The GBC insist on blind obedience:
A response to Malati
Posted March 12, 2004
While browsing through some old CHAKRA submissions, I came across a response to an article I wrote, posted by Malati Prabhu, which I had never noticed before, so that is why this response is extremely belated...my apology to her for that.
Malati quoted: When Srila Prabhupada designated the GBC as the "ultimate managerial authority" in ISKCON, he did not expect us to follow them blindly, as is currently presumed.
Malati responded: Could you precisely explain where this archaic attitude is still presumed?
In the GBC itself. They assume blind obedience, and indeed insist upon it, by changing what were once resolutions into laws (see ISKCON law book). Thus they have become a legislative and punitive board, rather than a body which is supposed to reflect Srila Prabhupada's intent of creating in ISKCON independently thoughtful persons of ideal character, inspiring through example and reason, rather than through fear.
It is clear therefore that the GBC cannot be considered a brahminical board; it is at best managerial, but it is not comprised of ksatriyas either, as they would encourage the pursuit of the brahminical class to offer truthful, be it critical, feedback to their administration. Rather, our history is that when truthful and thoughtful feedback was offered to the GBC, it was considered a big threat and the brahman offering it through his hard labor of study and courage of character was severely punished. And so it goes on. The same laws are in place which have the rajoguna root-rot: controlling whom one may take initiation from, whom one may listen to, what one may read, what one may say, one's opinions, one's faith and so on. They no longer arise out of our God-given sense of justice and reason, but out of GBC law. Unity in diversity, though the very policy that Srila Prabhupada wanted to be the topic of every GBC meeting, has been the anti-thesis of every outcome. The result is that if one disobeys the laws strictly uniforming everyone to the "standards" of the law book, there are heavy consequences, such as removal from service and position, restriction from access to temples, banning of one's literature, slander and excommunication.
The result is that intelligent people take their freedom to think elsewhere and we have an ongoing exodus from ISKCON. They should all be invited back, and their so-called heretical ideas challenged only by the light of sastra. If they are deluded, sastra will show them to be so, or it may be that it is our own ideas that are deluded. Either way it is good, as we come closer to the path of the Absolute Truth. Pride that we have the monopoly on that truth, illusion that ISKCON is an external thing, and fear that Krsna has not the ability to hold things together if we give up all desire for control over others are the real threats to our society, not an Indian holy man. In the words of our own holy preceptor, "ISKCON can only be destroyed from within..."