In the News

In the News:
GBC Meetings - Day 8
March 6, 2005

Posted March 30, 2005

Unfinished business from yesterday: the GBC ratified Devamrta Swami as the new Chairman and Bhakti-vaibhava Swami as the First Vice-Chairman. The GBC also discussed other posts and individuals on various GBC levels.

The Indian RGB suggests that more representation on the GBC of devotees who live in India and are younger, exceptional Indian leaders is warranted; thus it suggested that Dayarama Prabhu become a candidate for the GBC. However, he explained to the GBC body that he lacks time; he is now a family man and wants to do some business in addition to his on-going services. The request was withdrawn.

Electing a secretary: The nominees were Jaya Pataka Swami and Radha-Krsna Prabhu. Radha-Krsna Prabhu was elected for one more year.

Pragosh read to the GBC body the draft of a letter from Suhotra Swami, which will be publicly released. The matter was discussed by the members.

Next, as was done last year, about forty gurukula students (ages six to fifteen) visited the GBC. Pragosh Prabhu invited the children to sit in the GBC's seats and take over the business of the meeting, the next item of which a proposal that the children be served cake by the GBC's. It passed. Pragosh Prabhu said that a future amendment is needed to increase the size of the pieces of cake, which were already medium-sized. Someone said that a bigger budget is needed. The children had produced many colorful drawings that were decorating the GBC meeting room and office, and they were thanked for these. The meeting ended with a kirtan.

Subcommittee presentations were next.

Krsnadas Kaviraja Prabhu reported on the issue of parallel lines of authority in ISKCON: guru and GBC. The subcommittee felt that ISKCON has to more clearly " spell out rules." Jaya Pataka Swami mentioned that we already have laws that gurus are supposed to follow. Bir Krsna Goswami objected to the implication that the GBC is "the absolute managing authority" of a person from the womb to the tomb.

Hari Sauri Prabhu reported on the subcommittee that discussed preserving Srila Prabhupada's legacy. The subcommittee proposed that the Ministry of Education Development (MED) devise ways to support the well-being of devotees involved in academia and also report to the GBC on the progress of this. The subcommittee also proposed that the GBC establish a standing committee to enter into dialogue with members of the VAST conference, so that its presentations of Srila Prabhupada can be discussed and not be misunderstood. The subcommittee also proposed a method for dealing with blasphemy against Srila Prabhupada, and the GBC discussed the proposal and alternative methods of dealing with the problem. Jaya Pataka Swami said that ISKCON might study how Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura protected Vaisnava doctrines from internal deviations and external attacks.

The meetings continued after lunch. Anuttama Prabhu conducted a one-and-a-half-hour session of leadership training. He was teaching some excerpts from the ISKCON Leadership and Management course, which has been given thirty times around the world. The GBC read through a handout on how to give feedback and then picked partners and practiced the techniques for giving and receiving feedback. Next, Anuttama taught about team building. The benefits of developing team dynamics were discussed, as were methods for having closer working relationships among devotees. These included creating open lines of communication, rewarding team accomplishments, building shared visions, training devotees, and so on. The GBC members were enthusiastic about the presentation, and several asked for literature on the topic.