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham.
However, of prime importance should be loyalty to serving Śrīla Prabhupāda.
We must never forget that we are a Religious Society which is based on very specific religious tenets which have been carefully and methodically given to us by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda. We are not a Society that engages in illegal activities or money making scams in order to procure financial support for ourselves or our personal projects. Nor are we a society that condones or tolerates moral turpitude in our members and in particular within the ranks of our leaders who should set a high standard by their exemplary behaviour.
The fact is that to date the GBC has not taken their responsibility seriously by making sure that the devotees who take any role in both the GBC level and local Temple level are devotees of proven dedication to Śrīla Prabhupāda and are of high spiritual and moral calibre.
1. It is vital to note that any devotee who has a history of legal or illegal activities with regards to business dealings does not qualify to be in such a responsible position of authority within our upper echelon. Visa scams or using various projects to collect excess funds, for which the actual purpose is undisclosed, are also to be considered money making business scams and should also not be tolerated.
2. Particular note must be made to those devotees who are given responsibility within our upper management who have sought to conceal or ‘cover-up’ illegal or amoral activities of either their own misbehaviour or that of others, they do not demonstrate the appropriate moral fibre or spiritual qualifications to hold any position within the ISKCON institution.
3. The paying of bribes to officials to cover-up or protect themselves or other devotees engaged in criminal activity should also be seen as a disqualification to hold any official post within our Religious organization.
4. The overlooking or cover-up of child abuse reports or the failure to provide appropriate investigative procedures in cases of child abuse is also a demonstration of a devotee’s lack of spiritual and moral qualification. If a GBC member both existing or prior has failed to act on any claim or has neglected to acknowledge any case of child abuse in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham should be automatically disqualified. The fact that the Vṛndāvan Gurukula was the site of some of the most heinous cases of child abuse where there was no action taken to properly investigate the incidents and punish the perpetrators or authorities who covered up the cases, is to be taken as either gross negligence or intentional obstruction by the respective GBCs whose role is to properly supervise their wards and to ensure a high standard of spiritual and material behaviour and service.
5. The use of physical violence against anyone by the management is a sign of a lack of sensual control as well as a sign of a lack of spiritual advancement.
When considering the appointment or removal of any official leadership position with the ISKCON upper management, the above mentioned criteria must be strictly adhered to in order for the GBC and Temple Authorities to be qualified to be able to provide spiritual leadership for any devotional community
It goes without saying that the quality and standard of an upper management position, especially that of the GBC and the Temple President must be of such an exemplary standard as set by Śrīla Prabhupāda, that they are above reproach.
The fact that historically the GBC and the various Temple Presidents and senior managers of Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham have been comprised of individuals who have been spiritually weak or compromised and have been guilty of one or more of the above mentioned disqualifications means that the standard that the International GBC has set is grossly negligent in properly appointing and supervising the leadership of such a vital Yatra of our international society.