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
SRI DHAM MAYAPUR, MARCH 1 -12, 2002
1. THAT His Holiness Giridhari Swami is elected as GBC Chairman.
2. THAT His Holiness Bhakti Caitanya Swami is elected as First GBC Vice-Chairman.
3. THAT His Grace Praghosa dasa is elected as Second GBC Vice-Chairman.
4. THAT His Holiness Gopal Krishna dasa Goswami is elected as GBC Secretary.
5. THAT His Holiness Bir Krishna dasa Goswami is appointed as Officer on Special Duty.
6. THAT the following devotees are accepted as Full GBC members:
His Holiness Bhaktimarga Swami
His Grace Prithu Prabhu
7. THAT the following devotees are appointed as Assistant GBC members:
His Holiness Bhanu Swami
His Holiness Bhakti Purusottama Swami
His Holiness Devamrita Swami
His Grace Praghosa dasa
His Grace Radha Krishna dasa
8. THAT His Grace Hridaya Caitanya dasa is appointed as Candidate for GBC.
Section 100: BASIC PREACHING
101/2002. Sannyasa Waiting List
[ACTION ORDER] Waiting period for the following candidates for sannyasa:
Gaura Narayana dasa this year
Gauranga Prema dasa this year
Pariksit dasa 1 year
Radha Ramana dasa 1 year
Ramacandra dasa 3 years
Sarvaisvarya dasa 3 years
Simhesvara dasa 2 years
Visvambhara dasa 2 years
Pundarik Vidyanidhi dasa 2 years
Svayambhu dasa 2 years
Bir Krishna dasa 1 year
102/2002. GBC Committees Assigned to Develop International ISKCON Strategic Goals for 2002-2003
Develop a Global Vision
Chairman: Pragosh dasa.
Members: AC Bhaktivaibhava Swami, Anuttama dasa, Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami, Giridhari Swami, Jayapataka Swami, Kavicandra Swami, Lokanath Swami, Prithu dasa, Ravindra Svarupa dasa, Virabahu dasa.
Educate, Train and Care for Devotees
Co-Chairmen: Anuttama dasa and Hanuman dasa.
Members: AC Bhaktivaibhava Swami, Bhakti Vijnana Goswami, Braja Bihari dasa, Jayapataka Swami, Kavicandra Swami, Niranjana Swami, Radhanatha Swami, Romapada Swami, Sesa dasa, Uttamasloka dasa, Bhakti Bhrnga Govinda Swami.
Better Organize ISKCON Leadership
Chairman: Sesa dasa
Members: Aniruddha dasa, Jayapataka Swami, Radha Krishna dasa, Atmarama dasa
Create an Effective Fundraising Program
Chairman: Savyasaci dasa
Members: Harivilasa dasa, Jayapataka Swami, Kalakantha dasa, Kalasamvara dasa, Kusha devi dasi, Devaki-nandana dasa
Create and Sustain an Effective Outreach Program
Chairman: Devamrita Swami
Members: Bhakti Caitanya Swami, Bhaktimarg Swami, Kusha devi dasi, Jayapataka Swami, Kavicandra Swami, Prahladananda Swami, Prithu dasa, Romapada Swami, Virabahu dasa.
Counter Threats to ISKCON
Chairman: Tirtharaja dasa
Members: Bir Krishna dasa Goswami, Jayapataka Swami, Prithu dasa.
Section 200: SPECIALIZED PREACHING
201/2002. Minister of Book Distribution
Whereas, Srila Prabhupada desired that book distribution be a priority activity for the spreading of Krishna consciousness around the world;
Whereas, Vijaya dasa Brahmacari (disciple of Hridayananda dasa Goswami) is a devotee of more than twenty years standing and has been distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books for all those years;
Whereas, Vijaya dasa Brahmacari is known and respected by many devotees around the world as one of ISKCON’s most dedicated book distributors;
Whereas, Vijaya dasa Brahmacari is very qualified and has the ability to travel and inspire devotees around the world;
Whereas, Vijaya dasa Brahmacari has been requested by many senior devotees to take up this service and is enthusiastic to do so;[ACTION ORDER] Resolved, That Vijaya dasa Brahmacari is appointed as Minister of Book Distribution.
Section 300: EDUCATIONAL AND SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT
301/2002. Updated Vision for the Vrindavan Gurukula
[ACTION ORDER] Resolved, That the GBC Body gives approval for the Vrindavan Gurukula to make the following adjustments:
1. To affiliate with the Indian Certificate Secondary Education (ICSE) Board and the UK Cambridge Testing. ICSE is an Indian non-Government and widely accepted board. ICSE will allow the Gurukula to continue with its present curriculum until 8th Standard, but will require the Gurukula to follow the ISCE Curriculum for 9th and 10th grades, with an increased emphasis spent on academics during those years.
2. To split the School into the following two categories:
a. Bhaktivedanta Gurukula: From 1st standard to 8th (basically Srila Prabhupada’s Gurukula program)
b. Bhaktivedanta International School: 9th and 10th Standard (up to 12th eventually) following the ICSE Curriculum. It will still maintain a spiritual program, but one adjusted to the needs and mentality of teenagers.
3. To give reasonable maintenance to the teachers at par with Indian salaries.
302/2002. Mediation and Ombuds Services in ISKCON
Whereas, The GBC Body seeks to demonstrate its interest in the concerns of ISKCON devotees, and seeks to encourage the timely voluntary resolution of disputes within ISKCON;
Whereas, international organizations almost universally provide a system for prompt resolution of internal disputes;
Whereas, ombudsmen provide an effective and confidential means of addressing individual concerns with an organization;
Whereas, voluntary mediation undertaken by two disputant parties with the help of a trained mediator is proven to resolve interpersonal disputes to the mutual satisfaction of the disputants;[GUIDELINE] Resolved, That the GBC Body announces their strong support for establishment of a voluntary dispute resolution system to facilitate the resolution of ISKCON members’ concerns.
To this end the GBC Body urges regions and local temples to establish regional based ombuds and mediation systems.
Members of the GBC Body pledge to support the development of these structures and to be responsive to the concerns of members brought to their attention through these processes.[ACTION ORDER] It is further resolved, That a subcommittee of Braja Bihari dasa, Madhava Pandit dasa and Arnold M Zack shall coordinate these efforts in ISKCON on behalf of the GBC Body.
303/2002. Initiating in the Presence of One’s Diksa-Guru
[ISKCON LAW] Resolved, That ISKCON Law 6.3.2. is amended to state:
“As taught by Srila Prabhupada, the etiquette of not initiating in the presence of one’s diksa-guru will be upheld in ISKCON. However, Srila Prabhupada and historical precedents also teach us that disciples may sometimes initiate in the physical presence of their diksa gurus. If a diksa guru desires for this to happen, he can direct his disciple to go through the normal GBC procedure for initiating.”
It is further resolved, That the GBC Body hereby endorses the paper “Initiating in the Presence of One’s Diksa-Guru” [see Appendix 1] as a replacement of the previous GBC paper called “Devotees Initiating Before Their Guru’s Physical Departure.”
Section 400: ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR PREACHING
401/2002. GBC Deputy Membership
[ACTION ORDER] Resolved, That the current GBC Deputy membership is confirmed for a further three years.
402/2002. Executive Committee Appointments
[RULE OF ORDER] Resolved, That appointments of the members of the GBC Executive Committee shall adopt the following sequence:
A new Executive Committee member shall be elected each year to serve as the Second Vice-Chairman.
The sitting Second Vice-Chairman shall become the First Vice-Chairman for the upcoming year.
The sitting First Vice-Chairman shall become Chairman for the upcoming year.
If a member resigns or is not reconfirmed then a new member shall be elected by the GBC Body to fill the vacant position.
Officers shall be confirmed by vote every year as already established in the GBC Rules of Order.
403/2002. Sripad Sridhar Maharaja and the Zonal Acarya System
Whereas, a committee composed of Bir Krishna dasa Goswami, Guru Prasad Swami and Kesava Bharati dasa met and discussed with Bhakti Gaurava Narasimha Swami the issue of Sripad B.R. Sridhar Maharaja’s relationship to the establishment of the zonal-acharya system in ISKCON;
Whereas, the GBC Body recognizes that there may be a mistaken perception in some circles that the GBC holds Sripad B.R. Sridhar Maharaja responsible for ISKCON’s acceptance of the zonal-acharya system;[STATEMENT] Resolved, That the impression that may exist in some circles that the GBC Body regards Sripad B.R. Sridhar Maharaja as responsible for ISKCON’s accepting the zonal-acharya system is erroneous. The GBC Body realizes that regardless of how the zonal-acarya system evolved, it alone is responsible for its acceptance and implementation. Any imputation that Sripad B.R. Sridhar Maharaja is responsible is wrong. In this regard the GBC Body would like to restate, as per resolution 76 of the 1987 Annual General Meeting, that “ISKCON devotees should strictly avoid hearing or speaking personal criticism of Sripad B.R. Sridhar Maharaja.”
404/2002. Regional and Continental Governing Bodies
Whereas, there is a need for the GBC Body to formally delegate certain of its managerial responsibilities for specific geographic areas to formally constituted regional governing bodies; and
Whereas, the existing GBC legislation in this area has been found to be inadequate and/or impractical as well as being in need of consolidation;[ISKCON LAW] Resolved, That the following ISKCON Laws and GBC Resolutions:
1. ISKCON Law Book Section 3.4 (entire)
2. GBC Resolution 405 from 1996
3. GBC Resolutions 610 and 611 from 1999
are hereby repealed and superseded with the following ISKCON Law:
3.4 Geographic Area Committees
3.4.1 ISKCON Regional Governing Bodies
An “ISKCON Regional Governing Body” (“RGB”) is a formally constituted body that performs certain managerial functions on behalf of the GBC Body for conduct of the affairs of the ISKCON society within a clearly designated contiguous geographical area, called a “Region,” consisting of either a single country or a group of contiguous countries.
220.127.116.11 Functions Delegated by the GBC Body to RGB’s
If the GBC Body delegates a particular function to a Regional Governing Body, then any decision of the RGB within the scope of that function is binding within the Region as if the decision had been made by the full GBC Body, but it may be overruled by majority vote of the GBC Body.
There are minimum delegated functions as well as optional delegated functions:
18.104.22.168.1 Minimum Delegated Functions:
The functions that are delegated to an RGB by the GBC Body shall include, as a minimum, the following:
1. To serve as a forum for increasing coordination of the overall preaching strategy in the Region.
2. To serve as a forum for increasing the coordination of the implementation of GBC policies, guidelines and resolutions applicable within the Region.
3. Subdivision of the Region into Divisions for the purpose of organizing Divisional Councils as described below, in consultation with all Zonal Secretaries actively functioning in the Region.
4. Making recommendations to the GBC Body, where appropriate, for GBC legislation.
5. Making recommendations to any Zonal Secretary or other ISKCON official functioning within the Region on matters concerning the affairs of the Region.
6. Appointment of Regional Ministers, Committees, etc., as it deems necessary for the conduct of its delegated functions.
7. Resolution of any conflicts within the Region that are beyond the scope of any Divisional Councils constituted within the Region. This includes handling of complaints on Regional matters referred to it by the GBC Body, the Divisional Councils, any ISKCON official or body, or from individuals.
8. Where necessary and appropriate, undertaking disciplinary action against ISKCON officials and/or other devotees serving within the Region, as allowed under ISKCON law for such a body.
22.214.171.124.2 Optional Delegated Functions
If the GBC Body so chooses it may also delegate additional functions to a particular Regional Governing Body.
126.96.36.199 Formation of an RGB:
An RGB for a particular Region may be created by simple majority vote of the GBC Body, but the effect of such a resolution will be pending the completion of certain formalities as specified below, and eventual notification by the GBC Secretary. Similarly, RGB’s may have their geographic areas modified, and they also may be dissolved, by simple majority vote of the GBC Body.
In considering a proposal for creation of an RGB, the GBC Body shall consider the following criteria:
a. Are the needs of the region in question sufficiently uniform as to make amalgamation into a single region appropriate?
b. Is the existing leadership within the region sufficiently mature to be able to assume such a delegation of responsibilities?
c. Does the region have a track record of cooperative management, such as through the proper functioning of a Continental Committee or other informal body as described below?
Note: Bodies known as “National Councils” or “National Governing Bodies” which are managing ISKCON’s affairs in a single country may be designated by the GBC Body as RGB’s, or if they are not so designated then they may be Divisional Councils or informal bodies as defined in the following sections.
188.8.131.52 Approval of Rules and Regulations:
In order to be recognized as a Regional Governing Body under this law, the regional leaders must submit to the GBC Secretary the proposed Rules and Regulations for how the affairs of the RGB will be conducted. These Rules and Regulations must include, as a minimum, information on:
a. How membership in the RGB is determined, and that there is allowance for a sufficient number of GBC Members functioning within the area to be members.
b. How meetings are convened and conducted.
c. Rules for the election of officers and their duties.
d. The rights and responsibilities of the members.
e. Procedures for reporting to the GBC Body on its actual membership and proceedings.
f. Procedures for maintaining a record of the official proceedings of the RGB.
g. Procedures for changing the Rules and Regulations by minimum 2/3 vote.
The GBC Secretary may also from time to time promulgate additional standards for what is to be included in the Rules and Regulations, as directed by the Executive Committee.
When the GBC Secretary is satisfied that the Rules and Regulations for the conduct of the affairs of the RGB are well formed then he or she shall issue notification to such effect and the RGB shall be considered created.
Any changes that the RGB proposes to make to its Rules and Regulations shall be submitted to the GBC Secretary for approval before they take effect.
In the functioning of an RGB, if any dispute arises among the members as to whether the Rules and Regulations are being properly followed, the GBC Secretary shall make a final determination.
3.4.2 ISKCON Continental Committees and Other Informal Bodies
In addition to Regional Governing Bodies, which have functions clearly delegated by the GBC Body, there may continue to exist in certain regions, as required, informally constituted bodies with the function of expanding cooperative management within a geographical area. They may be called Continental Committees or other names as appropriate. They may function to resolve issues of importance to the region on a cooperative or advisory basis, to give vision and prepare strategies for advancing the objectives of Krishna consciousness, and/or to make recommendations and proposals to the GBC Body. Decisions of such Continental Committees or other such bodies should be followed in a cooperative spirit. However, for the Continental Committee’s resolutions to be obligatory they must either be ratified by the GBC Annual General Meeting at Mayapur or have been specifically previously empowered in that regard by the GBC Body.
3.4.3 ISKCON Divisional Councils
An ISKCON Divisional Council is a body that performs certain managerial functions on behalf of an individual Zonal Secretary, on behalf of a group of Zonal Secretaries serving in the same general area or on behalf of a Regional Governing Body for conduct of the affairs of the ISKCON society within a clearly designated contiguous geographical area, called a “Division.” The geographical area in question could be a group of small countries, a single country or a section of a single country, but it should be small enough such that all temple leaders within the area would be generally familiar with ISKCON’s activities throughout the geographical area, and such that the members would be able to meet together several times per year.
184.108.40.206 Formation of Divisional Councils
Wherever there are functioning Regional Governing Bodies, these Bodies shall designate the Divisions for formation of the Divisional Councils within the Region, in consultation with the Zonal Secretaries actively functioning within the Region.
Where there is no functioning RGB, the appointed GBC Zonal Secretaries may designate specific areas as Divisions and may form Divisional Councils for these Divisions. Such designation must be done in writing, addressed to the GBC Secretary and signed by all GBC Zonal Secretaries assigned to the area in question. The GBC Secretary shall acknowledge such designations. If no such written designation has been made then any bodies constituted shall be considered as informal bodies as described under Section 3.4.2.
220.127.116.11 Divisional Council Membership
A Divisional Council shall be constituted of all Temple Presidents, all Preaching Center managers, all Regional Secretaries and all Zonal Secretaries (that wish to attend) within the region as well as resident sannyasis or other leading devotees as the council desires or as the local Zonal Secretaries recommend.
18.104.22.168 Divisional Council Functions
1. Serve as a forum for coordination of the overall preaching strategy in the Division.
2. Serve as a forum for coordination of the implementation of GBC policies, guidelines and resolutions applicable within the Division.
3. Serve as a forum for resolution of any conflicts within the Division. This includes handling of complaints on local matters referred to it by the GBC Body, the RGB, any ISKCON official or body or from individuals.
4. Making recommendations to the RGB, where appropriate, for RGB or GBC legislation.
5. Making recommendations to any Zonal Secretary or other ISKCON official functioning within the Division on matters concerning local affairs.
6. Where necessary and appropriate, undertaking disciplinary action against ISKCON officials and/or other devotees serving within the Division, as allowed under ISKCON law for such a body.
A Divisional Council may also perform other functions within the Division as specifically assigned to it by a Zonal Secretary, the RGB or the GBC Body, such as approving the opening or closing of ISKCON centers, appointing Temple officers, taking final decisions on matters of dispute, deciding on territorial matters among the various temples, making recommendations on sannyasa candidates, formally considering the nomination of candidates who reside within their area of responsibility for serving as new initiating gurus, checking into the management of the local ISKCON centers, overseeing spiritual standards, etc.[ACTION ORDER] It is further resolved, That India is hereby approved as a Region as per the above law. GBC Members serving in India shall submit proposed Rules and Regulations for an RGB for India as per Section 22.214.171.124.
405/2002. Classification and Recognition of ISKCON Centers
Whereas, the existing ISKCON Law 10.4 concerning ISKCON Affiliation is outdated and inadequate, and clarification is required as to what is an ISKCON Center, what is not, what are the various types of Centers, and how the GBC Body and others will be able to know what is ISKCON;
“Associations throughout the world, whether incorporated or unincorporated, are affiliates of ISKCON when they meet the prescribed criteria, and are given the approval of the GBC Body. Some of the affiliates will be known as Temples.”
is hereby repealed and replaced with the following partial Law Section. Also, other ISKCON Laws deemed to be not consistent with this new partial Law Section shall be considered superseded:
10.4 ISKCON-affiliated Organizations[Please note that the ISKCON Law Book has a slightly different name for this Section, and that the numbering given here is not consistent with the numbering therein. Either the remaining subsections of Section 10.4 will need to be renumbered to accommodate this revision, or (preferred) the balance of the section should be revised as well. However, only the existing 10.4.1 is being specifically repealed at this point.]
The GBC Body shall recognize certain associations of devotees located anywhere in the world, which may be registered or unregistered, incorporated or unincorporated, as being affiliated with ISKCON, provided they meet the requirements spelled out in this law section. Such affiliated organizations may be known as “Centers” (or “Independent Centers” if they are also financially autonomous). Types of Centers are “Temples,” “Rural Communities,” “Preaching Centers,” “Institutes,” “Congregational Preaching Directorates” and “Special Projects,” as defined below.
10.4.2 General Requirements of Affiliation
For an association of devotees to be considered in any way affiliated with ISKCON and to receive the benefits of such affiliation, it must meet the following requirements:
1. It must be organized on not-for-profit basis.
2. It must be managed by ISKCON devotees in good standing.
3. It must be conducting its affairs according to the policies, guidelines and standards as set down by the GBC Body.
4. It must be recognized as affiliated with ISKCON as per Subsection 10.4.4 below.
10.4.3 Types of Affiliated Organizations
“Temples” are Centers characterized by having one primary location which is either stable or semi-stable, and at which daily functions of community or public worship are performed, plus financial autonomy (not being financially controlled by any other affiliate), plus at least one of the following four additional characteristics:
1. There are Deities installed as the presiding Deities of that location for which the worship is being conducted by ISKCON;
2. There is real property at the primary location which is either owned by the association directly, or owned by another not-for-profit entity controlled by ISKCON devotees in good standing, or in any other way the ownership of the property fits the definition of an ISKCON Property as described under ISKCON Law;
3. There is a separate legal registration for the local association; or,
4. There is a congregation of at least 75 members who regularly attend the center’s functions.
10.4.3.2 Rural Communities
“Rural Communities” are Centers that fit the same characterization as do Temples, but in addition they are situated in a rural area.
“Institutes” are characterized by having at least one primary location, which is either owned by the association directly, or owned by another not-for-profit entity controlled by ISKCON devotees in good standing, plus financial autonomy (not being financially controlled by any other affiliate), plus by having activities centered around education, research and/or publication. There may or may not be regular activities of public worship.
10.4.3.4 Congregational Preaching Directorates
“Congregational Preaching Directorates” are characterized by having at least one primary location which is either owned by the association directly, or owned by another not-for-profit entity controlled by ISKCON devotees in good standing, plus financial autonomy (not being financially controlled by any other affiliate), plus by having activities centered around development of congregational preaching over a significantly large area. There may or may not be regular activities of public worship.
10.4.3.5 Special Projects
“Special Projects” are characterized by having functions and activities as needed for special circumstances to fulfill the overall purposes of ISKCON, plus financial autonomy (not being financially controlled by any other affiliate). They may or may not have primary locations or activities of public worship, but they must meet the General Requirements of Affiliation as described in Section 10.4.2 above.
10.4.3.6 Preaching Centers
“Preaching Centers” are characterized by having at least one primary location which may not be permanent but at which regular functions of community or public worship are performed. A Preaching Center may be financially controlled by another ISKCON center; or it may not have a sufficiently permanent location or sufficiently mature management structure to be recognized as a full Temple; or it may have neither installed Deities, nor owned property, nor a separate legal registration, nor a sufficiently large congregation, as described to be qualified as a Temple under Section 10.4.3.1 above.
10.4.3.7 Subsidiaries and Branches of Affiliated Organizations
Any of the above-defined affiliated centers which are financially autonomous may have subsidiaries or branches in additional locations, provided they are authorized to have them by the local Zonal Secretaries or Divisional Council. These subsidiaries or branches may be known as “Extension Centers,” “Nama Hatta Centers,” etc.
A Preaching Center may also be a subsidiary or branch of a large independent Temple, or it may be semi-autonomous and report directly to a Zonal Secretary or Divisional Council.
Subsidiaries and branches of affiliated centers shall be considered as constituent parts of those centers for all purposes of ISKCON Law except where specifically noted.
ISKCON Centers may encourage and endorse the preaching activities of independent ventures, such as privately owned devotee restaurants and independent householders who regularly preach from their homes, and the Centers may advertise such preaching activities as ISKCON activities to the extent that such advertising does not compromise its non-profit status. While such independent activities are not to be considered as subsidiary or branch activities of the Center for the purpose of this Law, the Center is responsible for any use of ISKCON’s good name in such activities. Care must be taken not to place the name of ISKCON at risk. The Center must be prepared to withdraw its endorsement of these activities whenever the need arises.
10.4.4 Recognition of Affiliates, Preaching Centers
The Zonal Secretaries are normally the competent ISKCON authorities to certify to the GBC Body that an organization functioning in a particular zone is to be recognized or de-recognized as an official ISKCON Center, and to determine the corresponding type of affiliation as per Subsection 10.4.3 above. However, this function may have been delegated to a constituted local Divisional Council. Whichever the case in a particular zone, the competent authority is obliged to report annually to the GBC Secretariat prior to the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting of the GBC as to the existence and status of all ISKCON Centers functioning in the zone. They are also obliged to report promptly during the year if any new Center has been opened in the zone or if there has been any change in the official status of any center.
406/2002. Zonal Preaching Management
Whereas, it is essential for the zonal secretaries to maintain a unified preaching strategy in their respective zones;
Whereas, certain preachers may not respect or support these preaching strategies;[ISKCON LAW] Resolved, That the GBC Body invests the following power in the GBC Zonal Secretaries: The right to exclude any traveling preacher from his/her zone with the approval of the majority of the local temple presidents and after informing the Executive Committee of the GBC.
Section 500: HOLY PLACES AND SPIRITUAL COMMUNITIES
501/2002. Establish Controlled Breeding of Cows in India
Whereas, Action Order 502/2001 Cow Protection in Mayapur and Vrindavan reads:
“If the Minister of Cow Protection and Agriculture does not receive reports from either Vrindavan and Mayapur temples regularly during 2001, starting on the above date (April 30, 2001), then all breeding, purchasing and acceptance of donations of cows shall be stopped for the delinquent temple until proper compliance is met”;
Whereas, The Ministry of Cow Protection has not received all quarterly reports required during 2001 from the Vrindavan Goshala and reports received have been inadequate;
Whereas, there are no Cow/Land trusts to protect the existing cows’ land from other uses by temple management as required by ISKCON Law 507;
Whereas, Action Order 502 states “neither the Vrindavan Goshala nor the Mayapur Goshala have sufficient land for the ever-increasing numbers of cows,” and the situation has not changed. However, in Mayapur temporary lands are being made available to the Goshala and long-term plans will be worked out with the ISKCON Minister of Cow Protection and Agriculture;
Whereas, Mayapur Goshala had previously given animals away to congregational members, but that practice has stopped;
Whereas, Mayapur Management Staff and Goshala Staff met with the Minister of Cow Protection and Agriculture on March 9, 2002, and it was agreed that no animals from the Goshala are to be given away until reevaluation and agreement by the above mentioned parties;
Whereas, the Mayapur Management Staff and Goshala Staff will be required to meet once monthly to continue to develop their short-term and long-term Goshala development plan. Minutes from the monthly meeting will be sent to the Minister of Cow Protection and Agriculture;
Whereas, from the approximately 23 Indian goshalas only 4 have reported, and not adequately;
Whereas, the Minister of Cow Protection has recently toured some of the Indian goshalas and assessed strong inadequacies;
Whereas, the Indian Continental Committee (ICC) has not yet been able to achieve a consensus among the Indian leadership on goshala management policies suitable in the Indian context;
Whereas, the ICC in November 2001 passed a resolution stating that, “ISKCON India centers are strictly prohibited from giving away or selling cows, bulls or calves living on ISKCON farms to others outside of ISKCON management”;
Whereas, there are numerous opportunities in India for instituting self-sufficiency in ISKCON goshalas through utilizing cow by-products such as dung and urine, ox-power, etc. However, such alternatives have not been sufficiently explored and instead all goshalas are relying on practices such as external subsidies and giving away of animals in order to make ends meet. Unrestricted breeding and the use of non-indigenous breeds simply make self-sufficiency increasingly more difficult to achieve;
Whereas, there is a need to allow the existing goshalas in India time to reorganize their cow protection programs to more holistic models rather than simply focusing on milk production;[ACTION ORDER] Resolved, That those ISKCON goshalas in India which remain in violation of ISKCON Law 507/1999 shall restrict the breeding or otherwise acquiring of cows for milk production to producing only such milk as required for the temple Deities until such time as they have established satisfactory long-range plans for Krishna conscious holistic cow protection, and in other ways have complied with ISKCON Law.
502/2002. Women’s Issue Discussion in India
Whereas, there is a need for a dialogue between the GBC Body and ISKCON leaders in India about implementation of the resolution 618/2000 concerning women in ISKCON;
1. Explain resolution 618/2000 and the intention of the GBC Body as to how it should be implemented in India.
2. Carefully hear the various objections being raised by different members of the ICC.
3. Attempt to isolate whatever genuinely contentious issues exist and prepare a joint statement explaining all viewpoints on these issues.
4. Seek out possible resolutions for these contentious issues and report back to
the GBC Body and ICC, possibly with recommendations for further action by
503/2002. Vrindavan Management Structure
Whereas, ISKCON Vrindavan is at the heart of our movement and should be exemplary in its management, preaching standards and spiritual atmosphere;
Whereas, ISKCON Vrindavan is a complex project set in what can be a very challenging and diverse atmosphere;
Whereas, a number of concerns were raised to the GBC Executive Committee, who then sent in a team to study the situation;
Whereas, it was the conclusion of that team that a number of serious adjustments in the management structure and vision of ISKCON Vrindavan were needed;
Whereas, the above committee discussed these findings and recommendations of the research team and concluded the following:[ACTION ORDER] Resolved, That:
1. The Management Structure as outlined on the accompanying chart is approved.
2. That the Members of the GBC Vrindavan Executive Board are:
Radhanath Swami, Gopal Krishna Goswami, Ravindra Svarupa dasa, Sesa dasa, Bhima dasa, Kadamba Kanana Swami, Radha Krishna dasa, Braja Bihari dasa.
3. The GBC Vrindavan Executive Board is the ultimate managing authority for Vrindavan, not the individual or local GBCs. The individual GBC members cannot act independently of the will of the Board. Some of the members of the Executive Board, including the GBCs, may be given specific portfolios and areas of responsibilities. The Executive Board will hold two meetings per year (for one week each time). They may also meet additionally as required.
Bhima dasa shall be the first chair for this committee.
4. It has always been understood that the current zone (Western UP, Madhya Pradesh and Rajastan) has served Vrindavan. Thus the Executive Board will set the policies for this zone and Gopal Krishna Goswami will continue to oversee this area.
5. Duties of the Executive Board will include (but are not limited to): Development of Vision, Goals and Master Planning. The Board will also set policies and standards and appoint the individuals required for successful implementation.
Due to the complex and varied nature of the Vrindavan project, there shall be several temple co-presidents. The devotees to serve in these positions will be selected by the Executive Board. Similarly, their duties, areas of responsibility and portfolios will also be determined by the Executive Board.
Mahaman dasa, Devakinandana dasa, Brhat Mrdanga dasa have been selected co-presidents. They shall serve for an initial term of one year. To round out the management team there shall be the position of co-vice presidents. Ganapati dasa and Sarvabhauma dasa have been selected to serve as co-vice presidents. Deena Bandhu dasa remains the Regional Secretary and will sit on the Administrative Council.
6. The Executive Board shall give a written mid-year progress report to the GBC Executive Committee (to be submitted by the first week of September 2002).
7. This entire system and its results will be reviewed again at the GBC Annual General Meeting in Mayapur 2003.
Section 600: INTERNAL ISKCON
601/2002. Guru Services Subcommittee Membership
[ISKCON LAW] Resolved, That the Guru Services Subcommittee may co-opt additional members and accept the resignation of members with the permission of the GBC Executive Committee and with notice to the GBC Secretary.
602/2002. Delegation of Zonal Management
Whereas, there is a need to reduce the workload of the individual GBC Members so that they can more effectively deal with international matters and their zonal responsibilities;
Whereas, there is a need for closer monitoring of local situations beyond which the local GBC member is capable of doing;
Whereas, there are many good devotees willing to be Zonal Secretaries but who are not willing to sit on the GBC Body or involve themselves in international affairs;
Whereas, there is a need to empower devotees at the local level;
Whereas, there is a need to develop a mechanism for managing an ever-expanding society;[ISKCON LAW] Resolved, That
PART A. ISKCON Law 126.96.36.199.1 is amended to read as follows:
188.8.131.52.1. Definition of Zonal Secretary
A Zonal Secretary is an ISKCON member appointed by the GBC Body to oversee ISKCON Temples and other ISKCON projects in a specific geographical area designated as a “zone.” A Zonal Secretary has overall responsibility for the management and administration of the zone.
PART B.[ACTION ORDER] It is further resolved, 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 only nominate 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.
60/2002. Navayogendra Swami
Whereas, Navayogendra Swami has acted against the interests of ISKCON and, by GBC resolution 605/1999, has been on probation from initiating disciples and as a member of ISKCON and;
Whereas, Navayogendra Swami has offered an apology letter to the GBC Body and appealed for reinstatement as an ISKCON member in good standing and;
Whereas, the GBC Body has recommended as a course of rectification that he:
Publicly renounce all connections with the ritvik movement.
Preach according to Srila Prabhupada’s books.
Turn over all separately held properties to ISKCON or an entity approved by the GBC Executive Committee.
Work directly under a GBC member who will be chosen by the Executive Committee.
Navayogendra Swami signs a letter stating he
renounces all connections with the Ritvik Ideology
repudiates the Poison Theory,
will preach according to Srila Prabhupada’s books,
will turn over all separately held properties to ISKCON or an entity, approved by the GBC Executive Committee, and
will work directly under a GBC member who will be chosen by the Executive Committee
and read it aloud in the presence of the GBC members. He must also publicly announce his repudiation of the Ritvik Ideology and Poison Theory on the Chakra Web site.
He must also reconfirm his Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Guru.
The transfer of properties shall be done to the satisfaction of the ISKCON India Bureau and the ISKCON Property Office before he is reinstated.
Upon compliance with these guidelines he will be reinstated as an ISKCON member in good standing, with the following conditions:
He is be prohibited from initiating disciples for one year after compliance with this resolution.
Navayogendra Swami shall not visit ISKCON zones without the approval of the local Zonal Secretary. This stricture will be reviewed at the Annual General Meeting in 2004.
604/2002. Sastric Advisory Council
Whereas, as per resolution 609/2001, the GBC Body has formed a subcommittee to compile an outline of the Sastric Advisory Council and to submit it for GBC approval;
Whereas the subcommittee has completed its research and is now presenting the following proposal;[ISKCON LAW] Resolved, That the GBC Body hereby establishes the Sastric Advisory Council (SAC), approving its outline as follows:
Definition of the SAC
The SAC is a permanent, pro-active body of senior, trusted and proven brahmanas that offers input to the GBC Body according to scripture, philosophy and realization. Subordinate to the GBC Body, the SAC is advisory only. The conclusions and advice of the SAC are in no way binding on the GBC Body.
Purpose of the SAC
a. To avail the GBC Body of philosophical perspectives, references and siddhantas:
i. to which it may otherwise not have access, or
ii. which its members may not have time to access.
b. To alleviate the burden of the GBC Body and its members.
c. To augment the utility and soundness of the GBC Body’s decisions, thus preserving the integrity of the GBC.
d. To focus, refine and support the power of the GBC Body, not counter balance it.
Functions and Duties of the SAC
a. Research scriptural siddhanta on major issues mandated by the GBC Body.
b. Respond to requests from the GBC Body or its Executive Committee for philosophical advice.
c. Regulate its own members.
d. Remain always aloof from the legislative process.
Interaction of the SAC with the GBC and Other Bodies
a. The GBC Body may approach the SAC to get an opinion on a specific resolution or proposal.
b. The GBC Body or its Executive Committee may invite the SAC to make a presentation.
c. The SAC may interact in an official capacity only with the GBC Body or its Executive Committee or chairman ¾ not, for instances with a subcommittee member or its chairman, ISKCON Managers’ Meeting member or its chairman, a deputy or the deputies’ chairman.
d. Any body other than the GBC that wants advice from the SAC may make its request through the Chairman of the GBC, who himself will approach the SAC if he deems it necessary.
e. The need of the SAC members to be independent thinkers must be balanced with the need of the GBC Body to maintain its authority.
e. The SAC has the freedom to respectfully question the importance of researching a particular topic.
i. The GBC Body and the SAC must expect mutual confidentiality.
Qualifications and Service Description of a SAC Member
a. Personal Qualities
iii. Confidential and discreet
iv. Indisputably loyal to Srila Prabhupada
v. Devoted to the betterment of ISKCON
vi. Senior, mature and responsible
vii. Broadminded, collegial and collaborative
viii. Humble (“Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others.” Purport, Bg. 13.8-12)
ix. Not unduly ambitious for position or achievement, either socially, politically or academically
x. Having the qualities of a brahmana listed in Bg. 18.42 and Bhag. 7.11.21 and in the purport to Cc. Madhya 20.59.
b. Dress, Behavior and Lifestyle
i. Chants a minimum of sixteen rounds a day of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra
ii. Follows ISKCON’s four regulative principles
iii. Dresses as a Gaudiya Vaisnava
iv. Leads a brahminical lifestyle
v. Practices the threefold austerity of the mode of goodness (Bg. 17.14-16)
vi. Follows a daily morning program
vii. Demonstrates financial transparency
viii. Ideally serves ISKCON in a non-managerial capacity (in order to preserve an identity that is distinctly brahminical)
ix. Exhibits achievement in some brahminical field such as writing, editing, teaching, preaching or translating
c. Service Description
i. Contributes to fulfilling the purposes, functions and duties of the SAC by researching, discussing, interviewing and writing
ii. Responds regularly to electronic communication related to the SAC
iii. As required by the SAC or GBC Chairman, participates in meetings in Mayapur at the time of the GBC Annual General Meeting.
Procedure for Selecting and Endorsing SAC Members
a. SAC core members will number between six and twelve.
b. The SAC core members should be mutually acceptable to both the GBC Body and SAC.
c. SAC core members will be selected in two ways:
i. The SAC may nominate candidates for endorsement by the GBC Body at the Annual General Meeting in Mayapur. (Initial core candidates will be selected and recommended by the SAC Subcommittee.)
ii. The GBC Body may nominate candidates. Any candidate selected by the GBC Body must be accepted by the SAC members. The GBC Body’s nomination of candidates would take place at the Annual General Meeting in Mayapur.
d. The SAC core members may call upon specialists on certain issues.
e. Chairman of the SAC
i. Elected for a term of one year by the SAC members at the time of the GBC Annual General Meeting; no limit on successive or multiple terms.
ii. Maintains synergy in the SAC.
iii. Moderates SAC discussions.
iv. Represents the SAC in interactions with the GBC Body or GBC Chairman.
Term Limits and Performance Review
f. There shall be no term limit for SAC members ¾ but as part of its self-regulation, the SAC will review the character, behavior, and performance of its members to ensure that they continue to uphold its ideals. The procedure for doing this will be established by the SAC itself during its first year of operation.
g. A complaint against a particular SAC member (e.g. by a GBC member) may be submitted with due respect to the SAC Chairman for attention by the SAC.
Where practical the GBC Secretariat will cover the cost of transporting needed SAC members to the Annual General Meeting in Mayapur at the discretion of the GBC Executive Committee.
The following devotees are possible candidates for the SAC who have tentatively agreed to participate. These are only suggestions, more names can be added at the discretion of the GBC.
Purnacandra dasa (Chair)
Kesava Bharati dasa
Urmila devi dasi
Krishna Ksetra dasa
Mukunda Datta dasa (US)
605/2002. GBC’s Explanation for Laws & Resolutions
Whereas, the GBC Body deliberates for many hours prior to making a decision, but often the rationale of the decision is enigmatic to the devotees;
Whereas, for future reference the considerations on which decisions were taken need to be known to better implement those decisions;
Whereas, lack of explicit reference to the evidence of sadhu, sastra and guru may render GBC decisions more subject to challenge and doubt;[ISKCON LAW] Resolved, That for any laws or resolutions relating to spiritual or philosophical standards the GBC Body shall provide a written explanation detailing the logic and purpose for the law or resolution with ample sadhu, sastra and guru evidence to demonstrate how the decision is correct and authorized.
606/2002. ISKCON Property Manual
Whereas, Srila Prabhupada gave many instructions on the protection of the properties of ISKCON, especially in his will, and the GBC Body has also passed many resolutions in this regard, but unfortunately there is insufficient awareness among the Society’s leaders as to how to go about protecting the properties under their care according to Srila Prabhupada’s will and ISKCON Law;
Whereas, many ISKCON leaders have requested formal guidance as to how to carry out the business of acquiring and holding properties to fulfill the desires of Srila Prabhupada in this regard;
Whereas, the Property Trustee system established by Srila Prabhupada in his will has never previously been fully implemented and there is need of a document which spells out explicitly how to do this;
Whereas, the ISKCON Property Office has prepared a document entitled “ISKCON Property Manual” as a guideline for the conduct of property protection affairs within ISKCON;[ACTION ORDER] Resolved, That all ISKCON leaders involved with the ownership and/or management of immovable properties should obtain a copy of the ISKCON Property Manual, study it, follow its recommendations, and keep a copy permanently at the center.
607/2002. A Constitutional Process for ISKCON
Whereas, Srila Prabhupada had expressed his desire that a constitution for ISKCON be formulated, and that desire remains unfulfilled;
It is further resolved, That the Constitutional Committee is established to draft a constitution for ISKCON based on the aforementioned Organizational Principles for ISKCON.
The Members are to be chosen by Sesa dasa.
They are to present a completed draft of the constitution at the GBC Annual General Meeting in 2003.
They are empowered to enlist the assistance of interested devotees around the world.
They are answerable to the GBC Executive Committee in matters of funding, expense payments, meeting schedules and will provide regular updates on their progress.
ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
Founder-Acarya: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
1. THE DESIRE OF THE PREVIOUS ACARYAS
We believe that acaryas of the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya, to please Lord Sri Krishna and Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, desired a unified worldwide organization to systematically propagate Krishna Consciousness in this material world which would benedict all living entities.
2. SRILA PRABHUPADA HAS FULFILLED THE DESIRE OF THE PREVIOUS ACARYAS
We believe His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to be the representative of the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya who is fulfilling the desire of the previous acaryas, specifically with relation to establishing a unified world-wide organization to systematically propagate Krishna consciousness in this material world which would benedict all living entities.
3. ISKCON IS SRILA PRABHUPADA’S OFFERING TO FULFILL THE DESIRE OF THE PREVIOUS ACARYAS
We believe that His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) specifically to fulfill the desire of the previous acaryas for a unified worldwide organization to systematically propagate Krishna consciousness in this material world and to benedict all living entities.
4. SRILA PRABHUPADA’S FOUNDATIONAL PURPOSES FOR THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE OF ISKCON
We believe the institutional structure of ISKCON as established by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is meant to provide the spiritually dynamic organizational principles essential to establishing and maintaining a unified worldwide organization to systematically propagate Krishna consciousness, to provide spiritual shelter and association for those interested in dedicating their lives to the pursuit of Krishna consciousness, and to encourage the spiritual progress of all living entities.
5. THE GOVERNING BODY COMMISSION AS SRILA PRABHUPADA’S REPRESENTATIVES WITHIN THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE OF ISKCON
We believe that His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada created the ISKCON Governing Body Commission (GBC) to facilitate his foundational purposes for the institutional structure of ISKCON. The GBC is not simply an arbitrary legal structuring in the sense in which every organization in time subjects itself. Rather, the formation of the GBC is an expression of Srila Prabhupada’s fidelity to the desire of the previous acaryas in the matter of conducting a unified worldwide organization.
6. SRILA PRABHUPADA INTENDED THAT THE GBC PERPETUATE THE MISSION OF ISKCON AFTER HIS DEPARTURE FROM THIS WORLD
We believe that in specifying that the GBC would be the ultimate managing authority for ISKCON in his Last Will and Testament, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada intended that the GBC lead and make decisions in pursuance of the foundational purposes of the institutional structure of ISKCON after his physical departure from this world.
7. SRILA PRABHUPADA INTENDED THAT INDIVIDUAL TEMPLES FORM THE BASIC ORGANIZATIONAL UNIT OF ISKCON
We believe that His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada intended that the individual striving, work, responsibility and competitive spirit necessary to accomplish the foundational purposes of ISKCON would best be encouraged through an institutional structure based on individual temple units.
8. SRILA PRABHUPADA HAS PROVIDED ADEQUATE INSTRUCTION; PURITY WILL INSURE THE PERPETUATION OF ISKCON
We believe that the GBC, Temple Presidents and other leaders within the institutional structure of ISKCON are capable of perpetuating ISKCON as long as they are strictly following the example, spiritual discipline and institutional instructions of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and are actively striving to fulfill his desires in the association of like minded devotees.
9. ISKCON REMAINS DEPENDENT UPON THE MERCY OF SRILA PRABHUPADA
We believe that the institutional structure of ISKCON remains spiritually dynamic and capable of receiving spiritual inspiration in the physical absence of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada as long as those members of ISKCON occupying positions within the institutional structure are strictly following His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
10. SRILA PRABHUPADA WANTED ALL MEMBERS OF ISKCON TO CONTRIBUTE TO AND COOPERATE IN THE PERPETUATION OF ISKCON
We believe that the decisions made by members of ISKCON occupying positions within the institutional structure of ISKCON for the propagation of Krishna consciousness and for the spiritual progress of the members of ISKCON can be understood to be in fulfillment of the desire of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada when taken by collaborative and deliberative processes free from personal ambition.
11. SRILA PRABHUPADA SET THE EXAMPLE OF HOW TO WORK COOPERATIVELY WITHIN ISKCON
We believe that His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada desired that collaborative and deliberative processes be characterized by open and honest communication, seeking consensus, representation and voting procedures undertaken to preserve and promote ISKCON.
608/2002. Deity Worship Ministry
Whereas, the Deity Worship Ministry has been active since 1995;
Whereas, the establishment of the Ministry of Deity Worship and the appointment of Krishna Kshetra dasa as its Minister are not officially recorded in the GBC Minutes;[ISKCON LAW] Resolved, That the GBC Body hereby confirms the establishment of the Deity Worship Ministry. The goals of the Ministry are:
To provide inspiration and stimulation for maintaining and expanding the proper worship of Deities in ISKCON, based on the teachings of Srila Prabhupada.
To act as a forum for devotees engaged in Deity worship—whether in temples, nama-hatta centers or at home—to discuss the challenges and problems, as well as the glories and victories experienced in arcana-related matters.
To promote awareness of the importance of Deity worship as an integral feature of the process of devotional service and the preaching mission of the Krishna consciousness movement.[ACTION ORDER] That the GBC Body confirms the appointment of Krishna Kshetra dasa as the Minister of Deity Worship.
609/2002. Regulation of Deity Installations in ISKCON
Whereas, there are currently Deities that are being neglected or not worshiped properly;
Whereas, according to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions a minimum standard of worship for Deities in ISKCON should be maintained;
Whereas, Deities are being installed without sufficient consideration of Their ongoing worship;
Whereas, there are several upcoming installations that are of a questionable nature;[ISKCON LAW] Resolved, That ISKCON centers shall consult with and take guidance from the Deity Worship Ministry before installing or beginning worship of any Deities.
610/2002. Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja Book Inclusion[ACTION ORDER] Resolved, That the GBC Executive Committee shall select one member each year to decide on behalf of the GBC Body whether questionable offerings should be included in Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa Puja book.
611/2002. 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:
To raise awareness and understanding of GBC policies in ISKCON.
To promote appreciation for the GBC Body’s service to ISKCON.
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 for 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 EC@pamho.net, who is authorized to negotiate with applicants on behalf of the GBC Body.
612/2002. GBC Budget for 2002
[ACTION ORDER] Resolved, That the GBC Body hereby approves the following budged for the year 2002:
Indian Funds Collected:
Rs.200,000—Cost of Annual General Meeting
Rs. 300,000—Mayapur and Mumbai Secretariat Offices
Funds from West:
Rs. 200,000—Cow Protection Ministry
Rs. 50,000—Health and Welfare Newsletter
Rs. 200,000—Implementing Mediation and Ombudsman Program
Rs. 100,000 —Constitution Development
Rs. 100,000—Ministry of Educational Development
Rs. 50,000—Deity Worship Ministry
Rs. 25,000—Property Office
Rs. 250,000—Executive Committee Expenses
613/2002. Assessment of International Projects in India
Whereas, the international projects in India are of special concern to the GBC Body;
Whereas, there is a need for the Body to have a system for regularly assessing and assisting these projects to meet their goals;
Whereas, Naresvara dasa and Jayapataka Swami, two Mayapur Co-directors, have invited such an assessment for Mayapur;
Whereas, there is a need to establish a pilot project for an assessment system for all ISKCON zones, temples and other affiliates;[ACTION ORDER] Resolved, That the Executive Committee for the year 2002-03 shall oversee the development of an assessment system and team for ISKCON international projects in India.
The assessment system shall be collegial and non-confrontational and shall accordingly have the following elements:
1) An initial self-study by the project, whose own self-study committee, following a template developed by the EC assessment committee, evaluates their project’s performance and determines its needs for improvement. (How well are we living up to our standards? How well are we fulfilling our mission?)
2) The result of the self-study becomes the basis of the evaluation by the assessment team, which visits the project and interviews various personnel on that basis.
3) The assessment committee prepares its draft conclusions, containing recommendations and sends them to the project.
4) The project responds to the assessment; the project has a chance to change the final product, and a dialogue precedes the production of the final assessment.
The team will begin with the assessment of Mayapur this year.
614/2002. Preliminary Response to “Srila Prabhupada: the Prominent Link”
[STATEMENT] The GBC Body hereby issues its preliminary response to “Srila Prabhupada: the Prominent Link” by Dhira Govinda dasa. [see Appendix 2] [end]
INITIATING IN THE PRESENCE OF ONE’S DIKSA-GURU
Disciples Can Sometimes Initiate In the Physical Presence of The Diksa Gurus
In ISKCON Srila Prabhupada is the founder-acarya and pre-eminent siksa-guru, and therefore he is our topmost authority. We thus look to his instructions and example concerning initiating in the presence of one’s guru. The etiquette Srila Prabhupada taught and practised was that a disciple should not initiate in the physical presence of one’s diksa-guru.
In a lecture in 1975, Srila Prabhupada says:
“ First of all follow the orders of acarya, and you become mature. Then it is better to become acarya. Because we are interested in preparing acarya, but the etiquette is, at least for the period the guru is present, one should not become acarya. Even if he is complete he should not, because the etiquette is, if somebody comes for becoming initiated, it is the duty of such person to bring that prospective candidate to his acarya. Not that ‘Now people are coming to me, so I can become acarya.’ That is avamanya. Navamanyeta karhicit. Don’t transgress this etiquette. Navamanyeta. That will be falldown. Just like during the lifetime of our Guru Maharaja, all our Godbrothers now who are acting as acarya, they did not do so. That is not etiquette.”
(lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.13 — Mayapur, April 6, 1975)
“The first thing, I warn Acyutananda, do not try to initiate. You are not in a proper position now to initiate anyone. Besides that, the etiquette is that so long the Spiritual Master is present, all prospective disciples should be brought to him.” (Letter to Acyutananda and Jayagovinda, 21 August, 1968)
“Siddhasvarupa does not want to take disciples, neither he should have disciples while I am alive. That is the process.” (Letter to Sudevi, 15 September, 1972)
Therefore if a disciple aspires to initiate in the physical presence of their diksa guru then automatically the disiciple becomes disqualified to carry out that service. (1)
Disciples Can Sometimes Initiate In the Physical Presence of The Diksa Gurus
However, Srila Prabhupada also taught that a guru may sometimes order his disciple to initiate, as corroborated by the following evidence.
“I want that all of my spiritual sons and daughters will inherit this title of
Bhaktivedanta, so that the family transcendental diploma will continue through the generations. Those possessing the title of Bhaktivedanta will be allowed to initiate disciples. Maybe by 1975, all of my disciples will be allowed to initiate and increase the numbers of the generations. That is my program.” (Letter to Hamsaduta, 3 December, 1968)
“By 1975, all of those who have passed all of the above examinations will be specifically empowered to initiate and increase the number of the Krishna Consciousness population.” (SPL to Kirtanananda, 12 January, 1969)
“Some time ago you asked my permission for accepting some disciples; now the time is approaching very soon when you will have many disciples by your strong preaching work. Stick to the line of our strong preaching method and many misguided persons will be blessed by your proper guiding.” (SPL to Acyutananda, May 16th, 1972)
Prabhupada: No, you become guru, but you must be qualified first of all.
Then you become.
Tamala Krsna: Oh, that kind of complaint was there.
Prabhupada: Did you know that?
Tamala Krsna: Yeah, I heard that, yeah.
Prabhupada: What is the use of producing some rascal guru?
Tamala Krsna: Well, I have studied myself and all of your disciples, and it’s clear fact that we are all conditioned souls, so we cannot be guru. Maybe one day it may be possible…
Tamala Krsna: …but not now.
Prabhupada: Yes. I shall choose some guru. I shall say, “Now you become acarya. You become authorised.” I am waiting for that. You become all acarya. I retire completely. But the training must be complete.
Tamala Krsna: The process of purification must be there.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes, must be there. Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants that. Amara ajnaya guru hana. “You become guru.” (laughs) But be qualified. Little thing, strictly follower…
Tamala Krsna: Not rubber stamp.
Prabhupada: Then you’ll not be effective. You can cheat, but it will not be effective. Just see our Gaudiya Matha. Everyone wanted to become guru, and a small temple and “guru.” What kind of guru? No publication, no preaching, simply bring some foodstuff… My Guru Maharaja used to say, “Joint mess,” a place for eating and sleeping. Amar amar ara takana. “Joint mess.” He said this. (Room Conversation, 22 April, 1977, Bombay)
Further evidence that Srila Prabhupada might order his disciples to initiate in his presence while he retires is found in an excerpt from Tamal Krishna Gosvami’s diary:
“That night (May 20, 1977), Srila Prabhupada asked Aksayananda Maharaja, ‘Are you ready to initiate disciples? I want to retire now.’ Aksayananda replied that with Prabhupada’s order came the ability to carry it out; therefore, he was ready.”
Other evidence that a disciple can initiate in the presence of their diksa guru is found within our Gaudiya Sampradaya history.
Syamananda Ordered Rasikananda, His Disciple, to Initiate
“One day Syamananda said to Rasika, ‘I beg you to please deliver all creatures and give the holy name to all. . . .’ Rasika bowed to his guru and with folded hands accepted his order. . . . Thereafter, the son of Acyuta (i.e., Rasikananda) distributed the jewel of Krsna consciousness and began to make disciples. . . . . Rasika’s first ten disciples were Kalandi Bhakta dasa Yavana, Syama Gopala, Dina Syama, Narayana, Ramakrsna, Paramananda, Bhudara, Goura Gopala, Gopinatha and Sri Gokula. Afterwards his disciples became countless.”
(Ch. 17 of The Story of Rasikananda, based on the biography of Rasikananda by his disciple Gopijanavallabha dasa,)
Ganganarayan Initiates in the Presence of His Guru Narottama
“One day he [Narottama das Thakur] asked his disciples about the delay of Ganganarayan in coming to Khetari. In the meantime, Ramakrsna and Ganganarayan came with those brahmanas. All of them bowed down to the feet of Thakur Mahasaya [Narottama]. Thakur Mahasaya became glad. He initiated some of them, and some of them got initiation from Ganganarayana.” from Narottama Vilasa, 11, by Narahari Dasa.
Srinivasa Acarya Initiated in the Presence of His Diksa Guru Gopal Bhatta Goswami
“At this time, his [Ramacandra Kaviraja’s] guru, Srinivasa Acarya, was present in Vrindavan. Ramacandra offered prostrated obeisances to the lotus feet of his guru, and Sri Jiva Goswami. . . . As ordered by Sri Jiva Goswami, Ramacandra took darsana of Sri Govinda, Sri Gopinatha, Sri Madan Mohan, and Sri Sanatana Goswami’s samadhi. Then he offered his respects to Sri Gopala Bhatta, Sri Lokanatha, and Sri Bhugarbha Goswami, who were very pleased to see him and offered him their benedictions.” Bhakti Ratnakara 9.214.
Pradyumna Brahmacari and Paramahamsa Premadas Babaji
In Jaiva Dharma, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura mentions how Paramahamsa Premadas Babaji took his disciple Vaisnava dasa to his spiritual master, Pradyumna Brahmacari.
As taught by Srila Prabhupada, the etiquette of not initiating in the presence of one’s diksa-guru will be upheld in ISKCON. However, Srila Prabhupada and historical precedents also teach us that disciples may sometimes initiate in the physical presence of their diksa gurus. If a diksa guru desires for this to happen, he can direct his disciple to go through the normal GBC procedure for initiating.
ISKCON Law 6.3.2. is amended to state:
As taught by Srila Prabhupada, the etiquette of not initiating in the presence of one’s diksa-guru will be upheld in ISKCON. However, Srila Prabhupada and historical precedents also teach us that disciples may sometimes initiate in the physical presence of their diksa gurus. If a diksa guru desires for this to happen, he can direct his disciple to go through the normal GBC procedure for initiating.
The paper “Initiating in the Presence of One’s Diksa-Guru” hereby replaces the previous GBC paper “Devotees Initiating before their Guru’s Physical Departure.”
A Preliminary Statement from ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission
“Srila Prabhupada: The Prominent Link” written by Dhira Govinda Prabhu has fundamental inconsistencies with Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. Although the work encourages Srila Prabhupada’s pre-eminence in ISKCON, it does so in a concocted way. As disciples of Srila Prabhupada, we cannot endorse anything different from what he taught, no matter how it may appeal to sentiment.
Out of respect for the author, the GBC Body requests its Sastric Advisory Council to review the paper and comment on it more deeply. For now, to protect devotees from being misled, the GBC Body offers these specific examples of how “The Prominent Link” deviates from Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and instructions.
– The paper begins by improperly dismissing the standard terminology of siksa and diksa guru – terminology established by Lord Caitanya Himself and followed by all prominent acharyas. Srila Prabhupada uses siksa and diksa as essential words to define functions of specific gurus. The author, by contrast, calls them “appellations” and “labels” and discards them.
– Having discarded the terms, the author attempts to merge the functions of siksa and diksa gurus. Noting that Srila Prabhupada is ISKCON’s pre-eminent instructing guru, he writes, “it is questionable whether the devotee performing the initiation ceremony can unambiguously be termed ‘the diksa guru.’” Srila Prabhupada, by contrast, states unambiguously in the Krishna book, Chapter 80, (and elsewhere): “Siksa gurus may be many, but diksa guru is always one.”
– Srila Prabhupada exhorted his disciples hundreds of times to be the next gurus in disciplic succession by simply repeating what they heard and avoiding concoctions. Why would he do so if he intended to be directly responsible for initiating future generations? Srila Prabhupada explains, “One’s guide must be a spiritual master who is . . . strictly following the instructions of the previous acarya . . . .” (CC Madhya 10.17, purport).
– “The Prominent Link” specifically contradicts Srila Prabhupada’s own description of his relationship with initiates of those he initiated. On May 28, 1977, in a conversation with the GBC in Vrindavan, he said those devotees would be his “grand disciples” and “the disciples of my disciples.” Disciples of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples are in fact directly connected to him through initiation as his grand-disciples. Srila Prabhupada commented that the grandfather is more kind to his grandchildren than is their father. There is nothing lacking in the connection between Srila Prabhupada and his grand disciples. Some may choose to emphasize their diksa guru and others their siksa guru. Such affairs of the heart cannot be legislated by anyone.
– In the same conversation Srila Prabhupada described those who would be taking on the service of initiating disciples as “regular gurus.” The “Prominent Link” terms them “Vaishnavas who perform the initiation ceremony.” Further, the work fails to offer a single statement by Srila Prabhupada in support of the implication that His Divine Grace would serve – in any respect – as a diksa guru in posthumous initiations.
– “The Prominent Link” suggests that if every member of ISKCON makes Srila Prabhupada the “sole object of unconditional surrender,” ISKCON will be more united. Srila Prabhupada’s teachings suggest that ISKCON will be more united – and Srila Prabhupada more pleased – if every member of ISKCON serves the servants of the servants of Srila Prabhupada: “This is called parampara system. You have to learn how to become servant of the servant of Krsna. The more you become in the lower position — servant, servant, servant, servant, servant, hundreds times servant, servant — the more you are advanced. Here in this material world everyone is trying to be master of the master. Just opposite. And the spiritual world, the endeavor is to become servant’s servant. This is the secret. yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau/ tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah. This is Vedic instruction” (London, 8/3/73).
ISKCON Law establishes Srila Prabhupada as the “pre-eminent and compulsory siksa guru for all members of ISKCON.” Further, it says that any grand disciple may find more inspiration from Srila Prabhupada than from their diksa guru. “The Prominent Link” asserts that such understandings of Srila Prabhupada are offensive to His Divine Grace (p. 26). The GBC Body finds such remarks and their public circulation wanting in scholarship, philosophy, and Vaishnava etiquette.
Since Srila Prabhupada entered samadhi, his disciples have struggled to properly establish guru-tattva in ISKCON, and there is more to be done. In that respect the GBC Body acknowledges the overt intent of “The Prominent Link.” Unfortunately, the paper fails in its attempt to glorify Srila Prabhupada owing to an incomplete consideration of his teachings or, worse, a willingness to take a little from here, and little from there, and create something new. The result is aviddhi-purvakam – an improper method of worshipping Srila Prabhupada.
The GBC Body acknowledges with appreciation the clarification offered by Dhira Govinda Prabhu in a letter (March 2002) in which he states that he did not intend to teach ritvikism nor support the ritvik agenda through “The Prominent Llink.” He also expressed his eagerness to enter into further discussion with the GBC and its Sastric Advisory Council.
Thus the GBC Body encourages Dhira Govinda Prabhu to give serious consideration to the discrepancies mentioned here – and others that can be raised – and discuss them with its Sastric Advisory Council.
March 12, 2002
Contributing to this paper: Drutakarma dasa, Hridayananda dasa Goswami, Kalakantha dasa, and Ravindra Svarupa dasa.
GBC Subcommittee Arbitration
BBT, Bhaktivedanta Archives, & ITV, PETITIONERS
Brahmananda das and Gargamuni das, RESPONDENTS
Nature of the Dispute
Petitioners allege that the Respondents have pirated their copyrighted material and unjustly profited from the sale of such pirated materials.
This dispute comes before the GBC at the request of the Petitioners after their attempts to resolve their differences with the Respondents both directly and through the agency of a GBC appointed mediator.
The attempt to resolve the matter through mediation was unsuccessful and the dispute is now before the GBC Subcommittee for an arbitration proceeding. Both parties have agreed to settlement of the dispute by this arbitration. The subcommittee mandate, as given by the GBC Chairman, is to resolve the specifics of this dispute and to develop general principles with respect to the pirating of personal artistic and intellectuals creations for application within ISKCON.
There is no dispute that the alleged pirating of Petitioners copyrighted materials and the subsequent sale of pirated materials has been committed by the Respondents. Respondents have explicitly admitted to pirating and selling the copyrighted works of the Petitioners.
As there is no dispute as to the factual allegations, the GBC subcommittee turns its attention to finding an appropriate remedy.
From the outset of the subcommittee’s deliberations on the factual issues presented by this case, there was never any question that the actions of the Respondents must be condemned in the strongest terms. The pirating and selling of copyrighted materials constitutes theft, and is unlawful in terms of civil and criminal laws as well as ISKCON law. Such actions cannot be tolerated within ISKCON.
Petitioners have requested that the GBC pass a resolution demanding that Respondents, or anyone, engaged in pirating or selling pirated materials, be banned from ISKCON properties; now allowed to distribute any products, either those products legally obtained or pirated products, on ISKCON properties; that ISKCON authorities take civil action against the Respondents if they do not leave ISKCON property immediately upon being asked to do so, and that such ISKCON authorities be subject to GBC sanction if they do not take such action against the Respondents; and finally that Respondents pay financial restitution to Petitioners. As per the proposed resolution, all the strictures would remain in effect until such a time as the Respondents have satisfied the Petitioners claims for financial restitution.
Notwithstanding this request of the Petitioners, and although this matter is before the GBC subcommittee for arbitration, in order to meet the mandate given by the GBC Chairman, the subcommittee felt if important to approach the matter in a manner which would allow for another attempt at resolving the dispute through mutual agreement of the parties. There are several reasons for this approach.
The subcommittee feels that there are already existing GBC resolutions and ISKCON Laws which are applicable to this dispute. These already existing GBC resolutions and ISKCON Laws govern the behavior of all ISKCON members, provide guidance for actions to be taken by ISKCON leaders, and provide remedies relevant to resolution of this dispute.
LAWS GOVERNING THE BEHAVIOR OF ALL ISKCON MEMBERS
8.1.2 Regarding Local Laws
ISKCON members are law abiding citizens. However, where demonic laws interfere with the execution of bona fide preaching duties then one can resist such orders. In such cases Srila Prabhupada recommended to do the needful taking into consideration the circumstances of the laws of the country, the customs of the local people, the reputation of our society and the example which will be set for the future devotees to follow.
The subcommittee feels that the present dispute presents no circumstance in which the principle of this law, i.e. that ISKCON members are law abiding citizens, may be neglected. Rather, the GBC has a long standing policy that specifically identifies the pirating activities of the Respondents as against the preaching efforts of ISKCON.
GBC RESOLUTION 23.3 ISKCON TELEVISION, INC.
That the GBC establishes a policy prohibiting “pirating,” i.e. unauthorized duplication of any ISKCON Television (ITV) videotapes, from now in perpetuity as the official policy of ISKCON for the benefit of the preaching effort. This includes any unauthorized duplications of any division of ISKCON engaged in producing video cassettes. (81)
8.4.9 Grievances Regarding Management (1st paragraph omitted as is not relevant to this dispute)
When a person becomes a member of ISKCON or assumes an office within ISKCON, he does so on the condition of submission to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of ISKCON, and however much he may be dissatisfied with the exercise of that jurisdiction, he shall refrain from invoking the supervisory power of the civil court, but shall seek redress of any grievance(s) through the ISKCON judicial process. Otherwise, he may be removed from office and/or his membership in ISKCON terminated.(88)
This law establishes the jurisdiction of the GBC in this matter. The subcommittee notes that the Petitioners have complied with the stricture this law establishes for ISKCON members. The subcommittee also notes that this law provides the GBC specifically with ecclesiastical jurisdiction for resolution of a dispute placed before them.
LAWS PROVIDING GUIDANCE FOR ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY ISKCON LEADERS
(Under the heading of ISKCON Spiritual Leadership)
184.108.40.206.6.6 Following Local Laws
The Temple President should ensure that all local, state and national laws are abided by all temple and community members. He should also ensure that the devotees are following ISKCON diligently.
220.127.116.11.6.8 Removal of a Devotee from a Temple
The Temple President shall observe the following procedures as per ISKCON Laws and may order censure, probation, dissociation, divestiture or request the GBC to remove or disassociate a member from the temple, in consultation with the Temple Board, but should always be mindful of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, “First try to rectify, and if the man cannot be rectified then you may remove.”
Removal can be effected for any of the following transgressions:
1. Consistent and habitual violation of any of the four regulative principles. Persistent neglect to complete 16 rounds of japa daily.
2. Openly inimical or defying Srila Prabhupada or ISKCON’s policies, or ISKCON spiritual and managerial authorities.
3. Flagrant and repeated misrepresentation of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.
4. Being overly attached to sense gratification in a serious, prolonged or hopeless way.
5. Violation of national, state or local government laws.
6. Acting against the interests of the Society.
If a devotee is found to be engaged in any of the above activities the Temple President has a responsibility to rectify the situation. Circumstances giving rise to the need for disciplining a devotee are an opportunity to encourage the devotee to engage in positive activities conducive for spiritual advancement.
The subcommittee feels that although these laws specifically direct the temple presidents, because these laws have been placed under the heading of ISKCON Spiritual Leadership, all ISKCON project leaders are expected to fulfill the responsibilities described herein, and that removal may be effected from any ISKCON project premises.
It may be argued that laws protecting intellectual property, specifically the Berne Convention which provides for international enforcement of copyright laws for countries who are signatories of the convention, is not applicable in India, a country which has not signed the convention. The subcommittee still feels the Respondents, who are based in India, should nonetheless be found in violation of the above quoted ISKCON Laws due to their international sales of pirated materials and the international composition of ISKCON.
LAWS PROVIDING REMEDIES WHICH ARE POTENTIALLY RELEVANT TO THIS DISPUTE
(The pirates are directed to the ISKCON Law Book for the complete text of the following laws.)
18.104.22.168.1 Censure—Reasons for Censuring—Misconduct and Indiscipline
An ISKCON Devotee may be censured for any of the following transgressions:
Willful Violation of GBC Resolutions.
22.214.171.124 Probation—Procedure and Conditions
A devotee shall be placed on probation by the appropriate authority according to ISKCON Law for a specified time when prescribed in ISKCON Law or when one has been censured three times.
However, if there is a serious spiritual offense as provided for in ISKCON Law, or if the transgressions of spiritual practices for an ISKCON initiated or resident devotee are of a more grave nature involving serious moral turpitude then a member can be directly put under probation without having three censures.
126.96.36.199 Rectification Programs
A specific program of rectification shall be assigned as deemed appropriate for the period of his or her probation.
Such programs may 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.
188.8.131.52.c Expulsion (Excommunication)
1. Some members of the Society who have previously been in good standing have subsequently deviated from the ISKCON standard and whereas such members by their bad conduct and character may damage the good name of the Society. In such cases, the GBC Body may, by a two third (2/3) vote of the members present expel any member of the ISKCON provided that:
a. The member is openly deviating from the fundamental tenants of the Society’s teaching.
b. The member is openly and flagrantly antagonistic to the GBC or other ISKCON authority.
c. The member is engaged in illegal activities.
2. In an extreme case, the GBC, by a two third (2/3) vote of the members present may issue a notice of non-participation. If such a notice is issued against an expelled member, such member shall not, in so far as possible, be allowed to participate in the functions of ISKCON. This law shall run concurrently with other disciplinary laws.(83)
3. The GBC has been designated by Srila Prabhupada as the highest ISKCON authority, and the final appellate power rests with that body in all ISKCON affairs.(79)
Someone who is excommunicated is prohibited from visiting the temple except expressly allowed to visit as a guest by the local authority. ISKCON devotees should avoid association with an excommunicated person except when authorized to preach to him for his rectification.
The subcommittee wished to emphasize that the above quoted laws provide a range of possible remedies to this dispute, and that the authority to apply the various remedies lie with the temple presidents (or other leaders of ISKCON projects) and the GBC Body.
It is the opinion of the subcommittee that if these already existing resolutions have not been effective in addressing the issues presented by the piracy and sale of Petitioners copyrighted material, any new resolution would undoubtedly be similarly ineffective.
Indeed, based on discussion with the parties and documents submitted as part of the record of this case, it became clear to the subcommittee that neither party was entirely relying on a GBC resolution as a complete remedy to this dispute.
The Petitioners informed the subcommittee that their expectation was that the Respondents would not follow any resolution, but that with the passage of a GBC resolution the Petitioners would then be free from the obligation to seek resolution of their dispute within ISKCON and could then pursue civil or criminal action against the Respondents.
With respects to the Respondents, the record clearly indicates a consistent disregard for the property rights of others, however enforced, which raises questions in the minds of the subcommittee as to whether the Respondents would follow any resolution passed.
While the subcommittee understands the necessity for clear action by the GBC on the issue of piracy and sale of copyrighted materials, we are also aware of the fact that such blatant disregard for GBC resolutions and/or the inability to effectively enforce GBC resolutions strike at the heart of the very authority which the GBC wields.
In addition, passing specifically drawn GBC resolutions has the indirect effects of inhibiting the application of the body of ISKCON law and adding to the burden of the GBC Body. Aggrieved parties will tend to seek the time consuming and labor intensive process of GBC legislation, rather than examine and apply the body of existing laws. Judicial systems in vibrant societies around the world depend on systems based on the application of existing laws followed by judicial review when necessary. To act in a contrary manner is neither advisable nor practical for ISKCON.
In addition to the already existing GBC resolutions and ISKCON Laws, it is the opinion of the subcommittee that the spiritual teachings and example of Srila Prabhupada provide ample and relevant guidance for all ISKCON members to recognize what constitutes unethical and illegal activity and to reject it. If the Respondents, or anyone, at the present time or in the future, represent themselves as representatives of Srila Prabhupada, then all ISKCON members should be capable of judging such persons and their activities against the standards give by Srila Prabhupada. The subcommittee believes that by encouraging the members of ISKCON to simply rely on specifically drawn GBC resolutions, while neglecting the development of the individual responsibility to understand and apply Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual teachings and example, serves to weaken rather than strengthen ISKCON.
After reading the initial submissions and rebuttals submitted by the parties, the subcommittee met with the parties and informed them of the subcommittee’s above described orientation. Upon hearing this orientation the Respondents submitted a proposed settlement and requested that the subcommittee present the proposal to the Petitioners. The subcommittee then discussed with the Petitioners the elements of a potential settlement with the Respondents. Petitioners rejected the Respondents proposal for two reasons. One, Petitioners felt that the proposal was based on a fundamental difference of understanding with respect to Petitioners’ legal rights to their copyrighted materials; and Two, Petitioners indicated that their past experience with the Respondents had undermined their trust in Respondents and thus any ability for them to establish a working relationship with the Respondents. Seeing no hope for mutual resolution of this dispute the subcommittee concluded its efforts to reach an agreement through mutual agreement of the parties.
Other Issues Raised
Although there is no question that the alleged piracy and sale of Petitioners copyrighted materials did take place, and that there is no basis for any decision by the subcommittee on this matter to the contrary, several issues raised in this dispute require some discussion.
Petitioners argue that intellectual property rights, and the national and international laws which protect and enforce such rights, should be embraced within ISKCON. In a statement prepared by the Petitioners at the request of the subcommittee the Petitioners state:
“A copyright, that is, the exclusive right to a work, is automatic upon the creation of a work. Nothing need be done at the creation of a work to bestow the copyright. A work is considered “created” when it is “fixed in a medium,” such as written down or recorded. A work is protected even if it has no notice on it. ISKCON recognizes these and other intellectual copyright principles outlined in the Berne Convention, and it subscribes to its rule and definitions. ISKCON recognizes the necessity for its members to be sold or distributed in its temples and affiliated properties. Although ISKCON has no apparatus to enforce existing copyright laws, if any abrogation of this standard is found, the offended parties are encouraged by ISKCON to prosecute to the full extent of the law.”
As stated above, the subcommittee believes that the existing GBC resolutions and ISKCON laws are fully applicable to the protection of intellectual property rights within ISKCON. However, as there is a perceived need to educate the members of ISKCON specifically with respect to intellectual property rights, the subcommittee includes this above statement as part of its resolution of this dispute, and notes that all members of ISKCON should abide by these strictures governing copyrighted works, including those who create copyrighted works, and those who purchase pirated versions of copyrighted works. Additionally, the subcommittee finds that unauthorized copying of any work, copyright protected or not, violates standard ethical behavior.
Respondents argue that media access to Srila Prahupada is being unduly restricted by the Petitioners. Their arguments point out what they perceive as the lack of the availability of Srila Prabhupada’s tapes and videos in areas of the world other than North America and Europe.
While the subcommittee appreciated that there may indeed be a lacking in the availability of various media access to Srila Prabhupada in some areas of the world, the subcommittee does not accept that the Petitioners are to be held culpable for this lacking. Respondents argue that Petitioners can be held culpable on the basis of their personal business abilities and finances. The subcommittee feels it inappropriate to make such judgments about the Petitioners personal business and finances. In any vibrant society individuals are responsible for the success or failure of their own endeavors. The subcommittee declines to dictate business practices to the Petitioners, but notes that Petitioners have responded to Respondents allegations by providing evidence and testimony that they are working to develop these markets. The subcommittee encourages the Petitioners to continually consider the ways and means to increase their effective distribution of medial of Srila Prabhupada.
However, the subcommittee does note that both the personal business abilities and finances of Petitioners are before the subcommittee in the context of these matters being hurt by the Respondents’ piracy and sale of their copyrighted materials. Thus, it is appropriate for the subcommittee to conclude that the Respondents have no right to claim the Petitioners should be making their materials more available in areas of the world in which they are currently being undermined by the piracy and sale of their copyrighted materials by the Respondents.
Finally, the subcommittee members have expressed concern over an issue which is admittedly beyond the scope of this dispute, but nonetheless in an issue the subcommittee feels is of importance to ISKCON. We raise the issue here as a question to be pondered by those members of ISKCON concerned or charged with perpetual protection of media of Srila Prabhupada. What is the most secure method to perpetually protect the media of Srila Prabhupada, specifically the film and video, so that it is available to ISKCON audiences for years to come?
The subcommittee makes the following recommendations to the GBC Body:
Based on the existing ISKCON Law relevant to this dispute as quoted above, the subcommittee believes its authority, and the authority of the GBC Body, to resolve this dispute to be ecclesiastical in nature. Thus, we find no authority to award financial restitution.
The subcommittee concludes that the Petitioners have satisfied their obligations under ISKCON Law 8.4.9 to pursue resolution of their dispute with Respondents within ISKCON, and are thus free to pursue any legal actions they deem appropriate to stop the illegal pirating of their copyrighted works.
ISKCON authorities, including the GBC Body, are advised to make themselves aware of their responsibilities under ISKCON Law as described herein above and to take appropriate steps according to ISKCON Law as described herein above to respond to the illegal activities of the Respondents.
Agreement Between Petitioners and Respondent
1. Brahmananda Prabhu and Gargamuni Prabhu (Respondents) agree to stop selling, distributing, and copying any copyrighted materials of the BBT, Bhaktivedanta Archives, ISKCON Television (Petitioners) on any ISKCON related properties, in any outside shops, kiosks, or other places in Vrndabana or elsewhere w/o a license agreement. They recognize the ownership of the respective copyrighted materials for BBT, Bhaktivedanta Archives and ISKCON Television. They agree to not challenge the copyright ownership of any of the Petitioners.
2. Petitioners agree not to make further requests that Respondents be evicted from the MVT as long as the terms of this agreement are being followed by Respondents.
3. Respondents agree to pull out all their stock from any stores in Vrindavan or wherever else already produced stock is situated and turn the inventory over to a representative of Petitioners.
4. Respondents agree to produce a written license agreement for bona fide materials within one week of the request by the copyright owner of any materials being sold by Respondents.
5. The MVT authorities, Temple President, or persons appointed by same, can inspect the premises, go-downs, and records of Respondents without any warning. If access is denied, it will be grounds for immediate enforcement of the measures described herein.
6. Petitioners and Respondents agree to the following restitution: Bhaktivedanta Archives agrees to accept _____________. ITV agrees to accept ______________. The satisfaction of all aggrieved parties is a pivotal settling point of this entire agreement. If, by May 30th, financial satisfaction has not been obtained by the aggrieved parties, then the agreement will be considered to have been violated.
7. While this dispute has been specifically limited to Petitioners, principles involving the violation of property rights have been outlined herein, and Respondents agree not to sell or distribute pirated works of Nectar Books, Krishna Vision, Vaiyasaki das, the pirated animated Ramayana, aka Prince of Light, producer, Yugo Sako, or any other ISKCON or non-ISKCON related pirated materials.
8. If any of the above-mentioned stipulations are violated, Respondents agree to voluntarily leave the MVT, and any ISKCON properties immediately. Respondents acknowledge that MVT officers will otherwise be obliged to follow the directives of ISKCON Law, i.e. the eviction of Respondents automatically follows if any of the above stipulations are violated.
9. Petitioners and Respondents agree that this agreement represents a complete settlement of their dispute and that as long as the terms of this agreement are followed by all parties, no further action, legal or otherwise, will be initiated against the other parties.
___________________ __________________ ________________
Brahmananda das Nrsimhananda das Yadubara das
Gargamuni das Ekanath das
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
The following is an open letter of apology to the entire Vaisnava community within ISKCON. We would like to very sincerely and humbly request the forgiveness from all of you for some serious mistakes we have made by our recent actions.
We request that you please understand our motivations. Although we were wrong to pirate Tapes, CD’s and the Bhaktivedanta VedaBase from the Bhaktivedanta Archives, VCD’s from ISKCON Television and BBT material, our motives were not purely financial. We sincerely wanted to see Srila Prabhupada’s teachings distributed as widely as possible. In the course of coming to an agreement in this matter we have been informed that Bhaktivedanta Archives and ISKCON Television are now making efforts to distribute media of Srila Prabhupada more widely. We welcome this development.
We realize that the methodology we used to accomplish this desire was wrong and apologize to the devotees whose services have been hindered by our careless actions, and we agree to reimburse them for losses they have incurred, per already agreed upon amounts.
We humbly beg the forgiveness of all those devotees who have been adversely affected by our improper activities. We understand that Srila Prabhupada is not pleased with our actions.
We encourage all devotees to respect the copyrights of other devotees and to not pirate anyone’s copyrighted work.
We have carefully read and fully agree to meet the terms of resolving this wrong
action of ours.
Your humble servants,