Minutes from Euro RGB Meeting in Radhadesh – October 7 2013
1) HH Prahladananda Swami
(Euro RGB Secretary and Candidate for GBC for Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Bosnia;
Euro RGB Chairman; Health and Sannyasa Minister)
2) HH Sivarama Swami
(GBC of Hungary, co-GBC of Romania)
3) HH Yadunandana Swami
(Euro Minister for Educational Development; Bhaktivedanta College Principal)
4) HG Dharmaksetra Dasa
(Euro RGB Secretary for Netherlands, Euro Minister of Records)
5) HG Doyal Govinda Dasa
(Euro RGB Secretary for Germany; TP Heidelberg)
6) HG Hridaya Caitanya Dasa
(GBC of Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain, New Mayapur; co-GBC of Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and France, except New Mayapur and Dole; Euro RGB Secretary for Benelux; TP Radhadesh)
7) HG Janesvara Dasa
(Almviks Board; Euro RGB Secretary for Sweden, Norway, and Denmark)
8) HG Kripamoya Dasa
(Euro Minister for Congregation Development)
9) HG Krsna-premarupa Dasa
(Euro RGB Secretary for Switzerland; TP Zurich)
10) HG Mahaprabhu Dasa
(Director of IC Benelux; Minister of ISKCON Communications Europe; Euro RGB 1st Vice Chairman)
11) HG Nitai Gaurasundara Dasa
(Euro RGB Assistant Secretary of France)
12) HG Parabhakti Dasa
(TP Villa Vrindavana, Italy) attending on behalf Radhanatha Swami
13) HG Praghosa Dasa
(GBC of Channel Island, Denmark, England, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Wales)
14) HG Radha Krishna Dasa (Euro Varnasrama Minister, Euro RGB 2nd Vice Chairman)|
15) HG Syamasundara Dasa
(Euro Minister for Cow Protection and Agriculture)
16) HG Tapasa Dasa
(TP Stockholm; Chairman of the National Council in Sweden)
17) HG Tattvavada Dasa
(TP Helsinki; Euro RGB Secretary for Finland)
18) HG Trisama Dasa
(Euro RGB Secretary for Poland; Nama Hatta Director, PL)
19) HG Vedavyasa Dasa
(Euro RGB Secretary for Spain, TP Malaga)
HG Dinadayal Dasa (Euro RGB Secretary)
1) HH Bhaktivaibhava Swami
(GBC of Albania, Bulgaria, Czech, Finland, Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia; co-GBC of Romania)
2) HH Bir Krishna Goswami
(GBC of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia)
3) HH Radhanatha Swami
(GBC of Villa Vrindavana, Firenze area, Centro Studio Bhaktivedanta, Bologna area, and Venice area)
4) HG Dina Sharana Dasi
(Co-GBC of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Dole; IDSAF Director)
5) HG Madhu Sevita Dasa
(GBC of Cyprus, Greece, Villaggio Hare Krishna, Milano Area, South Umbria, southern Italy, Rome Area, Malta, San Marino; Co-GBC of Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and France (except New Mayapur and Dole)
6) HG Ravindra Svarupa Dasa
(Co-GBC of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Dole)
Review of previous minutes
The previous minutes were read.
Euro RGB & ELM Meetings attendance
At the Mayapur meeting 2014 Euro RGB EC will speak with Global GBC members who are not present here (Bir Krishna Goswami, Bhaktivaibhava Swami and Ravindra Svarupa Dasa).
Second initiation standards
Ministry of Education will follow up on this and give the update on Euro RGB meeting in October 2014.
Whereas Srila Prabhupada specifically requested that all brahmanas and all those who want to become brahmanas should seriously study his books and successfully pass a Bhakti-shastri examination.
Whereas Srila Prabhupada repeatedly requested his followers to regularly and thoroughly study his books.
Whereas brahmana initiated devotees are meant to responsibly represent Srila Prabhupada and the Guru-parampara.
Whereas sometimes brahmana initiations are given without sufficient training nor screening.
It is resolved that
Any devotee who wishes to receive second initiation is required to pass the Bhakti-shastri examinations according to the standards established by the ISKCON Board of Examinations. There will be a period of 3 years, since the date of approval of this resolution, for gradual implementation, so that all European ISKCON communities and congregations are able to establish Bhakti-shastri programs in their respective yatras or, alternatively, organize systems to facilitate that every candidate for brahmana initiation can complete his/her Bhakti-shastri Studies prior to such initiation. Temple presidents may make an exception to this resolution for special devotees who demonstrate brahminical qualities, but who for good reasons are not able to complete a Bhakti-shastri course. Such exceptions should be approved by the National Council of the country where the concerned temple is located.
The European Ministry of Education will provide support to the Yatras who don´t have yet a Bhakti-shastri course in order to assist them in establishing their own educational programme.
A few examples of Srila Prabhupada’s statements on this topic
76-01 “Brahmana means to be very clean — inside by chanting the Lords glories and outside by regular bathing. Teach everyone by your personal example. Also you must see that the brahmanas are given sufficient time to read the books. Soon we shall be introducing the Bhakti-sastri examination which all brahmanas will be expected to pass. It will be based on Bhagavad-gita, Nectar of Devotion, The Nectar of Instruction, Isopanisad, and the small paperback books like Easy Journey to Other Planets. A brahmana should be a pandita.” (SPL to Brsakapi, 7th January, 1976)
76-01 To: All Governing Body Commissioners
Re: Examinations for awarding titles of Bhakti-sastri, Bhakti-vaibhava, Bhaktivedanta and Bhakti-sarvabhauma. Your response is requested immediately by Srila Prabhupada.
Please accept my most humble obeisances. Srila Prabhupada has requested me to write you in regard to the above examinations which he wishes to institute. Here in India many persons often criticize our sannyasis and brahmanas as being unqualified due to insufficient knowledge of the scriptures. Factually, there are numerous instances when our sannyasis and brahmanas have fallen down often due to insufficient understandingstanding of the philosophy. This should not be a point of criticism nor a reason for fall-down, since Srila Prabhupada has mercifully made the most essential scriptures available to us in his books. The problem is that not all the devotees are carefully studying these books, the result being they fall down at the least unsteadiness.
His Divine Grace therefore wishes to institute examinations to be given to all prospective candidates for sannyasa and brahmana initiation. In addition he wishes that all present sannyasis and brahmana also pass the examination. Awarding of the titles will be based upon the following books: Bhakti-sastri: Bhagavad-gita, The Nectar of Devotion, The Nectar of Instruction, Isopanisad, Easy Journey to Other Planets, and all other small paperbacks as well as Arcana-paddhati. Bhakti-vaibhava: all the above plus the first six cantos of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Bhakti-vedanta: all the above plus cantos seven to twelve of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Bhakti-sarvabhauma: all the above plus the entire Caitanya-caritamrta. Anyone wishing to be initiated as a brahmana will have to pass the Bhakti-sastri examination and anyone wishing to take sannyasa will have to pass the Bhakti-vaibhava examination as well. This will prevent our Society from degrading to the level of so many other institutions where, in order to maintain the temple they accept all third-class men as brahmanas.
Any sannyasis or brahmanas already initiated who fail to pass the exams will be considered low-class or less qualified. Anyone wishing to be second-initiated will sit for the examination once a year at Mayapur. Answers will be in essay form and authoritative quotations will be given a greater score. During the exams, books may not be consulted.” (To all GBC, 6th January, 1976, signed by Tamala Krsna Goswami and approved by Srila Prabhupada)
76-01 “Bhakti-sastri, Bhakti-vaibhava, Bhakti-vedanta, and Bhakti-sarvabhauma. All our brahmanas and anyone wanting to become brahmana, will have to sit for examination once a year at Mayapur.
They will be expected to know Bhagavad-gita, Nectar of Devotion, The Nectar of Instruction, Sri Isopanisad, a book soon to be published on Deity worship, as well as all the small paperbacks. If they pass the examination they will be awarded Bhakti-sastri certificate. Sannyasis will be asked to sit for Bhakti-vaibhava examination which will include the first six cantos of Bhagavatam.” (SPL to Tusta Krsna, 9th January, 1976)
Statement on milk consumption in ISKCON
We deplore the slaughter of cows and regard it as completely unnecessary for the dietary requirements of human society.
We commit ourselves to a future when ISKCON’s self-sustaining communities and/or slaughter-free farms are able to provide the milk requirements of our ISKCON communities and projects.
Our preference will always be a lacto-vegetarian diet, in accordance with the teachings of Srila Prabhupada.
Until such time as cow-protection standard milk / slaughter-free milk is available, we will serve this lacto-vegetarian preference in the following ways.
- We will source better qualities of milk. (64%)
- We will completely avoid milk and dairy products (23%)
- We will reduce our milk consumption generally. (13%)
- We will continue the current status quo. (0%)
Hungarian Leadership Succession
Radha Krishna Dasa will be proposed by the Euro RGB as Global GBC Assistant Hungary, Romania and Turkey at the meeting in Mayapur 2014. Consequently he will become Acting GBC in 2015 and Full GBC in 2016.
Minister of ISKCON Communications Europe, Euro Minister for Cow Protection and Agriculture, Euro Minister for Congregation Development, Euro Ministry for Educational Development, European Varnasrama Ministry and Euro Ministry for Educational Development (Yadunandana Swami).
CPO Europe report for 2013
Report on activities of CPO Europe is given by Citrarupini Dasi. See Appendix.
Situation in Croatia
Euro RGB feels that this issue is best dealt with by the GBC and local management. Euro RGB recommends that the community board is created to deal with the issues of this nature. There should be clear policies who should be living in the temple.
CIT – Memorandum of Cooperation
3.1. For projects with a budget of no more than 50.000 euro the interest rate for rendering CIT office’s services is 5%, 10% or 15 % of the requested grant amount respectively according to the level of involvement of the CIT office in project development. For projects of an exceeding budget the interest rate is to be agreed upon.
3.2. 5% rate corresponds to writing a grant proposal; 10% – includes project implementation support; 15% rate – includes finalizing the project cycle by submitting the financial report to the funding agency.
3.3. The payment could be divided into two installments. First installment – 5 % of the requested grant amount – should be transferred in advance right after signing this MoC by both signatories. Second transfer – 10 % of the requested grant amount – should be made by Applicant within 10 working days after receiving the grant.
3.4. In case of funding refusal of the relevant agency the CIT office agrees to transfer back to the bank account of the Applicant 50 % of the advance payment.
3.5. When Applicant requests for the extended assistance of CIT office which is out of scope of its responsibility, as it mentioned in the Article 2.1.5., the financial provisions should be agreed upon by signatories in writing to complement this MoC.
3.6. Subsistence costs for staff undertaking travel to another participating country in the framework of this MoC are eligible. The Applicant agrees to pay as minimum the costs for travelling, food and accommodation for the representatives of CIT office who were requested to provide non-formal training for the Applicant.
Pujari New Mayapur
We will start with the procedure of pujari coming to New Mayapur. Euro RGB will contribute with 300 Euro.
Next Euro RGB meeting
Next Euro RGB meeting will be held in Villa Vrindavana on May 24-25 2014 (Saturday and Sunday). 13th European Leaders Meeting (ELM 2014) will be held in New Vraja Mandala on October 4-5 (Saturday and Sunday) followed by Euro RGB meeting on October 6-7 (Monday and Tuesday).
Annual country contributions for Euro RGB budget
Radha Krishna Dasa will work on this proposal for the next meeting.
Euro RGB Budget
Euro RGB Budget 2013/14 is approved.
Election of the Euro RGB Executive Committee
The following Euro RGB EC officers were elected:
Chairman: Prahladananda Swami
1st Vice-Chairman: Kripamoya Dasa
2nd Vice-Chairman: Vedavyasa Dasa
Secretary to the Euro RGB: Dinadayal Dasa
CPO IN EUROPE – report by Citrarupini Dasi
First I would like to thank you all of you for your determination to make child protection an indispensable part of our ISKCON in Europe and for your support in my delicate service.
This year, in Mayapur from March 8 till 10, Champakalata Dasi, the International Director for ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection, very expertly taught an “Advanced Child Protection Training seminar” to the Regional Child Protection Directors for Brazil, Mayapur and to me, for Europe.
To me it was the fourth refresher child protection course I have attended since my first official training in 1999 at Villaggio Hare Krishna – Italy.
The seminar also included deep knowledge and awareness about “ISKCON Child Protection Office Policies and Operational Guidelines”, revised and ratified by the ISKCON GBC in June 2012.
As regional Directors we have to operate under the authority of both the Child Protection Office and the ERG (Regional Governing Bodies of ISKCON”.
After returning to Italy, I have regularly been in touch with Champakalata Dasi, because the Central Office receives world wide complaints of child abuse and facilitates the investigative and adjudicating processes and shares them with the Regional Directors.
She has also shared with me a few cases from Europe, as I also serve as a CPO review panellist, adjudicating cases.
Goals for this year:
– First Champakalata Dasi is planning to organize from April, regular conference calls about “Child Protection” with all the Directors.
– In April she plans to organize an International meeting for Directors. Strategic planning meeting.
We have to decide on the venue.
Champakalata is also willing to facilitate in Europe a Training for the members of the Child Protection Teams.
The key focus areas that I would like to develop in Europe during the next years are:
- To know the local laws regarding child protection.
- To translate the CPO guidelines as well as Child Protection training materials into the local languages.
- Proactive role – by training seminars for a wide range of audiences, including parents, educators, child protection teams, ISKCON leaders, care-givers, other community members in ISKCON temples and schools.
- Basic training in child abuse prevention and responses.
- Educate the children.
- Create awareness and establish Child Protection Teams at every ISKCON center and project in Europe.
- (with your permission I will contact the Temple presidents or responsible of a project).
What is a Child Protection Team?
In 1990, the GBC resolved that “The local governing authority of each ISKCON school or community is responsible to appoint two or three devotees to investigate and follow up on all expected or confirmed cases of child abuse”.
A Child Protection Team is a group of two or three devotees, chosen by the local ISKCON community, who have initial responsibility for responding to reported child abuse. They are reasonably knowledgeable on what to do and what not to do, can offer guidance to parents and other community members, and will follow-up to insure proper procedures have been followed.
The Child Protection Team can help insure risks to the community are minimized:
Prompt and appropriate action decreases the chance of further abuse to victims, as well as minimizing risk to other children.
The CPT can help decrease the potential of liability for the local ISKCON community.
I consider the CPT very useful on Sunday Feasts or Festivals.
I am also available to help to develop Child Protection Teams by providing the devotees with additional resources and information. I can also travel to those countries that require my help.
Provide ongoing consultation, support and oversight for CPTeams.
Prevention – Selection and screening
Strengthening selection procedures to prevent offenders from entering community and gaining access to children.
Our office also assists in ensuring that systems for screening are into place and monitors the process.
Application screening programs for new guests, devotees/employees/volunteers who serve at ISKCON temples.
It has many benefits and is necessary to both serve the devotees and protect our children and community.
Screening helps to:
- Safeguard the temple and its members
- Provide vital information to temple leaders
- Identify important qualities and characteristics of applicants
- Reduce the risk of negligence if a problem should occur later
- Proper screening costs very little but increases safety and protection a great deal.
- The European Director assists the Central/Global CPO and is a central point for receiving complaints and guiding the process of investigation.
- Update the data base of offenders (also with photos) and send it to all the temples.
- Establish contacts with other organizations against child abuse and sexual exploitation of children.
In the beginning, due to some problems of abuse ISKCON had in the past, some of these organizations in Italy were a little negative. After so many attempts from my part to make them understand that we sincerely want to resolve unfortunate incidents of abuse in our movement’s history and to clear the ways for implementing effective systems of child protection in our schools and temples, now they have trust. They invite me to each conference as a member of ISKCON and they are willing to co-operate more and more with us.
We need unity of all associations to make a common, concrete European strategy against violence.