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
Members: Urmila Dasi (Acting Chair), Drutakarma Das, Madana-mohana Das, Narayani Dasi, Adi-purusa Das, Caitanya-carana Das, Sarvajna Das, Brijabasi Das, Vinoda-bihari Das
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