Hridayananda das Goswami response to GBC disapproval of Krishna West


Dear Devotees,

Jaya Srila Prabhupada. Last night I received a letter and phone call from my Godbrother Anuttama Prabhu, who acted on behalf of the GBC. He informed me that based on GBC concerns about Krishna West, the GBC decided that I should not go to Europe at this time. Anuttama Prabhu invited me to speak with him so that I could clarify the facts about Krishna West.

Here are some relevant points that I wish to share with you. I state them as simple facts.

  1. I knew that the GBC would discuss Krishna West in Mayapura and therefore I repeatedly urged several GBC members to give me the chance to personally reply to their concerns, through any media, before they made a decision.
  2. The GBC did not do so. They asked me not to travel to Europe, and other places, “until we can come to an agreement regarding these problems and misunderstandings.” They decided this without allowing me to reply to their concerns. They believe this is proper procedure, perhaps due to their limited time in Mayapura. Since the GBC is very busy in Mayapura, they might have asked one or two trusted leaders to speak with me and present their concerns before their discussion on Krishna West.
  3. Anuttama Prabhu, Ravindra Svaraupa Prabhu, and I will hopefully meet within a month to discuss relevant concerns. They will then report their views to the GBC body, who will reconsider the matter. I am hopeful that with proper information, we can come to a fair agreement.
  4. I am very grateful to the North American GBC for giving us the opportunity to work cooperatively to expand our western mission. I am hopeful that the North American GBC approach will prove to be wise and beneficial for ISKCON.
  5. If you believe that ISKCON’s leaders should have discussed their concerns with me before taking an action that affects the lives of hundreds of devotees, then as a member of ISKCON, and according to Prabhupada’s standards, you may express your views to your local GBC representative or to the ISKCON Ombudsmen, Braja Bihari Prabhu at ISKCON Resolve. If you choose to do so, please follow Vaishnava etiquette and express your views respectfully.

I sincerely regret that I must cancel for now my trip to Europe and Israel based on what I believe to be misunderstandings that might have been easily cleared up by communicating with me as I repeatedly requested before a decision was reached, not after.

In any case, I am more and more enthusiastic to serve Prabhupada and his mission. I place all my faith in the perfect judgement of Lord Krishna who will reveal to all of us over time what is best for His movement. I will be happy to hear from you.

With best wishes,
Hridayananda das Goswami

  • niscala1

    They have forbidden him to travel until they come to an agreement with him, but they won’t discuss with him- so how can they come to an agreement? And how can they judge what he is doing is wrong, until giving him a fair hearing? This is a problem regardless of what their concerns are- due judicial procedure has not been followed.

    • Alexander Shenkar

      The head of the society are supposed to be in the mode of goodness. But acting first and then thinking second is in the mode of passion. GBC is backwards. How can you lead simply be demanding blind followers?

  • Varaha das

    Maybe they will indeed listen to him. But rest assured that it is the same ol’ trick of the politicians, they believe their own agenda and then they start looking for vote. But they know from the on-set what the result will be. Methink; HH Hrdayananda Maharaja does not need their approval for Krishna West. You can never bring a change from within a system, but by stepping aside and creating an enviable model.

  • Visvakarma dasa

    The GBC needs to be reorganized for the overall health and future of Iskcon in America and Canada especially.

    The GBC in my experience as a group is not effective in dealing with matters related to my godbrothers and the preaching mission especially here in the Western World. The results speak for themselves, The time for re -examining it’s membership, organization and method has come.

  • Mathuresh dasa

    The disscusion on Krishna West should have been taken place before Maharaja introduced his idea to the Iskcon world. Now, he demands that the GBC should have discussed with him their concerns before taking actions. It does not make sense. The GBC is acting correctly and Maharaja should take the opportunity to present his arguments and make this Krishna West idea a bonafide and Iskcon authorized program as he states that he wants to work cooperatively and preserving the unity in the movement.

  • Gopinath dasa

    Me, and many others think that the Swami should start his own movement, registering it separately form ISKCON, and teach/preach what he perceives is the best viable option. It is obvious that if he remains within the institution due to his application of Academically contrived ‘critical theory’, he will only fictionalize and polarize SP institution rendering it even more infective.

    It is clear that Hridhayanada swami believes that the system given by Srila Prabhupada is not a viable method at this particular time, place, and circumstances, hence instead of creating further disturbance in society due to what appears to be lack of faith in Srila Prabhupada`s guidelines, he should start his own institution, preaching his way, and time will tell if he was right….(we will judge by the results,…how many devotees will he make, how many temples will he open…etc) ….why is he afraid of doing that.

    By constantly trying to belittle and undermine Srila Prabhupada`s methods and guidelines on preaching systems whilst staying withing ISKCON, it appears that he is consciously (purposely) trying to disrupt the movement… so better start something and show us how it is done….just as Srila Prabhupada did, once he realized that Gaudiya maths lost the intended purpose created by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta swami…


    Gopinath dasa

  • Govinda Shakti DD (CMSW)

    O senhor tem todo meu apoio a admiração, Srila Acaryadeva. Entendo perfeitamente que tudo o que queres é angariar mais devotos para Krsna e Prabhupada.


    Govinda-Shakti DD (CMSW)

  • Ekakanta Das

    Precisamente un vaisnava que siempre esta pensando en el bienestar de la sociedad, como Srila Acaryadeva, se ve en la necesidad de innovar metodos que puedan expandir los limites impuestos, el en ningun momento esta planteando un movimiento secular, todo lo contrario, esta creando un metodo o un programa dentro de ISKCON, sin violar las leyes de la congregacion, es mas, con esa propuesta el esta impulsando y atrayendo devotos a ISKCON o a la mision de Srila Prabhupada donde los ¨templos¨, no han podido hacer, atraer personas a la conciencia de Krishna, ahora que pasa en los sitios o lugares donde no existe un templo de ISKCON?; asi que esa propuesta es bienvenida a esta parte del planeta, donde los templosde ISKCON brillan por su ausencia.

  • Aradhana dd

    Communication is the number 1 problem in Iskcon, however Krsna is the doer!

  • Visakha devi dasi

    I am very sorry to hear this, Maharaja. I am not clear about the issue in depth but it does not seem to be dealt with properly according to what I can understand from your letter. So many devotees travel and give lectures anywhere but because they are not great shots nobody cares. For me it does not make sense why you would not be able to travel to Europe. You are an inspiration to many devotees. We were hoping to see you here since so many years (I am serving at Bhaktivedanta College, Radhadesh). I personally met you in Atlanta in 2002 and I hope we will be honored by your visit in the near future.

  • akruranatha

    I will write to Braja Bihari, but I think we should all keep cool heads and not blow this out of proportion. I do not think the GBC prohibited Maharaja from travelling to Europe, as Niscala suggests. I mean, if he were going to visit an acquaintance there or go to museums or for any other private purpose I am sure the GBC would not presume to interfere with his travel plans. It appears he was planning a preaching tour of ISKCON temples to speak to ISKCON devotees in Europe about his different preaching ideas and disagreements with ISKCON’s leadership on issues such as wearing of dhotis, etc. As such, it is a matter of ISKCON concern and of interest to European ISKCON leaders.

    I agree with Maharaja that before passing any decision that restricted him in this way he should be given a fair hearing. He is one of the leaders of our society and has always been a loyal member. Those who suggest that he should simply form his own separate institution are missing the point. Maharaja is willing to comply with ISKCON’s institutional management’s decision. Srila Prabhupada would want it so. Our unity as a preaching institution depends on such obedience and legitimacy of the authority of institution’s governing body in matters of its jurisdiction. If the GBC just wanted to tell Maharaja where he could and could not travel that might be beyond its jurisdiction. But whether he can preach a kind of reform movement among ISKCON’s members is certainly a matter within the GBC’s jurisdiction.

    However, the legitimacy of the governing body in the eyes of ISKCON’s members also depends on a sense of the fairness of its procedures and the wisdom of its decisions. Legitimacy means that a decision-making body (for example, the US Supreme Court) has authority which demands us to obey its decisions, even when — or *especially* when — we disagree with the substance of those specific decisions. The legitimacy of such a body will be eroded if (A) It continuously and repeatedly makes unpopular decisions; or (B) its decision-making process is perceived as unfair.

    So far I have not heard the GBC’s side of the story. Maharaja allows that the GBC may have been pressed for time and not been able to give him a hearing at the Mayapur meetings before telling him to postpone his European tour. It does appear that the GBC intends to reach out to him and discuss his Krishna West idea over a longer period of time before deciding whether he can promote it outside of North America.

    It seems to me that what he is complaining about is that it is taking too long, that he already made travel arrangements and expected to get a green light for this Krishna West preaching tour (or at least an opportunity to be heard on the issue of whether it should be permitted) before the Mayapur meetings were concluded.

    It may be Maharaja’s position that before any restriction should be placed on which temples he can preach in he should be given a full and fair hearing. That argument carries some weight with me. HDG is one of the pioneers of ISKCON, especially in Brazil (another place where his preaching is being restricted), and due process may demand that before such a personality can be prohibited from preaching to ISKCON members in a whole country or continent there should be a full and fair hearing where he is permitted to make his case.

    On the other hand the GBC’s position may be that before a leader — especially an influential leader, one of the original 11 successor spiritual masters with many disciples and followers — should be permitted to preach an anti-establishment message within the organization and among its members, he should first be given permission. Such permission should not be denied without due process, and due process should include an opportunity to be heard by the GBC, and also demands that such an application for permission should be considered within a reasonable amount of time.

    ISKCON’s GBC should be aware that protecting the unity of ISKCON and its own legitimacy as the decision-making body that Srila Prabhupada invested with authority to make such decisions demands that it be perceived as fair and wise in how it exercises that authority.

    I have to admit that when anyone starts talking about starting a “movement within a movement”, whether it comes from ISKCON’s “left wing” (such as Hrdayananda Dasa Goswami) or “right wing” (such as Bhakti Vikasa Swami), it makes me nervous. I think the GBC and other ISKCON leadership have legitimate concerns. We all have a duty to preserve and protect the unity and effectiveness of Srila Prabhupada’s preaching organization, which is based on love and trust (it is not held together like a business or government, by money or citizenship — devotees can “opt in” or “opt out” of ISKCON with only their own consciences as their guide, without any legal or financial coersion).

    In this case i think preserving that unity and effectiveness requires that Maharaja be given a fair hearing by the GBC about his Krishna West ideas, without too much delay, and should have the opportunity to personally meet with and lobby different GBC members on the subject as well as make a public presentation to the GBC body and answer questions they may have. If, after all that is said and done, a majority of the GBC votes to restrict the countries in which Maharaja may preach “Krishna West” (or even if it decides to do away with “Krishna West” altogether), I have every expectation and hope that Hrdayananda Maharaja would continue to set a good example of fidelity to the GBC as the ultimate managing authority of ISKCON and abide by such a decision and to instruct his followers to respect the decision. .


    • Citra

      I never heard that Bhakti Vikasa Swami was trying to start a movement within a movement. What proof is there for that. But HDG has directly said he is doing so.

  • Ayodhya Joyce

    Cuando era niña, mi guru me dijo “este es un movimiento de movimientos”. Lo cual me hizo entender que lo interesante de ISKCON era la tolerancia a nuestras diferencias. No todos somos iguales, no nos gustan las mismas cosas, y no siempre nos convence la misma prédica. En su comentario sólo noto una opinión personal, basada en antipatías, pero ningún argumento. Uno puede estar de acuerdo o no, pero perder el respeto no está bien visto ni en la sociedad ni en ámbitos en donde se intenta practicar la espiritualidad. Puede que tenga razón en su comentario, pero en lo sutil lo siento intolerante, algo que me asusta y desagrada por completo. De otro lado, hay un número creciente de personas que no vivimos en un templo y nos desempeñamos en ámbitos académicos, pensamos que el hábito no hace al monje, pero sí la actitud, los valores y sobre todo la coherencia e integridad. A gente como yo, ¿cuál es la respuesta que ISKCON nos da? Porque predicando que todos los que estudiamos somos unos desviados filosóficos materialistas nos hacen y se hacen un flaco favor. La sociedad cambió, no existen más los hippies, ¿cuál es ese nuevo ISKCON para los jóvenes de hoy?

    • Ekakanta Das

      Los templos de ISKCON debe admitir que no tienen la capacidad actual para inundar el planeta con conciencia de Krishna, la actual sociedad del siglo XXI ha hecho que los sitios de adoracion en occidente, los templos de ISKCON, esten vacios donde hay, porque existen ciudades donde no hay presencia de templos, existen programas en hogares, sin embargo ante la sociedad ISKCON y la sociedad civil, son hogares,lugares donde una familia ofrece su tiempo, energia espacio, para compartir la filosofia de Srila Prabhupada, mas no son templos, donde todo el mundo puede ingresar. Partiendo desde esa base, Srila Acaryadeva con su infinita misericordia le esta dando refugio a esa basta poblacion civil que no tiene acceso a templos o programas de ISKCON, sin quebrantar las normas o leyes de ISKCON, es mas en ningun momento a irrespetado a los devotos ortdoxos o laicos de la sociedad fundada por Srila Prabhupada.

  • Pancali devi dasi Acbsp

    Hare Krsna. Please accept my humble and respectful obeisances at the lotus Feet of Srila Prabhupada. All glory to His ISKCON the way He desired It to be. Perhaps if the GBC all meet together to establish the continue of our parampara with Srila Prabhupada as the prominent diks/siksa Guru then all these minor things would not come about. Perhaps of the GBC carried out Srila Prabhupadas instructions according to the Direction of Management then all these small concerns would be irrelevant and everything would run smoothly. The GBC are continuously making mistakes and this is due to them being conditioned souls who suffer from the four defects an example “making mistakes” Just an opinion…


    “Aquel que se refugia en el Señor Supremo no tiene nada que temer, ni siquiera en medio de la calamidad más grande de todas. “(Srila Prabhupada – in fine al Significado BG 1.19)

  • PabloParikrama.

    Hare Krsna!!!, yo creo que si un naistika brahmacary como D.G.Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, con el peso que tiene en Goloka Vrndavana, iva a construir una sala anexa para fumadores en los templos ( donde no estaba la deidad, por supuesto ) con tal de que la gente escuchara Krsna-katha, y no se quedara en casa por la verguenza de oler a tabaco, todo lo demas es poco. Esto no es nada revolucionario como lo de Bhaktisiddhanta, ni transgresor, es normal, la vida misma. Cuando las autoridades acepten tener una sala anexa para fumadores para atraer a la gente al Sadhu-Sastra Sanga, entonces, tal vez, puedan ser merecedores de decir que es revolucionario o transgresor…Dandavats. Hare Krsna.

  • Tota-Gopinatha Carana Dasa

    Hare Krsna con todos!! El grave problema de todos seas o no ISKCON o GBC o invitado o no invitado, es que a todos les gusta ahogarse en un solo vaso con agua. Eso es una cualidad general de los seres humanos.

    No hay limite para la predica de Srila Prabhupada tanto de una forma externa para la gente o interna para los devotos.
    Si hay alguien que de algún modo está presentando un forma mas flexible para armonizar y mejorar el sadhu sanga la asociación correcta entre todos los devotos, yo sí quiero conocerla.
    Yo fui entrenado en India tanto en Vrindavan Gurukula como en Mayapur Gurukula y estoy muy agradecido eternamente por tales educaciones espirituales.
    Lo que he podido encontrar en occidente es que mas del 90 por ciento de mi entrenamiento es solo para mi, y menos del 10 por ciento puedo emplear para la predica tanto para los devoto como para las personas externas.
    La mayoría de los devotos no están en la capacidad de pasar por un entrenamiento espiritual de sadhana estricto. No les es atractivo, mas bien solo de pensarlo ya están sufriendo. Y es por esto que los templos están vacíos de los miembros de este mismo movimiento, sea cual sea su posición dentro de ella.
    Espero con ansia los buenos métodos auxiliares para alentar e invitar a todos a un eficaz sadhu sanga reforzado.
    Y lo principal de todo es que promovamos el canto infaltable de las diez y seis rondas del Mahamantra Hare Krsna todos los días y todos los conceptos los podremos ver mas claros y aplicarlos adecuadamente a mejorar la conciencia de Krsna.
    Gracias Dandavats a todos.

  • adikarta das

    Respected readers

  • Gaura dasa

    So they will meet in a month to discuss more. What was preventing him from going to Mayapur ?

  • Shak

    Dear foolish “disciples”

    I knew I was quitting ISKCON so I fooled you again like i have since 1977 when we planned on taking over although unqualified to be called acharya anything. I am fudking you over again.

    no love,