I just arrived in Houston, Texas for our North American GBC and leadership meetings which will last 4 days. Management is not a sannyasi’s traditional duty nor is it something that is high up in my list either. When I first joined the movement, I definitely had a desire to control and wanted to have a position within ISKCON. Part of the desire to control was also a desire for autonomy (to not be controlled by anyone). One devotee even commented that in the next life I was likely to become Lord Brahma and have a whole universe to control.
So, in my tenure in the movement I have taken a variety of positions, beginning from treasurer, to temple commander, to temple president, to regional secretary, to GBC! Krishna certainly fulfilled my desires!
But the interesting thing is that by the time I got to where I am today, I had lost all desire to control (I still like independence though!), and the management that I have to do for the society is now something that is foreign to my nature. I am voluntarily doing it though, but out of love and loyalty for Srila Prabhupada. Otherwise I would not relish it at all. I guess it could be compared to the story of Dhruva who wanted a kingdom greater than that of Lord Brahma but when he was offered everything by the Lord, he understood that he was simply looking for some broken pieces of glass rather than for the diamond that was Krishna.
There is one aspect of the meetings that is very relishable though; the association of advanced devotees who have dedicated their lives to serving Srila Prabhupada. It is interesting though, that we each have different opinions about the subject matters we are dealing with, but we agree to work cooperatively, and respect each other for our opinions. This is what Srila Prabhupada meant by "unity in diversity." There is also great love between the different GBC persons. Because of my physical limitations (I get exhausted quite easily), I am only able to attend 4 hours of meetings a day and my morning program is a little abbreviated during meeting times. I do long for the day when I am free of management responsibilities and can dedicate my life to the activities which truly inspire me. What are those activities? Helping others, and bringing people to Radha and Krishna.
Whenever I can get some time I engage in these activities, or am planning how to perform these activities more effectively. Basically my brain is absorbed in this. To this end I am studying many different books on spiritual organizations and sociological theories (to understand how ISKCON should be structured to fully empower its members), studying different bridge preaching concepts, praying to Krishna and Prabhupada for intelligence, experimenting with different preaching approaches, and interacting and getting feedback from members of ISKCON and others.
Some of my studies or experiments are seen by others as controversial, but I feel impelled by a desire to alleviate the sufferings of others and to please Prabhupada to do what I am doing. In the future I would like to write about some of things I am examining to help our society.
Of course I never forget or neglect the practice of Bhakti Yoga which entails the cultivation of the Bhakti Lata Bija. My desire to help others and serve Prabhupada gives a greater intensity to my spiritual practices and I become stricter in my observances understanding that the only way I can be successful is to be empowered by Krishna. Today I received a letter from a devotee who was asking me for advice on what do when criticized by other devotees for the service which she is doing because it is not their primary service. We often see that devotees become fixed on some particular service and think that their service is the best and that others should also do that service if they want to make spiritual advancement.