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nama om visnu padaya krsna presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine
namaste sarasvate deve gauravani pracarine
nirvisesa sunyavadi pascatya desa tarine

I offer my respectful obeisances unto
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,
who is very dear to Lord Krsna,
having taken shelter at His lotus feet.

Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master,
servant of Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message
of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries,
which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.


First, I would like to beg forgiveness from my Spiritual Master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and all my Godbrothers and sisters, for not speaking my mind a long time ago. Within the last year, I have taken the time to research the issues, so that I might participate in the controversial philosophical debate that has divided the disciples of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, affectionately known to his disciples as Srila Prabhupada. Without offense throughout this paper, He will be referred to as Srila Prabhupada.

While this paper is not a scholarly presentation, it is an attempt to explain my imperfect conclusions, which are based primarily on my personal experiences over the last 26 years, in the service of my merciful Spiritual Master. I hope that the subjects presented herein will inspire others to contribute to a group discussion, in which everyone is welcome to participate. With the help of my wife, Jahnava devi dasi, we have created an extensive Internet site called “The Hare Krsna’s”, which was designed to facilitate a global Istagosti among the devotees.

I would also like to offer my obeisances and beg forgiveness from those devotees who may become offended by some of the statements I have made in this paper. It is an unavoidable risk I have taken. At least I am providing an uncensored opportunity to respond to my positions, something not previously provided by the authorities within ISKCON. After all, there is no offense in honest debate amongst Godbrothers. I’ll hope to talk with many readers of this paper on the Internet. Haribol.


It may be helpful if I provide the reader with a quick synopsis of my imperfect service to my Spiritual Master. My service unfolded over the course of 27 years, beginning in 1968, when I began chanting Hare Krsna and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. I joined the Vancouver temple in 1969, as a householder with a new baby. At that time, the Vancouver temple consisted entirely of brahmacaries, so I moved my family to the Toronto temple in early 1970. I was initiated by Srila Prabhupada later that year.

In approximately 1971, I became the President of the Toronto temple and managed the Spiritual Sky Incense Company, which at that time was the main source of income for all the Canadian temples. By Krsna’s mercy and my desire, I left the incense company and started a temple in Regina, Saskatchewan, which we soon moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba. This temple was later moved to Minneapolis by Sivarama Swami, and eventually merged with Chicago.

I was asked by the GBC to take over the Vancouver temple in approximately 1974, and to help re-establish the temple after the deities and the majority of devotees moved to the farm project at Bridesville. After the farm project failed, Bahudak dasa again took over the Vancouver temple, and I became the Temple President of Seattle, from 1975 to 1978.

Due to disastrous circumstances, which I’ll describe later in this paper, I ended up in England in early January, 1979. I went to England with the intention of creating a traveling temple, but was soon recruited as the sankirtana leader in Jayatirtha’s big corporate structure. After experiencing more disturbances in England, I retreated to Kenya, Africa, where I was in charge of the Mombassa and Nairobi temples for two years. After Jayatirtha’s demise I returned again to Toronto, and a short while later became the Regional Secretary for Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, from approximately 1982 to 1986.

I actively participated in the revolution against the zonal acarya system, and after being disappointed by the results of our attempt at reform, I removed myself from active participation in ISKCON. The period from then until now is something of a blur, and has resulted in my currently being reclused in a seaside cabin on a small island off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Up until 1988, I had been well aware of the problems that plagued my Spiritual Master’s movement. I had very little involvement in the situation from the time that I left, in 1988, up until a year and a half ago.


I will assume that the reader is familiar with the variety of issues being presented by the two main opposing parties regarding Srila Prabhupada’s desires for the management of His movement, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, after his departure in 1977. While the controversy appears to focus primarily on the issue of disciplic succession, the question of management is simultaneously one and different. As my entire direct service in ISKCON was in the capacity of management, my angle of vision in writing this paper is understandably from that perspective.

Since fading out of the movement eight years ago, I’ve made a few attempts to revive my enthusiasm for serving Srila Prabhupada from within ISKCON. With each attempt, I was disappointed to find the same prevailing atmosphere that originally caused me to leave.

I have maintained some relationships over the years with close Godbrothers who had a similar service, mostly in the capacity of Temple Presidents in Canada and the United States, and it has been disturbing to witness the transformation of consciousness in us all. We all ventured out into the material world, expecting to be able to follow in the footsteps of our beloved Spiritual Master while remaining aloof from ISKCON, in the same way that Srila Prabhupada maintained His independence from the failed institution of his Guru Maharaja. But it was a great misconception on our part to think that we were advanced enough to live as independent devotees in the material world, without the support of a Krsna conscious community, while maintaining the high level of Krsna consciousness needed to empower the preaching mood Srila Prabhupada expected us to have. By examining the history of ISKCON, especially over the last 19 years, one glaring fact becomes obvious: everyone was under a great misconception about the level of their own Krsna consciousness. Even more serious was the lack of understanding of Srila Prabhupada’s exalted position within the Vaisnava tradition.

I have come to the realization that for those fortunate devotees who sincerely participated in the ISKCON lila during Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence, the possibility for them to re-integrate successfully into any other community or culture is practically nonexistent. I have come in contact with many Godbrothers who have become desperately anxious about finding a Krsna conscious community they can involve themselves in. Many of them seek a shelter free from the controversial issues that plague the movement. Srila Prabhupada emphasized the need for all his disciples to participate in the communities which he had established, knowing that the neophyte condition of most of his spiritual children would cause them to fall away. Unfortunately, due to confusion within ISKCON since Srila Prabhupada’s departure, many disciples have opted to involve themselves in other asramas or spiritual groups, or they remain in the spiritual purgatory of material society, rather than try to live in the ruins of their Spiritual Master’s society. Many of those who remain are doing so based on the principle that “a blind uncle is better than no uncle” - at least it’s easier to follow the four regulative principles and chant 16 rounds, or it’s better than getting a job working for a karmi. All such rationalizations rob you of your ability to be honest about your feelings, and true to what your intelligence and common sense tells you.

It is contrary to the nature of a devotee to involve himself in a fratricidal war of brother against brother, just as Arjuna made every attempt to avoid getting involved in the Battle of Kuruksetra. But on this, the Centennial Year of Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance, I feel I must take a stand.

Spiritually ignorant people around the world are sacrificing their lives to bring about change in oppressive systems of government, just so they can enjoy a slightly more pleasant material life. How can we, the exiles of ISKCON, sit back complacently and allow our Spiritual Master’s movement to be gradually destroyed by individuals who have altered the sacred formula, so a few unqualified pretenders will benefit for a few short years? Are we going to be held accountable for our lack of courage? What reactions will we suffer for standing by and witnessing the systematic dismantling of a movement that could relieve the suffering of uncountable spirit souls for thousands of years?

I believe that it will take the concerted effort of many sincere disciples to re-establish our Spiritual Master’s pure potent formula for spreading the sankirtana movement throughout the world. Without this renewed commitment, our own opportunity to become Krsna conscious will be lost. DO or spiritually die.

Praying for blessings at the lotus feet of their Lordships Sri Sri Radha-Madana Mohana at New Gokula Dhama, Vancouver, B.C, and to their Lordships, Sri Sri Radha-Khiracora Gopinatha at New Remuna Dhama Toronto, Ontario, Canada; falling at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada, begging for the mercy of insight and transcendental association, I will embark on the journey Back to Home, Back to Srila Prabhupada. Since beginning my return, over a year ago, my spiritual life has undergone an amazing positive transformation. By making contact with many Godbrothers via the Internet, particularly Yasoda nandana dasa, much of my confusion has been cleared away. Under the burden of great opposition and indifference, his exhaustive research and perseverance in presenting his true findings has helped to prepare the way for us latecomers. As a result of his inspiring association, I have a regained enthusiasm and dedication to be of some service to my Guru Maharaja, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.


Real devotees are conciliatory by nature, and like Arjuna, are always ready to compromise and give the benefit of doubt to the adversary. And, of course, we're trained to be humble, in the sense that we feel that whatever has happened to us is Krsna's arrangement. The GBC’s endorsement of the zonal acarya system in February 1978 allowed the newly appointed acarya Godbrothers to begin to exploit the Vaisnava sentiments of many sincere neophyte disciples of Srila Prabhupada. These insecure, yet power intoxicated acaryas perfected the art of intimidation, with a Krsna conscious twist. Many of these GBC/ sannyasi/acarya/managers had just added another powerful weapon to their arsenal of manipulative techniques, which they used against their Godbrothers and sisters whenever they saw fit.

Amazingly, even after being unfairly forced to leave their service to their beloved Spiritual Master, many devotees still blamed themselves. They attributed their spiritual difficulties to their own lack of sincerity, rather than seeing themselves as victims of a great disaster, namely the disappearance of the Transcendental Preaching Program of His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada. This disaster occurred directly following His passing away from this material world, in November 1977. Many are still feeling guilty, and some are using the fact of the disaster as an excuse not to surrender to the instructions of Srila Prabhupada. Many women and children have been left unprotected over the years, because it was not as easy for them to leave as it was for the men. But in truth, all the devotees suffered primarily because Srila Prabhupada’s plan was not followed, individually or institutionally. Ultimate authority means ultimate responsibility. Who is taking responsibility today? Certainly not the GBC.

Even in the early days of the society’s development, Srila Prabhupada had to deal with leaders going beyond their mandate of power. This point is illustrated in many letters:

August 12, 1969
Los Angeles
My Dear Jayapataka,

"Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated August 7, 1969, and I have noted the contents. Regarding Narottama das, our policy should be to keep members as much as possible..."

Signed by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

May 18, 1976
My dear Gurukrpa Maharaja,

“If the GBC undermines the efforts of the temple presidents how will things go on smoothly. This situation could have been avoided by sober dealings in a Krsna Conscious manner.

“I do not want that Sukadeva be removed from his position as I can see that he is sincerely following the principles at present. The GBC can not whimsically change the temple president, there is a resolution to this effect. Why have you threatened to remove him and unnecessarily created this situation? Please be very sober in your dealings with these temple presidents, they are undoubtedly rendering a valuable service and are worthy of respect and encouragement.

Signed by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

The principles of Bhakti-yoga (personalism) must be applied not only to the Deities and the Spiritual Master, but also to all the Vaisnava devotees, especially our God-brothers and sisters.



Prior to joining the movement, I had been searching for an alternative to the deteriorating family unit prevalent in today’s materialistic culture. I had attempted, with the participation of what later became my Godbrothers in Krishna Consciousness, to exist in a sort of communal setting. During that early attempt, I had concluded that the harmonious lifestyle we were searching for was not possible unless we all had faith in a cohesive spiritual philosophy.

By Krsna’s mercy, we introduced the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra as the communal participatory activity at the end of every day. We learned from someone who frequently visited the Vancouver Temple how to offer our food on a makeshift altar. This friend also taught us some of the other mantras, like Srila Prabhupada’s pranama mantra and the Pancha-Tattva mantra. So, without any understanding of what we were doing, we chanted these mantras, and we became purified.

Krsna arranged for most of us to become devotees, and participate together in the lila of Srila Prabhupada: Bahudak dasa, Nirpama devi dasi and family, Bala Krishna dasa, Kaumadaki devi dasi, Murlivandana and family, and myself Rocana dasa, Svahna devi dasi, and family. My prior interest and experience in how communities functioned helped me to appreciate Srila Prabhupada’s genius when I observed the peaceful atmosphere at the Vancouver Temple. The devotees there participated spontaneously and cooperatively in whatever was asked of them by the Temple President. Despite the austere living conditions in the early days, everyone was obviously blissful.

The leader in those days was Mahatma dasa. For someone who had just recently joined the movement, trained under Jayananda dasa in San Francisco, Mahatma dasa projected an impressive profile. Sridhara dasa (now known as Sridhara Swami) was the Temple Commander. They were the only two initiated disciples, and had relatively little training. Still, all 18 of the new devotees displayed a mood of love and respect towards these older devotees.

Mahatma dasa was on the front lines everyday, setting the example, establishing the standard. We could easily understand where the disciplic succession began for us. It was with the Temple President, Mahatma dasa, who was our only direct connection to Srila Prabhupada. It never occurred to us in the beginning to seek a more direct connection with the spiritual master, because we could experience the potency of the sampradaya from moment to moment. The principle of taking shelter of a strong Temple President was implanted in my consciousness from that time onward.

With our new baby, Bhaktimati devi dasi, my family moved to the Toronto Temple to join the Canadian GBC and Temple President, Jagadisa dasa, who was also married with a newborn child, Nirmal Candra dasa. I carried my impression of leadership with me, and I was not disappointed. In fact, I was even further inspired by the administration in Toronto.

One year later, I was the Temple President of Toronto, and ran the Canadian Spiritual Sky Incense Company. Soon after, I recall Bahudak dasa, who had assumed responsibility for the Vancouver temple after my departure, arriving at the Toronto temple in 30 below zero weather. With four devotees in Bahudak’s van, they had driven 2,000 miles across Canada, distributing the large “Krsna” books. I can recall how ecstatic the devotees were. The van was crudely insulated with sleeping bags, and they were like little mice in their nest trying to stay warm, but they were blissful. This was the movement’s first traveling book distribution party.

There are so many transcendental lilas to be recalled. When people say to me, “Tell me about the days with Srila Prabhupada”, it is the pastimes of life in the guru’s asrama that I remember most vividly. This was how we associated with Srila Prabhupada: within the context of His temples, reading His books, in the association of His disciples, and with His representatives, the Temple Presidents, in charge of the thriving communities He established. The formula was sincerely and enthusiastically followed, without doubt.

To me, these are far more potent memories than those I have of the times when I had the rare opportunity to be physically present with Srila Prabhupada. On those occasions I was never alone with Srila Prabhupada, and frankly, I doubt very much if He would have remembered me by name. But this did not at all bother me. I had no qualms, no doubts, about whether I was connected to Srila Prabhupada. It didn’t matter to me whether He knew my name, or wanted to have my personal association.

We all felt totally connected to Srila Prabhupada. Those early guru-puja kirtanas, with the daily pastime of placing the flowers and garlands on a crudely painted picture of Srila Prabhupada, brought tears to the eyes of most of my Godbrothers and Godsisters. The mood was there, the atmosphere was permeated by Srila Prabhupada, and the sampradaya was pleased and present.

We understood the meaning of cooperation then. We were empowered to accomplish tasks which we would never, ever have dreamed we were capable of performing. We experienced pleasure that we never knew existed. Within weeks of being in the temple, plugged into the sampradaya, we could give lectures at the university level on Krsna conscious philosophy that astounded the Ph.D’s, let alone the students. We could all witness the amazing effect that this philosophy had, on ourselves and those we were preaching to. Within weeks, the chanting, the prasadam, the loving atmosphere, transformed us totally. Our friends and family members hardly recognized us.

It is my conviction that this potency existed because there was an inconceivable transcendental formula at work. It was this formula that Srila Prabhupada diligently tried to establish and protect throughout his ISKCON lila.



In my research over the last few years, I have found no mention of the importance of sticking to Srila Prabhupada’s formula for managing His Preaching Mission. The concept of the GBC being the Ultimate Managerial Authority is emphasized, but what Srila Prabhupada worked to establish before His departure, based on His vision of Krsna conscious management, is still ignored. My research and experience leads me to believe that the management in ISKCON today is certainly not what Srila Prabhupada envisioned as the perfect governing formula. This formula, which was partially in place before 1977, has been ignored by the GBC since Srila Prabhupada’s departure, first by the zonal acaryas, then by the leaders in the BIG bureaucracy era.

Srila Prabhupada’s simple Management Formula is clearly stated in the following letter to Madhudvisa dasa, dated June 12, 1972:

“Please accept my blessings. I have received your letter from Sydney dated May 30, 1972, wherein you have expressed some hesitation to become the GBC Secretary for the Pacific zone. Actually you may be misunderstanding the present position or policy of this GBC. I have instructed all of the GBC men to give up their staying in one place and to remain always constantly traveling throughout their zones from temple to temple. Recently, I have given Sannyasa order of life to Rupanuga, Satsvarupa, and Bali Mardan, and I have made Brahmananda the GBC man for Africa, and I wanted that you should be GBC man for South Pacific zone. So being Sannyasi is no hindrance for being also GBC. In fact, the duties of the GBC men are now to be just like the duties of the Sannyasis. I want that the GBC men should leave the management of the individual centers to the local presidents and concentrate themselves upon preaching work. They should be constantly traveling from one center to another center to see how the students are learning and to give whatever advice is necessary for improving the temple standards. In addition, the GBC men will open new centers, distribute literature, and they should always be traveling with a sankirtana party to accompany them. So practically there is no difference between the Sannyasi duty and the GBC duty, and because you are my veteran disciple and you have had very good experience, I think there will be no trouble for you to accept the GBC position. I do not think it will in any way inconvenience your program of traveling. But for the time being, if you prefer, Mohanananda can work conjointly with you for managing. We shall decide finally after some months.

“I very much approve of your traveling widely throughout South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand zone, now you give all of the temple presidents your expert instructions and train them to become very responsible for saving the whole mankind from gliding gradually down to hell.”

Signed by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

On February 4, 1972, another important document was sent out to the Society prior to the above letter to Madhudvisa dasa.

Dear Prabhus,

“Please accept my most worthless obeisances. I am presently in Japan with Srila Prabhupada and we are meeting conjointly with Dai Nippon to organize book production. As a follow up to Srila Prabhupada's letter to all Temple Presidents of April 9, His Divine Grace has instructed me to inform you all of the following:

“The formula for ISKCON organization is very simple and can be understood by everyone. The world is divided into twelve zones. For each zone there is one zonal secretary appointed by Srila Prabhupada. The zonal secretaries duty is to see that the spiritual principles are being upheld very nicely in all the Temples of his zone. Otherwise each Temple shall be independent and self-supporting. Let every Temple President work according to his own capacity to improve the Krishna Consciousness of his center. So far the practical management is concerned, that is required, but not that we should become too much absorbed in fancy organization. Our business is spiritual life, so whatever organization needs to be done, the Presidents may handle and take advice and assistance from their GBC representative. In this way let the Societies work go on and everyone increase their service at their own creative rate.

“Now, so far the BTG and Book Funds are concerned, these matters shall be managed separately from the GBC by a body known as The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. The Book Trust shall be comprised of Srila Prabhupada, Karandhara dasa, and Bali Mardan dasa. They shall combinedly collect the sales proceeds from each Center and utilize all funds for the printing of Srila Prabhupada's books and the construction of ISKCON Centers all over the world. Not a farthing is to be spent for any other purpose.

“The Book Trust shall see to the printing and distribution to Centers of books and magazines and it will be the serious responsibility of each Temple President to see that the billed amounts for these are paid to the BTG and Book Funds regularly. The billings and collections shall come from and to Los Angeles where Karandhara dasa will collect and keep accounts...

Signed by Karandhara dasa


Of His innumerable transcendental qualities, Srila Prabhupada displayed that He was very expert in the art of doing business. Srila Prabhupada’s management expertise becomes especially evident when we read the transcripts of his room conversations with the GBC, which were not made available until 1990. Particularly after the GBC meetings, Srila Prabhupada was very businesslike. Whether He was insistent about getting together a legal document, calling for monthly reports from the Temple Presidents, or having a chronic problem dealt with to His satisfaction, He always exemplified excellent business practices.

Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to keep pukka accounts. He was meticulous in taking care of financial details, and insisted that the disciples do the same. The managers, especially those handling the projects in India and the BBT, were always fearful that Srila Prabhupada might arrive to tour their area of responsibility, and was likely to point out every mistake they had made. Regardless of how the managers might try to conceal their mistakes, Srila Prabhupada just zeroed in, calling their attention to waste, inefficiency, potential cheating and mismanage-ment. Srila Prabhupada was a most scrupulous inspector and manager.

To think that we should change the master business plan of someone with the amazing qualifications of Srila Prabhupada, is just totally offensive


Srila Prabhupada knew how the business world functioned. At an very young age, Srila Prabhupada managed a large pharmaceutical company in Calcutta. Throughout his householder life he owned his own company. He knew about accounting and marketing, and about the different options one can choose when setting up a large scale organisation. He also witnessed His Spiritual Master’s organisation become disempowered after His departure. Srila Prabhupada was not only completely pure, but had a lifetime of experience. The devotees just didn’t seem to grasp the concept that Srila Prabhupada chose to manage ISKCON using a spiritualized version of the franchise system. The GBC tried to change ISKCON to a centralized management system, as opposed to the franchise system directed by Srila Prabhupada. They wanted to establish the model of a central office, with branch offices run by the managers in charge.

The franchise system is based on the principle that an individual purchases the franchise and is therefore the owner, with a vested interest in the business. He benefits from the parent company’s name recognition, advertising, and manage-ment support, and the parent company capitalizes on the principle that a sense of proprietorship turns sand into gold. Srila Prabhupada knew that a Temple President will work much harder than a manager to see that Krsna’s business is successful.

Srila Prabhupada’s understanding of this principle, and His application of it, was never really appreciated by the GBC. Srila Prabhupada encouraged His disciples to open centres, incorporate, and follow the ISKCON formula. He was especially supportive of Temple Presidents who developed a temple from conception, and were committed to it’s development.

Srila Prabhupada pointed out a number of great advantages to this system. If one temple got into trouble, the others weren’t as seriously effected, since they were separately incorporated. If someone made a mistake, which is inevitable, that mistake wouldn’t have a domino effect on the rest of the temples. Another important advantage of the franchise system is that it reduces the need for a big centralized bureaucracy, and the power isn’t held by a very small group. Power and prestige are extremely detrimental to the aspiring transcendentalist.

As early as 1967, Srila Prabhupada made His Plan clearly known:

February 11, 1967
San Francisco
My dear Kirtanananda,

“...I wish that each and every Branch shall keep their independent identity and cooperate keeping the Acarya in the centre. On this principle we can open any number of Branches all over the world...

Signed by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Even those GBC’s with MBA’s failed to recognize the value of Srila Prabhupada’s choice in regards to the franchise approach. On a number of occasions, Srila Prabhupada had to disband the GBC because they were trying to implement a system different from the one He had established. In the following letter to Karandhar dasa, dated December 22, 1972, Srila Prabhupada strongly expressed His dissatisfaction with attempts to change His formula:

“Regarding your points about taxation, corporate status, etc., I have heard from Jayatirtha you want to make big plan for centralization of management, taxes, monies, corporate status, bookkeeping, credit, like that. I do not at all approve of such plan. Do not centralize anything. Each temple must remain independent and self-sufficient. That was my plan from the very beginning, why you are thinking otherwise? Once before you to do something centralizing with your GBC meeting, and if I did not interfere the whole thing would have been killed. Do not think in this way of big corporation, big credits, central-ization these are all nonsense proposals. Only thing I wanted was that books printing and distribution should be centralized, therefore I appointed you and Bali Mardan to do it. Otherwise, management, everything, should be done locally by local men. Accounts must be kept, things must be in order and lawfully done, but that should be each temple's concern, not yours. Krishna Consciousness Movement is for training men to be independently thoughtful and competent in all types of, departments of knowledge and action not for making bureaucracy. Once there is bureaucracy the whole thing will be spoiled. There must be always individual striving and work and responsibility, competitive spirit, not that one shall dominate and distribute benefits to the others and they do nothing but beg from you and you provide. No. Never mind there may be botheration to register each centre, take tax certificate each, become separate corporations in each state. That will train men how to do these things, and they shall develop reliability and responsibility, that is the point. I am little observing now, especially in your country, that our men are losing their enthusiasm for spreading on our programmes of Krishna Consciousness movement.”

The following letter was sent out just a few months later:

April 8, 1972


Signed by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Of the most important principles in any business is that what you are selling is the best product on the market, and that what you are advertising is what the purchaser receives, resulting in good sales and happy customers. We were selling Srila Prabhupada, the original Genuine Pure Devotee, and we enjoyed record breaking sales until the big change-up of 1978. Sales gradually declined as the potential customers realised that the advertised, new instant version of pure devotee was far inferior, thus causing many serious side effects. Years later, there is an outcry to return to the original, uncontaminated, potent pure devotee Srila Prabhupada. Buyer beware.




In the early days, the leaders at the temple level were the kind that Srila Prabhupada wanted to attract, in part because they were attracted to the franchise system, which provided great motivation. ISKCON today does not enjoy the benefits of that natural attraction. Devotees with strong leadership qualities and entrepreneurial ingenuity were very inclined to Srila Prabhupada’s format. That was certainly my experience in Canada. Those devotees who embraced the challenge of running the temples, such as Nandikesvara dasa, Visvakarma dasa, Uttama Sloka dasa, and Bahudak dasa, had the essential qualities of one who is a successful leader, either in business or in politics. Under their management, the temples in Canada thrived.

Like independent businessmen, these individuals were not inclined to accept interference in their management from others, and particular from those who had no higher manage- ment qualifications than they. We were all such neophytes then, and it wasn’t as if the GBC had a high degree of managerial experience. In fact, many of the GBC were hopeless managers. And regardless of their managerial skill, the amount of time that they actually spent at the temples wouldn’t have allowed them to understand the circumstances well enough to properly make the correct decisions. The temple Presidents were well aware of Srila Prabhupada’s desire to keep the GBC out of local management.

In the following letter to Giriraj, dated August 12, 1971, Srila Prabhupada indicates how He felt about the GBC interfering with the Temple Presidents and their management of the temples:

“GBC does not mean to control a center. GBC means to see that the activities of a center go on nicely. I do not know why Tamala is exercising his absolute authority. That is not the business of GBC. The president, treasurer and secretary are responsible for managing the center. GBC is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute authority. That is not in the power of GBC. Tamala should not do like that. The GBC men cannot impose anything on the men of a center without consulting all of the GBC members first. A GBC member cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of his power. We are in the experimental stage but in the next meeting of the GBC members they should form a constitution how the GBC members manage the whole affair. But it is a fact that the local president is not under the control of the GBC. Yes, for improvement of situations such as this I must be informed of everything.”


Of the individuals who were appointed to the GBC position, several obviously had strong managerial tendencies, such as Ramesvara Swami, Tamal Krishna Goswami and Jayatirtha dasa. They relished handling men and money, and were much more inclined to sit behind a desk with three telephones and a secretary, then they were to humbly travel from temple to temple, reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, chanting many rounds, lecturing, counseling and motivating the devotees. Soon after being appointed to the GBC by Srila Prabhupada, they again arranged situations that gave them facility to the material power they hankered for, creating powerful administrative positions for themselves.

Tamal Krishna Gosvami took over the Radha Damodar party from Visnu Janana Swami, and soon convinced many other Swamis and brahmacaries to join him, thus depleting the temples and preaching programs of valuable manpower. With their mobile temples they began raiding our sankirtana areas, and would come to the temples trying to entice brahmacaries over to their camp. Their technique was to put down grihasta’s (most Temple Presidents were married), brahmacarinis, and children, so as to convince the young men to leave their service and join the real preachers. After hearing the Temple President’s complaints, Srila Prabhupada ordered Tamala Krishna Goswami to go to China, reorganizing the Radha Damodar party. If Tamala Krsna Gosvami had followed Srila Prabhupada’s order to humbly go and live in China and to stay out of management, a great deal of disturbance could have been avoided. The story of Tamal’s Radha Damodar party is a long one, and will be presented at another time in the “unabridged edition” of this paper. If anyone has personal experiences in this program, please contact me with details.

Ramesvar Swami became totally absorbed in the North American BBT, and was, in reality, the Temple President in Los Angeles. Instead of being humble and detached, he used his influence and tremendous cash flow to provide facility for the exclusive benefit of the Los Angeles temple. As a result, the other smaller temples did not receive the help Srila Prabhupada stated should come to them from their contributions to the BBT. Satsvarupa dasa Gosvami was absorbed in his BTG duties and college preaching. Although he was not the managerial type, he always stayed busy with his pet projects, and seldom visited the temples in his zone. Kirtanananda, of course, was obsessed with his New Vrindavana mega-project, where he virtually acted as a Super Temple President. Kirtanananda Swami cared for no one else, and was notoriously ruthless about collecting money, and constantly attempting to draw potent devotees away from their temple communities and into his service. He once usurped a complete bus full of Vancouver traveling sankirtana devotees, convincing them to stay in New Vrindabana. The GBC did nothing to help. The leader of that bus, Darmatma dasa later became the initiator of the infamous women’s parties and other nefarious, illegal activities.

Jayapataka Swami’s focus was on Mayapura, and his Nama Hatta Program, and others were obsessed with their own BBT’s, like Harekesa Swami and Gopal Krishna Swami. The real question is, why did these senior men not embrace the all too clear instructions of their Spiritual Master? Let us consider the history of the individuals who were appointed by Srila Prabhupada as GBC, and shortly before His departure, were given the added responsibility of rtvik.

We can understand that most of these devotees came in contact with Srila Prabhupada when the movement was still in its embryonic stage, and that being extremely neophyte disciples, Srila Prabhupada’s exalted spiritual position was not obvious to them. Due to their immature condition, they became very familiar with Srila Prabhupada. I believe that one of the reasons Srila Prabhupada introduced the exalted level of worship of the guru that He did, was that He was concerned about the spiritually detrimental consequences for a neophyte devotee who became too familiar with the spiritual master, especially a nittya-siddha Shaktavesa Avatara. Thus, the large vyasasanas and daily full guru puja’s were instituted, and Srila Prabhupada insisted on the use of His full title in all ISKCON/ BBT publications, so as to clarify for the disciples and the world just Who they were associating with. Still, on numerous occasions it became obvious that many devotees clung to their initial conceptions of Srila Prabhupada. With the introduction of the zonal acarya system, their selfish, sentimental idea that they were the oldest sons of the father, and were destined to inherit everything, became very clear.

The movement continued to grow very quickly due to Srila Prabhupada’s inconceivable potency. These devotees, at a very neophyte stage in Krsna consciousness, were carried along on the tidal wave of expansion. Still, Srila Prabhupada expected them to make necessary advancement, and to keep up with the expansion of His movement. In fact, when Srila Prabhupada introduced the GBC concept, and He appointed His senior men as GBC, the “job description” that He wanted them to assume required a big surrender for these disciples. This is very evident in Srila Prabhupada’s letters, such as the letter to Madhudvisa dasa, quoted above. If they had whole-heartedly surrendered to this order, Srila Prabhupada’s mercy would have empowered them to perform the important functions of GBC. “Do as I do.”

September 14, 1974
Dear GBC Godbrothers:

..."In addition Srila Prabhupada reiterates that all GBC must strictly follow the rules and regulations and do what Srila Prabhupada does. We must be the strict prototypes of Srila Prabhupada. We must be pure by preaching and chanting..."

Signed by Brahmananda Swami, Bali Mardan das, and Bhagavan das

Srila Prabhupada expected these disciples to be completely detached from the tendency to control and to handle money. Instead, He wanted them to be blissful, just traveling and preaching, providing spiritual support to the Temple Presidents, and setting a high spiritual standard, just as He had personally demonstrated and as is the desire of every advanced Vaisnava. But many of these devotees were more comfortable in a managerial type of service, and some had a strong attachment in that direction. They became enamored by the fact that they had been moved up the ladder of prestige and power within the institution so quickly. Now, by making them GBC, Srila Prabhupada wanted them to replace the material, institutional power with the power of purity. In fact, He insisted upon it, and most of them only reluctantly agreed. I remember that at first, they attempted to follow Srila Prabhupada’s formula, but we soon observed that the GBC visited the temples less and less often.

The GBC could not control the urge to use their power and influence, and imposed many disastrous programs outside the mandate of the GBC as described by Srila Prabhupada. While I could mention many such examples from personal experience, the introduction of the women’s parties to the West Coast temples certainly illustrates the point. That deviation will be addressed later in this chapter.


Under the plan for temple management established by Srila Prabhupada, it was the role of the Temple President not only to manage, but to set the mood within each individual temple. The Temple President had the freedom to design certain programs, according to his personality and his realizations of how to preach to the people in his community. He attracted certain types of devotees according to the mood of his preaching programs, and his connection to that particular preaching area. Temple Presidents trained the new devotees, and thus very close relationships developed between them. The family asrama atmosphere pervaded the temples.

The Temple President’s responsibilities were enormous. One of the greatest compensa- tions for the incredible pressures they were under was the relationship they developed with each of the devotees. The loving reciprocation a Temple President experienced as a result of his efforts was his reward for taking on a responsibility not unlike that of a parent for his children. It is, after all, only the loving relationship which develops that compensates a parent for the great anxiety of his task. Rather than being supported by their GBC, many Temple Presidents found that their relationship with the devotees, and their overall ability to manage the temples, was compromised, because Srila Prabhupada’s fundamental principles of management were not being adhered to.

When Jagadisa dasa became the GBC of Canada, I was made the Temple President of Toronto soon after. Rather than perform the duties of a GBC, as desired by Srila Prabhupada, Jagadisa dasa stayed and ran the Toronto temple, because he enjoyed being a Temple President. He only occasionally visited the Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver temples. I think the most blissful period in Jagadisa dasa’s Krsna consciousness were his days in the position of Temple President of Toronto. The temple ran very nicely under his administration. In fact, in a recent conversation with Jagadisa Swami, he stated that in his opinion, the GBC’s should just be senior Temple Presidents in a certain geographical area, and occasionally go to visit the other Temple Presidents, as he did in the early days. I reminded him that this improvement wasn’t Srila Prabhupada’s plan for how the GBC should function.

Following my service in Toronto, I became the Temple President in Winnipeg. During that time, I recall receiving only one visit from Jagadisa, my GBC. Later, when I took over the Vancouver temple in 1974, I remember having three different GBCs in a matter of three years. None of them visited the temple for more than a few days out of each year.

Up until last year, Jagadisa Swami was the longest standing member of the GBC. He has now joined the other original GBC members, who are pursuing their retirement dreams even though most of the temples they were given responsibility for by Srila Prabhupada lie in ruin. Due to irresponsibility on the part of the GBC, Srila Prabhupada was never free to retire, even at an advanced age, and focus on His inconceivably important writing work:

May 19, 1976
All Governing Board Commissioners
My dear GBC disciples,

So I request you to relieve me of management responsibilities more and more so that I can complete the Srimad-Bhagavatam translation. If I am always having to manage, then I cannot do my work on the books. It is document, I have to choose each word very soberly and if I have to think of management then I cannot do this. I cannot be like these rascals who present something mental concoction to cheat the public. So this task will not be finished without the cooperation of my appointed assistants, the GBC, temple presidents, and sannyasis. I have chosen my best men to be GBC and I do not want that the GBC should be disrespectful to the temple presidents. You can naturally consult me, but if the basic principle is weak, how will things go on? So please assist me in the management so that I can be free to finish the Srimad- Bhagavatam which will be our lasting contribution to the world.
Your ever well-wisher,

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Because most of the GBC were not fulfilling the mandate set out by Srila Prabhupada, the Temple Presidents often preferred not to have them come to their temples. Rather than assisting the Temple President in handling challenging situations, or providing spiritual support, they often took over the temple completely for the time they were there, and ran it as if they were in charge. In other cases they became reclusive, limiting participation in the temple and focused on their own managerial duties done by long distance telephone. Srila Prabhupada only communicated by letters, but I can’t remember receiving even one letter from a GBC - only expensive phone bills which Srila Prabhupada often complained of.

In my experience, not one of the GBC’s assigned to the temples I managed ever fulfilled even a fraction of the responsibilities Srila Prabhupada expected of them, either before or after His disappearance. In fact, some of the GBC were totally hopeless, and should never have accepted a position that demanded such responsibility, knowing full well that they could not and would not perform as expected. The two most glaring examples of this were Bhavananda Swami and Satsvarupa dasa Goswami. Unscrupulous Temple Presidents certainly took advantage of their compete lack of common sense and interest in their GBC job. Of course, there were many highly qualified men interested in this type of service, but they were not admitted into the exclusive old boys club. The GBC post became a position of privilege rather than responsibility. The GBC were often in total disagreement with one another about the scope of their responsibilities as GBC members. There was no constitution outlining the duties of a GBC member, although Srila Prabhupada asked them to prepare such a document on a number of occasions. Considering all the instruction Srila Prabhupada gave, it should not have been difficult to understand the scope of their responsibilities and enshrine it in a constitution.

Of course, we can expect that the GBC retort to allegations of mismanagement will be that the Temple Presidents had trouble, too. Srila Prabhupada understood that those who had to manage faced an obvious spiritual disadvantage. For an aspiring Vaisnava to handle money and to be absorbed in material arrangements is dangerous to his spiritual health, therefore the need for regular supervision, as well as advanced association of those who were free from this contamination, was greatly needed. The Temple President was the reservoir for the problems of all the members of the community. For this reason, he needed a person to confide in, an older brother to take shelter of, a senior devotee to represent him, the temple, and the temple devotees to the rest of the society.

Srila Prabhupada expected the GBC to negotiate disputes, suggest devotee reallocation, help arrange BBT loans for development, and see that the BBT remittances were paid in a timely fashion....etc. Their responsibilities were very extensive and serious. If these responsibilities were not properly met, there would naturally be repercussions, especially in a spiritual society with such strict rules of conduct. Srila Prabhupada held the GBC responsible if senior men in their care fell away or had serious spiritual difficulty. Under Srila Prabhupada’s formula, each GBC man would spend a month exclusively in Srila Prabhupada’s direct service, thus being able to carry that mercy back to the devotees in his zone - an opportunity every other devotee in the movement would die for. Yet it became known that many GBC reneged, on even this great benediction. After Srila Prabhupada went into samadhi in 1977, the GBC were committed to rotate at Srila Prabhupada’s Samadhi in Vrindabana, India, for insight and purification. Most were too busy managing to attend.

The following was taken from a long list of grievances sent to the GBC in 1986 by His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami, manager of Back to Godhead Magazine:

“5. The members of the GBC have, with few exceptions, neglected their pledges to take on, in rotation, the personal seva of Srila Prabhupada at his Vrindaban samadhi and the Radha- Damodar temple.”


Jayatirtha dasa and Ramesvara Swami were the GBC for the entire West Coast of North America in 1974, but they spent most of their time in Los Angeles. These Vaisya-like GBC’s decided to ignore all the negative reports coming from many Temple Presidents, and copied the infamous women’s party, which had been instituted in New Vrindaban by the then obvious homosexual, Kirtanananda Swami. This deviation resulted in many more women being sexually exploited throughout their zones.

Jayatirtha dasa tried to establish the same program in the Seattle Temple, and instructed me to take lessons from Jiva dasa, who had been recently trained up by New Vrindaban’s Dharmatma dasa. Jayatirtha dasa had established Jiva dasa in San Francisco, along with Yujamanu dasa in Los Angeles. When I discovered the actual philosophy behind these women’s parties I refused, and launched an investigation with the help of Jagannath Suta dasa, the BBT manager in Los Angeles. We proved without a doubt that these men were having sex with the women, and were introducing every technique a pimp uses to cajole them. They implemented these techniques to induce the women disciples into collecting as much money as possible. There was no consideration for the philosophic deviation, let alone the devastating effect on the spiritual lives of the women involved, or the risk to Srila Prabhupada’s image if this activity became public knowledge.

Of course, this mood was sanctioned by the GBC, who simply ignored detailed reports of such activities. Jagannath Suta dasa and I attempted to bring our well documented report to the attention of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, who had recently been assigned as the GBC for the Pacific Northwest. Satsvarupa dasa Goswami refused to take decisive action, instead instructing us to bring the issue to Mayapura for the annual meeting, which was months later. In Mayapura, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami stated that these matters should not be brought to the Holy Dhama, that it was offensive. Kirtanananda Swami was furious that we had even come to present this paper, and was politicking against it from the day we arrived. The GBC were so attached to these women’s parties, which had become a cash cow for their pet projects, that they actually lied to Srila Prabhupada:

Srila Prabhupada Room Conversations, March 2-3, 1975, after the GBC meetings in Mayapura - reading out the resolutions to Srila Prabhupada:

Satsvarupa: “A legal committee of Balavanta, Adi-kesava, and Ramesvara will investigate whether certain techniques are legal or illegal according to the laws. Then one of the popular means to distribute books is by women’s party. A party of women will travel under the care of a man devotee. But in taking care of the women, we have noted that some of these parties have been preaching a false philosophy of the relationship of the man who’s taking care of the women, and that philosophy is that the sankirtana leader is the eternal husband and protector of the women in the party. We want that this philosophy should be rejected. If a man is taking care of a number of women in a sankirtana party, he should be regarded as the son as well as a representative of the spiritual master, of Srila Prabhupada, and not the husband of these women.”

There was no mention of our report in the above conversation with Srila Prabhupada. The report, which was supposed to have been presented at the meeting, contained transcripts of telephone conversations between Los Angeles pimp, Yadhamanu godasa and his counterpart, Jiva godasa in San Francisco. It also contained the transcript of a secretly made tape of activities in Yadhamanu’s room, where he performed a service that I can assure you was not for the pleasure of his Spiritual Master. There were also testimonials from women who had fled these programs. Ramesvara Swami knew the legal ramifications of the women’s party activities, not to mention the spiritual offenses being committed, but the GBC’s only concern was how the legal repercussions weighed against the potential financial loss. There was no concern for the brahmacarines manipulated into these circumstances, what to speak of the men they recruited for the unique service. For two years these authorized programs continued. The women were deceived by their GBC into believing that Srila Prabhupada had been informed of the situation, and approved it. In New Vrindaban, they continued for many years after 1978, while the GBC turned a blind eye.

Jagannath Suta dasa became so disgusted with the GBC's lack of concern and action that he left the movement, and later encouraged Robin George to sue ISKCON. As we all know, this lawsuit cost Srila Prabhupada millions and millions of dollars. Was this financial consequence a reaction for the spiritual offenses committed? Coincidentally, all the leaders involved in this incident have been removed from their service as a result of their involvement with sex, [male and female] and/or drugs.


Srila Prabhupada has given us many instructions on the importance of speaking the truth.

From the Srimad Bhagavatam, 8.20.4:


“There is nothing more sinful than untruthfulness. Because of this, mother earth once said, "I can bear any heavy thing except a person who is a liar."


“On the surface of the earth there are many great mountains and oceans that are very heavy, and mother earth has no difficulty carrying them. But she feels very much over-burdened when she carries even one person who is a liar. It is said that in Kali-yuga lying is a common affair: mayaiva vyavaharike (S.B. 12.2.3). Even in the most common dealings, people are accustomed to speaking so many lies. No one is free from the sinful reactions of speaking lies. Under the circumstances, one can just imagine how this has overburdened the earth, and indeed the entire universe.”

From Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, 10.4, Purport:

"Satyam, truthfulness, means that facts should be presented as they are for the benefit of others. Facts should not be misrepresented. According to social conventions it is said that one can speak the truth when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The truth should be spoken in such a straightforward way, so that others will understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief and people are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth is impalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others. That is the definition of truth."

While the GBC were meeting in Mayapura in 1975, an interesting conversation took place with Srila Prabhupada. It was during this same conversation that the above women’s party issue was discussed. In the following conversation, Srila Prabhupada was again trying to emphasis His definition of the GBC’s mandate. The big movers and shakers in North America, namely Tamal Krishna Goswami and Ramesvara Swami, were personally handling millions of dollars through the Radha Damodar project and the North American BBT and Los Angeles temple. In Germany, Hansadutta dasa was reportedly carrying briefcases full of money everywhere he went, along with a loaded gun, which resulted in a huge confrontation with the German Police. An expensive court case followed, which resulted in the confiscation of all the assets of ISKCON Germany.

Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, March 26, 1975, Mayapura:

Srila Prabhupada: “No, why he’s...? He’s not holding money, GBC.”
Atreya Rsi: “So this I’ll take out.”
Srila Prabhupada: “No, GBC, practically does not hold any money.”
Atreya Rsi: “No.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Then why you...?”
Hansadutta: “You can say, Any monies or properties under my direction...’”
Jayatirtha: “That’s what it should say.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Eh? What is that?”
Hansadutta: “Under, under his direction. Any monies or properties under his direction.”
Atreya Rsi: “That would be a separate oath. That would be a separate thing, Prabhupada.”
Hansadutta: “Maybe that should just be left out because if we’re going to have some legal document like an umbrella, then that will take care of all those things.”
Atreya Rsi: “Well, that should be in the pledge, in the agenda.”
Srila Prabhupada: “No, no, GBC...Does GBC members deal with money?”
Hansadutta: “No, he does not personally. He doesn’t have anything personal.”
Srila Prabhupada: “No, no. I mean...”
Brahmananda: “But he puts his signature.”
Atreya Rsi: “No, no. As GBC, we do not deal with money. In other words, if you’re dealing with money, it’s the temple president.”
Srila Prabhupada: “The GB...”
Atreya Rsi: “Not as...”
Srila Prabhupada: “The GBC should see that it is being done properly. Why he should...?”
Hansadutta: “But sometimes it...”
Srila Prabhupada: “...involve himself in the...”
Rupanuga: “Well, for example, in New York...”
Srila Prabhupada: “...internal management?”
Rupanuga: “Well, in New York, for example, I just recently signed with Gopi-jana-vallabha Prabhu the papers on the farm. I signed conjointly with him on the farm because the officers had to sign, and we just recently had a thing in New York, ISKCON, Los Angeles, New York.”
Srila Prabhupada: “No, no, sign’ another thing. That I have signed, many.”
Rupanuga: “So that’s all right.”
Srila Prabhupada: “The one thing is that GBC is wandering. If the checks are to be signed, then where is the GBC?”
Rupanuga: “There’s no account, no GBC account.”
Srila Prabhupada: “The...the money matters should be dealt with the president, secretary and the treasurer, three men. Out of three, two should sign. And GBC’s business is to see that things are going on, money matters. That’s all. GBC is not supposed to deal directly. He has to inspect. That’s all.”
Atreya Rsi: “So I can cross out this....”
Srila Prabhupada: “Just like.... But the thing is, if the GBC and the president is the same man, that is not good. That is not good. The president should be separate. So the president, treasurer and secretary, they will deal directly, and GBC should inspect book, account, that it is done very nicely. That's all. You can question, "Why you have done this?" That's nice. Otherwise, in the..., it will be difficult to manage.”
Rupanuga: “Yes. We don't want to become entangled in that money.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Ah!”
Rupanuga: “We don't want to become entangled in that money.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Yes.”
Madhudvisa: “What controls? What controls in the matter of money then?”
Srila Prabhupada: “Eh?”
Madhudvisa: “Who has control of the money?”
Srila Prabhupada: “Control means if there is vigilant, I mean to say, examination, inspection, then there is control of money.”
Madhudvisa: “Well, let's say someone gives the temple president some money, and he puts in an account with his name and the treasurers name, and they both conspire and take the money. Then there's no...”
Srila Prabhupada: “Yes. That you can do also.”
Atreya Rsi: “Anyway...”
Madhudvisa: “Yes, but...”
Srila Prabhupada: “GBC can do also.”
Madhudvisa: “But isn't the GBC supposed to be more trusted than the temple president?”
Srila Prabhupada: “Then everyone can do, who has got the...”
Bhagavan: “The BBT trustees did it.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Eh?”
Bhagavan: “The BBT trustees also did it. They took unsanctioned loan from the BBT.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Yes. Yes.”
Tamala Krsna: “Prabhupada, what about in a case like myself. I'm a sannyasi, and I have a traveling sankirtana party. So can I handle that money?”
Srila Prabhupada: “Eh?”
Tamala Krsna: “I'm a sannyasi with a traveling preaching party. So I have no... Because I am personally seeing to the money, there's no debt on that party. Is that all right?”
Srila Prabhupada: “That you decide amongst the GBC. (laughter) Best thing is that don't keep money.”
Tamala Krsna: “No, I have no money in my name.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Anyway, you don't... You spend the necessary expenditure, and balance money, you give whatever you like.”
Tamal Krsna: “Yeah, yeah. We're doing... I meant to say...”
Atreya Rsi: “Srila Prabhupada is...”
Srila Prabhupada: “Sannyasi is collecting and spending.”
Atreya Rsi: “There you have a function of, more or less of a president, as well as the GBC, in that party.”
Srila Prabhupada: “Yes.”

This dialogue appears to be an attempt on the part of the various GBC to avoid the Spiritual Master’s obvious concerns that His plan for the GBC was not being followed, and a deliberate verbal maneuver to continue their involvement in big time money manage- ment. Srila Prabhupada was not suggesting that they should not have personal bank accounts, but rather that they were not to be handling money at all. Obviously they didn’t want to hear the clear message. Is this why these transcripts remained concealed until 1990 ?




After Srila Prabhupada went into samadhi in 1977, those who did not or could not surrender to Srila Prabhupada’s Plan for managing ISKCON immediately introduced the zonal acarya system. The introduction of this bogus system altered the delicate balance within the temples, causing great chaos. We had been instructed by Srila Prabhupada not to change His management formula, in the same way that He ordered us to never change a word in His books.

When we consider the fact that Srila Prabhupada’s entire preaching strategy, including the publication and distribution of His books, depended upon the successful continuation of His beloved ISKCON, it is astounding that the senior most disciples carelessly began to make major alterations to the management structure of ISKCON after His departure.

I was recently explaining to a business associate, who had no previous knowledge of the Hare Krsna movement, about the amazing activities accomplished by completely unprofessional, inexperienced youngsters during Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON lila. My friend was unfamiliar with the higher spiritual aspects of Krsna consciousness, but has a good understanding of business formulas. He looked at me and said, “Well if everything was going so well, why did anyone change anything? Didn’t everyone want to benefit from things going well?”

With the profits very high, would the Board of Directors say to the shareholders, “Now that the owner is no longer here, let’s revamp everything”? In Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON, all His disciples were legitimate shareholders. They had invested many years of their lives executing Srila Prabhupada’s mission. They had enjoyed tremendous fulfillment due to the success their empowered activities produced. After Srila Prabhupada’s departure, the GBC, especially the eleven rtviks, were obviously attached to their conception that ISKCON was a family business, and the oldest sons were the rightful inheritors. They felt they were not accountable to their thousands of Godbrothers, and these Godbrothers very quickly saw their investment being squandered, and Srila Prabhupada’s plan indiscrim-inately changed in direct disobedience of His Divine Grace’s orders not to change.

Jagadisa Swami recently admitted overhearing a conversation between Tamal Krishna Goswami and a number of self-appointed acaryas during the GBC’s 1978 Mayapura meeting. Tamal Krishna Goswami stated that the zonal acarya system would certainly disturb many of the senior Godbrothers, especially the Temple Presidents, but this was unavoidable and a test of the Godbrothers’ sincerity. Those who left the movement could be easily replaced by their new disciples.

This is certainly not the humble attitude of a traveling sannyassi GBC, but more the mentality of a vengeful Ksatriya, who was stripped of his big managerial post because of the complaints from Temple Presidents about his attitude and activities. As mentioned earlier, Srila Prabhupada ordered him to travel and preach in China. One day I’ll share an interesting story about Tamal Krishna’s preaching strategy in China. Anyone who believes that he fulfilled Srila Prabhupada’s instruction in that regard has been deceived.


Another offensive misconception promoted by the zonal acaryas, and still proclaimed by many of the present GBC-approved regular diksa’s, was that their mood was identical to that of Srila Prabhupada’s. Of course, how could persons with vastly different levels of consciousness have the same or even similar moods? In fact, each of these gurus had a different mood from one another, and expected their disciples to adopt their personal agenda, not Srila Prabhupada’s. Even though the philosophy that was being preached at the time was “the Guru is One”, these imitation diksa’s were unable to be one with each other, let alone one with Srila Prabhupada. It was a well known fact that the GBC meetings in Mayapura had become verbal yelling matches. At these Battles of the Big Ego’s, the GBC certainly did not exhibit the “we are one” mentality.

Unlike Srila Prabhupada, who had an inconceivably wide range of realization, and encouraged all His disciples in whatever service they were rendering, each one of the big diksa’s had their own limited angle of vision. They often discouraged those devotees who appeared unwilling to surrender to their personal focused conception. If the Temple President did not share the same mood as their zonal guru Godbrother, their disciples were subtly informed of their offensiveness. Thus, the devotees were put in the spiritually detrimental position of having to ponder the controversies between the shiksa guru and the seldom-seen diksa guru. The Temple President’s ability to run the temple was seriously compromised, with devastating results.

This was particularly prevalent in Canada, where I had much of my experience. After 1978, the GBC gave Kirtanananda Swami a zone that included the eastern Canadian temples of Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The result was chaos. He immediately began to openly criticize Visvakarma dasa in Toronto, Laxmi Natha dasa in Ottawa, and Nandikesvar dasa in Montreal, directly to his disciples. He did this with the obvious intention of having these Temple Presidents thrown out of the temples they had struggled so hard to develop. Kirtanananda Swami’s plan was that both of the temples should be sold. He wanted to take the men and the money down to New Vrindaban.

Even though the rest of the GBC agreed that Kirtanananda Swami was a cultlike madman, they offered no assistance to the Temple Presidents there. The GBC solution was to replace Kirtanananda Swami with Gopal Krishna Swami, and an even greater disturbance ensued. At that time, Gopal Krishna Swami wanted his guru papers, so confronting Kirtanananda Swami was not a politically wise career move. Consequently, even more devotees fled to New Vrindaban, choosing Kirtanananda Swami over Gopal Krishna Swami. After several years of this unnecessary and unrewarding struggle, Nandikesvar dasa left, followed by Visvakarma dasa and Laxminatha dasa.

In Vancouver, in 1978, Bahudak dasa negotiated to have Satsvarupa dasa Goswami as his GBC zonal acarya. Being a wise politician, he succeeded, knowing that Satsvarupa dasa Goswami was not inclined to interfere in his management and was at least a gentleman. Bahudak dasa survived the longest, but was eventually maneuvered out after he lead the Guru Reform Revolution. At first, in 1978, Hansadutta Swami was pounding on his door, visiting the temple and trying to convince Bahudak dasa that Vancouver should be included in his zone. At that time I was the Temple President of Seattle, which unfortunately and unavoidably fell into Hansadutta’s cult. All Srila Prabhupada’s disciples in Seattle were ousted within the year. Down in San Francisco, Caru dasa was ousted within a month of Hansadutta taking over.

It should be noted that the GBC were well aware of the attitudes and tendencies of notorious Godbrothers like Kirtanananda Swami and Hansadutta Swami to disregard Srila Prabhupada’s arrangements to have them isolated. Instead, they callously assigned them to thriving areas, then abandoned the Temple Presidents when the predictable outcomes manifested.

As the Temple President of Seattle in 1978, I was the one of the first victims of the zonal acarya system. By the order of a special meeting of the GBC, all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, along with the gurukula of 40 children, were ordered to leave the temple within days. The entire school and staff had to travel in over-loaded van’s all the way to Philadelphia in the middle of winter. The GBC members flew in from around the world to Detroit to attend this special meeting, and many of them were flying first class.

At the conclusion of the three day meeting, I was told by the GBC’s representative, Bhagavan Swami, that the GBC knew I was correct in my appraisal of Hansadutta’s psychological condition, and that they were aware of even worse tales of horror than I had recounted. But, he said, they had to “sacrifice the village to save the country”. In other words, they couldn’t pull Hansadutta Swami down now, because their disciples might become disturbed with doubts about the spiritual qualifications of the other zonal acaryas. This was November 1978, less than one year after their Coronation, in March 1978.

To this day, the Seattle Temple has never recovered. All of the so-called disciples of Hansadutta that we were forced to abandon in Seattle, eventually blooped. I was coerced into going to England, so that I could not report on what I knew about the insane activities of this alleged uttama-adikari, His Divine Grace Srila Hansadutta dasa Swami. All this disturbance, just to protect the image of the zonal acarya system. The GBC allowed this crazed mis-representative of the GBC body and Srila Prabhupada to infect the temples in the Pacific North West, the Philippines and Sri Lanka for years before anything was done. How many lives were affected? How many temples seriously set back? What were the repercussions suffered from the media exposure generated by documentaries and books like “Monkey on a Stick”?

Upon arriving in England, January 1979, I discovered a system of management in which I had never participated. I had always executed my service within Srila Prabhupada’s established temple format: Temple President, Temple Secretary, Treasurer, and Istagosti. But in England, Jayatirtha had introduced a centralized corporate structure. Prior to Jayatirtha’s takeover, Hansadutta had closed down many smaller temples throughout the U.K., centralizing everything at the Manor. The Temple Presidents (London and Bhaktivedanta Manor) were department heads. Along with the sankirtana program, the treasury, life membership, and bhakta programs were all run by department heads, with Jayatirtha as the CEO. I soon became the sankirtana department head. This experience was like what I imagined the Mafia to be. Sankirtana consisted of illegally selling deceptively labeled record albums, and lying about the artists playing on the record. This was a common technique in many other zones. You can imagine the public relation fallout after selling one million “ Day and Night Dream” albums.

After years as a Temple President, I found this service to be very unsatisfying. It soon became evident to me why Srila Prabhupada had insisted upon the decentralized style of management. Theoretically, the corporate system reduces the chance for mistakes, but the actual result was that we made much bigger mistakes, with far greater consequences. Jayatirtha’s unnecessary purchase of Caitanya College at Croome Court, soon became known to the struggling devotees as Kitcheri College at Doom Court. The building was finally sold at a great financial loss, along with the loss of the devotee’s time and efforts. The corporate concoction simply became a way to repose the ultimate power in one person, who in illusion conceived of himself as above the four defects, unaffected by the modes of nature, and a good manager.

Jayatirtha dasa had been publicly chastised by Srila Prabhupada for trying to introduce this centralized system in America, yet within a few months of Srila Prabhupada’s departure, he again introduced his own ideas of how ISKCON should be organized. What he established was certainly not Srila Prabhupada’s Plan. With few exceptions, each acarya created his own tailor-made version of a centralized system. They seemed to have forgotten the innumerable instructions of their Spiritual Master. Where were the GBC?

These situations could never have occurred had Srila Prabhupada been present. Every Temple President that I personally know has similar horror stories...and very few of these highly trained leaders are still serving in their Spiritual Master’s Mission.

It will require volumes to describe the incredible disturbances caused in each of these situations, and the unnecessary suffering visited on so many sincere disciples of Srila Prabhupada. With the support of my Godbrothers, I will endeavor to see that these experiences are written, that the proper questions are asked, an accurate history is maintained, and that all devotees, now and in the future, have an opportunity to hear the complete story. For now, suffice to say that the disturbance was so great for the Temple Presidents that many of them just gave up. My experiences represent just a fraction of the mayhem that was going on throughout the movement, and in this paper, I am only relating a small portion of what I personally went through.


It is also important to consider that the Temple Presidents were generally next in line to the gurus, and that influence had significant consequences. The zonal acaryas greatly disturbed the temple situation by encouraging the Temple Presidents to be their promoters, supporters and recruiters, and the trainer of their disciples. Many of them even insisted that the temple authorities daily attend their guru puja. Consequently, if the Temple Presidents wanted to have a trouble-free life, they had no choice but to go along with the gurus.

At that time, the association of the zonal acaryas was very contaminating for the Temple Presidents. The zonal acaryas encouraged the Temple Presidents to cut a more opulent profile, compromising their austerity. Many of the Temple Presidents succumbed to the temptation of taking more perks, such as a better car, a better apartment, a bigger and nicer office, or more travel, all of which caused a great disturbance among the other disciples in the temple. In return for “laxmi” to finance their flagrantly opulent lifestyles, the gurus would motivate the disciples to participate in grueling “marathons”. The zonal acarya Rajas stood in great contrast to the austerities demanded of the other devotees. Naturally, the latent desires of the Temple Presidents quickly manifested, due to bad association.

This well known letter clearly points out Srila Prabhupada’s Policy:

January 12, 1975
My dear Kirtiraja das,

Our philosophy is “simple living and high thinking'' - not sense gratification. The temple presidents and leaders (elder students) must show this by example. Temple or asrama means for renunciation and renounced persons. If one is engaged in self-realization process, then his material necessities become almost nil. Persons who do not like this can work outside. I hope this meets you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,

Signed A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

These zonal fly-boys would arrive in town with their big showbottle profiles, their silk clothes, their opulent fanfare, their expensive watches, their lap top computers, and in many cases a private servant, and would then encourage the Temple Presidents to participate in that mood. Previously, under the direction of Srila Prabhupada, Temple Presidents experienced little difference in terms of their material advantages from other devotees in the temple, other than perhaps traveling to Mayapura every year. Beyond that, theirs was not an enviable material situation. Gopal Krsna Swami proudly revealed to me that his airfare alone was greater than the entire yearly budget of the Montreal Temple - over $150,000 a year in the mid-eighties, not to mention his telephone bills (he once racked up $600.00 in long distance charges in one day). Was he worth that much? Certainly not to the Canadian Temples. I would have paid to have him not come at all.


Normally, the Temple Presidents enjoyed very close friendships with Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, who became like their family. This family mood was very conducive to keeping devotees engaged in the temple programs, and in service to Srila Prabhupada. During the pre-samadhi period, there was little distinction between the grihasta and brahamacari asramas, because everyone was simply striving to please Srila Prabhupada. The senior disciples tended to be grihastas, and the younger disciples, brahmacaries or brahacarinis. After a few years of celibacy, the desire to change asramas was inevitable for many. In the temple context, this didn’t pose much of a problem, because the atmosphere was surcharged with sankirtana spirit, and everyone cooperatively participated in producing the results.

With the advent of the zonal acarya system, many subtle but significant dynamics were disturbed, throwing off the balance needed to maintain the preaching mood. The “simultaneously one and different” mood set by the diksas has already been discussed, but because many of the zonal acaryas were also sannyasis, and cutting a very regal profile, the brahmacaries started to emulate the gurus and demanded more perks and indepen- dence. If their service was to help bring in the funds needed to meet the temple budget, many brahmacaries complained about the money that was being spent to support the women and children. This attitude was reinforced by the gurus, who often spoke disparagingly about those devotees who were not primarily fund-raisers. In fact, these gurus where supposed to be committed to protecting and, in fact, revering the women and children.

Another result of this attitude was that a disproportionate amount of the funds collected was sent off to the BBT. Even to say this was considered a great offense. But to please the gurus and a few brahmacaries, the Deities often did without flower garlands and nice prasadam, and the devotees did without basic necessities like medical and dental care. The spirit of hard-working devotees quickly deteriorates when you can’t heat the temple in the middle of a Canadian winter. To add insult to injury, the big guru would then fly into town and be presented with a nicely decorated, warm apartment, and more opulent prasadam than you could afford to give the Deities. In some cases, the watches these gurus were wearing would have heated the temple all winter.

They were too busy cutting the Acarya profile and could not perform their primary duties as GBC, which required humility, patience and other Vaisnava qualities. Instead of meeting with devotees, they now had “Darsana”. What was created was a reverse of the varnasrama system. After attending all the morning programs and serving over 60 hours a week, grihasta’s were left feeling guilty about having to take a bare minimum allowance, and neglected children had to beg from the rich bachelors in saffron silk.



Myself in Eastern Canada, along with Bahudak dasa in Western Canada, were two of the most active participants in the so-called Guru Reform Revolution. In fact, it was the failure on the part of the GBC to bring about the necessary expected changes that resulted in my decision to leave my service as Regional Secretary in Eastern Canada. At the time I departed, I admit I was not certain about what Srila Prabhupada intended to have take place after His disappearance, but I was convinced that the zonal acarya system was terribly wrong and should be completely dismantled.

The powerful power brokers within the GBC conspired with some of the “forgiving and merciful” reformers, promising them a piece of the action, namely guruship and a position on the GBC in exchange for their compliance. In that way, they managed to hold on to their territories and manpower, with only a slight adjustment in the level of their power.

Due to the intoxicated condition of most of these big gurus, we knew that there was little hope they would see the light, and that they would do everything in their power to maintain their positions.

Their guru reform scheme consisted of a mock trial in Mayapura, where the GBC (most of whom were zonal acaryas or their sychopants) were instructed to select two candidates from each zone. They carefully made sure that these representatives would vote in favor of whatever “wise” decisions had been made behind closed doors by the all-knowing elite. Needless to say, radical Temple Presidents like myself were not invited to the Mayapura meeting, although it was due to our long struggle that the reform issue was being dealt with at all. Instead, the “rational, brahminical, compromisers” were permitted to attend and to benefit. In Canada, Jagadisa Swami’s choices were Bhakti Marg Swami, who never showed any interest or attended any of the meetings, and Tarknatha dasa, a raving homosexual, who didn’t even bother to attend.

Naturally, the original reformers had a clearer understanding of the circumstances surrounding many of the problems than most of the representatives who actually attended the Mayapura meeting. These circumstances included the threats being made by the biggest players to leave with money, men, and copyrights to Srila Prabhupada’s translated books if their demands were not met. The GBC obviously felt that it was wiser to surrender to these demands rather than face the difficult task of completely dismantling this oppressive regime.

Many of the long-standing Temple Presidents, who had practically experienced the effects of the zonal acarya system, were of the opinion that the disciples of these so-called guru’s should have been fully informed of the ramifications of their guru’s Big Mistake. We felt that their disciples should be told that their initiations were nullified due to the fact that the most important principle of loving devotional service had been transgressed - namely, Free Will.

These bewildered zonal acaryas should have at least been removed as diksa gurus by the GBC, until it was felt that they had become purified from the intoxicating effects of false pride. The many victims should have had their grievances properly addressed by the GBC. They did not, and as a result, the zonal acarya mentality is still alive and well today within ISKCON. In fact, these same offenders are still very powerful leaders in the movement, and wield tremendous influence within the GBC. Harikesa Swami, with his huge zone and BBT concerns, was just made co-GBC of France and Mayapura. It is interesting to note that this successful leader is the one who is still the most outspoken exponent of the powerful zonal acarya technique. There are still many areas within ISKCON which are almost exclusively the domain of one ex-zonal Acarya, now a regular diksa guru with thousands of disciples. We can only imagine how successful ISKCON would be today if Srila Prabhupada had remained the only Founder Acarya in ISKCON, and the diksa guru of all the Hare Krsna devotees.

Following the Mayapura Reformation Court Hearing, we were expected to believe that by the removal of a few inappropriate titles, big seats, and a little prestige, and with the introduction of a bit more competition, the problem was solved. The solution was to strengthen the GBC by expanding its numbers with members whose qualifications were primarily those of bureaucrats and scholars. Srila Prabhupada’s opinion of bureaucracy has been made patently clear in the letter to Karandara dasa presented earlier.

“Krishna Consciousness Movement is for training men to be independently thoughtful and competent in all types of, departments of knowledge and action not for making bureau- cracy. Once there is bureaucracy the whole thing will be spoiled.”

It is sadly ironic to see all the rules, laws, departments, offices, committees, sub- committees, secretariats, zonal secretaries, ministries, corporate headquarters, etc., that are now required to manage less devotees and less temples than there was when Srila Prabhupada’s ISKCON lila was manifest for 12 years. Nineteen years later, ISKCON should have expanded by at least 3 times what it had been in 1977, even by material calculations. Considering how quickly we were expanding prior to 1977, ISKCON should be at least 10 times what it is today. In North America, most temples are now a perverted reflection of what they had been when Srila Prabhupada handed the responsibility over to His disciples, the majority of whom are no longer participating.

After the aborted attempt in 1986 to change the direction of deviation, some of my Godbrothers took the bait of becoming diksa gurus themselves. Many of them did so out of frustration, due to having had their programs during the zonal acarya era seriously disturbed. They felt that the only option was to have their own disciples, so the big gurus could no longer interfere with their programs.

So many felt that they would become very successful and attract multitudes of disciples, as their predecessors had done. But by then, the momentum within ISKCON had slowed down significantly, which resulted in these second and third tier gurus acquiring only a handful of disciples. The original zonal gurus, due to their expert showmanship, were still much more attractive to the new bhaktas. Due to the GBC policy of downplaying the effects of the philosophical deviation of the zonal acarya system, and censoring the horrific details of abuse, as well as the reality of having the temples staffed predominantly by disciples of the big diksa gurus, who naturally promoted their guru as the best choice, correction of the imbalance was not forthcoming.

I recently meet with a very old friend, Bhakti Marg Swami, who opted for this alternative. I was the Temple President in Toronto when Bhakti Marg joined, in 1972. He was always a conscientious, pleasant, hard working devotee and almost single-handedly supported the temple for years prior to becoming Temple President. When I saw him recently, he was just beginning a cross-Canada walk (3000 miles). He emotionally described the frustration that he experienced while trying to serve his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, as President of the Toronto Temple. We talked about the atmosphere of love and trust we had enjoyed during the pre-samadhi era, and how it has been replaced by a mood of bickering and non-cooperation amongst disciples of the various gurus. This mood helped to create problems that made his service very difficult. Bhakti Marg Swami’s twenty-four years of service ended recently, when a GBC committee removed him from his service. Bhakti Marg Swami felt that he was handled impersonally by the four man committee (a recent concoction of the bureaucratic GBC), and pointed out that the local GBC, Bhakti Ragava Swami, was not even present to help him at a time of great crisis.

As I understand it, Suba Vilasa dasa, who was at the root of the problem, was unhappy about the fact that Bhakti Marg Swami prevented him from becoming the GBC after Jagadisa Swami’s resignation. There is a long history behind this story, known by the local Prabhupada disciples. Bhakti Marg Swami felt that the delegated four-man GBC committee was unnecessary overkill, and that their investigation was hampered by concocted stories and politics coming from the different guru’s disciples. Bhakti Marg Swami’s future service is still unclear. He is bitter, and his walk is more therapy than a preaching mission. In typical form, the GBC’s technique for resolution of the problem was to give Bhakti Marg Swami a brief mention in their GBC Resolutions. That should cheer him up. Maybe he should walk to Achula, Florida, so the GBC can create another bureaucratic post for him.

Here is an except from the News letter, Issue 1, September 1995, of Bhira Krsna Swami, Srila Gurudev...

“JET-AGE PAIVRAJAKACARYA Srila Gurudeva ...was named Secretary for North America of ISKCON's Governing Body Commission this year. He has been to Toronto six times in the last five months. Most recently, after a wonderful Janmastami celebration here, at New Goloka, he hopped on a plane and celebrated Janmastami again and Srila Prabhupada's Appearance Day at the home of Suba Vilasa, a Prabhupada disciple, along with his wife, Ashalata, and children, Minakshi and Indresh. About 1500 people came to take darshan of Sri Sri Radha Syamasundara and participate in the festivities.”

The fact that the GBC Secretary/representative sided with Suba Vilasa, a perpetual trouble maker, and relieved Bhakti Marg Swami of his long held post as Temple President, was of great agitation to Bhakti Marg Swami and the Prabhupada disciples in Toronto. It certainly keeps the jet-age Paivrajakacarya Srila Gurudeva busy. I wonder who pays his airfare? It would be of interest to know the total cost of airfare accrued yearly by all the gurus, GBC bureaucrats, and committee members. Shocking no doubt. No wonder the temples are impoverished. The Toronto Temple gave Bhakti Marg Swami so few funds for his walk, which started on the west coast, that he had to send out a plea for money before he reached the Rockies.

ISKCON continues to labour under a lack of deep understanding of Srila Prabhupada’s plan. The Ultimate Managing Authority is still unable to provide adequate support to the disciples it purports to serve. The offenses continue, and the GBC discourages yet another experienced man.


One of the classic symptoms of an institution in trouble is that the leaders attempt to excessively control everyone around them, and are unable to regulate themselves or their bureaucracy. They become lost in maya, thinking themselves in control. Under the strong influence of this illusion, the power structure, and the relationships that operate within it, become increasingly artificial. The leaders begin to feel out of control. In fear of losing what they covet, they develop a sense of hyper-vigilance, intuitively sensing the impending crisis. But by now, they’re so absorbed in trying to maintain an impossible balance, that they’re unable to focus their vision inward, and cannot see the real source of their difficulty.

The following statement, taken from the February 1996 GBC Resolutions, perfectly illustrates the dynamic described above. It is easy to see which of the two doctrines the GBC considers to be more dangerous, especially to the bureaucrats who composed this ridiculous paper:

1996 ISKCON Guru and Initiation Paper.

1.5.6. Specifically Outlawed Doctrines and Practices "Zonal-Acarya" System:
No guru should declare himself or allow himself to be declared an "acarya" or "present acarya" for ISKCON or for a geographical area of ISKCON. There should be no use of the word "acarya" as a title of office. "Posthumous Rtvik" Doctrine
The doctrine that Srila Prabhupada continues to initiate direct diksa disciples after his departure from this world through officiating priests (rtviks) is a dangerous philosophical deviation. It is totally prohibited in ISKCON. No devotee shall participate in such posthumous rtvik initiation ceremonies in any capacity including acting as rtvik, initiate, assistant, organizer, or financier. No ISKCON devotee shall advocate or support its practice.

This very brief and mildly worded description of the zonal acarya philosophy indicates the lack of understanding within the GBC of how spiritually dangerous the effects of false prestige have been upon the aspiring transcendentalist and the institution that he represents. The many terrible experiences witnessed by everyone during the zonal acarya era did not seem to make much of an impression on these GBC members.

The GBC would now have us believe that the rtvik philosophy of having Srila Prabhupada remain the diksa guru, is far more dangerous than even the zonal acarya system. Would someone kindly explain to us why this is so much more dangerous? What possible reactions can we expect to incur from recommending that someone take diksa initiation from Srila Prabhupada? The above Resolutions illustrate the attitude we are up against.

Having read the original recommendations made by the committee who drew up this document and presented it to the GBC for ratification, I was interested to note that one particular recommendation is conspicuous by it’s absence. It stated that the gurus, sannyasis, and GBCs submit a certified set of financial records documenting the source of their yearly income, and where they spent it.


It is interesting to observe that the GBC have never presented an explanation on how twenty of the most senior disciples could ratify such an offensive policy as the Zonal Acarya System. Mistakes of this devastating magnitude must have their roots in a major philosophical misunderstanding. Even within the relative material world, leaders who make mistakes that cause such devastating results know it is more honorable to resign, rather than wait to be thrown out by their constituents. Not the case with ISKCON. They have been allowed to continue without explanation or apology, leaving everyone to speculate as to their motives and the degree of their integrity. As a result, many sincere devotees left in hopelessness and disgust.

So many difficulties can be attributed to the fact that the GBC involved itself in “managing”, instead of doing as Srila Prabhupada instructed - traveling and preaching, looking out for impurities rather than creating them. It is no surprise that when Srila Prabhupada went into samadhi, these big managers were compelled to grab the power, rather than take on the humble, pure position of rtvik. If they had embraced Srila Prabhupada’s orders years before, I believe they would have been purified enough to at least follow His last instruction, and to humbly cooperate in pushing on Krsna consciousness. It takes a far more advanced devotee to participate in the GBC system than in the zonal acarya system. In the final analysis, the GBC system has never really been implemented as Srila Prabhupada planned. Maybe some day we will be advanced enough to realize it.

For now, I believe it is necessary for us to study the underlying philosophical assumptions that lead one to engage in the type of activities that the GBC participated in, and to understand how this offensive mentality effected the management of the movement, particularly life in the temples. As I’ve studied the ongoing controversies, I find that they are woven together by a common thread. And this thread, I believe, leads us to the root of the problem.



Underlying all the controversy currently faced by Srila Prabhupada’s devotees is an essential philosophical question: was His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada a Nittya-siddha, Maha-Bhagavata, Shaktavesa Avatara? Or was He a Sadhana-siddha Pure Devotee attaining perfection in this lifetime, as the GBC depicted Him shortly after His departure?

Was the early part of Srila Prabhupada’s life not really of much significance, except in that He had a pious birth, which allowed Him to come into contact with the nittya-siddha, Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Thakura? Was it only after this meeting that Srila Prabhupada began making spiritual advancement? Did the purification that He underwent culminate in His achievements after He ended up in New York City, and ISKCON began? At what point in His life did Srila Prabhupada attain the status of pure devotee? Although many devotees within the now-existing society claim to accept that Srila Prabhupada is nittya-siddha, how do they answer these questions? Since Srila Prabhupada’s departure, what have the existing leaders in the GBC led everyone to believe?

After taking control of the GBC in 1977, the first major project of the zonal acaryas was their commissioning of the “authorized” biography of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, commonly known as the “Lilamrta”. A great deal of money was made available by the BBT to send researchers all around the world, taping and transcribing interviews so that Satsvarupa dasa Goswami Maharaja, the GBC’s official zonal acarya spokesman, could present his conception of Srila Prabhupada’s life.

The Lilamrta certainly describes Srila Prabhupada in terms of one who has achieved perfection through sadhana. Details on the exact statements presented in the Lilamrta that verify this claim may be found in a scholarly research paper currently being prepared by Yasoda nandana dasa.

It is important to note that Satsvarupa dasa Goswami was the primary philosophical spokesman on the zonal acarya take-over theory, which was presented as the official 1978 GBC Position Paper. Satsvarupa has also authored a number of more recent philosophical concoctions justifying the actions of the zonal acaryas. Many devotees set aside their initial doubts about the zonal acarya system simply because Satsvarupa dasa Goswami was in agreement with the actions being taken by the GBC. In fact, he was depicted as the “Krsna das Kaviraj” of ISKCON. It was on the order of Raghunatha dasa Goswami that Krsna dasa Kaviraj wrote the Caitanya-caritamrta, and Srila Prabhupada writes in His concluding words in the first paragraph that he has translated Caitanya-caritamrta in accordance with the authorized order of His spiritual master, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura Goswami Maharaja. Did Satsvarupa dasa Goswami have authorization from Srila Prabhupada to write His Biography?

There is a critical question that has never been answered by the GBC. Ten years after the inception of the zonal acarya system, they finally admitted that they had allowed a very serious philosophical deviation to infest the entire movement. Yet they have never given an explanation of what the serious misconceptions were, or what the contamination in consciousness was that resulted in the GBC’s implementation of a system that was clearly not what Srila Prabhupada authorized.

The zonal acarya system was not changed due to some great realization on the part of the GBC. It was changed because the rank and file devotees demanded that something be done. When we consider Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s position as the author of the Lilamrta, we must ask how someone with so little understanding of the Spiritual Master’s plan for the management of His Society, as evidenced by Satsvarupa dasa’s support of the zonal acarya system, could be qualified to present a nittya-siddha, maha-bhagavata, Shaktavesa Avatara properly to the human society for the next ten thousand years. Three quarters of a million Lilamrta’s have been distributed. How much more might humanity have benefited if the same quantity of Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-Gita As It Is had been distributed, instead? How has the misrepresentation of Srila Prabhupada affected the spiritual lives of it’s readers? Does the following letter indicate that Satsvarupa dasa Goswami realizes that the guru puja offered to Srila Prabhupada is exclusively for a Nittya-Siddha Shaktavesa Avatara? While this letter was written at the tailend of the Big Hoax, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami does not indicate that he philosophically understood what the mistake was.

Part 2