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ISKCON Leadership Sanga - Day Five: "Celebrating Innovation"

By: for ISKCON News on Feb. 21, 2014

Devotees celebrate Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur's appearance day by offering flowers to his deity as well as talking about his innovative spirit in spreading the culture of bhakti.

Day 5 of the ISKCON Leadership Sanga (ILS) has come to a close and there is a spring in everyone’s step here in Sridham Mayapur.

Today was the appearance day of Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Thakur and so after a wonderful Srimad Bhagavatam class by Bhakti Caru Swami, devotees headed to the main tent since it’s a day where one fasts until noon. There, after a few quick announcements, Devamrita Swami took to the stage to deliver a powerfully relevant class on Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and the topic of innovation.

Devotees could be seen furiously taking notes and attentively listening as Devamrita Swami spoke as to how innovative and creative Sarawasti Thakur was in sharing Krishna-consciousness with everyone.  Maharaja began by stating “This entire ILS gathering is heading in the direction of innovation by pooling the mature experience of the senior leaders of ISKCON and mixing it with the enthusiasm and vitality of the up and coming devotees.  This is an unbeatable combination.”

From there, Maharaja spoke as to the numerous ways by which Saraswati Thakur utilized the technology and resources of his time to spread Krishna-consciousness.  Devamrita Swami spoke to a common theme that can be found in Saraswati Thakur’s efforts to perform outreach: being extremely strict about bhakti standards with his followers but willing to do almost anything to appeal to the general public.  Maharaja continued by stating that in certain cases Saraswati Thakur would take into account the environment and adjust the presentation of Krishna-consciousness, without diluting the message, but in other cases he would push it forward without holding anything back.

As devotees walked out of the tent and towards their one and only seminar session for the day, the impact of Maharaja’s class was still reverberating in the air as devotees continued to discuss what they had just heard.

After a wonderful feast, it was then time for parikrama.  In organizing this year’s ILS, the GBC’s Strategic Planning Team ensured that sufficient time would be reserved for devotees to associate with the holy dham.  Therefore, two afternoons were set aside primarily for parikrama.

Today leaders once again had an opportunity to go to the Yoga Pith and Srivas Angan led by Bhakti Caitanya Swami or go to Bhaktivinod Thakur’s home in Godrumadvipa with Lokanath Swami.

As devotes made their way back from the parikrama, their hearts filled with kirtan and their ears filled with the glories of the dham, they congregated in groups to discuss the days events and honor prasadam, or sanctified food.  Realizing the last few evenings had been packed with activities, devotees had the night off to associate with one another, take darshan of the deities and rest.

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