Incorporating more than one temple under ISKCON Inc is maya
By Pratyatosa Dasa
Jan 1 2013, USA — Dear Prabhus, Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
When I was temple treasurer at ISKCON Boston in 1975-76 I questioned why the temple was incorporated as “ISKCON of New England” and not “International Society for Krishna Consciousness.” I thought that it was maya (illusion). The newly installed temple president didn’t have an answer, but didn’t seem to care one iota. Later on I discovered that I was wrong. The devotees who incorporated ISKCON Boston were simply following Srila Prabhupada’s emphatic and repeated instruction that all of his temples be independent!
Now certain “Prabhupadanugas” seem to be on a “Let’s all be ISKCON, Inc.” centralization trip! Why? In this particular case, the ISKCON leaders have it right, and these so-called Prabhupadanugas have it wrong! Srila Prabhupada didn’t want legal centralization. He wanted each temple to be legally independent. That means that each temple must be separately incorporated, just as was being done when Srila Prabhupada was personally running ISKCON. That means that each and every corporation, within one particular country at least, must have a different name!
It’s more difficult and expensive to do it that way, but that’s what Srila Prabhupada ordered, so that’s what most temples did, especially after Srila Prabhupada temporarily dissolved the GBC in 1972 after their rebellious centralization attempt.
As far as I know, Srila Prabhupada never expressed this as a reason for his “every temple must be independent” policy, but this policy has turned out to have the added benefit of making it much more complicated and difficult to sue all of ISKCON for the transgressions of one particular temple.