Constitution for ISKCON As It Is - Article 5


Aug 01, 2017 — CANADA (SUN) —


5.8 Temple and Group Member Programs

    5.8.1 Deity Worship Deity Worship programs being conducted by Members of the Society in temples, centers and Group Member facilities shall be done in strict accordance with the standards and instructions of His Divine Grace. Deity worship may be increased in opulence in a host of ways while remaining within the boundaries of the standard procedures established by His Divine Grace. [27] Only authorized Deity forms, murtis, pictures and paraphernalia shall be placed on the altar. Representations of demigods shall not be placed on the altar. Murtis and pictures of demigods enshrined elsewhere on the temple premises shall be offered worship only and strictly in accordance with His Divine Grace's instructions. Pictures of the Disciplic Succession on the altar shall include, respectively (left to right), and solely and only, Their Divine Graces Srila Jagannath Das Babaji, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Srila Gaurakisora Das Babaji, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, and Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Pujaris engaged in serving the Deities may place a picture of their own bona fide diksa-guru at a place on the altar visible to them but not unnecessarily prominent to the congregation's view, for offering worship accordingly in disciplic succession. The picture shall not be placed next to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's in the line of Sampradaya Acaryas. It shall be removed from the altar at the conclusion of the arati. Deity worship, including pujari and cooking seva, in a temple or Group Member facility shall be conducted by devotees with brahminical initiation. In the event such person is not available or other exceptional circumstances exist, Deity worship may be conducted by a properly trained devotee having high brahminical qualifications, both on and off the alter, under the supervision of a siksa-guru who himself has brahminical initiation. Devotees who are engaged in Deity worship may be required by the Temple President or Group Leader to provide confirmation from their diksa-guru that they are regularly and properly conducting their japa-sadhana and are strictly following the four regulative principles. Group Member temples and facilities who wish to engage in elaborate Deity worship programs, extending beyond the bounds of the standard procedures described in §, such as worshipping Salagram-sila or other complex procedures, including any procedures not commonly performed in temples during His Divine Grace's ISKCON lila, shall do so only with the express permission of the Governing Body Commission.

    5.8.2 Cooking for the Deities Cooking for the Deities and seva associated therewith shall be done in strict accordance with the instructions of His Divine Grace, and in accordance with § All reasonable effort shall be made to offer the Deities only milk and by- products from protected cows, however when that is not feasible, the Deities shall not be deprived of milk products. All Members shall promote the practice of Vegetarianism, and shall not promote Veganism (which is contrary to Cow Protection) as being preferable or equal to Vegetarianism. Vegan preparations may be offered to the Deities and the prasadam distributed, but Vegan foodstuffs shall not be specially promoted, except to identify them as such for the convenience of those with particular dietary concerns.

    5.8.3 Prasadam Distribution

      Prasadam should be offered to the Deities according to the authorized procedures instructed by His Divine Grace. Prasadam distribution is an essential element of Krsna consciousness. Devotees are instructed to prepare and offer sumptuous foodstuffs to the Lord, taking only His remnants as their own eatables, and they are requested to liberally distribute Krsna prasadam to all other persons who are suffering due to spiritual hunger. Following arati, maha-prasadam should be distributed to guests and devotees alike. Prasadam should accompany devotees on all preaching functions, whenever possible and should be attractive and palatable.

      "The spiritual master encourages distribution of prasadam (remnants of Krsna's food) to the public. Ours is not a dry philosophy − simply talk and go away. No. We distribute prasadam, very sumptuous prasadam. In every temple, we offer prasadam to anyone who comes. …So prasadam distribution is another symptom of the genuine spiritual master." [28]

    5.8.4 Daily Program of Worship Group Member preaching facilities (temples, etc.) shall make every effort to conduct a regular daily program of worship open to Members and the general public. The program of worship shall include authorized activities, following as closely as possible the full program of daily worship established by His Divine Grace: mangala-arati, tulasi-arati, chanting japa, guru-puja, Srimad Bhagavatam class, additional regular daily aratis as possible, and evening programs reading Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Krsna Book, and other authorized sastra. Chanting of kirtan and bhajan shall be done in accordance with § 5.4.

    5.8.5 Sunday Feast Program Group Member temples and preaching facilities shall make every effort to host or co-join with another Member facility in hosting a Sunday evening program and traditional Sunday Feast, open to the public. Harinama and book sankirtan preaching parties should distribute invitations to all favorable members of the public, encouraging attendance at the Sunday Feast program. The program shall include authorized activities, following as closely as possible the Sunday Feast program format established by His Divine Grace in terms of lecture, kirtan and bhajan, opulent prasadam distribution, book distribution and interaction with guests. Every effort shall be made to engage guests in the process of Krsna consciousness and to encourage continued daily attendance at temple/facility programs. Except for properly acknowledging guest speakers or participants, there shall be no active promotion of, or canvassing of initiation candidates on behalf of any individual diksa-guru or personality other than His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada at Sunday Feast programs.

    5.8.6 Festivals and Observance Days Group Member preaching facilities and individual Members of the Society shall make every effort to observe and host Vaisnava festivals and observance days authorized by His Divine Grace. Group Members shall not host unauthorized festivals and observances, such as the worship of demigods and Hindu or Vedic events not established by His Divine Grace. Unauthorized events or observance practices shall not be coupled with, or held concurrently with authorized events and/or public observances. Festivals and observance events shall include authorized activities, following the mood and format established by His Divine Grace for such events. When festival or feast events coincide with ekadasi dates, ekadasi preparations or feasts shall be provided according to authorized standards.

    5.8.7 Ratha Yatra Ratha Yatra festivals shall be conducted in accordance with the standards and format established by His Divine Grace, and particularly with respect to performance of kirtan and chanting, dancing before the Deities, and interacting with the public. Kirtan parties performing before the Ratha carts shall perform for the pleasure of the Deities first and foremost, and in a manner that engages public bystanders to join in chanting the Holy Names and dancing. Kirtan shall not otherwise be done in a mood of 'performance entertainment'. Ratha Yatra festivals shall, whenever possible, remain independent events rather than combining with non-Gaudiya Vaisnava events, secular holiday festivals or parades, etc. Ratha Yatra parades shall maintain His Divine Grace's standards, avoiding the inclusion of non-devotional characters, floats, or other parade gimmicks, unless absolutely required by circumstances of combined events. Festival of India events held in conjunction with Ratha Yatras shall maintain His Divine Grace's standards in every regard, particularly with respect to hosted performances and personalities, distribution of literature and goods, and activities arranged for public consumption and participation.

    5.8.8 Brahmacari and Brahmacarini Asramas Group Member temples and other appropriate preaching facilities shall make every effort to establish brahmacari and brahmacarini asrama facilities, according to His Divine Grace's standards. Group Members who are the beneficiary of funds distributed by the Governing Body Commission shall work with their local Governing Body Commissioner to develop and execute a plan for the establishment of brahmacari and/or brahmacarini facilities in temples whose circumstances (i.e., physical space/structure) could reasonably be made to accommodate such asrama facilities without undue burden of expense.

    5.8.9 Other Use of Temple Premises

      Group Members who are conducting a program of Deity Worship on the premises shall not permit activities in the temple room or in whatever facilities house Their Lordships, for any non-devotional purpose, or for any activity not specifically authorized by His Divine Grace.

    5.8.10 Financial Maintenance of Devotees

      Group Members shall not pay salaries to devotees for temple or preaching service, except insofar as such maintenance is permitted and instructed by His Divine Grace. Simple sustenance may be provided in the form of an apartment, prasada and a nominal stipend required to cover the most basic living necessities. Group Members wishing to financially reward any employee or servant above this level shall do so only with the express permission of the Governing Body Commission.

5.9 Social Welfare Activities

    5.9.1 Religious Welfare

      Members of the Society shall not, in the name of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness As It Is, engage in acts of altruistic or philanthropic service for the material good of mankind. Mundane social welfare work in the disguise of 'religious welfare work' shall not be the business of the Members, who shall follow the instructions [29] of His Divine Grace in this regard.

      "The highest perfectional project of philanthropic activities is to engage everyone in the act of preaching bhakti-yoga all over the world because that alone can save the people from the control of maya, or the material nature represented by kala, karma and guna, as described above. The Bhagavad-gita (14.26) confirms this definitely." [30]

      "If anyone is charitably disposed, it will be very good for him to give charity only to Krsna, who is the Supersoul of everyone, regardless of his particular body or individual personality. Krsna is present as the Supersoul in every living being, and if we can satisfy Him, then every living being will automatically be satisfied." [31]

    5.9.2 Prasadam Distribution His Divine grace instructed that "within ten miles [of a temple] nobody should remain hungry." Beyond the scope of that instruction, the practice of 'poor feeding' shall not be conducted in the name of prasadam distribution, or otherwise. "Poor does not mean that one who has no legs, no ears, or no... Poor... Everyone who is spiritually poor, he should be given prasadam." [32a-b] In the event of natural disaster or other emergency, short-term prasadam distribution shall be permitted, even in the event civil or local authorities deny Members the freedom or facility to concurrently preach and/or distribute Krsna conscious literature.

5.10 Cooperation

    Members of the Society shall endeavor to create an atmosphere that is conducive to the manifestation of the spirit of cooperation that His Divine Grace requested throughout his ISKCON lila. Cooperation requires strict adherence to the precise methods of executing Krsna consciousness instructed by His Divine Grace during His manifest lila, and preserved in his vani. Confusion, doubt, controversy and lack of enthusiasm contribute to the tendency to not cooperate, therefore, the Members shall foster a peaceful environment in which these negative qualities are eradicated by means of diligent study of the philosophy, regulated sadhana, the encouragement of devotee association, regular istagosthi, and following faithfully in the footsteps of His Divine Grace, without deviation.

    5.10.1 Istagosthi

      All Members are encouraged to help foster an environment in which istagosthi may be properly engaged. The format of istagosthi is one in which devotees may freely, outside the bounds of rank or role within the Society and without fear of recrimination, gather together to share their minds, to speak honestly and frankly, to air doubts and confusions, and to work together in applying His Divine Grace's vani to solve and resolve problems or differences being experienced by them. The proper conclusions of Vaisnavism and the practical application of siddhanta based on guru, sadhu and sastra may be freely discussed in the atmosphere of istagosthi, which is conducive to exploration of spiritual doubts, discussing controversial philosophical positions, or whatever else limits the devotees from engaging peacefully in their pursuit of Krsna consciousness. Istagosthis shall be moderated by a senior devotee, who shall employ a method of group facilitation that ensures each individual has an opportunity to be heard, without interruption, for an equal share of time.

    5.10.2 Vaisnava-aparadha

      Members should be extremely careful to avoid committing offenses, including all forms of aparada. Guarding against committing vaishnava-aparada is essential to developing one's Krishna Consciousness. In the event that one devotee lays a charge of vaishnava-aparada against another, claiming that he has committed this offense and should therefore be sanctioned in some manner, the situation shall be settled in accordance with §


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