Day Two of the G.B.C. Meetings
Posted February 11, 2007
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
The day's agenda: Straw voting and a BBT presentation about the editing of Srila Prabhupada's books.
The GBC Conference Room is decorated with artwork made by the school children in Mayapur: papier-mache faces of Lord Nrsimhadeva and colored drawings of Lord Jagannatha performing various imaginary activities (e.g., riding on the back of a dolphin, flying a private jet, and driving a convertible sports car into Puri).
Bhaktivaibhava Swami (GBC chairman) began the meeting by advising the GBC members that they need to direct their comments and discussions more carefully in order to be more effective as a body. Offering an example, he said that during a discussion of a proposal, if a member withholds criticism until the last minute before a vote, this undermines the GBC's ability to build on constructive criticism or can obstruct progress. Thus he asked a deputy to provide guidelines for the day's straw-voting process.
The guidelines were: Once a proposal is presented, comments are to be made in this order: (1) questions (2) comments in favor and (3) comments against. The existing system that the members follow is this: In addition to discussing proposals, they may record any of their comments on the voting forms, or comment in person to the deputies who adapt each resolution on the basis of that input for the final vote later in the meetings.
The Straw Voting
Aniruddha Prabhu, a deputy, projected each proposal on a screen and read it. Then he read from the screen the answers given by the devotee(s) who submitted the proposal to two questions asked about all proposals: What Prompts This? Why Is It Important? Finally, he showed and read the working committee's comments, made in three categories: Positive, Minus, and Interesting. He also showed and read the results of the straw vote taken among the ten or so deputies who worked on the proposals in committees.
After discussing a proposal, the GBC members write their votes on individual forms. During the morning session, eight proposals were discussed and voted on:
- Correcting a Misspelling in the Gayatri Mantra Sheet
- Leaders Submitting Financial Reports
- Financial Reports of Trusts
- Clarifying Standards for Srila's Prabhupada Worship
- The German Yatra's Emergency Action
- A EURO GBC Officer's Extension of Duty
- Kirtan Standards in ISKCON
- Discipline of ISKCON Officials
These proposals occupied the first session of the morning.
There was a break for chanting Gayatri and drinking juice, and then the GBC members discussed and did straw voting on the proposed zonal changes for the coming year.
Editing the BBT books
Brahma Muhurta Prabhu made an informative presentation outlining the BBT's reasons for continuing to edit Srila Prabhupada's books. He explained that the BBT's goal is to ensure that the BBT books are as accurate as possible; that any errors made earlier in the editing process are corrected. He offered numerous examples of transcribers of Srila Prabhupada's tapes misunderstanding his pronunciation. Because of this, many grammatical or more substantive errors ended up in BBT publications. He made a case that the editing of the BBT books should not be frozen, and said that while many devotees are misinformed about the editing process, when the need for accuracy in Srila Prabhupada's books is understood, they appreciate the BBT's efforts.
The meeting ended with an announcement that the next morning's session would
start an hour earlier, so that the meeting could recess at noon and the GBC
members could attend the vyasa-puja ceremony of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta