Chakra Discussions

Conflict Resolution Ends At Precisely 2pm

by Niscala dasi

Posted March 10, 2006

Lilasukha's summary of the most recent GBC meeting can give us genuine hope and promise of a bright future (presuming we were born yesterday or this morning...)

"He presented solutions to ISKCON conflicts which included: increased dialogue, taking advantage of ISKCON Resolve's services (mediation, arbitration, conflict analysis, ombudsmen's office), applying a tool called Polarity Management, allowing for diversity of opinions in many facets of ISKCON's views except the most core principles, and ultimately transcending our differences by chanting and taking prasadam together..."

Consider now Gumamai's experience at the ISKCON headquarters, as described in her article "Palm Trees Means Paradise":

"For a long time there has not been any room for discussion or consideration of the opinions and insights of other devotees who are not on the temple "Board". There are no Istagostis. Some peaceful devotees are afraid of expressing their views for fear that they might be asked to leave the temple. This is understandable as they simple want to do their service in the temple. So they keep quiet. Many others don't want make waves, thinking that even if they speak up it will make no difference anyway. I have been told so many times..."what is the use, "they" do what they want"."

Do the GBC hear these voices from the rank and file, or only those on the temple board who "do what they want " anyway? Isn't this what bureacracy is, and if so then we should not be alarmed? Srila Prabhupada warned us to avoid bureaucracy, as it will "finish ISKCON". The reason is clear from this example- concerns based solidly on guru sadhu and sastra are ignored when issued from those without position or title. Indeed, such concerns can lead to excommunication. Gunamai's experience is common: excommunication is a likely result of Braja Bihari's "diversity of opinion"

Yet that her position is based solidly on guru, sadhu and sastra is without doubt:

"I have heard S.P. say that all of his disciples should be independently thoughtful. I have always believed that if you see something wrong it is your duty to at least speak up. In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna tells Arjuna to fight for the sake of fighting without considering victory or defeat. Now, Arjuna was a peaceful man, certainly not one to want a war or violence, and he didn't want to disrespect his peers or have any disagreements with his friends, elders, teachers, relative etc. He would rather retire to the forest and meditate. In the end Krsna told him it was Maya, in the name of religion."

Will the GBC take seriously the concerns of the rank and file of LA temple and resolve the conflict in a Krsna Conscious way, with reference to guru sadhu and sastra, or will they just be sure that they have "lively discussions about it" that lead to nothing but most importantly finish up at 2.00 pm precisely?