At the pre-launch of ISKCON Connection on the 7th day of the ILS, Praharana Devi Dasi explained that the new initiative will help connect every devotee to our worldwide community. ISKCON Connection, which will be formally launched on Gaura Purnima day this year, is a 50th anniversary initiative.
“Any ISKCON devotee can register on the website, and will be able to connect to other ISKCON devotees, become familiar with GBC activities, be nurtured in spiritual life, and access a secure database of ISKCON members,” said Praharana Devi Dasi in her introductory talk.
Devotees can fill a form on the prelaunch site at www.iskconconnection.org straight away, but they will get a welcome letter and be able to access the facilities on the site after its formal launch on 23rd March.
In the next presentation, Kaunteya Das presented ISKCON’s 3 ecosystems made of the guru-disciple relationship, ISKCON as an organisation, and society at large. He explained that these ecosystems were interconnected and interdependent, but not interchangeable.
“Srila Prabhupada has told us that human society means that which is making progress towards spiritual realisation,” commented Kaunteya. “There may be differences that may sometimes surface between the needs and priorities of the management and those of the spiritual master, but these can be resolved. An organisation without the spiritual mentorship of a Guru is dead, and a social ecosystem without spirituality is mundane.”
After the plenary sessions in the morning, ILS delegates had to walk through the Expo area surrounded by different booths hosted by various ISKCON projects. Booths included those set up by the Tribal Care Initiative Mayapur, Govardhan Eco Village, Mayapur Chandrodaya Temple, Congregation Development Ministry, BBT, Museum of the Sacred Art, Back to Godhead, Kirtan Academy, VOICE and many others.
Bhakta Ashwin from ISKCON Pune NVCC who was hosting the VOICE stall said, “VOICE has been training and educating youth since 1996 and over 10,000 students have participated in different courses. It also has over a dozen youth hostels across the country close to prestigious colleges. ILS delegates who came to our stall appreciated the wide variety of training and preaching material we have here for youth, corporates, congregation and children.”
At the Kirtan Academy booth nearby, Chaitanya Chintamani Dasi was upbeat about promoting a 3-month course on kirtans.
“Mother Laxmimoni told us that the Kirtan Academy was the best kept secret of Mayapur,” she laughed. “Therefore we set this booth up and signed up many interested people whom we will contact later for our courses. It has been good to just get the word out and see how positive people feel about our work.”
The President of ISKCON Chennai, Sumithra Krishna Das felt that the booths and stalls at ILS helped him to get timely and up-to-date information about preaching activities and tools. “The best part were the free gifts so many of the stalls were handing out,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “However, it rained heavily on the second day. Water clogged the access area, and we could not get inside. The organisers helpfully sanded the entire area, and we could get access to the stalls the following day.”
Krishna Jhan Das from ISKCON Guyana expressed admiration for the commitment and dedication of the devotees who had set up the different stalls.
“They are helping Srila Prabhupada push our movement to the next level,” he concluded. “I have had a lifetime of experience by coming here, and hope to share this knowledge and apply it when I get back to my country.”[ gbc ] [ ils ] [ mayapura ]