The first day of the 2008 Governing Body Commission’s Annual General Meeting began on the 25th of February at 10:00 am with chanting lead by Madhu Sevita Prabhu and worship offered to Srila Prabhupada by Bhakti Charu Swami.
Second Vice-chairman Bhakti Vaibhava Swami opened the meeting by reading from Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.5:
“O sages, I have been justly questioned by you. Your questions are worthy because they relate to Lord Krsna and so are of relevance to the world’s welfare. Only questions of this sort are capable of completely satisfying the self.”
Chairman Bhanu Swami welcomed everyone and made some general announcements. Absent members are BB Govinda Swami, Giridhari Swami, Harivilas Dasa, Niranjana Swami, and Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu. Madhudvisa Dasa is the only guest.
Maharaja gave a brief summary of the Executive Committee’s work this year, the challenges as well as news of new temples opening in India in Manipur, Punjabi Bagh, Ghaziabad, Anantapur and the Mayapur Academy opening.
The morning session was entirely devoted to a presentation by the BBT.
The afternoon session began at 4:00 pm with a DVD presentation by Sivarama Swami on the activities in Hungary. The Hungarian devotees are widely recognized as authorities on Indian culture in their country and are expanding their activities into Romania and Turkey. The Hungarian Prime Minister invited the devotees to accompany him, as representatives of Indian culture in Hungary, on a state visit to India along with top ministers and businessmen.
Hari Sauri Prabhu made a fascinating presentation on behalf of Bhaktivedanta Archives detailing all the complex procedures required to conserve and protect all of Srila Prabhupada’s writings, audio and video recordings. Additionally, the Archives compile Srila Prabhupada’s teachings in different interesting formats (such as the Vedabase), making Srila Prabhupada’s teachings more accessible.
Hari Sauri impressed upon the assembly that no matter what the cost or endeavor involved, continuing this work is of utmost importance. The Archive’s goals are to complete transferring and converting all media to digital format, conserving and preserving the remaining paper-based items, completing cataloging, updating and releasing the new VedaBase, training new staff, and, ultimately, securing endowments to maintain the collection permanently, and building a permanent facility, modeled after the US Presidential Library & Museum for conservation and preservation, while allowing public access.