GBC meet outlines major priorities of ISKCON

By FP NEWS SERVICE - 17.10 2017

Roles of zonal supervisors should meet standards set by Srila Prabhupada, assert members

About three dozen Governing Body Commission members, including the senior sanyasi and sadhu of the ISKCON, went on a sight-seeing tour of Ujjain, under the guidance of chairman Bhakticharu Maharaj. They first paid a visit to the Mahakaleshwar Temple and then visited Narsing Ghat, Ram Ghat, Sandipani Ashram. They were briefe on the importance of these places.

Ujjain : The Governing Body Commission (GBC), to improve management in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) around the world, discussed the role played by zonal supervisors at a meeting here on Saturday. Revati Raman Das, a GBC member from south India, offered guru puja to Srila Prabhupada to inaugurate the meeting.

 

The meeting agreed that zonal supervisors had to oversee at least a dozen temples and hence individual GBC members were under a lot of pressure. This had led to some local leaders to complain that they lacked sufficient guidance and presence of a GBC representative.

During the discussion, Bhakti Bhusana Swami and Bir Krishna Swami said that currently most GBC members directly looked after all the temples in their zones. Some GBC members had intermediate managers under them with different titles such as ‘regional secretaries’, who took care of a group of temples. However, there is no standard process.

Gopal Krishna Goswami and Sesa Prabhu were of the opinion, that a zonal supervisor’s role could play a vital role, rather than grow the GBC body to an unmanageable number of GBC representatives, to directly care for each community as ISKCON grew. Zonal supervisors have similar roles to GBC members, but for a more manageable number of temples. Thus, zonal supervisors should oversee temple presidents and assist them in assuring Srila Prabhupada’s standards, both managerial and spiritual in their temples.

Zonal Supervisors will be required to attend the GBC College (established in 2015), a year-long blended educational program with both residential and on-line leadership training. Thus, not only will zonal supervisors improve accessibility of higher leadership to local ISKCON temples, but also help improve the quality of that leadership, they added.

Madhusevita Das, GBC representative from Europe made a point on leadership. He said the the zonal supervisor programme was just being rolled out on a global level.  Challenges faced include, finding suitable candidates and assuring essential services are not disturbed when zonal supervisors move up from a temple president or any other critical position.

The final discussion point regarding zonal supervisors reminded GBC members that individual regions of the world need to be flexible, and transfer trained leaders from stronger regions to help regions of the world that needed assistance. The example of Srila Prabhupada was quoted, who in the early years of the movement, moved some of his best men and women from the western countries, especially America, where ISKCON began, to give a push to his movement in India.

One member recalled that at one point every American ISKCON temple was instructed by Srila Prabhupada, to send two highly capable devotees to India. Some of those devotees remain as leaders in India today. GBC members also heard a report about the GBC College, which has operated its first three years at the Goverdan Eco village in India. The president of the college is Rupanuga Das, a Laguna Beach, California-based professor of business management.

Nine modules of study were outlined as the future priorities of the college including self-leadership (self-awareness and balancing personal duties); mentorship (taking care of others); servant leadership; team facilitation and group leadership; on-line leadership (use of modern technologies); spiritual leadership (shiksha and diksha guru roles); project leadership (care of resources), temples, devotees and staff; national council leadership, including additional strategic planning skills; zonal leadership (overseeing multiple projects); GBC (global leadership and care of Srila Prabhupada’s movement)

 Ramai Swami, GBC member from Australia, Romapada Swami, GBC representative from North America and Tapan Misra Das, member of the GBC organizational development committee also expressed views on issues related to education and expansion.