Sankirtana Poverty and Wealthy Temples

BY: KRISHNA DASA - 30.1 2018

Big bucks for temple building projects, while the sankirtana devotees are struggling to raise funds for preaching projects. This is a widespread problem in ISKCON today. Unfortunately we are witnessing the separation of the mission from the temple.

Gone are the days when the sankirtana devotees controlled temple finances. Gone are the days when temple authorities truly cared about spreading Krishna consciousness. Instead the focus is on creating expensive temples for the Hindu community. The Hindus are happy to fund these big projects, but Srila Prabhupada was dead against this.

"So at the beginning Brahmananda was mixing only with those Indians, and they were giving profusely money, and there were so many plans for temple and deities. In this way he was neglecting to do the real work which was preaching to the black Africans. No one Hindu who is rich and living in foreign place is very much interested to become devotee, it is show only, sentiment or custom. So I wanted that he should preach to the Africans and convert them to become devotees, that should be his real business, nevermind wasting time with so many nonsense Indians. And as soon as he did as I instructed, immediately he has got some black devotees, and he has removed himself from the entanglement of the Hindus, and he is making good progress spreading Krsna Consciousness amongst the native citizens. And there black devotees are making advancement and they are also going out to preach themselves to other places in Africa." (Srila Prabhupada Letter)

The disparity in wealth is obscene. ISKCON is suffering from the corporate mentality that shows indifference to nonprofit missionary activities. This is in violation of the following ISKCON law.

3.5.5.1.3.2 Book Distribution and Preaching

1. GBC Zonal Secretaries and all Temple Presidents shall ensure that their respective zones and temples will distribute books on sankirtana on a regular basis, making a sincere attempt to implement Srila Prabhupāda’s formula that fifty percent (50%) of our income be used for book distribution and fifty percent (50%) be used for the temple expenses. The Temple Presidents should give a minimum of twenty five percent (25 %) of income for book distribution.

Fifty percent of income for book distribution? It is not even 1% now in many places! We are about saving souls, not bricks and mortar! The sankirtana mission has lost its dignity to the point that sankirtana devotees are a fringe element, forgotten about. They have to maintain themselves AND raise funds to spread the mission without receiving any support from the temples.

The Hindus don't know any better, they will give endlessly for temple construction. But the GBC and temple authorities should know better. By all means milk the Hindu cash cow, but give the money to the sankirtana mission! Will the GBC ever follow the principles laid down by Srila Prabhupada?