By Kaunteya Das
Since ISKCON is a branch of the Caitanya tree, we are all assistants of Lord Caitanya sankirtan mission. Therefore, a most important part of ISKCON is to spread “the message”. Our committee is making an effort to propose and implement strategies for spreading that message.
We wanted our discussions in New Vrindavan to be relevant, and feared that for two reasons they might not be: 1. That the topic of “preaching” is so vast, it practically encompasses all of our movement. How could our little committee do something tangible with such a topic, and 2. That so much of spreading the sankirtan movement is based on time, place and circumstance considerations. We questioned: “How can we discuss this on a GBC/global level and make it relevant?” After considerable discussion, we settled on two topics:
1. 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.
Details of how to do this are important. Conflicts could arise should a temple president, for example, not desire the new project. Cooperation is the key, and we felt the local GBC may need to help, especially in the beginning, in establishing a working relationship between all parties.
2. There are devotees around the world doing innovative preaching projects. Some will be relevant to a particular region, others not so. We realized we can’t say, “everyone should do this kind of preaching (Loft programs, Sunday Schools, or whatever). Rather some ideas will work in one setting and not in another, and some will inspire particular devotees and some won’t. Therefore we decided to create a website available to ISKCON devotees that will provide information on these projects-contact information, how to start them, facility requirements, legal requirements, etc. Our hope is that by making this information available in one place, devotees can take advantage of the collective genius available amongst ISKCON devotees.