A devotee friend asked me recently about the rationale behind creating a strategic plan for a spiritual organization. He understood the need for strategic planning in the corporate world where you have to anticipate market changes and consumer interests, but he suspected its relevance to our confederation of devotees who, after all, are ultimately interested in transcendence. Doesn't it go against the spontaneous nature of performing devotional service and spoil the devotees' spirit a little if everything has to be so mapped out?
A number of the GBC's Strategic Planning Committees have broad international mandates. The mandate of the Outreach Committee, for example, covers all aspects of preaching - from how to encourage book distribution to congregational preaching to how to effectively present Krishna consciousness in university settings to all other aspects of outreach
Mar 13 2011 GBC AGM- Final Day of 2011 AGM
Friday, March 3rd marked the final day of the 2011 Annual General Meeting (AGM) for the Governing Body Commission (GBC) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Along with discussing sannyasa candidates, the day involved a presentation on the Midday Meal project in India and a special visit by the students of the Sri Mayapur International School
Mar 7 2011 GBC AGM Report- Oath of Allegiance
Every year during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of ISKCONâs Governing Body Commission (GBC), GBC members reaffirm their Oath of Allegiance. This year GBC members gathered in Srila Prabhupadaâs samadhi in Sridham Mayapur for the event, and Bhakti Marga Swami led the recitation of the Oath. The following is the Oath of Allegiance and photos of the occasion
Mar 3 2011 GBC Meeting Report 3âFebruary 26th-27th
ISKCONâs 2011 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Governing Body Commission (GBC) continued February 26th and 27th with GBC members separating into committees to discussion specific topics. Some of the committees were Guru Services, GBC-BBT Relations, Parallel Lines of Authority, and the Sannyasa Committee. Regional Governing Bodies, such as the Latin Governing Body and the North American GBCs also convened to discuss issues particular to their geographic area of service
Feb 28 2011 GBC Meeting Report 2
After concluding four days of strategic planning, the International Society for Krishna Consciousnessâ (ISKCON) Governing Body Commission (GBC) resumed their regular Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Mayapur, West Bengal. Friday, February 25th was entirely dedicated to reviewing proposals submitted to the GBC by various ISKCON members and committees. Proposal topics have a wide range- from adjusting temple standards, to refining the role of particular committees, to establishing new offices and services in ISKCON
The Strategic Planning portion of the GBC's 2011 Annual General Meeting has just ended. The four-day meeting was well attended by the full GBC, many GBC deputies, and about forty devotees from around the world. During my own attendance as a member of the Strategic Planning Team facilitating the meeting, I moved between the various committees, initiatives, and breakout sessions and was left with an overwhelming impression of synergy. The dictionary defines synergy as "a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct elements or participants
Feb 23 2011 GBC AGM Report- February 20th, 2011
The 2011 Governing Body Commission (GBC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) commenced on February 20th in the Societyâs world headquarters, Mayapur, West Bengal. Madhusevita dasa, this yearâs GBC chairman, welcomed the GBC body, appreciating that thirty-one out of thirty-three voting GBC members were present at this session
Feb 5 2011 GBC Thoughts On… Euthanasia
Nov 7 2010 More GBC Thoughts On……
ORGAN DONORS/RECEIVERS: The Srimad-Bhagavatam describes Maharaja Sibi, who was known as the greatest protector of surrendered souls and donor of charity. He selflessly gave his own flesh to Indra and Agni, who disguised themselves to test him, and was thus glorified by Narada Muni. When Maharaja Pariksit was born, it was foretold that he would be "a second Maharaja Sibi in charity and protection."
Oct 19 2010 Latest GBC Thoughts On…..
Sep 4 2010 GBC Thoughts on….
The times call for both dynamic, visionary planning as well as the effective execution of those plans. The GBC has concluded that to best serve ISKCON, it needs to strengthen its executive strategies by establishing an Executive Director, who will serve the GBC by ensuring that GBC members fulfill the fundamental assignments Srila Prabhupada gave them, implement the GBCâs resolutions, and make progress in activities related to strategic planning
Jul 12 2010 Invisible Chains
This Krsna consciousness movement is the solution and we have been given the responsibility of organizing it in such a way that it becomes the solution. Specifically in relation to exploitation and modern slaves, there is nothing that worries the powers that be more than a system such as varnasrama. The varnasrama system by its very nature creates a society that is not only independent of ugra karma needs and their suppliers but it also creates independent thinkers with revolutionary views on how society should be structured in a God-centered way, where slaves are conspicuous by their absence
Jul 1 2010 European Brahmacari Convention 2010
Think of the Hare Krishna movement, and one of the first images that comes to mind is a group of bright-faced young men with freshly shaven heads, swaying in saffron robes to the sounds of drums and hand cymbals. It's hard to forget. In the late 1960s and '70s, inspired by the dedication and devotion of Srila Prabhupada, thousands of young men dedicated themselves to the brahmacari asrama, a monastic life of selfless service
What follows is an editorial comment as the editor of Dandavats. We have received some feedback about the GBC paper titled âThe Last Conversationâ. While most of those writing in have appreciated that paper, there have been a few who have expressed some concern. Those concerns fall into two categories: one questions the historical accuracy of the paper while the other suggests the possibility of Vaisnava aparadha
You will find attached a two-part document presented by the Governing Body Commission (GBC) of ISKCON. We write this letter to provide you a brief account of the events leading to the writing and publication of this document. The first part, "Conversation Between Srila Prabhupada and H. H. Narayana Maharaja: Vrindavan-October 8, 1977,"consists of a transcription of the audio recording of that conversation preserved in the BBT Archives. The second part, titled "The Last Conversation," offers a careful analysis of the meaning and significance of this conversation.
Mar 28 2010 2010 GBC Resolutions and Zonal Assignments
Iskcon Governing Body Commission Society. Minutes Of The Annual General Meeting. Sri Mayapur Dham, February 6 â 17, 2010. GBC Officers and Members. Zonal Assignments for GBC Members. Sannyasa Waiting List. Reaffirmation of Ministries and Standing Committees. Categories of GBC Resolutions. Minimum Standards for Guru Approval. Reestablishment of the ISKCON Interfaith Commission.
On Sunday the 21st of March the new Chief Justice for West Bengal visited Sridham Mayapur. Mr Justice Mohit Shantilal Shah assumed his new role on Christmas day last so he is only in the role for 3 months but none the less was eager to visit ISKCON Mayapur. He arrived along with his wife around 11am and they left after lunch around 1.30pm.
Mar 10 2010 Outer Space or Inner? - De Ville with an Aura
"There should be somewhere on earth, a place which no nation could claim as its own, where all human beings of good will who have a sincere aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world and obey one single authority, that of the supreme truth; a place of peace, concord and harmony" "An Aurovilian should lose the sense of personal possession. For our passage in the material world, what is indispensable to our life and to our action is put at our disposal according to the place we must occupy.
Mar 4 2010 GBC Report #7
Anuttama Prabhu, representing the GBC's Guru Services Committee, reported on the Guru Seminars and Guru Retreats program. These programs allow devotees who are serving as initiating or instructing gurus to associate with one another and share their experiences serving Srila Prabhupada in the role of guru. The Guru Seminars and Retreats also aim to enhance skills in counseling disciples and caring for one's own physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Feb 19 2010 GBC Meeting Report #6
On February 14th, all members of ISKCONâs Governing Commission attending the Annual General Meeting in Mayapur, India assembled in the center of a construction zone. It was the construction zone of the long-awaited Temple of Vedic Planetarium (TOVP), a massive and impressive temple dedicated to displaying the Vedic view of the spiritual and material worlds.
Feb 17 2010 GBC Meeting Report #5
The GBC deputies began the eighth day of the Annual General Meeting of ISKCONâs Governing Body Commission with another session of voting. GBC members discussed and voted on GBC Ministry and GBC Committee member appointments, such as the Minister of Book Distribution, Minister of Education, and Guru Services Committee members.
Feb 16 2010 GBC Meeting Report #4
At present, ISKCON not only has an international Governing Body Commission (GBC) which is responsible for the overall management of ISKCON, but in some regions there are additional lower level governing bodies such as Regional Governing Bodies (RGBs), National Councils, and Continental Committees. What was at question is how these bodies, which hold regular meetings and pass resolutions, interact with and report to the overall managerial authority, the GBC.
Feb 14 2010 GBC Meeting Report #3
Day five of the Annual General Meeting of ISKCONâs Governing Body Commission began with presentations by the Succession and Leadership Training Committee and Devotee Care Committee. Tamohara dasa, on behalf of the Succession and Leadership
Feb 13 2010 GBC Meeting Report #2
Strategic Planning for ISKCONâs future was the central focus for the second through fourth days of the 2010 Annual General Meeting for ISKCONâs Governing Body Commission. In 2006, the GBC Body collectively decided to increase their attention on Strategic Planning, more specifically to spend additional energy on defining and planning ISKCONâs direction and management for Srila Prabhupadaâs mission to be passed down to future generations.
Feb 8 2010 GBC Meeting Report #1
The 2010 Annual General Meeting of the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON commenced Saturday morning in Sri Mayapur Dham with Bhakti Caru Maharaja offering the traditional guru-puja ceremony to ISKCON's Founder-Acarya, Srila Prabhupada, while Ekalavya Prabhu led an enthusiastic and inspirational kirtan. This year's GBC Chairman, Romapada Maharaja, welcomed everyone in attendance and delivered a reading from the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam
From January 14-18 the North American GBCs, Temple Presidents and Leaders met together in Dallas, Texas for the North American Leadership meeting. The following is a short summary and highlights of the meeting: The meeting started on Friday afternoon with a lively kirtan led by Bhaktimarga Swami. Vaisesikha Prabhu inspired everyone by his keynote presentation on the importance and joy of book distribution. Kuladri Prabhu followed with the NA Support Office report, including important legal issues.
Dec 9 2009 Bhaktin Lord Mayor is at it again!
I got a phone call from the Mayorâs office a couple of weeks ago expressing how eager she was to partake of some more prasadam and how even more eager she was to introduce her fellow 51 councillors to that prasadam experience! It was also mentioned that this would be an historic event, as never in the history of Dublin City Council has the cuisine been totally vegetarian, a Council that dates back to 1840, 80 odd years before independence from the UK
Nov 30 2009 Tamal Krishna Goswami Bench memorial
The inauguration ceremony for the bench took place on Wednesday 25th November 2009, and was attended by a number of his close friends and colleges from the university as well as devotees. At a somewhat emotional event, many from the local community said a few words of remembrance and appreciation for âGoswamijiâ.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of their deities, the dynamic London devotees are hosting special guests Yamuna, Shyamasundar, Gurudas and Malati prabhus for a week beginning on Sunday 15th November, until Sunday the 22nd November.
Vrindavana, India - On October 17, five representatives of Governing Body Commission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), founder-acarya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, forming an official delegation, met with Srila B. V. Narayana Maharaja, founder-acarya of the BHAKTI Trust Mission, near the pilgrimage site of Govardhana Hill, just a few miles from Vrindavana, India
Sep 17 2009 Bhaktin Lord Mayor
Arguably the highlight of the day though was the contribution of the Lord Mayor. She arrived shortly after the stage show began and took a seat reserved for her. She was curious about the drama that had just started, which was called the three modes of material nature and she followed it closely. I asked her would she like something to eat and to my surprise she said "Yes please, I've been looking forward to this all day" Usually dignitaries are a little more circumspect when offered food and generally have to be cajoled into taking prasadam, so her response was very refreshing. While her plate was being prepared, she revealed that whenever she gets the chance she likes to eat at Govindas!
Jun 1 2009 Vaisnava culture of respect and honour
"Anyone who has any desire or aspiration for satisfying his senses by becoming more and more important, either in the material sense or in the spiritual sense, cannot actually relish the really sweet taste of devotional service."(NOD p. 33) As devotees we strive to uproot the desire for fame and distinction but paradoxically, as devotees, we generally take as many opportunities to serve, appreciate and indeed glorify the service of other devotees. So naturally it is important that such glorification is appropriate, in so far as who it is directed to.
May 15 2009 February 22-23, Final Days of the GBC Meetings
Every year, each GBC member's zonal areas of responsibility are reviewed and ratified for the coming year. It is interesting to note a gradual shift over the years with an increasing number of GBC members preferring to share their zonal duties with one or more "co-GBCs". This holds true not just for major projects like Mayapur, which has a six-man GBC committee, but even for smaller yatras like Latvia, Bangladesh, and Honduras. Another recent development is a number of non-GBC members holding zonal responsibilities.
Apr 15 2009 Hridayananda dasa Goswami’s letter to the GBC
I am writing in reference to this resolution passed by the GBC this year: 317. Action and Public Statements of Hridayananda Das Goswami. In compliance with that resolution I have flown to Philadelphia and on April 11, 2009 met with H.H. Bir Krishna das Goswami and H.G. Ravindra Svarupa dasa, the GBC delegation.
ISKCON devotees shall instruct new members to take shelter of Srila Prabhupada and to receive guidance, training and assistance from those who are practically and directly instructing them in Krishna consciousness. They must focus their attention on Srila Prabhupada as the Founder-Acarya and as their preeminent siksa guru.
Six devotees--Jagat-caksur Das, Yadunandana Das, Sarvaisvarya Das, Brhat Mrdanga Das, Jaya Govinda Das, and Vasudeva Das--are to take sannyasa this year.
Feb 26 2009 February 17, Day Six of the GBC Meetings
So the future of this Krishna Consciousness movement is very bright, so long the managers remain vigilant that 16 rounds are being chanted by everyone without fail, that they are all rising before four in the morning, attending mangal arati-our leaders shall be careful not to kill the spirit of enthusiastic service, which is individual and spontaneous and voluntary. They should try always to generate some atmosphere of fresh challenge to the devotees, so that they will agree enthusiastically to rise and meet it. That is the art of management: to draw out spontaneous loving spirit of sacrificing some energy for Krishna.
For the last several years, strategic planning has been a major theme of the GBC meetings. Several days of the Annual General Meeting, as well as the second GBC meeting later in the year, is exclusively focused on this important theme. This year was no exception. Days four through six saw all regular work shelved and the entire Body, plus many other devotees, come together to proactively discuss the best way for the GBC and ISKCON to prepare for the future.