International Society for Krishna Consciousness Revival Movement

International Society for Krishna Consciousness Revival Movement
(est. 2000)
   The ISKCON Revival Movement (IRM) was formed in 2000 as a pressure group to revive and reform ISKCON on the basis of an interpretation of the directives for succession given by Swami Prabhupada BHAKTIVEDANTA (1896–1977), the founder of ISKCON.
   According to IRM, the founder revealed, in a philosophical treatise called “The Final Order” issued on July 9, 1977, a signed directive appoint-ing 11 of his senior managers to act as ritviks (officiating priests) to initiate new recruits into the ISKCON movement on his behalf. According to IRM, all future disciples within ISKCON were supposed to revere Bhaktivedanta Swami as their GURU, not any successor. However, shortly after Bhaktivedanta Swami’s demise on November 14, 1977, these ritviks ignored the directive; instead, they divided the world into 11 zones, each claim-ing to be the guru or spiritual successor in a dif-ferent area. By early 1978 the 11 ritviks had begun to initiate disciples on their own behalf, acting as gurus for the movement.
   Over time, a number of the gurus suffered law-suits, suicide, and other problems. The movement was plunged into confusion and acrimony. By the mid-1980s the Governing Body Commission (GBC), which managed ISKCON, issued a new interpretation of Bhaktivedanta Swami’s direc-tive. What he had really wanted, it said, was for all disciples to become initiating gurus, not just the 11 ritviks. Today new gurus are added to the roster via a majority vote by the GBC at its annual meetings in Mayapur. Currently ISKCON gurus number around 80.
   IRM contends that both the zonal guru system and its replacement multiple-guru system are unauthorized innovations. Citing GBC resolu-tions and management directives approved by Bhaktivedanta Swami, the IRM insists that ISK-CON will continue to flounder as long as it fails to comply with the orders of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
   The IRM has grown quickly in the few years of its existence, claiming members and temples on every continent, including the ISKCON temple in Bangalore, the largest ISKCON temple in the world. It publishes an international magazine, Back to Prabhupada, and an electronic newsletter. They have also met with considerable opposition from those supporting the current multiple-guru system in ISKCON.
   The IRM’s followers consist of both current and former ISKCON members, ISKCON Life Members, and members of the Hindu community at large. The IRM’s ultimate goal is to rebuild an ISKCON movement operating just as Bhaktive-danta Swami intended, with him as the sole guru and authority.
   Further reading: Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhu-pada, Bhagavad-Gita As It Is (New York: Bhaktivedanta Trust, 1972); Krishnakant Desai, The Final Order (Lon-don: Printed privately, 1996; Bangalore: International Society for Krishna Consciousness, 2001).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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