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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
said: Elect the Temple President
By Aravinda das
to Jayapataka Swami, Srila Prabhupada wanted the temple president
to be selected by the GBC man, not elected by the temple devotees. But if
that is true, what did Srila Prabhupada mean when he wrote the following?
examples are all taken from the letters quoted in other articles in this
to Jayapataka Swami, Srila Prabhupada must have meant to say I am glad you
have been elected, but actually you should have been selected by the GBC
is not according to Jayapataka Swami.
Srila Prabhupada is defending a devotee chosen by election. Please note,
Prabhupada is telling the GBC man not to interfere. The GBC man was trying
to impose his selected man.
we now have Jayapataka Swami telling us that Srila Prabhupada did not want
election of temple president, but selection by the GBC man. That idea,
namely selection of the temple president by the GBC man, appears to me to
contradict what I understand Srila Prabhupada says in this letter.
can be clearer than this? Srila Prabhupada is saying to the GBC man that
this person has been chosen by the vote, so he should not oppose him. I
find it surprising in the light of this that Jayapataka Swami says that
Srila Prabhupada wants the GBC man to select the temple president. Srila
Prabhupada is saying explicitly here that the GBC man may not interfere
with the choice of the temple devotees, as expressed through their vote.
appointing a new temple president is mentioned right in this letter by
Srila Prabhupada: “He has been chosen by the vote"
where does Jayapataka Swami get the idea of voting being for removal only?
This letter makes it clear that Srila Prabhupada supported election of the
temple president. Srila Prabhupada is emphatic in this letter that the
local GBC man should not interfere with the elected temple president.
has been appointed treasurer and secretary? The president, secretary and
treasurer elected by the members of the center cannot be changed at least
for one year; better to continue it for three years.” (Letter to
Jayapataka Swami, 24th August, 1971)
the above letter was written by Srila Prabhupada to Jayapataka Swami
Srila Prabhupada again says that the president who is elected by
the devotees cannot be changed. I don’t understand how Jayapataka Swami
can say that Srila Prabhupada didn't say that local devotees should elect
their temple president. He did. In fact he says this in the above letter
from Srila Prabhupada to Jayapataka Swami.
another letter dated 29th September, 1974, Srila Prabhupada wrote to
can we please be clear about this? Srila Prabhupada says that a president
can only be changed by vote. That means, if you want to change the temple
president, you have an election.
of these letters are the ones quoted in previous articles. They show Srila
Prabhupada's support for election of Temple president by the local
devotees. And they also show that Srila Prabhupada used his
"Direction of Management" to support the election of the temple
president by the temple devotees.
conclusion is obvious to anyone who makes a careful study of these
letters: Srila Prabhupada wanted the local devotees to elect their own
temple president. As far as I can see, he did not want the GBC
representative to impose a selected temple president.
my opinion, ISKCON law and practice appears to be in contravention of
Srila Prabhupada's wishes.
© CHAKRA 29-May-2000
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