We see that the Temple President has great authority
in his community. He must be careful, though, that
he does not get carried away with the easy approval
of his temple devotees while getting upset with god
brothers or older devotees who may easily disagree
with some of his actions. It is important to always
have association with some senior Vaisnavas whom you
fully trust, and who you can consult if others object
to your courses of action. Even though the spiritual
master has the last word in our problematic situations,
it is very nice if we have several senior Sadhus in
our life, who can get us out of trouble.
Talking with them enlarges our horizon. Such a relationship cannot be imposed. We are to find such Sadhus by being eager for their association. Our spiritual master has trust in special devotees and we should respect them also. It is the desire of the spiritual masters to administrate as little as possible in order to spend more time with their disciples and main services, such as writing, translating etc. That gave rise to the creation of the GBC institution. The governing body commission was institutionalized by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada and by my spiritual master Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Even though such a system offers many practical conveniences, it also presented several problems. As long as the representatives of the Spiritual master follow him strictly and know how to reach the hearts of the Temple Presidents, it is very good to follow such a system.
Originally Srila Prabhupada had told us to elect a GBC out of a group of six Temple Presidents for a period of three years. One thing is for sure is that no devotee is ever expected to follow an authority if he is convinced that the senior devotee does not behave like a senior vaisnava. We have to understand that only if we are able to receive or to transmit spiritual inspiration will we be successful. That is the heart of all Vaisnava relationships.
The Temple President inspiring through Love and Enthusiasm
We will repeat again that which cannot be remembered
often enough: Only love and enthusiasm gets a person
into the motion of devotional service. Egotists have
many other motivations, but a true devotee is only
touched by the essence. The real devotee remembers
all the duties he has, and discusses in a loving environment
how to accomplish those plans. It is wonderful to hear
the stories of other devotees who have done outstanding
services in the past. Their examples inspire us. Their
love can reach us by hearing of their surrender. If
you trust your devotees, they will most likely respond
wonderfully. Sharing important services with your members
is very good. If you give the devotees the feeling
that you want them to learn everything and that they
can become good leaders, they will give more energy
to their service. There is so much need for more leaders
in Krishna Consciousness. If you feel love for your
devotees, try to give them enthusiasm to build up more
ashram communities in this dark world.
Srila Prabhupada was able to enthuse even demons to become devotees and his love will be remembered in the future even more as his devotees are able to further distribute his books and build loving communities.
The Temple President and his faith
Our faith is a gift by Sraddha devi, She is Radharani
herself, giving faith to those who aspire to serve
her beloved lord. The Temple President has others under
his protection. Only with her mercy can such a task
be performed. Practically speaking it is an impossible
mission. But what else can we do? We have received
such a great gift. We cannot keep this for ourselves.
To become an agent of the supreme asraya tattva, or
a transparent transcendental transmission agent in
Krishnas service, is the most wonderful opportunity
a soul could ever have aspired for. But how can such
a miracle take place in the life of such a wretch as
This is our positive thought. ONLY by their grace, can anything manifest. We should always see the bad disqualification within ourselves. Krishna is the only one who has "all rights reserved" in the Bhakti department.
We cannot conceive of even serving Him. Now, what to speak of representing Him. If we do not follow our Gurus order, how can we claim that we are trying to serve him? "Die to live" can be applied to this case. Preaching is life and indifference is like death. But I will be condemned if I preach anything wrong, or harm anyone due to my disqualifications. Let me accept this risk anyway, in order to serve my spiritual master. Let us humbly pray to become pure in our purpose.
If my own faith is weak, how can I help others? Actually it is Krishna who will help others through you. As long as you try your best and believe that your spiritual master has given you the real goal for your soul's journey out of illusion, we shall always go straight ahead. Be honest, never pretend to be someone you are not. Even though we are so new in this process, still someone has to take the responsibility. We are trying to follow the highest ideals we have found in this life.
Another important aspect is to always know; Who are our Sadhus. They have to be actually advanced by our understanding and we should be ready to accept their help and guidance. We can also refer persons to them we cannot personally help in some situation. We have to have a spiritual master who is actually living in order to be a Temple President. Otherwise after the departure of your Guru, you must go on by yourself and be the spiritual master. But the relationship with the person who initiates devotees in your temple must be of deep love and trust, otherwise the new initiates will be cheated.
A Temple President has to be humble and firm in his conviction. Krishna will protect him as long as he does not start to commit grave offenses. That is Krishnas promise. In case there are any problems, the Temple President shall meet with his Guru or another qualified Sadhu to discuss the best way to solve such problems.
The following reports and exhibitions are administrative
guide lines for coordinating the activities of the
ashram and for keeping the devotees of the community
informed. They form something like a Wall newspaper.
Some are to be seen by all the visitors of the temple
and some are to be seen by the active members.
You will see how everything improves in your temple when all members are aware of the coordination within the temple. This is accomplished by carefully preparing nice cardboard exhibits, posting them in places where the devotees or guest have easy access to and by regularly updating them.
Donation report for permanent exhibition
Every major donation above a certain established sum shall be reported on this sheet. The donor, date and purpose of the donation shall also be explained. This will encourage further donors and show how the devotees work.
Donation requests for permanent exhibition
This is a special sheet to inform the guests about the urgent needs of the community. It also informs about planned projects such as Altar construction, book publication, etc. Friends will know what the devotees would like to accomplish and will start thinking in terms of devotional service.
The importance of exhibiting the resolutions of the Vaisnava board to the community
Every important decision of the Vaisnava Board shall be communicated to the congregation. Due to ack of communication, devotees and friends often never find out what was discussed in the meetings. Therefore, decisions are often not followed. Unless some resolution is very personal and does not affect the whole community it should be explained on this sheet with as many details as necessary.
Ashram rules for permanent exhibition
Those rules which are of permanent nature in the temples, but are often forgotten, and which are usually unknown to the new members shall be posted on the bulletin board for everyone to be informed. Even for festivals it is very helpful to explain basic guidelines to the visitors in the same way. Subjects like the registration process; kitchen, bathroom, temple grounds and Sadhana behavior would be good to be included here.
Projects of the community and their development for exhibition
This is an essential sheet for controlling the development
of projects similar to any productive company which
keeps careful account of the progress of their efforts.
Every project has different steps and usually more
than one person is involved in different aspects of
the project. This sheet shall explain the following
The date started. The person in charge. The estimated cost. The production steps. The materials to be used. Any additional helpers. The final cost and the date service is to be offered to Krishna.
This sheet facilitates all devotees to check on its development, to remind someone if he has been neglectful with his duties; or when it is necessary to find someone else to realize that project. Also it shows the short term, long-term projects of the Ashram and which are the priorities in accordance of the Vaisnava Board.
Devotee list and service list for permanent consultation in the temple office
This is one of the most important tools of temple management. This sheet has the names of all the internal and external active devotees attached to their services.With a glance the Temple President can realize if someone is absent and what service will be neglected. He can easily find a substitute for a service, because all the available devotees are listed in front of him. There is also a list on the same sheet of all the services the ashram aspires to present. Thus by looking on this sheet the Temple President can realize that he needs to train devotees for special services, which are projected but not yet realized, due to lack of devotees or to lack of good organization. It is very practical to work with magnetic tape on a metal sheet as one can freely move the name plates and service plates around for easy visualiziation.
Devotee list with all addresses and telephone numbers in the community for identification
This list should include all devotees and friends in the community and shall be available to all members. This will help when inviting devotees to festivals, children programs, meetings, etc. It must be updated all the time.
Daily finance report sheet for a small community
This report sheet keeps the profits and the cost strictly separate and helps the leaders to understand the financial situation of the ashram in a few moments. It helps to control the inventories and trains all departments to be up to date and to report their movements to the treasury. It is ideal for a small temple with several departments. If the size of a program makes this sheet impractical, you need to consult with your accountant on how to keep control and how to report to the community.
Service program of a Yatra to be posted for the Community
This information is the basic introduction of our lectures
and other preaching programs, which are manifested
in posters, banners, leaflets or Hari nam programs
with billbords. The best way is to publish a tri-monthly
project invitation with all the diversified presentations,
titles, information about the teachers and any other
wonderful thing you can offer. Your preaching will
thus be more attractive.
Here are some ideas that could be offered to the public in your city. Try to get as many devotees involved as possible in making the programs more interesting.
1. Deity worship
A. aratik service2. Musical classes
B. Prasadam distribution
C. Special functions and festivals on holydays.
D. Dress making classes
E .Flower service classes
A. Bhajan classes3. Vedic cooking science
B. Mridrunga, Harmonium classes
C. Form music groups with Vaisnava message
A. Classes in how to cook for Krishna.4. Lectures
B. Nutrition and preventive healing (Ayur Veda) classes.
C. General Vegetarian cooking classes for groups, home service, TV programs, etc.
D. Catering of prasadam to different functions
A. Lectures on Vedic scriptures5. Other attractive programs
B. The introduction to the Yoga course.
C. Yoga as therapy against addiction.
D. Lectures and functions for the elderly in old people homes for the aging.
E. Lectures in jails to give hope and enthusiasm to inmates.
F. Lectures on Vedic culture for schools and universities.
G. Lectures on different Yoga systems with practical Hatha Yoga exercises.
H. Lectures for Women in spiritual life.
I. Spiritual entertainment and education for children.
J. Lectures and preparation of Vaisnava drama
K. Lecture and preparation of Vaisnava puppet shows.
L. Lecture and preparation of Vaisnava audio, video services.
M. Lecture on the Harmony school of conscious art and exhibitions of the items.
N. Lectures on preaching and other different special topics.
O. Lectures of scholarly qualifications such as Bhakti Shastri Exams.
P. Lectures about children's education in Krishna consciousness.
Q. Lectures and meetings about Vaisnava contributions to the world; such as, The Vegetarian Society, Food for all Projects, Vaisnava Charities, etc.
R. Lectures on how to form a Spiritual marriage.
S. Vaisnavas debate on talk shows to preach.
A. Join our Vaisnava pilgrimage for a weekend retreat.
B. Join our Vaisnava pilgrimage to India.
C. Look at Vaisnava Drama, Puppet Shows, etc.
D. Look at Vaisnava Video and Slight shows.
E. Look at Vaisnava Art or listen to Vaisnava music in concert.
F. Join special Vaisnava service groups such as the charity, philosophy and social projects organized by the Vaisnavas.
G. Travel with a Sannyasy and become a Brahmacari
H. Vaisnava health care, Astrological counseling and Brahminical services.
I. Vaisnava retirement plans and forming spiritual self-sufficient communities.
J. Whatever else you can come up with to attract people to come closer to the life of devotional service, and which can be well represented by a qualified Vaisnava.
Do not forget that people are attracted to people first
and to different topics on a secondary level; Therefore,
you have to always give an emphatic introduction of
the person who will speak on any subject or project.
Without that, it is very impersonal.
Try to use only trustworthy Vaisnavas in representation of the programs announced as part of your mission.
The more people find out about your service efforts, the more people will attend your functions.
The different functions and services of a temple
The following list of functions may assist your realization
as to how many departments a temple could have and
how many the temple must have to function properly.
Many times 90% of these services are either executed
by the Temple President himself or simply neglected.
This list should help the Vaisnava Board to appoint devotees to these responsibilities and thus include more devotees in responsible positions, thus expanding the temple service. A small temple has often a sweeter family atmosphere, but still we should always search for more Vaisnavas who desire to participate.
All services are important because we all serve the same cause.
The Temple President
The Vise President
The Temple Secretary
He keeps the different books of the different meetings and communicates to the news sheet department.
The Head Pujari
The Pujari assistant crew
The Flower department
The Deity dress department
The Samkirtan leader
The Traveling samkirtan leader
The Leader of the Room which receives new aspirants and visitors.
He controls that no unwanted elements come to enter the Ashram, but at the same time makes sure that no searching aspirant is turned down at the door due to insufficient documentation, etc.
The director of the new devotees
He trains those who have been accepted as true students and he guides them until initiation.
The Temple Commander
The most difficult service is to distribute all the services to the other members. Sometimes it is a challenge to get some members to cooperate nicely. He is the right hand of the Temple President.
The Coordinator of the Pre initiation
He prepares all the lists and ingredients for the Pre initiations. Regularly organized pre initiations are conducted by the senior most devotee present.
The Coordinator of Vedic sacrifices (Hotri)
He knows how to set up Agni Hotra Yajnas and hold marriages, conduct first grain ceremonies, hair cutting ceremonies, funeral rites etc.
The Life membership coordinator
He keeps record of all those who give active support to the mission and makes sure that they are invited to and especially received when they visit the temple.
The Brahmin training director
He gives special lectures for those who want to learn how to preach and worship the deity.
The Indian community coordinator
The Temple news sheet secretary
He updates the different news sheets in the temple office or in the reception area in nicely decorated cardboard or other media.
The Temple Cleaning crew
The Temple Kitchen director
The Temple Kitchen crew
bakery in charge of that Temple
The Temple treasurer
He handles the incoming money, reports to the accountant and receives reports from the Samkirtan paraphernalia office. He makes the bank deposits and gives out petty cash, if it is authorized by the Temple President. Every financial movement is backed by him with some kind of written format.
The Temple purchase expert
He receives the list of all necessities and also coordinates the best time, place and quantities to be purchased. He helps save time and money.
The Temple accountant
He keeps the daily balance sheet and gets all the receipts into his hands. He does not handle the funds at any moment, but the treasurer is supervised by his numbers.
The one in charge of the Temple Visitor book
The one in charge of Temple shoe reception
He makes sure that no shoes are lost and that the temple function is not spoiled by having heaps of shoes scattered around the entrance. He shall use numbers to control the shoes.
The Temple prasadam distribution coordinator
The Prasadam distribution coordinator for special guests and leaders.
The Temple Pot cleaning crew
The Temple Community coordinator
This person coordinates the participation of all internal and external members for the different temple functions. If any devotee tends to drift away he tries specifically to save him, to give him a new position and renewed enthusiasm. He may guide meetings and is the friend of all. He gives great support to the Temple President.
The Temple Hari Nam leader
The Hari Nam emergency coordinator
This devotee is dressed in civil cloth and protects the Hari Nam from any disturbance such as Police interference, drunks, uncontrolled children, traffic obstruction, book table interference, etc.
The Hari Nam Book table coordinator
The cycle Vaisnava preaching store coordinator
The Temple Restaurant manager
The Temple Gift store manager
The Temple garbage coordinator (strict separation of organic and inorganic garbage)
The Temple Sunday feast coordinator
He makes sure that the visitors are not bored from the moment they enter the temple until they leave. He reminds devotees of their different duties and keeps the children in the Sunday Children's program, so that the adults can concentrate on their part of the festival.
The Temple Drama coordinator
He collects scripts of all good Vaisnava dramas and tries to present different presentations weekly. The best plays can be chosen for outside street or stage performances.
The Temple library coordinator
He makes sure that all the books published by the mission are made available to the devotees and guests in a library system. He also includes audio tapes and videos. He also keeps an inventory of his library and circulates it in the community. He makes sure that all publications are announced or exhibited in the reception area.
The Temple Music and Bhajan coordinator
He tries to organize different music groups which can present Vaisnava songs in festivals.
The Temple music class teacher
He makes sure that devotees know how to play Kartals and Mridrunga. That they sing in tune or very softly. That the instruments are payed incoordination to produce a sweet sound.
The invitation coordinator
He makes sure that all temple programs are properly advertised. That members are informed about functions. That posters, leaflets, banners etc. are prepared and posted on time and on a regular basis.
The Mataji Ashram director
This service is the central function for enthusing all the external and internal Matajis to be closely connected to the spiritual masters mission and to the preaching. He also organizes the Children's Vaisnava education program and the Mataji community meetings.
The Temple Printing and advertisement director.
Printing and design is a complex and costly affair. One person should be the expert and advise and help other departments in this connection.
The Children Vaisnava Education director
He makes sure that all children in the community have at least the opportunity (regardless of whether or not their parents cooperate), to receive spiritual education on at least a weekly bases. He also coordinates that Vaisnava festivals have simultaneous children's programs to make our children happier and Krishna Conscious.
The Temple Computer department director
This devotee tries to offer computer services to other departments as required.
Preferably he should have laser print facility and knowledge of design software to present advertisements, texts, accounting facilities, etc, professionally.
The Temple Car department director
He must protect the lives of Krishna's devotees and the vehicles of the temple by teaching devotee drivers the rules of safety and proactive care of the vehicles they drive.
The puppet show coordinator
He makes children and adults happy by preaching regularly through the wonderful puppet media. He collects scripts and newer puppets to have excellent variety.
The Temple Video production director
The Temple Audio recording and copying director
He makes sure that all the important tapes of music and lectures are available to all devotees and departments heads. He pushes for the utilization of these items since they get easily forgotten.
The Temple Trustee in charge
Keeps all valuable items under control and monitors the use of all materials. Organizes purchases at best wholesale or market rates.
The Temple Samkirtan books and preaching materials coordinator
This devotee has to assure that all departments have access to all the materials the mission has printed. All departments receive materials from this office and report back daily to the distribution office.
The Temple India Journey coordinator
He collects all the names of those who want to visit our Ashrams in India. He coordinates classes about the norms of the pilgrimage. He finds the best Ticket connections and plans the journey. He coordinates the financial part of the journey.
The Temple Nama Hatta Program director.
He tries to use every available possibility to increase preaching in every town and village. He keeps record of all Nama Hatta centers and recruits devotees to visit the different locations regularly. He tries to turn every Nama Hatta center into a preaching center with exhibition and distribution of all the mission's literature and tapes.
The Temple outside lecture coordinator.
He coordinates all possibilities to increase outside lectures on different Vaisnava topics and he recruits devotees to preach who are being trained to become lecturers. He uses videos, slide shows and prasadam, as well as full book tables if practical and available. In emergency one devotee is enough to give a class in a school.
The Temple introducer and protector of all lectures and programs.
This service protects all lectures from disturbance. Children should go to the children's room or at least sit still with their parents, close to the door of the lecture hall. Question and survey papers are given to the visitors as they enter the hall. If available, the listeners are divided in two groups. That is, newcomers and regular students in different halls. He introduces the speaker and the book to be presented and keeps silence during the talk. He looks that the book table is well decorated and attended.
The Temple Yoga Course coordinator
The Correspondence Yoga Course published by us is a kind of a home study guide, a pioneering project to teach Bhakti Yoga. All persons who take this course are already seriously affiliated with our philosophy and life style. This service requires organizing the distribution of course material and taking care of the new students either by mail or by organizing meetings with them, and so requires a very mature and responsible person. The coordinator also recruits new Yoga course distributors from all devotee sections and holds regular meetings to enthuse further study and distribution amongst all students.
The Temple excursion coordinator
He coordinates outside festivals and spiritual retreats on a local and national basis.
The Temple donation collection crew
They try to raise funds for the mission by preaching and distributing mission related publications, etc. They meet regularly to discuss how to increase their service.
The Temple files and the coordinator of all surveys such as the
He receives all the surveys and informs the respective departments of their potential new interested persons. He files all of them and keeps on revising them, to see whether the requests are properly met. He keeps the devotee register up to date as well as all the graduates of the Yoga course, Pre initiates, Nama Hatta members, etc.
The Temple newsletter department director.
This devotee gathers from the community and from different departments of the Temple all important information. Idealy this information is published in an internal newsletter or general journal for all the members. It is an expanding service as new possibilities continually manifest. In addition, he regularly publishes the messages of the spiritual master to the community.
The Temple art coordinator for decoration
This devotee coordinates all the decoration and presents the artistic plans to the Vaisnava Board. He encourages Vaisnava artists and collects all connected materials in the art library.
The Temple architecture coordinator
All constructions are very serious and have to be coordinated. Special designs have to be maintained in order to develop a beautiful community. All artists shall propose their plans through this person to present to the Vaisnava Board.
The Temple public relations representative
All public defenses and connections with the Media should be coordinated. He should maintain friendships with all important officials and media connections.
The Temple legal adviser
He must be a trustworthy connection who can quickly attend to any legal problems which may arise in the preaching affairs.
VRINDAVAN INSTITUTE FOR VAISNAVA CULTURE AND STUDIES