Nearly 1,000 ISKCON leaders from around the world are confirmed to attend the second ISKCON Leadership Sanga (ILS) in Mayapur, West Bengal from February 16th to 23rd.
The event was created by ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC) to provide leaders with a forum where they could share best practices and learn from each other.
The first ILS was held in February 2012, and after a positive response, a second was planned for 2014.
After two years, ISKCON leaders are excited about getting the chance to associate with and learn from their counterparts again.
“Accommodation has been maxed out,” says Vrindavan Vinodini Dasi, who is heading up official coverage of the event at ils.iskcon.org. “There’s been an overwhelming wave of enthusiasm and interest in this event.”
Each day of the ILS will begin early at 4:30am with the full traditional ISKCON morning worship program, and then breakfast.
This will be followed by an hour-long plenary session, which all attendees will gather at. The session’s focus will be different each day, but the topic will always be one of universal interest.
Next, all the devotees will split up to attend various workshops and seminars around the ISKCON Mayapur campus. Each workshop will be led by members of different committees that oversee different areas of ISKCON.
For the Devotee Care committee, Vraja-Lila Dasi of Gita Nagari, USA will give a workshop entitled Care Enough to Listen, Listen Enough to Care. For Education, Prana Das, co-director of New Zealand’s Goloka Education company, will give a seminar entitled Invest in the Future. And for Rural Development, Radha Krishna Das, a member of the board of directors for Hungary’s Krishna-Valley eco village, will give a seminar entitled Pillars of Sustainability.
“For Succession, or where ISKCON will go in the future -- a topic that’s quite popular nowadays -- Bhakti Vijnana Goswami will be giving a talk on The Culture of Empowerment,” says Vrindavan Vinodini. “And in Krishna conscious culture, Bhaktimarga Swami will be offering a drama workshop called Performance Art, giving tips on acting and how to put on dramas.”
There will also be workshops and seminars on prison outreach, Empathic Communication, temple development, media communications, and many, many more topics.
In the evenings, devotees will enjoy dramas by Bhaktimarga Swami, and videos of various ISKCON initiatives.
Taking prasadam together is always a good opportunity for devotees to socialize
Attendees will also have plenty of time to socialize in a Krishna conscious environment -- whether it’s while honoring sanctified food together during the three meals that will be served every day, absorbing themselves in Krishna’s holy names during the many evening kirtans, or going on senior devotee-led pilgrimages to the local holy places.
“Oftentimes, with these kinds of festivals, the schedule is just so packed, and it can be a bit overwhelming,” says Vrindavan. “So this time, the GBC recognized that, as important as it is to give the opportunity to hear and exchange best practices, it’s also important just to give time for devotee sanga (association).”
Both leaders and leaders-in-training attending the ILS will also get the opportunity to speak and personally connect with GBC representatives, ISKCON’s overseers and policy makers.
The whole event will be covered on ils.iskcon.org, with video clips and interviews uploaded during the festival itself and a daily blog. Longer videos will be posted after the event.
Speaking about the last ILS in 2012, attendees used adjectives like “inspired,” “re-energized,” “positive,” and “excited” to describe their experience.
“So many people look to leaders to provide counsel and strength, that sometimes we forget that they need to be nourished too,” Vrindavan Vinodini says. “And the ILS focuses on that.”
“Sometimes, once we go back to our own communities and whatnot, there can be a little bit of a sense of isolation,” she adds. “So this type of event really gives a support system to those who have the service of being in leadership positions. To say, hey, you’re not alone out there.”
For more information and daily updates, please visit http://ils.iskcon.org/. To see more photos from the 2012 ILS, visit https://www.facebook.com/GBCILS/photos_stream. To see all photos from this year’s ILS, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/IskconGbc?fref=ts
Watch the video of the testimonials from the 2012 ILS here: http://news.iskcon.org/video/iskcon-leadership-sanga-2012-testimonials,573/#.UvSbRaWywk8[ governing-body-commission ] [ ils ] [ leadership ] [ mayapura ]