Daily Reports GBC Meetings - Day 1 - 16th Of February 2006
Posted February 28, 2006
The 2006 Annual General Meeting of the GBC began at 10 am today with an arati to Srila Prabhupada, gurupuja kirtan by HH Bhakti Marga Swami and reading from Srimad Bhagavatam (7.8.1) by HH Bhanu Swami. HH Devamrita Swami, the GBC Executive Committee Chairman, began by welcoming all attendees and giving an overview of the past year's activities. Maharaja described the year as "peaceful" and spoke about the massive increase in book distribution in India, development of local Regional Governing Bodies, and the great help our society is receiving in conflict resolution from ISKCON Resolve. He also reminded the GBC that as our leaders age, the next generation must take the lead.
Guests of the meeting included Candrasekhara Das, a graduate of the Mayapur Gurukula and Regional Secretary in parts of the absent Giridhari Swami's zone; Ajita Das, Temple President of New Govardhana, Australia for over ten years; Krsnacandra Das, Regional Secretary for much of Russia and Secretary to the Russian Regional Governing Body of ISKCON; and Svarupa Damodar Das, Temple President of Durban, South Africa.
The GBC Deputies presented to the body several topics for voting, such as the Sastric Advisory Committee's paper on guru, wills for ISKCON leaders, next year's GBC meeting dates (which led to a discussion on the Mayapur-Vrindavan Festival), and the status of the ISKCON Manager's Meeting.
Next, Braja Bihari Prabhu gave a presentation entitled, "Pizza or Pakoras: Reconciling Liberal and Conservative Viewpoints in ISKCON". He discussed the general sources of conflict (information, resources, relationships, interests or needs, structures, and values) and then discusssed three additional sources that are specifically found in spiritual organizations. He then narrowed in on the ISKCON experience and explained how our devotees alter much of their identity when taking to Krishna consciousness (dress, eating habits, family relations, friends, vocabulary, etc). When we meet other devotees who have similarly invested their identities, yet have a differing viewpoint on some aspect of Krishna consciousness, there is often conflict.
He presented solutions to ISKCON conflicts which included: increased dialogue, taking advantage of ISKCON Resolve's services (mediation, arbitration, conflict analysis, ombudsmen's office), applying a tool called Polarity Management, allowing for diversity of opinions in many facets of ISKCON's views except the most core principles, and ultimately transcending our differences by chanting and taking prasadam together.
The presentation was well received by the GBC body and led to a lively discussion.
After brief announcements, the meetings ended on time at 2:00 pm.