Chakra Discussions

GBC Let Sentiments Outweigh Common Sense

by Prithu das

Posted June 30, 2006

Lalita Madhava prabhu slightly misquoted me as stating recently that there had been a "consistent call for zero tolerance from a section of the GBC" but that "this section has been marginalized and drowned out by a powerful group of cronies."

That's not exactly what I said. What I did say was: "This section has been marginalized and at times drowned out by a powerful group of friends (an element on the GBC aptly described by Dhira Govinda prabhu recently as 'cronyism')". To name the personalities involved, as she requests, would not be good practice. It would make no difference anyway, except for my own peace of mind.

That Dhanurdhara Swami enjoyed the protection of powerful friends within the GBC, however, is well known by now, as is the fact that the GBC has been divided on this matter since 1997. Indeed, many calls within the GBC to deal with this matter responsibly were cast into the wind or in one case passed off by the then-Chairman as the words of "emotional rabble-rousers." (pamho text 3223370 06-May-00).

As for being "emotional," however, the truth is that sentimental loyalty to a friend was put above law and reason from the very beginning of the Dhanurdhara issue — strikingly similar to Arjuna's losing his sense of discretion as to dharma when seeing his friends on the other side (Bhagavad-gita, Chapter 1.)

In the ultimate analysis, as far as I am concerned, unless we separate the spiritual Guru/sannyasi service from the managerial service, we only perpetuate in some form or another the zonal-acarya system, with all its traps and trappings, while going nowhere.

It would be much preferred if temple presidents with a good track record — householders, who are natural managers and more in touch with the needs of family and children, anyhow — were allowed now to assume GBC responsibilities, supervising zones rather than single temples, .

Let the Gurus and sannyasis be what they are supposed to be: wonderful exemplars for the whole society in terms of enlightened discourses, simple and renounced lifestyles, travelling and preaching, while increasing their reliance on Krishna, as described in the prayer of the Avanti brahmana. Better to leave managerial matters, with its inbred politics and interaction with money, to those who are supposed to deal with these issues — the administrative class of men. If indeed we wantvarnashrama, the dharma needs to begin from the top.

We can't expect such changes overnight, and some of our members on the GBC will probably hang in there to the end. However, Krishna has been retiring members of the GBC since the very beginning of its existence; it is inevitable that the management of our society will evolve that way. May our own often unhappy history be the guide for future generations, and the present generation be replaced by another hopefully wiser and kinder generation than this one.

Since I myself had a fair share in all this mismanagement, it's only fair to be remembered as "just another brick in the wall," for whom I hope the devotees would please say a prayer.