D ay three immediately built on the enthusiasm and camaraderie developed over first two days of the SGGS. On third day, participants took the task of looking seventy years into the future, when all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples – and even most of the devotees who took initiation not long after Srila Prabhupada’s departure – will certainly have left the planet. The participants were asked to envision what kind of ISKCON they would like to see – what a highly successful ISKCON would look like.
Devotees created a list of top-five, ideal scenarios. These brief vision statements were then compiled and broken into nine categories, written onto brightly colored cards, and posted on the wall. Each devotee was then invited to stand under the scenario he or she would like to discuss further. The nine groups were:
– ISKCON: highly respected and influential
– A Society of pure devotees or devotees striving for deep, spiritual
– Highly functional ISKCON leadership
– Ideal rural communities
– Krsna consciousness in every town and village
– Mayapur and Vrindavan raised to their rightful place in the world
– Prabhupada recognized for his greatness
– Science: Bhaktivedanta Institute influential & active as per Srila
– Education: Srila Prabhupada’s books taught on all levels of Society
Participants in each group collaborated and came up with plans on how best to realize such a vision. A thought-provoking and energizing session ensued, with participants writing down and then sharing their thoughts about the three days they had just spent together.
Devotees expressed in their mother tongues (then translating their own words into English) their appreciation of both the opportunity for this sanga and the facility to discuss among leaders how best to serve ISKCON for its future betterment. There was unanimous agreement that more such sangas are needed.
The finale centered on Srila Prabhupada and his immortal words in the statement included in the Day 2 report about unity in diversity. Devotees read and re-read Srila Prabhupada’s words, internalizing them as they again prepare to push on Srila Prabhupada’s mission in all corners of the world. This statement is so important that I’d like to close this article with it:
“This is called unity in diversity. I am therefore suggesting that all our men meet in Mayapur every year during the birth anniversary of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. With all GBC and senior men present we should discuss how to make unity in diversity. But, if we fight on account of diversity, then it is simply the material platform. Please try to maintain the philosophy of unity in diversity. That will make our movement successful.”
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