Dear Maharajas, Prabhus & Didis,
Dandavat pranams, all glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga. All glories
to Sri Sri Radha Vinode Bihariji.
Srila Gurudeva has ordered me to announce the formation of the Bhakti
International Advisory Board (AB), which met for the first
time at the Badger festival in June. The meeting was attended by fifty-two
senior devotees (7 sannyassis, 34 men and 11 women) over a three day
period. The meeting was an important milestone, that brought together
experienced senior devotees who expressed their views and offered advise
on a number of important issues related to Srila Gurudevas sanga.
The agenda, which was set by Srila Gurudeva, included a range of
important topics such as: 1). the name and identity of our sanga (society);
2). preaching centres and how to facilitate them globally; 3). book
publishing & distribution; and 4). the New Braja school (Badger).
Other topics included: 5). a presentation on the new Sri Keshavaji
Gaudiya Math project (Navadvipa); 6). extensive discussions on the
establishment of procedures for dealing with complaints of abuse in
our sanga and how to support victims of maltreatment or abuse; and
7). our sangas relationship with the Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti.
Everyone who attended remarked on the convivial, fraternal atmosphere
of the meetings. All were given equal opportunity to voice their views,
and the respectful, Vaishnava-like exchanges echoed Srila Gurudevas
own mood of love and affection.
Srila Gurudeva wants the Advisory Board (AB) to play a strategic role
in guiding and supporting our sanga in its aims of practicing and
preaching Bhakti around the world. He is asking all senior devotees
who have an interest in the Advisory Board and the Bhakti International
Trust to step forward and offer your energy, ideas and good counsel.
Srila Gurudeva has made a list of senior devotees that he wants to
invite to be permanent members of the Advisory Board. Sundar Gopala
prabhu as legal counsel for Bhakti International will send those invitations
by email. At the same time, Srila Gurudeva wants that all devotees
can participate in the AB meetings, table agenda points, and offer
service and advise to the AB.
The Advisory Board will meet bi-annually, at the spring festival
in Badger and at the Kartika festival in Vrindavana. (Details
of how the AB will function can be found in the attached minutes of
its first meeting). Regional chapters of the Advisory Board can
be set up by senior devotees in cooperation with the main body of
the Advisory Board to offer counsel and advise to local devotees and
to report on local activities at the bi-annual meetings.
To appreciate the importance Srila Gurudeva gives the Advisory Board
and to refresh our memory on his plans for the Trust, its worth
reviewing excerpts of his original August 2003 announcement of the
Bhakti International Trust.
Gurudeva wants the trust to serve all
the devotees, and to be guided by the essential principle of love
and affection. Gurudevas desire is that the devotees feel free
to participate in the aims and objectives of the trust, and
of their own accord receive encouragement, advice and support
from the trust to help them succeed in their respective preaching
Gurudeva expressly wants that the trust will not create self-serving
hierarchies and management structures that interfere in
the affairs of individual devotees or group preaching projects. Rather,
he wants the trust to function as an advice bureau that
devotees independently consult on how to make their activities complimentary
and harmonious with Gurudevas desire and instructions.
will oversee and guide the trust
(and he) is the final spiritual
arbiter in all trust matters.
The trust will not take executive decisions on local devotee
preaching projects, but will advise those projects in response to
queries initiated by the devotees themselves.
The trust will
also provide a central source of information, and where appropriate
resource to the devotees for their respective grass-roots preaching
projects. Thus the trust, is not in any way a executive control
board but a vehicle for serving and facilitating devotees who
are interested to practice and preach Bhakti-yoga.
The Bhakti Advisory Board will play a pivotal role in achieving the
above aims and objectives, acting in an advisory capacity to both
Srila Gurudevas Bhakti International Trust and various devotee
projects. On behalf of Srila Gurudeva and all the senior Vaishnavas,
I humbly invite the devotees to contact me or Sundar Gopala prabhu
if you have any questions on how to participate. Please refer
to the attached meeting minutes for more details on the ABs
first meetings discussions.
Download the minutes of the
Badger 2005 Bhakti Advisory Board Meeting (PDF/Zipped 144KB)