The 2008 GBC Meetings dedicated to strategic planning are underway at ISKCON Juhu, Mumbai, India until the 23rd of October.
ISKCON’s GBC (Governing Body Commission) was founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1970 to manage the movement. The main GBC meetings are held annually in Mayapur, India during the Gaura Purnima festival.
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.
The GBC North American Leadership Succession Committee announced the launch of the Leadership Development Program, an extensive course of study and practice for current and upcoming ISKCON leaders. Beginning in March, North America will be the first region to open this newly developed path for preparation and further training of the movement’s leaders worldwide.
When A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada set sail for the West in 1965, he carried with him the conviction that India's ancient tradition of devotion to Lord Krishna must be shared with the world. Today, more than forty years since Prabhupada's fateful journey, many devotees of the organization he established grapple with how to stay true to Prabhupada's mission, and at the same time be relevant to the needs of the particular times in which we live.
Pep Sands used to say that the jump ball at the start of every basketball match is the most important play of the entire game. Pep was our high school basketball coach. His reasoning was that whichever team hustled enough to win the tip showed that they wanted the game more than the other team. Not a bad philosophy for anyone facing challenges or jumping on opportunities, even Vaishnavas.
In India, members of ISKCON’s Governing Body Comission and the GBC Succession Committee, along with top ISKCON educators, have developed a new training program called ISKCON LEADS (Leadership Education And Development System). The program gives current ISKCON leaders an opportunity to identify potential leaders within their temples and regions. Candidates enter a comprehensive training program of seventeen four or five-day courses, totaling 89 days in a three-year period.
Growing every year in size and popularity under a second generation team, Toronto Rathayatra has inspired younger devotees to take on more and more leadership in their community, and senior devotees to hand more and more to them. Today, the festival is put on by thirty-two younger devotees from high school kids to thirty-somethings, heading up twenty different departments.
Succession is currently a hot topic in ISKCON. So recently we spoke to Janardan Kewin, an Australian alumnus of Vrindavan Gurukula, who now works professionally as a regional manager at the University of Queensland, serves as Vice President at ISKCON Brisbane, and is known for his sweet kirtans.