From the ISKCON GBC – Minutes Of The Annual General Meeting – February 2017
313: Global Duties & Responsibilities of the Governing Body Commission
Whereas the GBC wishes to formalize the understanding of its global services to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness;
Whereas it is important that duties and responsibilities be clarified at all levels of the Society;
Whereas the GBC wishes to produce a legacy document for the instruction and training of future GBC members:
That the document “Global Duties & Responsibilities of the Governing Body Commission (GBC)” is accepted as an official statement and shall be part of ISKCON Law.
(The following is an excerpt from the above mentioned document)
Maintaining the Principle of Unity in Diversity
Srila Prabhupada wrote: “Now this displeasing of godbrothers has already begun and gives me too much agitation in my mind. Our Gaudiya Math people fought with one another after the demise of Guru Maharaja but my disciples have already begun fighting even in my presence. So I am greatly concerned about it . . . Material nature means dissension and disagreement, especially in this Kali yuga. But, for this Krsna consciousness movement its success will depend on agreement, even though there are varieties of engagements. In the material world there are varieties, but there is no agreement. In the spiritual world there are varieties, but there is agreement. That is the difference. The materialist without being able to adjust the varieties and the disagreements makes everything zero. They cannot come into agreement with varieties, but if we keep Krsna in the center, then there will be agreement in varieties. 15 This is called unity in diversity. I am therefore suggesting that all our men meet in Mayapur every year during the birth anniversary of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. With all GBC and senior men present we should discuss how to make unity in diversity. But, if we fight on account of diversity, then it is simply the material platform. Please try to maintain the philosophy of unity in diversity. That will make our movement successful.” (Letter to Kirtanananda, October 18, 1973)
The exhortation to discuss unity in diversity “every year” shows how crucial this topic is, and the instruction to discuss it collectively – “all our men . . . all GBC and senior men” – shows the need for ongoing dialogue between the GBC and other senior ISKCON spiritual leaders to find harmony and collaboration. An example of this partnership was shown when, still in Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence, the GBC formally received feedback on its resolutions from the temple presidents:
Satsvarupa: After all the days’ meetings of the GBC are finished, then we’ll have a meeting of the temple presidents. If, at their meeting, by a two-thirds majority vote, they suggest any amendments to the resolutions or make new resolutions, these will be sent back to the GBC, who will meet again and who will again vote.
Tamal Krishna: The presidents will meet and they will give any changes to the GBC, and on the afternoon of the fourth the GBC will consider all changes.
Prabhupada: Decide. Decide.
Tamal Krishna: And that will be the end of the meeting.
Prabhupada: That’s all right.
– Room Conversation on GBC Resolutions, Mayapur, March 1, 1977
Implementing unity in diversity requires maintaining the delicate balance between the need of the Society to conserve its fundamental principles and practices, and the need to encourage creativity, individuality, and innovation. Another application of unity in diversity manifests in the variety of approaches in preaching in which the message remains authentic and undiluted but the form may be inspired by local situations, environments, and the individuality of the preachers.