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(Information originally gathered by Dvarakadhisa das (1995-1996) by gleaning the pages

of the Siksamrta in book form.)
GBC Role and Responsibilities
The following is a cursory summary of instructions from the letters of Srila Prabhupada
regarding the role and responsibilities of the GBC.
The instructions reveal personal, interpersonal, organizational and managerial
responsibilities. These responsibilities are often related and overlapping.
Major GBC responsibilities identified by Srila Prabhupada include:

Incorporate the highest devotional standards and assure that they are followed
Develop challenging and satisfying devotional service opportunities for devotees
Care for and serve the devotees
Provide example of ideal Vaisnava behavior and inspire others to become ideal
Provide spiritual training
Provide vision for a cooperative, influential, worldwide organization
Ensure integrity of ISKCON—ensure accountability through management
systems and training
Develop strategy and annual plans for accomplishing ISKCON mission
Develop fundamental management policies and processes, and rules for members
Monitor and advise the progressive development of members and centers

Personal Responsibilities:
(Personal Sadhana, Integrity, Trustworthiness, Character, Competence)
GBC means that one must be ideal Vaisnava. (pg 98; Jagadisa dasa 9/6/74)
Yes, following the rules and regulations is the real qualification of GBC. (pg 983;
Kirtanananda Swami 11/12/74)
If spiritual potency and strength is there, then material intelligence will automatically
follow. (pg 2450; Jagajivan dasa 9/6/74)
If he is leader, he must be fixed-up. Otherwise, if he has no real interest, why he takes
that post? He must be responsible. He must stick and develop the highest standard of
Krishna consciousness practice in that area of management … Enthusiasm and patience,
these things are required. (pg 2444; Satsvarupa 11/5/72)

(pg 2421. Bali Mardan 8/25/70) I have formed this GBC for that purpose. That is not depending on the Lord. Batu Gopala das 8/16/74) We must always remember that the leader in charge of a temple must learn to successfully deal with the other persons there. (pg 2387: Upendra 11/26/68) That will be the test of your management. Serving Krishna does not mean that we sit idly and say that Krishna will take care of all our business. Otherwise. (pg 2435. (pg 976. especially in your country. rather it is laziness.…the door of Krishna consciousness is open for everyone. (pg 2331. Mukunda 4/9/68) Interpersonal Responsibilities: (Relationship building. I hope the GBC in cooperation with the sannyasis in their touring program will be able to keep vigilance systematiacally in order to keep the Society as pure as possible. Team building. that will make management very nice. No one is working as a paid servant. or master. Brahmananda 3/12/68) The Governing Body Commission’s duty is therefore to see that every member is following the rules and regulations and chanting sixteen rounds regularly on the beads. But when one has to take charge of a center. he has to become completely above suspicion. to keep the devotional standards at the highest level and at the same time to manage a worldwide organization. how well the men are satisfied by their engagements. The whole . realizing that Krishna is the ultimate controller of all results. (pg 2403 Robert Keene 1/9/73) …we must utilize our intelligence fully for serving Krishna. Communication) Vaisnava philosophy is that everyone is addressed as Prabhu. Everyone should consider himself the servant of the other. (pg975. Rupanuga 11/4/70) How one is successful in his work is tested by whether or not Krishna is satisfied. Bhagavan dasa 9/22/69) I am a little observing now. that our men are losing their enthusiasm for spreading our programs of Krishna consciousness movement. Giriraja 5/28/72) Everything should be managed in a nice way. why so many letters are coming dissatisfied? That is not a very good sign. Depending on Krishna means to always act in Krishna consciousness. Trust. (pg 2415. The impersonalists cannot enjoy this bliss of how to satisfy Krishna. (pg 2397. so if the dealings are not friendly everyone will decide to leave. So that no one is dissatisfied and everyone keeps their health and energy fit for serving Krishna 24 hours.

he will come to the state of spontaneous enthusiasm. then they will live with us out of their own accord and follow nicely everything. and if they observe anything lowering of the standard. It is very difficult to give up very quickly so many habits as you have got in your country. chanting gayatri. and so many problems are there. which is individual and spontaneous and voluntary. but being so engage in doing something very much satisfying to the devotee that he remains always enthusiastic. Therefore we should not be so anxious to induce them to live in the temple. keeping always clean—then his enthusiasm will grow more and more. There is some symptom of missing the point. They should try always to generate some atmosphere of fresh challenge to the devotees. but if one simply sticks strictly to the rules and regulations. nevermind what is that job. if new men are coming. Without this. that’s all right. Otherwise their enthusiasm dwindles and they again think of sex and become restless. Of course. Therefore let them live outside and become gradually convinced in the class why they should accept some austerity. That is the art of management: to draw out spontaneous loving spirit of sacrificing some energy for Krishna. We should not be very much after comforts and become . if such devotees go away later being too early forced. and do not be so much anxious to count up so many numbers of new devotees. So if some new man moves in with us he may become discouraged if he is forced in this way. that I can detect. they may not be expected immediately to take to our regulative principles cent per cent.problem is they are not following the four regulative principles. and if there is also patience and determination. so that they will agree enthusiastically to rise and meet it. nor they are seeing the other are following strictly. But where are so many expert managers? All of us should become expert managers and preachers. Even mechanically following. not many false devotees or pretenders. they must reform and advise. So my point is that the regulative principles must be followed by everyone. so long the managers remain vigilant that sixteen rounds are being chanted by everyone without fail. Anyone who lives in the temple must agree to follow the rules and regulations without fail. that they are all rising before four morning. So the future of this Krishna consciousness movement is very bright. or if there is some discrepancy I shall remove it. he realizes the happy result of regulative principles. but the president and other officers must themselves follow and see the others are following the regulative principles carefully. one day he will come to the platform of Devotion. enthusiasm will be lacking. first with chanting. so educate them gradually. Each center remains independent. like rising early. The point is to be engage in doing something for Krishna. attending mangal-arati. Our leaders shall be careful not to kill the spirit of enthusiastic service. and giving them good instruction so they may understand nicely why this tapasya is necessary. and if he gets gradually understanding from the class. So I do not think the leaders themselves following. chanting sixteen rounds. That must be rectified at once. This spontaneous loving devotional service is not so easy matter. I want to see a few sincere devotees. And the GBC and sannyasis will travel and see the officers are doing this. He will automatically follow the regulative principles because they are part of his occupational duty—by applying them practically as his occupational duty.

Vision. strictly observing the regulative principles. Kritananada Maharaja 10/18/73 We are in the experimental stage but in the next meeting of the GBC members they should form a constitution. There must be always some tapasya. everything should be departmentally managed. So everything should be done on the basis of good will. Effective and Efficient Systems and Structures.complacent or self-contented. Policies. Satsvarupa 2/26/71) The opportunities for expanding the sankirtana movement are unlimited. Aligned Organizational Behavior and Values) For better management of the whole institution. and if there is any deficiency. now try to train up more and more competent preachers and managers like yourselves. how ill anything get done? If you are in disagreement at every point. … With all GBC and senior men present we should discuss how to make unity in diversity. for this Krishna consciousness movement its success will depend on agreement. So you big managers. so if we do not cooperate. then how is that love and trust? (pg 2433. the GBC is responsible. Priorities. Giriraja 8/12/71) Now you are a practical business manager. how it will be possible to finish this important work? (pg 2426. and that will keep it healthy. even though there are varieties of engagements. (pg 1005. so try to make some formula so our institution may go on without difficulty. Be tolerant. Krishnavesa dasi 1/16/75) Organizational Responsibilities: (Strategy. but unless there is discipline. (pg 993. Forget this centralizing and bureaucracy. (pg 1016. so we are expanding by Krishna’s grace. We should tax our brains as to what is the best way to present Krishna consciousness to particular people at a particular time and place. (pg1009. That should be the motto of all GBC. (pg 2353. All our men have volunteered good service. Clear Roles and Responsibilities. Karandhara 11/13/70) But. (pg 1009. so the background is good will. Hansadutta 9/7/74) Of course. rectify it. Karandhara 12/22/72) Regarding your trip to USA you say that you will be tactful and respectful in your dealings. how the GBC members manage the whole affair. Krishna consciousness movement must always be a challenge. In your letter . (pg 988. a great achievement to be gained by voluntary desire to do it. Hayagriva 2/13/72) Our movement is based on love and trust. Cyavana 6/28/72) But make it so that people may not think it too repressive so they will not go away— impressive not repressive. that is the system.

book distribution. that each one of you should always think how to improve the cause and advance our Society. things must be in order and lawfully done. very careful so that people may not point out any black spot in the behavior of our Society. management. If the members of our movement are unable to cooperate it will be very difficult to spread the mission of Lord Caitanya. Such status quo can be maintained only on our being freed from any kind of sense gratifying attitude. Do not think in this way of big corporation. you must give it some practical shape. 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. (pg 999. therefore I appointed you and Bali Mardan to do it. People have respect for our Ramesvara. The zonal secretary’s duty is to see that the spiritual principles are being upheld very nicely in all the temples of his zone. so when we next meet together. Satsvarupa Goswami 1/5/76) It is good that you GBC members are meeting and conjointly discussing such things as life membership. Bhagavan 2/16/71) As far as possible the centers should act freely. Under the circumstances. that will be our success. but that should be each temple’s concern. I have issued a letter to all the GBC members only for that purpose. centralization—these are nonsense proposals. Accounts must be kept. you and all GBC members. if our management goes on nicely to maintain our prestige and good name. That should be the principles. everything. dealing with public money. The world is divided into twelve zones. . I do not mind this discrepancy but you should be alert. The area of our activity is expanding. The future hope of solid standing of our mission is on the proper management of our Governing Body Commission. Only thing I wanted was that book printing and distribution should be centralized. etc. Now we are increasing in volume. but conjointly. (pg 977. We are now growing in volume all over the world. Temple Presidents 4/22/72) Everything should be done cooperatively. That was my plan from the very beginning. big credits. They must look forward to the common development. (pg 2349. (pg 988. because pure devotional service means anyabilasita-sunyam--or without any other desire than to satisfy Krishna. Karandhara 12/22/72) I am glad that you have admitted about the GBC members not very appropriately discharging their duty. should be done locally by local men. (pg 1018. Now it is time for the GBC members to be very. For each zone there is one zonal secretary appointed by Srila Prabhupada. Otherwise. Tamala Krishna 10/13/69) Each temple must remain independent and self-sufficient. not yours. This is a good suggestion you have made. you call for a meeting of the GBC to develop a system of management and communications which will eliminate chances of recurrences. Atreya Rsi 11/15/74) The formula for ISKCON organization is very simple and can be understood by everyone. (pg 992. “Our” and “yours” are material conceptions and have no place in our Krishna consciousness movement.

next year meet and see how far things are being done and if necessary make changes for the responsible GBC and presidents. my opinion will be yes or no. please write in a letter and distribute copies to all the GBC members along with one copy to me also. meet in Mayapur and chalk out activities for the year. (pg 990. In most cases it will be yes unless it is grievously against our principles. There is a big project in Mayapur also. The majority vote and my opinion should be taken. (pg 1018. (pg 1012. Dinesh 6/10/69) Managerial Responsibilities: . Then. etc. One thing. We have discussed this matter thoroughly. Tamal Krishna 9/26/71) … this program should be regularly followed once a year. Rupanuga Maharaja 4/28/74) Let us all meet at Mayapur and chalk out a year work for our great mission. Jagadisa 8/20/71) The matter regarding by-laws and the articles of incorporation should be definitely brought up at our annual Mayapur meeting. (pg 1014. No one should go against this principle. When the majority opinion is present. Mantrini dasi 4/8/75) If you want to consider this project as an ISKCON projEct then you must abide by the orders and direction OF the GBC … (pg 1013. So consult seriously the GBC whether these things can be taken in hand simultaneously. Please see that this is done. Jayatirtha 2/16/74) You happen to be a member of the GBC. (pg 1039. Vasudeva dasa 7/29/76) … don’t be misled that the chanting of Hare Krishna or Lord Caitanya’s movement can be made copyrighted. Tamal Krishna 9/1/71) There are many things to be done in our missionary activities but the GBC is not yet very strong to take up all the things and do them nicely. Rupanuga dasa 9/18/75) In order to start the proposed project in your letter you must have full sanction of the GBC. This is the important thing. (pg 1016. (pg989. (pg 10107. Then collect the opinions of each and every GBC member and if the majority supports the idea then it should be taken as a fact for being carried out in our Society. why is it that so few temples are sending the affidavits? You should see that this is done. The meeting is very valuable and must be carried out regularly every year. So whatever you want to do or whatever ideas you want to introduce in the management of our Society. It requires a very cool brain and expert management.As soon as there is some good point you can communicate with your colleagues and give some decision and put it before me so that I can give my final approval.

In this way we are managing. cleansing. but it will be crippled. This is the formula. but GBC means to be occupied with . Just like if the head wills it. and they are managing separately. (pg 2334. and you can supervise. the body will not die.(Getting Things Done Through People. Umapati 7/9/71) GBC does not mean to control a center. Organizational Training) Management must be done very nicely otherwise it is useless. and all other aspects of our regular program may not be neglected. That is our business. Preaching is like the head of our Krishna consciousness Society—if the head is removed. The individual president should be more managerial. rising early. there are not any complaints so that I can be relieved in order to do my translation work. secretary. Now you are finding out so many things were mismanaged. But if we lose individuality and simply become mechanical. then your management of temple affairs will also become automatically very strong. Managing is the hands. and if some defect is detected. The president. you can make suggestions how to correct it. that is all … (pg 1008. Technical Skills. GBC is to see that things are going nicely but not to exert absolute authority. So preaching is more important than management. Patita Uddharana 12/8/71) GBC members are simply to see that things are going on. That is not he business of the GBC. Satsvarupa dasa Goswami 6/4/75) GBC must mean that by his managing. the whole body dies. If the hands are removed. GBC men should not dictate very much. Planning. etc. Cyavana Swami 11/23/75) If your preaching work is strong. Hamsadutta 2/14/72) Our movement is so large it requires expert management and strong vigilance. People. (pg 2327. Other centers have got president. I do not why Tamala is exercising his absolute authority. which work nicely if the head is healthy. Analyzing. (pg 1013. what is the point? (pg 1002. Executing. Brahmananda 1/13/76) You mention that your are no longer much occupied with seeing that the rent and mortgage is paid and that the incense is sold. and that chanting. So how is it that the GBC are the final authority? They are simply to examine that things are going on nicely. Vasudeva 6/30/76) As GBC you must see to it that the highest standards of routine work are maintained throughout the centers. (pg 998. Giriraja 8/12/71) So the temple president is responsible to the GBC and the GBC is responsible to me. simply supervise and see that the standards are maintained. treasurer and secretary are responsible for managing the center. but why didn’t you find out before? (pg 999. but both must be there if the whole body is to operate nicely. the hand will move. GBC means to see that the activities of a center go on nicely. (pg 1009. more individual.

namely Krishna consciousness movement. (pg 992. to go back to Home. (pg 2246. that way—no. this way. (pg 2326. so far I can see. and to preach to others how they can also tale advantage and come to the perfectional stage of life. But if we do not take time to understand how the financial matters are going on. (pg 2328. seeing how things are going on. making investments. I find amongst the GBC members that Satsvarupa Maharaja stands first because he submits regularly the report. But now you must do it very nicely and complete it. Satsvarupa 7/1/72) Administration: We want a good administration—that is one side of our propaganda work. but it will be quite simple and easy if you simply so as I am doing. So you must become expert in these matters. namely. and other leaders. Nayanabhirama 7/4/71) Only thing is. back to Godhead. we must try to avoid becoming too much overly organized like material businessmen. these things become too much cumbersome for our spiritual growth. just as I am giving you example. advance in spiritual life. Umapati 7/19/70) Whatever center you open. you should try to keep yourself always informed how the financial matters are improving and keep your watchful eye on every feature of our Krishna consciousness activity.everything in the zone. seeing the statement of accounts. . No. Hrdayananda 7/9/72) Please accept my blessings. But I think your plan is not like that. A sample copy is enclosed herewith. the GBC member is supposed to know everything and anything about the condition and situation of all matters within his jurisdiction. plans. along with the other sanyassis. change things. Too much business or paperwork. again change. (pg 981. Therefore. You must become conversant in every feature wherever it is needed throughout the Society. making letters. Our business is to ourselves become Krishna conscious. I am especially relying upon that knowledge of my GBC assistants and secretaries. There is no use to open a center if the management is not proper. just as I am preaching daily from Srimad-Bhagavatam. to manage everything properly. like that. Trai. vouchers. Rsabhadeva 5/14/72) Now you must all three. Bhagavadgita. Jayananda. then at any moment we may experience some calamity due to our inattention to these matters. they take us away from our real emphasis of work. It is practical and to the point. That is also part of preaching work. GBC members. giving advice on every topic. like that. Our first business is to preach to the devotees and to maintain the highest standard of Vaisnava education. see the trial balance. That is the meaning of secretary. But I am at the same time managing everything. It is not that now we are preachers we can neglect all other points. it must be organized. So because we are engaged in many fields of activity. Not that we make some plan. going to the bank. Your task ahead is very huge. then do not complete it. but I am also going to the bank. Management must be there as well. I am also preaching daily. become very serious to actually give the human kind the greatest welfare.

Visvambhara 7/11/76) The president cannot take any loans without authorization. … Perfect accounts means every information regarding financial and stock situation must be ready for immediate reference and not a single farthing should be wasted. Trai dasa 2/1/74) This decree (“Quit Claim Deed”) very nicely expresses very clearly that the property cannot be sold without written permission by myself or the GBC. After all. this is essential. (pg 1031. (pg 995. (pg 1004. Visnujana dasa Maharaja 11/4/71) Training: The purpose of our Society for Krishna Consciousness is to train people in the science of breaking their servitorship to maya and re-establishing their relationship with Krishna as His loving servitor. money is collected with great hardship. (pg 2317. As we increase our life membership number. Jayatirtha dasa 11/20/75) Please see that the accounts are kept and that no money is wasted. we should not open new centers. our accounting system should become very perfect. We have to publish now a short statement of accounts. (pg 2341. Please see to this. (pg 2317. This must be our policy. Upendra 8/16/69) Regarding keeping our temples clean. This is proper management. As you are growing in stature. Rupanuga Maharaja wrote that you are delinquent in sending him regular reports. (pg 2313. That’s my only request. he may not be allowed to live in the temple. (pg 2313. Unless we can maintain the temples we presently have. Not a single paisa should be wasted. (pg 998 Satsvarupa Goswami 9/9/75) That is very good that Seattle does not have any debts. My Dear GBC Members 8/7/73) In his last GBC report. The system of temple presidents sending twice monthly reports to the GBC was devised by me to facilitate my receiving news of all the centers through the GBC. super excellently clean. This is very much wanted. (pg 2338. we must submit our audited accounts and that will convince the public of our stability. These things must not be allowed. Rupanuga 2/19/71) Bookkeeping is the most important item. Yadavananda 12/2/69) . This is a declaration.I hope all GBC members follow in his footsteps. Karandhara 3/18/71) Unless one agrees to follow all of our principles. Such a declaration should be from all centers. (pg 1008. Gurukrpa 1/26/76) I’m so glad to learn that a scientific book keeping system is being introduced in our different centers.

GBC should not be so much concerned for preaching to non-devotees. this will be the success of your preaching work. our intelligence. our time. (pg 2403. I am the initiator guru and you should be the instructor guru by teaching and doing what I am doing. Madhuvisa 6/16/72) The GBC must be vigilant by following the regulative principles and teach by ideal character the presidents of the centers. how can they go out and preach? (pg 980. No. But if they do not have any knowledge. This I want. Rupanuga Maharaja 4/28/74) That is our real work. That is my desire. that is the duty of the GBC man. (pg 978. our mind. (pg 996. let them be used in Krishna’s service. Once there is bureaucracy the whole thing will be spoiled. Kirtanananda 1/28/73) Personally I wish all the existing GBC may be trained up so perfectly that in the future. to see how the students are learning and reporting to me as my secretaries. and the presidents by their ideal character must teach the others then automatically all members of the whole institution will be ideal to the human society. (pg 1004. to see that one may not be taken away by maya. That will train men how to do these things. Satsvarupa 5/2/72) The Krishna consciousness movement is for training men to be independently thoughtful and competent in all types of departments of knowledge and action. become separate corporations in each state. to educate people in spiritual life by giving them practical example. The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. Madhuvisa Swami 8/4/75) I am very much concerned that the devotees should be given all good instruction and knowledge of Krishna consciousness. and they can go out for preaching to nondevotees and making new devotees. so I wanted that the GBC would be a chosen body of men for that purpose. So training people in this way. our energies. This is not a title. Satsvarupa 3/13/71) . Whatever we have got. (pg 993. work may not suffer but go on continuously. competitive spirit. better to utilize time and train the devotees. especially the responsible officers. but you must actually come to this platform. our possessions. not for making bureaucracy. (pg 2326. Hamsadutta 9/29/74) All department heads should train an assistant so that in their absence. The art of preaching is to engage that propensity in the service of Krishna. not that one shall dominate and distribute benefits to the others and they do nothing but beg from you and you provide. take tax certificate each. in my absence they can manage the whole Society very nicely and strongly. and they shall develop reliability and responsibility. that is the point. Never mind there may be botheration to register each center. Karandhara 12/22/72) Everyone has got some propensity.This is the function of the GBC. There must be always individual striving and work and responsibility. (pg 984.