By Madayanti devi
On September 28th & 29th the annual ELM was held in Italy at the glorious Villa Vrndavana in Tuscany. Over 90 attendees participated from 30 countries. The desired outcome of the meeting was to exchange experiences, enthuse the leaders for more effective service & preaching and to deepen our understanding of the current concerns in our society in order to strengthen our cooperation. Those objectives were certainly met to a significant degree.
After a short kirtan, reading and blessing the Chairman HG Praghosa Prabhu held a brief ‘getting to know each other better’ session and announced from the next year title of European Leaders Meeting will be changed to European Leaders Mela. A unique icebreaker was a video showing the collapsing of a huge iceberg but as one attendee commented “Praghosa prabhu is a brilliant Chair and MC providing instant life to any meeting. Who needs an ICE breaker when you have Praghosa?”
Day 1; Theme 1
The first presentation and discussion was on the subject of ISKCON and its Mission by HG Titiksu Prabhu.
The session was focused on an exploration about ISKCON’s longevity and how the vehicle ISKCON must always remain loyal and fully adherent to the mission handed down by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada, lest it comes to face challenges that may well prove insurmountable.
The focus of the presentation was the means to bring others to Krsna, being a missionary – become selfless bringing others to Krsna, methods – the 3 gifts of book distribution, prasadam and kirtan as well as a spiritual care program. The analogy of ISKCON being the body & Lord Caitanya’s and Srila Prabhupada’s mission being the soul was stressed.
During workshop devotees were trying also to define an ISKCON moto like : spiritual journey, chant and be happy, love & trust, we bring you home, in Krsna we trust, until the last soul goes home your happiness is our goal etc.
Vaisnavis serving as diksa guru HH Prahladananda Swami and HG Praghosa Prabhu
The sacred role of guru and finding compatibility between contemporariness and spiritual convention, can be challenging. Whatever decision is reached we need to face that challenge. This session was extremely interesting with many profound points raised and the discussion was intensive and dynamic.
Day 2; Theme 3
Ethics & Morality – HG Rasamandala das
What relevance does this subject have to ISKCON and its members? We explored the history of this subject as it relates to Vaisnava tradition and culture and discussed how best ISKCON can use the principles of ethics and morality to support both its internal governance as well as its preaching.
ISKCON Communications Leadership Team Report 2018-2019
Main activities: Registration of ISKCON Communications Europe a. s. b. l. as a Belgian non-profit organization at the register of associations in Brussels, Belgium 2018; IC Conferences 2018 and 2019; ICELT meeting in Brussels
The afternoon sessions focused on yatra presentations from Germany,
Ireland, Italy and Bhaktivedanta College.
The ELM concluded in a super inspiring mood with announcements of this year’s ISKCON Europe Excellence Awards. There was a wonderful atmosphere of friendship, support, cooperation and great fun with the exchange of gifts and thus the 2019 ELM was concluded!