The second day of the GBC meetings opened with a presentation by the Law Book Committee. Aniruddha Prabhu presented the progress of the committee in revising the current law book which contains constitutional principles, action orders, rules of order, administrative guidelines and governing law.
The 2009 Annual General Meeting of ISKCON's Governing Body Commission commenced with arati and guru-puja kirtana to Srila Prabhupada, who is present in murti form in the meeting hall. Apart from the large murti, this year there is a small murti of Srila Prabhupada fixed on a beautiful altar near the Chairman's seat.
Jan 1 2009 From Credit Crunches to Prasadam Lunches
While the shameless economic experts are now predicting when there will be an upturn in the global economy, those same experts suffered a collective blind spot when failing to predict the biggest economic collapse in the last 80 years, everyone and their pet dog can see, like the emperor, they have neither clothes, nor a clue as to what will or wonât happen with the economy.
Whatever criticisms an individual or a group may claim to have with ISKCON, to purposefully offend a Vaishnava saint in such a blatant manner is irreconcilable with the principles of Vaishnavism, Hindu culture, morality, and common decency. We condemn any and all such acts.
Devotees from around the world are writing to Jayapataka Maharaja offering him solace and encouragement during his health crisis. We have found that many of these letters contain sweet remembrances and moving expressions of vaisnava sentiments. With a special intent of helping his disciples through this very difficult time, we are posting some of those letters here.
Nov 11 2008 Jayapataka Maharaja’s Miraculous Recovery
Today I went to see him in the morning. Kavichandra Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja, Brajahari Prabhu and I walked to his bed in the Critical Intensive Care area. He opened his eyes when I held his hand and spoke to him. As I anticipated, his condition seemed to be much better than yesterday. I told him who all were present there. He acknowledged everyone. He was visibly excited to see us all.
Maharaja's rate of improvement is very slow. His blood pressure, blood sugar, platelets, etc. are stable. We have consulted other neurologists and surgeons in India, from Delhi, Bhubanesvara, Tirupati, Mumbai, Bangalore, etc. Everyone is of the same opinion: the situation is very critical.
Oct 23 2008 GBC Update on HH Jayapataka Swami
The ISKCON Governing Body Commission (GBC), which is currently meeting for five days at ISKCON's Juhu Beach Temple in Mumbai, was shocked this morning at the news that His Holiness Jayapataka Swami, our dear god-brother and GBC colleague, was rushed to the hospital at approximately 4 AM Mumbai time.
Oct 8 2008 Wages for Sages
Listen to the discussion that took place in Radhadesh on the 5th of October amongst the European leaders concerned whether it is in the interest of the integrity of ISKCON, or in keeping with the instruction of Srila Prabhupada, that members of the movement be given salaries.
We are now in serious danger of ruining our long practiced and much cherished reputation of our 21st century sannyasi! What are we talking about? Well a couple of weeks ago a certain member of the sannyasa order all but snuck into the emerald isle unnoticed. Usually a visiting sannyasiâs arrival is known well in advance and there is at least a modest welcoming party to greet him. However not this time, rather it was a very humble entrance at a regional port and from there, almost immediately into a walking tour of the country.
Recently I was approached by a friend who was lamenting his having missed an ekadasi fast due to being out of base and somehow not being informed on time about this important vaishnava occurrence. Fortunately now we may get some extra help for remaining always update by making use of some tools that the web is offering. So do you want to receive Ekadasi ( and most important Vaishnava Festivities ) alerts right to your Instant Messenger program like MSN, Skype or Gtalk or even on your mobile phone?
Aug 3 2008 Accepting our Lot, Gracefully
âA pure Vaisnava should be very careful to engage in his specific duty without criticizing others. This is the safest position. Otherwise, if one tends to criticize others, he may commit the great offence of criticizing a Vaisnavaâ In the pastime of Jagai and Madhai, prior to them receiving the mercy of Lord Caitanya, they were glorified as having one good quality. The fact that they kept such bad association meant that they had never come into contact with devotees hence their good quality was that they had never committed vaisnava aparadha.
Jul 5 2008 What is the matter with the world
A time is nearing when there will be no wheat paddy in the field and no politician will be able to make a quick supply of bread. The food problem is already acute. The atheistic civilization is to be troubled more and more with the progress of materialism. We have such foretellings in the pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The more the people are turning to the atheistic, the more things of disturbing elements do appear before us. And that is the thing which matters at present. This is a wrong type of civilization.
Jun 7 2008 Forget Me Not
As part of a comment to the âReforming the Reformerâ essay, Kesava Krsna prabhu wrote: It is enlivening to see a topic put before us, to pass comment, or give our realizations - this is real freedom - Krishna katha. Perhaps this could be a regular feature on Danadavats, what do you think Praghosa prabhu? So in an attempt to fulfill the above request I would be interested to hear the devotees thoughts on the following. In the 3rd Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam Lord Kapila gives some interesting instructions particularly in relation to the consciousness and thought processes of the fetus in the womb.
Please find attached a statement from the GBC Executive Committee on respect for women. While there are different opinions on the best roles for women in society and how the Vedic culture is to be applied today, I think we all agree that we must be careful to be respectful to all Vaishnavas in both our deeds and words. Your servant, Ramai Swami GBC Chairman
May 21 2008 Reforming the reformer
In the following article Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur describes Krishna consciousness as the only genuine reform process. He says that anyone who takes shelter of any other process to reform society is in need of reform themselves.
Apr 28 2008 A B Cs , X Y Zs and everything in between
Srila Prabhupada often made reference to the fact that both in beginner's maths as well as advanced mathematics, two plus two is always equal to four. While advanced mathematics can be extremely complicated it can also be very wrong if the basic principles of simple maths are not adhered to. Likewise the same principle applies to relationships and if we fail to get the basics right in our relationships we will forever struggle with them. The most fundamental relationship that we need to get right is our relationship with the supreme Lord and His creation.
Mar 21 2008 GBC final days overview
On March 1st, the seventh day of the meetings, the morning presentations focused on the Youth Fund and Mayapur Temple of Vedic Planetarium, while the afternoon session consisted of a presentation by Bhaktivedanta Institute (Kolkata) and straw voting on proposals. The meetings ended with Chairman Bhanu Swami thanking all the attendees, staff, and helpers for their participation in making the meetings a success. He particularly thanked the Deputies for doing lot of background work which facilitated the meetings to end early. In turn, there was sustained applause from the Body for the hard work of all the members of the Executive Committee.
Mar 4 2008 GBC Breaks Meetings for Day of Retreat
Lokanath Swami introduced the dayâs theme, âUnity in Diversity,â as stipulated in a letter by Srila Prabhupada: âI am therefore suggesting that all our men meet in Mayapur every year during the birth anniversary of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. With all GBC and senior men present we should discuss how to make unity in diversity. But, if we fight on account of diversity, then it is simply the material platform. Please try to maintain the philosophy of unity in diversity. That will make our movement successful.â
Mar 1 2008 Overview of Days 4-6 of the GBC Meetings
Tension was in the air as GBC member Praghosa Das traded insults and criticisms with ISKCONResolve Director and meeting facilitator Braja Bihari Das during a presentation by Praghosa. As the debate got uglier and began to resemble a âDaksa-yajnaâ, worried attendees looked to the Chairman to pacify the situation.
Feb 28 2008 Report from the 3rd day of the GBC meetings 2008
Sesa Prabhu presented the ongoing work of the Constitution Committee, one of six Strategic Planning groups. This presentation was the major focus of this morningâs session. At the New Vrindaban meeting last June, the GBC members recommended names of devotees qualified to assist in the work of the Constitution Committee.
Feb 26 2008 Report from the 2nd day of the GBC meetings 2008
Bhakti Marg Swami began today's meeting with a vigorous kirtan following which Bhakti Vaibhava Swami read from Srimad - Bhagavatam. Anuttama Das, a member of the Guru Services Committee, reported that the committee had been studying how to help prepare devotees to serve Srila Prabhupada as initiating and instructing spiritual masters.
Mayapura, West Bengal - Trustees of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT), the publishing arm of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, reported today at ISKCONâs Governing Body Commission Annual General Meeting in Mayapura, West Bengal, that its international sales for the year 2007 had increased by 28% over the previous year.
Feb 14 2008 Samsara
In turn most resided in bodies have others who are also attached to them, generally family members, or what Srila Prabhupada often referred to as âskin diseaseâ. He specifically used this term to describe excessive attachment to family members which leads to increased illusion and the bizarre hope that one thinks they are able to save other family members from death - an impossible dream.
Feb 8 2008 Make Your Offering Now!
Devotees around the world can now make offerings to Sri Gauranga in Mayapur on Gaura Purnima by visiting www.mayapur.com and joining the Gaura Purnima Offering of Service. Devotees everywhere can participate as a sponsor at the level of their choice and enjoy the benefit of having a variety of sevas performed on their behalf.
Jan 8 2008 Schedule for Gaura Purnima Festival 2008
A Festival of Loving Exchanges: Devotees arrive 6. MAR Festival Inauguration 6. MAR â 9. MAR Panca Tattva Abhisheka of the Holy Name, Sat Sanga Seminars (Sponsored - no Service Charged) and Cultural Programs. Also, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur's appearance, and Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja's disappearance day festival, the 26th of February.
The following points formulated by a committee of ISKCON devotees who were delegated by the GBC Executive Committee to liaise with Satsvarupa Maharaja regarding his service in ISKCON. The following conclusions have been approved by the GBC EC
Dec 7 2007 Protecting Our Future
The grhastha asrama has had an interesting and varied history within our ISKCON movement. In many respects the role of married life in a missionary movement does not exactly fit like a hand in a glove. That said Srila Prabhupada was excited by his renounced grhastas and very proud of them, the initial preaching in London being a prime case in point.
Oct 13 2007 Service Life Balance
I remember many years ago when devotees appeared on a popular TV chat show in front of a live audience, they started with some sweet bhajan and then 4 or 5 of them were interviewed. During the interview the TV host cottoned on that the devotees were seriously dedicated to their cause. As a result he asked one of the devotees the following; "What about holidays, do you take an annual vacation?" The devotee in question responded both with confidence and humour "When you are having so much fun doing what you are doing, where is the question of needing a holiday as everyday is the perfect holiday"
Sep 25 2007 A French Revolution?
A little over 2 years ago the European GBC body at their annual meeting, held that year in New Vrajamandala Spain, decided to make a concerted effort to assist the French Yatra. As a result of that meeting a group of devotees was formed under the name 'Renouveau du Yatra Francais'. The members of that committee were/are Sivarama Swami, Hrdaya Caitanya das, Siksastakam das, Gopaswami das, Nitaigaurasundara das, Madhvacarya das, Nitai Saci Suta das, Madhusevita das, Prabhupada vani das, Bhavasindhu das and Praghosa das.
The GBC Executive Committee, after much deliberation and consultation, has no alternative but to sadly report the deviations of and the abuses to devotees carried out by Balabhadra dasa (ACBSP), previously known as Bhakti Balabh Puri Goswami. This report was compiled for the GBC by the committee dealing with this case, Sivarama Swami, BB Govinda Swami and Praghosa dasa and has been approved by the GBC Executive Committee.
Aug 14 2007 Constitution Committee Update
Our constitution committee wish to involve experienced and thoughtful devotees from around the world. Not just GBC members and deputies. We need broader input as we devise a constitution relevant to everyone connected to ISKCON. We hope such a constitution will be pertinent to all, and perhaps especially to the ISKCON leadership who are more accustomed to making laws for others than for having a constitution that holds all members equally accountable.
Jul 27 2007 GBC Preaching Committee Report
The growing need to address multiple ISKCON projects in the same city/geographical area. Until now, there have been questions as to whether to encourage multiple projects and how they will fit into the authority system ISKCON has established. We felt strongly that by encouraging devotees to develop new initiatives based on their inspiration, we will increase the movement dramatically. This principle was accepted universally in our committee and also there was a consensus amongst the GBC body when we reported our discussions to them.
Our committee is trying to respond to the need to have a more formalized method of operation of ISKCON and more formalized relationship between ISKCON and the members of ISKCON. There is a feeling among many devotees that they want a solid and clear understanding of what it means to be an ISKCON member. A well conceived of Constitution can provide that. We are endeavoring to craft an inspiring document that will make sure that the principles, vision, and mood that Srila Prabhupada established will be preserved for centuries to come.
Our committee deals with the situation we often find in ISKCON where there are two lines of authority in ISKCON: the initiating spiritual masters and GBC body/GBC member/Temple President system created by Srila Prabhupada. Our goal is help craft a shared, supportive, and shastrically sound system for guiding devotees in ISKCON. Rather than sometimes working at cross purposes, the aim is to have a system that respects, guides, and nutures the devotees in general, as well as all those senior devotees who give siksha and diksa in ISKCON.
We recognize the need for consistent succession policies in the society. The first generation of Srila Prabhupada's disciples are aging. We now read regularly of a senior devoteeâs passing away. We need to ensure that the mood, teachings, energy, and ideas of Srila Prabhupada are properly preserved and transmitted. Generation after generation. We wish to identify and empower devotees with leadership potential to ensure the proper succession. This is our long term need.
Jun 5 2007 GBC Gathering in New Vrndavana
There were varying degrees of progress achieved since the last GBC meeting in Mayapur, this progress was reported by the different groups to the plenary body. Probably the most comprehensive progress achieved to date was from the committee dealing with the constitution. That said, significant work has been done by all the groups and the overall mood was that a lot has been done but there's a lot more to do.
As the saying goes: âhistory is but a set of lies commonly agreed on by historiansâ In relation to religious historians this issue is even more acute, primarily because of the almost blanket ban on accepting any religious history that is not based on sense perception. The so-called 'enlightenment consensus' strictly adhere to their rule that nothing beyond gross matter and three dimensional space can be recorded. In reality this means that the enlightenment consensus lobby generally dismiss every other source of information and in the case of the vedic version it is dismissed as mythology.
Apr 10 2007 The Best Days of Our Lives
Even though this seemingly innate resistance to institutions appears unrelenting, if we look more closely at society then institutions, parties, groups and organisations pervade the lives of almost all of us. Maybe it is a case of not being able to live with them or without them. In many respects it is not really surprising that we need groups, parties and institutions, as we tend to achieve much more when we work in unison. A lone protester outside parliament might satisfy their sense of achievement or well being, but other than getting chilled to the bone they generally achieve little else. Whereas a 100,000 strong march on parliament is likely to get the politicians shivering to the bone!
Mar 20 2007 Varnasrama and Varna Sankara
With no training, no guidance, poor upbringing and no role models, the pure unadulterated desire to lord it over by brute force appears to be their life mission. And boy do they take to that mission with gusto. Beatings, stabbings and murders are now a daily occurrence in most western cities. Indeed a new phrase has arisen in the western lexicon âanti-social behaviourâ I guess anti-social behaviour is more or less the job description for varna sankara offspring.