ISKCON Ministries are headed by ministers who are individuals appointed by the GBC to become expert in their field and oversee a specific mission, such as Educational Development, Book Distribution, Communications, and Congregational Development. Ministers advise, assist, and promote their assigned ministries, and educate zonal secretaries and ISKCON leaders in how to take practical steps towards achieving their Statement of Mission. All ISKCON ministers submit an annual report to the GBC and are invited to attend the GBC’s Annual General Meeting.
Ministry of Communications
Minister – Anuttama Dasa
The Office of Communications for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) works to create and sustain favorable environments for advancing the goals of the Krishna consciousness movement by establishing and maintaining confidence and faith in the integrity of the movement’s members and its mission. As such we are committed to helping ISKCON be a respected and influential religious organization all over the world.
In essence, ISKCON Communications builds bridges between ISKCON as an organization (and sometimes the Vaishnava faith as a tradition) and key audiences. These audiences include the media, academia, government officials and NGOs, interfaith groups, the broader Hindu community, and – perhaps most importantly – our internal audience of Hare Krishna devotees, practitioners and congregational supporters.
Some of our work with the media includes the sending out of media releases (subjects will range from ISKCON events, such as a Ratha Yatra parade, to ISKCON’s response to issues of concern in the world), consultation with reporters and producers who are interested in better covering ISKCON or related topics, creating resource materials such as the ISKCON media kit, and occasionally responding to misleading, erroneous, or biased portrayals in the media.
We help the academic community by providing them with case studies to explore and write about, and by offering the practitioner’s view to their study of the faith. We attend academic conferences and provide guest speakers in University classes. In addition, we help to connect others (such as the media) with scholars who are experts on the Hare Krishna movement and the Chaitanya Vaishnava tradition in which it is rooted.
ISKCON’s Office of Communications also works with government officials (on local, regional, national and international levels) to help them better serve the needs of a religiously diverse world. We also seek to ensure that ISKCON’s activities are harmonious with government policy, and that government policy is being exercised in a fair, neutral and even-handed manner.
We also work with representatives from other faith traditions, as well as organizations that represent other Hindu sampradayas, in a spirit of mutual cooperation to further shared concerns and learn from one another’s practice. We sponsor and take part in dialogues, and help to involve ISKCON in faith-based service projects with other faith organizations. ISKCON Communications is also involved in a formal way with several umbrella interfaith and Hindu collectives.
Finally, we help to bridge individual ISKCON members with one another, with the leadership of ISKCON and with the general society. We maintain the organization’s news site, sponsor gatherings and conferences, and undertake projects and initiatives to empower our members to better represent the ideals of ISKCON and its Founder-Acarya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
One of the core tenets of the Vaishnava faith is that one should utilize whatever is favorable for devotional service (bhakti) to Krishna. Thus, devotees may use modern technologies, practices, and skills – but because they do so to serve God, these seemingly “material” devices become spiritualized. Communications and marketing activities are neither good nor bad; it depends on the purpose for which one uses them. They can be used to manipulate people’s desires and egos to increase greed and envy, leading to a more materialistic world. However, they can also be used in the Lord’s service, to help people understand and appreciate the significance and relevance of spiritual life.
The effective use of communications has helped the public to become more aware of and informed about ISKCON’s contributions to the wider society. It has helped to counter the misinformation and stereotype that minority faith traditions sometimes face, and has enabled us to bring ISKCON’s valuable theological and philosophical outlook to diverse dialogues and forums. Perhaps most importantly, effective communications allows us to serve as a mirror to ISKCON to demonstrate to the organization what the perception of our faith is in the world, what the needs and interests of the world around us are, and how we can take concrete proactive steps to become the type of meaningful, relevant service organization that we have the potential to be.
We believe that in order to fulfill our mission – to help ISKCON be a respected and influential religious organization all over the world – we must adhere to the following principles and values. These principles represent the spiritual foundation upon which we base our communication.
- Consistency with Srila Prabhupada’s teaching and example
- Appropriate consideration of time, place, and circumstance
- Building interdependent relationships
- Maintaining exemplary character and behavior
Deity Worship Ministry
Minister – Nrsimha Kavaca Das
The ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry facilitates and encourages the maintenance and development of deity worship according to Srila Prabhupada’s example and teachings by offering education, resources and guidance to inspire and nourish devotees’ desire to worship the deity form of the Lord. Additionally, we strive to foster within ISKCON the corresponding brahmana Vaisnava culture centered on the service and worship of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna.
The Ministry is very active in developing and offering training, which includes:
- Mayapur Academy (deity worship school)
- seminars on deity worship
- on-site training and evaluation to managers and pujaris at ISKCON centers worldwide
- educating ISKCON leaders in the importance of deity worship
We also offer various resources to assist devotees in the worship of the Lord, including:
- periodicals and manuals
- Internet-based information
- training videos
Ministry of Health and Welfare
Minister – Prahaladananda Swami. Member – Bir Krishna Goswami
In 1994 the GBC body established the ISKCON Health and Welfare Ministry to assist members of ISKCON community to live a happy and healthy life.
Congregational Development Ministry
Minister – Jayapataka Swami, Co-Minister – Kaunteya Dasa
The Ministry actively collaborates with ISKCON affiliates worldwide to facilitate the spiritual growth of individuals and communities according to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada.
We offer consultancy, education and networking to assist the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to develop and expand its communities in accord with the following principles:
- A deeply caring attitude for all members, according to their stage in life and their different levels of needs
- Promoting the engagement of all devotees in outreach and their empowerment in taking responsibility in the mission
- Organizing all practitioners in small groups for intimate exchanges and the building of friendly relations; regular supervision and support
- Temples as tirthas for inspiration and exemplary behavior; enthusing large gatherings and festivals
- Ongoing systematic training and education
To facilitate these objectives:
- We design and present courses
- We produce, translate and circulate books, articles, supporting materials and audiovisuals
- We assist in organizing festivals and conventions
- We remain updated on innovations and trends from both inside and outside ISKCON
- We support the Ministry’s specialized divisions: ISKCON Prison Ministries and the Armed Forces Outreach Ministries
ISKCON Youth Ministry
Minister – Manorama Dasa
Our mission is to inspire, train, engage and empower youth in Krishna consciousness to their fullest potential.
We work with volunteers to create environments favorable for our mission. We’ll share information and success stories on this website and hope that you will be inspired to start similar programs in your community.
ISKCON Youth Ministry is affiliated with ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a branch of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition within Hinduism dating back to antiquity. At the age of 69, Srila Prabhupada took up the order of his spiritual master and journeyed to the West to awaken Krishna consciousness within the hearts of people suffering due to rampant materialism and identification with the temporary body, caught up in a cycle of birth, death, disease and old age. He taught that we are not these bodies, but the eternal soul within. He showed us life on a path of sainthood, progressing to a transcendent spiritual reality that is ever joyful, everlasting, and can be attained even while in this material world. Our life can become sublime by switching our selfish “I, me, mine” consciousness to selfless Krishna (God) consciousness, transforming lust into love of God through loving devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, our eternal Father, friend, and well-wisher. In gratitude to Srila Prabhupada and to his dear disciples, we humbly attempt to pass on to others the gift he gave us.
Ministry of Education
Minister – Sesa Dasa
Other Members: Laxmimoni Devi Dasi, Saunaka Rsi Dasa, Yadunandana Swami, Radhika Raman Dasa
The Ministry of Education’s mission is to facilitate, administer and develop ISKCON’s educational system. The MED is primarily an empowering body, facilitating education and educators, therefore recommending principles, guidelines and values. It is also involved with issues of assessment and accreditation for educational initiatives and institutions. Thus the MED takes moral responsibility for the development of education in ISKCON but otherwise it does not directly control any facet of the implementation of education. This is left to the array of educational initiatives already existing.
Co-Ministers – Malati Devi Dasi and Dina Sharana Devi Dasi.
Other member – Prasanta Devi Dasi
Ministry of Sannyasa Services
Minister – Prahladananda Swami
Other members: Sivarama Swami, Guru Prasad Swami, Bhaktivaibhava Swami, Bhakti Caitanya Swami, Hridaya Caitanya Das
Ministry of Book Distribution
Minister – Vijay Dasa
Ministry of Cow Protection & Agriculture
Minister – Kalakantha Das, Govindananda Das
Ministry of Padayatra
Minister – Lokanath Swami
Ministry of Justice
Minister – Sesa Dasa
ISKCON Dispute Resolution Office
Ministry of Justice: ISKCON Dispute Resolution Office
Director – GBC EC, pending nomination
Ministry of Fund Development
Minister – Devakinandan Dasa
Sastric Advisory Council
Adi Purusha Dasa, a brahmacari, has been an active member of ISKCON since 1989, and is a disciple of Gopal Krishna Goswami. In 1990 he joined the ISKCON temple in Lviv, Ukraine, where he served as a book distributor. He was a member of the Ukranian BBT for over ten years where he translated the Caitanya-Caritamrita, parts of the Srimad Bhagavatam and other devotional works. Adi Purusha Dasa moved to Vrindavan in 1999 where he now studies and teaches sastra. He currently teaches Bhaki Sastri and Bhaktivaibhava courses in Europe and India.
Brijabasi Dasa joined ISKCON in the Ukraine in 2000 where he served as a secretary to the Regional Secretary, as a temple secretary, and later as a teacher at the Kiev Temple Vaisnava Academy. He undertook several Bhakti Sastri courses while in Kiev. In 2001 he moved to the brahmacari ashram in Kiev Temple. Brijabasi Dasa is a disciple of Indradyumna Swami. In 2006 he married and began to study Sanskrit and Bengali. He has translated a number of articles written by Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati or his followers, which had been originally published in the Bengali periodicals of the Gaudiya Math between 1920 and 1930. Brijabasi Dasa is an active researcher for ISKCON writers such as Bhakti Vikasa Swami and Satyaraj Dasa. He teaches at the Vaisnava Academy in Kiev, the Mayapur Institute, and at academic conferences on Hindu and Vaisnava Studies in the Ukraine. He has been a member of the Sastric Advisory Council since 2012.
Chaitanya Charana Dasa
Chaitanya Charan Dasa is a disciple of Radhanath Swami and is a brahmacari based in Chowpatty. An engineer by educational background, Chaitanya Charana Dasa has over two decades of serving in college outreach preaching with a special interest in the scientific presentation of bhakti. Known especially for his logical question-answers, he has spoken at prominent colleges, international conferences, and companies worldwide. Chaitanya Charan Dasa is an associate editor of “Back to Godhead” magazine and has authored over 20 books, including several responding to contemporary criticisms of religion. He is the author of the world’s only ‘Gita-daily feature,’ wherein he has written over 2500 daily meditations on the Bhagavad-Gita.
Drutakarma Dasa is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and a renunciate. He joined ISKCON in 1974 at the Washington D.C. temple. Drutakarma Dasa has written articles for “Back to Godhead” magazine and serves as an associate editor. He is co-author of the BBT publications Chant and Be Happy, The Higher Taste, Coming Back, and Divine Nature. In the science field he is co-author of the magazine “Origins” and of the books Forbidden Archaeology and The Hidden History of the Human Race. He has authored Human Devolution: A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory, The Forbidden Archaeologist, Forbidden Archaeology’s Impact, and My Science, My Religion (a collection of 24 papers he has presented at international scientific conferences). Drutakarma Dasa lectures at scientific conferences and universities and has appeared many times on television and radio. In his research he explores ideas about human origins and antiquity, consistent with the accounts given in the Srimad Bhagavatam. He has been a member of the Sastric Advisory Council since its creation in 2002 and belongs to the executive committee of the Temple of Vedic Planetarium Exhibits Group.
Hari Parshad Dasa
Hari Parshad Dasa is a disciple of Radha Govinda Das Goswami, and joined ISKCON in 2002. He was born in a Gauda-sarasvata brahmana family in Mumbai. His father and grandfather are both devotees of Sri Sri Rukmini Vitthala of Pandharpur. Hari Parshad Dasa learned Sanskrit in the traditional way in his childhood and was taught the Laghu-siddhanta-kaumudi of Pandita Varadaraja. Between 2002 to 2007 he served as a book distributor, and organised programs and seminars for ISKCON youth in Juhu. He has also written Sanskrit verses in the Citra-kavya style. In 2007 Hari Parshad Dasa was appointed assistant editor of Gopal Jiu Publications. Hari Parshad Dasa is an accomplished Sanskrit scholar, having studied the Astadhyayi, the complete four thousand sutras by Panini and completing a translation with commentary of Bhakitvinode Thakura’s Manah-siksa in 2015. He currently compiles a fortnightly e-magazine called “Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu” where he regularly contributes fresh translations and articles. He holds a Master’s Degree in Information Technology, graduating with distinction from the Manipal University in 2012. He is married with a son. Hari Parshad Dasa has been a member of the Sastric Advisory Council since 2016.
Narayani Devi Dasi
Narayani Devi Dasi joined ISKCON Boston in 1970 when she was a music student of Northwestern University. She is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and is currently in the vanaprastha order, with a grown son. Narayani Devi Dasi has taught courses at the VIHE which include: Bhakti Sastri, Bhakti Vaibhava, and Bhaktivedanta. She has helped to write the VTE curriculum for the Bhakti Sastri course and has also written a series of fourteen books. The literature she has produced includes Srimad Bhagavatam at a Glance, which has a picture for every verse of the Bhagavatam, as well as Bhagavad-gita at a Glance, which has a picture for every verse of the Gita.
Sarvajna Dasa was born in Belarus, former Soviet Union, in 1971. He joined ISKCON in 1995 and has lived in the brahmacari order since 1998. Sarvajna Dasa is a disciple of Niranjana Swami. Sarvajna Dasa taught Sanskrit and philosophy at the BBT Sanskrit School between 2006 and 2011. He has lived in the Bhaktivedanta Ashram in Moscow since 2011, editing works by the acaryas in both Russian and English. He teaches Bhakti Sastri and Bhakti Vaibhava courses, delivering lectures and seminars in both India and the former Soviet Union. Sarvajna Dasa is currently the Secretary for Niranjana Swami and has been on the Sastric Advisory Council since 2013.
Urmila Devi Dasi (Chair)
Urmila Devi Dasi has served ISKCON continuously since her initiation by Srila Prabhupada in 1973. She and her husband have been in the vanaprastha order since 1996. They have three married children, 14 grandchildren (three of whom are married), and a great-grandson. Urmila Devi Dasi has a master’s degree in school administration, a Ph.D. in education, was a primary and secondary school teacher for 27 years, and has 19 years of experience with school management. She has taught the entire Bhakti Sastri course over 15 times. She is an associate editor of “Back to Godhead” magazine, (since 1990) and a professor of Sociology of Religion at Bhaktivedanta Collage. She is on the editorial board of “Balijytih: International Journal of Theology, Philosophy, and Eastern Culture.” She is the author of dozens of “Back to Godhead” articles, Dr. Best Learn to Read, an 83-book literacy program, and The Great Mantra for Mystic Meditation. She has produced a fully illustrated edition of Raghunatha Dasa Goswami’s Sri Manah Siksa with Bhaktivinoda’s commentary along with the commentaries of contemporary Vaisnavas. Urmila Devi Dasi travels worldwide teaching Krishna consciousness and has been a member of the Sastric Advisory Council since its creation in 2002.
Gauranga Dasa is a disciple of Radhanath Swami and is a brahmacari. He is the Director of the Bhaktivedanta Academy for Culture and Education (BACE) which was established in 2006. The Academy conducts regular Bhakti Sastri courses, and Gauranga Dasa gives bi-monthly seminars on the Srimad Bhagavatam. He has recently been appointed the Director of the Bhaktivedanta Research Centre in Kolkata. He is Dean of the Bhaktivedanta Vidyapeeth, an academic institution based at the Govardhan Ecovillage which was established in 2012. (Bhaktivedanta Vidyapeeth offers a two-year full-time study program on the Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya Caritamrita.) He gives regular classes at the Bhaktivedanta Vidyapeeth, and is also a member of the council of advisors of Dharma Civilization Foundation (DCF). Gauranga Dasa is a co-temple president at the ISKCON Govardhan Eco Village, and Vice President of ISKCON Chowpatty Temple. He is the Director of Devotee Care, Temple Development, Systems and Admin for ISKCON, and Chairman of ISKCON Western India Divisional Council. He has been a member of the Sastric Advisory Council since 2016.
In March 1969 while studying at Brandeis University in Boston, Giriraj Swami met Srila Prabhupada, from whom, he felt, he learned more in one brief exchange than he had learned in his many years of academic education. After graduating from Brandeis cum laude, he accepted formal initiation from Srila Prabhupada. Giriraj quickly became a leading member of the Boston center, and he was soon given the opportunity to go to India with Srila Prabhupada and helped establish Prabhupada’s mission there.
In 1972, he was appointed by Prabhupada to be president of ISKCON Bombay and trustee of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Since then, he has made many significant contributions to Srila Prabhupada’s mission, most notably overseeing all aspects of the development of Hare Krishna Land in Juhu, Bombay. He was instrumental in the acquisition and development of Bhaktivedanta Ashram in Govardhan and led the development of the Kirtan Ashram for women, the Bhaktivedanta Hospice, and the Vrindavan Institute of Palliative Care, all in Vrindavan. In the year following Srila Prabhupada’s passing in 1977, he was awarded the renounced order of life and appointed president of ISKCON’s board of trustees in India. In 1982 he was appointed to ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission, and he went on to oversee the Society’s activities in Bombay, Mauritius, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Giriraj Swami has also taught at the VIHE and continues to lecture and to give presentations at retreats and workshops around the world. He has written several books on ISKCON devotees and history.
Gopinathacarya dasa, a disciple of Kadamba Kanana Swami, is currently a fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, and a tutor at Bhaktivedanta College, Belgium. He joined ISKCON in 1999, is in a renounced asrama, and assisted the Dutch BBT for some years in the early 2000s. He holds a DPhil in Theology from the University of Oxford, where he successfully defended his thesis on the poetry and poetics of Kavikarnapura in 2010, and a BA and MA in Oriental Studies from the University of Ghent, Belgium. He has been a tutor at Bhaktivedanta College since 2005, teaching courses on Hinduism, Vedas and Upanisads, Sanskrit Poetry, and Rupa Gosvami’s Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. His research interests are Sanskrit poetry and poetics, early Caitanya Vaisnava history, and Sanskrit hermeneutics. He is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Bhaktivedanta Research Centre, Kolkata, as well as an editor for the “Journal of Hindu Studies,” published by Oxford University Press.
Haridev Dasa, a disciple of Sivarama Maharaja, first read Srila Prabhupada’s books in 1992, and joined ISKCON as a full-time devotee two years later. Harideva Dasa is a brahmacari and is presently serving as temple president at Krasnodar, Russia. He studied Sanskrit from Gopiparanadhana Dasa and Matsya-avatara Dasa, gaining the experience of translating acaryas’ commentaries. He has published several devotional books and regularly teaches Bhakti Sastri courses. In the spring of 2013 he was appointed as president of the Krasnodar Society of Krishna Consciousness. In 2014 as part of the Krasnodar temple, he started a new educational asrama that teaches both basic and advanced devotional study. In 2014 he took part in writing an article for the sake of protecting ISKCON Russia from the assault of pseudo-tattvavadi. In 2015 he was asked to participate as an author in “Vaisnavism: Open Forum” magazine (the Russian analogue of ICJ), and has contributed articles.
Krishna Kshetra Swami
Krishna Kshetra Swami is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, initiated in 1972. In 1995, as coordinator of a research group, he compiled and published Pancaratra-pradipa (in 2 volumes), a manual for Caitanya Vaishnava temple worship. He also served ISKCON’s GBC as the minister for Deity worship from then until 2005. In 2004, after eight years of university study (resuming his interrupted studies from 1972), he received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Oxford (St. Cross College), for his dissertation on Caitanya Vaishnava image worship, now available from Routledge Publishers as Attending Krsna’s Image: Caitanya Vaisnava Murti-seva as Devotional Truth (2006), as a book in the Routledge Hindu Studies Series. Krishna Kshetra Swami is now a Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He also teaches at Bhaktivedanta College, Radhadesh, since 2002. He recently taught survey courses in Indian religions and Asian religions in the Religion Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville. In September 2007 he taught for one year at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has also given lectures at universities in Central Europe. Amidst academic work he also travels extensively, teaching about spiritual life.
Krishnabhishek das holds a doctorate in South Asian Studies and Religious Studies and his dissertation was on Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s vision of Vaishnavism and the West. He was born and brought up in a Vaishnava family in Calcutta, India and was initiated by HH Tamal Krishna Goswami in 2001. His research interests spans the history of Gaudiya Vaishnavism but focuses on the nineteenth century. He has published various research articles and book chapters in the Journal of Vaiṣṇava Studies and other scholarly books. He is currently a professor of Hinduism and World’s Religions and currently lives in Michigan, USA.
Radhika Ramana Dasa
Radhika Ramana Dasa holds the Charles Redd Chair of Religious Studies at Utah State University. He is the author or editor of four books as well as numerous articles published in academic books and journals. He has received three teaching awards and two research fellowships. Radhika Ramana completed his Ph.D. on the Sandarbhas of Srila Jiva Gosvami from Oxford University. His first book, The Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami, is a detailed study and translation of Jiva Gosvami’s commentary on the first 5 sutras of the Vedanta Sutra. More recently, Radhika Ramana co-authored (with Krishna Kshetra Swami) a book on the Srimad Bhagavatam for Columbia University Press. In 2008, he had the opportunity to meet with Pope Benedict XVI on behalf of the Hindu American community. Radhika Ramana grew up in Boise, Idaho, where his parent’s home-schooled him using a curriculum based on Srimad Bhagavatam. He is a disciple of Hanumatpresaka Swami. His parents run the ISKCON temple in Boise, Idaho, and his mother, Aruddha devi-dasi, is well known for her book and seminars on home-schooling by using the Bhagavatam as the main textbook. He is married with two sons. Radhikaramana was a columnist for Back to Godhead magazine for many years starting at the age of 12.
ISKCON Property Office
Members – Current GBC Executive Committee, Bhaktarupa Dasa (Member-Secretary)
Central Office of Child Protection
Director – Kamalesh Krishna Das
Our mission is to protect the children of Srila Prabhupada’s movement from child abuse and neglect. By doing so, we strengthen the future of the movement – the children – while providing an example to the world of a spiritual society that practices compassionate caring and protection.
- Investigating and adjudicating past and present cases of alleged child abuse
- Supporting victims of mistreatment when they were children under the care of the organization
- Establishing prevention programs to help temples and schools establish child protection teams and screening programs for staff and volunteers
- Establishing education programs to assist temples and schools create child protection education programs for managers, teachers, children, parents and other community members
- Acting as a resource and guidance center for all child protection concerns
For more information, please visit http://www.childprotectionoffice.org