Besides their academic and other qualifications, the following members are all Vaishnavas in good standing whose goal in life is to be Krishna conscious. Whatever service they offer as GVT members, or as counselors or educators, is for the ultimate goal of helping others further their spiritual advancement. They have voluntarily come forward because they see the need to work for the benefit of married couples, future couples, and Krishna conscious communities.
If marriages are committed and balanced, with loving, caring and Krishna conscious parents, then we can also expect to nurture children with the same outlook. Families are the foundation of any civilized society, and children are the future. By working to strengthen and support healthy marriages we can bring dignity back to the Grihastha Ashram, be attractive examples for the society in general, and provide bright futures for our children and for future generations.
As a student in political and social science at Michigan State University, USA, Anuttama Dasa found the university incapable to provide answers to the most important questions in life. Thus he chose to not complete his formal education. After exploring varied traditions ranging from Zen Buddhism to Methodism, he finally ended up in an ISKCON ashrama in Colorado in 1975. Although a skeptic, he vowed, after his first night at the temple, that he wouldn’t go back to things he’d found unfulfilling and would leave only if he found a better path to God. Anuttama Dasa was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in Vrindavan, India in 1976.
Anuttama Dasa began serving as leader of BBT book distribution and later he became president of the Denver temple—the same Colorado ashram he had visited in 1975. He relocated to Washington, D.C. in 1993.
Anuttama Dasa has been a member of the GBC since 2000 and his GBC assignments are all in the USA: Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. He is co-GBC in West Virginia. His vision for the future of ISKCON is that it will mature and grow to be a respected and influential culture and religion around the world.
“ISKCON and the Vaishnava tradition have great gifts to share with the world, especially in these troubled times. I have faith that as ISKCON devotees become better qualified to follow and represent Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya, the great culture of Bhakti that they brought to the world will have tangible and long lasting effects.”
Besides his GBC duties, Anuttama Dasa currently serves as ISKCON’s International Director of Communications and is on the Board of the Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium. A founding member of Children of Krishna, and the Grihasta Vision Team, he is active in several interfaith initiatives in Washington, D.C., including the Religion Communicators Council. Under his direction, the communications office founded the annual Vaishnava-Christian Dialogue and Vaishnava-Muslim Dialogue as well as the North America’s Festival of Inspiration.
Anuttama Dasa is a regular contributor to ISKCON News and has authored articles for the ISKCON Communications Journal, and several interfaith publications. He is also active in several religious freedom initiatives and networks with government and NGOs in Washington to promote religious freedom around the world.
Anuttama Dasa enacts his leadership goals by teaching the following seminars in ISKCON communities worldwide: “ISKCON’s Leadership and Management,” Communications Course,” “Guru Seminar,” and the new “Disciples Course,” all of which he helped co-author with teams of senior devotees.
Anuttama Dasa and his wife, Rukmini Devi Dasi, own a business which for many years has been a principal source of revenue for the International Communications Ministry. They live in Rockville, Maryland and attend the local ISKCON temple in Potomac, Maryland.
Praharana Devi Dasi
I was initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami on Radhastami in Toronto, Canada in 1972 and have served for many years as pujari, sankirtana devotee, and as one of the temple administrators. From my marriage, in 1976, I have three children Abhay Charan, a businessman, Remuna, a hospital administrator and Krishna Keli, an attorney. One of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs I have had is being a mother to my children.
In 1988, I faced the challenge of being a single parent and was inspired to return to University, earning a master’s degree in social work. Employed as a clinical social worker for over 20 years, I recently retired, though it seems I am busy as ever. I have a strong interest in seeing that devotees and families in Srila Prabhupada’s Iskcon are healthy and cared for. To this end, I have served in a number of capacities including: mentoring young leaders on the Toronto temple council, assisting with the management of Govinda’s restaurant in Toronto, advocating for those who experience pastoral abuse, working with the GVT, as well as being Regional Secretary for Canada, on the North American GBC executive and the Canadian National Council.
Praharana Devi Dasi
Karnamrita Dasa was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1970. For fourteen years, he lived in various ISKCON temples around the world. In the beginning of his devotional service, he participated in street sankirtana and book distribution, and eventually became a head cook and pujari, specializing in emergency devotional service. After marrying, he did extensive personal growth work and realized the importance of such healing as an adjunct to devotional service. Trained in many energy-healing modalities, he incorporates healing into his life, work, and service. He often works with his wife, Arcana Siddhi devi dasi, a licensed clinical social worker, in premarital counseling and couples therapy. Together they present workshops with spiritual and/or personal growth themes throughout the world, including workshops for the GVT. Karnamrita has a blog on Krishna.com and has recently released his first book, Give to Live, available through Amazon.
Archana-siddhi devi dasi
I dropped out of my last year of graduate school in counseling psychology to join Srila Prabhupada’s movement in 1976. I continued my “education” in the airports distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books. This service not only helped me make progress on the path of bhakti, but helped me to connect with people from all walks of life. I did return to graduate school in 1990. This time I pursued a master’s degree in clinical social work specializing in mental health.
I worked in community mental health as a psychotherapist for twelve years gaining invaluable skills along the way. I furthered my training by taking an intensive two year certification in family and couple’s therapy. During the years working in the clinic, I started a private practice working mainly with devotees. In 2003, my husband, son and I moved to North Carolina and I have continued building my private practice.
My husband and I met each other in 1988 at the temple in Potomac, Maryland. He was handsome, intelligent and most importantly, serious about his sadhana. We shared a desire to help devotees coming from dysfunctional backgrounds to become more emotionally healthy and balanced to support their efforts as spiritual practitioners. Shortly after getting married in 1990, we started counseling couples together and presenting seminars and workshops to the devotee community. We also contributed articles on a regular basis to Back to Godhead Magazine. In 2002 we connected with Krsnanandini dd, the founder of the North American Grhastha Vision Team, and joined her efforts to help strengthen the grhastha ashrama in Srila Prabhupada’s movement.
Archana-siddhi devi dasi
Uttama devi dasi
Uttama devi dasi was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1973, along with her husband Partha dasa. They have three children and six grandchildren. She has performed a variety of services through the years—pujari work, head Deity seamstress, teaching, and management. She has taken relationship education training from Prepare and Enrich Canada©, Dasi Ziyad Family Institute, Compassion Power©, and Gottman Level One Clinical Couples training. She really enjoys working with youth, teaching them the Bhagavad-gita and relationship skills. Her present passion is traveling with her husband and facilitating grihastha workshops. (Give them a call!) At present they live in their forest home in Saranagati Village in British Columbia, Canada, where they do premarital education for devotees via Internet conferencing, while eating home grown veggies.
Uttama devi dasi
Partha dasa married a beautiful, kind, nurturing, and devotional girl in the last term of high school in 1971. Upon graduating, they left on a spiritual quest which culminated in taking initiation from Srila Prabhupada in 1973. Several days after taking second initiation, Partha dasa became head pujari for Sri Sri Radha Madana-Mohana, in Vancouver, Canada, and remained so for close to 20 years. He is a former board member and trustee for ISKCON Vancouver and has been involved with the Grihastha Vision Team since 2004. He and his wife have facilitated GVT seminars in South Africa, Ireland, England, India, Trinidad, Guyana, Brazil, Chile, Russia, many European countries along with Canada and the US. He is solemnized to perform legal marriages by the Province of British Columbia, which he does after sufficiently counseling the couple. He is certified by the Dasi-Ziyad Family Institute to administer their ‘Vaishnava 108 Inventory and Premarital and Marriage Spiritual Strengths-based Relationship Program©,’ along with skill building courses by various other marital therapists, including a Level One Gottman Clinical Couples Therapy.
Partha dasa has three creative children, six fun grandchildren and is still married to the beautiful, kind, nurturing, devotional girl he met 50 years ago. He currently resides with his wife and family in Saranagati Dhama, Canada. For recreation, he chases bears out of his garden in the summer and does telemark skiing down steep mountain slopes in the winter.
Mantrini devi dasi
Tamohara das and I came to the GVT a few years into its existence, upon the urging of Anuttama das, who was already a member. Tamohara was the Director of the ISKCON Child Protection Office at the time. We attended one of their annual meetings in New Vrindavana and were so struck by their dedication and devotion to strengthening the grihastha ashrama, that we had no trouble joining the effort. We already had backgrounds in devotee counseling having facilitated devotee support groups for some years in Chicago. Through our association with GVT, we became trained to present the VTE Grihastha Training Course, as well as other marriage education related seminars.
Tamohara has a doctorate in Educational Psychology, was a former Professor of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, and former Dean of the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. He now teaches counseling courses online, and serves by being a GBC of various temples in North America. I have an undergraduate degree in Marriage and Family Studies and have been doing devotee marriage and individual counseling for 15 years. We are both marriage educators being trained in PREP Marriage Enrichment and Dr. Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriages Work. We have been married for 45 years, and have three daughters and three grandchildren. We have been disciples of Srila Prabhupada since 1972.
We met and married before we came to the Movement. We were both searching for spiritual answers to life’s questions and felt immediately that we had “journeyed together” in some other life time…some would call it love at first sight. Our decision to join the Hare Krishna Movement was equally shared. We neither had any doubts. When we brought our five-year-old daughter to the Movement, the grihastha ashrama was not as strong as it is now, but we persevered by Krishna’s grace and are thankful to see the progress householders have made over the years.
Mantrini devi dasi
Krsnanandini devi dasi
“What do you do, how do you help marriages?” I was asked recently by an interviewer for a website about Bhakti (devotee) women. As a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), a mother of 10, a Senior Minister in the Hare Krsna movement, and a wife to a very kind Muslim gentleman, I reflected on how I am grateful to be a part of the Grihastha Vision Team.
I grew up in a strong Christian family and was always attracted to teaching. My siblings and I laugh today about how I would “pay” them my allowance if they would play school and let me be the teacher. Coming in contact with the Bhagavad gita As It Is when I was a student at the University of Chicago, I fell in love with the life-giving teachings of His Divine Grace, at the ripe old age of 19 years old. Thus, in 1971, I began my long and interesting journey in the Hare Krsna movement. When Srila Prabupada departed, I was impelled to connect with our beloved guru in my heart and through a vision, I was instructed by him to “show people how to have a real Krsna conscious marriage”! Stunned, I scrambled to understand how to do this and what it actually meant. This entailed a surrendering process and when I just submitted to the instruction, Providence provided the training, the husband, the clients and groups of wonderful souls, such as the Greater Cleveland Coalition for Strengthening Marriage, the Grihastha Vison Team, who helped to accomplish the mission.
The providential husband was Tariq and together we co-founded the Dasi-Ziyad Family Institute, facilitating workshops, writing healthy relationship articles and books, designing and implementing marriage and family curricula, teach-out-of the box courses like our 16 hour Parenting for the 21st century, the SELF Healthy Relationship course, and others. Today we’ve provided marriage and family education to hundreds of couples in person, on Skype and by phone. We are committed to seeing healthy, happy children, couples and families in Krsna consciousness.
I first met Tariq Saleem Ziyad when I was 9; he was a young man of 21 who was traveling with a Muslim minister to deliver a care package to a young single mother, my mother. Although, I do not recall that first meeting, he does very well. Later, we met again through divine arrangement, married each other and gradually became married to the mission, and he, in a strong way, is still delivering care.
Krsnanandini devi dasi
Cintamani devi dasi
Cintamani devi dasi (Courtney B. Parks, PhD), initiated by His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja in 1992, is a resident of Gita Nagari Dhama, a farm and temple community in Pennsylvania, where she seeks to serve and support the devotees, manage His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja’s projects and care for her family. Her profession is psychotherapy, and she currently serves as a clinical supervisor for a large social service agency. In this capacity, she mentors family therapists and provides trainings for the agency, including a 12-hour parenting class for foster parents and staff. She and her husband, Jagannatha Pandit das, provide counseling for devotees and workshops on topics such as relationships, grief and loss, and parenting. They have been married since 1991 and have two daughters.
Cintamani devi dasi
Jagannatha Pandita dasa
Jagannatha Pandit dasa (James E. Parks), initiated by His Holiness Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja in 1992, is engaged in a number of services at Gita-Nagari Dhama. He has served as a member of the Gita-Nagari management board and currently is a member of the Gita-Nagari brahminical council. He also serves as a pujari for Sri Sri Radha Damodara, the principal Deities of Gita-Nagari, and assists with various projects on the farm. Professionally, he is a counselor at a youth facility where he provides individual and group counseling to adolescent boys. He designs curricula and conducts psycho-educational groups on a broad variety of topics for youth such as stress management, employment skills, and values clarification. He also designs and provides cultural diversity trainings for staff.
Jagannatha Pandita dasa
Vraja-lila Devi Dasi
Vrajalila is a certified trainer in Conflict Resolution, Mediation, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) and Non-Violent Communication (NVC).
Currently she and her husband Ekavira are being trained as Certified Family Life Educators(CFLE)
Vrajalila travels worldwide and also offers online webinars on “Essential Technologies for Managing Conflicts” both in secular as well as in the devotee communities.
“I joined ISKCON New York in 1979. During my first years of service, I found myself having to nurture and care for new people and creating communities where preparing for marriage and getting married was a natural by product.
Whether it was during the years I was assisting in pioneering ISKCON Temples throughout West Africa, assisting with the development of “The Institute For Applied Spiritual Technology” founded by HH Bhakti-Tirtha Swami, assisting with the development of the GBC Devotee Care Committee in Mayapur, co-authoring the “Devotee Care Course Manual” or assisting in Gita Nagari where my husband Ekavira and me currently reside, I have learned that caring for each other Spiritually, Emotionally and Physically is the foundation for exemplary couples and exemplary families.”
Vraja-lila Devi Dasi
Ekavira dasa is an initiated disciple of HH Bhakti-Tirtha Swami. Ekavira served as one of the pioneers and coordinator of The Institute For Applied Spiritual Technology under the guidance of HH Bhakti-Tirtha Swami.
In 2004/2005 Ekavira served as the primary caregiver for HH Bhakti-Tirtha Maharaja during his illness.
Since the departure of his guru, he has served as caregivers for many devotees in their last stages of leaving the body.
Ekavira is a Certified Naturopathic Health Practitioner and teaches seminars and workshops on preventive health care.
He and his wife mentor and counsel individuals, as well as, couples internationally.
Ekavira is a member of “The International GBC Devotee Care Committee.”
Currently he and his wife are being trained as Certified Life Educators(CFLE).