Chakra Discussions

Managers Require Both Testing And Training

by Raga devi dasi (Alachua, Florida)

Posted December 18, 2007

I couldn't agree more with the short article "Psychological Testing Needed for Temple Offices" featured the other day by Alice Ahola from Finland. Unfortunately for all of us, ISKCON has known much abuse -- and not of children alone; many adults have experienced it as well.

Due to overly intense managers who really abused their rank and power, or whose priorities were mostly on externals and "performance" and little else, many of us adults who have lived in temples are now very disappointed and "walking wounded" also. Others have simply dreaded surrendering ourselves fully to managerial discretion, knowing how harsh and biased it can sometimes be. Still, there's another side to all of this.

Understanding karma, its pervasiveness, its exactness and how it works, and living in a temple while chanting Hare Krishna may immensely expedite the burning off of our karma -- making very uncomfortable situations. We can meet our own dark sides or dark sides from prior lives in an abusive manager or right at the temple Krishna can arrange to balance an account or debt we had to someone else. This thought, I believe, was held by my brilliant guru-maharaja HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami.

I nevertheless think that Bhaktin Alice came up with an excellent suggestion. Some psychological testing should be done, and also some training, as is the system of varna-ashrama dharma anyway. All I'd like to add to this is that we should be sure to remember the basics. The material world is a struggle for existence and a place of envy. Temples are meant to be spiritual embassies but don't always accomplish this.

Managers have a lot of grief too; it's not all glamour and glory. I can't imagine the burdens some of them take on. Then, too, if we have a strong preaching spirit, sometimes we're literally being kicked away from a temple by Krishna Himself -- wanting to situate us in a place we can be of much more service and impact.

May Bhaktin Alice forgive my presumptions, but I hope she will consider these factors also. Just as important, we ought not to hide away in a Hare Krishna temple and then complain. Prabhupada's mission also needs outside, visible devotees who will take up his torch in the secular world.

Above all, let's not forget that before taking a guru and serving him or her, one's karmic fan is still plugged in and spinning at full force. Seeing things clearly as they are requires a full cleansing of our consciousness. This is still my aspiration after 22 years of chanting Hare Krishna: to read and chant more and to beware of finding fault unnecessarily.

I hope Alice prabhu will elaborate on her suggestion. If devotees want to correspond with me on this topic, they may do so at ragadasi@yahoo.com.