ISKCON and the BBT have a shared mission; they exist for the same purpose. Together they serve Srila Prabhupada’s movement.
Books are the basis of the Krishna consciousness movement, and the books come from the BBT. So the movement depends on the BBT. As Srila Prabhupada once wrote, “Practically, books are the basis of our Movement. Without our books, our preaching will have no effect.” (letter to Mandali Bhadra, 20 Jan 1972) And the BBT exists for the sake of the movement.
Moreover, the movement is the life of the BBT because it is the movement that buys the books, teaches from the books, distributes the books, promotes the books, and writes more books.
ISKCON and the BBT are meant to work like the two oxen of one team, the two hands of one body, or the two wings of one bird.
The BBT should therefore serve in concert with ISKCON’s leaders and especially with ISKCON’s ultimate managing authority, the GBC.
To better understand the legal relationship between the BBT and ISKCON, first we should understand what it means that the BBT is a “trust.”
“By nature, a trust is a legal vehicle that allows a person (the ‘trustor,’ ‘grantor’ or ‘settlor’) to put property into the hands of another (the ‘trustee’) for purposes of benefitting another person or group (the ‘beneficiaries’).”
The document that establishes a trust is called the “trust instrument.” It sets forth the terms of the trust, including what its purposes are, what property is being placed in trust, who is to serve as trustee, and who will be the beneficiary or beneficiaries.
The trustee must manage the trust in strict accordance with the trust instrument to carry out the purposes of the trust for the sake of the beneficiary. He must never use the trust property for his own interest. He must act prudently to preserve and protect the trust property and make it productive. And he must keep the beneficiary informed about the trust and its administration — in particular, by providing regular financial accounts.
In the words of an authoritative guide, Loring’s A Trustee’s Handbook: “The trustee must perform [these] duties or be held accountable to the wronged beneficiary.”
The beneficiary has a full right to the benefits spelled out in the trust instrument, but no right to manage or control the trust. As Loring says, “The trustee is not an agent of the beneficiary. Thus, the beneficiary has no inherent common law right to appoint or remove the trustee, nor to direct the trustee or even have the beneficiary’s advice considered by the trustee.”
BBT-GBC Relations Committee
A liaison committee comprising BBT and GBC members meets annually to discuss the advancement of the goals of the two interdependent entities and what we can do to help each other. Any challenges which arise are also discussed with a view to resolving them.