GBC: Establishing Prerequisites & Oversight for Spiritual Leadership – Protecting ISKCON’s Assets & Ensuring Legal and Financial Compliance

Hare KrishnaBy the GBC

Srila Prabhupada also indicated that spiritual knowledge be formally tested as a requirement for serving as diksa-guru and that the GBC establish this and other examination processes in ISKCON: “Another examination will be held sometimes in 1971 . . . One who will pass this examination will be awarded with the title of Bhaktivedanta. I want that all of my spiritual sons and daughters will inherit this title of Bhaktivedanta, so that the family transcendental diploma will continue through the generations. Those possessing the title of Bhaktivedanta will be allowed to initiate disciples.” (Letter to Hamsaduta, January 3, 1969) Years later, Srila Prabhupada wrote about the necessity of having different certifications for other positions as well: “Shortly we shall be introducing the system of examinations for those students who are ready for second initiation as well as sannyasa.” (Letter to Satsvarupa, January 5, 1976) Five days after writing this letter, Srila Prabhupada indicated that it would be the GBC’s duty to fine-tune the examination system: “I have also suggested for the GBC’s consideration, that we introduce a system of examinations for the devotees to 10 take. Sometimes there is criticism that our men are not sufficiently learned, especially the brahmanas. Of course second initiation does not depend upon passing an examination. How one has moulded his life – chanting, attending arati, etc., these are essential. Still, brahmana means pandita. Therefore I am suggesting examinations.” (Letter to Svarupa Damodara, January 10, 1976) And next month he wrote: “As far as the Bhakti-sastri and other examinations are concerned, that we will discuss at the GBC meeting.” (Letter to Nitai, January 24, 1976)