Questions for the GBC
Posted March 1, 2007
I offer my most respectful obeisances to all devotees of the lord and my questions are strictly managerial and not personal. All glories to Srila Prabhupada, ISKCON and the GBC. Please forgive me for any offenses but these questions have been hounding me for years and without any answers, myself and many others are beginning to lose faith in the GBC. I have decided to keep myself anonymous for now as I am addressing some very sensitive issues in these questions as I expect hatred from fanatical followers within ISKCON. I hope these genuine concerns are made public as I would like to see some discussions on these topics. I recommend an open debate on each of these topics to make ISKCON a better place for all devotees of the lord. Debates should be more on principles than personal even though sometimes personals are used to establish principles.
- Why are sanyasis allowed to remain sanyasis if they are accused of
child abuse in any form? It's in the best interest of their spiritual lives
and others that they remain humble devotees by not accepting any form of
external position such as sanyasis. Pure Devotional service is beyond these
designations. GBC needs to set an example of impartiality. Well wishers and
friends of such accused devotees should not be allowed to participate in
such decision making causing conflict of personal interest.
- Why are sanyasis like Satswarup Das allowed to remain a sanyasi
after his association with a woman setting a wrong precedent for future
sanyasis. Why cant he remain a humble brahmacari and carry on his spiritual
life. Where is a standard policy from the GBC for such fall downs of
sanyasis ? If there is, then it should be discussed through a
debate. Consider Lord Caitanya and chota Hari Das pastime.
- Why aren't financial statements of all ISKCON leaders, including
presidents, Gurus and Sanyasis made public. There are Presidents who have
big bank balance and are still drawing big salaries from ISKCON temples.
Where is a standard policy as far as remuneration and salaries for temple
presidents ? Why one temple is offering $50000 a year and another nothing ?
There is need for standards, qualifications etc of this position.
- Why are sanyasis allowed to have bank accounts and personal assets?
Why don't they set the example for the common devotees by surrendering their
assets and moneys to the GBC or local temples? Some say oh they don't have
enough faith in ISKCON leaders. So how expect for its members to have faith
if the leaders don't? All sanyasis should follow the example of H.H.
Radhanath Swami Maharaj who is perfectly following his sanyas dharma by
living simply in the temple room, not trying to control money, having big
bank balance and assets in their own name. Is the GBC enforcing simplicity,
renunciation and detachment among the sanyasis through its managerial
- All worship in ISKCON must be strictly offered to Srila Prabhupada.
Why is the GBC still allowing personal worship of ISKCON Gurus in ISKCON?
What is the standard of worship acceptable for ISKCON Gurus? There are Gurus
in ISKCON who accept offerings of flower petals and Kirtan for themselves
everytime they visit their followers and well-wishers. What is the need for
such public adoration? A leader can be equally well received by one garland
of flowers and some prasadam followed by a lecture which will be more
healthy and spiritual productive for all its members. In my humble
opinion No ISKCON Gurus, to protect their own spiritual lives and avoid
criticism from envious God brothers, must accept any form of worship within
ISKCON but it's their responsibility to train their well wishers to offer
such worship to Srila Prabhupada. Emphasis must be given more to hearing and
chanting than some external show of worship and recognition by fanatical
followers and well wishers. ISKCON is a society for broad minded people and
such fanaticism could be devastating and unhealthy for its members causing a
situation to create unnecessary envy, criticism, competition etc. Therefore
it's the duty of the GBC to set standards for all leaders of ISKCON as far
as honoring them in public. I personally think that the GBC needs to make
strict policy towards such worship of ISKCON gurus. Again emphasis must be
more on hearing and chanting rather than some external show of false
sentiment creating fanaticism among fanatical followers. Worship and
recognition of Srila Prabhupada in ISKCON will help prevail Prabhupada
consciousness in ISKCON, otherwise creating unhealthy competition between
ISKCON Gurus and Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada disciples and Grand
disciples, the liberals and the conservatives.
- Why are Gurus and sanyasis allowed to act independently of the GBC?
All Gurus and sanyasis must be accountable to a local authority designated
by the GBC in consultation with local authorities, which must publicly be
advertised. All members in ISKCON must know who is accountable to whom
locally so issues can be addressed to the right authority and there is
checks and balance. We have seen that powers and positions of public leaders
can often go unchecked.
- Think globally and act locally. Why are some GBCs allowed to act
globally and think locally? I have seen no advertisement from the local GBC
for more devotees to be involved. I find Most GBC members in ISKCON to be
quite apprehensive about involving devotees they are not friends with or
know them personally. Why is the GBC not openly advertising for young people
to come forward to join the GBC for their future training? It seems like
most GBC tend to encourage their own associates to be part of such positions
such as Temple Presidents and other managerial positions. In the last few
years I know there were two temples in the US where the temple president ran
away with thousands of dollars leaving the temples in deep financial crisis.
Is the GBC publicly taking responsibility for such mismanagement? Where
is the screening process, checks and balance of such corrupt leaders and
appointment of corrupt presidents and sanyasis?
- Why are Gurus and sanyasis allowed to keep Guru dakshina and
donations from their followers for themselves? Why is the GBC not setting up
a policy in this regard? If there is a policy then such policy must be made
public. Suggestion: All Gurus and sanyasis must give at least 50 % (100 %
will be ideal) of whatever financial gain they make to their local temples.
Gurus seem to be using Srila Prabhupada temples as their source for
collecting funds from well wishers and followers through initiation and
personal influence. It is also natural that a follower has more affection
for his or her Guru but then it's the Gurus responsibility to turn in the
laksmi to local temples so they don't always remain broke. Due to the GBC
mismanagement or no management temples are broke and most Gurus are rich.
The GBC needs to strictly implement a clear financial policy between the
Gurus and temples.
- Where can you find such GBC resolutions so devotees like me can refer and address them to proper authorities when they are not being followed.
YS vaishnav das anudas
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