Did you hear the story of the man who rode his tricycle up to the gates of our Mayapura, West Bengal temple to sell ice-cream? He had one of those tricycles you see a lot in India - the ones with a refrigerated box on the back. There’s nothing sells quite like ice-cream on a hot day. Only he wasn’t selling ice-cream at all.
Anuttama Prabhu, ISKCON’s Director of Communications and a member of the GBC’s Guru Services Committee, and Hanuman Prabhu, a GBC Deputy from Spain and the BBT Director for South America, facilitated a four-day seminar on spiritual leadership in mid-October in Mumbai. Sessions were held six hours a day and were being taught for the second time; last February, the pilot course was launched in Ujjain.
Sri Ramanujacarya (1017-1137) created 74 simhasana-dhipatis or ‘throne-holders,’ to give initiation after his death, he created what we in ISKCON would term ‘zonal acaryas.’ He chose 74 of his disciples to give diksha, each of them affiliated to one of the many temples spread far and wide throughout a large tract of India.
ISKCON Guru and GBC His Holiness Jayapataka Swami is still in a stable condition at Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital, after doctors performed a tracheotomy on Thursday October 30. His Holiness had requested hospital staff to remove his ventilator tubes, as they were uncomfortable.
As they do every year, over eight hundred disciples and congregational devotees celebrated the Vyasa-puja, or birthday, ISKCON guru Bhakti Vikas Swami. This year, Maharaja’s 52nd, the festivities took place on January 3rd. But hospitality from a different branch of Vaishnavaism added a twist. This year's event was hosted by the Madhva Sampradaya and held in Udupi, the south Indian town where Madhvacharya "one of the greatest Vaishnava teachers of all time" lived eight hundred years ago.
It is December of 1936. Abhaya Caraṇāravinda Dāsa, a forty-year-old pharmaceutical distributor then in Bombay on business, feels a sudden impulse to write a letter to his spiritual master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. It is December 9, 1968, thirty-two years later. The same disciple—now a renunciant and spiritual master himself—finds himself in the city of Los Angeles where he relates to a gathering of his own disciples the story of his 1936 letter. He is observing with them the “Disappearance Day” of his spiritual master.
Why should a guru need to attend a seminar on devotee care, spiritual health, and allegiance to Srila Prabhupada, one may ask? Srila Prabhupada wanted hundreds and thousands of gurus to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world.
A yearly seminar at Bhaktivedanta Manor is offered to students interested in finding an ISKCON guru for themselves.
“Faith begins as an experiment and ends as an experience.” That quotation from the Anglican priest William Ralph Inge, which begins the documentary “Kumaré: The True Story of a False Prophet,” evokes the film’s ambiguous exploration of religion, teaching and spiritual leadership.
A 4-day seminar will be held entitled as “Spiritual Leadership: Being a Guru in ISKCON,” this upcoming February 17-20, 2013 in Mayapura.
At the 2014 Annual General Meetings of ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission in Mayapur, the GBC resolved that devotees wishing to take initiation from an ISKCON guru will be required to first pass the ISKCON Disciple Course. The resolution will not be effective until Janmastami 2015, so that ISKCON leaders throughout the world will have time to put the proper systems in place to make the course widely available.
It’s a brave and bold step to strive for purity in a world of degradation, to embrace simplicity amongst rampant materialism, and to cultivate selflessness in an atmosphere surcharged with exploitation.
Indian court has been asked to rule on whether a revered Hindu guru is dead or alive – and whether it is a matter of religious faith or scientific fact.
One of the essential steps in the bhakti process is acceptance of the shelter of a guru, who helps connect one with Krishna, as well as assisting in progressively fully restoring one's relationship with Him.
In Bhagavad-gita Lord Sri Krishna indicates one of the essential steps in the bhakti process is acceptance of the shelter of such a Postal Peon, a guru, who helps connect one with Krishna, as well as assists in progressively fully restoring one's relationship with Him.
“Spiritual Leadership: Being a Guru in ISKCON” seminar wiill be offered once in 2015, at Mayapura from February 22-25. Per ISKCON Law this Seminar is mandatory for devotees who take up the service of diksha guru and for sannyasa candidates. The GBC also “highly recommends” it for siksa gurus, senior managers and other ISKCON leaders.
The Governing Body Commission (GBC) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) recently completed a special three-day session during which the GBC Body considered whether or not this worldwide Vaishnava community should endorse and implement the policy of having women serve as diksa-gurus, or initiating spiritual masters, within the ISKCON society.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This month, the ISKCON Disciple Course – a program introduced in 2012 to help devotees better understand the guru-disciple relationship – became a requirement for initiation into ISKCON. And now, the straightforwardly-named The Guru and Disciple Book, by Prabhupada disciple Kripamoya Das, adds to the complex age-old topic and makes it even more accessible.
Music and video by Dr. Sahadeva Dasa.
The role of diksha guru is an important one in Vaishnava culture and in ISKCON. Over the last several years there has been much discussion whether women can serve in this role in our society. It has been discussed formally, and in depth at the GBC level and among devotees in different venues.
A video was produced by "Vaishnavi Gurus" recently and forwarded to ISKCON News. We do not endorse the conclusion or opinion of this video. We post it because ISKCON News is a venue for news, information, and opinions about our society, and we believe our ISKCON community is strengthened by a thoughtful and balanced exchange of ideas.
In 1969, two letters sent to Hamsadutta and Kirtanananda indicated that by 1975 any disciple, male or female, passing the Bhaktivedanta examination would be empowered to initiate their own disciples in his presence in order to rapidly expand the movement.
Undoubtedly, several senior women devotees in our movement are as learned, dedicated, and in other ways spiritually qualified as many of their godbrothers. Why then should there be any hesitation to induct them as diksa-gurus?
This is a response to the video "She can become guru" for all those who want to know the arguments from both sides.
The current intellectual and philosophical climate in the industrialised world has contributed to a particular perspective on the Vedas and the guru-disciple culture which is at its heart.
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.
w website, http://www.iskcondisciplecourse.com/, has been launched for the ISKCON Disciples Course. Throughout the world, the course has been inspiring a family togetherness amongst devotees, as well as a strong dedication to Srila Prabhupada, their gurus, and Lord Chaitanya’s mission.
In general, accepting criticism is the ability to stay strong and to expand. Today people cannot handle criticism. Even the thought of it throws their status quo out of control.
When Prabhupada was asked by his disciple Vishal, “Should the wife do whatever the husband says?” Prabhupada replied, “And you should be so arrogant?”
Nearly eighty top ISKCON leaders from around the world met at the society’s global headquarters in West Bengal for three full days, March 4-6, to discuss opportunities and challenges in expanding the ISKCON movement.
There always have been, and always will be great teachers who are women. There have always been all different kinds of people. And this is not only a function of modernity.
Approximately 160 visitors from China, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan recently went to Mayapur with Giridhari Swami on pilgrimage.