Succession Issues: not unique to ISKCON


As I sat back in my lecture today, listening to the topic of Hasidic mysticism, the lecturer turned to matters of succession. As he began to speak it was like reading a page from the recent book of ISKCON history. I will leave it for your own personal interpretation:

"What happens when the Hasidic leader dies? Usually, there is a successor. The process of selecting a suitable successor may sometimes be fraught with conflict. The Hasidic group may divide into two or more sectors. Sometimes, seemingly deliberately, no leader is selected, as in the case of the followers of Rabbi Nahman of Braslav (d.1810), or the contemporary followers of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson (d. 1994). Whether in cases of conflict or when there is no obvious living leader, visiting the grave of the departed leader(s)becomes a significant aspect of the lives of the Hasidic followers.This has a mystical dimension, and relates to the practices of 16th century kabbalists in Safed."

Specifically the lecturer mentioned that in the situation where there is no successor, the followers turn to the writings and the grave, to feel the presence of the great Rabbi in their lives.

We are not alone.

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