317. Action and Public Statements of Hridayananda Dasa Goswami : The GBC has carefully reviewed the recent action (giving blessings) and the public statements of Hridayananda Maharaja concerning homosexuality. These remain controversial and divisive in ISKCON, and the GBC does not endorse or support them. Teaching obligations have kept Hridayananda Maharaja from attending the GBC meetings this year, so the GBC has not been able to discuss this issue with him.
As part of the lead up to the ISKCON GBC meetings in Mayapur that will be taking place soon, the Community Relations Office of the Strategic Planning Network published videos taken during last year’s mid-year meetings in Tirupati. In this video Anuttama Das, current GBC Executive Committee chairman and head of the SPN’s Communications Committee speaking on the significant work of the Strategic Planning Team that planned and hosted the successful ISKCON Leadership Sanga (ILS), which attracted devotee leaders from across world. He also speaks of the positive emphasis during the ILS on the concept of servant leadership.
Devakinandana Das from ISKCON Singapore, an international lawyer speaking of his service at ISKCON GBC's Organizational Development Committee and the benefits he takes home to his prabhu-datta-desh from the various initiatives coming out of this work.
Sivarama Swami, a GBC leader, preacher, and educator in Hungary, Romania and Turkey and a member of the SPN’s Organizational Development Committee and Lines of Authority Committee speaks on strategic planning work helping to insure that ISKCON can become the movement Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya envisioned it to be. After all, he says, everything in the spiritual world is strategically planned and organized to the highest standard, for Krishna’s pleasure.
Tamohara Das, a GBC member overseeing ISKCONs work in the South East of the United States of America, and serving in the SPN’s Succession Committee, introduces an exciting new project that responds to the growing need to train new leaders for every strata of the ISKCON Society. As a generation of leaders look toward retirement, the need for new leadership is becoming ever more pressing.
Badrinarayan Swami, a veteran GBC member, with zonal responsibilities in Southern California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Idaho, USA, while also taking on service in a number of SPN committees speaks of the steps the GBC is taking to compile “legacy” papers that will compile for future generations answers to a number of the crucial spiritual and managerial questions that have shaped and continue to shape ISKCON. These papers are based on a study of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on particular matters.
Today saw the start of the much-anticipated Sanga of Sannyasis, Gurus and GBCs, (SGGS). Over eighty of ISKCON’s most senior leaders and preachers from across the globe gathered in Sri Dhama Mayapur for three days of association, contemplation, and in-depth discussion in response to Srila Prabhupada’s directive to find unity in diversity.
After concluding the three-day Sanga for GBCs, Gurus and Sannyasis, ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission began its Annual General Meetings (AGM) on 6th February, in Mayapur, India. The meetings began with a presentation on the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) by Badrinarayan Swami, congratulating the devotees for the best book distribution year since 1996.
On Day One of the ISKCON sannyasis and gurus in Mayapu,r participants explored ISKCON’s past, examining the trends in and influences on ISKCON. Following from that, on the second day participants began to look at ISKCON’s present. The meeting’s facilitator’s started with a question: How well do the four groups in the room address the trends in ISKCON.
Romapada Swami, GBC member of over twenty-two years leading ISKCON in New York, New Jersey and the Midwest of the USA, and also a member of the SPN’s Organizational Development Committee, speaks on how strategic planning has helped him in his GBC service and how it can better assist ISKCON’s leadership to respond to what is required of it.
Gauranga Das, an experienced trainer and preacher from ISKCON Chowpatty. Here he explains how Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada went to great lengths to ensure that the Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy was properly documented.
Bhaktivijnana Swami, a GBC leader and preacher in Russia and Israel expresses his appreciation of the strategic planning process, personally witnessing how the culture of strategic planning has dramatically changed the work of the GBC, allowing it to put energy into addressing important issues relevant for the whole Society and its direction for the future, particularly in the area of succession.
After four days of Strategic Planning Network meetings, the GBC Body reconvened with presentations on the ISKCON Disciples Course, the Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai and Mayapur and on ISKCON's Child Protection Office.
On this third and last day, participants took on the task of looking seventy years into the future, when all of Srila Prabhupadas disciples – and even most of the devotees who took initiation not long after Srila Prabhupadas departure – will certainly have left the planet. The participants were asked to envision what kind of ISKCON they would like to see – what a highly successful ISKCON would look like.
On the third day of the ISKCON GBC’s Annual General Meetings there were presentations about a mega kirtan festival, entitled as “Chant for Change”, about the work of ISKCON Deity Worship and Youth Ministries. The GBC members also visited the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium and the Sri Mayapur International School.
In a gesture expressing unity of purpose for the service of ISKCON Founder-Acharya, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Praghosa Das, the newly appointed Chairman of the GBC, has announced in Mayapur that 2015, the 50th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s arrival in the Western world, is the Year of the TOVP.
The GBC’s Strategic Planning Network (SPN) recently concluded its five-day bi-annual meeting in Mayapur. Facilitated by the GBC’s Strategic Planning Team, the numerous SPN committees, made up of GBC members and ISKCON leaders and thinkers from across the globe, continued to explore new ideas and initiatives with the view to providing documents that will form a comprehensive plan for the future of ISKCON.
The GBC College for Leadership Development started its first day of its first year of operations today, 8 March 2015, at the Govardhana Ecovillag on the outskirts of Mumbai. The College’s primary focus shall be on contributing to prepare devotees to serve in crucial leadership roles within ISKCON. The hand-picked selection of about 25 devotees traveled from different parts of the world to attend the course.
The GBC College for Leadership Development isn't specifically or exclusively designed to groom future GBCs (ISKCON Governing Body Commissioners). The intention of the GBC is to assist in creating better leaders; devotees who can deeply imbibe Srila Prabhupada's mood and instructions and who can give shelter to devotees and help them feel happy in Krishna-consciousness.
The first ISKCON GBC college for leadesrsip and management held at Govardhan Ecovillage, Maharastra, India was a great success. “It’s been a life-changing experience to attend these GBC College sessions,” said Gauranga Simha Das, Co-director for ISKCON Mayapur. “This training has motivated me in such a way that I want to rededicate myself to serving the movement of Srila Prabhupada with more seriousness and vigor.
From the holy day of Janmastami – September 5th -- this year, devotees wishing to take initiation from an ISKCON guru will be required to first pass the ISKCON Disciples Course. The course grew from the ISKCON Guru Seminar, created by the GBC Guru Services Committee in 2008 to educate those taking up the service of guru in how to be effective in caring for their disciples.
ISKCON Communications Director Anuttama Das and Bhumi Project Director Gopal-Lila Das presented a proposal for a new ISKCON Environmental Initiative at the North American GBC meetings in Chicago this August. The proposal was unanimously accepted, and if successful will see ISKCON temples reducing waste, and increasing renewable energy use.
The seminars will cover a wide variety of topics such as book distribution, devotee care, communications, team-building, fundraising, and temple administration.
Several nights ago there was an incident in Mayapura outside the Conch Building where tempers flared and a scuffle ensued among several dozen devotees. Angry words were exchanged and some began pushing and shoving. One devotee was hit in the head with a stick. There were no serious injuries. However, that such tension has manifest in the Dhama raised concern for many devotees.
The grand annual Mayapur festival began today with the inaugural session of the ISKCON Leadership Sangha (ILS 2016) with 1,200 delegates attending 87 seminars spread over 12 venues at ISKCON Mayapur. ILS 2016 features a spectacular 50th Anniversary Expo highlighting the achievements of ISKCON, and stalls from various international projects such as Vanipedia, ISKCON Congregation services, TOVP and several others.
On the second day of the ISKCON Leadership Sanga, Praghosha Das, the GBC Chairman presented several quotes of how Srila Prabhupada’s appearance was predicted in many scriptures and by several spiritual masters. Titled, ‘The greatest story ever told’, his presentation pointed out the five steps Srila Prabhupada had taken to make his institution more effective.
The third day of the ILS started with a presentation on ISKCON’s 50th anniversary by Anuttama Das, GBC Minister for Communications and Pancharatna Das, Executive Member of the International Fiftieth Anniversary Committee. They spoke about the importance of the 50th as an opportunity for glorifying Prabhupada, educating the public, celebrating achievements, and appreciating devotees.
On the fourth day of the ILS, delegates at the plenary session heard a presentation by Anuttama Das, GBC Minister for Communications on the topic, ‘Srila Prabhupada, the greatest communicator’. He explained that we normally associate Prabhupada with his books, letters, conversations and speeches, but we should also remember that Prabhupada was a skilful communicator.
The fifth day of the ILS was the Appearance Day of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, the spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada. ILS delegates were given a break from seminars on this holy day so that they could spend a day in prayers, meditation, hearing and chanting.
After screening a short film about Mayapur on the sixth day of ILS, Brjavilasa Das spoke to the ILS delegates on behalf of the Temple of Vedic Planetarium (TOVP), stressing the importance of Mayapur in the eyes of Srila Prabhupada. He mentioned that Prabhupada had wanted to establish Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as the yugavatara for this age from the precincts of this temple.
At the pre-launch of ISKCON Connection on the 7th day of the ILS, Praharana Devi Dasi explained that the new initiative will help connect every devotee to our worldwide community. ISKCON Connection, which will be formally launched on Gaura Purnima day this year, is a 50th anniversary initiative.
The concluding day of the ILS started with a presentation on the position of Srila Prabhupada by Akrura Das. Bhaktivaibhava Swami encouraged temples to ensure that Srila Prabhupada’s Vyasa puja celebrations were celebrated with the importance they deserved. Gauranga Das from ISKCON Chowpathy and Govardhan Eco Village described several training courses designed to ‘lead ISKCON with tradition and intelligence’.
From Beijing to Belgium, from Bulgaria to Buenos Aires, from Canada to Karnataka, from Nairobi to Naperville, from Istanbul to England, From Delhi to Gaborone, to Slovenia, to Switzerland, to Ecuador, to Romania, Poland, etc., four dozen leaders assembled in the Govardhan Ecovillage outside of Mumbai, learning for thirteen days at the GBC College for Leadership Development how to serve as Zonal Supervisors.
ISKCON's Governing Body Commission (GBC) held its annual general meetings in Mayapur between February 22 and March 5th, 2016. Among many other topics they have discussed the new zonal configuration of Northern America, including the administrative responsibilities of the zonal supervisors, as well as topics concerning ISKCON's 50th Anniversary celebrations.
In celebration of ISKCON's 50th Anniversary, the Executive Commitee of ISKCON's Governing Commission reccommends all ISKCON centers all over the world to include 'ISKCON's 50th Anniversary Celebration ki jaya!' in their daily prayers.
"His Holiness Krishna Das Swami's life reads like a story from the scriptures, much like his glorious departure from this world." The Executive Commitee of ISKCON's Governing Body Commission has issued a following statement appreciating the service of Krishna Das Swami, who has recently passed away in Vrindavan.
On October 16th, a well-known devotee of Krishna and successful Indian businessmen Sri Nathji Das (Dr. Narendra Desai) has left his body at the age 76 due to heart failure while traveling in Bhutan. The Executive Committee of ISKCON Governing Body Commission has expressed their greatest appraciation for him in a statement.
The average GBC member is now in his or her 60s, and some are in their 70s. ISKCON is an obvious need for younger generations of devotees to gradually take over the reins of the movement, and the Global Duty Officer service is one which will facilitate competent devotees to become trained and gain experience which will allow them to take up GBC service in due course.
Most religious organizations fail to survive past four generations. These generations are tasked with challenge of preserving the original teachings of their founder. How each generation successfully navigates issues that arise provide the foundation for the next generation. On February 12th, senior ISKCON leaders comprised of GBCs, sannyasis and gurus assembled in Mayapur to discuss the challenges the organization faces.
Problems. Complications. Difficulties. We all have them. Usually they occur 365 days a year. Being a leader means dealing with the added responsibility of societal and institutional issues and finding viable solutions as well. But the first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is one. On the second and third days of the GBC, sannyasi and guru sanga, the participants began to untie this Gordian knot.
At the recent GBC Meetings in Sridham Mayapur, the ISKCON Governing Body (GBC) College was pleased to present 32 graduates from the GBC College to the assembly of GBC members. As Rupanuga Das (President of the GBC College) called out the names of the graduates, Romapada Swami handed them their graduation certificates, Bhakti Charu Swami gave them a pavitra (in the colours of the GBC College and offered to Lord Nrsimhadev) and Gopal Bhatta DAs gave them a GBC College bag.
On Monday May 15th ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission hosted a Town Hall Meeting to explain why it is opposing the pending sale of Brooklyn’s Radha Govinda Mandir, and what it plans to do about it.
The GBC, ISKCON’s ultimate managing authority, is attempting to remove Ramabhadra Dasa as president of the ISKCON Sri Sri Radha-Govinda Temple at 305 Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn.
The ISKCON Brooklyn Temple President has refused to comply with the GBC's recent notice for his removal and has locked the Brooklyn Temple and removed the "ISKCON" sign from the face of the building
The case began in 2004 in Freeport, New York, when persons from outside Long Island, through deception and subterfuge, took control of the Long Island ISKCON Temple board of trustees. Those persons opposed GBC authority and taught a philosophical system called ritvik, which the GBC declared a deviation from traditional Hare Krishna, or Vaishnava Hindu teachings.
ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC) began its “Mid-Term Meeting” this morning in Ujjain, India. Approximately thirty GBC members, and fifteen other leaders and guests will be meeting in this historic and holy city for nine days, until October 17.
Members were presented with a 94-page document or “Meetings Manual,” and a second 23-page guide on “Decision Making.” Both texts were drawn from research conducted by the GBC Strategic Planning Team (SPT). In preparing the manuals the SPT underwent a detailed analysis of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings on management as well as a review 40 professional studies and books on meetings and decision-making.
Zonal Supervisors, an important leadership role created by the Governing Body Commission (GBC) to improve management in ISKCON around the world, was the first topic of today’s GBC meeting. Working directly under an individual GBC member, a Zonal Supervisor assists that GBC member by supervising a number of temples and projects within a particular geographical zone.
On October 6th, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Shivraj Singh Chauhan, visited ISKCON Ujjain, and met with ISKCON leaders taking part in the GBC's mid-term meetings.
On October 15th and 16th, Hridayananda das Goswami and Brahma Tirtha Das met with the GBC body and a special subcommittee to discuss some mutual philosophical concerns and Krishna West. While those discussions are a work in progress and will continue up to and during the 2018 GBC Annual General Meeting, the meeting in Ujjain was conducted in a very polite, cordial, and Vaisnava way and a statement was unanimously agreed by all.