An interview with Visvambhar Chaitanya Dasa, son of the longtime temple president of Radhadesh and his wife.
How did you end up in Thailand?
I met devotees there three years ago, on a ten-day trip from India to extend my Indian visa.
In those ten days I was very much encouraged to share my learning (I’d done one year at Bhaktivedanta College and a Bhakti Sashtri course and a Pujari course in Mayapur). I shared some of this knowledge by giving classes, leading kirtan, teaching mrdanga, distributing books, and taking part in preaching events and other activities.
After all, Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad-Gita (18.68-69): “For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure
devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.”
Having experienced the happiness of sharing Krishna consciousness with others, I left Thailand with a good taste. Remembering those times and desiring more of this taste, I proposed this destination to my wife. We considered other options, but this option proved the most realistic, since the possibility to teach English in Bangkok is readily available.
Eventually, you got your degree at Bhaktivedanta College. Which skills learned at the college are you able to engage in your work?
While teaching English in Bangkok, many skills I learned at the college have enhanced my ability to teach English to children:
structuring my thoughts on paper, making lesson plans for my classes, and presentation skills ranging from PowerPoint presentations to acting have all come in handy. And being well-acquainted with Englishis another ability I owe to Bhaktivedanta College.
How did your education at the college help you?
A Bachelor’s degree from an English university allowed me to apply for a work visa in Thailand, made it easier to get a job placement, and increased my starting salary,
Tell us about the year you got married and graduated.
2012 was the happening year. It all started on April 29th, 2011, when I got initiated. Life took a more serious turn, and I went from using Lord Caitanya’s childhood name, Nimai, to using His grown-up name, Visvambara. This was an obvious hint.
After that I got engaged to Kumari Kunti Devi Dasi. Time was flying while I finished studying at the college; I had a year left. Then devotees were asking for a marriage date, so we planned it for a month after graduation. In this sense, the graduation celebrations where short-lived, for a huge wedding was ahead.
The big event meant that we received enough laxmi to cover our wedding costs, and the pleasure lay in giving the devotees and
nondevotee-relatives Krishna’s darshan, kirtana, prasada, and small gifts — all in the context of a well-enacted and explained marriage ceremony. We turned this occasion into a festival.
Do you miss anything from your college experiences right now?
My wife and I miss the college so much that we are planning to contribute to it and thus ensure that it keeps running and flourishes within the Radhadesh community. We would like to settle in the promising community of Radhadesh. We think it befitting to raise
children there. It is our favorite community. It’s unique in having a constant flow of teachers sharing their realizations and young and old enthusiasts eager to learn about Krishna in a devotee community through an accredited program. There are so many opportunities to serve and learn owing to the college being there.
What was the main lesson you took from your college studies?
One of the things I learnt is not to judge a book by its cover. I hesitated a lot in going to the college, being skeptical about this method of preaching. It seemed a bit watered down and I feared that this would delay my salvation from this world and its suffering. Combined with that, there was my laziness at school and my limited ability to do all this in English. Yet I matured and got more of a
grip on myself, through time and introspection, combined with the intake of courses and the association of the exalted teachers. Now I am pleased. My method of finding out proved effective.