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Understanding of ISKCON
by Shesha das (GKG)
Everyone has probably noticed how fast things are changing at the present time. These developments affect our lives, preaching, domestic life, or families. Naturally, ISKCON as an entity is also growing, developing, and changing. Our society isn't a company of a few old monks sitting behind closed bars and waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.
Quite the opposite. ISKCON is a congregation of devotees who constantly develop in their spiritual as well as material understanding, who day by day interact with the fast-changing social and economic environment. Our movement is a congregation of devotees who are trying to fulfill their eternal spiritual needs as well as the needs pertaining to the body and mind.
ISKCON is no longer an ashram of brahmacharis who go for sankirtan every morning. It is becoming slowly but definitely a society consisting of many thousands of Krishna-conscious families, brahmacharis, students, sannyasis. It is becoming a society possessing assets worth millions of dollars, with growing political and social influence on society in general. To disregard these changes and blindly keep to the so-called "old proved" approach is death-like dangerous. It is like a company that is not able to follow the market requirements and produces products that although very nice are no longer interesting to people. Thus after some time, the company will have a heavy cash crisis and will go towards liquidation.
Of course, everything in ISKCON is based on eternal principals that will never change. Sixteen rounds of japa, Bhagavatam and Gita, morning and evening programs will hopefully always be there, and of course birth, old age, disease and death. However, as I have noticed for example in connection with the bhaktishastri course, many devotees from all over the world who have finished that course want to continue to study, for example Srimad Bhagavatam, but are not able to do so because of lack of guidance.
Most of the brahmacharis with whom we were distributing books are now married and have children. Most of them are very good devotees, though not as actively engaged in direct activities of ISKCON as before, and I believe a very important part of our society. This is a few of many examples.
Another aspect that I would like to mention is that because ISKCON is becoming more and more popular, lots of funds are being collected, which sometimes can be a million dollars or rupees or whatever, and without a proper control system they will be subject to misappropriation and corruption, which unfortunately is often today's unpleasant reality.
The point that I am trying to stress in this article is that we need a wider understanding of our society as whole and at the same time a more strictly outlined structure within ISKCON (a kind of varnashrama if you like), and I strongly believe it is of vital importance.
© CHAKRA 9 January 2002
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