On the weekend of the 29th and 30th of November, the leaders of ISKCON Brazil assembled in Vrajabhumi (picture below) for an important national meeting of the CGB (Conselho Governamental do Brasil – the Brazilian Governing Council of ISKCON).
Vrajabhumi is located in Terósopolis, in the mountains, about 2 hours from Rio de Janeiro. They have a beautiful temple there, with Sri Sri Krishna-Balaram presiding.
Brazil is geographically huge, has dozens of ISKCON projects and a population of 200 million people. Currently we have two international GBCs assigned to the country, Param Gati Swami and Hridayananda Das Goswami. Administrating the country is impossible for only two GBCs. Realizing this, they have been working hard in the last few years to revive and empower the CGB. This year a major milestone was reached in this regard.
We have, in Brazil, four resident sannyasis, all initiating gurus, more than any other country after India and the USA. It has been the norm here that these influential leaders would be assigned different geographical areas of Brazil and act as representatives of our international GBCs.
This year, however, at these meetings, the sannyasis formally requested to be exempt from all GBC administrative work. This includes our current GBC in Brazil, Param Gati Swami (Hridayananda Maharaja was already acting more as an adviser than an administrator). No longer will we have a lone GBC sannyasi running around the country putting out fires, organizing local meetings, etc.
An Executive Committee of five devotees was created (four of whom are Prabhupada’s grand-disciples): the president of the CGB, the vice-president (myself!) and three more leaders. All national administrative responsibility and executive work of national plans was transferred to this group.
The sannyasis will only act as advisers to this Executive Committee, replying to requests from them (our first request was for a strategy to deal with the growing IRM presence in Brazil). This will allow them to concentrate on what they like to do best: preaching and enthusing the devotees in Krishna Consciousness.
If we can pull this off, it will be a remarkable feat: a new generation of leaders, not Prabhupada disciples, not gurus, not sannyasis taking the administrative lead. May Prabhupada and Lord C empower us.