ISKCON Disciples Course Description
The ISKCON Disciples Course is a training program which deepens devotees understanding of guru tattva and guru padasraya within the multiple guru environment of ISKCON.
Designed for new devotees preparing to take initiation in ISKCON, the course is also recommended for leaders, preachers councilors and educators in ISKCON.
The course was developed under the direction of the Guru Services Committee, with the combined efforts of leading educators in ISKCON. The course is based on the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and current ISKCON Law and gives reference to the writings from the broader Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition.
The 14 lessons include Powerpoint presentations, interactive workshops and assessment exercises.
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The course encouraged a lot of devotees who have been on the fence about getting initiated to make more of a commitment to bhakti and to ISKCON.
I felt that, after teaching the course, the devotees were much moreconnected with SrilaPrabhupada and, because of that deeper understanding,protected from the influence of non-ISKCON Vaishnava missionaries.The students who took the course gained much more clarity about thedistinction between ISKCON managerial authority and their guru’s spiritualleadership.One of the best outcomes of the course was that students came to understand the plurality of gurus in ISKCON to be an enormous strength.
This foundational course has provided an opportunity for our devotees in Toronto to understand basic principles like our collective relationship with SrilaPrabhupada, the mood of a qualified disciple and pitfalls to avoid as one grows on their spiritual path. Our hope is to continue to have the ISKCON Disciples Course taught regularly here in Toronto for the betterment and strength of our devotee community. We are extremely thankful to the GBC for instituting this course as a fundamental teaching tool for our growing international Hare Krishna family.
Conflicts we had in our community were solved by this course.The course gives a very deep understanding on who is SrilaPrabhupada and what it actually means that SrilaPrabhupa is the Founder-Acarya of our movement.The course helped devotees to better understand how to cooperate, having different authorities. I think long term this course can very much help to keep our society together.
The course has helped to make the following points crystal clear:
- Serving ISKCON is non-different from serving ones Guru
- VaniSeva of Guru is more Important than VapuSeva
We have understood that cooperating with ones local yatra authority is serving ones Guru and we must whole heartedly cooperate with local authorities.The IDC has equipped us with guidelines to impart the right understanding about the position of SrilaPrabhupada&Diksha/Siksha Gurus under ISKCON umbrella to new devotees.Cooperation and enthusiasm amongst devotees initiated by different Gurus has increased immensely as a result of IDC. Everyone is equally involved in services and everyone feels welcome in the Yatra.
I hear only positive feedback from the course. Devotees saw more clearly role and position of SrilaPrabhupada in our movement.
The position of SrilaPrabhupada as Founder-Acarya of ISKCON becomes clearly established in this course.It really changes whole perception of devotees, whether they recently joined or have been practicing for last 25 years. At the end of the course everyone, with no exceptions, says that their perception of SrilaPrabhupada has changed completely. I find that it is very significant effect.This course helps devotees, who were averse to following administrative authorities, change their mind. It helped to solve few actual issues I know of also.The course nicely reminds about importance of cooperation.
The Disciples course is a landmark educational initiative onthe sensitive core subject matter of Guru tattva within ISKCON.Its the culmination of many years of thought and reflection bysenior devotees and the GBC, in the face of many difficulties and challenges that ISKCON has faced. It establishes a balance between keeping a focus on our founder SrilaPrabhupada, relishing a direct relationship with him, while maintaining dedication to one’s siksa and diksa gurus. In so doing, it highlights the advantages one has in a Multi Guru Society, as one large family of Vaishnavas, who can be accessed anytime, anywhere for the protection of ones spiritual life and that of ISKCON.