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Good Management | The Hare Krishna Movement

“…Prabhupada had an uncanny way of knowing how to engage different disciples in various services according to their natures”

Good Management

by Gargamuni Prabhu

The first acting officers of ISKCON were appointed by Prabhupada in the Fall 1966. We were sitting in Prabhupada’s room, only five or six of us, when He asked, “So Who should be president?” Everyone looked at each other and then Brahmananda suggested, “I think that Kirtanananda should be the president because he was the first to join.” There were other suggestions but Prabhupada didn’t approve, and then said, “No. I think that Brahmananda should be the president.” Why? Because he was actually maintaining the temple by giving his entire paycheck; $400 a month, as a NYC public substitute school-teacher. We both stayed in the temple-storefront. All the other working devotees had apartments and so they couldn’t give much money or time. So Brahmananda became the first president of ISKCON and Satsvarupa was appointed as secretary. I became the first treasurer/accountant.

Prabhupada had an uncanny way of knowing how to engage different disciples in various services according to their natures. I was sure that he chose Brahmananda because he was a natural leader. He had been the president of his senior-high school class, and was captain of the football team and was captain of the wrestling team, for which he received a scholarship to the USA Naval Academy at Annapolis. He had a natural tendency to lead. He had his own club called The Playmakers, for which he was president, and they had their own jackets which they wore to school. He was a born leader and Prabhupada knew that just by looking at him.

He made Satsvarupa the secretary because he was an intellectual—an excellent writer and editor. He made me the treasurer because I was by nature interested in business. When I was seven I started my own business selling cherry bombs (a very powerful kind of firecracker) at school. The kids would buy them and blow up mailboxes. The police were called and they found out it was me, but because I was only seven, they didn’t do anything. Even as a child I made my own office out of card-board and played with my father’s old business letters. I never told Prabhupada about my business activities, but he knew my nature just by looking into my eyes. It is a common understanding that the eyes are the ‘mirror of the mind’. I didn’t know anything about accounting but Prabhupada taught me. He explained accounting the following way:

”There are two things in accounting; one thing is I am receiving some amount, and the other thing is I am paying some amount. The paying or receiving will come under certain account. Whatever I receive is put under debtor column. Debtor means receiver, and the particular begins with the word “to.” Whatever I am paying is entered into the creditor column. Creditor means payer. In this way, after the whole day’s transactions, you make a total of the debtor column and creditor column, and if there is any balance, it is adjusted by the words “balance carried forward.” This balance is entered in the creditor column. So we have to see that the amount in the debtor column and the amount in the creditor column is equal. This is called a correct account. Next day you begin with “To Balance B.F.” (brought forward) That means whatever balance you had the day before you put in the debtor column with particulars To Balance B.F. Then begin your transactions as in the previous day.”

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