GBC Resolutions 2006 Fiasco


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 11, Spring 2006

Every year our supposedly very wise and learned GBC (Governing Body Commissioners) gather at Mayapur in India to pass resolutions which are meant to guide ISKCON towards greater fidelity to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. And every year they pass resolutions which are a mix of tragedy, comedy and outright deviation, and this year was no exception. The following are some of this year’s highlights (please note we have also included unpublished resolutions which would not be available to the regular rank and file devotees – sent to us courtesy of a sympathetic GBC member).

1. “We don’t have enough gurus”

Though the number of ISKCON gurus has steadily been increasing over the years, so that at the current rate of expansion we will soon have over 100, the GBC still feel this is nowhere near enough:

401. Srila Prabhupada’s Disciples Encouraged to take up Spiritual Master Role
[Action Order]

[…] Whereas the already small number of ISKCON spiritual masters are steadily decreasing each year due to disease and unforeseen accidents […] Whereas within ten years time, we could conceivably lose up to half of our remaining Srila Prabhupada disciples who are actively preaching, […] It is resolved that:
the GBC wishes to encourage all of Srila Prabhupada’s initiated disciples in good standing to seriously consider taking up the role of spiritual master. Each GBC member should look for and identify disciples of Srila Prabhupada in good standing and urge them to take up the role of spiritual master, even if only in their local areas.
A disciple of Srila Prabhupada in good standing who is willing to become a spiritual master shall go through the standard authorization procedure, and all local ten-person committees should be aware the GBC has already encouraged him to embrace this service.

a) Here the GBC states that the number of gurus is decreasing due to “disease and unforeseen accidents.” Yet the largest cause of the decrease has not been "disease” or “accidents", but downright deviation, with gurus escaping (on their broomsticks or otherwise), with young females and ISKCON money.

b) The GBC states that within 10 years we could lose half of the current gurus, due presumably to the effects of old age. But how would adding to their number with devotees of the same age group help this? Most of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples now are approaching their 60s.

c) Considering that this belated call to push all their Godbrothers to be guru has come almost 30 years after the fact, and especially when many of these persons are themselves getting ready to leave their bodies soon, this move can only be seen as a cynical attempt to try and “buy off” devotees before they join the growing band of support for the IRM.

2. Convicted paedophile safe compared to a ritvik

407. Child Abuse Cases Mandatory Restrictions after going through the Criminal System

Therefore it is resolved that:
1. Devotees who have been convicted, or found guilty, in legitimate criminal or civil court proceedings, or who have been determined by a government agency to have perpetrated sexual or physical child abuse, will be restricted in their relationship with ISKCON temples and projects in the following manner:

a. They may not reside in temples or stay overnight.
b. They may not assume a position of leadership, or publicly represent ISKCON in any way.
c. They may not give class or lead kirtan in any ISKCON-sponsored activity or event.
d. They may not engage in service involving children.
e. They may not be present at a temple if their victims are also present.

2. In certain cases where the individual has been pronounced guilty of severe criminal child abuse (such as defined in the “zero tolerance” section of the CPO Policies and Procedures), the offender may be restricted entirely from participating in ISKCON projects or visiting ISKCON temples. Invoking this restriction would require the normal full CPO adjudication process and would be a decision of the CPO judges assigned to the case. In any case, consistent with current policy, any temple may impose further restrictions on an individual. A temple is free to totally restrict an abuser from the temple if they so choose.
3. If there are extenuating circumstances that would warrant the relaxation of the restrictions in #1 above, that case would need to be appealed by the individual devotee or a local temple to the ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection (ICOCP), and the decision would be made by the CPO Appeals Review Board.

a) Here we see that those who are convicted paedophiles are still allowed to visit ISKCON temples. They only have to abide by certain restrictions whilst visiting. Even then such restrictions can be waived if there are “extenuating circumstances”.

b) Only in certain cases where the child abuse is “severe”, the offender may be restricted from visiting ISKCON temples. And even then it requires the “full CPO (Child Protection Office) adjudication process”.

c) Yet as we have documented in previous issues of BTP, anyone merely suspected of simply believing that Srila Prabhupada continues to be the diksa Guru for ISKCON (the IRM position) is ruthlessly driven out and banned from even setting foot inside the grounds of an ISKCON temple.

Thus the GBC have now put on record what they really think of paedophilia and their determination to stamp out child abuse. Those who commit abominable acts of child abuse are considered safer than those who simply think that Srila Prabhupada, the founder and Guru of ISKCON, on whom everything in ISKCON rests, is the Guru of ISKCON. Thus far from advocating “zero tolerance” towards child abuse, the GBC have instead decided “zero tolerance” should only be practised in respect of devotees who have thoughts in their head about the glory and supremacy of Srila Prabhupada.

The whole world is coming to know and will be made aware of such shocking hypocrisy and double standards. Whilst ISKCON are happy to wrap themselves with the flag of “Hindu human rights” whenever they experience any trouble with the authorities, we will ensure that these authorities will be made fully aware of ISKCON’s own practise of human rights:


3. “Guru not absolute for disciple”

422. Bhaktivedanta Institute Dispute
It is resolved that in the matter of the dispute within the Bhaktivedanta Institute between Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Maharaja and Rasaraja Prabhu, the GBC Body accepts the determinations of the arbitration panel that met during the 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*)
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 even 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 and correct the guru on behalf of the 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:

a) 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).

b) The disciple can complain to the GBC if the disciple does not agree with his guru. And the said guru can further be corrected on behalf of the disciple and still be regarded as being in “good standing” to go ahead and continue initiating countless others (as above)!

c) The guru of course can be suspended, kicked out and reinstated as a guru by the GBC (see previous GBC resolutions).

d) 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 actually irregular!

4. “We still need to figure out guru issue”

502. Committee Researching the Need for Reinitiation (*unpublished*)
Whereas the present ISKCON Law book 7.2.6 does not specify whether reinitiation is required if one’s guru has fallen.
Whereas many believe this vital question has not been definitively answered and is the cause of speculation.
Whereas the perceived lack of a definitive answer in this case may be interfering with the carrying on of the disciplic succession.
Be it resolved that: the GBC appoint a committee to research the existing GBC papers and other evidence to come to a conclusion, in line with guru, sadhu and sastra, concerning the necessity of a disciple of a fallen guru accepting reinitiation.
This committee will consist of the SAC, plus Jayapataka Maharaja, Bhakti Caru Swami, Dina Sarana Dasi, Bhakta Rupa Das, Laxmimoni Dasi, Krsnadas Kaviraj Das, Prasanta Dasi.

This is yet another committee which has been set up to “research” the truth about the guru system to be used in ISKCON. If the GBC still needs to research things, then pray what is it they have been following for the last 30 years? Was it correct? If yes, why are they researching now? If not, then surely the honest thing to do would be to stop whatever they are doing, and first figure out everything correctly – what is the position of the guru, what happens if he falls down and why is reinitiation valid etc. – and then institute the system they have determined is correct via their research. This is plain common sense and has no connection with whether you agree with the GBC or not. The GBC themselves are saying they do not know, that they are unsure, so surely they should be 100% sure of what they are doing before moving forward? As Bhakti Caru Swami, a GBC-elected guru himself said:

“After Harikesa fell down in 1998, in 1999 I proposed that it’s obvious that we are going in the wrong direction. Now, when you go wrong, when you know you’re going in the wrong direction, what do you do? You stop to find the right way. So for the time-being, let’s stop giving initiation and find out what is actually the problem and what is the solution to this problem, whether we can find a solution and until then, let us stop.”
(Bhakti Caru Swami, 20/7/03, Toronto)

So the GBC effectively admit in the above resolution that until now they have had no idea what one should do if one’s guru has fallen. Which begs the question as to how then would they know if the original initiation itself was bona fide? Which begs the question as to how then would they know if any of the initiations are actually bona fide? In sum, by the GBC’s own admission they don’t yet know what they are doing. And we couldn’t agree more.


It is the GBC are who are supposed to be leading ISKCON. Their resolutions are the sum total of their collected deliberations and wisdom. And as any neutral person can see, to paraphrase Shakespeare, there is definitely something rotten in the state of the current GBC-led ISKCON, if these resolutions are any guide.

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