rocana prabhu publishes a series of editorials about ISKCON's Direction of Management (DOM) on his sampradaya sun website. this DOM has been a contentious issue in ISKCON for a long time, with different camps stating different things.

rocana prabhu, even though persona non grata in ISKCON, is in my opinion an intelligent devotee who cares about srila prabhupdada's ISKCON. i don't say he is right in all he says or writes, but neither is anybody else.

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Direction of Management, Part 8

Direction of Management, Part 8




Jul 26, 2019 — CANADA (SUN) —


'Proof' of DOM Instruction as Late as 1976


In our last segment, we mentioned some of the lines of argument used by DOM proponents to try and work around the 1975 GBC Resolution rescinding elections. In an August 2010 article by Roupa Manjari devi entitled "Ravindra Svarupa and the Unelected Illegal GBC" [16], she commented on another Resolution from that year, dealing with removal of temple presidents:


"Who wrote the language for this resolution? I doubt it was Srila Prabhupada. He was never once so crude. This "resolution" is nothing but "gray area" to be easily manipulated by unscrupulous persons such as the GBC to their own benefit. … This can hardly have been a permanent desire by Srila Prabhupada as to how his movement would go on. In fact, any resolution that would lead away from Srila Prabhupada's fundamental and foundational requirement that temples and their presidents be completely independent from one another and the GBC, and cannot be seen as the actual desire of the spiritual master."


We pointed out the obvious -- that her statement casts the same shadow of doubt over the veracity of the language of Resolution #5, rescinding election of GBCs. It seems she was not aware that Srila Prabhupada was personally present, and very pointedly let it be known that he would be supervising that year's meetings [8]. Clearly, no suggestion can be made that the Resolution rescinding elections was bogus, or written by the GBC themselves for self-serving purpose, when all the 1975 Resolutions were personally approved by Srila Prabhupada.


Although Roupa Manjari devi agreed on this point, the concern remains that we find yet another point of fallacious argument that has been used for years to promote the DOM position. And like all the other misrepresentations we have pointed out, this one has also been preached to unwitting devotees, convincing them that the DOM is the silver bullet solution for ISKCON's ills.


And this brings us to yet another egregious example of misrepresentation being peddled by Nara Narayana Viswakarma das and his wife. In fact, it was this example that first convinced us the matter had to be made public, so that devotees might avoid being duped by the DOM campaign.


This issue has to do with two ISKCON temple corporations that were filed in the State of California in 1975 and 1976. Repeatedly, Nara Narayana and Roupa Manjari have made strong claims about these corporations, in absolutist language, and their statements have been repeated over and over by other DOM adherents. Although we confronted them on the subject and they admitted their statements were unfounded and erroneous, weeks later they were still arguing the very same bogus facts in an effort to promote their DOM conclusion. It is an unconscionable practice.


Following the timeline of issuance of the DOM in 1970, then the Topmost Urgency in 1974, and then the 1975 Resolution rescinding elections, the DOM proponents apparently felt they needed a 'final order' to prove that despite the instruction rescinding elections, Srila Prabhupada still wanted elections to be held according to the DOM. The so-called evidence they settled on is the incorporation of ISKCON Los Angeles in 1975, and ISKCON of the Bay Area in 1976.


They falsely claim that Srila Prabhupada personally and specifically saw to it that the Topmost Urgency amendment was added to the articles/bylaws of these two corporations, and they assert this as proof positive that the 1975 rescinding Resolution was not Srila Prabhupada's final word on the matter. Although they are unable to produce any evidence at all that Srila Prabhupada had direct participation in these two incorporations, that has not deterred them from saying that he did.


In a letter to Hari Vilasa das, June 13, 2006 [14], Nara Narayana wrote:


"In 1975, Srila Prabhupada insists on the LA temple entering the DOM as part of the Non Profit documents filed with the state. (The DOM has since been deleted after that time)."


In her August 2010 article, "Ravindra Svarupa and the Unelected Illegal GBC" [16], Roupa Manjari wrote:


"Srila Prabhupada placed the Direction of Management order into the Articles of Incorporation of both ISKCON Los Angeles and ISKCON of the Bay Area in 1975 and 1976 respectively, a fact which stands in glaring contradiction to Ravindra Svarupa's opinion that "many temples had bylaws or articles of incorporation that did not embody Srila Prabhupada's chain of authority"."


This statement is incorrect and illogical. The fact that two temples adopted amendments is not 'contradictory' to the statement that many temples did not adopt them. If there are two that did, and 30 that did not, there are still many who did not.


It's not that we want to split hairs on the small points… we simply want devotees to understand that if they have been convinced to join the DOM movement, they have likely been convinced by a collection of statements just like this. And they should reconsider their position.


More recently, Roupa Manjari devi wrote the following in "Further Considerations on the DOM" (June 2011) [20]:


"In 1975 the DOM was added to the incorporation papers of ISKCON California, and in 1976, the DOM was added to the incorporation papers of the ISKCON Bay Area (Berkeley). It would be very hard to say that Srila Prabhupada did not want the DOM, considering that He ordered it to be adopted by all temples as late as 1976."


And even more recently, Nara Narayana and Roupa Manjari made the same claims in phone and email exchanges with us. They wrote:


"Srila Prabhupada incorporated ISKCON CA and ISKCON of the Bay in 1975 and 1976 with the Direction of Management. There are copies of these articles at our website at the following links: [24] [25]


When following these links, all you will find are two sets of incorporation papers signed by devotee directors. Srila Prabhupada is not named as an incorporator or director. So we can see that Srila Prabhupada had not "placed the Direction of Management order into the Articles of Incorporation", as claimed. What was included in the articles was language resembling, but not taken verbatim from the Topmost Urgency document -- not the DOM.


We pointed this out but Roupa Manjari pressed on, saying that even so:


"since no one outside of the original GBC had ever heard of the DOM, knew what it contained, or that it even existed, that it would not be possible for the Temple President and his staff to implement its tenets into their operations."


As we continued to push on the point that there was no evidence Srila Prabhupada even had knowledge of these California incorporations, what to speak of personally directed them to include the DOM, Roupa Manjari eventually said:


"We are not sure of what was involved, but it was Ramesvara who did the work. Ramesvara would never have acted without consulting with Srila Prabhupada first."


This admission is a far cry from the absolutist claims she and Nara Narayan das had been making for many years.


We recently asked Ramesvara dasa to clarify the matter. On April 16, 2013 he wrote:


"I can tell you that Srila Prabhupada was definitely NOT involved directly in the language used when incorporating the CA corporations. It was NEVER shown to His Divine Grace."


Over the course of our lengthy exchange with Nara Narayana and wife we confronted these misrepresentations, and they attempted on several occasions to step around the fact that their primary evidence for a 'final order' on DOM elections did not exist. Instead, they made various other misrepresentations about the amendment language added to the two sets of California incorporation papers. For example, they emphasized that the amendment was added, but in a "peculiar way"… that paragraph two from the Topmost Urgency had actually been added instead of the DOM. (Of course, that is not peculiar at all, since the Topmost Urgency says that it is the amendment language to be added, not the DOM.)


Roupa Manjari devi wrote:


"In 1974 He made it absolutely clear that He wanted all the Temples to incorporate. In 1975 and 1976 ISKCON CA and ISKCON Bay Area did. As far as the text of these incorporation papers, Ramesvara lifted the language that he used for incorporating verbatim from the 1974 letter."


But the truth is, some of the language from the Topmost Urgency amendments was not added at all to the California corporate articles, and some of the language added was revised language, similar to but somewhat different from the amendment language provided by Srila Prabhupada in Topmost Urgency. Not at all 'verbatim'.


They also don't mention the fact that one of the three paragraphs that comprise the entire Topmost Urgency (which has only two items, in three paragraphs) was not added at all to the California corporate articles. In fact, another article that was included makes an entirely contradictory statement to Srila Prabhupada's instructed amendment language. But this is not mentioned. Instead, our DOM proponents preached the glorious fact that the DOM was added by Srila Prabhupada's direct instruction (his 'final order' on the matter) … or at least, the DOM was added under Ramesvara's direction… or no, it wasn't the DOM, but peculiarly enough, it was a verbatim paragraph from Topmost Urgency that mentions the DOM…(never mind that the reference is only the fact that the GBC had already been appointed per the DOM… nothing to do with elections.)


In a good faith effort, we pointed out the many problems, errors and misrepresentations Nara Narayana das and his wife have incorporated into their DOM propaganda, including those mentioned thus far in this series, and many more. We urged them to set the record straight. They were not only unwilling to do so, but as the lengthy discussion came to a close, were still heard preaching as absolute fact the idea that Srila Prabhupada had personally included the DOM in two California incorporation papers, thus proving that as late as 1976, he still wanted GBC elections to go forward per the DOM.


FOOTNOTES (Current Segment):

[24] 1975 ISKCON California Articles of Incorporation

[25] 1976 ISKCON Bay Area Articles of Incorporation


FOOTNOTES (Previous Segments):


[1] Direction of Management, July 28, 1970

[2] Topmost Urgency, July 22, 1974

[3] League of Devotees - Back To Godhead, Vol. III, Pt. 10, October 20, 1956 (Delhi)

[4] Constitution of Association, Jul 7-8th, 1966

[5] Certificate of Incorporation, ISKCON Inc., Jul 13, 1966

[6] Srila Prabhupada Letter to Giriraj, Aug 12, 1971

[7] Srila Prabhupada Letter to Satsvarup, May 2, 1972

[8] Srila Prabhupada Letter to Jayatirtha, Dec 16, 1974

[9] Compilation of quotes from Srila Prabhupada on 'Constitution'

[10] "Direction of Management for an Elected GBC" by Urdhvaga das, VNN, Sep 18, 2000

[11] Letter to Sri Rama das from Nara Narayan Vishwakarma das (Nathan Zakheim), Feb 9, 2001

[12] Testimony of Bardrinarayan dasa in Long Island Lawsuit, Jul 19, 2004

[13] "Roll them 'taters" by HH Mukunda Goswami, Jul 28, 2006

[14] "Chronology of the DOM" by Nara Narayana das, Jun 13, 2006

[15] Srila Prabhupada's 1974 Letters mentioning DOM: Sep 29, 1974 Letter to Mukunda; Nov 7, 1974 and Nov 8, 1974 Letters to Rupanuga

[16] "Ravindra Svarupa and the Unelected Illegal GBC" by Roupa Manjari devi dasi, Aug 16, 2010

[17] "Srila Prabhupada's Direction of Management" by Nara Narayana Viswakarma das, Aug 5, 2005

[18] "Bylaws and Centralization - the Facts" by Ravindra Svarupa dasa, May 24, 2007

[19] 1975 GBC Resolutions

[20] "Further Considerations on the DOM" by Roupa Manjari dd, Jun 20, 2011

[21] "ISKCON Incorporation & the DOM" by Ameyatma das, Jun 8, 2008

[22] "ISKCON Law - GBC Elections & Term Limits" by Ameyatma das, Feb 19, 2012


[23] Srila Prabhupada Letter to Jayatirtha, Oct 16, 1975


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