DEVOTEE CARE I S K C O N Presented by: Devotee Care Committee for ISKCON GBC
Vision statement Every devotee in ISKCON is provided with the spiritual, mental/emotional and physical care they deserve as parts and parcels of Krsna according to Srila Prabhupada's instruction and example. This should be done on the personal and institutional level.
As the saying goes……. Mission without action is a day dream Action without mission is a nightmare It is important to have a mission statement for each and every project.
We care and strive for the spiritual, physical and emotional well-being of the devotees of ISKCON
So that they are encouraged, inspired and empowered to be happy and make progress in Krsna consciousness
And thus be enthused to expand Srila Prabhupada’s mission.
An honest devotee who has truly addressed his own inner self knows the pains of disconnection from Krsna and by properly addressing this disconnection by prescribed means becomes empowered to offer deliverance from such suffering to others.
We assist with the overall management and facilitation of the leaders of ISKCON in taking care of devotees who have dedicated their lives to Srila Prabhupada's movement.
We believe in the power of spiritual education through Srila Prabhupada books as a key to shaping a better future for the devotees
We make a commitment to holistic, sustainable and collaborative approaches to tackling problems at all levels.
There should be equal access for all devotees for programs and facilities of ‘devotee care’
We have a firm belief in the application that ‘prevention is better than cure’.
Human Resources (devotees) are very important for ISKCON. The attraction, cultivation and nourishment of sincere souls should be one of the most important activities in our movement.
Devotee needs The needs of a devotee can be divided into three categories: i. Bodily needs (physical) ii. Needs of the mind (mental & emotional) iii. Needs of the Soul (spiritual)
Physical needs To educate and facilitate the devotees in practices that bring good health. This will then help them to practice their sadhana and render their service to the Supreme Lord without hindrance.
If the temple authorities do not adequately address the needs of a devotee of weak health, it is likely the individual’s faith in the ISKCON society will weaken. This weakness of faith from one individual can have a domino effect on the broader community of devotees.
Physical Care - Action Plan
ISKCON leaders can facilitate education on health related matters.
Engage qualified health practitioners for devotees in their respective regions of service.
This can be organized on the global, national and local levels.
Physical Care - Action Plan
Temple authorities should be aware of the following:
Senior brahmacari and single ladies asramas in Mayapur
ISKCON Tirupati is planning to set up a project “Hare Krishna Care Home”, which will be for the elderly devotees of ISKCON and will include a temple, hospital and an asrama for the elderly. It will be located on fifty acres of land near ISKCON temple.
Emotional Care (Action Plan) Emotional care is being provided in the existing systems of spiritual development: Counseling system Bhakti Vriksa Nama-hatta Different sat-sanga groups Emotional care (care about mind) can be given through, relationship, sadacar and counseling. Emotional care expands when it comes to congregation. Example: taking care of oppressed / beaten wives
Introducing programs like the counseling system and Bhakti Vriksha.
Different sat-sanga groups according to local situation
Emotional care can be given through good relationships and association
One who is Krsna conscious is a perfect yogi; he is aware of everyone's happiness and distress by dint of his own personal experience. The cause of the distress of a living entity is forgetfulness of his relationship with God. And the cause of happiness is knowing Krsna....(BG 6.32)
The process is simple. Follow the regulative principles of devotional life undeviatingly, regularly chant 16 rounds of beads daily and without fail, read all our literatures, attend classes and aratis, go for street Sankirtana. If there are any questions, always refer them to your elder god brothers and sisters. So our method is not so difficult. Rather it is joyful. So engage yourself enthusiastically in this way and you will be happy and in the end go back to home, back to Godhead.
Need for systematic education in the techniques of spiritual life for all categories of devotees
The preacher of Krsna consciousness needs to be educated to be internally peaceful by proper spiritual engagement. One can then turn one’s attention to the welfare of others.
Spiritual Care: Opening One’s Heart to Superiors
Sri Suta Gosvami said: O God, although we are born in a mixed caste, we are still promoted in birthright simply by serving and following the great who are advanced in knowledge. Even by conversing with such great souls, one can without delay cleanse oneself of all disqualifications resulting from lower births.
Suta Gosvami learned the science of Krsna from great devotees and authorities like Sukadeva and he was so qualified that even the sages of Naimisaranya eagerly wanted to hear from him the science of Krsna in the form of Srimad-Bhagavatam. So he had the double association of great souls by hearing and preaching. (SB 1.18.18p)
Suta Goswami considers the opportunity to humbly submit his realizations before the greatly qualified sages as also being instrumental in being purified.
Devotee care committee at local levels
Temples should have a trained “Devotee care committee” or trained “care givers”.
It is important to reach out and develop partnerships with a wide array of people who can help – mature devotees, family members, friends, psychologists, health practitioners, counselors, social workers, therapists, etc
Database of devotees
Each temple should make a comprehensive list of its temple and congregation devotees. (This will help in defining the needs of the various groups of devotees and help them accordingly)