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 3

Direction of Management, Part 3




Jul 16, 2019 — CANADA (SUN) —


Claims that the DOM is a Notarized Document


Proponents of the Direction of Management commonly characterize the DOM as a legal, notarized document issued by Srila Prabhupada. This misinformation has been disseminated by Urdhvaga das (editor of, whose September 18, 2000 article on VNN [10] is often quoted:


"He created the DIRECTION OF MANAGEMENT, which was signed, witnessed and notarized. This document created the GBC, and gave the EXACT DIRECTION AS TO HOW THE GBC SHOULD ACT…"


Thirteen years later this misinformation is still being widely proliferated by leading DOM proponent, Nara Narayana Viswakarma das, who wrote in a letter to Sri Rama das on February 9, 2001 [11]:


"… He formulated the DIRECTION OF MANAGEMENT and it was signed by several witnesses, as well as Himself, and notarized."


Having never seen a notarized version of the DOM, we recently asked Nara Narayana to produce a copy. He was unable to do so. Nor could he give us an answer as to the source of this misinformation, except to say that the mischaracterization may have originated during the testimony of GBC member Badrinarayan das as part of the Long Island lawsuit [12]. But the date of Badrinarayan's testimony was July 19, 2004 -- well after the 2000 and 2001 written references from Urdhvaga das and Nara Narayana das.


The Long Island testimony in this regard took place as the plaintiffs (GBC/ISKCON) put the Direction of Management document in as trial evidence:


THE COURT: "Well, this document is notarized, apparently, by the
MR. LESTER: By the keeper of the documents. [The Archives]


In this context, reference to the DOM being a 'notarized document' refers to its authentication by virtue of placement in the Bhaktivedanta Archives. That's very different than the common legal characterization of a document being "notarized" -- being stamped by a Notary Public, thus identifiable for legal purposes. But this distinction is never made by DOM adherents.


Propagating the misrepresentations of Urdhvaga and Nara Narayana, the DOM is now commonly described as a legal, notarized document issued by His Divine Grace. But it is not a notarized legal document. Rather, it is a document signed by Srila Prabhupada and witnessed by three of his senior men.


Nor was this document placed into the Bhaktivedanta Archives at the time Srila Prabhupada signed it. In other words, even if one were to accept the casual use of the word 'notarized', the DOM was not 'notarized' by Srila Prabhupada by his putting it into the Archives, so they could 'notarize it'. The document went into the Archives long after the DOM was issued, and not by Srila Prabhupada's instruction.


Why is this important? Because DOM proponents are selling the devotees a bill of goods: they are preaching that the DOM is an absolute instruction. They are characterizing the DOM in a whole host of ways, slanted to bolster their conclusion as to its meaning, Srila Prabhupada's intention, how the DOM was handled during his manifest lila, and how we should all be accepting the DOM today. But their position is based on a great many errors, misstatements and misrepresentations, and this notion that the DOM was "notarized" is one of them.


Today, the DOM continues to be promoted as a 'notarized legal document' by those who are either uninformed, or who have an agenda and wish to make the DOM appear to be something it is not. And the confusion does not stop at the edges of the DOM, ISKCON Inc. and Ritvik separatist movements that are the focus of this series. The misrepresentations are also carried into ISKCON by its leaders, who simply parrot what they've heard on the Net from presumably authorized sources. For example, we find the mischaracterization of the DOM as a 'notarized' document still being promoted on the website of HH Mukunda Goswami, who offers his wisdom on the DOM under the heading, "Roll them 'taters" [13]:


"In the Direction of Management (written and notarized by Srila Prabhupada in 1970), he suggested that eight GBC be elected from the temple presidents every three years, and that four of the eight who win the election be retained on the body by choice. Theoretically, this means that two-thirds or more of the GBC could change every three years.


"'Taters" is an American slang term for potatoes."


FOOTNOTES (Current Segment):

 [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


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'


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