for ISKCON News on Nov. 16, 2011
Forty-five skilled devotees from all over India attended the country’s regional ISKCON Communications Conference from October 7th to 14th this year, at Delhi’s grand Sri-Sri Radha Partha-Sarathi Mandir near the city’s Kailash residential area.
Attendees hailed from ISKCON Mumbai’s Chowpatty, Mira Road and Juhu temples, as well as temples in Pune, Pandarpur, Ujjain, and Punjabi Bagh, Delhi. They included managers, youth preachers, construction workers, administrators and ISKCON communications staff. All were eager to learn new skills in communications to improve their execution of their services.
And there was much to learn from the experts speaking, who included International ISKCON Communications Director Anuttama Dasa, European Communications Director Mahaprabhu Dasa, and Parijata Dasi of ISKCON Communications India. Their presentations covered communication basics, listening tools, how to conduct and deal with requests for TV interviews and radio shows, and how to look for the key audience in every task and address their needs, interests and concerns.
“ISKCON is a growing organization, so meeting the challenges of addressing different audiences is a big, and very relevant, discussion,” says ISKCON Communications India Director Vrajendranandana Dasa.
Attendees also learned how to have Inter ISKCON discussions and how to communicate between temples. Meanwhile at Anuttama Dasa’s request, they resolved to submit more articles to ISKCON’s official news site, ISKCON News, to keep the worldwide community of devotees and friends of Krishna up to date with their temples’ activities.
Conference sessions ran from 10:00am to 11:30am, noon to 1:30pm, and 3pm to 6pm, with breaks in the morning and afternoon for prasadam, socializing and relaxation. Caterer Amogha-Lila Dasa ensured that a full prasadam dinner was offered at all meal-times, while a snack booth was also available to meet different needs.
On the last day of the Conference, devotees embarked on a group outing, a staple of ISKCON Communications’ conferences around the world. They began by assembling at the ISKCON Delhi temple at 9:00am, before being transported to the Parliament of India’s meeting place, the Sansad Bhavan, by 11:00am.
As they entered the grand colosseum-like structure, with its 247 pillars, broad corridors, and tight security, the excitement was palpable.
“With the help of joint director of parliament security Mr K.S. Mani, we first visited the Lok Sabha, one of Indian Parliament’s two Houses known as ‘the House of the people,’” says Vrajendranandana Dasa. “There, Mr. Mani's assistant spoke in detail about the Lok Sabha chamber, while the devotees enthusiastically asked various questions.”
“We then moved on to the British Library, then the second house, Rajya Sabha, or the ‘Council of States,’” Vrajendranandana continues. “Afterwards, we went into Mr. Mani’s office where he showed us his almirah full of Bhagavad-gitas and then took us to take lunch at their canteen.”
Vrajendranandana feels sure that devotees will leave the Conference more skilled in communications, resulting in better communication both internally within ISKCON, and externally with the outside world.
“These conferences are important because they give ISKCON staff a chance to share what is happening at their temple, as well as a chance to share ideas on crucial communications procedures, so that we can all learn from each other,” he says. “We hope that conferences like this will be conducted more and more, all over the country.”
The next Indian ISKCON Communications Conference is expected to take place in Kolkata, West Bengal.