A Message from the Board

For a long time, ISKCON administrators had wanted such a Code. In years gone by,
violations of ethical behavior had led to court cases, schisms within the movement, defections, and the time had come to change that with something formal. We needed a document to point to and say, “Here are our standards.”

Code of Ethics Advisory Board members

Atmanivedana Swami

Initiating Guru

Chandrasekhara Swami

Initiating Guru, Member of the ISKCON Leadership Misconduct Initiative

Akhandadhi dasa

Member of the Science and Philosophy Initiative, Broadcaster and advisor to the BBC on Indian philosophical and spiritual traditions

Anuttama dasa

Director of ISKCON Communications

Brahma-tirtha dasa (Bob Cohen)

Member of ISKCON Resolve

Champakalata dasi

Chair of ISKCON Justice Ministry, Member of ISKCON Dispute Resolution Department

Devakinandan dasa

ISKCON General Counsel and Global GBC for Legal Affairs, Member of ISKCON Dispute Resolution Department

Krsnadasa Kaviraja dasa

Navina-Syama dasa

Member of ISKCON Dispute Resolution Department

Nrsimhananda dasa

Chair of ISKCON SABHA committee

Rasamandala dasa

Director of ISKCON Educational Services (UK)

Sahadeva dasa

Chair of ISKCON India Continental Committee

Vraja Vihari dasa (Brian Bloch)

United States Ombuds, Member of ISKCON Dispute Resolution Department, ISKCON Resolve

Yogesvara dasa (Joshua M. Greene)

Author of the Code of Ethical Behavior, Member of ISKCON Dispute Resolution Department, ISKCON Resolve

History of the Code

The ISKCON Code of Ethical Behavior was developed by a group of senior ISKCON men and women devotees, chaired by Yogesvara dasa (Joshua M. Greene). An initial draft was created, based on an examination of other ethical codes used by government, religious, and social service organizations. That draft was circulated among the advisory group. After incorporating their suggestions, the revised draft was submitted to the GBC for their vote.

Extensive comments were provided by the GBC body. Those comments were incorporated into a third draft, and the GBC then voted on this most recent version. On August 21, 2021, the GBC ratified the Code and voted it into ISKCON law. This point is significant. Because the GBC ratified the Code as “law,” as opposed to a “recommendation,” they actively support its implementation.

It is noteworthy that the articles of the Code are based on previous GBC laws and resolutions; nothing here is invented or new. Still, seeing our ethical ideals in one concise document is a powerful reminder that spiritual progress in all instances depends on impeccable behavior.

The Code is a “living document,” meaning that it may be supplemented and amended in the future by GBC resolution.

While all initiated devotees are expected to exhibit behavior in line with this Code, those devotees holding office or authority in ISKCON, as opposed to the general devotee population, are subject to sanctions for failure to adhere to this Code. These sanctions are described in Part Two of the Code. 

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