By His Grace Pancaratna Dasa
Most individuals cannot live in ISKCON centers. At the same time, Krsna consciousness is meant for everyone. In fact, most of the devotees living in the temple will, at some point, establish a household. Lord Caitanya’s vision can manifest throughout the world by spreading our movement into homes and offices.
An important facet of congregational development is that it gives the required funds for sustaining a temple. In this way, the devotees who live in the temple can focus on the main mission of teaching and spreading Krsna consciousness.
Another reason why we need to develop our congregations is for our children. Without a strong congregational environment, our children will end up making friends and associating with people who are not devotees of Krsna. We need to have schools for devotees and for congregational members who have children.
There is a danger when devotional service is restricted to our temple environment. We become isolated and cut off from the world in such a way that our hearts can become twisted. We find that we are no longer engaged in the real lives of the people in real situations. We find it difficult to appreciate their problems. Sometimes devotees can become “holier than thou,” thinking that because they live in the temple that they are much more advanced. Their vision can actually become clouded because they are not exposed. A healthy individual needs to interact with society. When people withdraw from society, they can become sick, mentally ill.
(Excerpt from the book ‘The Nectar of Congregational Preaching’ by ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry )
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