Chakra Discussions

Elect our GBCs, by the Supersoul process

by Garuda das

Posted March 5, 2005

I would like to thank Gopal Bhatta prabhu for posting an outline of the Dallas meeting on the Chakra site.

Being friends with some of those present, and having discussed the basic points and opinions of the recent Dallas, Texas temple presidents' meeting, I am aware that many warmhearted devotees relished the hearing of the Lord's glories and ecstatic chanting of His holy names.

While each initiative team had indeed solidly worked over their individual agendas, an unexpected miracle occurred, as they brainstormed on individual subjects. Shining out of each team was an (unpronounced) natural leader or two.

It was an ecstatic, yet natural occurrence. I pray my evolutionary suggestion for the movement will be inspiring to the ultimate SSPT (Spiritual Strategic Planning Team), and may be seriously considered by the GBC to instill into the workings of our ISKCON.

Since the format of churning for ideas was introduced, we have recognized great unused potential in certain devotees. If we were to take it one step further and churn this society for its great (but covered-over) leaders to be circulated into leadership roles, it would encourage ISKCON devotees to be more active on all levels. In many townships there are Prabhupada disciples (not currently initiating gurus) who are more than qualified to increase the family of Srila Prabhupada by becoming initiating gurus.

Retiring some not-so-inspiring G.B.C. men/women, and replacing them with fresh, positive and greatly insightful devotees would likely meet resistance, but this type of transcendental 'democracy', in the mood of service and preaching, should be considered without envy, as it would allow more direct stimulation by the Supersoul from within the hearts of the devotees. What better way to guide this movement to its best future leaders?

This process would simultaneously rotate additional excitement into the upper levels and also help 'fire up' the rapid-expansion bliss-train of devotional service. Why are great devotees being sent home after using their ideas? Many great devotees are depressed with where the movement is. As if lying in wait, they are hidden among the rank and file devotees. They have immense preaching potential and organizational skills. If the current leaders do not sift them out and bring them to full potential, how can we inspire our movement toone has to do something.

When Srila Prabhupada's pleasure is put in the forefront of our society, so that each person is willing to fill any role, shifting from small or large or vice versa, to advance the movement, we will have a spiritual society full of enough synergy to deliver the whole universe, just as expansive as when Srila Prabhupada was alive.

I am sorry to say some devotees at this Dallas meeting -- being dissatisfied with a few of the current leaders -- simply shook their heads and said: "We'll have to wait until some of our leaders die of old age before Srila Prabhupada's movement will make any further progress."

My suggestion is merely an extended version of what the best leaders could think of to help the society progress -- or at least, quit digressing. Besides 'churning' for answers among its most active people, I'm suggesting that we also churn for a new circulation of leaders and additional gurus. The body of devotees can vote, because they can hear the Supersoul in the association of great souls. Each hemisphere can work this out. Many established GBC men/women will be elected to remain in their service; some will be voted out, to be replaced with more outstanding nominees.

It's a shame to just send great souls away after using their ideas. From my experience with such gifted people, not just their ideas, but their divine presence and animate being can properly inspire their divine input to manifest in the real world. Just look at Srila Prabhupada, a perfect example of this.

While churning for ideas in each team, if there was a simple vote held in each of these 14 initiative teams, to find out who the group thought were the clearest and most inclusively inspiring among them, though it will be tough for some to swallow, it may show that some of the 'old guard' leaders would not have made it to the final strategic planning team or, in this outline, a GBC post. For them, I hope it would be a blissful service to step aside. If not, it may be indicative of something wrong with the way our leaders are taking their position too personally, forgetting the humble way we would accept any order from Srila Prabhupada. These things should be discovered and uncovered for every positive reason.

Please don't take this as an insult; I do not mean that all of the current leaders are non-functional. The great majority of sannyasis, GBC and gurus in ISKCON are nothing less than a great blessing on our society, and I'm sure a churning for leaders will reflect this. It is clear, however, that some persons and their ideals among the current ISKCON leadership are incapable of inspiring the general mass of devotees. In my travels and services in many temples, I have often experienced firsthand this long-held gripe among lay devotees, that they long to hear answers to their personal distresses, but have felt ignored and swept under the carpet. Many of these devotees are great souls who have left. If we can fix something in our movement, maybe they will be inspired to come back. Just think how wonderful such a return into ISKCON would be!

I trained in ISKCON but -- out of a sincere desire to make a difference in the world -- had to leave and open a preaching center under the guru (a Prabhupada disciple) of a splinter group. This was after our local ISKCON temple president would chase away many people whom I had brought into the centre. Literally, he preached and drove people across the lawn of the temple as they ran away!

Disheartened over they way I observed women being mistreated, pushed away by bad local management and moved by compassion, I joined a splinter group outside of ISKCON. All I sought were blessings to open a preaching centre and reach out to people. We made many devotees and succeeded beyond the local ISKCON efforts until (after three years) they finally sent in some good management. Being non-envious, our temple sent the new people we had introduced, for training, association and initiation in good ISKCON temples, and later (due to good management) just closed down to merge our congregations.

From the late 90s to the present, this movement has matured somewhat. Now I'd like a serious attempt to please Srila Prabhupada with a 'second wind' in devotional service. Though I still find solid vestiges of the same crippled movement I had left, I am determined to try this time to serve ISKCON by making changes from within. I am certain that, if ISKCON cannot change, I'll have to leave once again, but work selectively with favorable ashrams to send trainees.

Srila Prabhupada's movement would benefit by incorporating top GBC resolutions that give far more facility for able devotees to make a positive difference. This can happen only if the current leaders enable a fresh Supersoul voting system for a new circulation of local and GBC (management) leadership roles, as well as a greater influx of more localized grhastha and woman (mahatma) gurus.

The wounded devotees would say something like: "A few albatross leaders hold back the movement by enforcing a sexist, close-minded, dogmatic, non-innovative and suppressive mold. Though their poison is subtle, it has proven enough to keep Srila Prabhupada's message from showering on the world." To depart from this old but constant grievance would be to incline our minds towards optimism. To be optimistic, we need something innovative to be hopeful about.

The general mass of "underdog" devotees have attempted without success to dispel this paradox that has sapped the vitality of our movement. However, concern and clear thinking can dispel the maya that previously has plagued ISKCON. Hidden in the hearts of great devotees who deserve to be circulated into the GBC,and given sanction to become initiating gurus are illuminating ideas which can help the movement truly prosper.

This small suggestion is posted here in the hope that you, the reader, may pass it on to HH Radhanatha Swami, HH Jayapataka Maharaja and other important GBCs and gurus who may have enough influence, intelligence and openness towards this subject to help make us all make a difference. Until a strong assembly at the topmost levels of importance (GBC) will hear it, pursue and act on it in the clear form of a resolution, many devotees who could try to help the movement will never stand up and be counted.

Imagine a movement with the best leaders, who are selfless, innovative, and ever-expanding in vigor, fueled by the true nature of bhakti. Imagine being a major world movement, but without even one soul in a leadership role for a wrong reason. Imagine having a system that ensured this for all time (well, at least for 10,000 years).

Some may say, "We have to protect all the ways that Srila Prabhupada established; I just don't trust others to do that," or say, "Maybe they'll make radical changes and it will all go to hell." Such speculation is unjustified. We've all been indoctrinated very well. We should trust Krishna and put faith in those whom the body of devotees has faith in, but we had better do it soon.

With future perils may come a compromised facility to expand Srila Prabhupada's movement. The hope for change I present here is an emergency intervention -- a hope that our leaders will finally awaken to some true leadership innovations and offer selfless resolutions to create a spiritual revolution in our movement and in this world.

If this is a valid subject to you, please send comments to garudadasa@yahoo.com I will share these combined quotes (pro and con) in a follow up article. Your statements, simple and profound are very much appreciated.

I have already received one quote from a very famous Prabhupada disciple, who says: "I think it will be automatic, if this process catches fire, that certain devotees will come to prominence who have been 'on ice' for some years."