February 13-14, Days Two and Three of the GBC Meetings
By Ananda Tirtha das
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 committee is working to classify and update the new law book for ease of use. A major highlight of their work has been the creation of a searchable wiki with the last ten years of GBC Resolutions and previous version of the Law Book.
Following the presentation and subsequent discussion, the GBC Body voted for a few GBC members to review the proposed updated Law Book. Kavicandra Swami, Sesa Das, and Malati Devi Dasi volunteered to take up this service.
The current system for processing GBC proposals is that the GBC Deputies first review and evaluate the proposal and then present their results to the entire GBC Body. The GBC then discusses the proposal and holds a preliminary or “straw” vote. The Deputies then implement any suggested adjustments and later on bring back the revised proposal for a final vote.
The rest of the session was taken up with this process. Topics included accounting for donations by ISKCON leaders (which generated considerable discussion), a disciplinary proposal, and dates for the next two GBC meetings, October 12-16 at Juhu, Mumbai, and February 6-16 in Mayapur next year, which both went to a final vote and were passed.
Day three began with a presentation by the team working on the Mayapur Temple of Vedic Planetarium project, chaired by Ambarisa Das. After a brief video comparing the proposed temple to famous buildings around the world, the GBC received an update on various aspects of the project. Hari Sauri Das discussed the work on the planetarium aspect and the exhibits showcasing Vedic cosmology. This team has approved Visuddha Sattva and Antardvipa Prabhu’s proposed planetarium model.
Sadbhuja Das stated that his team has nearly completed all the drawings relating to the structural design and engineering work. Other related topics discussed included the necessary government clearance, financing and fundraising, vastu issues, and environmental concerns.
Finally, the GBC were asked to vote on the last major decision: the colour of the dome. They were presented two designs, in blue or gold. The majority voted for the gold dome following which Ambarisa Prabhu mentioned that that was his preference too, despite the higher price.
At noon, the meetings broke for the Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s puspanjali and guru-puja in the temple. Before the resumption of the meetings at 1:00 pm, the members broke their fasts by honouring Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s maha-prasadam.
Tamohara Prabhu, director of the Child Protection Office began the afternoon session with an update of how his office is moving towards dealing in more of a training and advisory role.
Again, straw voting took the remainder of the day. Topics included leadership prohibitions for divorced devotees, review of the Child Protection Office, increasing GBC participation in farm projects, prompt release of the GBC resolutions, and regulation of Deity installations.
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