Nurturing the Devotees

By editor - 4.4 2017

GBC: Encouraging & Nurturing the Devotees

From the ISKCON GBC – Minutes Of The Annual General Meeting – February 2017

313: Global Duties & Responsibilities of the Governing Body Commission

[ISKCON Law]

Whereas the GBC wishes to formalize the understanding of its global services to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness;

Whereas it is important that duties and responsibilities be clarified at all levels of the Society;

Whereas the GBC wishes to produce a legacy document for the instruction and training of future GBC members:

RESOLVED:

That the document “Global Duties & Responsibilities of the Governing Body Commission (GBC)” is accepted as an official statement and shall be part of ISKCON Law.
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(The following is an excerpt from the above mentioned document)

Encouraging & Nurturing the Devotees

Srila Prabhupada wrote to a GBC member: “This is the function of the GBC, to see that one may not be taken away by maya.” (Letter to Madhudvisa, August 4, 1975) In an earlier letter to Madhudvisa, dated May 26, 1972, Srila Prabhupada wrote: “Now I want that my GBC representatives shall travel extensively throughout their zone, without stopping in any one place for very long. Their job will be to see how things are going on, that the spiritual standard is maintained very high, to give encouragement to the devotees, like that.”

Srila Prabhupada stressed both the need for rigorous discipline in sadhana and for allowing creativity, inspiration, and personal initiative: “The point is to be engaged in doing something for Krishna, never mind what is that job, but being so engaged in doing something very much satisfying to the devotee that he remains always enthusiastic. He will automatically follow the regulative principles because they are part of his occupational duty – by applying them practically as his occupational duty, he realizes the happy result of regulative principles. So the future of this Krishna Consciousness movement is very bright, so long the managers remain vigilant that 16 rounds are being chanted by everyone without fail, that they are all rising before four morning, attending mangal arati – our leaders shall be careful not to kill the spirit of enthusiastic service, which is individual and spontaneous and voluntary. (Letter to Karandhara, December 22, 1972)

Spiritual guidance and nurturing is, of course, meant for all devotees, both temple residents and home-based: “The temple center is started just to present example to the neighboring residents how they can make a small temple in each and every home. It is not necessary that hundreds and thousands of people will live in our temple, but if we can make effective propaganda, then the neighboring residents, householders, will be inclined to be initiated and follow the modes of temple life.” (Letter to Tamal Krishna, June 1, 1969) Srila Prabhupada elaborates on this point in his purport to Sri Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 3.190: “Everyone can execute the cult of Krsna consciousness at home, as ordered by the Lord. Everyone can congregationally chant the holy name of Krsna, the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. One can also discuss the subject matter of the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam and install Deities of Radha-Krsna or Gaura-Nitai or both and worship them very carefully in one’s own home. It is not that we have to open different centers all over the world. Whoever cares for the Krsna consciousness movement can install Deities at home and, under superior 7 guidance, worship the Deity regularly, chanting the maha-mantra and discussing the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.”

Srila Prabhupada wrote to a GBC member: “Now I want that we shall concentrate on making our devotees Krishna conscious and ourselves becoming Krishna conscious, and not be so much concerned with expanding ourselves widely but without any spiritual content. Just like boiling the milk, it becomes thicker and sweeter. Now do like that, boil the milk.” (Letter to Rupanuga, May 9, 1972) The following month Srila Prabhupada wrote to another GBC member: “I am very much concerned that the devotees should be given all good instruction and knowledge of Krishna Consciousness, that is the duty of the GBC man . . . better to utilize time and train the devotees, especially the responsible officers.” (Letter to Madhudvisa, June 16, 1972)

Although direct spiritual care will be administered by temple presidents, congregational group leaders, etc., the GBC Zonal Secretaries need to supervise and ensure that devotees everywhere receive spiritual shelter and guidance, and the GBC needs to make sure that such care is offered worldwide. Srila Prabhupada intended the focus on Krishna conscious training to extend to all age groups: “Actually it is the responsibility of the parents to maintain Gurukula . . . The GBC should make an injunction that if they beget children, then whatever the expenses are for supporting Gurukula they must pay for it.” (Letter to Jagadisa, January 22, 1976)