February 10th, 2010
By Sraddhadevi Dasi
Day five of the Annual General Meeting of ISKCON‚Äôs 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 Training Committee reported that replacement of GBC and Zonal Secretary positions most often occur in emergency situations and are subsequently rapid appointments, many times without thorough training. In order to better this situation, the Succession and Leadership Training Committee developed and initiated a second stage of Leadership Training Courses in North America, Europe, and India.
The first stage of training includes individual, short-term leadership and management courses, such as the long-standing VTE Leadership and Management Training Course. The new second stage of training consists of six, two-week modules offered over the period of two years. Training includes topics such as public speaking, pastoral counseling, strategic planning, and qualities of leadership as well spiritual foundations for leadership and management as outlined by sastra and Srila Prabhupada. Devotees with such training will thereafter be able to skillfully take on managerial and leadership positions within ISKCON.
Following Tamohara dasa, Prasanta dasi led a presentation on behalf of the Devotee Care Committee. The Devotee Care Committee strives to address the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of all devotees, and with such an important task has sought out numerous highly qualified devotees from around the world to assist with the project. Since the October 2009 GBC meeting in Juhu the committee published a second ‚ÄúDevotee Care‚ÄĚ informational booklet. The committee also organized an educational program with trained educators prepared to give presentations on Devotee Care to any ISKCON center. Gopal Bhatta Prabhu, a lead coordinator of GBC Strategic Planning, especially praised the Devotee Care Committee for their work and efforts in organizing such a large number of skilled devotees to move forward in this initiative.
The morning session concluded with an astounding presentation of Srila Rupa Gosvami‚Äôs Citra Kavitvani, a collection of verses in praise of Lord Krishna. This presentation was assembled by and given on behalf of the Srimad Bhagavata Vidyapitham, a Sanskrit school run by Gopiparanadhana Prabhu in Govardhana, India.
Prasanta dasi beautifully sang the verses while Lokanatha Maharaja explained the construction of the Sanskrit and Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja recited the English translation. The verses of the Citra Kavitvani are not only incredible in content, but also in construction. For example, the first two verses only use two consonants along with vowels in the entirety of verse formation. Another verse uses the construction of a chakra, or wheel, wherein the first three lines of the verse comprise the three spokes of the chakra, requiring the middle syllable of each line to match and form the central syllable of the entire chakra. Then the fourth line of the verse rounds it way across the spokes to create the rim of the chakra, and even more elaborately requires six syllables to match where the spokes and rim meet. The verse construction only became increasingly artful and ornate as the verses progressed, moving into formations such as the snake, lotus, and drum constructions.
The presentation not only pointed out the amazing mind of Srila Rupa Gosvami, but also the importance of strongly supporting the Srimad Bhagavatam Vidyapitham school in their endeavor to study and translate such wonderful Gaudiya Vaisnava literature.
In the afternoon, members of the GBC congregated in Sri Prabhupada‚Äôs quarters in the Lotus Building to hear and chant the Holy Name. Bhajans were led by HG Praghosa Prabhu, HG Anuttama Prabhu, HH Lokanath Maharaja, HH Ramai Maharaja, and HH Radhanath Maharaja. Chanting the Holy Name together with beautiful melodies and association left everyone feeling inspired and rejuvenated.