ISKCON’s “Under the rug” tattva

ISKCON’s “Under the rug” tattva

Dear sheep, don’t worry, everything is ok.

GBC letter

April 22, 2020

Dear ISKCON Devotees,

Please accept our humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

We write to update the members of the ISKCON society regarding the status of Param Gati Das.

Due to serious personal difficulties, Param Gati Das was suspended from his service as an initiating spiritual master and he stepped down from the sannyasa ashram in 2010. During that time, arrangements were made to provide him additional association and support. It was hoped he would rectify himself from his previous deviations and live the strict life of a renunciant, either as a brahmacari or, perhaps, at a later time, be reinstated as a sannyasi.

However, the Governing Body Commission (GBC) has learned that Param Gati Das has continued to act in ways that seriously violate our Vaishnava standards of interpersonal behavior, protection of dependents, and the regulative principles, especially as expected of senior Vaishnavas who give shelter to others. As such, the GBC found it necessary to put additional restrictions (known hereinafter as “the Restrictions”) in place regarding his participation in ISKCON, effective immediately.

The Restrictions on Param Gati Das are as follows :

• Directed to stop wearing the dress of a renunciant, and to wear white;
• Directed to undergo appropriate counseling;
• Prohibited from any leadership position in ISKCON, including but not limited to giving classes or leading kirtans at any ISKCON community, or affiliated event;
• Prohibited from staying overnight at any ISKCON temple, except that he is allowed to stay at the New Mayapura Temple (NM) in France;
–He may stay at NM with permission of, and under the guidance of, local leaders.
–This permission shall be reviewed every six months and may be extended per the decision of NM leadership;
• Removed as a diksa guru in ISKCON.

The Restrictions shall be implemented with immediate effect.

The specific prohibition against giving classes or leading kirtans may be reviewed by the GBC Body (or their assigned committee) upon request, after a minimum period of five years, and shall be based upon an assessment of Param Gati Das’s steadiness in upholding proper Vaishnava behavior and principles.

Subject to the Restrictions, Param Gati Das is not prohibited from visiting ISKCON Temples, participating in Temple events, or engaging in devotional services. He has informed the GBC that he plans to remain connected to ISKCON by humbly serving Srila Prabhupada’s mission as needed.

In addition, Param Gati Das has confirmed and acknowledged the Restrictions stated in this letter, and expressly agreed to abide by the Restrictions.

The GBC has also concluded that Param Gati Das is unfit to offer proper shelter and guidance to those he has initiated. Thus, we wish to especially reach out to those initiated into our Gaudiya Vaishnava parampara by Param Gati Das. The GBC Body, collectively and individually, offers our friendship, support, and assistance to Param Gati Das’s siksa and diksa disciples.

It is very important to note that despite Param Gati Das’s current status, devotees initiated by him remain connected to our parampara, and especially to Srila Prabhupada, our Founder-acarya and preeminent siksa-guru and shelter for all ISKCON devotees.

Srila Prabhupada taught us that just as the grandfather is especially kind to his grandchildren, in the same way the grandfather guru is especially kind to the granddisciples. In this way, Srila Prabhupada continues to give each of you the opportunity and support to develop your pure love of Lord Krishna. That has not changed. Srila Prabhupada’s mercy is there for you in every situation. His teachings are there to guide you, and you continue to have the shelter of the holy name, the Deities, the Vaishnavas and all the other blessings provided by ISKCON communities.

ISKCON also has many senior devotees who can assist you through whatever difficulties or confusion you may face. So, please seek the shelter of local leaders in your area. The GBC members are also concerned for your welfare. For those who wish to speak with someone from the GBC, you can contact us via:

Some Other devotees in ISKCON have also seen their initiating gurus fall from the strict standards of bhakti. Many, many of those disciples have chosen to stay under the shelter of ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada and they continue to serve nicely and make steady spiritual progress. Please draw from their example.

All devotees struggle from time to time with major challenges in life. Yet, we remain comforted knowing that the Lord is protecting and caring for each of us, despite the turmoil we sometimes must face.

Taking shelter of Vaishnava association within ISKCON and an ever-deepening dependence on Lord Krishna, we encourage you to continue with your spiritual life. Know that your connection with the Lord remains solid, and your progress in spiritual life can continue unchecked. We pray for your continued advancement in your spiritual endeavors and that the blessings of the Lord will be with you during this difficult time.

Hare Krishna.

Your servants,

GBC Executive Committee

Ramai Swami
Bhakti Caitanya Swami
Bhanu Swami