DOM

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 Two

second installment of rocana's editorial series. original URL: http://harekrsna.com/sun/editorials/07-19/editorials17099.htm

Direction of Management, Part Two

BY: SUN STAFF

Jul 14, 2019 — CANADA (SUN) —

 

Iterations of Constitutional Principles

 

On several occasions, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada stated constitutional principles he wished to have his followers adhere to. Published before the establishment of his ISKCON Society were the aims and objectives of the League of Devotees (October 20, 1956) [3]. Specific to ISKCON is the Constitution of Association (July 7-8, 1966) [4] and the Certificate of Incorporation (articles) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON Inc.), incorporated by Srila Prabhupada in New York on July 13, 1966 [5].

 

The creation of the July 28, 1970 Direction of Management (DOM) [1] immediately followed the San Francisco Ratha Yatra of July 5, 1970. There are indications in the document itself that the DOM is a constitution. Srila Prabhupada wrote:

 

"There was a meeting in San Francisco during the Ratha Yatra festival 1970 and many presidents of the centers were present. In that meeting it was resolved that an ad hoc committee be set up to form the constitution which is taken into consideration."

 

 Less than a year later Srila Prabhupada wrote in a letter to Giriraj, August 12, 1971 [6]:

 

 "We are in the experimental stage but in the next meeting of the GBC members they should form a constitution"

 

This statement to Giriraj indicates that if the DOM was considered a constitution, it was not seen by Srila Prabhupada as a complete or final constitution. A year after this letter to Giriraj, in a letter to Satsvarupa on May 2, 1972 [7] Srila Prabhupada wrote:

 

"I wanted that the GBC would be a chosen body of men for that purpose, to see how the students are learning and reporting to me as my secretaries. I do not know how you could have missed these points, as they are clearly spelled out in my original constitution."

 

Clearly Srila Prabhupada is not referring to the 1966 Constitution of Association or the articles of ISKCON Inc., which don't mention the GBC. We must therefore assume that he is referring to the DOM. However, the DOM was not considered to be the complete or final constitution of ISKCON, as evidenced by several statements Srila Prabhupada made.

 

In a letter to Jayatirtha on December 16, 1974 [8], Srila Prabhupada talks about constitutional work to be done in future; he casts some doubt on whether that work can be accomplished successfully, and says he will discuss it with the GBC at the 1975 meetings (emphasis added):

 

My dear Jayatirtha,

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated Dec. 5, 1974.

Regarding the GBC meeting to be held in Mayapur 1975, the meeting should be held five days before the actual festival is to begin and it will be held in my presence. As far as your proposals are concerned, the real thing is that we must make broader constitution of the management by GBC. But the difficulty is that our GBC men are falling victim to maya. Today I trust this GBC and tomorrow he will fall down. That is the difficulty. If the GBC men are so flickering then what to speak of the others. Unless this problem is solved whatever we may resolve it will not be very useful. We shall discuss this at our meeting. If the GBC men can ever manage properly then I shall get some time for writing my books.

(December 16, 1974, Bombay)

 

Rupanuga das reports that in 1976, Srila Prabhupada again called for a constitution.

 There are numerous other statements Srila Prabhupada made on the topic of constitutions, both referring to ISKCON and to civil government, and these quotes have been compiled by Vanipedia [9].

 Unfortunately, proponents of the DOM are preaching that the DOM is the one and only constitution needed for ISKCON. For example, in a recent discussion about ISKCON Inc., Nara Narayana Viswakarma das wrote:

 

 "Nimai Pandit welcomed me "gorgeously" on board to help write such a constitution, and I refused him flat out. I told him that the Constitution of Iskcon Inc need be nothing more than the DOM. In fact, if SP's desire is to arrange that the temples are completely independent and de-centralized, then the only purpose for having a constitution would be to have a uniform "governance" that each Iskcon Inc Temple would have to accept to be able to be listed as Iskcon Inc. I fear that Nimai Pandit wants to create a "BIG" Iskcon, which will then dominate and control each Iskcon temple and temple president with (I suppose) posing as the "Dear Leader" of his own style of despotism."

(Letter to Rocana dasa, May 9, 2013)

 

But as we have shown above, it was not Srila Prabhupada's desire that the DOM be the sole and only iteration of constitutional principles governing his Society. This is but one of a great many examples we are about to present in which the Direction of Management is being misrepresented, and devotees are peddling a host of false conceptions about the DOM in their campaign to sell it as a 'silver bullet' solution for ISKCON's problems.

 

FOOTNOTES:

 [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'

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