In the News:
2nd Day of the GBC meetings
Posted March 3, 2005
February 28 was the second day of the GBC meetings and was devoted entirely to a presentation by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. The purpose of the presentation was to "improve the relationship between the BBT and GBC."
The traditional opening kirtana and Bhagavatam reading were performed by BBT Trustee Jayadvaita Swami and GBC Chairman Praghosa Das respectively. After some general announcements from the Chairman, the stage was given to Brahma Muhurta Das, the North European BBT Trustee who coordinated the presentation with the technical help of Govinda Das, BBT International Secretary.
The rest of the morning was devoted to the highly professional multi-media presentation of the activities of the BBT, including videos of
- Srila Prabhupada stressing the importance of book distribution, as well as several related humorous clips
- Book distributors in action in Slovenia, Los Angeles and Sweden
- History of the first shipment of Russian books
- Vaisesika Prabhu presenting novel ways of book distribution
- a humorous clip from the popular "Jay Leno" show
And charts of
- BBT production, including completed titles, recently printed titles, titles currently under production, and titles to be produced, including those in exotic languages like Burmese, Korean, Farsi, Kazak, Sanskrit, Braille, etc.
- the various divisions of the BBT and the BBT's financial situation
- various quotations showing Srila Prabhupada's stress on book distribution
- country-wide increase and decrease in book distribution last year
Some notable facts and figures from the presentation:
- reported book distribution worldwide increased from 2.9 million books in 2002 and 3.6 million in 2003 to 4.1 million books in 2004
- 15.5 million copies of Bhagavad-gita As It Is have been printed in 52 languages
- phenomenal book distribution in Scotland
- Large numbers of French books donated by the BBT to West and Central Africa
Several speakers from both the BBT and GBC body also spoke briefly:
- Sivarama Swami encouraged the GBC to put more emphasis on book distribution
- Gopal Bhatta Das presented the BBT Special Projects division with particular emphasis on the upcoming Sanskrit school at Govardhan under the direction of Gopiparanadhana Prabhu. He also requested the all GBC's to encourage their temples to report book sales to the World Sankirtan Newsletter.
- Jayadvaita Swami expressed the need for the BBT to adapt to new marketing strategies and book design. He also spoke about ISKCON Tirupati, where an entire spiritual community is being developed on the basis of book distribution
- Badarinarayana Das cited instances of Srila Prabhupada's stress on books, and on how Los Angeles temple thrives on book distribution
- Manidhar das on his service of European book distribution minister
- Gopal Krishna Goswami on Srila Prabhupada's love of hearing book scores, and how the congregation can be engaged in book distribution
- Bhakti Vijnana Goswami gave more information on the history of book distribution in Russia
- Svavasa Das reminisced of his days of book distribution and how Srila Prabhupada was pleased with his service
- Devamrta Swami on how Srila Prabhupada's books brought him to Krsna consciousness, and the need to maintain the utmost emphasis on book distribution
News from the Deputies' meetings:
Yesterday, after the opening ceremony the GBC deputies met separately to help process the GBC proposals for this year. Of particular interest, the Deputies rejected the proposal aimed at suspending the GBC resolution regarding equal facility for Women in ISKCON. Furthermore, on similar lines, today the first of several meetings took place between devotees serving in ISKCON India and the Women's Ministry. This dialogue, aimed at increasing an understanding amongst these somewhat divergent groups, began by each participant being asked to share his or her realizations on the subject.
- To what extent was the establishing of the details of Vedic Culture regarding women an integral part of Srila Prabhupada's mission vis-à-vis women preaching and serving alongside men in spreading the sankirtana movement?
- Is there a difference between Vedic tradition and Vaisnava tradition?
- How much of what we consider Vedic to be is truly Vedic? How much was influenced by the British in the 19th Century? How much of our viewpoints are influenced by our own conditioning?
Attendees were Ravindra Svarupa Das, Malati Dasi, Laxmimoni Dasi, Bhaktarupa Das, Sudharma Devi Dasi, Devakinandana Das, Anuttama Das, Rasaraj Das, and Basu Ghosh Das.
--The GBC Secretariat