Aims of the Bhaktivedanta Academy

 

The primary aim of the Mayapur Bhaktivedanta Gurukula is to produce devotees of Lord Krsna trained to the level of Bhaktivedanta. Bhaktivedanta devotees are described so being of the two kinds - those who know how to act to save themselves and those who know how to act to save others.

 

In pursuance of this aim all root concepts and the mood of their implementation are taken from Srila Prabhupada's books. Also it naturally allows that the results of the school must be judged by the Krsna conscious standards set down in the books. Srila Prabhupada is coming in the time of the Six Goswamis who exhaustively scrutinized all the sastras to establish the eternal principles of religion. Thus they extracted all the elements of Vedic culture practically applicable to this age - all this was done according to the doctrine of yukta-vairagya, enunciatied by Srila Rupa Goswami. Srila Prabhupada comes in the line of Rupa Goswami and so he applies this doctrine to everything, including education, which he instructs in his Bhaktivedanta purports. He aimed at creating a revolution on all levels of society - we are primarily concerned with education.

 

The western countries especially are filled with voidism and impersonalism, the primary aim of life being sense gratification. This analysis applies to all institutions including the educational institutions. Factually we can see that there is only a study of material nature. This is presented through the arts and sciences; which have no basis in authority - there is only empirical observation and inference. Consequently there is no fixed direction of scholasticism; standards of what is acceptable knowledge are always changing. Of course, modern knowledge has produced some useful gismos that may be dovetailed into the Krsna consciousness movement. That fact however that we should become as enamored that we deced to base the education of our children on the same system or hybrid of systems that produced the people who produced the gismos that we utilize in spreading Krsna consciousness. The cultivation and uncompromised through the practice of yukta-vairagya.

 

Of course it may be argued that one may take gold from a filthy place and that is true. But if you are sitting on a known gold mine, the veins of which can never be exhausted, then why go feretting around in the sewer to see if someone dropped some gold there. If anything is genuinely knowledge then it will be found in Srila Prabhupada's books. - If we research with a genuine desire for guidance in any field, then we will find it - we have to have that faith; and the more we follow this principle the more that faith will be justified and the more it will grow.

 

On the above considerations we decided that to Krsna-ize, that is, adapt to the needs of the Krsna consciousness movement, a Vedic formula of education is more natural that trying to Krsna-ize a modern one. The essential root principle of God consciousness is there to build on in the former, but not in the latter. In the Vedic formula the necessary principles of purity and respect for authority which are required for realizing the success in Gurukula training are axiomatic; whereas, the fundamentals of impersonalism, voidism and pursuit of sense gratification found in modern educational formulas are difficult to circumvent, no matter how much Krsna consciousness is introduced.

 

The practical points of acceptance of authority, ability to accept in humble position to understand the necessity of other's feelings and happiness before one's own and development of the art of genuinely befriending and taking shelter of others are all endermic to the Vedic culture and its educational system. These points are inculcated in relationship to one's own family, society at large, other living entities in general, the demigods in particular; and especially in regard to one's relationship with the Supreme Lord and his representative, the bona fide spiritual master. The opposite can justifiably be said of modern culture - documentation is hardly necessary.

 

What we are looking at in the basis of the Vedic culture is the breakdown of three fundamental misconception - "I am the controller," "I am the enjoyer" and "I am the well-wishing friend of everyone". These conceptions apply only to the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna, as expressed by Him in Srimad Bhagavad-Gita (BG 5.29). The removal of these false conceptions, indeed of the false ego itself, is acheived only by devotional service to the Lord. Therefore the essence of the Vedic culture is to create Vaisnavas and the highest level of Vaisnava is the Bhaktivedanta.

 

How then are we applying these notions in the Mayapur Bhaktivedanta Gurukula. Firstly we follow the formula instruction by Srila Narada Muni in Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 6 Chapter 12. There he describes six aspects of student life - the student:

(1) resides in the house of the guru.

(2) learns sense control

(3) learns to act only for the benefit of the guru

(4) performs menial service

(5) learns to be submissive

(6) learns to devlop an attitude of firm friendship to the guru.

 

In material life the basic motive of goal of action is to please oneself. This is achieved by either trying to enjoy material facility; or, due to frustration and anger, one takes to impersonalism and voidism thus seemingly avoiding material activities - both spring from the lording propensity. One thing is certain - in material life there is no motivation for spiritual activities because there is no actual knowledge in understanding matter, spirit, the controller of both and the interrelationship of the three. The above six principles teach the student to act only to please the guru and Krsna. This motivation is based on the principles given by Srila Prabhupada in his books which are assimilated from the instructions of the immediate guru, confirmed by the senior and assembled Vaisnavas and realized by the practical service performed by the student. 

 

What we observe in this regard is that as a student realizes the relationship of a particular activity to his growing realization of Krsna consciousness, he then becomes inspired to engage in that activity. Thus by replacing material 

goals with spiritual goals there is no obvious progress in spiritual understanding. So long as a child is conditioned to material standards of profit adoration and distinction in regard to eductaion and life goals then he will display little or no interest or motivation in achieving the six basic goals stated above.  Material misconceptions about life can only be destroyed by development of purity (inside and out), by acceptance of spiritual authority and by menial service to guru.

 

The Supreme Lord Himself is attracted only by the development of a humble, submissive sercie attitude. He reciprocates by giving one the necessary intelligence to advance on the progressive path back home, back to Godhead. This translates into the student being able to see the importance to himself and others of an education in Krsna consciousness. He realizes that learning itself is devotional service and therefore he becomes inspired to study. Thus the child will become purified by such devotional serve executed through the practice of sadhana in the association of peers, teachers and other elders. His attachments to mundane society, friendship and love will be broken or considerably reduced so that he will be able to enter adult life with the fixed determine to at least engage himself if not others, in the devotional service of the Lord as his life's occupation. 

 

The general principle is to as early as possible and as effectively as possible remove as much material contamination as possible from the heart so that after graduation the students can pursue brahminical vocations when the question of livelihood arises. He should engage in work according to the principles of daiva-varnasrama. Even if he becomes a gross materialist it is hoped that his gurukula training in principles of morality and religion will at best keep within a varnasrama conception of society.

 

Our aim therefore constitutes a complete cultural reorientation of society to produce a society in which the individuals understand that their principle occupation in life is to practice pure, unalloyed devotional service with the goal of going back home back to Godhead. The vocational career within which this occupation is practices is secondary, and, although dealt with within our curriculum, as you will see later in this prospectus, it is not the consideration of this mission statement. Some may feel that this is avoiding an important issue - "What guarantee is there that my son will get a decent job after graduating from gurukula?" The answer is frankly "None" - but then again who can make such an airtight guarantee in any educational institution anywhere in the world. And how can the soul be satisfied with a decent job and material security if his life is devoid of the devotional service of the Lord? We leave this matter up to you to decide.