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Happened in Mayapur - Part Three - Reactions of Devotees
this letter are a batch of texts I'm forwarding to the conference,
representing reactions of devotees to the GBC resolutions, the official
and unofficial explanations of the GBC in response to our questions, and
other reports and related information. For practical reasons, some texts
will appear individually and some will be grouped together in
reasonably-sized collections. A substantial amount of information was
provided to me with an expectation of confidentiality and I plan to
respect it appropriately, while providing as much honest information as I
(as usual) a personal note.
was not surprised when I first heard (erroneously) that all GBC
restructure/reform proposals had been tabled. Considering that none of
them would likely be viewed as complete or practical by the GBC, I rather
assumed none would be passed intact this year. I falsely concluded that
the GBC would sanction a plan for continuing the reform process in an
organized manner by including the devotees who had been contributing their
valuable time and sincere efforts throughout the year. I had hoped it
would provide a forum for our group and Ravindra Svarupa to work our
differences and use the balance of the year to design a complete and
I suffer from terminal illusion. I was indeed shocked (yet again) when I
read the minutes and subsequent explanations which revealed that reform,
GBC-style, did not include any essential elements from the primary
proposals. Nor could I locate a future role for most of the sincere,
moderate, and loyal well-wishers of ISKCON. Over the last half year, I
have been ridiculed by innumerable devotees for even dreaming that our
ideas would have any significant official impact. I now stand completely
corrected by those predictions. It appears that dissatisfaction with the
GBC will be resolved between the leadership and Lord Krishna, as has been
the case prominently -- and often dramatically -- in our past.
saddens me, as I have worked with the majority of GBC members and I
respect them as individuals and devotees. I am most definitely NOT of the
school that views the leadership as evil and ill-motivated. I hope, pray
and believe that each and every one is honestly acting according to their
consciences and they believe they are doing there best to fulfill Krishna
and Srila Prabhupada's desires.
something strange seems to happen with membership in that body. Even
though it has a turn-over rate of over 98% (and multiple times), devotee
unhappiness remains more or less constant. It is not hard to argue that
the zonal acharya system still exists in a modestly altered form and the
recent GBC decisions reinforce this phenomenon.
course, one is not allowed to be dissatisfied with one's guru, so there is
no statistically valid way of measuring the depth of such sentiments. But
I heard from many, many Prabhupada disciples who are in the depths of
despair with the way events have turned out and the hopelessness they feel
that they will ever again feel part of ISKCON's family (or even that they
wish to be). Shame on us all for allowing things to come to this point.
is it that membership in a group that is responsible for protecting us,
has inspired such antipathy? Why do experienced devotees unquestionably
feel the GBC has no relevance in their spiritual life whatsoever? What
causes a formerly gentlemanly GBC servant of Prabhupada to characterize
groups of vastly diverse servants of Krishna as "acrimonious,
inaccurate, and condescending" -- a clearly false insult that would
not have been intentionally tolerated in this particular conference?
I do not blame the individuals. But I do firmly believe the events of the
last two, ten, twenty and thirty years indicate that the GBC has never
functioned as Srila Prabhupada intended it to. The structure never melded
properly and never will under the current or intended "improved"
organization. The evidence that the GBC did not meet Srila Prabhupada's
expectations or desires, either during his lifetime or at anytime
thereafter is simply overwhelming. I don't feel a need or desire to
further elaborate. It is a self-evident fact for anyone even remotely
familiar with the history of the Movement.
of course, are natural and forgivable. But it is difficult for thinking
persons to close their eyes to fact that the mistakes are being made over
and over and over again, albeit in a variety of ever-new forms. What to
personal intentions are:
Constructively keep these issues in the public eye, as limited as my
ability may be.
To work with like-minded persons to arrive at a solution,
To assist in whatever small manner I can in soothing the damaged and often
hateful and fear-filled faith of those who can never be satisfied with
this status quo, no matter who they may be.
know this sounds prideful and audacious and I and others will likely pay a
price for our efforts and whatever mistakes we make along the way (one GBC
has already taken the trouble to let me know I shouldn't think about
relocating to a city in his zone, even though I expressed no desire or
intention to be active in any way in his temple or projects. I also no
longer receive invitations to preach in a nearby temple.) I not trying to
be a cry-baby. This is all to be expected in the natural course of things.
Few Technical Points
though I tried to resign as moderator of the conference, I was
unsuccessful. Within 48 hours, a prominent GBC leader very strongly
suggested this conference be shut down as useless, using the pretext that
a questionable complaint got through from a Mumbai property resident. This
type of tactic only invites resistance by demonstrating the need for open
and free discussion.
the next stream of texts, I plan to suggest one or more alternatives for
continuing this effort. If there is sufficient interest in these or other
topics, we will continue.
please understand that my present circumstances do not permit me to
individually respond to every text sent to me personally on these topics.
Please do not take it as an insult if I can't respond. Try to address your
comments to the conference at GBC.firstname.lastname@example.org.
sent the texts on the Mayapura resolutions to CHAKRA and VNN. However, for
obvious reasons, I'm not going to forward the texts that follow. Anyone
interested in joining the conference can do so without assistance if you
are a PAMHO.NET member. If you are not a member or need assistance, you
can contact me and I will add you to the conference.
beg forgiveness of anyone I've offended in these texts and hope they will
accept that my intentions are sincere as their own.
servant, Sri Rama dasa
© CHAKRA 10 June 2001
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