Some rules and duties for the Governing Body Commissioners of ISKCON, as enunciated by Srila Prabhupada Himself in His 5000 plus letters.

Here are some rules and duties for the Governing Body Commissioners of ISKCON, as enunciated by Srila Prabhupada Himself in His 5000 plus letters. These and more can be found here in my “Prabhupada Glossary and Info” under “GBC” entry https://krishnaculture.org/srila-prabhupada-glossary-and-information-a-vast-storehouse-of-transcendental-information-february-2018/

 

The first few quotes mostly stress that a Governing Body Commissioner must be an ideal Vaishnava, strictly following all rules and regulations of devotional life as defined by Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of Iskcon. Srila Prabhupada expresses his confidence that if these conditions are fulfilled then “everything will be all right”.

 

The GBC should personally observe strictly all the rules and regulations and they should become the practical example to others. Then everything will be all right. Then there will be no fear of being victimized by maya.740905Let.BaliMardan

 

and

 

GBC means that one must be ideal Vaisnava. That means there must be strict observance in following all the rules and regulations. This is your main responsibility, and then to see that all others are following strictly. Then everything will be all right.740906Let.Jagadisha

 

and

 

 

As GBC your first responsibility is to keep yourself spiritually fit and see that all the devotees in your zone of management are chanting 16 rounds, rising early and strictly avoiding the sinful activities. If they are doing this, then management will be at your finger’s end.740604let.Hrdayananda

 

and

 

There are so many devotees there in your zone. So, you must see that every one of them is chanting at least 16 rounds daily and observing our rules and regulations strictly. Keep everything nicely in this way. This is the duty of GBC, to see that all of our members are becoming fixed in Krishna’s service. 750112Let.Jagadisha

 

Srila Prabhupada expects the GBC to act at the least as a siksa guru. Today some GBCs are also diksha gurus:

 

This is the function of the GBC, to see that one may not be taken away by maya. The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am in the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want. 750804Let.Madhudvisa

 

and

 

Regarding your four questions, I am replying them one by one. But these things should not be asked until you have first of all asked them to the GBC men. Whatever they say you should accept, but if they cannot satisfy you, then you may ask. 721214Let.Vishvambhara

 

Therefore they must be very competent in the Krishna consciousness philosophy by hearing Srila Prabhupada regularly:

 

Yes, as a Sannyasi and GBC your first duty is to read my books. Otherwise how will you preach? In order to remain steadily fixed in Krishna consciousness there must be a sound philosophical understanding. Otherwise it will become only sentiment. Whenever you find time please read my books. 760105Let.Satsvarupa

 

and

 

All of the leaders should study my books very carefully, since now everyone will have to appear for the examination. 760122Let.Jayatirtha

 

 

 

As far as practical management is concerned, Srila Prabhupada expects the GBC to know everything going on in his zone, just as a business owner is aware of all things happening in every nook and corner of his business.

 

You mention that you are no longer much occupied with seeing that the rent and mortgage is paid and that the incense is sold, but GBC means to be occupied with everything in the zone. It is not that now we are preachers we can neglect all other points. No, the GBC member is supposed to know everything and anything about the condition and situation of all matters within his jurisdiction. That is the meaning of secretary. So because we are engaged in many fields of activity I am especially relying upon that knowledge of my GBC assistants and secretaries to manage everything properly. But if we do not take time to understand how the financial matters are going on, then at any moment we may experience some calamity due to our inattention to these matters. Therefore, you should try to keep yourself always informed how the financial matters are improving and keep your watchful eye on every feature of our Krishna Consciousness activity. That is also part of preaching work. I am also preaching daily. But I am at the same time managing everything, seeing the statements of accounts, going to the bank, giving advice on every topic, like that. Just now I have purchased one apartment house with seven apartments just adjacent to the L.A. temple and very soon we shall invest in similar properties. So practically there is no question of my neglecting the financial matters of the society, and similarly, you shall do as I am doing. That is your real business. 720701Let.Satsvarupa

for that purpose the GBC must visit periodically the different temples in his jurisdiction:

 

Our GBC members should always visit the different temples to see that everything goes on well, and to see that the management is being done very nicely. 741218Let.Rupanuga

 

 

He also expects him to make broad program “for implementing Krishna consciousness” and be the best Laksmi collector:

 

As GBC member it is your duty to carefully make broad program for implementing Krishna consciousness in every sphere of life, in this way we will become respected as the most important members of human society. 730506Let.Hansaduta

 

 

Yes! Hrsikesananda Maharaja may collect money for Vrindaban, that will be nice. But I notice that you are to collect one Lakh only, how is that? You are GBC so you should collect more than the others, you should collect the highest amount. 730808let.TamalKrishna

 

But no politics please:

 

he is the GBC man in that zone, and he is the best man to come there immediately and see what is the situation and do the needful. Of course I do not know what are the facts, but I have seen that you have done very nicely there, so far I know. And no one has made complaint to me. So maybe there is a little fighting amongst yourselves, that is natural, but you are advanced disciple, don’t be disturbed by these things. Actually I want that householders shall manage in the temples, because they have got propensity to manage things and they want to take responsibility and they will not go away. Brahmacari, householder, it doesn’t matter, but householders are doing nicely all over the world, why the others shall resent householders in your temple? That is not reason. This attitude of changing this, changing that, if there is some small thing to make it something very great, changing the leaders three every week—these things are going on, I know. This is not at all good attitude, that if by adjustment, this and that, changing everything, I may create the perfect combination and everything will be all right. I am more impressed if someone has opened one centre and that he has stayed there tightly and developed nicely, not going away whimsically. So you have been leader at New Orleans temple for long time, you are the pioneer there, so why you should be whimsically discharged? Only the GBC man shall be able to make these changes, not any so-called secret meeting of devotees. Why they have misunderstood these things? If they have objection they must lodge it with their GBC, and differences must be discussed openly amongst ourselves, not secret meetings. We are Vaisnava devotees, not politicians. So these things must be stopped, plotting. Your merit stands far above theirs, you have done some tangible work to please me by spreading this Krishna Consciousness message in New Orleans, that is the test. Let them do something first, then we shall see what is their criticism. Simply criticizing and no work, that is the business of inferior men. So do not be disturbed by them, go on with your work, increasing more and more. Never mind the jackals howl. 721125Let.Nityananda

in this letter extract we also note that Srila Prabhupada condemns as “inferior men” those who criticize for the sake of it and do not contribute significantly to the preaching mission:

 

Your merit stands far above theirs, you have done some tangible work to please me by spreading this Krishna Consciousness message in New Orleans, that is the test. Let them do something first, then we shall see what is their criticism. Simply criticizing and no work, that is the business of inferior men. So do not be disturbed by them, go on with your work, increasing more and more. Never mind the jackals howl. 721125Let.Nityananda

 

 

As far as the principle of obedience to the GBC, Srila Prabhupada is unequivocally clear. I suppose the same principle applies in all concerns:

 

The point is that in any society there must be a leader, there must be directors, and there must be workers, but everyone should be so satisfied that they forget the difference. Journey of self-discovery 7.2. Shortcomings of Marxism

 

So far your question, how far should the orders of my duly appointed officers like GBC, etc., be obeyed and followed, the answer is that they must always be followed exactly as he says. Have you not heard me on this point? Why these questions are repeated again and again? This individual begging must be stopped. So many questions, it’s not good at all. This question-begging is going on, even some of the important men are doing like that, that I know. So how I can say your question from here? I do not know what you are trying to do by such question. Of course, my authorities and so-called officers, they sometimes also order in such a way that everything becomes topsy-turvy. So you may write to me your grievance—what can I do?—but meanwhile you must follow him exactly whatever he says. If there is complaint, I can make adjustment later. But first of all you must without hesitation obey. It is something like the appealing to the higher court if one is not satisfied by decision of the lower court. 721213Let.Jayadharma

 

and

 

Please accept my blessings. Yesterday my secretary received a telephone call from you indicating that everything was mended between yourself and Gurukrpa Maharaja, and then today he received a call from Gurukrpa Maharaja saying that the both of you were not cooperating. So what am I to do? I have appointed Gurukrpa Swami the GBC for Japan and for now at least it will be necessary to comply with him. He has suggested that you leave Japan while waiting for the reply from the S. Korean embassy there, so you can please comply with his request. He suggested one island called Okinawa where you could go for the time being, and if that is not possible then you should come here to me in Hawaii. In any case, for whatever reasons Gurukrpa Maharaja has requested like this and he is delegated GBC by me, so follow this course of action for the time being so that things can go on peacefully in Japan, as you know it is a very touchy situation with the government, and being GBC, Gurukrpa Swami is given sanction by me to develop the program along guidelines which he can choose. 760516Let.Trivikrama

 

And finally here is a nice statement about the accountability of the GBC members:

So Vidura was Yamaräja. Not only he was Yamaräja, ordinary, but he is one of the great authorities. There are twelve authorities mentioned in the shästra. One of them is Yamaräja. Balir vaiyäsakir vayam. This is stated in the Srimad-Bhägavatam. Yamaräja is one of the GBC of Krishna. Yes. As we have got twelve GBCs, similarly Krishna has got twelve GBCs. Now,

svayambhür näradaù çambhuù
kapilo kumäraù manuù
prahlädo janako bhéñmo
balir vaiyäsakir vayam
[SB 6.3.20]

That twelve men are authorized to preach Krishna consciousness. So we have to follow. Mahäjano yena gataù sa panthäù [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. There we have created these GBCs. So they should be very responsible men; otherwise, they will be punished. They will be punished to become a südra. Although Yamaräja is a GBC, but he made a little mistake, he was punished to become a südra. So those who are GBC, they should be very, very careful to administer the business of ISKCON. Otherwise they will be punished. As the post is very great, similarly, the punishment is also very great. That is the difficulty. You can see from this example, Vidura. He was immediately punished. He did little mistake at Mandüka… Because the rsis, the munis, they will curse. Dealing is very… Even Yamaräja is not taking.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada, the shelter of the world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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