ISKCON GOVERNING BODY COMMISSION SOCIETY
Reg. No S/74662 under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961
P.O. Shree Mayapur Dham, Dist. Nadia, W. Bengal
MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
OF THE ISKCON GBC SOCIETY
SRIDHAM MAYAPUR, FEBRUARY 11-20, 2004
SECTION 100. APPOINTMENTS
101. GBC Members
1. His Grace Praghosa Dasa is elected GBC Chairman.
2. His Holiness Devamrita Swami is elected GBC First Vice-Chairman.
3. His Holiness AC Bhaktivaibhava Swami is elected GBC Second Vice-Chairman.
4. His Grace Radha Krishna Dasa is elected GBC Secretary.
5. His Holiness Bir Krishna Dasa Goswami is elected Special Duty Officer.
6. The following devotees are elected full GBC members:
His Holiness Bhanu Swami
His Holiness Bhakti Purusottama Swami
His Holiness Devamrita Swami
His Grace Praghosa Dasa
7. The following devotees continue as assistant GBC members:
His Grace Hridaya Caitanya Dasa
His Grace Radha Krishna Dasa
102. Sannyasa Waiting List
For 2004, these are the candidates for sannyasa:
Bir Krishna Dasa approved for this year
Brihad Mrdanga Dasa 4-year waiting list
Gaura Hari Dasa 3-year waiting list
Makhanlal Dasa 4-year waiting list
Janananda Dasa 3-year waiting list
Partha Sarathi Dasa 2-year waiting list
Pariksit Dasa 1-year waiting list
Prabhodananda Dasa 4-year waiting list
Pundarika Vidyanidhi Dasa approved for this year
Purnacandra Dasa 3-year waiting list
Ramacandra Dasa 3-year waiting list
Sarvaisvarya Dasa 3-year waiting list
Siddhartha Dasa 4-year waiting list
Simhesvara Dasa 1-year waiting list
Svayambhu Dasa approved for this year
Visvambhara Dasa 1-year waiting list
Section 200: FINANCE
201. GBC Budget
The GBC budget for 2004/2005 is:
Ministry of Cow Protection and Agriculture
VCal Bug Fixing
Ministry of Education
GBC Annual General Meeting
Health & Welfare Magazine
French Emergency Fund
Executive Committee Travel
202. Appointment of Auditor
Sri A. K. Shah, F.C.A., Chartered Accountant, of 125, Netaji Subhas Road, Room No. 45, Kolkata 700 001, is appointed the Auditor for the year 2004-2005.
203. GBC Financial Accounting Committee
The GBC, as the supreme ecclesiastical authority for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), appointed a sub-committee to look into the matter of funds dispersed by the BBT to ISKCON, and this sub-committee has suggested the need to establish a permanent GBC Financial Accounting Committee,
The resignation of Naresvara Prabhu has left a void in the financial relationship between the BBT, the GBC, and the SMPDC,
The GBC, as the representative of ISKCON, the beneficiary under the Trust created by Srila Prabhupada in 1972, has a responsibility to see to the proper receipt and dispersal of all income from the BBT and other sources,
There is a need to introduce improved accounting procedures for the various monies received and dispersed by the GBC Body,
A permanent GBC Financial Accounting Committee is hereby established. The committee shall consist of three members, to be appointed by the GBC body for a 3-year term. The mandate of the committee shall be:
a. to account for the receipt and dispersal of funds received by the GBC, especially funds received from the BBT and funds received from all sources for international projects, and to submit such accounts annually to the GBC Body.
b. to make sure that all international projects, as well as other projects receiving funds from BBT construction funds submit timely reports on the use of such funds according to standards to be determined by this committee, and to audit such accounts for the purpose of certifying that the funds received were used as per the GBC’s directives.”
c. to review and audit other accounts the GBC may from time to time ask it to scrutinize.
Section 400: INTERNAL ISKCON
401. Bathing Panca-tattva Deities during Their Installation
During the installation of the Panca-tattva Deities, only the local pujaris, one representative of the local GBC, and one representative of the GBC Executive Committee will bathe the Deities. We unanimously invite H.H. Sridhara Maharaja to bathe the Deities. We also invite donors to bring water for bathing.
402. Reinstatement of Rupa Vilasa Dasa
Rupa Vilasa Dasa was expelled from ISKCON for not complying with the conditions stated in resolution #90-73,
Resolution #90-73 provided the possibility that any of the devotees expelled as a consequence of the resolution could be reinstated in the future as members of ISKCON in good standing if they presented a letter rectifying themselves in the manner expressed in the resolution;
And Rupa Vilasa Dasa has now presented such a letter to the satisfaction of the GBC,
Rupa Vilasa Dasa is reinstated as a member of ISKCON in good standing.
403. Spiritual Degrees for ISKCON Gurus Mandatory
[Amendment to ISKCON Law]
Although ISKCON law states mandatory and discretionary qualifications for gurus in ISKCON, and gurus having spiritual degrees like Bhaktivedanta and Bhakti Sastri is in the discretionary lists,
Spiritual exams, courses, and degrees were formerly not available but now are,
Srila Prabhupada, by mentioning in a letter that devotees with the Bhaktivedanta Degree would be considered for being gurus and initiating, established it as a qualification he considered important,
In 1987, when the standard for serving as a guru in ISKCON was adopted, the spiritual degree system was still in an early formative stage,
Spiritual degrees–Bhakti Sastri, Bhakti Vaibhava, and Bhaktivedanta (when available)–are now a mandatory qualification for being granted “no objection” status to serve as a guru in ISKCON.
404. Explanations for Resolutions
[Internal Procedure Guideline]
The GBC deliberates for many hours prior to making a decision, but devotees generally do not understand the rationale behind the decision,
In the future, evidence for why decisions were made will help ISKCON better implement decisions,
When revisited years later, GBC resolutions are often unclear as to their original intention,
Without evidence of support from guru, sadhu, and sastra, GBC decisions are subject to undue challenge,
The GBC Secretary shall, wherever possible, include in the minutes an explanation of the reasoning and purpose for any new laws.
To demonstrate the correctness and authority of resolutions relating to spiritual or philosophical standards, the GBC shall provide for each such resolution a written explanation detailing its logic and purpose, with available evidence from guru, sadhu, and sastra.
405. Kesava Bharati Dasa Goswami
The members of the GBC Body give their blessings to His Holiness Kesava Bharati Maharaja for resuming his sannyasa.
406. Congregational Preaching Directorates
[Amendment to ISKCON Guideline]
The definition of Congregational Preaching Directorates given in the ISKCON law passed as resolution number 405 of 2002 was not sufficiently broad for situations in some parts of the world,
The definition of Congregational Preaching Directorates given in resolution number 405 of 2002 shall be modified to read as follows:
10.4.3.4 Congregational Preaching Directorates
“Congregational Preaching Directorates” are characterized by having at least one primary location that is either stable or semi-stable, by having financial autonomy (not being financially controlled by any other affiliate), and by having activities centered on development of congregational preaching over a significantly large area. There may or may not be regular activities of public worship.
407. Picture of GBC’s and Temple Presidents in ISKCON temples
Srila Prabhupada is the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, the GBC body is the ultimate ecclesiastical managing authority of ISKCON, the individual GBC zonal secretaries are the representatives of the GBC body, and the temple presidents are the local authority,
It is a general practice of institutions to publicly display pictures of their leaders,
Although a significant percentage of temple visitors know the temple president, most do not know of the GBC, what purpose the GBC body serves, or who their local GBC zonal secretary is,
In the reception area or any equivalent public place of every ISKCON temple there should be:
A large framed picture or painting of Srila Prabhupada with a plaque saying, “His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.”
Alongside Prabhupada’s picture and significantly smaller, a photograph of the local GBC, Regional Secretary (where there is one), and Temple President, with a plaque stating the name of the GBC and temple president, and the name of the city the temple is in.
Alongside the photos a one-page framed document on ISKCON letterhead briefly describing Srila Prabhupada as the Founder-Acarya, the GBC as the ultimate ecclesiastical authority, and the local GBC and temple president (or local temple management team or board) as the local authorities.
The wording of this document is up to the local temple.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).
Srila Prabhupada formed a Governing Body Commission (GBC) to oversee ISKCON’s worldwide spiritual and missionary activities. The GBC meets annually in Mayapur, West Bengal, India, to set ecclesiastical policies for the society. Each ISKCON center is managed by a temple president, or other officers, or both, whose primary responsibility is to maintain the spiritual standards of the center. A GBC representative sees to it that these international policies are implemented.
Srila Prabhupada’s religious and philosophical teachings and personal character remain perpetually the inspiration for all the members of ISKCON.
408. Presentation On Book Distribution
Srila Prabhupada always stressed the importance of book distribution as one of the principal means of propagating the spiritual, ethical, moral, cultural and religious teachings of the Krishna consciousness movement,
The GBC Body thus has a responsibility to develop book distribution worldwide,
The GBC Body hereby reaffirms its topmost priority of hearing about recent accomplishments by the BBT, learning of challenges faced by the various BBT licensees, and reviewing comparative book distribution results in various parts of the world,
An increased awareness and exchange of ideas at the top level will help the global coordination of book distribution efforts,
[Rule of Order]
The GBC Executive Committee shall allocate four hours during the first or second day of the Annual General Meeting in Mayapur to the topic of book distribution. The BBT Trustees and BBTI Directors and the Book Distribution Ministry will make presentations, and there will be a review of GBC book distribution reports.
409. Continuing the Disciplic Succession
The paper “On My Order-Understood” contains assumptions and assertions that, in numerous places, do not match the available evidence from the statements of Srila Prabhupada,
And the GBC desires to make a more concise statement,
“On My Order-Understood” is replaced as official GBC policy by the following statement.
The GBC officially accepts the following conclusions about continuing the disciplic succession:
Srila Prabhupada consistently said that his disciples would themselves become spiritual masters. Guru, sadhu, and sastra all support this standard way of continuing the disciplic succession.
Srila Prabhupada said that his disciples would become “regular gurus” and that each of their disciples would thus be a “disciple of my disciple.”
On the strength of our Vaisnava tradition and the statements of Srila Prabhupada, the GBC concludes that Srila Prabhupada intended his disciples to become “regular gurus” after he physically departed.
As a matter of utmost ecclesiastical responsibility, ISKCON’s ultimate managing authority, the GBC, regulates who within ISKCON may perform the service of initiating disciples.
When the GBC allows a devotee to take up the service of initiating, it does not thereby endorse him as an uttama adhikäri or “pure devotee” or certify his having achieved any specific state of realization. Rather, the GBC indicates that it has no objection to his initiating disciples within ISKCON.
Each prospective disciple, before initiation, should become familiar with the qualifications mentioned in Srila Prabhupada’s books as those that a spiritual master ought to have and decide for himself which senior devotee, if any, to approach for initiation.
Within this context, the choice of whom to select as one’s spiritual master is ultimately the prospective disciple’s own responsibility.
410. GBC restructure of ISKCON Europe
There is a need for improved efficiency and accountability in ISKCON’s evangelical operations in Europe,
The GBC body has encouraged the establishment of continental committees (GBC Resolution 404/2002. Regional and Continental Governing Bodies),
The Euro RGB has been working for the past 18 months on developing a proposal to suit the specific needs of Europe. Work which included the following:
continuous e-mail communication among European ISKCON leaders
discussion among European National Councils
five Euro RGB Executive Committee meetings (a total of fifteen days) assimilating all the feedback of National Councils and individual devotees
meeting with key GBC members with responsibility in Europe
three-day meeting with over 60 European leaders reviewing and fine tuning the proposal and determining their level of support
The GBC Body hereby designates “Europe” as a “Region” as defined under ISKCON Law 184.108.40.206. The region may consist of any or all of the following countries, as may be decided by the local leaders of each country, with notification to the GBC Secretary:
Albania Austria Belgium Bulgaria
Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark
Finland France Germany Greece
Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy
Poland Portugal Romania Serbia
Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden
Switzerland The Netherlands UK
The following GBC members are responsible to submit proposed Rules and Regulations for a Regional Governing Body for the Europe region, as per Section 220.127.116.11: Sivarama Swami, Bhakti Vaibhava Swami, Param Gati Swami, Madhu Sevita Dasa, and Praghosa Dasa.
These five GBC members are also empowered to nominate an interim Regional Governing Body for Europe, to be called “The Euro GBC Body.” It may be delegated functions under Section 18.104.22.168 on an ad hoc basis by the GBC Executive Committee until such time as Rules and Regulations are submitted as above. The GBC Body will review this at its Annual General Meeting of 2006.
The Euro GBC Body, when constituted, shall propose to the global GBC Body the division of the Region of Europe into contiguous zones, up to five, each supervised by a Global GBC Member, called a “Global GBC.” The Euro GBC Body will introduce this structure by suggesting a pilot scheme. This pilot scheme will initially involve one of the proposed five zones of Europe. The Euro GBC, at its annual meeting, will review reports on the progress of this pilot scheme.
For the sake of effective ecclesiatical and spiritual management, the Euro GBC Body will further propose the division of each of these contiguous zones into appropriate sub-regions. A Zonal Secretary called a “Euro GBC” will manage each sub-region. Each Euro GBC will be a member of the Euro GBC Body and will work in cooperation with and report to his or her respective Global GBC. In sub-regions where there is no Euro GBC appointed, the Global GBC will assume all the responsibilities of the Zonal Secretary.
411. Distribution of Non-BBT Books
There is a need for the GBC to ensure that ISKCON centers predominantly distribute the books of the BBT, rather than those of other publishers,
No ISKCON temple or zone should do mass book distribution of non-BBT books in a proportion greater than, in total, 5% of the value of the BBT books distributed.
412. Srila Prabhupada’s 108th Anniversary
The 108th Anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s appearance can bring special inspiration to the devotee community by glorifying Srila Prabhupada,
H.H. Lokanath Swami was successful in performing the service of Srila Prabhupada Centennial Global Minister,
ISKCON will make the celebration of Srila Prabhupada’s 108th Appearance Anniversary year a highlight of its activities until Vyasa Puja 2005. H.H. Lokanath Swami will take up the service of global coordinator for this project.
413. Amendment of Guru Nomination Voting Requirement
[Amendment to ISKCON Law]
The current ISKCON Law provides that a ten-person committee, by a simple majority, may nominate a candidate for serving as a guru,
A simple majority allows a thin margin of support,
When the GBC Secretary sends the GBC members the name of a candidate, he does not send the full report of how the members of the nominating committee voted and their reasons,
Section 22.214.171.124 shall be amended to read as follows:
A candidate for guru in ISKCON must first receive a three-fourths majority vote of approval in a council composed of all the GBC zonal secretaries of his current preaching area and at least ten other senior devotees residing in his area of activity. The council will be organized and convened by the GBC zonal secretary(s).
Section 126.96.36.199.2 shall be amended to read as follows:
The council shall evaluate the candidate according to the qualifications for guru given by Srila Prabhupada in his oral and written teachings and by the GBC Body in its standards and guidelines. Each member of the Area Council shall fill out the Guru Qualifications Checklist and return it to be compiled by the Area Council chairman.
[Click on link to see Guru Qualifications checklist.]
Section 188.8.131.52.2 shall be amended to read as follows:
After verifying that the candidate has been properly endorsed, the GBC Corresponding Secretary shall send the candidate’s name with the full letter of endorsement and the compilation of responses by the local nominating committee to all members of the GBC.
[Click to see the complete law after amendment.]
414. Annual General Meeting 2005
The Annual General Meeting for 2005 will start on the 27th of February 2005 and end on the 8th of March. The GBC Executive Committee can change the date by a maximum two days and can extend the duration of the meeting to include time for GBC-BBT Meetings.