On behalf of the ISKCON Governing Body Commission and the entire International Society for Krishna Consciousness we, the Executive Committee of the GBC, join the chorus of tributes from around the world to honor His Grace Madhudvisa Prabhu, who departed from this world on August 5, 2014. Madhudvisa Prabhu was one of the earliest disciples of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and immediately applied his enthusiastic nature to the Sankirtana Movement. As a prominent figure of the original Hari-nama sankirtana groups of devotees in the United States, he would often lead the public chanting and would play the drum for up to ten hours daily. Later, after being chosen by Srila Prabhupada to accompany him when he first toured India with his Western disciples, Srila Prabhupada appreciated his contributions and named him the â€śEmperor of Sankirtanaâ€ť [or "kirtan-samart" - the monarch of kirtans].
On behalf of the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON, please accept our prayers to Lord Krishna for your protection, as well as our deepest affection and concern for your well being. We are following the events in Ukraine in the media with heavy hearts. We have heard directly from Niranjana Maharaja about some of the great challenges, dangers and threats that you have undergone. By the Lord's mercy many of you have survived close encounters with bomb blasts, militia attacks, and other terrible effects of living with war at your doorsteps. We know that the leaders of ISKCON in Ukraine are doing all that they can to assist you and to offer you spiritual guidance in this difficult time. Many of you have relocated, and have had to leave behind your homes, jobs and temple communities.
The tragic news of the deaths of several devotee pilgrims from Russia last month who died when their bus drove off the road and into the Bhagirathi River in the mountainous Himalayan region in India has brought us great sadness. The GBC EC, concerned with the safety of our fellow Vaishnavas, announce the following Advisory Notice.
Jul 12 2014 Zonal Configuration
North America Area - Idaho is divided along the time zone line; the Northern part remains with the North West zone while the Southern part becomes part of the Pacific/West zone. Europe â€“ instead of being divided into seven zones, Europe shall include the following thirty-seven zones. Indian Subcontinent Area â€“ the Eastern part shall include nine zones. Indian Subcontinent Area â€“ South India shall include nine zones. Indian Subcontinent Area â€“ Maharashtra & Goa shall include five zones. Russian Sphere Area - Russia shall be a single zone. Sub-Saharan Africa Area and more
Reaffirmation of Ministries and Standing Committees. Ministry of Communications: Minister â€“ Anuttama Das. Ministry of Health and Welfare: Minister â€“ Prahladananda Swami - Other member â€“ Bir Krishna Das Goswami. Congregational Development Ministry: Co-Ministers â€“ Jayapataka Swami, Kaunteya Das. Vaisnavi Ministry: Co-Ministers â€“ Malati Dasi, Dina Sharana Dasi, Prasanta Dasi, Laxmimoni Dasi. ISKCON Youth Ministry: Minister â€“ Manorama Das. Ministry of Sannyasa Services: Minister â€“ Prahladananda Swami - Other members: Hrdaya Caitanya Das, Sivarama Swami, Guru Prasad Swami, Bhaktivaibhava Swami, Bhakti Caitanya Swami
Jun 30 2014 GBC Budget
FINANCES: GBC Budget. The GBC budget for 2014-15 is (in INR).
Jun 20 2014 Zonal Assignments 2014
Zonal Assignments for GBC Members. Zonal Assignments for Special Committees. Zonal Assignments for Non-GBC Members, Zonal Secretaries, Co-Zonal Secretaries, North American Executive Committee, Puri Development Committee, Vrindavan Executive Board Members and more.
Whereas both the SAC and some GBC members feel that the SAC service can benefit from adding a few more members; Whereas there should ideally be an odd number of SAC members to avoid split votes; RESOLVED: GBC Resolution 604 of 2002 is hereby amended as follows: Procedure for Selecting and Endorsing SAC Members: a. There will be an odd number of SAC core members between seven and fifteen. b. The SAC core members should be mutually acceptable to both the GBC Body and SAC. [unchanged]
Jun 9 2014 General Membership of Iskcon
Whereas there is a need to recognize as general members those who wish to identify with the spiritual family of ISKCON, Whereas such recognition should include some basic parameters, Whereas such recognition should not involve any legal rights for the general members, RESOLVED: Whoever, regardless of gender, race, nationality, religion, etc., subscribes to the following statement, shall be considered a general member of ISKCON: "I wish to be counted as part of the spiritual family of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and I will practically support its mission. I accept the teachings of Lord Krishna as presented by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of ISKCON.
Jun 2 2014 ISKCON Disciple Course Mandate
RESOLVED: That the ISKCON Disciple Course, as developed by the GBC Guru Services Committee, shall be a mandatory pre-requisite for all devotees accepting first or second initiation by an ISKCON guru, effective Janmastami, 2015. After that date, no guru may initiate a disciple who has not first completed the Disciple Course. This is in addition to current requirements of new initiates. 1. Devotees shall be advised and encouraged to complete the Disciple Course before selecting a diksa-guru. 2. Devotees shall have reasonable access to enroll in the Disciple Course. 3. A sufficient number of teachers shall be identified and facilitated to teach the Course. 4. No devotee shall be allowed to accept initiation before completing the Course
May 29 2014 Devotee Healthcare Guidelines
All ISKCON entities are encouraged to ensure that all essential medical and dental expenses of its resident and fully supported devotees are supplied. The authorities of those ISKCON entities are recommended to investigate options for local insurance plans, government plans, or other reliable options to ensure as far as possible that quality health care is provided. A person choosing to become a resident or fully supported devotee dependent on an ISKCON entity should be informed as to the extent of medical and dental insurance or coverage, or absence thereof, that will be supplied by the entity before they commit to dedicate themselves to the ISKCON entity.
The Compliance Division is authorized to request and receive legal and financial documentation from all over the world and all managers must make every effort to provide any information the Division may request in regard to the National Councils, projects, centers, etc. under their managementâ€”subject to the discretion of the GBC Zonal Secretary/ies. Within their zones, the GBC Zonal Secretaries are responsible to ensure the gathering of the data and documents as required by the Compliance Division. To facilitate this task, they are encouraged to identify and establish, for each country in their zone, a Compliance contact person, who will contact project officers, board of directors' members, etc. to obtain data and documents. The Compliance contact person shall upload information to the Compliance website and provide updates as needed, at least annually.
Whereas in ISKCON men had generally been taught to see all women other than their wives as mother; Whereas in more recent times a practice has gained momentum that women should not be called "Mataji," but "Prabhu;" Whereas the word "Prabhu" is traditionally used to address men; Whereas one section of ISKCON considers addressing women as "Prabhu" to have no cultural or linguistic backing, or any evidentiary or experiential support from Srila Prabhupada's teachings; Whereas another section of ISKCON cites conversational or correspondence-based evidence that Srila Prabhupada addressed female disciples as "Prabhu;" Whereas there is increasing discord among the proponents of these two opinions; Whereas all initiated women also have the title "Devi" as part of their spiritual name, an address that could also apply to the non-initiated
â€śIn our temple, strictly Hare Krishna chanting should be given more importance. There is no harm in this mantra you have heard, but it is not very important. There are many such common songs composed by common devotees out of sentiment. But our principle is to stick to the authorities, and always remember that Hare Krishna is the prime authorized mantra.â€ť (Letter to Malati Dasi, 28 January 1969); Note: This is for kirtans, but does not apply to bhajans such as Jaya Radha Madhava, Nrsimha prayers, etc.
"So our request is. Everyone who is present here. Today is Radhastami. So pray to Radharani. And She is hare, hara. This hare, this word, is Radharani. Hara, Radharani. Radha or hara the same thing. So Hare Krsna. So we are praying to Radharani, "My Mother, Radharani, and Krsna." Hare Krsna. "O Krsna, O the Lord." Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, the same thing, repetition. "O Radharani, O Krsna." "O Radha-Krsna." "Radhe-Krsna" or "Hare Krsna," the same thing. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare. Again addressing, "O Krsna, O Krsna, O Radharani." Hare Rama. The same thing, again. Hare Rama. Rama is also Krsna. Rama is Rama, Rama is Balarama. They are all Krsna. Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. So this repetition of addressing Radha and Krsna or Hare Krsna is to pray, "My dear Lord, the, and the energy, the spiritual energy of the Lord, kindly engage me in Your service." That's all. "I am now embarrassed with this material service. Please engage me in Your service."
Apr 26 2014 Sound Systems Guideline
The GBC Body hereby encourages ISKCON managers to monitor the levels of the sound systems in use at their centers. The sound system should be adjusted so that it sounds clear, sweet and attractive as opposed to overly loud, distorted or painful. Whenever possible, the sound pressure levels should regularly be measured using sound pressure level meters to make sure that dangerous sound pressure levels are prevented. Such meters are available on mobile devices.
"Any person who is seriously desirous of achieving real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments and thus be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken complete shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters." (SB 11.3.21 quoted in SB 4.29.55 purport)
Apr 17 2014 Plans for Increasing Book Distribution
While ISKCON, the GBC, and the BBT are independent entities and thus the GBC cannot instruct the BBT trustees, the GBC humbly appeals to the BBT trustees to kindly get involved in pushing this process forward and making sure that the development of these plans actually happens. The Indian BBT and Indian GBCs are exempted from this resolution as they are already doing such powerful book distribution. Of course, they are welcomed and encouraged to present a plan for the coming year if they wish.
Apr 13 2014 Female Diksa Gurus
The subject of Vaisnavis initiating in ISKCON is further tabled until additional discussion at the 2014 GBC Midterm Meeting. In the meantime the GBC Eexecutive Committee will work on the following process: 1. Creating a committee of devotees who have no pre-determined view on this topic who will gather documents from all sources on the subject of female diksa-gurus. 2. The committee will sort, summarize, and categorize all documentation. Categories could include Srila Prabhupada's quotations, varnasrama-dharma, history within our sampradaya and other Vaisnava sampradayas, etc.
2014 Zonal Assignments, GBC Officers and Members, Sannyasa Waiting List, Reaffirmation of Ministries and Standing Committees, ISKCONâ€™s 50th Anniversary, Plans for Increasing Book Distribution, Adding New GBCs, Devotee Healthcare Guidelines, Should Women be Called â€śPrabhuâ€ť, â€śMatajiâ€ť, or â€śDeviâ€ť?, Sound Systems Guideline, The Hare Krsna Maha-mantra Should be the Primary Mantra in all ISKCON Kirtans, Chanting of the Holy Names of Srimati Radharani, Gender Kirtan, ISKCON Disciple Course Mandate, Regulations for Commencing the Service of Diksa-guru in ISKCON , Female Diksa Gurus and more
Dear Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu, Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. The entire Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness wishes to extend its heartfelt gratitude to you for your many years of service to the GBC. You have served as a member of the GBC with the highest standard of integrity, loyalty and dedication. This is a great credit to both yourself and our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. For almost three decades, your thoughtful comments, academic and sastric insights, bold analysis and devotional perspectives have helped to inform and form GBC opinion and resolutions.
It has come to our attention that there is some confusion regarding the purchase of Srila Prabhupada's books for mass distribution. It is the policy of ISKCON, clarified by Srila Prabhupada in the accompanying letter, that all ISKCON temples purchase the books of His Divine Grace from the BBT exclusively. "If temples print independently it will be at the cost of the books I am myself printing, and could eventually cause the financial ruin of the BBT, meaning I could not order new books from the printer or have sufficient funds for construction of temple projects."
Dec 28 2013 Making an Impact
A valuable member of the Strategic Planning Initiatives, he is a part of the Succession Committee. Hear what HH Devamrita Swami has to say about how the strategic planning meetings are "making an impact"
Dec 24 2013 Using our Intelligence
A valuable member of the Strategic Planning Initiatives, he is a part of the Lines of Authority Committee. Hear what HG Badrinarayan Prabhu has to say about how members of the strategic planning network are "using their intelligence" to plan and organize for a better ISKCON of today and the future
Dec 20 2013 Leadership for the Future (2 min video)
Dina Sharana Devi Dasi has been a member of ISKCONâ€™s Governing Body Commission (GBC) since 2010. She joined ISKCON in 1974, and was initiated by Srila Prabhupada the same year at the Schloss Rettershof Castle temple, the headquarters of ISKCON Germany at the time. Her focus is on training and engaging qualified persons to assist in communications, succession as well as education and training. She is also committed to increasing BBT book distribution
Dec 17 2013 Addressing Real Issues (2 min video)
A valuable member of the Strategic Planning Initiatives, he is a part of the Devotee Care Committee. Hear what HH Radhanath Swami has to say about the Strategic Planning Meetings and how it brings leaders together from around the world to come up with solutions for real issues in our society
Dec 13 2013 Writeup/Video on Strategic Planning Meetings
HG Anuttama Dasa has been a member of ISKCONâ€™s Governing Body Commission (GBC) since 2000 and is also the Minister for ISKCON Communications. His vision for the future of ISKCON is that it will mature and grow to be a respected and influential culture and religion around the world
Nov 1 2013 EC Statement on Mahanidhi Swami
At its recent meetings in Mumbai, India, the Governing Body Commission (GBC) of ISKCON passed a resolution regarding Mahanidhi Swami. That resolution is found below followed by a brief excerpt of the GBC Executive Committee's letter to Mahanidhi Swami's disciples and followers
We regret to inform you that the GBC Executive Committee has received a letter from Mahanidhi Swami, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada since 1975, announcing that he has "decided to resign from the glorious preaching mission of ISKCON". In a prayerful mood, we would like to comment briefly on this situation. As Vaishnavas, we understand that the obstacles of this material world are very difficult to overcome. Srila Prabhupada warned us that many stalwarts may fall from the path of Krishna consciousness if we are not cautious in the execution of our devotional service.
Whereas harmony between various authorities in ISKCON is required; Whereas while initiating gurus are important spiritual authorities in the lives of devotees, other ISKCON authorities also play an important role; RESOLVED: That the official GBC paper entitled â€śHarmonizing ISKCONâ€™s Lines of Authorityâ€ť shall be required reading for all prospective harinama initiates before the initiation. This should be verified both by the ISKCON authority who gives the recommendation for harinama initiation as well as by the initiating guru
RESOLVED: (a) that ISKCON Law 188.8.131.52.6 be amended to include the following three questions in the test that all harinama initiation candidates must take before initiation: 14. Have you read the GBC Statement on the Position of Srila Prabhupada? 15. Have you read the paper â€śHarmonizing ISKCONâ€™s Lines of Authorityâ€ť? 16. What have you understood as the most important points of the â€śHarmonizing ISKCONâ€™s Lines of Authorityâ€ť paper? And (b), that the Guru Services Committee shall update the Initiation Exam accordingly for all GBCs and gurus to distribute.
Jun 23 2013 Female Diksa Guru Research Paper
RESOLVED: A GBC committee consisting of Bir Krishna Das Goswami (convenor), Bhanu Swami, Badrinarayan Das and Praghosa Das shall research and write a paper on the subject of female diksa gurus based on Srila Prabhupadaâ€™s teachings, sastra, and historical precedents. The committee may enlist the service of other devotees including current members of the Sastric Advisory Council
Those who accept the service of diksha or siksha guru within ISKCON are mandated to be strict followers of the instructions of Srila Prabhupada, and, as long as they follow, they are acting on the liberated platform. Thus they may serve, as Srila Prabhupada ordered, as bonafide representatives of the Lord and the Guru Parampara and be a via medium of Their mercy
Jun 16 2013 Bhaktivedanta Institute
RESOLVED: The GBC Body hereby commends the important and time-critical nature of the work of Rasaraja Das and Bhaktivedanta Institute Berkeley/Mumbai. The GBC members offer their heartfelt blessings to them for their continued excellence in devotional service.
RESOLVED: That the Executive Secretariat (ES) receives its mandate from the Governing Body Commission (GBC); the Secretariat reports and is accountable to the GBC. Throughout the year the ES works with the GBC Executive Committee (EC) in its role as representative of the GBC, to ensure and assist the ES to perform as mandated
Jun 3 2013 Licensing GCal Software
The ISKCON Governing Body Commission Society hereby agrees that its copyrighted software package â€śGaurabda Calendar (GCal)â€ť authored by Gopalapriya Das may be licensed to members of the general public under a suitable open-source licensing agreement. The GBC Vaisnava Calendar Committee, presently constituted with members Bhanu Swami, Gopalapriya Das, Sadasivananda Das, and Bhaktarupa Das, are authorized, in consultation with legal advisors, to finalize the terms of such licensing agreements and devise policies and procedures whereby such agreements may be executed
The Anniversary Committee shall create a service description and appropriate goals for the Coordinator and support his or her seva up to and during the Anniversary. The Anniversary Committee and Anniversary Coordinator shall work with the GBC, Regional Governing Bodies, ISKCON Ministries, Temples, and other ISKCON communities and projects to encourage them in planning the celebration of the 50th Anniversary through multiple events. The Coordinator shall work closely with the Communications Ministry to promote internationally consistent messages, themes and event ideas
May 16 2013 Child Protection Policy Manual
In 1998 the GBC Body adopted resolution 305, which accepted in total the recommendations of the Child Protection Task Force â€śoutlining a justice system, central office, and various guidelines for GBC Members, Regional Secretaries and Temple Presidents to assure enforcement and implementationâ€ť
May 9 2013 Zonal Configuration
Whereas the GBC Zonal Secretaries of many areas of the world together with other leaders of those areas have identified the zones that they wish to formally establish: RESOLVED: That the following zones have been identified. It is to be noted that the full implementation of these zones shall take place gradually, and that this process of identification does not affect or modify existing continental, regional or national bodies
ISKCON center officials shall be responsible to ensure that any and all web sites published by the center prominently feature a picture of Srila Prabhupada on the introductory page. This picture should be larger than any other individualâ€™s photo (such as the GBC, center President, or guru). Srila Prabhupada should be addressed by his formal name and title: â€śHis Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness,â€ť or â€śISKCON Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupadaâ€ť, or an equivalent translation.