Chakra Discussions

The Phoenix Temple: Reply to Dasarath

by Harivilas das

Posted March 20, 2009

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reply to Dasarath das. Having a balanced presentation permits the reader to judge for themselves.

It is unfortunate that Dasaratha dasa made a public display out of a private conversation. The issue is very simple. He tried to push someone as president of the Phoenix temple and got angry that he did not get his way. I told him that I will be happy to consider the devotee he suggested but was not prepared to make an appointment on the spot. I explained that I have never heard of this devotee and given the Phoenix temple's recent history of 3 presidents in 4 years, I am going to take the time to carefully choose and train the next president among any qualified candidates. My aim is to work with the local devotees and make sure that the next president has the confidence and trust of the congregation, follows KC principles strictly, and has the ability to work with devotees in a friendly and competent manner to inspire cooperation and insure growth of the temple. We need a steady management of the temple rather than a revolving door.

Significantly, Dasaratha was silent when I asked, "If this man is so good, why don't you engage him in Sedona for your project?" Since, I found out that the candidate is asking for a $3000 a month salary based on his credentials as a "good collector." Dasaratha forgot to mention this important detail. I can't help but wonder what else was not disclosed. Is the candidate also committed to collect for the Sedona project? What is the reason to push this person?

There is no dispute about Srila Prabhupada's model of a president, vice-president and secretary as officers of a temple.

The issue is whether the GBC should take the time to appoint the right person as temple president. Clearly, Dasaratha's request is unreasonable in that I would be remiss in my duties if I appointed a stranger as temple president without inquiry into his sadhana and consultation with the congregation. I explained to him that I learned from the quarrels I have seen in ISKCON at all levels of management that problem prevention is the best policy. That Dasaratha chooses to misconstrue this point by portraying me as disillusioned with ISKCON removes the discussion from the central fact that I am not one to get bullied into making an imprudent decision. If he chooses to get angry and use devotee websites to vilify me, so be it. Meanwhile, I wish him success with his project in Sedona.