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 27 – MARCH 8, 2005
SECTION 100. APPOINTMENTS
101. GBC Members
1. His Holiness Devamrita Swami is elected GBC Chairman.
2. His Holiness AC Bhaktivaibhava Swami is elected First Vice-Chairman.
3. His Holiness Bhanu Swami is elected Second Vice-Chairman.
4. His Grace Radha-Krishna Dasa is elected GBC Secretary.
5. His Holiness Kavicandra Swami is elected Special Duty Officer.
6. The following devotees continue as assistant GBC members:
His Grace Hridaya Caitanya Dasa
His Grace Radha-Krishna Dasa
102. Sannyasa Waiting List
In 2005, these are the candidates for sannyasa:
Brihad Mrdanga Dasa
3-year waiting list
Gaura Hari Dasa
3-year waiting list
Jagat Guru Dasa
3-year waiting list
2-year waiting list
2-year waiting list
3-year waiting list
Partha Sarathi Dasa
1-year waiting list
3-year waiting list
2-year waiting list
3-year waiting list
2-year waiting list
4-year waiting list
1-year waiting list
3-year waiting list
Section 200: FINANCE
201. GBC Budget
The GBC budget for 2005/2006 is:
GBC Annual General Meeting
Health & Welfare Magazine
German 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 as statutory auditor for the year 2005.
Section 400: INTERNAL ISKCON
401. Members of the Sri Mayapura Project Development Committee (SMPDC)
The Sri Mayapur Project Development Committee is reconstituted as follows:
Chair of GBC Executive Committee – ex. officio
Bir Krishna Dasa Goswami
Gopal Krishna Goswami
Bhakti Charu Swami
Bhakti Purusottama Swami
Gopal Bhatta Dasa
402. Suhotra Swami
Suhotra Swami has expressed difficulties maintaining proper behaviour in the sannyasa ashrama. Thus, in conjunction with the GBC’s Executive Committee, he has taken the following decisions in order to be properly situated in devotional service and to benefit those initiated by him.
1) Suhotra Prabhu will leave the sannyasa ashrama and accept the vanaprastha ashrama.
2) Under the guidance of Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami, his friend and previous sannyasa guru, he will engage in a daily program of increased chanting, hearing and austerity in Sri Mayapura Dhama. He will be regularly monitored by the GBC Executive Committee.
3) Suhotra Prabhu advises his disciples to take shelter of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, to remain faithful in ISKCON and to seek the association of good devotees, as he is withdrawing from his position and function as an initiating spiritual master. Should they feel the need, he encourages them to take initiation from another follower of Srila Prabhupada.
4) In pursuing his program of hearing and chanting, Suhotra Prabhu will stop all use of the Internet, and thus he will not be available by e-mail. All questions related to the above may be directed to the Secretary to the GBC Executive Committee: [email protected]
Attached please find the letter of Suhotra Prabhu.
Dear Devotees of ISKCON,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. There is no other institution like Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON. Infused with the power of Krsna-sakti, this is alone the movement capable of covering the entire globe with transcendental nama-sankirtana, book and prasada distribution, and sadhu-sanga. ISKCON therefore deserves glorious leaders who purely follow Srila Prabhupada.
We are fortunate to have many fine GBC members, spiritual masters, sannyasis, deputies, temple presidents and so many other expert devotees to show us, by precept and example, the way to his lotus feet. Though for many years I have held high positions in ISKCON, I confess to you that I am unqualified to be counted among such leaders.
Several years ago I published a letter to all ISKCON devotees about the trouble I was having from depression. I tried to rectify myself by resigning from the GBC, ceasing to give more initiations, and concentrating on my sannyasa duties. But the depression persisted and conspired with unhealthy, restless travel, lack of regulation, and lust, to knock me out of the race again.
Since I have not kept up the vows and duties of sannyasa, I shall step one asrama back to vanaprastha, which in Vedic culture is the asrama of austerity. In so doing, I shall be under the care of my sannyasa guru, His Holiness Bhaktividya Purna Maharaja. The GBC Executive Committee will monitor my rectification. Henceforward I will not be communicating through the Internet-via Pamho.net or private e-mail. The GBC EC will take care of any further inquiries that you may have about my situation.
I relinquish the position of diksa and siksa guru. I urge the devotees initiated by me to take shelter of a fixed-up ISKCON guru. If you so desire, do not hesitate to take re-initiation.
Srila Prabhupada once compared going back home, Back to Godhead, to flying an airplane. Sometimes a plane, after it takes off, is beset with mechanical problems. The pilot is obliged to turn back to the starting point and get the aircraft repaired. Thereafter he can resume the flight. Such will be my course in spiritual life now: to return to a new beginning so as to repair my damaged spiritual health through strictly supervised devotional service. Emphasis will be given to taking shelter of the holy name, regulation, austerity, study, and keeping good association in the holy dhama of Sri Mayapur.
It’s surely not the happiest news to come out of the 2005 GBC meeting. But it is for the good of the Society and my own. So there is nothing to be sorry about. Naturally, shame and distress encircle me now. At the same time I am greatly relieved and feel strong hope. In the end, when we are called to stand before Lord Krsna after having left the material body, we shall appear there not as sannyasis, gurus or anything other than His very tiny eternal servants. I am thankful that before the time of death, Lord Krsna is giving me this chance to understand the true position.
Taking a straw between my teeth and falling flat in the dust of your feet, I beg you wonderful ISKCON Vaisnavas to kindly forgive me for my innumerable offenses. Hare Krsna.
Your humble servant,
403. Law Change – Probation
Whereas there is currently some inconsistency in ISKCON law concerning censure, probation, and suspension, and thus correction is required,
Therefore it is resolved
THAT ISKCON Law 5.5.4 is amended to read as follows: [Added text is in italics].
Any ISKCON leader may be placed on probation by 2/3 vote of the Divisional Council, or by the local GBCs concerned and other GBCs (totaling a minimum of three GBCs preferably from the same region), or by an ISKCON Judicial Comittee, or by the Executive Committee,or by the GBC Body if it is deemed that either:
a) The leader has previously received one or more censures and the censuring body remains concerned about the leader to the extent that it deems that a particular program of rectification is required, Or
b) The leader has not been previously censured, but the situation is of a sufficiently serious nature that a program of rectification is required immediately.
404. German Yatra Emergency Action
Whereas the German yatra is presently facing a severe crisis, and
Whereas the leading devotees in Germany have declared a formal state of emergency and have approached the GBC Body for endorsement and support of their plans; and
Whereas this crisis was not of the German devotees’ own making but rather was mostly created by the GBC-appointed former zonal secretary; and
Whereas, in pursuance of the European RGB’s reorganization plan, Germany has agreed to become a single zone and region with Austria, which will add a further financial burden of 150,000 Euros to the German leaders’ financial obligation; therefore
It is hereby RESOLVED that:
1. The GBC Body, having heard the plans of the German yatra, gives its unqualified endorsement to ISKCON Germany’s “Declaration of Emergency and Solidarity Action 2005-07.”
2. The GBC body encourages all ISKCON preachers to visit Germany and share their spiritual values and strength with the devotees there, who are very much in need of association.
3. The GBC Body is encouraged by the German yatra’s plans to work unitedly to raise funds to settle the long-standing debts and obligations. ISKCON centers around the world may want to give opportunity to the German leaders to carry out fundraising programs in their local area, in coordination with existing programs.
4. GBC members and guests may want to express solidarity with the effort by making token financial pledges.
5. Due to the crisis situation, the German yatra shall be exempt from GBC fees for 2005-2007, as well as past due fees since the crisis began.
6. That, in view of the German leaders’ willingness to accept into its zone Austria (which comes with a 150,000 Euro debt), the European RGB especially should work to find ways and means to help the German-Austria zone resolve its financial crisis.
405. Creation of the Mayapur Society
The GBC Body hereby authorizes its members to form the Sri Mayapur Project Society as an affiliated entity through which it intends to implement its vision for the development of Sri Mayapur Dham.
Voting membership in the Sri Mayapur Project Society shall be limited to GBC members and all GBC members are expected to become members of the Sri Mayapur Project Society.
The Sri Mayapur Project Society will appoint a Board of Directors which will serve as the governing body for the Sri Mayapur Project Society and may include qualified persons other than members of the Sri Mayapur Project Society, as long as the number of such outside directors does not exceed 2/5ths of the total number of directors.
The GBC Body Chair and first Vice Chair will be ex-officio members of the Board of Directors.
406. Long Island
ISKCON Inc. was established by Srila Prabhupada in New York City in 1966 as the first corporation of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness; and
ISKCON Law (see below) condemns the ritvik doctrine as antithetical to the teachings of Krishna consciousness as taught by Srila Prabhupada; and
Viswa B. Garuda has executed an oath of Allegiance to the ISKCON GBC and its directives, during the first quarter of 2001; and
After a thorough investigation, the GBC finds that Viswa B. Garuda has embraced and is actively propagating the ritvik doctrine in the ISKCON Inc. temple located at 197 South Ocean Avenue, Freeport NY; and
Viswa B. Garuda has been instructed by GBC representatives on numerous occasions to cease and desist such ritvik-related activities on the temple premises; and
Viswa B. Garuda has openly defied and rejected the instructions of the GBC to cease any further ritvik activity in the ISKCON Inc. temple premises;
IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED
THAT Viswa B. Garuda, President and Director of ISKCON, Inc. at the time of the filing of our case against him, is deemed to be in flagrant violation of ISKCON Law (see below) and the Oath of Allegiance to the GBC that was sworn to and executed during the first quarter of 2001, and as a direct result of such activities is no longer a member in good standing of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness;
THAT Viswa B. Garuda is hereby removed from his position as President and Director of ISKCON, INC.
THAT the election of directors held on 20th Feb 2005, Sunday, is hereby deemed to be null and void;
THAT Viswa B. Garuda shall immediately take all steps necessary to return control of the temple premises located at 197 South Ocean Avenue, Freeport, NY to the sole and exclusive control of the GBC, for the purpose of the GBC putting in place ISKCON members in good standing as Board of Directors and as officers, to manage the corporation and its assets according to the directives of the GBC. The GBC hereby delegates full authority to the North American GBC Executive Committee to determine who are those in good standing to become officers and Directors of ISKCON Inc., as well as to remain as residents of the temple located at 197 South Ocean Avenue, Freeport NY.
THAT Viswa B. Garuda and those acting in concert with him in the ritvik-related activities herein, shall vacate the temple premises within seven (7) days of receipt of notice to do so delivered to him by a GBC representative.
Relevant ISKCON Law in this connection:
6.4.7 Specifically Outlawed Doctrines and Practices
188.8.131.52. Ritvikism, aka posthumous ritvik theory, post-samadhi ritvik theory, proxy initiation theory, no change theory, etc.
“The doctrine that Srila Prabhupada desired to continue to act as diksa-guru after his departure from this world and did not desire any of his disciples to give diksa in succession after him is a dangerous philosophical deviation. Ritvikism directly goes against the principle of parampara itself (of successive diksa and siksa-gurus), which sustains the pure teachings and practices of Krsna consciousness. This principle has been established by Krishna and is upheld by all acaryas. Indeed, it is accepted by all followers of Vedic culture. Ritvikism is thus an extreme deviation. It is utterly erroneous to espouse it, deluding and misguiding to teach it, and blasphemous to attribute it to Srila Prabhupada. No one who espouses, teaches, supports in any way, or practices ritvikism can be a member in good standing of ISKCON.
184.108.40.206 Enforcement of ISKCON Law regarding Ritvikism
1. The GBC Body unequivocally rejects in principle any proposals that Ritvikism be in some manner or another accommodated or tolerated within ISKCON.
2. The GBC Body hereby makes known its strong determination to enforce ISKCON Law in the matter of Ritvikism and it enjoins upon all its members and other official bodies, officers, and other authorities in ISKCON such as Regional Governing Boards, Regional Secretaries, GBC Ministers, Sannyasis, Initiating Gurus, Temple presidents, and Temple Officers, the responsibility to take every appropriate action, according to ISKCON Law to enforce the prohibition against Ritvikism in ISKCON.
3. A. The GBC Body declares that to espouse or preach Ritvikism includes the following censurable offenses under the provisions of ISKCON Law : ( 220.127.116.11)
1. Conscious and serious philosophical deviation from Srila Prabhupada’s preachings and
2. Wilful violation of GBC Body resolutions.
B. Further, the GBC Body hereby rules that in relation to the espousal of Ritvikism these offenses are of a sufficiently serious nature as to warrant immediate imposition of the penalty of probation, including its attendant program for rectification.
C. Further, the GBC Body hereby empowers the Executive Committee for the year 1999-2000 to place any ISKCON member who espouses Ritvikism on probation, and in consultation with that member’s immediate local authority, or local GBC Member, to establish a specific program of rectification as provided in ISKCON Law 18.104.22.168 which can include:
1. Disciplinary or remedial transfer to another location;
2. Reformatory change of service,
3. Prohibited for visiting or living in a specified temple or community,
4. Specific spiritual remedial programs
5. A divestiture of certain actions for the period of probation,
6. Reasonable and just reformatory programs.
407. – Appeal of Decisions to GBC Executive Committee
[Rule of Order]
Whereas, although the regulations of the ISKCON GBC Society, in Section II, Paragraph 6, give broad powers to its Executive Committee as follows:
II. 6. In addition, the Executive Committee shall be generally responsible to implement the resolutions of the General Meeting and, when the General Meeting is not in session, to take decisions on any urgent matters pending before the Society. In order to accomplish these general responsibilities when the General Meeting is not in session it has the following powers:
a) To appoint other Officers, Committees, and/or sub-Committees and/or other persons from time to time and delegate to them such powers as it may deem fit and proper, and may also suspend or cancel such appointments.
b) To overrule any decision or action taken individually by any of the Members or by any of the Society’s other representatives.
c) To restrict the activities and responsibilities of a Member of the Society.
d) To execute other such powers as may be described in the Rules of Order of the Society.
There is at present no explicit GBC Rule of Order that describes in detail how it may execute these powers.
And whereas, there is an urgent need for a Rule of Order describing how a decision of a lower ISKCON authority may be appealed to the GBC Executive Committee (the absence of such a rule has been seen on at least one occasion to be the source of confusion).
Resolved, that any ISKCON member may appeal to the GBC Executive Committee against a decision taken by an ISKCON authority pursuant to any specific powers that have been delegated to that authority by the GBC Body. This rule applies to decisions made by Zonal Secretaries, Ministries, Regional Governing Bodies, etc., except where provided for otherwise, e.g. CPO decisions. For decisions of Temple Presidents or other local officials, other rules apply.
The following are the pertinent procedures:
The ISKCON Member wishing to submit such an appeal (the appellant) shall first communicate the same in writing to the Corresponding Secretary of the Executive Committee. The appeal shall spell out in as complete detail as possible the specific decision(s) of the ISKCON authority that are being appealed, the reasons why it (they) should be overruled, and the specific relief requested.
The Corresponding Secretary shall, after verifying the admissibility of the appeal, forward the same to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall conduct a preliminary investigation and decide whether to adjudicate the appeal or not. If it is a multipart appeal, then it may decide to adjudicate only some parts.
If the Executive Committee decides to adjudicate, then it shall forward both the original appeal as well as the results of the preliminary investigation to the ISKCON authority in question, and then arrange for a hearing of both sides of the matter. The hearing may involve a face-to-face meeting with everyone present, or it may involve only review of submitted briefs and counter-briefs. The final decision of the Executive Committee must be given in writing and communicated to both parties, and must clearly delineate the reasons for the decision.
As per ISKCON law, all such decisions of the Executive Committee in this regard may be appealed to the GBC Body, and the decision of the GBC Body is final.
408. Mandate for the Indian RGB to Nominate Zonal Secretaries
Whereas, under resolution 2002/602(B) the GBC Body established the India RGB and assigned it various powers, including, on a trial basis, the powers to recommend to the GBC Body the appointment of Zonal Secretaries for India and to oversee their functioning:
2002/602(B) That the GBC Body hereby institutes the following on a two-year trial basis. It will be reviewed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in 2004:
The Regional Governing Body (RGB) for India, when duly constituted as per the new ISKCON Law [see 404 above] , shall be authorized to nominate Zonal Secretaries for India and to assign them zones. Such zonal assignments will be confirmed annually at the AGM of the GBC, beginning in 2003. The RGB shall nominate only devotees who are qualified as per the standards for membership of the GBC Body. Nominations for 2002 will be submitted to the GBC Body for approval by correspondence vote.
Zonal Secretaries appointed under this system shall have all the authority and responsibility as currently held by existing GBC Zonal Secretaries, and will be accountable to both the GBC Body (through the GBC Secretariat) and to the Indian RGB.
A Zonal Secretary appointed under this system may be disciplined as follows:
Probation with terms of rectification may be decided by the RGB.
Suspension from office may be proposed by the RGB by a 2/3 majority vote with the approval of the GBC Executive Committee.
Removal from office by the GBC Body according to existing ISKCON Law.
Other regions in the world may submit separate proposals to introduce this system in their zones if they consider it appropriate.
And whereas the GBC Body is satisfied with the functioning of the India RGB and wishes to invest these powers permanently in the Body;
Therefore, it is hereby resolved that the powers invested in the India RGB under Resolution 2002/602(B) be made permanent.
409. Child Protection Rules Modifications
[Action Order / Law]
Whereas, the GBC Body endorsed a task force report in 1998, with modifications approved in 1999, that established an ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection, gave direction for its functioning, and established as ISKCON law a body of rules setting out procedures for the investigation and adjudication of complaints of child abuse in ISKCON.
And whereas, GBC Resolution 301 of 2003 mandated that a fresh task force conduct a complete review of both the original task force report as well as the operation of the Central Office of Child Protection.
And whereas, this review was successfully completed and the report of the fresh task force was submitted to the GBC Body in January 2005. This report recommends some changes and enhancements to the originally adopted rules and also provides guidelines for the continued functioning of the Central Office, and the GBC Body wishes to give its full endorsement to this report.
Therefore it is resolved that the document “Child Protection Office Review — Task Force Report, January 2005” is fully endorsed by the GBC Body.
410. Child Protection Zero Tolerance Policy
Whereas, the GBC Body wishes to give guidance to the judges functioning under the ICOCP rules as to what is the maximum sentence that may be applied in a particular case, and what would be the circumstances under which such a maximum sentence may be applied.
Therefore it is resolved that the following section shall be inserted in the Child Protection laws in Section 4c, after item 1:
1a. “Zero Tolerance.” Some incidents of child abuse are of such severity that the judges’ decision would be to invoke a “zero tolerance” sentence. In other words, the abuser would not be allowed to visit any ISKCON property, attend ISKCON functions, or have any contact with ISKCON properties or functions of organizations affiliated with ISKCON for the remainder of the abuser’s lifetime.
Cases that would be eligible for a zero tolerance sentence include serious sexual or physical abuse where the evidence is clear and persuasive. Considerations in determining “serious sexual abuse” would include evidence of some of the following elements: The sexual abuse includes instances where violence, force, or the threat of violence is used; the sexual act itself is of a very invasive nature, the acts are repeated, and where there is great physical or psychological distress experienced by the victim.
Serious physical abuse would include some of the following elements: The act is of a very violent nature, there is long term physical harm to the victim, the acts are repeated, and there is great physical or psychological distress to the victim.
411. Appointment of Deputies for Next Three Years
Whereas the existing three-year term of the GBC Deputies is expiring and the GBC Body is interested in extending their mandate for an additional three years.
Therefore it is resolved that the following are appointed as GBC Deputies until 2008:
Devaki Nandana Das (Botswana)
Madan Mohana Das
Braja Bihari Das
Krsnadasa Kaviraja Das
Dina Sarana Dasi
Acyuta Priya Das
Veda Vyasa Priya Swami
Acintya Rupa Dasi
Sikhi Mahiti Das
Devaki Nandana Das (Mumbai)
412. Deputies Appointment Procedures
[Rule or Order]
Whereas, the GBC Body has, since 1996, passed various Laws and Rules of Order concerning the membership and functioning of the GBC Deputies;
Whereas, a comprehensive new Rule of Order concerning Deputy appointment procedures is required to reflect current realities.
Therefore it is resolved that all previous Laws and Rules of Order on the subject of ISKCON Deputies functioning are hereby superseded by the following Rule of Order. Also, ISKCON Law 2001/406 establishing ISKCON Administrative Regions is hereby repealed.
That there shall be GBC Deputies appointed from the ISKCON Managers [Temple Presidents, Regional Secretaries, etc.] and other ISKCON devotees in good standing to assist the GBC body in its global management of ISKCON in addition to their normal duties.
QUALIFICATIONS OF GBC DEPUTIES
GBC Deputies must meet all the minimum qualifications as specified for a GBC Member, and must be able to participate productively in discussions on proposed GBC legislation.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF GBC DEPUTIES
A) All Deputies should attend the annual GBC Meetings in Sridham Mayapur and assist the GBC Body in its deliberations. This shall include (1) meeting as a separate body to consider various proposals or topics referred to it by the GBC Executive Committee, as well as proposals from amongst its own members, and to prepare draft legislation for consideration and voting by the GBC Body; and (2) participating in various subcommittees and/or attending to other duties as assigned by the Executive Committee.
B) All Deputies should, where possible, make themselves available to assist the GBC Executive Committee and Secretariat during the year in communicating with any ISKCON managers that an individual Deputy may be in contact with.
APPOINTMENT OF GBC DEPUTIES
A. GBC Deputies shall be appointed for three-year terms by vote of the GBC Body.
B. The GBC Executive Committee may add additional Deputies at any time to serve until the completion of the Deputies Body current three-year term. Generally, however, no one shall be so added without first serving for one or two years as a Deputy Guest, as described below, and demonstrating the capacity to perform the Deputy functions.
C. There shall be a maximum of 32 Deputies serving at any one time. Ideal size is approximately 25.
REMOVAL OF GBC DEPUTIES
A. A GBC Deputy who does not attend two consecutive GBC Annual General Meetings shall be deemed removed from the Body, unless the Executive Committee grants a special exemption.
B. A GBC Deputy may be removed at any time by the GBC Executive Committee for failing to maintain the minimum qualifications for GBC membership, for failing to perform assigned duties responsibly, or for being deemed unable to participate productively in discussions on proposed GBC legislation.
C. A GBC Deputy may be removed by resolution of the GBC body.
D. A GBC Deputy may resign in writing to the GBC Executive Committee.
A. The GBC Executive Committee may invite ISKCON devotees in good standing to join with the Deputies during the Annual General Meeting of the GBC Body in Mayapur as a Deputy Guest. Such guests shall participate fully in the execution of Deputy duties and may vote during Deputy voting sessions when considering draft GBC legislation. However, they shall not participate in any organizational meetings of the Deputies, such as when Deputy Membership is discussed or during the election of Deputy Officers. At the end of the Annual General Meeting, the Deputies shall meet to evaluate the participation of the guests, and vote whether to invite them for another year as a guest or whether to recommend them to the Executive Committee for being added as a Deputy.
B. There shall be a maximum of four Deputy Guests per year. In selection of guests, priority will be given to devotees serving in geographic areas from which Deputy Membership is non-existent or minimal.
413. Murtis of Gurus Inside the Temple Room (voted by correspondence).
Whereas ISKCON Law 22.214.171.124. Murtis of Gurus Inside the Temple Room states,
There shall be no establishment of murtis in any ISKCON temple room of ISKCON gurus subsequent to Srila Prabhupada in succession. (97-617)
And whereas, devotees in Orissa have, some time ago, established murtis of HH Gour Govinda Swami in the temple rooms in Bhubaneswar and Gadei Giri.
And whereas, although circumstances in Bhubaneswar and Gadei Giri are sufficient to warrant an exception being granted, the GBC wants to reaffirm its existing law and emphasize that it has no intention of granting further exceptions.
It is resolved that:
1. The GBC Body reaffirms its Law 126.96.36.199. Murtis of Gurus Inside the Temple
2. The GBC Body hereby grants an exception to this law for the ISKCON temples in Bhubaneswar and Gadei Giri, Orissa, to the extent of murtis already installed in the temple rooms there. It does not intend to issue any further exceptions.
414. Annual Renewal of GBC-level Appointments
[Rule of Order]
Whereas the GBC Body has set up many committees, ministries, task forces, etc. over the years, and appointed many individuals to serve on these bodies; however, it has seldom made any provision for winding these bodies up when their work is complete or when the tasks for which they were constituted are no longer required; also, in standing committees, which are perpetual in nature, as well as in committees appointed to perform specific tasks that continue for more than one year, often the membership lists become outdated due to changing circumstances of the individuals involved. Implementing a process of annual reaffirmation or updating of the membership of all such committees would serve to eliminate possible confusion.
And, whereas zonal assignments have traditionally been annual appointments with reaffirmation at each AGM, and this has proven to be a useful procedure thus, it makes sense to extend the practice to other GBC-level assignments.
Therefore, it is resolved that effective 2006 AGM, all membership and committee assignments in ministries, committees, task forces, etc., shall be deemed as one-year assignments, valid until the end of the next Annual General Meeting, unless the GBC Body specifically states that a particular assignment shall have a different duration. Ministries, committees, task forces, etc., whose mandates are not renewed at an AGM shall be deemed as closed and disbanded. In the event that a particular membership assignment or committee mandate is not renewed at an AGM due to a genuine oversight on the part of the Body, the GBC Executive Committee shall have the power to renew the assignment or mandate for an additional year.
415. Scope of VEB’s Powers
Whereas, in 2002 the GBC Body created a somewhat detailed managerial structure for ISKCON Vrndavana with the VEB (Vrndavana Executive Board) as the top leadership;
And whereas, naturally in the course of time adjustments may need to be made to existing managerial structures, but this 2002 resolution can be interpreted to mean that the detailed managerial structure for ISKCON Vrndavana is fixed and cannot be changed without reference to the GBC Body.
And whereas, the GBC Body wants to clarify that it was not their intention to prevent adjustments in the lower levels of the structure if it so sees fit.
Therefore it is resolved that the VEB is authorized to adjust the Vrndavana management structure as it deems necessary and to report the progress of the Vrndavana Project in 2006.
416. Power of Attorney for Health
Whereas ISKCON members are dying at an increasingly rapid rate and an individuals wishes regarding health matters may not be known to their family members or closest friends, it is advisable that all ISKCON sannyasis, gurus, GBC members, and temple presidents assign someone with Power of Attorney for Health stating their personal wishes how to care for them if they are not able to care for themselves, i.e., if they are unconscious, senile, etc. It is also advisable to have a DNC (Do Not Resuscitate) order in place.
Resolved, that the GBC recommends all devotees in ISKCON have a personal Power of Attorney for Health and a “do not rescuscitate” order properly executed and submitted to a trusted family member or friend.
417. Endorsement of the Grihastha Ashram and Community Development
The Governing Body Commission expresses its support and encouragement to devotees serving in the grihastha ashram.
We affirm that the grihastha ashram is a valuable institution that brings great benefit. Those who sincerely serve Lord Sri Krishna and Srila Prabhupada in this ashram will make tangible spiritual advancement.
We also affirm the importance in ISKCON of nurturing strong marriages, encouraging harmony in families, improving the welfare of children, ensuring the protection and care of women, discouraging divorce, and enlivening grihastha men and women in Krishna’s service.
We hereby pledge ourselves, and will encourage our regional and other senior leaders, to:
Promote an environment conducive to successful Krishna conscious family life in ISKCON temples and communities
Encourage on-going support for Vaisnava families in ISKCON communities through Krishna conscious grihastha activities, community preaching programs, and other initiatives
Educate congregations, and particularly youth, about the spiritual and social value of Krishna conscious marriage based on Srila Prabhupada’s teachings
Confront and correct any preaching or teaching that undermines the health and strength of the grihastha ashram, or discriminates against spiritually based grihastha life
Engage in thoughtful and meaningful discourse about the responsibilities, privileges, and goals of grihastha life with devotees who are considering marriage
Ensure that marriages facilitated under our care prioritize the needs of the individuals involved, and the health and longevity of the marriage
Encourage professionally developed pre-marital counseling for all potential grihastha couples
Match newly married devotees, whenever possible, with mature, spiritually strong couples who can act as mentors and supporters
Be trained personally, as appropriate, in marital counseling, communication and conflict resolution skills
418. Review of the Case of Kesava Swami
Whereas, in 2003 the GBC Body passed Resolution 509 as follows:
That Kesava Swami is not a sannyasi in good standing in ISKCON. Therefore he may not:
Give any classes in an ISKCON temple
Counsel or advise devotees as a representative of ISKCON
Collect funds for any ISKCON project
Lead kirtanas in an ISKCON temple
Perform arati in an ISKCON temple
His case will be reviewed at the 2004 GBC AGM in Mayapura.
And whereas the GBC Body has reviewed the case of Kesava Swami and has found that he has made no effort to approach the GBC Body for rectifying the concerns of the GBC members that led to the passing of the above resolution;
Therefore, the above resolution shall be continued for another year and be reviewed in 2006. If Kesava Swami desires reinstatement in good standing he may approach the GBC Executive Committee.
419. Appointment of Chief Coordinating Officer for ISKCON
Whereas, in 2001 the GBC passed the following legislation:
611. GBC Liaison Officer
Whereas, the GBC Body requires leading devotees focused on promoting goodwill and establishing trust;
Whereas, the GBC Executive Committee, at its meeting in Houston in September 2001, expressed a desire to establish such an office;
[LAW] Resolved, That the GBC Body shall appoint a full time Liaison Officer with the following job description:
1. To raise awareness and understanding of GBC policies in ISKCON.
2. To promote appreciation for the GBC Body’s service to ISKCON.
3. To identify, establish and cultivate donors to the GBC Body’s work.
It is further resolved that:
[ACTION ORDER] The GBC Body hereby issues a call for resumes of applicants for the position of Liaison Officer. Applicants must possess good interpersonal skills, a positive, cooperative attitude and dedication to Srila Prabhupada. Applicants should be experienced with business and management and will, ideally, be retired and/or financially independent.
Resumes should be sent to the GBC Executive Committee by electronic mail at [email protected], who are authorized to negotiate with applicants on behalf of the GBC Body.
Whereas, although this position was not filled, the need for cultivation of donors for the work of the GBC, including the various ministries, remains.
And whereas, in addition to the need for cultivation of donors, there is also a pressing need for a senior devotee to coordinate and develop the activities of the Secretariat and the various ministries (these two functions could be effectively combined and performed by a single qualified individual).
Therefore, it is resolved that there shall be an International Chief Coordinating Officer (CCO) for ISKCON, functioning directly under the GBC Executive Committee, with a mandate to:
Coordinate and oversee the functioning of the GBC Secretariat, ISKCON Ministries, and ISKCON Standing Committees.
Raise awareness and understanding of GBC policies and service in ISKCON.
Identify, establish and cultivate donors to the GBC Body’s work.
ISKCON CCO’s shall serve for three-year terms, which may be renewed.
420. Appointment of Chief Coordinating Officer
Whereas, Praghosh Prabhu, during his now-completed three years on the GBC Executive Committee, has shown a strong aptitude and commitment to administrative leadership in ISKCON and would be an excellent choice to head up ISKCON’s international administrative wing.
Therefore it is resolved that Praghosa Dasa is appointed as CCO for the 2005-08 period. During the first year he shall make an in-depth study of ISKCON’s international administrative functioning and the potential for raising funds for the GBC Body’s work, and he is invited to suggest modifications to this resolution at the 2006 AGM.
421. Vote of Thanks
The GBC offers its sincere gratitude to Mr. Sandy Frey, ISKCON’s bankruptcy attorney. It is through Mr. Frey’s hard work and dedication in the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings that the spotless reputation of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada was upheld, a fair and just benefit for our young devotees was achieved, and innocent devotees and temples were protected.
422. Academic Preaching
Whereas, the Governing Body Commission recognizes and applauds the successful efforts of ISKCON members to spread the teachings of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, as enunciated by Srila Prabhupada, within the secular academic community, and
Whereas, academic preaching is of a specialized nature requiring its own language and methodology which may be misunderstood by the non-academic members of ISKCON, and,
Whereas, ISKCON members entering the academic community have sometimes been adversely affected by mundane academic views of the Vedas and Srila Prabhupada and have propagated such views in the academic and devotional communities, and
Whereas, the VAST (Vaisnava Advanced Studies) Conference is comprised of members of ISKCON who discuss topics and issues relevant for their academic pursuits, and
Whereas, there is a pressing need to establish clear and open communication between the non-academic and the academic members of ISKCON,
It is resolved that the GBC body will establish a standing committee to regularly dialogue with members of the VAST conference and similar groups or conferences.
This committee will also meet with members of VAST at least once a year and make an annual report to the GBC body at its AGM.
423. Srila Prabhupada Through the Ages
It is resolved that the Ministry of Educational Development (MED) consider and then implement ways and means for supporting the spiritual well-being of ISKCON members engaged, either as students or teachers, in tertiary education.
The MED’s annual ministry report to the GBC shall include a section reporting on these support efforts and their results.
424. Minimum Standards for Holding a Position in ISKCON
PROPOSED BY SUB-COMMITTEE
Whereas, there may already be clear standards mandated for the holding of obvious positions of managerial or spiritual responsibility within ISKCON, i.e. GBC, Temple President, etc.
However, there has been no clear generic standard established to define the minimum requirements for holding a position of responsibility with ISKCON.
That, for holding a position within ISKCON or associated projects that involves:
Authority over or responsibility for other people’s spiritual lives.
Authority over or responsibility for issues, or policy, of a spiritual nature, i.e. philosophical, ecclesiastical, doctrinal, liturgical, etc.
Any legal authority over ISKCON property assets or other major assets (financial, intellectual, etc).
The minimum standards required are as follows:
Must chant 16 rounds daily.
Must follow the 4 regulative principles.
Must be dedicated to the service of Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON.
Must be loyal to the GBC Body.
Standards for the holding of positions of managerial or spiritual responsibility within ISKCON, i.e. GBC, Temple President, etc. are stated elsewhere in ISKCON Law.
425. Female Diksa Guru
The GBC accepts the basic philosophical conclusion presented in the SAC’s Female Diksa Guru Paper, i.e. that a mature, qualified, female devotee may accept the role of an initiating spiritual master. The implementation thereof is pending further GBC consideration.
426. Unity in Diversity
A Policy Statement of the Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness—Sridhama Mayapura, March 2005
Material nature means dissension and disagreement, especially in this Kali yuga. In the material world there are varieties, but there is no agreement. In the spiritual world there are varieties, but there is agreement. That is the difference. If we keep Krsna in the center, then there will be agreement in varieties. This is called unity in diversity. But, if we fight on account of diversity, then it is simply the material platform. Please try to maintain the philosophy of unity in diversity.
I am therefore suggesting that all our men meet in Mayapura every year. With all GBC and senior men present discuss how to make unity in diversity. That will make our movement successful. If we are bunched up, we can never be broken, but when divided, then we can become broken very easily.— Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 18, 1973.
Diversity is Welcome. It Strengthens ISKCON .
Srila Prabhupada was proud of his international society and welcomed devotees from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, gender and economic backgrounds. It was said that Prabhupada “built a home in which the whole world could live,” and thus he taught us the importance of developing “unity in diversity”1.
Our diversity is evidence of the vitality of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement and its ability to attract people from all nations and walks of life. Our diversity will continue to expand and be manifest in varieties of realizations, services, applications of philosophy and cultural environments within our society. Such diversity is not only welcome, it is to be celebrated.
Thus, rather than reject diversity, Srila Prabhupada taught us to embrace it. He taught us that the “whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” He taught that variety is the “mother of all enjoyment”2,3. And, he showed us that by utilizing each other’s strengths we can accomplish otherwise impossible tasks. Like the blind man and the lame man walking together, ISKCON will reach its greatest potential when it assimilates and fully supports the contributions of all of its members.
Unity through Srila Prabhupada
Unity in ISKCON is based on our fidelity to Srila Prabhupada, our founder-acarya. Unity brings strength, inspiration and synergy. Srila Prabhupada wanted us to cooperate, and when we keep his instructions in the center of our lives and our services we remain unified, despite temporary obstacles or differences that may arise. This unity is a practical manifestation of Lord Caitanya’s philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva4,5,6. Although individuals, we are one in our aim of pleasing Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna. Our dedication to spread Lord Caitanya’s movement, to relieve the suffering of the conditioned souls, and go back home, back to Godhead are our sacred, shared goals.
Unity must not be forced or be based on intolerance. It is built upon a genuine service attitude towards each other. Respect, humility and appreciation toward other Vaisnavas help us to overcome the materialistic mentality of enmity and quarrel. As we develop this loving mood, Krishna empowers us to see into the hearts of the devotees and to understand how to best support their strengths and engage cooperatively in His service.
Our unity is further strengthened by:
Understanding that ISKCON is a “family of devotees”
Cultivating respect for all ashrams and services
Building channels of open and honest communication at all levels of our society
Avoiding Vaisnava aparadha—and understanding that differences are natural and can lead to growth
Utilizing ISKCON Resolve and other mediation initiatives to solve problems
Guidance of Guru, Sastra and Sadhu
Acceptance of diversity does not mean anarchy, nor lack of spiritual standards. The parameters which guide ISKCON are clear. We are governed by guru, sastra, and sadhu. We accept the authority of Srila Prabhupada, the sastra, the previous acaryas, our current spiritual leaders and the Governing Body Commission (GBC).
We also must strive to exemplify the highest standards of Vaisnava behavior by being “perfect ladies and gentlemen.” We adhere to the four “pillars of spiritual life:” honesty, cleanliness, austerity and mercy. For initiated devotees this includes the principles of no meat-eating, no gambling, no intoxication and no illicit sex. Thus, while there will be diversity in applying our realizations, the basic tenets of Krishna consciousness must always remain in place.
It is recommended that serious time and thought be allotted in ISKCON communities, and during the annual international GBC meetings in Mayapura, to carefully consider Srila Prabhupada’s statements regarding Unity in Diversity.” Practical application of this principle involves and enlivens devotees, and will empower us to fulfill the desire of His Divine Grace Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, our founder-acarya and eternal guide7.
1 “Expert management means to engage all of the devotees and not allow them to split into different parties.” — Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 29, 1975.
2 “Self-realization leads to the understanding that everything is situated in the Supreme Lord. At that time there is no more illusion or lamentation, and everything is wonderfully harmonized. One sees the whole material universe as a manifestation of unity in diversity. On this platform everything is full of happiness, knowledge, and eternity. This is the platform of Brahman realization.” — RTW 5.1
3 So Mayavadi philosophers, they take one side only; that it is one. They do not understand what is the difference, what is the different taste, varieties. They cannot understand the varieties, unity in diversity. They cannot understand. Just like sugar and milk—you prepare so many sweetmeats: “This is rasagulla, this is sandesa, this is burfi, this is this, this is that.” Hundreds of preparation you can… But what is that? That sugar and milk. So similarly, variety is the mother of enjoyment. — Srila Prabhupada Lecture, March 7, 1974.
4 Mr. O’Grady: I don’t think you can explain situations in one area with metaphors from another. How can you argue political problems in terms of vague spiritual concepts? Their nature is completely different.
Srila Prabhupada: Sometimes a variety of examples helps us to understand or appreciate the problem better. In the vase there is a variety of flowers, and that variety helps us better appreciate the idea of flowers. From any point of view, Krsna can resolve all problems. Why just the problems of Irishmen or Englishmen? All problems. That is called unity in diversity. Our students come from different backgrounds, but because they are all in Krsna consciousness, they are unified. — Science of Self Realization 7
5 This is the philosophy of simultaneous oneness and difference, which is called acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. The example given in the Brahma-samhita is that milk and yogurt are simultaneously one and different; both are milk, but the yogurt has become changed. In order to achieve real peace, one should see everything and every living entity, including Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, as nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one is independent. Every one of us is an expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This accounts for unity in diversity. There are diverse manifestations, but, at the same time, they are one in Visnu. Everything is an expansion of Visnu’s energy. — Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 4.7.54.
6 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirms the conclusion of Srimad-Bhagavatam on the strength of His philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. That philosophy holds that the Supreme Lord is simultaneously one with and different from His creation. That is to say, there is unity in diversity. — Purport to Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya 9.360.
7 Prabhupada: Yes. Just like by electric energy you have got heater, at the same time, cooler also. The energy is one, but in one place it is utilized for heating; in another place it is utilized as cooling. Similarly, take the energy of sunlight. The sunlight is one, but by the sunlight some flowers are becoming red, some flowers are becoming blue, the leaves are becoming green. So everything is due to the same energy, sunlight, but the variety is there. Variety is there. So energy may be one. Just like in your country, by electric energy you are working in so many ways. So do not, I mean to say, make minus all these varieties, the energy in diverse varieties. Therefore the whole conception is, Brahman conception is, that unity in diversity. Everything is working by the energy of the Supreme Brahman, and in the energy we have got different diversities. So we cannot neglect the diversities, although the energy is one. — Srila Prabhupada Lecture, April 30, 1969.
427. GBC Financial Oversight Committee
Whereas there is no systematic, comprehensive method for monitoring and reporting on how the funds currently allocated from the BBT, given to ISKCON, are spent,
Whereas whatever records were kept are considered to be incomplete,
Whereas the GBC should have their own, independent agent, who monitors these funds,
Whereas the GBC should have its own independent agent to also monitor the funds spent by the SMPDC,
It is therefore resolved that:
1) An “Oversight committee” for funds allocated from the BBT, given to ISKCON, consisting of the following members to be established:
Pragosh Dasa, Shyamsundar Dasa (Temple President, Houston), Krsnanaam Dasa
Krsnanaam Dasa will be responsible for the day-to-day coordination and reporting.
2) This committee will report to the BBT-GBC Relations committee (which in turn reports to the GBC Executive committee)
3) One person will be appointed on a full-time basis to be located at Mayapur and monitor the usage of funds. He would report to Krsnanaam Dasa.
4) Krsnanaam Dasa will be responsible for the following
Collecting data from BBT(I) about the collections from each division
Collecting information from the SMPDC and GBC EC about donors of the large donations to the Mayapur Project.
Releasing funds based upon requests from SMPDC as confirmed by Oversight Committee’s Mayapur representative
Monitor the working of the Mayapur Representative
Preparing and issuing quarterly periodical reports to the BBT-GBC Relations committee members and to those persons designated by the GBC-EC and SMPDC.
428. New Deity Worship Minister
Whereas, the current Minister for Deity Worship, Krsna Ksetra Dasa, is heavily committed to the development of the Oxford Project and the Bhaktivedänta College in Radhadesh and feels he is unable to adequately participate in the activities of the Deity Worship Ministry;
It is resolved:
That Krsna Ksetra Dasa’s resignation as Minister for Deity Worship is accepted and Nrsimha Kavaca Dasa is requested to accept the service of Deity Worship Minister for a one year trial period till 2006 AGM.
429. Insufficient Justification for Mandatory Guru Exams
WHEREAS: At its 2004 annual meeting the GBC Body passed resolution 403 calling for mandatory exams for devotees seeking permission to become initiating gurus in ISKCON. The resolution reads as follows:
WHEREAS, 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 available. 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,
RESOLVED that 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.
And WHEREAS, another 2004 GBC resolution (404) requests that the GBC adequately justify its resolutions in terms of guru, sastra, and sadhu, and this above-stated resolution 403 requiring mandatory written exams was not adequately justified in terms of guru, sastra and sadhu, since:
1) The resolution took one letter by Srila Prabhupada on this topic from 1968 that spoke about such exams as the final word, although Prabhupada never repeated this requirement in his final instructions on who would be guru.
2) The resolution ignores statements by Srila Prabhupada that similar exams for second initiation are optional.
3) The resolution ignores statements by Srila Prabhupada that academic qualifications (including taking exams) are unnecessary to be a guru.
4) The resolution ignores examples of illiterate devotees becoming a guru (like Gaura Kisor dasa Babaji).
Therefore it is
RESOLVED that spiritual degrees — Bhakti Sastri, Bhakti Vaibhava, and Bhaktivedanta (when available) — shall be a strongly recommended qualification for being granted “no objection” status to serve as a guru in ISKCON.
[For a further explanation of the reasons for this resolution,
click here to read the SAC paper on the subject.]
430. No Authorization for Siksa Gurus
WHEREAS the GBC has passed a set of laws seeking to govern the acceptance of siksa-gurus by subjecting it to various conditions, restrictions, and formal procedures, as shown in ISKCON law 6.4.1:
A devotee may serve as diksa or siksa-guru in ISKCON after completing the following authorization procedure:
WHEREAS such a legalistic approach to this matter is without a known precedent in the Gaudiya sampradaya,
WHEREAS such an approach seeks to impose institutional formalities on a relationship of personal faith, that, by its nature, strongly resists such institutionalization,
WHEREAS the supposed benefits of this approach are doubtful,
WHEREAS the laws and procedures specified are unenforceable,
WHEREAS since the day these laws were enacted, the members of ISKCON have virtually ignored them,
Therefore it is resolved that the above-mentioned law be modified to state:
A devotee may serve as diksa guru in ISKCON after completing the following authorization procedure:
431. Annual General Meeting 2006
Resolved that the date of the Annual General Meeting for 2006 will be decided by correspondence before the 1st of June 2005.