by H.D. Goswami
Historical Moments for non-GBC Help
ISKCON’s history shows that at times in crucial situations, non-GBC devotees can
provide the impetus and logic needed to motivate and even guide the GBC Body. In the zonal
acarya issue, the Narayan Maharaja issue, and the abusive Gurukula issue, non-GBC devotees
powerfully brought the GBC’s and ISKCON’s attention to areas of vital concern, resulting in
essential, correction, compensation, and progress.
I believe that such a historical moment is upon us again—a moment in which good and
faithful ISKCON devotees, respecting Prabhupada’s GBC system, must petition the GBC to
correct a critical problem with ISKCON leadership, including the GBC itself.
Having served for many years as a GBC member, including four years under Srila
Prabhupada’s direct training, and one year as GBC chairman, and serving now as a loyal yet
concerned member of ISKCON, I here present my case to the loyal servants of Prabhupada, for
their sober consideration. My sincere desire is to strengthen Prabhupada’s GBC system, and not
to injure it.
Unity in diversity
In convoking the first annual Mayapura GBC meeting, which took place in 1974 [not
1975 as stated on the GBC website], Prabhupada clearly indicated that the GBC should govern in
cooperation with other senior devotees: “With all GBC and senior men present we should
discuss how to make unity in diversity. But, if we fight on account of diversity, then it is simply
the material platform. Please try to maintain the philosophy of unity in diversity. That will make
our movement successful.” [Letter to K Swami 18.10.73]
Accordingly, there must be dialogue between the GBC and senior devotees that disagree
with them on practical points, or that advocate reform within Prabhupada’s principles, as I do
here. After all, Prabhupada speaks of unity in diversity He knew there would be different views.
Prabhupada did not ask the GBC to eliminate bona fide diversity by punishing those who
disagree with them, but rather to search for unity in diversity with other faithful devotees.
Prabhupada’s Will and the GBC
The first article of Prabhupada’s final Declaration of Will states that “the Governing
Body Commission (GBC) will be the ultimate managing authority of the entire International
Society for Krishna consciousness.”
Prabhupada often warned his disciples not to follow the tragic example of the Gauḍīya
Maṭha which disintegrated because Prabhupada’s godbrothers did not follow their Guru’s order
to form a GBC.
“Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, at the time of his departure, requested all his
disciples to form a governing body and conduct missionary activities cooperatively. He did not
instruct a particular man to become the next acarya. But just after his passing away, his leading
secretaries made plans, without authority, to occupy the post of acarya, and they split
in…factions over who the next acarya would be.” [CC 1.12.8-10 Purport]
Prabhupada himself diligently developed the GBC system in ISKCON, after introducing
it in 1970. Given the dissolution of the Gauḍīya Maṭha, and Prabhupada’s personal crafting of
the GBC to prevent history from repeating itself, it is natural that ISKCON has always aimed its
radar at any possible challenge to the GBC system.
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