A Letter to All Devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness from the Executive Committee of the ISKCON Governing Body Commission (GBC).
Dear Devotees of ISKCON,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
We regret to inform you that the GBC Executive Committee has received a letter from Mahanidhi Swami, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada since 1975, announcing that he has "decided to resign from the glorious preaching mission of ISKCON".
Prior to receiving that letter, reports were brought to our attention alleging inappropriate behavior on the part of Mahanidhi Swami on both a personal and philosophical level. The GBC began an investigation of those and found some of the allegations to be true, including inappropriate interactions with a female disciple. Although the extent of those problems is not clear, we found there was definitely behavior not befitting someone in the renounced order of life.
It was during this investigation that Mahanidhi Swami chose to resign.
In a prayerful mood, we would like to comment briefly on this situation. As Vaishnavas, we understand that the obstacles of this material world are very difficult to overcome. Srila Prabhupada warned us that many stalwarts may fall from the path of Krishna consciousness if we are not cautious in the execution of our devotional service.
As stated in an official GBC paper from March of this year:
"Those who accept the service of diksha or siksha guru within ISKCON are mandated to be strict followers of the instructions of Srila Prabhupada, and, as long as they follow, they are acting on the liberated platform. Thus they may serve, as Srila Prabhupada ordered, as bonafide representatives of the Lord and the Guru Parampara and be a via medium of Their mercy. Yet it should be clearly understood that if such diksha or siksha gurus deviate from strictly following, they may fall down from their
Therefore, we should all be careful to strictly follow the standards of Krishna consciousness as given to us by our Founder-Acarya and the previous acaryas. At the same time, Srila Prabhupada taught us to be concerned about the wellbeing of our fellow Vaishnavas and to encourage each other to continue in devotional service to the best of our ability.
In that spirit, the GBC is continuing to reach out to Mahanidhi Swami. GBC members have also met with followers and disciples of Mahanidhi Swami to offer them our support.
We ask that the devotees of ISKCON pray for Mahanidhi Swami and the devotees affected by his difficulties. And as always, we offer our own humble prayers for all the Vaishnavas and the devotees of ISKCON and request Lord Krishna to kindly protect us and guide us all towards His eternal service.
Tamohara Das, Chair
(Members of the GBC Executive Committee)
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UPDATE: On October 28th, 2013 ISKCON's Governing Body Commission has passed a resolution and the Executive Commitee issued a follow-up statement regarding the case of Mahanidhi Swami:
At its recent meetings in Mumbai, India, the Governing Body Commission (GBC) of ISKCON passed a resolution regarding Mahanidhi Swami. That resolution is found below followed by a brief excerpt of the GBC Executive Committee’s letter to Mahanidhi Swami’s disciples and followers.
It is resolved that:
Mahanidhi Swami has stated that he has resigned from ISKCON, therefore he is suspended as initiating guru and sannyasi within ISKCON. We would like Mahanidhi Swami to return to ISKCON. Should he choose to do so, he should approach the GBC Executive Committee, and assisted by the Sannyasa Ministry, agree upon a complete program for his rectification and reinstatement.
The letter to Mahanidhi Swami’s followers contains the following:
“We want to offer our appreciation for your courage and humility in approaching the GBC Executive Committee with your concerns regarding Mahanidhi Swami’s problematic behavior.
We know that it was difficult and painful for you to come forward. We also know that you did so only after multiple, genuine efforts to assist your diksha guru by speaking with him directly.
We respect the sincerity of your efforts to help him, and we respect that you approached the GBC in a sincere mood of doing what was best for both Mahanidhi Swami and ISKCON.
We encourage you–especially at this time–to take shelter of Srila Prabhupada and his instructions, as he is the preeminent siksha guru for all ISKCON devotees.
We also encourage you to take shelter of other senior devotees in ISKCON. As long as you continue to take guidance of Srila Prabhupada and his sincere followers and remain strict in your spiritual practices, you will be safe and secure under Lord Krishna’s protection.
The GBC Executive Committee also wishes to request the devotees of ISKCON to offer their prayers for Mahanidhi Swami. We also request all ISKCON devotees to extend their full support, friendship and understanding to the disciples and followers of Mahanidhi Swami, who themselves are remaining as faithful followers of Srila Prabhupada and his ISKCON society.
The GBC Executive Committee
Tamohara das, Chair