A not-so-quiet revolution is taking place within the institution of marriage for members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Today, a veritable army of families form the majority of ISKCON's communities [over 90%] and a tide of change has taken place to affirm the value of healthy marriages. Until recent times, couples within ISKCON had few resources to support and nourish their marriage. The needs of families practicing Krishna Consciousness have become apparent and the Grihastha Vision Team, formed in North America, has risen to meet this challenge. ‘Grihastha’ is the Sanskrit name for a householder or one who is married and is pursuing a spiritual life, devoted to Krishna.
The Grihastha Vision Team (GVT), which consists of a group of varied professionals, are spearheading a movement to enliven marriages and strengthen families. They hold courses, conduct seminars and offer relationship education to individuals, couples, and families. The agenda of the GVT is very simple: they want to make a difference in the lives of families.
The GVT’s mission is to empower marriages at all levels, even premaritally, and to foster spiritual progress at the same time. His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON said, “My spiritual master created an army of sanyasis [renunciant sages] to spread the Krishna Consciousness movement, but I am creating an army of grihasthas [householders].” The GVT is guided by Srila Prahbupada’s prescription for successful family life.
The GVT have incorporated in the United States as a 501C3 charitable organization and have recently launched a comprehensive web-site.
Dr. Tom Pourchot, who is a member of the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON, and is also known as Tamohara Dasa says, “Change occurs from the top down, hence we feel it is imperative that the temple presidents in North America promote premarital counseling and education.”
Krsnanandini Devi Dasi, along with GVT co-founders Praharana Dasi and Anuttama Dasa, published a directory of resources for the first time ever in the history of ISKCON. She says, “Sensitizing leaders to issues relevant for successful married life is very important for the future of ISKCON. Children who have good role models are enthused to practice Krishna Consciousness.”
Recently initiatives have been undertaken such as the launching of the Vaisnava Family Newsletter on their website. The GVT also plan to facilitate a North American Vaisnava Marriage and Family Fest in 2009. They are also working on having a call-in hotline where families can receive support and counseling.
Uttama Dasi and Partha Dasa, happily married for over 35 years, have been instrumental in the global outreach program of the GVT in Ireland and South Africa. They say, "We are so excited about the possibilities out there- successful, stable, spiritually blissful families set a wonderful example for others to follow, and would make this world a better place. That really is the mission of the GVT and the International Society of Krishna Consciousness.”
For more information and to subscribe to the Grihstha Vision Team newsletter please visit www.vaisnavafamilyresources.org .