Varnasrama College

The Varnasrama College is a unit of the Bhaktivedanta Academy.

Its central purpose and medium is the practical application and demonstration of the ethos propounded by Srila Prabhupada of "simple living and high thinking".

The Varnasrama College is designated for training in sustainable agriculture, cow care, various cottage industries, and the related lifestyle to direct students of the Bhaktivedanta Academy, local populations and visiting guests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayapur Varnasrama College 

 

Preamble

As an institution founded by Srila Prabhupada the sole objective of the Bhaktivedanta Academy is to please him by developing the Academy into a premier educational institution. 

Here we introduce our broad vision for the future. In 1974 on a morning walk in Vrindavan, Srila Prabhupada said: “The varëäçrama college has to be established immediately. Everywhere, wherever we have got our center, a varëäçrama college should be established to train four divisions: one class, brähmaëa; one class, kñatriya; one class, vaiçya; and one class, çüdra.”  Thirty five years later, we wish to act on this order of Srila Prabhupada by opening a Varnasrama College here in Mayapur, the birthplace of the Sankirtan movement.

Experience Vedic Culture

Srila Prabhupada desired that devotees come to India to directly experience what is left of the Vedic culture. The Mayapur Varnasrama College (MVC) will research the various proven and working vaisnava cultural traditions still found in India and bring them into the ISKCON community to facilitate this desire.

The aim of the MVC is to develop the appropriate standards of behavior and relationship displayed by the various individuals who make up a “Daivi Varnasrama” social system.  The Bhaktivedanta Academy has received many devotees as well as VIP’s over the years. They have all been very impressed, happy and surprised that such a facility still exists. We have plans to further develop this area of tourism/preaching, which will be another great attraction to the Mayapur project. 

Always Learning

The Vedic culture, Sanatana Dharma or Daivi Varnasrama Dharma is a lifelong educational system designed to bring us to the human level so that we can take full advantage of the spiritual culture given to us by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Children naturally aspire to follow the activities of adults, so if we want to develop varnasrama, we need to provide a place where the proper example can be demonstrated in a practical manner. 

Re-Orientation

A Varnasrama college is meant to culturally re-orient those who have not had the benefit of a traditional gurukula education. Srila Prabhupada wanted us to develop an “ideal unit” of society and this can only be done once the individuals have a full understanding of what “ideal” really is.  For those who have grown up in gurukula, the MVC will provide ongoing education and support, something that has been lacking so far in our society.

Although Srila Prabhupada used the word College, a varnasrama college is more than just a school with classrooms, which is only attended for a limited period of time. The MVC will be an actual village settlement which will have in its midst, accommodations, such as small cottages and guesthouse rooms that will allow students to become acculturated to the varnasrama lifestyle, so that ultimately, if they wish, they can take the process away with them to begin a new village elsewhere. Having a village settlement wherein Vedic cultural traditions are practiced will provide an ideal preaching platform demonstrating how simple living can be practiced in the modern age. We intend to research and revive ancient farming techniques in order to demonstrate the effectiveness and relevance of these methods for devotees and the general public. This is a fast growing area of interest and will attract an educated class of visitor to Mayapur.

Eligibility

The MVC will be open to all those individuals or families who fit with the ethos of the Bhaktivedanta Academy in general and specifically with the ethos of the Varnasrama College. Approval is given by the Varnasrama college village council. The MVC will provide accommodation for grihastas and varnaprasthas. There will also be separated and peaceful residences for visiting sannyasis who can take advantage of the village environment for short or extended periods to teach or for personal study. Facilities and services will be provided for them if required, or they can provide for their own care. 

Detailed Description of the project

The Varnasrama College campus will include the following:

  • Agriculture / Horticulture – self sufficiency research and development facilities
  •  Goshalla
  •  Cottage industry development (weaving, pottery, carpentry, etc)
  • Archery Range / Martial Arts
  •  Village living
  •  Tourist information / Admin Building
  •  Residencies for Brahmachary Staff and Teachers
  •  Agricultural Godown / Offices
  • Ayurvedic Retreat/Spa & Herb Garden