Chakra Discussions

Enough Is Enough: a Call for Courageous Action

by Bala das

Posted June 22, 2006

Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Implied in what I just wrote is that we need to do what we can about those who seek to hide his glory due to their own need for aggrandizement in his name. Enough is enough. I will simply repeat what I have read and what you may easily confirm.

The website Dandavats.com declares: "While endeavouring to be ISKCON- and GBC-friendly, Dandavats.com does not officially speak for ISKCON or the GBC, but considers its independence to be of prime importance."

This statement comes from Praghosa dasa, the administrator of the Dandavats site, whose title is "ISKCON CCO."

What exactly is the nature of being the ISKCON CCO?

Originally, in 2001, the GBC established the role of Liaison Officer and sought applicants. Here is the description of that process:

Whereas, in 2001 the GBC passed the following legislation:

611. GBC Liaison Officer. Whereas, the GBC Body requires leading devotees focused on promoting goodwill and establishing trust; and 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; and 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 résumés of 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.

But they never found a Liaison Officer, so in 2005 they issued this statement:

Whereas, although this position [Liaison officer] was not filled, the need for cultivation of donors for the work of the GBC, including the various ministries, remains; And whereas, in addition to the need for cultivation of donors, there is also a pressing need for a senior devotee to coordinate and develop the activities of the Secretariat and the various ministries (these two functions could be effectively combined and performed by a single qualified individual);

Therefore, it is resolved that there shall be an International Chief Coordinating Officer (CCO) for ISKCON, functioning directly under the GBC Executive Committee, with a mandate to coordinate and oversee the functioning of the GBC Secretariat, ISKCON Ministries, and ISKCON Standing Committees; to raise awareness and understanding of GBC policies and service in ISKCON; and to identify, establish and cultivate donors to the GBC Body's work.

ISKCON CCO's shall serve for three-year terms, which may be renewed.

The GBC then had this to say about Praghosa Dasa:

420. Appointment of Chief Coordinating Officer [Action Order] Whereas Praghosh Prabhu, during his now-completed three years on the GBC Executive Committee, has shown a strong aptitude and commitment to administrative leadership in ISKCON and would be an excellent choice to head up ISKCON's international administrative wing;

Therefore it is resolved that Praghosa Dasa is appointed as CCO for the 2005-08 period. During the first year he shall make an in-depth study of ISKCON's international administrative functioning and the potential for raising funds for the GBC Body's work, and he is invited to suggest modifications to this resolution at the 2006 AGM.

Now consider that, as part of his vow — to raise awareness and understanding of GBC policy; to identify, establish and cultivate donors to the GBC Body's work; and to oversee the functioning of the GBC secretariat (which equates to supervisory power within the GBC) — Praghosa dasa has just begun administering a website, wherein he uttered those immortal words: "While endeavouring to be ISKCON- and GBC-friendly, Dandavats.com does not officially speak for ISKCON or the GBC, but considers its independence to be of prime importance."

Not only that, but just days after the launching of the site he has personally penned and signed his name to the "Statement on Behalf of the GBC Body About Dhanurdhara Swami," which was just reproduced on this website. The nature of this is certainly fodder for an entire article of its own, although truly nothing of substance was said in that blatant propaganda piece. I suppose that statement was not official and that Praghosa Dasa, Iskcon CCO, was only trying to be GBC/ISKCON friendly.

I do not know about anyone else, but it seems to me that these folks think you and I are either illiterate or stupid or both. If I could be insulted, I would be, but really, I am just sickened and sad.

If anyone believes that anything that meets the editorial policy and is printed on Dandavats will not be simply propaganda to make the GBC look good at the expense of the truth — despite all claims to being independent and, by implication, objective — then I would like to interest you in a little piece of earth and water called Radha Kund that I have for sale.

For this to be what the rest of the world sees as representative of Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON is where I take exception. Is there anything that can be done? Why do these people feel the need to resort to such contradiction and measures of hypocrisy — for funds? Is this a strategy to enhance their public image? I am blown away.

This is just about it. If there is no one in the GBC or ISKCON with the courage and determination to put a stop to this nonsense, I see a dark, dark future for ISKCON. How could it be otherwise? Someone needs to step in and replace these people before they do complete and irreparable harm to the spiritual lives of millions.

I think you know what time it is. Let's get this over with.