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‘Attending Krishna’s Image’ is an invaluable resource for pujaris and for all who want to explore the ancient sacred tradition of serving Krishna in His merciful murti form. Our founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada, was deeply concerned that our worship of Sri Vigraha does not deteriorate into kalagraha or a sense of burden. This book can not only prevent that from happening but also further inspire worshippers on whichever level of practice and realization they may be.
VIDEO: Krishna Kshetra Swami about the book
Attending Krishna’s Image
Subtitle: Caitanya Vaisnava Murti-seva as Devotional Truth
Bhaktivedanta Library ServicesBuy Book
Author: Janne Kontala, PhD (Jayananda das) based on Yoga-sutra 1.2
Introduction to Yoga Philosophy online course at Bhaktivedanta College
Achieve a deeper concentration
Our mind is in a constant state of flux: sometimes restless, sometimes dull, yet at other times focused, calm and clear. The process of yoga is meant to gradually elevate one from dullness to activity, and then from activity to clarity. Activity is not a stable platform: it easily relapses into dullness, or if activity increases too much, one becomes restless, unable to concentrate on one thing for any length of time. But by right endeavour we can bring the restless mind to focus momentarily on something. Then, with regular practice, we can achieve a deeper concentration. That is the beginning stage of yoga.
Stillness of mind
The advanced stage is achieved when the mind is completely still. When this stillness is perpetuated, two trancelike states follow. These states are called samadhi. In the first samadhi, the consciousness is aware of one object, and nothing else. In the second, more advanced samadhi, the consciousness is devoid of all objects. Then the consciousness has no other object than itself. This state is called objectless samadhi, because the consciousness resides in itself, without any external object. The one who achieves this kind of samadhi is close to the goal of yoga.
Our inner world has three main departments
It is not easy to come to such a platform because of the mind’s constant changing states. Our inner world has three main departments that combine into a uniform experience. The first is mind (manas), the instrument that receives input from the knowledge-acquiring senses. The mind decides to focus on one sense-input at a time, rejecting all others. It does this based on whether the particular sense-input feels good or bad. If this were all we had, we would be like little children, never able to get to the other end of the room, since so many impulses would steal our attention on the way.
The second department is intellect (buddhi) that enables us to see the bigger picture, recognize patterns and focus attention beyond what is immediately pleasant. Intellect helps us to perform any long-term activity that requires us to set aside immediate pleasures. The third department has ego, ‘I-ness’, (asmita) and ‘I-maker’, (ahankara). It is the relational part of our inner world, which causes us to identify as someone and with something. Equally, it tells us what we are not. For example, I am from this nation, not that; I’m a supporter of this team, not the other. Ahankara helps us to feel a sense of identity, which can be healthy – or unhealthy in a variety of ways: narcissistic, low self- esteem, I must do such and such.
Yoga will help us to gradually understand the healthy and unhealthy ways of how these three departments work. Then, we can develop a healthy and powerful mind, with whose help we can in due time endeavour to seek our truest self, which now lies in the background.
Beautifully structured course
When I signed up for the Kirtan Course I had been leading kirtan for several years, had studied with some lovely teachers and yet felt something was missing. I had longed to dive deep into Mantra as well as develop my music skills. So, I decided to join the Kirtan Course at Radhadesh and was completely humbled by the experience.
We were an intimate group of 12 students from around the globe and some came from as far as Argentina. There was a resident devotee who was able to advise us and answer any questions we had from the temple etiquette to where to buy groceries, and, in general, everyone was very warm and welcoming. The course itself was beautifully structured made of daily classes, practice time, philosophy and kirtan. The pace was very manageable and allotted plenty of time to practice, explore the surrounding area and rest outside of class time. My desires were met beyond any expectations!
A typical day and week of the course
The day started with breakfast and, for me, a walk through the forest. You were always welcome to attend the morning program at the temple if you liked to get up early.
Each day we had mrdanga, karatal, harmonium and/or voice classes. Everyone was fully supported and met where they were skill-wise. The teachers were incredibly knowledgeable, patient and available. Each week we had a private class and had an opportunity to work on whatever we liked – you could emphasize any aspect of the course you wished.
Kirtan Course – Teachers Stories video
We were very fortunate to have some amazing guest teachers who took us deeper into the experience of the maha-mantra and the philosophy in a very accessible way, which I deeply appreciated.
Also, a true highlight for me was driving one weekend with the group to Amsterdam to see Madhava for kirtan. We had been working on some of his music so hearing him live was amazing! The other highlight was everyone having an opportunity to lead for 30 min in the kirtan tent. It was so lovely to see and hear all the progress and confidence that each student had developed.
Today, my voice is much stronger, I am branching out musically, and I am discovering a sanga near where I live. Many wonderful things have happened since my time at Radhadesh!
I have recommended many friends, students and acquaintances to come and experience the Kirtan Course and I myself am hoping to be back sooner rather than later. I am eternally grateful for what we shared over the 6 weeks together and for all that I learned.
Astrud Castillo, the student of Kirtan Course, 2018
For more information about this course, please visit Kirtan Course
Authentic Yoga Teacher Training Course
In case you haven’t noticed, yoga and particularly yoga teacher training courses have become the aerobics of the new millennia. But, there are very few authentic yoga teacher training courses available and a lot of research is required to find the right one. So, having practiced yoga for many years, I was delighted to learn that Bhaktivedanta College at Radhadesh would be holding their first 200-hour registered Yoga Teacher Training Course in June 2018.
In addition, there was also a 6-week online Yoga Philosophy course where you could delve deeper into the true meaning of yoga and it’s many benefits. When I signed up for the course in February 2018, I was already a 300-hour RYT and had been teaching for more than 2 years, but the proximity of the course and the curriculum offered were so enticing – there was no choice but to go.
The interest was overwhelming
This was the first time Bhaktivedanta College had held a Yoga Teacher Training Course and the interest was overwhelming. For Krishna devotees, this was the opportunity to learn more about yoga whilst carrying out spiritual duties and for non-devotees, like me at the time, there was the possibility to immerse completely in a yogic community with no distractions from the outside world.
The course consisted of a daily 7 AM practice, practical yoga teaching skills, and assists, as well as yogic philosophy, meditation, and reflection. This is not a course for the faint-hearted, there is a lot of work involved, but the benefits far outweigh the time invested.
As a small group of around 20 persons, we were really on an international course; we had yogis from Lithuania, China, USA, Colombia, etc. Sundays were the weekly ‘day off’ although there was always the optional 7 AM yoga practice. The area around Bhaktivedanta College encompasses beautiful villages like Durbuy, Huy, Marche etc. and as a group, we made time to socialize together and organize outings or evening walks to some of the nearby villages. It’s very easy to fall in love with this peaceful area of the Belgium Ardennes!
The Yoga Teacher Training Course at Bhaktivedanta College isn’t something superficial to ensure your part of the growing ‘Yoga Trend.’ It is a complete programme which will provide you with the foundations for a long and continuous journey into yoga. Embrace the opportunity; I am so glad I did!
Alix Rassel-Burton, student of Yoga Teacher Training Course 2018
For more info about this course please visit Yoga Teacher Training Course event
The featured on-site courses below offer students in-depth study in kirtan technique and japa meditation. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Dates: June 17th – June 24th, 2018
Tutors: Jahnavi Harrison (the main tutor), Krishangi Lila (harmonium and vocal), Surabhi Kunja (kartalas) and Balarama Nityananda (mridanga)
If you love kirtan and would like to dive deeply into learning about the philosophy and tradition of this practise, as well as gain some knowledge of traditional kirtan instruments – please join us for this 7 day immersion course!
Whilst the six-week summertime Kirtan Course course (listed below) welcomes those at all levels of practise, this course particularly facilitates beginners, either in instrument study and/or the bhakti yoga philosophy and lifestyle.
Students will gain skills in playing instruments and singing for kirtan, enhanced by a thorough exploration of the teachings that support kirtan practise.More info on Kirtan Connection
Dates: July 2nd – August 12th, 2018
Residential tutors: Gopal Anandini (assistant), Krisahngi Lila (vocals and harmonium), Surabhi Kunja dd (kartalas), Krsnadas (mridanga)
Visiting tutors (one week): Jahnavi Harrison, Kadamba Kanana Swami, Sacinandana Swami, Bhakti Ghamya and Bhuta Bhavana, Mahendra
Over the period of six weeks this course will uncover the basics of kirtan practice through the facilitation of experienced kirtaniyas, chanters, and teachers such as Sacinandana Swami, Jahnavi Harrison and others. The course covers historical, theoretical and practical aspects of kirtan, which includes an in-depth beginners study in singing, harmonium, kartalas and mridanga playing.
More info on Kirtan Course
Dates: June 27th – July 1st, 2018
Tutor: Sacinandana Swami
What can you expect from the Holy Name Retreat:
In short, increasing your Krishna Consciousness.
More info on Holy Name Retreat
Grihastha Vision team members, Partha and Uttama, both disciples of Srila Prabhupada, offer to share their wisdom of 46 years of marriage and their training and coaching experience to facilitate a 2-day interactive grihastha course, Strengthening the Bonds that Free Us, based on the 12 Principles of Successful Krsna Conscious Family Life.
The seminar helps couples, and those interested in marriage, develop skills to maintain healthy connections and navigate inevitable challenges while weeding out negative paradigms that may sabotage relationships and spiritual growth.
Partha and Uttama will be visiting Europe end of October and beginning of November. If you wish to host them in your yatra, please contact the secretary of Bhaktivedanta College for arranging the details by using the address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bhaktivedanta College has invited them to record the online course which will be available in the next few months and we also thought that it would be wonderful if they can visit other places in Europe in person. Book your dates soon to not miss this opportunity!
Partha das and Uttama dd will be available during their visit to counsel individuals and couples after the seminar and to offer a variety of other relationship courses in the evenings. They can also offer Marriage Mentor Training (3-days) to long-term happily married couples to enable them to facilitate pre-marital education to those about to marry in your congregation. One of the goals of the GVT is to see every person in ISKCON who wishes to marry is offered 5 sessions of premarital education before marriage. This will enable your community to offer that service. The Strengthening the Bonds that Free US course is a prerequisite for that training.
Artists at all levels who want to connect with their creative and devotional sides, and experience bhakti through art, are welcome to attend the upcoming Transcendental Art Seminar at Bhaktivedanta College, Radhadesh.
Running from August 21st to September 2nd, the seminar will be taught by classically trained husband and wife team Dhriti Dasi and Ram Das Abhirama Das.Register
The couple are legends in ISKCON art, having painted in the BBT art department from 1975 to 1986, with the original core of BBT artists including Jadurani Dasi, Pariksit Das, and Murlidhar Das. They received personal instructions on painting from Srila Prabhupada, and their paintings are included in the Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Nectar of Devotion, Caitanya-caritamrita and Krsna book.
They were also the BBT’s co-art directors together in Europe between 1980 and 1986. More recently, their art has been featured in many prestigious art galleries around the U.S.
“Our Transcendental Art Seminar will accommodate 15 to 20 students,” says Dhriti. “This intimate size will allow us to give instruction and attention to each student.”
The seminar will be an intensive program that provides a complete experience of art. It will include studying the figure, life drawing from a model, color, oil painting procedure, portrait painting, composition, values, painting the landscape from nature, principles of transcendental figures, and the study of cloth, tone, and values.
As they learn these techniques, students will get to develop and create their own original transcendental painting. Dhriti and Ram Das will painting alongside them, so that everyone can observe the process. Personal instruction will be given to students to guide and develop their artistic abilities.
“While we’ll cover many different subjects, our seminar will focus on Krishna’s beauty, face and expressions,” says Dhriti. “Our philosophy is all about rasa and feeling. The emotions of the Lord and His associates are so wonderfully described. So we will discuss how we can humbly and prayerfully approach this rasa, and then try to depict it visually.”
“We’ll also present the standards Srila Prabhupada gave to us in depicting the ‘Windows to the Spiritual World,’” says Ram Das. “He wanted us to make Krishna ‘real, not cartoon.’”
Since Dhriti and Ram Das began giving their art seminars several years ago, students have gotten a vast amount of education and inspiration from them.
“The teachers were excellent and very helpful,” said Anasuya from Melbourne, Australia. “They really went out of their way to assist us all, according to our needs and artistic levels.”
Anandini from the Netherlands commented, “We learned profound painting techniques in only two weeks. The paintings by the students were amazing.”
And Krishen Kanadia from London sums up the seminar’s transformational nature: “The experience was very sacred, something to treasure,” he said. “To meet the devotees who had preached to me through their artwork felt surreal, and they were supportive. A rich, fulfilling, inspiring experience. And a great way to meet other artists involved in Krishna consciousness. This is no exaggeration: these two weeks have been one of the biggest highlights of my spiritual life. The teachers showed us how to meditate on Krishna all the time in developing our paintings.”
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To register and get more info, visit: bhaktivedantacollege.com/events/transcendental-art-seminar/
This short film was made in Russia in October 2015, by a small team of filmmakers who are passionate about sharing the culture of bhakti yoga with the world. It was shot on location in Moscow and Sochi, and profiles Jahnavi Harrison, who grew up with bhakti yoga and serves in the capacity of a kirtan (devotional call and response chanting) leader.
Producer: Shaktyavesha Avatara dasa
Director of Photography: Raghunatha Prana dasa
2nd Camera: Hari Mohini dasi
Additional Camera: Nityananda Rama dasa
Postproduction: Tamal Krishna Dasa
Transport: Alexey Pigurenko
Writen by Gopal Anandini Schleusener
We have 22 students, all determined, sincere and serious. It’s been a real pleasure working with them so far. The first week, Sacidanadana Swami guided them in understanding the importance of doing kirtan in the right mindset and mood. Immersing them in the holy names, he got things off to a blissful start. The past two weeks, the teachers focused on teaching mrdanga mantras and kartala beats. Also, each student by now knows a melody on the harmonium. By next week they’ll be playing in and leading kirtan. All the students have their own styles, and it is a great experience to see it.
Moments of mercy flowed from Lord Jagannatha during His chariot procession. Holy names filled the air, and the mrdanga beats awakened each soul who heard them. We celebrated with kirtan and shared kirtan with others.
Radhadesh Summer Holi
After a month of study and a week of intense practice, the Kirtan Course students took part in the festival with a half-hour stage performance of mellow, choral chanting. Shivani and Cherl sang solos. Braja made a mrdanga presentation. With sweet tunes of Braja, the lead singers were Shivani, Cheryl, Paraschiva, Surya, and Murari. Their joyful mood helped the audience experience the glories of sankirtana, the congregational repetition of the maha-mantra.
In a kirtan tent, our mrdanga teacher, Krsna Das, led workshops on playing this instrument. Students demonstrated their skills, and the people could join in to learn the basics. Shivani, Cheryl, and Sam led workshops on voice toning and gong-sound healing therapy. The happiness of Holi spread to everyone. The weekend was filled with kirtan and devotion, relaxation and self-realization.
Moments to be remembered . . . relished . . . carried in the heart.
The Shamanic Festival in Namur
The Kirtan Course students, along with the teacher Jahnavi Harrison, spread the holy names around a bonfire. Dancing and chanting purified the hearts of many, and those who joined us became absorbed, letting themselves be carried away by the angelic voice of Jahnavi and the transcendental Holy Name.
Balarama Purnima at Radhadesh
It was a day filled with kirtan and dancing, swinging Deities, and offering one’s heart in blissful worship. Taking part in such temple programs and doing kirtans for Sri Sri Radha-Gopinatha have become a natural part of the students’ everyday life. The sweet late-evening kirtan at Radhadesh is one activity that every student will miss after returning home.
First to Leave
Day by day we come closer to the end of the two-month Kirtan Course, which has given new skills and deep realizations to the students.
Some of these memories will last, as will friendships that formed by bonding in kirtan. Precious moments will stay with them throughout their lives. In gratitude we said goodbye to three wonderful students who had to leave a bit early: Paraschiva Florescu, Chih-Chen Chen, and Kuan Lee. We were blessed to have delicious donuts made by a cupcake master, Gopalanandini Schleusener, who has the sweetest talent for baking and decorating cupcakes. Happy we were to have nice chats on the grass before we all wandered in different directions throughout the world. As Sri Sri Radha-Gopinatha were waiting to hear the kirtans of Paraschiva Florescu and Kuan Lee, we all joined them in the temple room, where their heart-melting devotion made it seem that the Deities danced.
The Kirtan Course’s graduation ceremony provoked tears and laughter, certificates and comments. We had ice cream and cold drinks. Knowing that each of us would feel strong separation from these relishable months we shared, connected by kirtan, we anticipated our friendships lasting when we are far away from one other. The staff will miss you and wishes you all the best on your kirtaniya path!
May you all flourish in the garden of kirtan and blossom with the holy names in your hearts! Kirtan Course 2016, ki jaya!
Sankirtana-yajna, ki jaya!