In the News

In the News:
GBC Meetings, Day 3
March 1

Posted March 4, 2005

The meetings began at 9:00 a.m. because there was no breakfast. Devotees were fasting, as it was the anniversary of the appearance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur.

The first presentation was a report of the Child Protection Office (CPO). Anuttama Prabhu introduced Tamohara Prabhu, who has served as the CPO Director since June 2004. Tamohara has a doctorate in Educational Psychology and has been a Dean and a faculty member of graduate schools of psychology. Additionally, Hanuman Dasa has taken up the role of overseeing CPO activities in Europe and Latin America.

Tamohara discussed the current activities of the CPO. The office has worked on a number of current cases and investigations worldwide. He emphasized that child abuse is not a thing of the past, but is still a problem requiring constant attention. Specifically, he reminded the leaders of the importance of maintaining local child protection teams, carefully screening new temple or community members, and enforcing CPO judicial decisions. He also gave high priority to re-establishing the national CPO office in India.

The CPO plans to expand its training and educational efforts. New initiatives will include a newsletter and an expanded Web site. Plans are also being made for additional child-protection-team training and judges' training in various areas of the world.

The next presentation was the paper on "Female Diksa Gurus in ISKCON," prepared by the Sastric Advisory Committee (SAC). Purnacandra Prabhu gave an overview of the paper, presenting both sides of the issue. In the ensuing discussion, SAC member Drutakarma Prabhu mentioned that even in other Vaisnava lines there are opposing views, which induced SAC to rely more exclusively on Srila Prabhupada's statements on the subject. SAC's conclusion was that although considerations of time, place, and circumstance are valid, permanently disallowing women from giving initiation cannot be philosophically supported by either sastra or Srila Prabhupada's statements. The paper also gave suggestions to the GBC regarding possible requirements and circumstances for women to initiate.

At 11 a.m., there was a closed-door discussion about the Turley case.

At 12:15 the meetings adjourned and everyone attended the puspanjali and arati in honor of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur.

In the final session of the day the Deputies presented agenda items that they had discussed and voted on, and the GBC members conducted straw votes. Topics were: