GBC Resolutions and Statements

GBC Resolutions and Statements

The following are important communications coming from our GBC (Governing Body Commission). It is important that you take the time to read the following fully and if you have any questions please direct them to your local Temple\Centre\Community leadership.

303. GBC Statement on the Position of Srila Prabhupada

Whereas there is a need to clarify within our society, via a succinct statement, Srila Prabhupada’s preeminent position in relationship to diksa and siksa gurus as well as all ISKCON members, and to provide clarity on the function and position of diksa and siksa gurus in the ISKCON society:


That the GBC endorses the following statement:

As the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and the preeminent teacher and ultimate authority within our society, Srila Prabhupada has a unique relationship with every ISKCON devotee.

Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the original guru whose Divine Grace descends through the medium of the guru parampara.  As such, a devotee is ultimately delivered by Sri Krishna acting through a combination of various manifestations of His mercy. These include, but are not limited to, the caitya guru, Srila Prabhupada, the guru parampara, one’s diksa guru, other siksa gurus, the Holy Name, sastra, and the nine processes of devotional service.

Within these cooperative elements, Srila Prabhupada, as the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is the preeminent guru for all members of ISKCON. All members of ISKCON, for all generations, are encouraged to seek shelter of Srila Prabhupada.  All members of ISKCON are entitled and encouraged to have a personal relationship with Srila Prabhupada through his books, teachings, service, and his ISKCON society.

All members accepting leadership roles within ISKCON, including diksa gurus and siksa gurus, have the duty of serving together under ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC) to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s instructions as he has given in his books, lectures, and personal communications. [1]

Overall, the primary duty of all diksa gurus, siksa gurus, and others in leadership positions, is to assist Srila Prabhupada in his service to his Guru Maharaja Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, and our Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya.

Those who accept the service of diksa guru or siksa guru in ISKCON are required to be exemplary in representing Srila Prabhupada’s teaching in their words and personal behavior. The siksa guru gives spiritual instruction and inspiration on behalf of Srila Prabhupada and our guru parampara. The diksa guru gives spiritual instruction, inspiration, formal initiation, a spiritual name, and later imparts the sacred Gayatri mantras to a qualified disciple as a service to Srila Prabhupada and our guru parampara.

Srila Prabhupada has clearly explained that devotees who are strictly following the Krsna conscious principles are acting on the liberated platform, and, as such, are pure devotees, even though they may actually not yet be liberated. [2] (Such unalloyed devotional service is not necessarily determined by one’s role or position of service, but by one’s realization.)

Those who accept the service of diksa or siksa guru within ISKCON are mandated to be strict followers of the instructions of Srila Prabhupada, and, as long as they follow, they are acting on the liberated platform. Thus they may serve, as Srila Prabhupada ordered, as bona fide representatives of the Lord and the guru parampara and be a via media of their mercy. Yet it should be clearly understood that if such diksa or siksa gurus deviate from strictly following, they may fall down from their position.

Thus, to act as a diksa guru in ISKCON means to serve under the GBC and in cooperation with other ISKCON authorities by functioning as a “regular guru” as Srila Prabhupada has directed.
This statement, while conclusive, is not exhaustive in its discussion of these principles. The GBC may authorize additional statements and papers in the future to further explain the preeminent position of our Founder-Acarya Srila Prabhupada, the role and responsibilities of those who serve as gurus in our society, and the related duties of ISKCON members and initiates.
All GBC members must distribute this resolution to all ISKCON temples, communities and congregations via appropriate means of communication for the education of all ISKCON members. This statement shall also be studied in ISKCON courses including introductory courses, the ISKCON Disciple Course, the Spiritual Leadership Seminar: Being a Guru in ISKCON, and other relevant venues. Reading this statement, and affirming it has been read prior to initiation, shall be part of the test for all prospective initiates.

1. More details on these spiritual relationships and duties may be found in the official “Harmonizing ISKCON’s Lines of Authority” Paper approved by the GBC in 2012.
2. “This Krishna consciousness movement directly receives instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead via persons who are strictly following His instructions. Although a follower may not be a liberated person, if he follows the supreme, liberated Personality of Godhead, his actions are naturally liberated from the contamination of the material nature. Lord Caitanya therefore says: ‘By My order you may become a spiritual master.’ One can immediately become a spiritual master by having full faith in the transcendental words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and by following His instructions.”  SB 4.18.5, purport
A person who is liberated acharya and guru cannot commit any mistake, but there are persons who are less qualified or not liberated, but still can act as guru and acharya by strictly following the disciplic succession.” Letter to Janardana, 26 April, 1968.
“We may not be cent percent perfect, but as far as possible, if we follow the instruction as it is, that much perfect. In this way one will get perfection. So one has to follow. The same example, try to understand, that a perfect, expert technologist or technician or mechanic is working, and somebody is working under his instruction. So this somebody, because he is strictly working under the instruction of the expert, he’s also expert. He may not be cent percent expert, but his work is expert. Is that clear? Because he is working under the expert. Do you follow? So if you follow pure devotee, then you are also pure devotee. It may not be one is cent percent pure. Because we are trying to raise ourself from the conditional life. But if we strictly follow the pure devotee, then we are also pure devotee. So far we do, that is pure. So pure devotee does not mean one has to become immediately cent percent pure. But if he sticks to the principle that “We’ll follow a pure devotee,” then his actions are… He is as good as a pure devotee. It is not I am explaining in my own way. It is the explanation of Bhagavata. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186].”  Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 2.1-10 and Talk — Los Angeles, November 25, 1968  

305. “Harmonizing ISKCON’s Lines of Authority” Paper Required Reading

Whereas harmony between various authorities in ISKCON is required;
Whereas while initiating gurus are important spiritual authorities in the lives of devotees, other ISKCON authorities also play an important role;
Whereas the GBC paper entitled “Harmonizing ISKCON’s Lines of Authorities” explains how to promote harmony in the services of gurus and other ISKCON authorities.
That the official GBC paper entitled “Harmonizing ISKCON’s Lines of Authority” shall be required reading for all prospective harinama initiates before the initiation. This should be verified both by the ISKCON authority who gives the recommendation for harinama initiation as well as by the initiating guru.
Within three months, all GBC Zonal Secretaries shall:

have the paper translated such that it is accessible to the devotees of their zone
have the paper distributed to all approved initiating gurus, to all National Councils and other regional bodies, and to temple presidents, congregational leaders, and other officials in their zone

306. Amendment to Required Examination Prior to Accepting a Diksa-guru

Whereas the GBC Statement on the Position of Srila Prabhupada and the paper “Harmonizing ISKCON’s Lines of Authority” have been approved by the GBC and been made required reading for all harinama initiation candidates;
Whereas it is also important to make sure that the candidates have understood these papers;
Whereas according to ISKCON law, every harinama initiation candidate must take a test before initiation. This test is a good opportunity to make sure that the candidates have read these papers and to judge their level of understanding of their important concepts:

(a) that ISKCON Law be amended to include the following three questions in the test that all harinama initiation candidates must take before initiation:
            14. Have you read the GBC Statement on the Position of Srila Prabhupada?
            15. Have you read the paper “Harmonizing ISKCON’s Lines of Authority”?
            16. What have you understood as the most important points of the “Harmonizing ISKCON’s Lines of Authority” paper?
And (b), that the Guru Services Committee shall update the Initiation Exam accordingly for all GBCs and gurus to distribute.