ISTAGOSTHI on the

DIRECTION of MANAGEMENT (Part 2)

 
Dear Nara Narayana prabhuji, pamho, All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
 
Yes if the Ayur Vedic doctor can pay us a visit that would be nice although we don't have much  Laxmi to pay him, so if he requires large fees there is no use asking him to come.
 
In regards to the Sri Isopanisads i mailed 70 copies to Sanat prabhu and the postage was a little high at 61.00. The books cost 0.68p each for us to print so including postage each book costs 1.55 (approx. $2.48) which is a little high but Krishna will cover costs if we distribute the original books, that is my understanding.
 
I really appreciate the five points you have raised namely:
 
1.  SRAVANAM:   

2.  ISTAGOSTHI:

3.  THE SIX LOVING EXCHANGES:  

4.  SANKIRTAN:

5.  NAM HATTA:
 
Although i am a little unclear or have a different view of certain points you have raised.
 
You say the above five things need to be in place for the DOM to work and then you say
 
"NONE OF THE ABOVE FIVE ELEMENTS CAN BE ACHIEVED WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF THE DIRECTION OF MANAGEMENT!"
 
This seems a little contradictory. Are you meaning what Srila Prabhupada says when he says
 
Just like if the head wills it, the hand will move. Preaching is like the head of our KC Society--if the head is removed, the whole body dies. Managing is the hands, which work nicely if the head is healthy. If the hands are removed, the body will not die, but it will be crippled. So preaching is more important than management, but both must be there if the whole body is to operate nicely.
 
(S.P. Letter to: Patita Uddharana 8 December, 1971)
 
Are you saying that although comparitively speaking the first five items are more important, correct management needs to be there side by side to facilitate them expanding correctly ? Each temple will remain independent and self-sufficient, with individual striving and work and responsibility, competitive spirit, not that one shall dominate and distribute benefits to the others ?
 
 
As far as possible the centers should act freely, but conjointly. They must look forward to the common development. That should be the principle.
 
(S.P. Letter to: Tamala Krsna Tittenhurst 13 October, 1969)
 
 Do not centralize anything. Each temple must remain independent and self-sufficient. That was my plan from the very beginning, why you are thinking otherwise? Once before you wanted to do something centralizing with your GBC meeting, and if I did not interfere the whole thing would have been killed. Do not think in this way of big corporation, big credits, centralization--these are all nonsense proposals. Only thing I wanted was that books printing and distribution should be centralized, therefore I appointed you and Bali Mardan to do it. Otherwise, management, everything, should be done locally by local men. Accounts must be kept, things must be in order and lawfully done, but that should be each temple's concern, not yours. Krishna Consciousness Movement is for training men to be independently thoughtful and competent in all types of departments of knowledge and action, not for making bureaucracy. Once there is bureaucracy the whole thing will be spoiled. There must be always individual striving and work and responsibility, competitive spirit, not that one shall dominate and distribute benefits to the others and they do nothing but beg from you and you provide. No. Never mind there may be botheration to register each centre, take tax certificate each, become separate corporations in each state. That will train men how to do these things, and they shall develop reliability and responsibility, that is the point. I am little observing now, especially in your country, that our men are losing their enthusiasm for spreading on our programmes of Krishna Consciousness movement.
 
(S.P. Letter to: Karandhara Bombay 22 December, 1972)
 
                 
Regarding incorporation of our ISKCON centers, we want to run all our centers as nonprofit religious organizations; that is the main point. Keeping this point in view too much official control is not good in spiritual life. The centers should remain spiritually fit and independent. Some control must be there as is now. Too much control means so many vouchers. Gradually it will become a mundane institution. All our managers should be spiritually advanced simple and honest in carrying out the orders of the spiritual master and Krsna. That will be a nice standard. Democracy in spiritual affairs is not at all good but breeds power politics. We should be careful about power politics. Our only aim should be that each and every devotee is full dedicated to Krsna, then things will go on nicely.
 
(S.P. Letter to: Karandhara 19th July, 1973)
 
Another point in regards to your above point i.e.
 
"NONE OF THE ABOVE FIVE ELEMENTS CAN BE ACHIEVED WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF THE DIRECTION OF MANAGEMENT!"
 
I would say it is better to say they can be achieve without the DOM on a small scale, this we have had practical realization of here in Oldham as have many others world wide.
 
Also we can note from the following:
 
As we have increased our volume of activities, now I think a Governing Body Commission (hereinafter referred to as the GBC) should be established. I am getting old, 75 years old, therefore at any time I may be out of the scene, therefore I think it is necessary to give instruction to my disciples how they shall manage the whole institution. They are already managing individual centers represented by one president, one secretary and one treasurer, and in my opinion they are doing nice. But we want still more improvement in the standard of Temple management, propaganda for Krishna Consciousness, distribution of books and literatures, opening of new centers and educating devotees to the right standard. Therefore, I have decided to adopt the following principles and I hope my beloveddisciples will kindly accept them. (D.O.M.)
 
 
So because the volume of activities of the movement had developed Srila Prabhupada established the GBC to oversees all operations and management of ISKCON. Although he says individual centers are already being managed and they are doing nice.
 
So from the above it is clear anyone can establish a small preaching center at their own home to facilitate all the above five items taking place but they will never have the inspiration to do this unless they first hear from Srila Prabhupada, that is the main point.
 
 It does not require that he is very learned scholar. No. Simply he must hear from the authority. Srotriyam. You have... Krishna has given you, God has given you the ear. This is our system. Simply they hear and they become big, big preacher. It doesn't require that he has to pass M.A., C.B.A.C., or Ph.D. examinations. Hearing is sufficient.

(S.B. Lecture 3.254. Bombay, Nov 4th, 1974)

 

After receiving the spiritual master's mercy, one must repeat his instructions, and this is called sravana-kirtana--hearing and chanting. One who has not properly heard from the spiritual master or who does not follow the regulative principles is not fit for chanting (kirtana). This is explained in Bhagavad Gita (2.41): vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana. One who has not listened carefully to the instructions of the spiritual master is unfit to chant or preach the cult of devotional service.

(C.C. Mad. 19.152)

 

This is the way of the parampara system. Although Sanat-kumara, the well-known great saintly Kumara, was in the perfect stage of life, still he heard the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam from Lord Sankarsana. Similarly, when he was questioned by Sankhyayana Rsi, he spoke to him the same message he had heard from Lord Sankarsana. In other words, unless one hears from the proper authority one cannot become a preacher. In devotional service, therefore, two items out of the nine, namely hearing and chanting, are most important. Without hearing nicely, one cannot preach the message of Vedic knowledge.

(S.B. 3.8.8)

 

TRANSLATION. In spite of my inability, whatever I have been able to hear [from the spiritual master] and whatever I could assimilate I am now describing in glorification of the Lord by pure speech, for otherwise my power of speaking would remain unchaste.

PURPORT....Maitreya's statement is that in order to avoid unchaste conscious activities, he was trying to describe the unlimited glories of the Lord, although he did not have the ability to describe them perfectly. This glorification of the Lord is not a product of research, but the result of hearing submissively from the authority of the spiritual master. It is also not possible to repeat all that one has heard from his spiritual master, bu one can narrate as far as possible by one's honest endeavour. It does not matter whether the Lord's glories are fully explained or not.

(S.B. 3.6.36)

Prabhupada: Yes. That is real preacher. That is explained in the Vedic literature, sravanam kirtanam. First of all he becomes perfect by hearing. This is called sravanam. And when he is perfectly situated in spiritual life by hearing perfectly from the perfectly authorized person, then his next stage begins, kirtanam. That is preaching. That sravanam kirtanam, everyone is hearing in this material world. Everyone is hearing. Even this material educationist, he also hears from the material person, professor. That hearing is there. Then he acts when he is grown-up, passed his examination, sometimes acts as professor. The same process: if one hears from the perfect spiritualized person, he becomes perfect, then he becomes actual preacher.

(Philosophical discussions- Origen)

 

He does not have to be a very learned scholar, but he must have heard from the proper authority. God gives us the ears to hear, and simply by hearing we may become great preachers. We don't need Ph.D.'s or academic examinations.

(T.L.K)

 

So therefore sravanam, hearing, is so important. So in the devotional service the first step is hearing, hearing submissively from the authoritative source and just to assimilate it and grasp it with our body, mind and intelligence. In this way you shall be able to conquer the unconquerable. And when you are able to do such, then you can make kirtana, kirtana.

(B.G. Leech., 9.15 1st December, 1966)

 

One who has perfectly heard from the perfect source becomes convinced about the all-pervading Personality of Godhead and thus becomes enthusiastic in glorifying the Lord.

(S.B.2.2.36)

 

This yoga practice begins simply by hearing. You have got these ears. You simply just lend your ears and you become yogi. And as soon as you become experienced in hearing, you become a preacher--kirtanam. Immediately. One who has heard nicely, he will try to become a kirtaniya, or preacher. That is natural. That is natural.

(B.G. Lecture, Los Angeles, 21st March, 1970)

 

To hear and explain them is more important than reading them. One can assimilate the knowledge of the revealed scriptures only by hearing and explaining. Hearing is called sravana, and explaining is called kirtana. The two processes of sravana and kirtana are of primary importance to progressive spiritual life. Only one who has properly grasped the transcendental knowledge from the right source by submissive hearing can properly explain the subject.

(S.B. 1.1.6)

 

Kirtanam means chanting. Kirtanam actually means describing. You can describe with music. You can describe with words. You can describe in speeches. Any sort of describing, that is called kirtana. And sravanam. Unless you hear, you cannot describe. What you shall describe? If you do not know anything about the Supreme Lord, then how can you describe? Therefore hearing is the first item, sravanam.

(B.G. Lec. 9.15 1st December, 1966)

 

So this Krishna consciousness movement is to give chance to everyone to hear about Krishna. This is the first process, sravanam. And when one has heard very nicely about Krishna, they can.., then he can speak about Krishna. And he must speak. You cannot remain without speaking. That is the result of sravanam. Sravanam kirtanam. One who has heard nicely, he must speak or preach.

(B.G. Lecture 4.12, 1st April, 1974)

So he marked it that "This boy is interested to hear me." So hearing is very important. Hearing. Just like Arjuna heard from Krishna. Come on. (People entering) (Break) ...because I was serious for hearing, and therefore now I am serious about kirtanam, means speaking, or preaching. Do you follow what I say? Yes. So one who is serious about hearing, he can become a future nice preacher. Sravanam kirtanam. Next stage is developed. That is development. If one has actually heard nicely, then he will speak nicely.

(S.P.C. Columbus 10th May, 1969)

So my meditation for the last seven years has been like this: If devotees hear from Srila Prabhupada they will naturally start to preach that will be the next stage, one who has heard nicely he MUST preach that will be the result. 

Then when many devotees are engaged all over the world in this bona-fide hearing and preaching then they will be a need for some organization to see that this preaching can expand, as Srila Prabhupada says:  

But we want still more improvement in the standard of Temple management, propaganda for Krishna Consciousness, distribution of books and literatures, opening of new centers and educating devotees to the right standard. Therefore, I have decided to adopt the following principles and I hope my beloved disciples will kindly accept them (D.O.M.)

So the real question to be raised is this: ARE WE AT A STAGE WHERE REAL PREACHING IS TAKING PLACE ON A SCALE THAT REQUIRES D.O.M. MANAGEMENT ?

I myself don't think so, that's why i think we should first stress the importance of hearing from Srila Prabhupada and as a natural progression the Direction of Management will follow. In otherwords first something needs to be established to managed is it not ?

Now if one holds the opinion that the apa-sampradaya manifesting as ISKCON can be reformed i would totally disagree on this point. There is not an example in history of such a thing. An apa-sampradaya is by definition a pseudo-spiritual society and a transcendental movement is always transcendental, although it may not always be manifest.

So rather than trying to reform apa-sampradaya communities we should rather avoid them and try to play our small instrumental role in helping to again manifest the real transcendental movement namely Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON.

In the parampara system, the instructions taken from the bona fide spiritual master must also be based on revealed Vedic scriptures. One who is in the line of disciplic succession cannot manufacture his own way of behavior. There are many so-called followers of the Vaisnava cult in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu who do not scrupulously follow the conclusions of the sastras, and therefore they are considered to be apa-sampradaya, which means "outside of the sampradaya." Some of these groups are known as aula, baula, kartabhaja, neda, daravesa, sani sahajiya, sakhibheki, smarta, jata-gosani, ativadi, cudadhari and gauranga-nagari. In order to follow strictly the disciplic succession of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one should not associate with these apasampradaya communities.

( C.C. Adi 7.48)

Srila Prabhupada's mood was always to stress the printing and distribution of his original books

You have taken the right view of the importance of my books. Books will always remain. That was the view of my Guru Maharaja, and I also have taken it. Therefore I started my movement with my books. And we shall be able to maintain everything with the sales of the books. The temples will be maintained by the book sales, and if there are no more temples, then the books shall remain.
 
(S.P.Letter to: Hamsaduta:New Delhi 8 November, 1973)
 
So first and formost this buisness has to be stressed: Hearing from Srila Prabhupada then we will see real chanting i.e. SRILA PRABHUPADA'S TRANSCENDENTAL BOOK DISTRIBUTION. Then from that will follow many centers, restaurants, Varnasrama and the Direction Of Management to keep it running correctly.
 
This is also the point Sulocana prabhu raised in his GURU BUSINESS:
 

"I have divided these departments to solve problems, but if in the end they are all sent to me and I have to tackle, then just imagine what is my position. The best thing would be to stop all activities and simply chant Hare Krishna." (S.P.L. to Brahmananda, 5/15/69)

Note: Here Srila Prabhupada is saying to stop everything and simply chant to become purified. The problems Srila Prabhupada was referring to here are not as significant as the problems which ISKCON is facing today. The leaders, however, still refuse to follow this instruction.

So i am repeating the same point as Srila Prabhupada and Sulocana prabhu.

Let's stop all activities and chant together Hare Krishna Kirtana (especially Kirtana's in which Srila Prabhupada is leading) and also hear Srila Prabhupada from his tapes and original books.

These are some of my realizations that i have tried to present to you in the ISTAGOSTHI spirit, rather than in the mood of trying to prove you wrong.

I hope you will over look that mood if  it has been exhibited by such a proud soul as myself.

Your servant Mukunda dasa.

 

--- Original Message -----
Sent: 09 November 2000 07:03
Subject: Re: UNITY IN DIVERSITY

Dear Mukunda prabhu,

PAMHO, AGTSP!

While I agree completely with your statements below, there are several aspects to the reform that will bring this good result about:

Dear Nara Narayana prabhuji, pamho, All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

While i totally agree with the points you have raised about the Direction of Management we should always understand that the background of good management comes from preaching and simply changing the management doesn't solve the problems, the whole movement needs reform and that will come from hearing from Srila Prabhupada in association. This is my understanding.

>NNV das:    The Direction of Management could also be called "the Direction on non-management". If you examine the precise language of the DOM and envision the ISKCON that would result from it's implementation, I think that its profound roots will begin to be revealed.

1.  The DOM actually PROHIBITS management. Management clearly resides in the CONGREGATIONS as represented by the individual temple presidents.

2.  The GBC has NO MANAGERIAL DUTIES WHATSOEVER. The GBC is meant to REGULATE the activities within the temples in a purely advisory capacity. There are no executive mandates built into the DOM.

3.  The DOM presents a REVERSE OF HIERARCHY, as it requires the REAL POWER to reside in the hands of the CONGREGATION not the GBC. This is a clear message to each initiated member of Iskcon that EACH MAMBER IS HIS OWN AUTHORITY IN THE PURSUIT OF HIS SERVICE TO SRILA PRABHUPADA, AND THAT SRILA PRABHUPADA IS THE INDIVIDUAL AUTHORITY TO EACH INDIVIDUAL DISCIPLE!

THE FOLLOWING NEEDS TO BE IN PLACE FOR THE DOM TO WORK:

1.  SRAVANAM:   

Hearing from Srila Prabhupada in book, tape, CD. or video form is the ONLY business of the disciple. Sravanam must be COMPLETE before kirtanam will have any effect. This involves a profound study of the very NATURE of the tone, words, melodies, utterances of the Spiritual Master. This can be studied in depth and with full attention with a view to understanding the TRANSCENDENTAL "VORTEX" or "PORTAL" that constitutes the Via Media gift of the Spiritual Master that provides us with a "passageway" to Krishna Loka.

2.  ISTAGOSTHI:

Without Istagosthi, all is lost. In the early movement, Srila Prabhupada required that each and every initiated disciple prepare a paper based on his realizations founded in
Guru Shastra Sadhu, and present them to the assembled devotees ONCE A WEEK!

Istagosthi was alwo held, and He described it as "an arena where one can express doubt". In the course of Istagosthi, all considerations are present that lead to SIDDHANTA. Such siddhanta becomes the sound platform for discussions in futher Istagosthis, which in turn lead to even more advanced
Siddhanta.

Istagosthi means,"circle of cow-herd boys" and refers to Krishna's Vatsalyarasa pastimes in Vrindaban, where HE WOULD SIT EQUALLY WITH THE OTHER COWHERD BOYS, AS THOUGH EQUAL, AND THEY WOULD ALL SHARE THEIR IDEAS AND VIEWS!

So when Istagosthi begins with KIRTAN and there are then obeisances offered to others in the mood that they are Krishna's associates and representatives, and then one forms a circle with no leader save a facilitator that keeps the ideas flowing, where there is no "authority" other than Srila Prabhupada and Krishna recognized, and whre SIDDHANTA is reached in the Sacred Gathering of the Assembled Devotees, and then prasadam is distributed, and kirtan once again........Srila Prabhupada cried out..."ISTAGOSTHI.....then the perfection!"

3.  THE SIX LOVING EXCHANGES:  

My son Kuvaleshaya das brahmachari has researched the Nectar of Instruction, and has discovered that Srila Prabhupadas has stated thus:

"The Iskcon Movement has been established to facilitate the Six Loving Exchanges".....Srila Prabhupada goes on to observe that the PHENOMENAL SUCCESS of the Ikcon Movement can be attributed to the SIX LOVING EXCHANGES acting as the dynamic of our temple and Sankirtan activities.

4.  SANKIRTAN:

Until "chanting Hare Krishna Sankirtan is our life and soul, it must go on in all circumstances" we will be hollow and dry religionists and scholars. This public display of PURE UNALLOYED LOVE OF GOD is the BONA FIDE replacement of the mundane sounds of this material world. Wherever the Hare Krishna Mantra is publicly chanted, THAT PLACE BECOME PUREFIED AND A HOLY TIRTH!

So criss-crossing the towns and byways of this material world can tranform each spot of earth and sheltered spot into it' s ORIGINAL VAIKUNTHA FORM. Knowing this, we cnnot hesitate to flow through every street  in every town, chanting and bringing about a revolution of hearing among the desperately READY AND WAITING sufferers that surround us on all sides. IF ONLY WE WERE READY, they would join us in a trice!

5.  NAM HATTA:

Classes can immediately begin in houses here and there. There is no need for a swami or other leader. Each person reading the Purports that self illuminate their topic, will be enthralled in Srila Prabhupada's personal all embracing mercy.

An orange can be cut up for prasadam, Kirtan can be held with a guitar or tambouriine, they can be meat eaters, drinkers, etc.....BUT LET THEM BEGIN TO READ!..The rest will naturally follow. As a natural progression, their SRADDA will eventually pursh all other considerations aside.

NONE OF THE ABOVE FIVE ELEMENTS CAN BE ACHIEVED WITHOUT THE PRESENCE OF THE DIRECTION OF MANAGEMENT!

No manager will pursue so many "fruitless" tasks when SO MUCH MAINTENANCE WORK IS TO BE DONE, and SO MUCH MONEY TO BE COLLECTED, and so many distinctions of hierarchal authority are to be managed, respected and observed!

ONLY WHEN THE DIRECTION OF MANAGEMENT IS IN PLACE will the individual devotees understand that THEY ARE SPECIFICALLY EMPOWERED BY LORD KRISHNA TO DELIVER THE FALLEN SOULS WHEREVER THEY GO AND WHOMEVER THEY MEET.

So, if we want reform.....THE DIRECTION OF MANAGEMENT IS THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS, AND NO OTHER ATTEMPT AT REFORM WILL PRODUCE A RESULT OF COMPARABLE VALUE.

I hope that the above considerations have adequately demonstrated that the Direction of Management is not a mere formula for running an institution. If that were its purpose and intent, no one would understand what to do.

The DOM exists to EMPOWER THE INDIVIDUAL while providing a GATHERING PLACE FOR PERSONS OF LIKE MIND, scaled to a GLOBAL SCOPE, fulfilled in KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS. It is communal, democratic, and designed to work!

Your eternal servant,


NNV das