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 6

Direction of Management, Part 6




Jul 22, 2019 —CANADA (SUN) —


Topmost Urgency and DOM


As pointed out in our last segment, proponents of the DOM movement put a strong emphasis on the notion that the Topmost Urgency document was issued by Srila Prabhupada specifically, if not primarily, in an effort to re-assert his desire for GBC elections. As already pointed out, they take great liberties with the evidence used to support that interpretation. And as we will demonstrate in this segment, there is actually a wholesale campaign of misinterpretation behind the DOM presentation. We call it a 'campaign' because we have experienced firsthand the fact that leading DOM proponents, Nara Narayana Viswakarma das and his wife, Roupa Manjari devi dasi, remain unwavering in their determination to spread misrepresentations and outright falsehoods about the Direction of Management and Topmost Urgency, even as they admit (privately) to the falsehoods.


Over the years, a great deal of confusion has arisen in describing the nature of the Direction of Management [1] and Topmost Urgency [2] documents. Both are regularly referred to as being 'amendments'. The DOM, however, is not itself an 'amendment'.


It is correct to categorize the Topmost Urgency as an amendment to the DOM, by virtue of the fact that the opening recital of Topmost Urgency states:




Given Srila Prabhupada's statement in the letter to Satsvarupa of May 2, 1972 [7], he is quite certainly referring to the DOM as a constitution (emphasis added):


"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."


This was discussed in Part 2 of this series. In fact, when considering whether there is any predominance among the various statements of aims, objectives and purposes of the Society (i.e., statements of constitutional principles), we might consider that the DOM has a degree of supremacy as a constitution. It is itself a constitution, it is mentioned in the body of the Topmost Urgency, and the Topmost Urgency states that it is to be made an amendment to all constitutions. Therefore the DOM is the only constitution that every other constitution would refer to, were the Topmost Urgencyparagraphs amended, as instructed.


Interestingly enough, the DOM proponents themselves have never pointed this fact out. Instead, they attribute a whole host of qualities to the DOM that it does not have, just as they make the Topmost Urgency out to be something other than what it is.


Nara Narayana Viswakarma das and his wife have presented a number of very convoluted and incorrect arguments in this regard. They have argued that the Topmost Urgency is not an amendment to the DOM. Contradictorily, they have also argued that only the 2nd paragraph of the Topmost Urgency is an amendment, because it mentions the DOM. They also claim, very regularly, that the DOM itself is to be appended to the corporation papers of each temple. All three of these statements are incorrect. For example, in her article, "Ravindra Svarupa and the Unelected Illegal GBC" [16], Roupa Manjari wrote:


"When 4 years later, Srila Prabhupada discovered that His Direction of Management order had been rejected by the GBC, Srila Prabhupada immediately issued His "Topmost Urgency" letter in 1974, re-stating His absolute order to the GBC to immediately incorporate the Direction of Management. Again the order was rejected by the ISKCON GBC, and hidden from the ISKCON public."


As we pointed out yesterday, that is not at all what the Topmost Urgency actually says.


Another classic example is the statement made by Nara Narayana in his 2005 address to the Gurukulis in Los Angeles [17], in which he stated:


"In 1974, He issued a paper marked "TOPMOST URGENCY" that ordered that the DOM be added to all Iskcon temple non-profit corporation charters. In other words, in the Iskcon world, the DOM was once again to be introduced as the 'LAW OF THE LAND" under Srila Prabhupada's order."


In fact, the Topmost Urgency document does not state that the DOM is to be added to all ISKCON charters. Rather, it says that three specific paragraphs comprising items #1 and #2 are to be added to the official documents, etc., and one of these paragraphs refers to the DOM. But that is not the same thing as saying that the DOM itself is to be added as an amendment to corporate documents.


This is one of the primary, and very significant misrepresentations of the DOM being propagated by members of the DOM movement.


As pointed out yesterday, in "Chronology of the DOM" [14], Nara Narayana writes:


"According to the schedule set down in the DOM, Spring of 1974 would have been the first GBC election following the formation of the GBC in 1971. The GBC made no move to hold elections. Later in 1974, Srila Prabhupada sent out the "TOPMOST URGENCY" statement. There were two main points in the letter: the first was followed impeccably by all temples, the second point concerning elections was disobeyed completely."


In fact, the 2nd point of Topmost Urgency doesn't refer to elections at all. What it says is this:


"2.) There shall be a Governing Board Committee of trustees appointed by the Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad according to the document Direction of Management dated July 28, 1970. The GBC is to act as the instrument for the execution of the will of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad."


And herein lies another of the fundamental flaws in the DOM position. In fact, this flaw is the DOM movement's Achilles' heel. Aside from the regular mischaracterizations of the DOM as being an amendment document, one of the primary arguments put forth is that when the DOM elections process was ignored, His Divine Grace issued the Topmost Urgency, again instructing a GBC elections process -- and that this urgent demand was so important that it was to be added as an amendment to every legal document in the movement. But this is false.


2.) There shall be a Governing Board Committee of trustees appointed by the Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad according to the document Direction of Management dated July 28, 1970. The GBC is to act as the instrument for the execution of the will of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad.


The Topmost Urgency amendment paragraph above specifically refers to GBCs that were appointed per the DOM, and the DOM does indeed state the appointment of GBC's, listing 12 of them by name. This is a past-tense statement of fact. Per the 1970 DOM, the GBC members were appointed by Srila Prabhupada. Four years later, the Topmost Urgency mentions those members who were appointed in 1970. There is no reference whatsoever in this Topmost Urgency amendment paragraph to future elections, anymore than there is reference in Topmost Urgency to all the other items mentioned in the DOM such as real estate purchases, duties of sannyasis, publication of books, etc.


If the Topmost Urgency paragraphs were appended to a temple's corporate documents, the amendment would only memorialize the fact that GBC's were appointed per the DOM. It does NOT say that in future, GBC's are to be elected or re-elected per the DOM. That, the Topmost Urgency reference to the DOM does not say.


This fact alone completely disproves the DOM camp's argument that through the Topmost Urgency, Srila Prabhupada intended to memorialize GBC elections in all temple corporate and other legal documents. Just as the single word 'henceforward' in the July 9th Letter became the lynchpin of Ritvik-vada, the entire DOM position -- that GBC's are to be elected -- hinges upon their mischaracterization of this single word in the Topmost Urgency document: "appointed".


FOOTNOTES (Current Segment):


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


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


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