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“To say that Srila Prabhupada's clause restricting a GBC from removing a temple president unless the local members agree is the same thing as saying that temple presidents should be elected is really misrepresenting what the purpose of that particular clause is.”

      ISKCON NY Temple President

From left to right: Gunagrahi Goswami, Trivikrama Swami, Svavasa dasa (president ISKCON Los Angeles), and the author, Ramabhadra dasa (temple president of ISKCON New York). Behind them is the Chataka Parvat sand-dune in Jagannath Puri, India. Lord Caitanya once mistook this sand-dune to be Govardhan Hill in Vrindavan during a period of spiritual ecstasy.

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


TP's elected: Response to Narottama das
By Ramabhadra das, Temple President ISKCON New York

In Narottama dasa's article he accuses me of: a) wanting to make everyone believe Srila Prabhupada didn't want temple president's appointed by the electoral process, and b) feeling threatened as a temple president by such a process.

As a point of information for Narottama das I was elected as temple president of New York ISKCON ten years ago by an eight member temple council and that was later ratified by a nine member corporate Board of Directors. The local GBC at that time gave his approval also.

Most ISKCON temples that operate legally are doing it that way. That doesn't mean that every member of the temple has a vote or every congregation member either and it doesn't mean that every ISKCON temple follows such a system . Generally a small group of temple devotees come to a consensus on a fit candidate and they give their vote, approval, blessings, please use whatever term you like. If the temple has a legal Board of Directors acting as corporate officers they cast the final and legally binding vote in conjunction with the local GBC giving his blessings.

I have no problem with this type of appointment for temple presidents and GBCs also. 

Regarding the Direction of Management, what I presented is the Direction of Management in its entirety with the deletion of only the names and address of the thirty-six ISKCON temples existing at that time, so there is no information I am holding back for self serving purposes.

To say that Srila Prabhupada's clause restricting a GBC from removing a temple president unless the local members agree is the same thing as saying that temple presidents should be elected is really misrepresenting what the purpose of that particular clause is. Srila Prabhupada wants to protect the temple president's against unfair treatment by a new and superior ISKCON authority, the GBC. That particular clause is there only to allow others into the process in the case of a proposed temple president removal, to balance the scales of justice. Remember Srila Prabhupada stated the "the temple president is in charge of the center." He didn't state the GBC is in charge of the center.

According to corporate law the temple president and Chairman of the Board of Directors are the top officers. Srila Prabhupada wanted to protect the corporate office of Temple president, the legal corporate head.

I challenge Narottama das to quote from my letter to Chaitanya Chandra prabhu where I say that I don't accept what Srila Prabhupada established as a standard. I was only pointing out the inaccuracy in defining that clause to be evidence that temple presidents should be elected.

Below I am presenting an important quote from His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada on the length of term he expected from a disciple once appointed (elected if you choose) as a temple president.

"This constantly changing managers is not good. We shall develop more progressively by sticking in one place and working, not that one-week we have three presidents, that is not good. Our managers should be very responsible for developing their center to the topmost standard, why this restlessness? It is just like one man is holding government post by getting votes, so today or tomorrow or next day, but he will have to go out, then another man comes, then another, another--in this way, democratic system, no one becomes responsible for the welfare of the citizens, only they want to take for themselves as much as they can before they have to get out, so they do not take real interest in their duty. It is a little like that. My idea is that the leaders must agree to stick at one place, even they may have to remain their life-long, that is the ideal leader, one who is conscious of his duty." SPL to Hrdayananda Goswami Nov. 5, 1972

I hope this meets you in the best of health in this election year.

Your insignificant servant, Ramabhadra das New York ISKCON President

© CHAKRA 26-April-2000

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