Promoting the Culture of Caring : Devotee Care Committee Meets in Mumbai
Posted November 15, 2008
The Devotee Care Committee, still in its infancy, met during the GBC Strategic Planning Meeting held in Mumbai from 15-23 October 2008. Interestingly, the Devotees Care Committee was born of the Preaching Committee. Members of the Preaching Committees reflected that if the devotees are not well taken care then preaching would not have any lasting effect. They understood that preaching can attract people but it doesn't keep them. The GBC body recognized the need to care for devotees individually and collectively and thus formulated the Devotee Care Committee. The Committee members include Jayapataka Swami, Kavicandra Swami, Bir Krishna Goswami, Bhakti Purshottama Swami, Revati Ramana Das, Prasanta Devi Dasi, Achutya Priya Das and Chandrashekhar Das.
Members of Devotee Care Committee realize that caring for devotees is a matter of consciousness and culture where every devotee is concerned about the needs of another devotee. In ISKCON we aim to promote higher understanding of the Absolute Truth and if devotees are unhappy then they would extend a similar spirit to the society at large. Vaishnava culture is a culture for caring and the Devotees Care Committee strives to set a facility through which devotees can access help whenever they need it.
The Committee hopes to connect with devotees requiring assistance in various ways. The Committee, with assistance from Achutya Priya Das, shall soon host a website which shall include exhaustive information, resource guide and references of devotees and projects in various parts of the world. Future plans also include a presentation on Devotee Care prior to GBC Meetings in Mayapur in 2008. The Committee hopes to collect information and give access to the various resources available at devotees' disposal in times of need and crises.
The prime focus of the Committee is to instill and implement the idea that every devotee is cared for within the Vaishanva community. Sometimes devotees are insensitive to other devotees while in some cases devotees don't' want to express their concerns for whatever reasons. Either they think 'I don't want to complain to anyone' or they feel that nobody is interested anyways. There are several example were devotees don't feel cared for. For instance, devotees feel the Temple President doesn't care for them, wives think that the husbands don't care for them, some full-time devotees feel insecure about the future and the practical aspects of dealing with hospitalization, old age etc. The Committee hopes to address these and many more concerns of the devotees.
Kavicandra Swami, Member - Devotee Care Committee informed "Lord Caitanya stressed that Vaishanva seva is really important. We want to gradually work towards caring for devotees. When devotees realize that we care for them they feel a sense of belonging and can express what they feel and what they need. We want to realize this goal and work on every level possible to make it a reality. We want devotees to know that they are most important and project is a result of people".