on Jan. 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas – Ravindra-svarupa Dasa, a GBC, guru, and influential thinker within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), implored the Society’s North American leadership to vigilantly guard against abuse of power. In his January 24 keynote address to the North American Temple Presidents and Governing Body Commissioners meeting, Ravindra-svarupa called abuse of power “the core problem” facing ISKCON leaders today, and opined that the solution lay in responsible use of power and strong spiritual practices.
“To exercise power over others is not itself bad, it is natural,” Ravindra-svarupa said, “the Srimad Bhagavatam tells us that those who are in positions of power are naturally representatives of Krishna. The problem comes when those who are supposed to represent Krishna, don’t.”
Ravindra-svarupa’s 30-minute speech, which kicked-off the 3-day gathering of North American ISKCON leaders, focused on the need for integrity, accountability, and checking the tendency to exploit others. Employing a mix of historical analysis, scriptural insight, and humor, he emphasized the connection between a devotee’s ability to effectively lead and his or her “practice of cultivating the Holy Name.”
Rather than addressing specific instances of ISKCON devotees who abused their power, Ravindra-svarupa reminded his audience of the great responsibility shared by all followers of ISKCON Founder-Acarya Srila Prabhupada.
“Srila Prabhupada gave us the essence of ISKCON,” he told his fellow leaders, “in the statement: ‘Krishna consciousness means to become a Vaisnava and to have some feeling for suffering humanity.’ We must simply become Krishna conscious and give it to others.”