A few days ago, the ISKCON website Dandavats published the minutes and resolutions of the annual GBC meeting in Mayapura, 2016.
Item 312 describes my January meeting in Los Angeles with then GBC chairman Praghosha Prabhu and my Godbrother Vaisesika Prabhu, stating that we “came to a better mutual understanding,” which is certainly true.
Item 312 further states the following:
- Praghosha Prabhu “strongly pointed out” to me the GBC’s concern with a) my criticism of the GBC and ISKCON; and b) my “relaxed behavior as a sannyasi.”
- I agreed to immediately suspend my criticism of the GBC and ISKCON and adjust my behavior to better meet GBC expectations.
- Due to health and writing needs, I will not be touring this year (2016).
- I agreed to meet the GBC this year at Mumbai at their annual mid-year meeting “to discuss all outstanding issues.”
All these points are true, but they are not complete or balanced. In fact, our Los Angeles meeting went very well precisely because both sides were reasonable and fair, and acknowledged various ways in which both sides could improve. Since the letter posted in Dandavats presents only one side, that of the GBC, I will here present the other side.
- Just as Praghosha Prabhu strongly pointed out the GBC’s concerns with me, I also strongly pointed out my concerns with the GBC, which include:
- The need to respect and implement fair process in all the GBC’s judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings. I am now completing an elaborate paper on this topic which will provide extensive evidence of this need.
- The need to base GBC decisions and judgements on Guru, Sadhu, and Shastra, rather than the opinions or feelings of individual GBC members. Months ago, I posted an essay which clearly demonstrated this need.
- At our Los Angeles meeting, I was repeatedly assured that if I suspended my criticism of the GBC and avoided unnecessary controversy in ISKCON, the GBC would reciprocate by suspending their attacks on me and avoiding unnecessary controversy with me. I kept my word, but unfortunately, the GBC, especially one member, continued to attack me even after I agreed to all the requests of the GBC chairman at our LA meeting. Fortunately, subsequent discussions restored peace between us, at least until the October Mumbai meeting. I agreed to adjust my sannyasa behavior since I accept as an important duty to avoid unnecessarily disturbing ISKCON, even if I and many other devotees do not always agree with some conservative and ultra-conservative leaders regarding what constitutes actual sannyasa propriety.
- My decision to avoid touring this year was not a diplomatic way to agree to a ban on my traveling. It is what I stated: a needed rest.
- I agreed to meet the GBC in Mumbai because Prabhupada urged us, when we disagree, to sit down together and resolve our difference for his sake and the sake of our world mission.
I reiterate that Item 312 of the GBC’s 2016 Mayapura minutes is essentially true, but incomplete. I provided here additional information that gives a more balanced picture of the January meeting in Los Angeles. It is my intention to continue to cooperate with the GBC for the sake of Prabhupada and ISKCON, and I can only hope that the GBC will do their duty and cooperate with me. I am grateful to those GBC members who have acted with true Vaishnava etiquette and wisdom.
With best wishes,
Hridayananda das Goswami
June 4, 2016