The ISKCON Vrindavan Bhisma Department started in 1989. The first mailout was sent to the temple life members, inviting them to participate in Sri Krishna Janmastami celebrations and seva. The next mailout was sent in honor of the fifteenth anniversary of the temple opening on Rama Navami of 1990. Since then, Bhisma Department has been sending three to four mailouts to members and donors throughout India every year for service opportunities such as Go Seva, Kumbha Mela, Prasad Distribution, Sri Krishna Janmastami, Diwali Prasad Distribution etc.
How was it started?
His Holiness Sridhara Swami was the Life Membership Director of ISKCON Juhu, Mumbai in the 1980’s. He researched different techniques to cultivate membership participation through mailouts. His endeavors were successful, and he encouraged devotees from other temples to come to Mumbai to learn the techniques of preaching through mailouts. The Life Membership Director of ISKCON Vrindavan, Pundarika Vidyanidhi Das, went to Mumbai and learned how to set up a Bhisma Department from Sridhara Swami. When he returned to Vrindavan, he purchased ISKCON Vrindavan’s first computer, and got all the membership data compiled on to the computer. By Janmastami, 1989, the first mailout was sent to Vrindavan’s life members.
After that, lists of prospective donors and members were collected, and the list of mailout recipients gradually grew. Now, about thirty years later, the Bhisma Department sends up to 100 letters a day to fortunate recipients throughout India, informing them of the transcendental welfare activities of ISKCON Vrindavan.
How does it benefit the temple?
From its inception, the Bhisma Department has contributed immensely to the various temple programs such as Prasad distribution, Go Seva, Temple Festivals like Janmastami, and Kumbha Mela preaching. Its primary function is to cultivate and encourage devotees, members, and donors to increase their Krishna consciousness through active participation in temple services.
Whenever someone sends a donation, Bhisma Department reciprocates generously by sending Mahaprasadam, books, puja kits, or other transcendental incentives to help the person advance in Krishna consciousness. Some donors have regularly helped with seva every mailout for the past twenty years. They are so appreciative of the service ISKCON Vrindavan is doing, and also they appreciate the parcels of Prasad and gifts they receive in return. It has become a most transcendental way of communicating with devotees, and a successful means for introducing people from all over the world to Vrindavan.
- Maintaining the records of ISKCON Life Members.
- Making Duplicate cards for Vrindavan Life Members.
- Sending invitations and letters to Life Members and Donors.
- Sending receipts (only which comes through our department or which has been given to us from other departments) and gifts.
- Meeting Life Members and Donors personally to encourage them in Krishna Consciousness.
20 dedicated devotees are involved in serving the Life Members and Donors in the Bhisma Department.