The ISKCON Cucumber


A cucumber is deceptively simple, and organisationally ingenious

While at the ISKCON European Leaders Meeting last month I gave a presentation on how I felt our movement could be helped along in its progress if we thought of it as an organic structure. I studied Biology prior to joining and I guess I look at life in a biological way sometimes as a result. Certainly biological forms, from the simple to the most complex, seem to be the best ‘organisations.’

If we want to have an integrated, fully functioning organisation, we might take some advice from Mother Nature. Nature arranges matter into cells and cells into organs. And all the organs are interconnected.

In my presentation I compare ISKCON to a cucumber. A cucumber is 96% water and 4% organised structure and system that contains the water. ISKCON is now 96% congregational (meaning, for my purposes, members of independent finance and accommodation) ; we therefore require very good ‘organisation and intelligence’ if the Society is to be fully functioning.

Although it may go against our tendency towards rugged individualism, I suggest that as members of ISKCON we organise ourselves into groups for mutual spiritual support, communication, and service. To a certain extent we already do this; but sometimes, if you don’t talk about it, you don’t notice it when its not there.

I also suggest that we learn things from other religions that have had centuries of mission, growth, and consolidation. I realise that we have philosophical differences with them, and that we do not want to emulate the worst effects of institutionalisation, but we can nevertheless learn from others. They have done many good things, and of course we can learn from their mistakes too. Not that we have to make all our own mistakes.

If you’d like to view the powerpoint presentation please have a look here:

You click on the first picture then use your arrows to move forward and back. Thank you for looking.


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Filed under ISKCON, Small Groups

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