**** UNDER CONSTRUCTION ****|Tuesday, October 17, 2017

History of ISKCON Inc.

CT68-132

 

Introduction

“I, the undersigned, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, disciple of Om Visnupad Paramhansa 108 Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaj Prabhupada, came in the United States in 1965 on September 18th for the purpose of starting Krishna Consciousness Movement. For one year I had no shelter. I was travelling in many parts of this country. Then in 1966, July, I incorporated the Society under the name and style the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, briefly ISKCON. The lawyer was Mr. J. Goldsmith. Gradually the Society increased, and one after another branches were opened. “(His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada(link Acharya) in the directive Direction of Management, dated July 28, 1970)

ISKCON, Inc. or ISKCON was formed in 1966, as stated above, for seven purposes that were originally listed in its Certificate of Incorporation (PDF).

CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION of

INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INC.

The purposes for which the Society is organized are:

1. To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.

2. To propagate a consciousness of Krishna (God), as it is revealed in the great scriptures of India, Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.

3. To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus developing the idea within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).

4. To teach and encourage the sankirtana movement, congregational chanting of the holy name of God, as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

5. To erect for the members and for society at large a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krishna.

6. To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.

7. With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.

Dated July 13, 1966

Incorporated by :

A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami

Carol Baker

Raymond Marais

(Note: Signed with Blue ink tip pen by Srila Prabhupada, the original is at the Country Clerk’s Office in downtown Manhattan where one can still go and view it. A certified Copy of the original is here.)

Constitution of the Society

These purposes of his Society were further expanded by Srila Prabhupada in another document called the Constitution of Association.

These 2 documents, the Certificate of Incorporation and the Constitution of Association were known as the (initial) Constitution of the Society.

This registration of the Society was done at the 26th 2nd Ave temple in Manhattan, NY from where Srila Prabhupada started his preaching activities in the USA. Soon more centers were opened in USA and also in other countries. While registering new Societies Srila Prabhupada instructed the disciples to follow these Constitution Documents of ISKCON, Inc. amending these for local laws as is further described in Constitution of ISKCON-Part 2.

NY temple and ISKCON, Inc.

Even though this Society was registered at 26th 2nd Ave, NY, still this Society was not considered the “NY temple” but the NY temple was considered by Srila Prabhupada to be one of the centers of this Society like all the newly formed centers in USA and in other parts of the world.

This is evident from the 1st para of the Direction of Management as quoted above –

“Then in 1966, July, I incorporated the Society under the name and style the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, briefly ISKCON. The lawyer was Mr. J. Goldsmith. Gradually the Society increased, and one after another branches were opened. Now we have got thirty-four (34) branches enlisted herewith:

Then Srila Prabhupada lists the 34 centers at that time. NY temple is listed as one of its 34 “branches”.

“New York City, New York…… 61 Second Ave. 10003”

Other Temples

In the initial years, ISKCON, Inc., NY was registered in several states of USA and used to buy newly developing temples. The Los Angles temple, the San Fransisco temple, the Berkeley temple, the Seattle temple, the San Diego temple, Laguna Beach temple (all in California), the Gita Nagari farm in Pennsylvania and many others were owned by ISKCON, Inc., NY. The 13 story skyscraper in Manhattan was also bought by ISKCON, Inc., NY.

Even though Srila Prabhupada wanted all temples to be separate legally, this was done initially to save time and energy in maintaining separate registered societies.  Later Srila Prabhupada instructed them to be separated legally by sending this instruction.

Formation of GBC

On July 28, 1970, Srila Prabhupada wrote in the Direction of ManagementThere was a meeting in San Francisco during the Ratha Yatra festival 1970 and many presidents of the centers were present. In that meeting it was resolved that an ad hoc committee be set up to form the constitution which is taken into consideration. My duty was to first appoint twelve (12) persons to my free choice amongst my disciples and I do it now and their names are as follows:” and then he lists the first 12 GBC members.

In future years, the elections of the GBCs was to take place thus, as per Direction of Management:

“2.         His Divine Grace will select the initial 12 members of the GBC. In the succeeding years the GBC will be elected by a vote of all Temple presidents who will vote for 8 from a ballot of all Temple presidents, which may also include any secretary who is in charge of a Temple. Those 8 with the greatest number of votes will be members for the next term of GBC. Srila Prabhupada will choose to retain four commissioners. In the event of Srila Prabhupada’s absence, the retiring members will decide which four will remain.”

This GBC so made and elected thus was to be the GBC of ISKCON, Inc. as:

a. This Direction of Management was written on the letterhead(mast) of INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INC. on July 28, 1970. (PDF)

b. It made the first GBC body from among the Presidents of centers listed as “branches” of ISKCON, Inc. for all the centers of ISKCON, Inc. throughout the world as described and listed in the beginning of the Direction of Management:

“Then in 1966, July, I incorporated the Society under the name and style the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, briefly ISKCON. The lawyer was Mr. J. Goldsmith. Gradually the Society increased, and one after another branches were opened. Now we have got thirty-four (34) branches enlisted herewith:”

This is more evident from the letter below.

Basic Organizational Structure of ISKCON, Inc.

Srila Prabhupada sent a formal letter via Karandhara Das to ALL Temple Presidents of ISKCON centers in the world, dated April 22, 1972(PDF). This was sent while re-instating the GBC body from its almost 1 month suspension when they had disobeyed Srila Prabhupada.

This letter was also written on the letterhead of “INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INC. Via this letter Srila Prabhupada laid down the exact organizational structure of ISKCON, Inc. or ISKCON as it was generally known.

This GBC was not a registered Body or a separate incorporated body as per Srila Prabhupada. It was made and was to remain an unincorporated Association supervising and guiding ISKCON or ISKCON, Inc. centers as per Direction of Management and other similar directives of Srila Prabhupada. It was not meant to enforce legal authority over the centers.

ISKCON, Inc. or ISKCON ?

In normal usage ISKCON, Inc. (Legal name “International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Incorporated”) was known as just ISKCON. This is so as “Inc.” short form of “Incorporated” denoting that it is a Corporation, is normally not used colloquially. For e.g.

IBM, Inc. (Legal name International Business Machine Corporation) is normally called just IBM. Apple, Inc. is normally called just Apple. “Inc.” is used in legal usage.

When asked this question, Srila Prabhupada replied thus. He said ISKCON is the short cut of our Society name. (where?)

These documents and many others from that time, show Srila Prabhupada considered that formally speaking all the centers in the world were ISKCON or ISKCON, Inc. centers. These ISKCON, Inc. centers or ISKCON centers were not “legal branches” but associates of ISKCON, Inc.(ISKCON), or affiliates of.

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT)

Hence, Srila Prabhupada made this Society, ISKCON, Inc., the exclusive beneficiary of his newly formed Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) on May 29th, 1972 (PDF) in Los Angeles, USA.

On Page 2, Section III,

Purpose of Trust

This Trust is created and shall be operated exclusively for the benefit of the INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INCORPORATED by me as a tax exempt organization” —-

The only International Society for Krishna Consciousness that was incorporated by Srila Prabhupada himself (PDF) , and specifically as a tax-exempt organization, was his original one in NY, which is called ISKCON, Incorporated or ISKCON, Inc., on July 13, 1966.

Mayapur Vrindavan Trust (MVT)

Srila Prabhupada also made this Society, ISKCON, Inc., the exclusive beneficiary of Mayapur Vrindavan Trust (MVT) on May 29th, 1972 (PDF) in Los Angeles, USA. This trust was used by Srila Prabhupada collecting funds for maintenance of the Deities in his Vrindavan and Mayapur temples.

On Page 2, Section III,

Purpose of Trust

This Trust is created and shall be operated exclusively for the benefit of the INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INCORPORATED by me as a tax exempt organization” —-

Srila Prabhupada’s Bank Accounts in USA

All of the personal Bank accounts in USA that Srila Prabhupada used to collect donations, sales proceeds of the books and other incomes were ISKCON, Inc. accounts in various banks.

Srila Prabhupada’s Visiting Card

iskcon inc prabhupada card

Please note “International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Inc.” at the top.

 

The 10th Anniversary of ISKCON, Inc.

On July 6, 1976, the 10th Anniversary of ISKCON, Inc. was celebrated in Washington, D.C. USA. Sri Rupanuga Das, a GBC and Srila Prabhupada had this to say about ISKCON, Inc.

Chairman and Trustee of ISKCON, Inc.

At that time and till his Disappearance in Nov of 1977, Srila Prabhupada was the Chairman and Trustee of ISKCON, Inc.

Conclusion:

ISKCON, Inc. was used by Srila Prabhuada to-

1. Hold the Constitution of the Society to which all new registered bodies would model their constitution to.

2. As a binding organization to which ALL centers in the world will be associates of as is evident from Direction of Management and other documents from that time. But it was not meant to be a controlling organization over other centers, temples or registered Societies.

3. As the global registered Society, registered in NY, for which Direction of Management was written for i.e. formally speaking the GBC was made for this registered organization, to which all the centers/temples including the NY temple were associated to.

4. For all these reasons, Srila Prabhupada listed the ISKCON, Inc. as the exclusive beneficiary of his BBT while forming the BBT in Los Angles. The benefit from BBT (Books and funds for temple construction) was meant for all the centers of ISKCON, Inc. at that time listed in Direction of Management and subsequently being formed all over world.

Skip to toolbar