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“Does he mean to say that Srila Prabhupada didn't say what Caitanya Candra quotes him as saying?”

NAROTTAMA DASA


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 Ramabhadra
By Narottama dasa

In response to Ramabhadra's article, I wanted to mention that the dynamic he's using here is the same dynamic used in dealing with the jiva issue. That is that Prabhupada clearly said that temple presidents should be elected. Prabhupada said it in black and white as he also said that, 'no one falls from Vaikuntha'. Yet Ramabhadra is trying to make policy that Prabhupada didn't want it. The fact is that in many cases there are many sides to the issue. Prabhupada didn't want us to get caught up in these issues at the cost of our pursuit of Krsna consciousness. But it is unfortunate that people want to change Prabhupada's message for various reasons.

It may be that Ramabhadra feels threatened by the concept that temple presidents should be elected. Indeed, he offers a correction to CHAKRA to 'protect us from unnecessary anxieties caused by inaccurate claims.' Does he mean to say that Srila Prabhupada didn't say what Caitanya Candra quotes him as saying? Srila Prabhupada clearly said something and it appears that Ramabhadra is trying to get around it by word jugglery.

To further elaborate this point if we read the selection that Ramabhadra has provided from Srila Prahupada's 'Direction of Management', there is nothing that Prabhupada wrote that contradicts any of Caitanya Candra's points, nor does it support Ramabhadra's point. For example, in 'Direction of Management' SP writes, "8. Removal of a Temple president by the GBC requires support by the local Temple members." That seems to give quite a bit of support to Caitanya Candra's point and not conversely.

In addition Ramabhadra makes it out that it is Caitanya Candra's, "inaccurate reference/claim". If we re-read Caitanya Candra's article we'll see that it isn't Caitanya Candra's personal reference to 'Direction of Management', rather Caitanya Candra quotes a letter wherein Prabhupada references the 'Direction of Management' document. Prabhupada himself wrote a letter that supports Caitanya Candra's point by referencing the 'Direction of Management' document. All Caitanya Candra is doing is questioning, 'What happened to this practice of voting in temple presidents? Why aren't we doing it now if that's what Prabhupada wanted (which appears quite clear)?' Ramabhadra's reply seems to simply voice his disagreement with the idea, trying to support it by something that gives more support to Caitanya Candra.

I think this is an interesting dynamic and I think it is something we need to be more aware of in ISKCON. The dynamic being that if someone brings up something that Prabhupada wanted us to do which we aren't doing, we should try to incorporate that no matter how painful it is. Otherwise it seems to be symptom of desiring nectar in the beginning, which leads to pain in the end. Note how the reference Ramabhadra cites from Prabhupada brings up quite a few other things Prabhupada wanted that we don't do. Maybe this dynamic has something to do with the state of affairs in ISKCON today?

I hope this meets the Vaisnavas well and if anyone would like to contact me you can do so at <Narottama@usa.com>.

Your servant,

Narottama dasa

© CHAKRA 23-April-2000

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