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II European Yoga Congress – 2016
Radhadesh, Durbuy and European Parliament, Brussels – Belgium
‘The Relevance of Yoga for the European Society and for World Peace’
It is our great pleasure and honor as the hosting Organization for this year to invite you to participate in the II European Yoga Congress, which will take place on 20th, 21st and 22nd May, 2016 in the headquarters of the ISKCON Radhadesh Ashrama located in Durbuy, Belgium.
– 20.-22.5. (Friday to Sunday) 3 days of workshops, lectures and classes
– 22.5. (Sunday evening) pre-closing ceremony in Radhadesh
– 24.5. (Tuesday) closing event in the European Parliament in Brussels
We expect an exciting array of lectures, workshops and presentations given by the following invited
– Portuguese Yoga Confederation, Portugal
– Yoga Vidya, Germany
– Sanatana Dharma, Spain
– Federación Española de Yoga Satsanga, Spain
– Russian Classical Yoga Federation, Russia
– London Sevashram Sangha, UK
– Association of Hungarian Yoga Teachers, Hungary
– Yoga Surya – Academy of Yoga & Meditation, Czech Republic
– Helenic Assoctiation of Hatha Yoga, Greece
– Centre Santosha, Belgium
– Pauls Stradinš Clinical University Hospital, Latvia
– ISKCON/Bhaktivedanta College, Belgium
REGISTRATION AND PRICES
Prices for participation in the conference are:
2 nights … 190 eur
3 nights … 260 eur
4 nights … 315 eur
Given prices are valid until the 1st of May. After this date, we will charge additional 5% for late registrations.
In this price are included:
– participation in the congress
– shuttle bus
– bus to Brussels for the Yoga Federation representatives at the European Parliament
– yoga mat, if needed
Accommodation will be provided in the Radhadesh facilities (guest-house and ashrama) and Sunclass bungalows (near-by bungalow park). Transportation for those residing in the bungalows will be secured.
Everybody is required to fill out the Registration Form, presenters and participants alike. For accessing the form, please use this link.
For more info, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO PAY
You can make the payment in two ways, whichever is more convenient for you:
1. through the bank, details are given below
Account holder’s name:
Petite Somme 10
Belfius Barvaux, Belgium
Route de Marche 6, 6940 Barvaux-Sur-Ourthe
Bank account number: 068-2456949-63
IBAN: BE40 0682 4569 4963
2. through email@example.com
Please indicate the name and the last name of the person for who the payment is being made with the note ‘Participation in the Yoga Congress’.
HOW TO REACH US
Please see the instructions here.
Interviewer: Can you tell us about what you are up to these days and what you have been up to this past year? We understand you have been travelling quite extensively lately. Please tell us a bit about that.
Abigail: We have just travelled to many places around the world over the last year, visiting ISKCON temples and seeing how different cultures imbibe Krishna Consciousness and doing Kirtan with devotees wherever we went. It was amazing to realize how much we really do have a worldwide family as everywhere we went, we were welcomed with open arms (and prasadam!)
Davide: Well the trip was needed due to a travelling bug I carried inside for so many years. Abigail wasn’t even so keen on the idea but she was very pleased once we left. Kirtan has been the best icebreaker in many places and devotees –and even some non-devotees, love it. We got to play in many special places and with many special people.
Interviewer: How has your life changed since the kirtan course? Are your sadhanas any different? If yes, in what way have they changed? What about your relationship with the Holy Name?
Abigail: Our sadhana has changed in the way that we listen. We now have many more techniques for hearing the Holy Name.
Davide: When I first arrived at the Kirtan course I wasn’t chanting regularly and didn’t really have a clear understanding of what sadhana was as well as many other terms the community uses. The course helped understand what all of those words were as well as given me the chance to be surrounded by splendid devotees and, guess what, by the end of the course I was chanting my 16 rounds.
Interviewer: Word on the street is you are interested in starting up some preaching programs or something to that effect in London. Can you please expand on that and what it might entail?
Abigail and Davide together: For now, we are going to help with some wonderful existing projects that are going on in London such as Mantra Lounge and Kirtan London. We will be leading one of the Mantra Lounge nights in November. There are also some other projects in the pipeline but we’ll keep them under wraps for now…!
Interviewer: Since the kirtan course, has kirtan become a part of your everyday life and if so, in what way?
Abigail: Since the kirtan course, we have understood just how important kirtan is to our daily lives, either by playing kirtan or listening to it. We even travelled around the world with a small harmonium.
Davide: Kirtan changed our daily lives by changing our way to approach life. It has also been the reason for which we chose the route we took during our travels. For example, we went to the Mauritius Kirtan Mela in April this year and the trip was mainly arranged so we could be at the very first Mela on this gorgeous island. We only heard about it a few weeks before so we changed the original trip and started from there. Kirtan is a mindset.
Interviewer: What is your favourite thing about kirtan?
Abigail: Our favourite thing about kirtan is how powerful it can be to connect you with the Holy Name and the other souls participating in the kirtan. I was at Mantra Lounge last night and seeing how this process really transforms people and opens their hearts is quite extraordinary.
Davide: Kirtan is happy. You can feel it.
Interviewer: What’s your favourite instrument to play in kirtan? Have you found yourself continuing to develop your skills in certain areas of the practical aspects of kirtan, since the course ended?
Abigail: For me, my favourite instrument is the harmonium and I continue to learn and practice new melodies and ragas as much as I can.
Davide: I am trying to get Abigail to teach me more about harmonies even though I am yet to learn properly. Our road trip from Yosemite National Park to Seattle was a whole big kirtan singing session, so I’d say my voice is my favourite instrument. However, the mrdanga is really cool.
Interviewer: What advice would you give to future kirtan course students?
Abigail: I would say to come prepared to really try and absorb yourself in every aspect of the course. The two months go so quickly but there is so much nectar to be had. The kirtan course makes you understand that leading or playing any of the instruments in kirtan is not a performance, it is a glorification of Krishna and you are there as an instrument to do that, nothing more.
Davide: Focus on Krishna and your heart. The technical preparation is necessary to give you confidence but kirtan is not about that. The better your sadhana the better is the connection you can create with Krishna.
Written by Katelin Knapp
The class of 2015 has been launched into the kirtan course with blissful kirtans, deep insights and meaningful experiences. From Vancouver to London, the 18 students come from all different backgrounds to one peaceful place in order to chant the Holy Names, learn the basic instruments and unlock the nectar. Week one lays a h4 foundation for the temple of the heart, beginning with Sacinandana Swami’s mercy, stories and humour. Before even picking up an instrument, he was there to ensure that we had a proper understanding of what goes into the chanting of the Holy Name. Maharaja focused heavily on concepts such as developing a relationship with the Holy Name, chanting in a prayerful mood and being fully present for each syllable of the mantra.
After a successful lift off with Sacinandana Swami, we began our journey through learning melodious harmonium, h4 mrdanga and clear kartals. As the main aspect of the kirtan course, many enjoyed this first and challenging introduction into the subtleties of instrumental music in kirtan. One of the students, a professional singer, led us through the theory and techniques of singing. This week has only been the first steps onto a journey with colourful ice cream, loud instrument practice and singing from the heart. Hopefully the Radhadesh community will forgive us for the relentless practicing that’s been going on.
This week we were fortunate enough to have the association of Krishna Ksetra Swami, who gave a five-day seminar entitled, “Sounding Out Devotional Traditions.” His aim was to look at different types of devotional music with a wide-angle lens. By the end of the week, our knowledge of kirtan’s roots had expanded exponentially and we have a greater appreciation for different traditions classified as kirtan.
With a jam-packed schedule, we have continued to learn and practice the instruments. Some beginner students have started to lead their first kirtans whilst others play along with the accompanying instruments. At this point, we’re really starting to understand and appreciate what goes into a proper kirtan through the observation and participation of the daily evening bhajans in the temple room.
This week brought Lord Caitanya into our midst with the descriptive, dramatic and delightful stories told by Kadamba Kanana Swami. Reading from the Caitanya Bhagavata, we delved into the detailed pastimes of the Lord using the Siksastakam as an anchor to revisit and analyze throughout the readings. Whilst our practical knowledge increases, we learnt about the ecstatic kirtans from Yamuna devi and Vishnujana Swami in ISKCON’s past. Some of the musically orientated students came together to compose and perform some beautiful songs as part of a service to Radha Gopinatha and the Summer Festival.
The incredibly inspiring, humble and talented Jahnavi Harrison was our guest teacher this week. She gave a seminar on the prayers of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura where in which we spent the week diving deep into a collection of songs in one of His most popular works, “Saranagati.” There’s no doubt that all of us felt a much deeper connection with these poems and felt great inspiration to start to learn these bhajans on our own.
During these last couple of weeks, it has really started to hit us that there isn’t much time left in the kirtan course; therefore, for many of us, this has inspired us to really push our limits in regards to practicing instruments. However, this was not always easy with about 200 young visiting devotees from the UK hanging around for just over a week. However, the distraction was definitely worth it due to the uplifting kirtans that took place throughout the week with incredibly talented kirtaniyas, such as Ojasvi Prabhu. In addition, we took a day trip to Cologne for the Ratha Yatra festival, where we had the good fortune of meeting with Sacinandana Swami, who shared some nectarean wisdom with us with the intent to inspire us for the remaining weeks of the course. Most recently, we were given a surprise three-day seminar by Sarvatma Prabhu, who shared some of his kirtan expertise with us in hopes of expanding our boundaries of where we take our musical inspiration from.
Along with the continuation of instrument classes, this week’s visiting teacher Mahendra Prabhu gave a seminar entitled “Kirtan as Sadhana and Sadhya,” where in which he spoke about how kirtan is both the means and the ultimate goal in spiritual life. He supported these claims with a multitude of references from the Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Charitamrita, Caitanya Bhagavata and different quotes from the acharyas.
On Saturday, most of us went on a day trip to Aachen to do harinam and to visit one of the kirtan course students who had to leave the course early. It was a blissful reunion jam-packed with energetic kirtan, enthusiastic passersby and an absolutely delicious feast prepared by the Aachen devotees to finish off the day.
Hi, I am Gary!
My friends and colleagues claims I am a successful manager…
But I believe I still have a lot of to learn.
Not only for sake of making business success, but also for making myself a better person, with widely open eyes and open mind for other people’s needs and sense for world around me.
That’s why I am looking for a very specific MBA degree that provides:
I got stuck thinking about the right programme for me… The one that will provide me with professional accomplishment and personal fulfilment…
Guess what? I managed to find it!
The Alfred Ford School of Management and its MBA in Conscious Leadership!
It offers me 12 modules (such as marketing, finance, and accounting), of 8 weeks each – which means I can gain my MBA diploma in much as 18 months, or extend it to a maximum of 5 years.
Since 98% of the program is delivered through a first-class online learning platform, I can study when it suits me best…
And I even get to spend a one final week of residency in Belgium.
What I like the most is that the 80% of the programme is based on case study and simulation methods that encourage interaction and discussion.
But, nevertheless the Alfred Ford School of Management is place where people truly care for each one and pay a real respect to 3P model – People, Planet, Profit.
If you are sharing the same true values and care about human and unique need of each individual as much about you business success, join me! We have a right school for business!
We at Bhaktivedanta College are dedicated to contributing to our movement and mankind in general by presenting the topmost transcendental knowledge about devotion to Krsna in a structured, academic way. For that end, we are always in search for collaborators who feel the same need and passion to spread the teachings of Brahma Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya as presented by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
If you wish to join our team and have the following qualifications, please contact us as soon as possible!
What we expect from our team members?
– completed Bhakti-sastri education (or higher) or substantial years of preaching involvement
– experience in teaching adults
– good English proficiency
– academic education (at least BA)
– international experience
To apply for possible collaboration with Bhaktivedanta College, please send us relevant documents along with 2 contacts for recommendation from authorities/senior preachers from your area.
Please send your applications till 15th of December to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Application for collaboration’ subject line.
Dear friends and students,
Please be informed that we have updated our refund policies. To find out more, please visit the following link.
If you wish to postpone your studies for any reason, we have new policies regarding that as well. Please check more details at the following link.
Bhaktivedanta College team
Please say a few words about yourself.
My name is Sriprada Dasi. I joined ISKCON in Croatia during my psychology studies in Rijeka. Soon after, I moved to Sweden to work in the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, but a few months later I moved to the Almvik Gards center, and I have remained in service to the Deities, Sri Sri Panca-tattva, since then—the winter of 1992. At the moment, I serve as the head pujari, and I have opportunities to serve not only the Deities but their devotees. My mother-in-law is a Protestant priest, and another relative is a Catholic priest. This has given my husband and I many opportunities to talk about religion and philosophy. I found some great inspiration and help with my studies through these dialogues.
Why did you decide to study through Bhaktivedanta College Online?
Several senior devotees I spoke with during the past few years pointed out that I may benefit from some study and intellectual engagement, to balance my other services, including being a mother and a spouse. I have always been interested in learning and in discussions on spiritual subjects. I sometimes felt that I knew something by virtue of my experience in devotional service, but lacked the words to express or explain myself in an organized way and back it up with good references. As a pujari and a person, I often found myself doing pastoral care, without being certain that I am doing it right. I wanted to have more knowledge, to improve and to be of better service. When Krsna Ksetra Swami and Pranava Prabhu spoke about the online college at our summer festival, it sounded like the right course to take.
What is the most interesting aspect of this studying?
I appreciate the open atmosphere of learning and support. All the teachers are well versed in the subjects and good at inspiring and supporting the learning. There is always someone you can turn to. It is interesting to learn about other religions; it’s helpful in our approach to and understanding of our philosophy, and I learn how to formulate my thoughts and present our ideas to others. I found it very helpful that there is a demand and an inspiration and some support, in the process of learning how to think about, analyze, and explain matters. Discovering the depths of Vaisnava philosophy, its background, and the variety of contexts is interesting and enriching.
Do you feel that an academic approach to the transcendental knowledge of Gaudiya-Vaishnavism is important?
Yes. The Gaudiya sampradaya comes through devotees who were themselves engaged in institutionalized education and scholarship. Most of the members of the panca-tattva were teachers who paid attention to the science and knowledge behind the highly devotional elements of bhakti. I see the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan as both academics and highly devotional persons, free from the nondevotional approach of an ordinary jnani. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur as well as Srila Prabhupada all valued talking to intellectuals and presenting their knowledge in an organized manner. This, alongside their full devotion, in my understanding, empowered them to talk to people in all walks of life. Although this approach may not be needed by all devotees, it may be useful and helpful to those with such inclinations.
It is also important for ISKCON’s gaining a rightful position and reputation in the academic world and the world at large. As we know, there are many other understandings and misunderstandings about the Vedic and Hindu cultures in the academic world and in the information it provides. Claiming the space and providing Vaisnava views among the academics seems important, and it’s a service that Srila Prabhupada called for on several occasions.
How can academic knowledge help one’s personal development?
Devotees are inspired to, and people in general are advised to, live in the mode of goodness. It is said that thoughtfulness is in the mode of goodness. An academic approach provides you with structured thought and knowledge and supports the mode of goodness, which, in turn, is the basis for sustainable spiritual personal development. The academic studies I’ve so far undertaken at the College have provided broad perspectives, and this supported my personal growth. This school offers plenty of tools that support and inspire personal development.
How did that help you?
So far, it has helped me in several ways. I have gained further insight into and understanding of some elements of Gaudiya-Vaisnava thought. I have also found a circle of supportive and knowledgeable Vaisnavas who provide valuable insights and help me understand and practically apply this knowledge. I have been inspired to think more and to become more aware of my spiritual development, my interactions with others, and my understanding of my spiritual path. As a bonus, I am also learning how to express myself, how to trust, and how to take responsibility and be more of a servant in daily life. My education has provided a feeling of a larger freedom and an enhanced peace on my spiritual path. As I occasionally work at different places, such as a local school, I discover that these studies have strengthened my identity and eased my interactions with the people I interact with.
How do you use the knowledge and experience you’ve gained at Bhaktivedanta College in your everyday life as a devotee, a mother, etc.?
My studies so far have become a part of my everyday life. I will occasionally refer to what I have learned in my conversations with others, and I sometimes share my learning and discuss it further in different circles, such as ladies groups, classes, Deity department meetings, or friendly conversations. In regular work, it often provides for interesting discussions with teachers and parents or people in general. It has helped me to become better at structuring and presenting things in my various services and at work, and to become more present in whatever I am doing. It has also made me more mindful in my relationships and inspired me to want to become more of a positive role model, particularly for my children.
What has changed in your life since you enrolled?
One of the biggest changes is that I have become more peaceful and balanced, feeling that I have a better grasp and understanding, and that it’s possible to express and share my thoughts with other devotees. It has provided a feeling of liberality in my relationships, but also a stronger desire to become a better devotee. The more I study, the more my conviction in and attachment to the service of Panca-tattva grows. So I have more knowledge but also increased gratitude.
We are happy to invite you for one hour presentation on “Tulsi: A Linguistic Exploration into its Divinity in Vedic Texts” which will be given by Dr. Sridevi Sriniwass (Sridevi Gaurangi devi dasi) from University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur. More about the presentation read below. Please confirm your attendance by replying to BC secretary so that we can arrange the seats accordingly (limited number).
VENUE: Bhaktivedanta College Classroom (under the BC Library)
DATE and TIME: Saturday, 17th of October at 18:00
Tulsi: A Linguistic Exploration into its Divinity in Vedic Texts
Dr. Sridevi Sriniwass (University of Malaya)
(Sridevi Gaurangi Devi Dasi)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The word ‘Tulsi’ signifies the incomparable one for stories surrounding her birth and her subsequent advent to earth, being unique and mystical, evoke feelings of gratitude to those for whom she is an object of worship. The Tulsi plant’s sacredness can be traced back thousands of years ago. Tulsi, also affectionately known as Vishnupriya, Pushpakara, Vrinda Devi or Vraja Boomi is an indispensable part of daily homage in much of mainstream Hinduism (Geden, 1900/1983; Basak, 1953 in Morgan 1953; Bhakta, 1997; Bhakti-sudhodaya, 2004 & Bhakti-vilasa, 2004 and Rosen, 2002). Tulsi Devi is glorified and worshipped especially by followers of Chaitanya Vaishnavism (introduced in the West by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of ISKCON) as it is believed that by mere association with Tulsi Devi one is on the pathway to “liberation in the form of pure devotional service” (Mādhava Svāmī, 2011, pp.10). Viewed as a form of the Goddess Lakshmi or as a consort of the God Vishnu, stories surrounding Tulsi Devi’s relationship with Vishnu or Krishna is manifold and in Vaishnavism, an elaborate marriage, known as Tulsi Shaligram Vivaha is conducted between a Krishna deity or a representation of him as a black stone (shaligram) and Tulsi Devi (Lall, 1933/2004; Hawley & Wulff 1982/1984; Simoons, 1998; Carbone, 2008; Pintchman, 2010). However, in the worship of Lord Krishna as The Supreme Personality of Godhead in the four authorised lineages or sampradayas in Vaishnavism, Tulsi Devi is not referred to as God Vishnu’s or Krishna’s consort but honoured as His dear most servant or gopi (Dwyer and Cole 2007). The relationship of Tulsi Devi with Lord Krishna is usually confused by those outside these circles hence it is hoped that the current study which is an exploration into her divinity helps in the understanding of the significant role she plays in the daily worship of Vaishnavas. Although there are many varieties of Tulsi or Holy Basil, the most popular are botanically known as Ocimum sanctum and Ocimum Krsnae (Pandey & Madhuri, 2010). Among the earliest sources documenting the practice of tree worshipping in India were by Edwards (1922) and Lall (1933) and in later years, there grew an interest on the socio-religious significance of Tulsi such as the work of Carbone (2008), Manimaran, (2013), Choudhury, (2013) and Edwardes & Ahirwar (2013). While the benefits of the Tulsi plant are well documented, for instance, antibacterial properties (Rathod, 2012), ethnomedicinal, pharmacological and toxicological information (Pandey & Madhuri, 2010), environmental (Kaur, 2013), ecological protection (Kumar, 2008), ethnobotanical (Agarwal, Kumar & Kumar, 2013) among others, there have been no linguistic studies on Tulsi Devi. Hence, the current study aims to bring to the fore this less studied dimension which is how meanings are constructed in relation to divinity in the English translations and commentaries of the invocations, songs, stories and hymns in the worship of Tulsi Devi. The current study deploys a systemic semantic investigation drawing insights from the works of Martin & Rose (2007), Quirk et. al. (1993), Downing & Locke (2006) and Halliday and Matthiessen (2014) among others. Preliminary findings into language and religion show that Tulsi Devi’s divinity is expressed in a number of ways mainly through her role and relationship with her devotees, her mercy towards her devotees and the concession she makes in the interest of her devotees. The findings also show divinity in expressions of humility in the veneration of Tulsi Devi by the devotees. The significance of the current study is in providing a means for practitioners of Vaishnavism who have no access to the Sanskrit and Bengali to appreciate the meanings enshrined in the English translations and descriptions of the much loved Tulsi Devi.
Key words: Tulsi, Chaitanya Vaishnavism, divinity, linguistics, systemic semantic, meanings, language and religion.
BIODATA OF SPEAKER:
Dr. Sridevi Sriniwass, born and bred in Malaysia, is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, University of Malaya and has been an academic for the past 25 years. She received her PhD in linguistics from the University of Malaya in 2006. She has been practicing Krsna Consciousness for the past 10 years and took initiation from HH Bhakti Vigna Vinasha (BVV) Swami Narasimha Maharaj in 2014 and was given the name Sridevi Gaurangi Devi Dasi. She engages in devotional service in the Sri Sri Gaura Nitai Radha Govinda Mandir ISKCON Klang (Teluk Pulai, Malaysia.
In recent years, she moved on from an analytical text linguistic study of scientific discourse and learner corpora into the field of language and religion resulting in several international presentations and a SCOPUS cited publication entitled The construction of meanings in relation to language and religion: A study into The Mahabharata in theInternational Journal of the Sociology of Language. Her current sabbatical leave research for which she received a University of Malaya Research Grant looks at how expressions of divinity manifest themselves in Vedic texts leading to the presentation of a paper entitled Tulsi: A Linguistic Exploration into its Divinity at the Heritage in the History, Culture and Religion of South and Southeast Asia, 6th SSEASR Conference hosted by University of Kelaniya, Colombo, Sri Lanka from 4th to 7th June 2015. She is grateful for the recent confluence of her academic and spiritual undertakings and with the blessings of her Gurudev and Lord Gauranga. She hopes to continue to share her research in academic circles on matters of Vedic spirituality. She is married and lives with her husband and four children in Klang, Selangor, Malaysia.
Dr. Sridevi Sriniwass
Department of English Language
Faculty of Languages & Linguistics
University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
Tel: 03-79673193 (office-currently on sabbatical leave)
012 212 4000 (cell phone)
Over one hundred people attended the reception for a new art exhibit by ISKCON artists Ramadasa Abhirama Dasa and his wife Dhriti Dasi, at the Exeter Courthouse Gallery and Museum in Central California this January 9th.
The show, entitled “A Marriage of Art,” included thirty-six landscape and figurative paintings by both artists, as well as ten of Vrindavana and four large paintings of Lord Krishna, which the couple collaborated to produce.
Ramadasa and Dhriti have been painting Krishna since 1975, when they participated in the famous marathon to produce seventeen volumes of Chaitanya Charitamrita for Srila Prabhupada’s Bhaktivedanta Book Trust in two months. They are also the official Bhaktivedanta College Transcedental Art Tutors.
One of their paintings for the Exeter show, ‘Krishna and the Peacock,’ was created in 1983 in Florence, Italy, where they headed up the BBT art department for six years. It was used on the cover of the BBT’s recent Krishna Art book.
The other three—Gopal with the Cows, Radha and the Peacock, and Radha Krishna in the Monsoon—were painted by Ramadasa and Dhriti in the last two years, for a new BBT publication.
Board members of the Exeter Gallery invited the couple to hold their own show because they knew them to be artists in the nearby town of Three Rivers, and because they found it very interesting that two married artists could share a life and a career, and sometimes even work together on the same painting.
“They had seen a newspaper article from the larger city of Visalia, a few months prior, about our ‘Transcendental Art,’ and were aware that we did landscape and figurative art in the classic school,” says Dhriti. “They were very respectful and appreciative to have us do the show. And when we brought the Krishna paintings, they were not phased in the least and seemed just happy to have this level of artwork and beauty in their gallery. So happy that they gave ‘Krishna and the Peacock’ pride of place right in the center of the gallery!”
Despite the primarily conservative Christian population of Exeter, there was an excellent turnout at the show’s reception, and Gallery staff said it was their best show to date.
When a prominent senior administrator of the local college was asked which paintings he liked best from the show he said, “I can’t decide—it’s between Krishna
and the Peacock or Radha and the Peacock!”
“Krishna was definitely the star of the show,” Dhriti says. “People were expressing much appreciation for His beauty and that of His Radha. One person commented, ‘When I look at that painting of Krishna, I see love.’ Another, looking at ‘Gopal with the Cows,’ said, ‘I love the cows in the distance, and the path, and this figure of Krishna is so perfect and beautiful.’”
Dhriti finds she and Ramadasa are always amazed when people are attracted to Krishna without knowing the philosophy behind Him. “There is just a natural attraction,” she says. “Often the response seems to be from the heart. For most of the people at our show, a book or harinam might not have elicted a favorable response to Krishna consciousness, but through these paintings they were attracted to Krishna, which was what Prabhupada wanted.”
She adds, “Of course, doing these paintings for Srila Prabhupada’s books is always the most fulfilling, but it’s interesting to see people attracted to the paintings themselves. And this gallery setting gives them a greater sense of asthetic and value.”
The Western style of painting, using classical techniques, that Ramadasa and Dhriti employ was requested by Srila Prabhupada, who instructed his artist disciples to make Krishna “real” so that people would understand Him as a real person and not mythology.
“We strive to develop better technique and deeper understanding to communicate the beautiful profound teachings Srila Prabhupada has given us,” Dhriti says.
“It has been our meditation throughout our entire lives to make these pastimes ‘real’ but not mundane.”
It is Ramadasa and Dhriti’s dream that in the future, they—and other ISKCON artists—will have more similar shows in many different cities.
“This would be a great way for devotee artists to introduce Krishna to many people, and to bring appreciation and inquiry for the amazing philosophy of Krishna consciousness,” Dhriti says. “Already, we are seeing the potential of devotional art to affect the hearts of people who appreciate culture and fine arts.”
Hundreds of people are expected to continue visiting Ramadasa and Dhriti’s “Marriage of Art” show at the Exeter Courthouse Gallery and Museum.
Yes, BC has again given the world another group of bright young minds. And this time, minds that are not only theologically sound but also trained in Educational Studies.
The 2015 graduation was a special one because for the first time in its short history BC awarded two degrees: one for Theology and another for Educational Studies. This achievement shows that BC has the potential to become an esteemed college.
BC already attracts a variety of students from different parts of the world. There were students from Europe at this year’s graduation and also students from South Africa and India. This diversity has a lot to do with the fact that in 2012 BC added the Educational Studies program. Although it is not clear yet to what extent this new program will be successful, the majority of the graduates this year are Educational Studies students.
Three out of the seven graduates have been accepted into Master’s degree programs, and the rest are still planning to enroll for further studies.
In addition to having their degrees in hand, the BC graduates walk away with a lot more. They gained deeper insight into Vaishnavism and critical thought about world religions. And the graduates probably gave as much to the college as they have taken.
One thing they achieved was starting a debate on the issue of ‘sadhana and students’. We hope that future students, together with the college staff, find a way to continue this debate, for the betterment of the college and the benefit of ISKCON, especially its youth.
by Phelelani Mdabe