Srila Prabhupada – A Transcendental Manager 

What Happened to the Hare Krishna’s?
Chapter Four
By Sriman Madhuvisa Prabhu

Srila Prabhupada – A Transcendental Manager

The success of ISKCON (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness) was a direct result of Srila Prabhupada’s devotion, determination, purity and intelligence, however, he was a soul completely surrendered to Krishna. He depended completely on Krishna. So ISKCON succeeded because Srila Prabhupada was totally dedicated to the order of his spiritual master and Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada was the force behind ISKCON but the thousands of young boys and girls who surrendered to him and accepted him as their spiritual master were the Krishna conscious soldiers fighting maya (illusion) on her own territory. Srila Prabhupada was always unlimitedly grateful to his disciples for helping him fulfill his spiritual master’s orders. He even sometimes said, “My spiritual master has sent you all to teach me how to be Krishna conscious.”

Srila Prabhupada didn’t want to control everything himself. He wanted to encourage his disciples to take responsibility and use their intelligence in devising ways to spread Krishna consciousness. He wanted his disciples to become competent in all areas of practical work and management as well as being learned in the philosophy and expert preachers. He didn’t like centralization or bureaucracy. His management program was always for independent and self-supporting centres not in any way dependant on any other centre. The only exceptions to this independent and self-supporting model were his Indian projects where he made Bombay the head office and he personally managed everything from there. He also centralized the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust as it would have been unworkable to have every temple printing books. There had to be some central body to coordinate book publication.

…I have heard from Jayatirtha you want to make big plans for centralization of management, taxes, monies, corporate status, book-keeping, credit, like that. I do not approve of such a plan. 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 Mardana 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 this should be each temple’s concern, not yours. (to Karandhara 22 Dec, 1972)

Srila Prabhupada wanted a confederation of independent ISKCON centres each managed by a Temple President, Secretary and Treasurer. His mood was that each Temple President should develop the preaching in his area at his own creative rate.

The formula for ISKCON organization is very simple and can be understood by everyone. The world is divided into 12 zones. For each zone there is one zonal secretary. His duty is to see that the spiritual principles are being upheld very nicely in all the temples of his zone. Otherwise each temple shall be independent and self-supporting. Let every temple president work according to his own capacity to improve the Krishna consciousness of his centre. So far the practical management is concerned, that is required, but not that we shall become too much absorbed in fancy organization. Our business is spiritual life, so whatever organization needs to be done, the presidents may handle and take advice and assistance from the GBC representative. In this way let the Society’s work go on and everyone increase their service at their own creative rate.

…We request that everyone take these formulas to heart and execute them very conscientiously. In this way we shall certainly be successful in pushing on this movement. (Signed by Srila Prabhupada & Karandhara dasa 22 Apr, 1972)

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