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GBC members should only have zones in the area where they can have profound influence. The GBC representative should be from the local area.
Thoughts on the Reform Discussion
By Isvara dasa
Dharma Prabhu has touched upon serious points. It addresses some of the
thinking that has been going within the minds of the devotees who are not
gurus or who are neither Srila Prabhupada's direct initiated disciple but
has been in the movement for more than twenty years.
idea to have a group of individuals labeled “gurus” and another group
of individuals labeled “managers” within the ISKCON organization seems
speculative to me.
the history of Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the line of authorities was never vested
in the hands of the few people known as gurus. Rather it was always based
on spiritual advancement regardless if the person was a manager or guru.
six Goswamis didn’t have many disciples. For example, Srila Jiva Goswami
didn’t initiate any disciples, yet his authority superseded the
authority of other gurus. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Srinivasa
Acarya and Srila Syamananda Thakura all had different initiating spiritual
masters, but took the order of Srila Jiva Goswami, whom they all studied
under, to distribute the Gaudiya Vaisnava literatures, as their life and
in India, a traditional temple manager is generally known as “mahant”
and people address him as “Maharaja.” Temple attendants have
veneration for him whether or not he initiates disciples.
can we separate a spiritual authority from the temple manager? I feel that
this is speculative.
after a new devotee joins the temple, he undergoes some training under the
bhakta leader, sankirtana leader and temple president. After a year or
more, a guru recognized by ISKCON initiates the bhakta. Yet, even though
the day to day affairs of spiritual life is actually in the hands of the
temple authorities, the disciple may start to see his temple authorities
as a hindrance to his relationship with his guru. I have personal
experience that the guru may even tell his disciples that the temple
authorities are envious of the guru, undermining the temple authorities.
Since, as Prabhupada says, “familiarity breeds contempt,” the disciple
may then start to see the temple authorities more as material facilitators
for his temple life and the guru as the only means of spiritual
my humble opinion, to begin reform we need to implement the following:
have more suggestions, but that is enough for now. I’d like to hear the
opinions of other devotees along similar lines. It is time we do some soul
searching and find a common solution so we can be the spiritual movement
we are meant to be.
© CHAKRA 17-May-2000
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