How Can We Help?

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Question: In the early days of Iskcon, young devotees were given opportunity to become leaders. Why are there so few opportunities for younger devotees to take leadership roles today?

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Jayapataka Swami: I cannot fully agree with that. You see, as I said, we are meant to manage ourselves our job. I was the president of the Montreal temple, the third president. But as soon as I was able, I gave the presidentship to Sripati das and said, you be the president. And I went and opened up Toronto. And Srila Prabhupada called me to LA, I went to LA, I saw Srila Prabhupada. I will not send you to India now, I will send you later when we have our own place. In the meantime, you go and help Bhagavan open up Chicago. So I went to Chicago and helped open that temple. Then Srila Prabhupada called and said, now it is time for you to go to India. Like that if devotees want to they could open up – how many temples do they have in the USA? There are so many states, but just a few states, I don’t think every state has a temple. I don’t know if there is a temple in Kentucky or Alabama. Here we have in Georgia. In South Carolina I had land donated, but no one to lead it up. Tell me who are the young people that are ready to take responsibilities, ready to take headaches, ready to manage something like this. I will tell you the place where you can put them. If nothing else now we have bhakti vrksa groups, namahatta groups, and there is plenty of chance to learn how to do that. So I don’t fully agree, maybe you have some old temples and old devotees who manage the temples, but that is also good. But some of the old temples, you need new devotees and there is plenty of room to expand. In California there are many temples. But in Arizona there are two temples – Phoenix and Tucson. But in New Mexico I don’t think there is any temple? So there are so many temples to expand! And young devotees, they can take that initiative. I have been encouraging my disciples to take responsibility, different types of initiatives to spread Krsna consciousness. And I am very grateful for those who are doing so. Thank you!