Spring 2006

422. Bhaktivedanta Institute -

Dispute [Statement] Resolved that in the matter of the dispute within the BI between Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja (pictured right) and Rasaraja Prabhu, the GBC Body accepts the determinations of the arbitration panel that met during Annual General Meeting 2006.

The findings of the panel will be published in a letter from the GBC Executive Committee.

503. Bhaktivedanta Institute – Dispute (unpublished)

[Statement] The letter issued by the Executive Committee will contain the following points:

1. The Arbitration Panel has found that Rasaraja Prabhu is not philosophically deviating from Srila Prabhupada’s instructions concerning the BI.
2. The proposed amendment to the MoA for the BI in Bombay is consonant with the purposes of the BI and advantageous to the BI.
3. Therefore the GBC gives its ecclesiastical instruction to Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaja to facilitate a change to the MoA.
4. The Executive Committee will take responsibility for enforcing this decision as it sees fit.

This refers to a dispute between an ISKCON guru and a disciple – HH Bhakti Svarupa Damodara is the person from whom Rasaraja was initiated. Yet we see that a diksa guru is not able to direct his disciple as to what is correct in regards to how to preach. Rather the GBC must mediate between the guru and disciple. This of course raises the obvious question of what sort of guru-disciple relationships and therefore gurus are supposed to be present in ISKCON. Though the GBC insists that Srila Prabhupada wanted “regular” gurus just like himself, we see in practise the gurus which exist are very irregular:

  1. The disciple’s engagement is controlled by the Temple President of the temple in which he stays and not his guru (see previous GBC resolutions).
  2. The disciple can complain to the GBC if the disciple does not agree with his guru (as above). And the said guru can further be corrected, whilst all the time be regarded as being in “good standing” to go ahead and initiate countless others!
  3. The guru of course can be suspended, kicked out and reinstated as a guru by the GBC (see previous resolutions).
  4. And with “grand-disciples” now on the GBC, we now have the unique situation that a disciple could in theory vote on how to censure his own guru!

And yet we are told by the same GBC that has instituted this strange “guru” system that having the Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada - on whose teachings the whole movement runs, to whom we all offer worship to every morning, whose books we read, whose discipline of chanting 16 rounds we follow – as our Guru is supposed to be “irregular”!

Go figure!