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“I would ask that in the future the editors of CHAKRA carefully inspect each article to protect us from unnecessary anxieties caused by inaccurate claims. It seems the duty of CHAKRA's editorial staff is to act responsibly in this regard.”

      Temple president, New York

The debate: Should Temple Presidents be Elected?

CHAKRA wants to thank all the devotees who have contributed their time and thoughts to this debate. The debate is now over on CHAKRA, but we hope it has stimulated discussion and improved communication about these important issues in your local communities. 

Did Prabhupada want temple presidents elected?
Temple Presidents Elected?
Temple Presidents not to be elected - by Ramabhadra dasa
Response to Ramabhadra by Narottama dasa
Electing the temple president - issues behind the debate
TP Elect: Round Pegs in Square Holes? - by Krsnacandra dasa
TP's elected: Response to Narottama das - by Ramabhadra das
A President Can Only Be Changed by Vote - Chaitanya Chandra
My Impression of the TP Debate - Prananantha
Removal and Appointment of TPs - Jayapataka Swami
Prabhupada Favored Self-Sufficiency - Ranchor das
Elected by Members of the Center
Response to Jayapataka Swami
Prabhupada said: Elect the TP


Response to Presidents Elected Article
By Ramabhadra dasa

Chaitanya Chandra dasa's claim that Srila Prabhupada's "Direction of Management" document helps in establishing that local members should elect an ISKCON Temple President is not accurate.

Before I list below the pertinent references from "Direction of Management" I would ask that in the future the editors of CHAKRA carefully inspect each article to protect us from unnecessary anxieties caused by inaccurate claims. It seems the duty of CHAKRA's editorial staff is to act responsibly in this regard. Otherwise CHAKRA may become considered no better than a common Gossip Sheet.

"Direction of Management" is mostly concerned with naming the first ISKCON GBC and the Particulars of Function for the GBC and some references to the BBT. There are a few references to ISKCON Temple Presidents such as rules for removing a president and the guideline that the president's and secretaries should vote annually for GBC members. But nothing states that a President could or should be elected by the local members. Prabhupada does state however that a president can't be removed without the approval of the local devotees, maybe this is the cause of the confusion in Chaitanya Chandra Prabhu's article.

Below are all direct quotes from "Direction of Management" referring to Temple Presidents and GBC's.

"Direction of Management

I, the undersigned, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, disciple of Om Visnupada Paramahamsa 108 Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja Prabhupada, came in the United States in 1965, on September 18th for the purpose of starting the Krishna Consciousness Movement. For one year I had no shelter. I was traveling in many parts of this country. Then in 1966, July I incorporated the Society for Krishna Consciousness, briefly ISKCON. The lawyer was Mr. J. Goldsmith. Gradually the society increased, and one after another branches were opened. Now we have got thirty-four (34) branches enlisted herewith:

[Prabhupada lists 34 Centers with addresses- this is too long to include here.]

As we have increased our volume of activities, now I think a Governing Body Commission (hereinafter referred to as the GBC) should be established. I am getting old, 75 years old, therefore at any time I may be out of the scene, therefore I think it is necessary to give instruction to my disciples how they shall manage the whole institution. They are already managing individual centers represented by one President, one secretary and one treasurer, and in my opinion they are doing nice. But we want still more improvement in the standard of Temple management, propaganda for Krishna Consciousness, distribution of books and literatures, opening of new centers and educating devotees to the right standard. Therefore, I have decided to adopt the following principles and I hope my beloved disciples will kindly accept them.

There was a meeting in San Francisco during the Ratha-Yatra festival 1970 and many presidents of the centers were present. In that meeting it was resolved that an ad hoc committee be set up to form the constitution which is taken into consideration. My duty was to first appoint twelve (12) persons to my free choice amongst my disciples and I do it now and their names are as follows:

1) Sriman Rupanuga Das Adhikary
2) Sriman Bhagavandas Adhikary
3) Sriman Syamasundar Das Adhikary
4) Sriman Satsvarupa Das Adhikary
5) Sriman Karandhar Das Adhikary
6) Sriman Hansadutta Das Adhikary
7) Sriman Tamala Krsna Das Adhikary
8) Sriman Sudama Das Adhikary
9) Sriman Bali Mardan Das Brahmacary
10) Sriman Jagadisa Das Adhikary
11) Sriman Hayagriva Das Adhikary
12) Sriman Krsnadas Adhikary

These personalities are now considered as my direct representatives, while I am living they will act as my zonal secretaries and after my demise they will be known as Executors.

I have already awarded Sannyas or the renounced order of life to some of my students and they have also got very important duties to perform in this connection. The Sannyasis will travel to our different centers for preaching purpose as well as enlightening the members of the center for spiritual advancement. The Sannyasis will suggest for opening new centers in suitable places and the GBC will take action on it.

As was stipulated by the ad hoc committee, the function of the GBC will be as follows with particulars: PARTICULARS OF THE GOVERNING BODY COMMISSION  "The purpose of the Governing Body Commission is to act as the instrument for the execution of the Will of His Divine Grace.

And further,
1. The GBC oversees all operations and management of ISKCON, as it receives direction from Srila Prabhupada and His Divine Grace has the final approval in all matters.

2. His Divine Grace will select the initial 12 members of the GBC. In the succeeding years the GBC will be elected by a vote of all Temple presidents, which may also include any secretary who is in charge of a Temple. Those 8 with the greatest number of votes will be members for the next term of GBC. Srila Prabhupada will choose to retain four commissioners. In the event of Srila Prabhupada's absence, the retiring members will decide which four will remain.

3. The commissioners will serve for a period of three years, and they may be re-elected at the end of this period.

4. The chairman is elected by the GBC for each meeting. He has no veto power, but in the event of a vote tie, his vote will decide. The same will apply for vote's cast by mail between particular meetings.

5. Throughout the year, each of the commissioners will stay with His Divine Grace for one month at a time and keep the other commissioners informed of His Divine Grace's instructions.

6. The primary objective of the GBC is to organize the opening of new Temples and to maintain the established Temples.

7. Advice will be given by the GBC in cases of real property purchases, which will be in the name of ISKCON, Inc. (Trucks or other vehicles will be purchased in the name of the local president.)

8. Removal of a Temple president by the GBC requires support by the local Temple members.

9. The GBC has no jurisdiction in the publication of manuscripts, which will be handled by a separate committee; profits to be returned to Srila Prabhupada."

"So far my books are concerned, I am setting up a different body of management known as the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. The trustees of this body are also members of the GBC, but their function is not dependent on the GBC.  ISKCON Press was created for the exclusive publication of my books and literatures and should be continued in that way.  During my absence no one shall live in my apartment."

Dated: July 28th, 1970 

Signed by: A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

I hope this sheds some light on the inaccurate reference in Chaitanya Chandra Prabhu's article.

Your insignificant servant,
Ramabhadra dasa
New York ISKCON President

© CHAKRA 11-April-2000

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