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ISKCON Holds 2nd Online Guru Conference


On the twenty fourth of February, the Guru Services Committee hosted its second on-line convention for ISKCON diksa (initiating) gurus. The matter was ‘Helping Disciples To Face Challenges.’ The first convention was held on the fifth of June, 2021, and was entitled ‘Challenges of Being a Guru in ISKCON.’

The Guru Services Committee (GSC), a standing committee of the Governing Body Commission (GBC), the worldwide management of ISKCON, has the mandate to help and assist ISKCON gurus of their service to Srila Prabhupada.

On account of the current pandemic state of affairs, face-to-face conferences are uncommon and due to this fact the GSC organized for a digital assembly and plenty of gurus took benefit of the digital platform to attach and share their insights by way of the web occasion.

The convention was held on Saturday morning for the US, which coincided with the afternoon in Europe and Africa, and the night in India and most of Asia. It lasted for 2 and a half hours, with three plenary addresses, adopted by discussions in smaller breakout teams. About forty members attended the convention from all around the world. The matter, ‘Helping Disciples To Face Challenges’ was chosen based mostly on suggestions from the primary Guru Conference.

Prahladananda Swami, Chair of the Guru Services Committee, defined that the general function of the convention was to facilitate the chance for ISKCON gurus to alternate info and be taught from each other.

“The service of an initiating guru is a difficult one,” Prahladananda Swami mentioned. “New gurus particularly profit from the affiliation of friends. While there’s some particular coaching for gurus in our society, and extra is being developed, it’s not in depth. Thus, it’s all of the extra vital to supply venues for inspiration, affiliation, and encouragement.”

Radhanath Swami, the primary key-note speaker, spoke in regards to the want for growing robust communities inside ISKCON to information disciples of all gurus. He emphasised the necessity for ISKCON members to be inspired to take shelter of a number of senior devotees- by way of a community of caring assist. He confused that disciples have to be spiritually robust to face the challenges that all of us face in life. He reminded the members that particular person non secular progress and our connections to our communities are what give us power to hold on within the observe of bhakti.

The subsequent speaker was Niranjana Swami, who suggested, “We ought to see every devotee when it comes to their future, and never their previous.” In different phrases, take care of devotees means serving to disciples and devotees to awaken their full potential in Krishna consciousness, and never being judgmental or failing to see the potential in every individual. Maharaj additionally confused that relationships with different group members play a serious function in supporting particular person devotees and that every one leaders ought to encourage significant relationships amongst devotees.

Acyuta-priya Das, an ISKCON Zonal Supervisor, was the subsequent speaker. He defined the counselor system he helped to ascertain in Ukraine, and provided suggestions how networks of senior devotee may give shelter to youthful, much less mature members.

Anuttama Dasa, one other member of the GSC, was host of the occasion. He famous that the dialogue illustrated the variety of duties gurus have in ISKCON, and in caring for disciples. Some have comparatively small numbers of disciples beneath their care, whereas others have hundreds of disciples. Some gurus with many disciples have developed elaborate programs of counselors and caretakers who assist to take care of their disciples. Other gurus, these with much less disciples, are extra straight concerned in guiding particular person disciples by way of the challenges they face whether or not private, social, or philosophical.

During the query and reply interval, a variety of challenges confronted by disciples naturally arose, various from every day issues with households and employment, to private non secular points together with strictly observing initiation vows, to working harmoniously with native temple leaders, and to dealing with unrealistic expectations of ISKCON leaders, together with one’s private gurus.

In ISKCON it’s understood that gurus are accountable to information disciples, however typically the expectations of the disciples for his or her guru turns into unrealistic. As taught within the ISKCON Disciples Course (necessary now for all new ISKCON disciples), a guru’s experience just isn’t in household counseling, monetary investments, or marriage choices—however in guiding disciples the way to develop their Krishna consciousness and awaken love of God.

Anuttama Dasa summarized, “The convention promoted the type of dialogue that’s wanted amongst ISKCON gurus. These senior devotees have the best service to render, and the best accountability and all of us must assist them in that service to their disciples and the ISKCON society.”

It was concluded that Srila Prabhupada’s instance of devotee care have to be remembered and prioritized always. Prabhupada’s temper of providing mercy and kindness to all must be the premise of an ISKCON guru’s service in serving to disciples face no matter challenges could come up in non secular life. Individual devotee care is a vital issue for all followers of Srila Prabhupada, in no matter service they might be rendering.

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