- ABOUT US
- STUDENT LIFE
I heard about the College through some family friends. I was deciding on colleges at the time, and the idea of getting a certified degree from an internationally accredited university [Lampeter University], while learning more about the philosophy I follow, sounded like a perfect deal.
Yes, I did. I’ve always loved literature, language, and psychology, so my sights were set on one of these fields. Doing a BA in Theology at Bhakivedanta College was actually unexpected and unforeseen. However, I believe in no regrets, and am glad for the amount I learned there.
Technically, yes! I visited Radhadesh when I was three with my parents.
The college was still a young, growing establishment, and therefore the overall dynamic somewhat challenged me. Also, though I am a small-town girl from Mayapur, Radhadesh in comparison felt a bit too remote at times. But it definitely made me appreciate grocery shopping trips with my peers more than I ever had before.
Hands down, the friends I made! It was my first experience of living in an ashram, and the people I bonded with are people I know will be my friends for life. We also had many opportunities to be taught by some lovable and very qualified teachers, from whom I learned a great deal.
I graduated from Bhaktivedanta College in 2010. After this, I returned to India and worked in Mayapur for the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium. Then I continued my educational journey, doing a MA in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Hong Kong.
I plan to develop my journalism skills and get some work experience. I would like to do this to form a solid background for myself, which is needed to be fully qualified in this field. Hopefully after that I can travel and work out of anywhere. My main goal is to do so from home, in Sri Mayapur Dham. However, as John Lennon once wisely said, “ Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I am aware that I am not fully in control, and all my plans depend on the mercy of our beautiful blue boy, the ultimate boss.
Have fun, but don’t ignore the academic aspects of your BC experience, especially if you have further education plans. Make the most of the wonderful association, vocational courses, and the various service opportunities that you get in Radhadesh. And, finally, if you ever feel the need of a catharsis, do not forget that no one listens better than your very own Radha-Gopinatha, the Deities at Radhadesh. Apart from all that, I just want to wish you good luck, and that you have the most wonderful experience you can have.
The Annual Conference is a European event with international participation. It started in 2012, sponsored by Bhaktivedanta College, the i-Foundation and the ISKCON Ministry of Education.
The Conference has four main aims:
This forum is theoretically underpinned by Education Studies, and related disciplines such as Philosophy of Education, Childhood Studies and Initial Teacher Training. It involves a broad range of specialists and well-informed stakeholders, all sharing a professional interest in both practical action and rigorous theoretical discourse. It embraces all phases of education, starting with Early Years and progressing through to adult and Higher Education.
12.00 – 12.20 1. Welcome and Orientation Yadunandana Swami
12.20 – 13.30 2. Key Note Speech Radhika Raman Prabhu (tbc)
13.30 – 15.30 Lunch and Free Time
15.30 – 16.15 3. Education: a Contested Enterprise Rasamandala Das
16.15 – 17.30 Responses to Rasamandala (with break) Sesa Das (US), Gauri Das (UK)
17.30 – 18.00 Plenary All three speakers
10.30 – 11.40 4. Reports from Four Conferences Teams Abala dd, Navina Krishna, Rasamandala, Janmastami Chair: to be confirmed
12.00 – 13.30 5. Principles Underpinning Successful Projects
(a) The Avanti Schools Trust Navina Krishna Prabhu
(b) Bhaktivedanta College, Hungary Maharani dd
(c) Bhaktivedanta College, Radhadesh Yadunandana Swami
13.30 – 15.30 Lunch and Free Time
15.30 – 16.40 6. Empowering our Second Generation Nritya Kisori and other BC Students
17.00 – 18.15 7. Interactive Practical Session (a) Urmila dd (delegates choose one group to attend) (b) Hanumat Presaka Swami (c) Prana Das
10.00 – 10.30 8. Showcase Time (open to all delegates) Chair: to be confirmed
10.30 – 11.40 9. Current Strategic Planning in ISKCON Chair: Gauri Prabhu
12.00 – 13.30 10. Group Work: Plans for 2013-14 Chair: Navina Krishna Prabhu
13.30 – 15.30 Lunch and Free Time
15.30 – 17.15 11. Final Plenary Chair: to be confirmed
17.30 – 18.00 12. Consolidation and Farewells Yadunandana Swami
Bhaktivedanta College is quickly developing its online facilities. The first course to be offered in this manner was the Bhakti Sastri program in 2011, followed by the Certificate in Bhakti Yoga Studies in 2012. The GBC’s Disciples Course” was also offered.
On September 13th 2013, however, Bhaktivedanta College will begin offering a degree course online for the first time: its B.A. in Theology and Religious Studies (TRS). The online version of the course will be offered through Moodle (www.bhaktivedantaonline.com), a Virtual Learning Environment, and is being developed by the College’s Director for Online Learning Dinadayal Dasa.
Appropriate forms of delivery and assessment will be offered to distance learning students to ensure comparability of learning opportunity for both onsite and online students. Lectures and seminars onsite will be video or audio recorded; within 24 hours the recording will be available in the moodle environment.
Both online and onsite students will access the same course materials online, share the same forum, receive the same online messages from the teacher, submit their work using the same methods, and be treated in the same way regarding deadlines.
More about TRS Online read here.
Edited by Ravi M Gupta and Kenneth R. Valpey
The editors of “The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition” (published by Columbia University Press) both teach at Bhaktivedanta College. Ravi M. Gupta (Radhika Ramana Dasa) is also an associate professor of religious studies at The College of William and Mary. Kenneth R. Valpey (Krsna Ksetra Dasa) is the Dean of Studies at Bhaktivedanta College and a regular visiting scholar at Chinese University of Hong Kong. They both earned their doctorates at Oxford. Among the book’s twelve articles five are authored by current or previous instructors at Bhaktivedanta College: Jonathan Edelmann, Gopal Gupta, Graham Schweig, Ferdinando Sardella, and Kenneth Valpey.
Last year, Lillian Stevens wrote about this new book and its editors. The following paragraphs are adapted from her article.
Ravi M. Gupta is working on an abridged English translation of the Bhagavata Purana. Fluent in Hindi, English, and Sanskrit, Gupta grew up in Boise, Idaho. He is a major figure in the U.S. Hindu community; in 2008, he was selected to meet with Pope Benedict XVI as a representative of American Hindus. The author of “The Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami: When Knowledge Meets Devotion”, he is working with Kenneth R. Valpey, a colleague from the Oxford Center for Hindu Studies and the author of “Attending Krishna’s Image”.
Their translation will come out in 2014 and will accompany a new volume of scholarly articles examining the Bhagavata Purana, just published by Columbia University Press. It is entitled “The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition.” Introducing the Bhagavata Purana’s key themes while also examining its extensive influence on Hindu thought and practice, this new collection of essays conducts the first multidimensional reading of the text’s entire twelve volumes.
“The Bhagavata Purana stands out as an important piece of world literature, with some of the most beautiful poetry you’ll find in any language,” says Gupta. “It’s an excellent literary piece in terms of poetic ornamentation, alliteration, and all kinds of innovative Sanskrit verse meters. And it stands out aesthetically in terms of the imagery and stories that are used. There will be an abridged translation covering approximately ten percent of the Bhagavata Purana’s text. The accompanying volume of articles written by different scholars is edited by us, and some of those articles were written by us and other devotee scholars.”
“Kenneth Valpey and I envision a consortium of scholars from around the world who will take up different commentaries from different periods of history and work with them, maybe not to translate all of the commentaries, but to study important areas,” he explains.
Over time, Gupta hopes to undertake an historical analysis of these various periods of Indian history and study how the Bhagavata Purana has interacted with other texts and other cultures as it has migrated to different parts of the world.
A vibrant example of living literature, the Bhagavata Purana is a versatile Hindu sacred text containing more than 14,000 Sanskrit verses. Finding its present form around the tenth century C.E., the work inspired several major north Indian devotional (bhakti) traditions as well as schools of dance and drama, and continues to permeate popular Hindu art and ritual in both India and the diaspora. Introducing the Bhagavata Purana’s key themes while also examining its extensive influence on Hindu thought and practice, this collection conducts the first multidimensional reading of the text’s entire twelve volumes.
The Bhagavata Purana is a hard-to-classify embodiment of classical Indian cultural, religious, and philosophical thought. Its language and poetic expression are on a par with the best of Sanskrit poetry (kavya), while its narrative structure holds together tightly as a literary work. Its theological message centers on devotion to Krishna and Vishnu, while its philosophical content is grounded solidly in the classical traditions of Vedanta and Samkhya. Each essay in this volume focuses on a key theme of the Bhagavata Purana and its subsequent presence in Hindu dance, music, ritual recitation, and commentary. The authors consider the relationship between the sacred text and the divine image, the text’s metaphysical and cosmological underpinnings, its shaping of Indian culture, and its ongoing relevance to contemporary Indian concerns.
“The Bhagavata Purana gathers a superb group of contemporary scholars who bring a new dimension of appreciation for this religious masterpiece of Vaisnava Hinduism. Their essays plumb the breadth and depth of the influence of one of the world’s religious masterpieces with its unique devotional intensity and metaphysical subtlety. The vast narratives of the Bhagavata Purana reveal a luxuriant universe in which the divine and created worlds interpenetrate and in which Krishna is portrayed as a God truly to be loved with ‘whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.’ The Bhagavata Purana’s special genius heightens devotional intensity to Krishna while presenting profound theological discourse. No wonder Hinduism in all its varieties cannot be understood without first understanding The Bhagavata Purana. Ravi M. Gupta and Kenneth R. Valpey are to be thanked for gathering these important contributions to its scholarship.” — Daniel P. Sheridan, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
“This book brings together some of the most highly regarded scholars on this subject and cohesively provides an entry into the main themes of The Bhagavata Purana. Moreover, it does so in an interdisciplinary fashion by drawing on materials from the areas of comparative religion, theology, history, anthropology, and ethnomusicology.” — Cynthia Ann Humes, Claremont McKenna College
by Ferdinando Sardella
After assessing the essays from students on several occasions, I concluded that it is necessary to make it clearer what my expectations are for students’ essays. Here, for my course on Modern Hinduism, is the result. Most of it may be useful for other courses at BC.
This is a two-week course: August 3 – 17. Six days a week, the students will meet twice (10:00 – 13:00 and 15:30 – 18:30).
The morning classes: studying the figure, life drawing from a model, color, oil painting procedure, portrait painting, painting from life, composition, values, landscape, painting the landscape from nature, principles of transcendental figures, and the study of cloth, tone, and values.
The afternoon classes: developing and creating original transcendental painting. The instructors will be painting alongside their students, so everyone can observe the process. Personal instruction will be given to students to guide and develop their artistic abilities.
This is an intensive art seminar: to get a complete experience of art and to produce a painting. All levels welcome.
For those having private accommodations, the tuition alone is €200.
The students should bring their own: (1) brushes, (2) drawing pad, (3) pencils, and (4) tracing paper pad.
We will provide: (1) paints, (2) canvas, (3) turpentine, and (4) chairs and small plastic tables to put supplies on.
After we receive your registration details you will receive reply with the total amount to be paid. Once we have received your payment booking is confirmed.
Dhrti Dasi (Miriam Briks) graduated from the School of Art & Design in New York and also studied at L’Academia di belle arti di Siena, the Art Students League and Art League (under Irwin Greenberg and Max Ginsburg) in New York, and the Fechin Institute (under David Lefel) in Taos. She painted in the BBT art department from 1975-86 and received instructions on painting from Srila Prabhupada. She painted with the original core group of BBT artists: Jadurani dasi, Pariksit Dasa, and Murlidhar Dasa. Her paintings are included in the Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Nectar of Devotion, Caitanya-caritamrita, and Krsna book. She was the BBT’s co-art director in Europe between 1980 and 1986. She is a member of Portrait Painters of America and Oil Painters of America.
Exhibits in Galleries: Simic Gallery, Beverly Hills, 1988; Carmel and La Jolla, CA, 1989 and 1990, respectively; Summerfield Fine Arts, Aspen, 1990-99; Salmagundi in New York; Howard Manderville in Washington, DC, 1991 (group show: 1992, 1993,1995); Fox Theater, 2003; Dassin Gallery, Los Angeles, 1987-2007; Masterpiece Gallery, Carmel, CA, 1995-2000; Trees Place in Cape Cod (group exhibit), 2000-08; Pasadena Art Museum, 2005; Canyon Road Fine Arts in Santa Fe, 2005-08.
Ram Das Abhiram Dasa (Kevin Yee ) has a BA from the University of Fullerton in California. He studied at L’Academia di belle arti di Siena, the Art Students League and the Art League (under Max Ginsburg) in New York, and the Fechin Institute (under David Lefel) in Taos. He painted in the BBT art department from 1975-86 and received instructions on painting from Srila Prabhupada. He painted with the original core group of BBT artists: Jadurani dasi, Pariksit Dasa, and Murlidhar Dasa. His paintings are included in the Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Nectar of Devotion, Caitanya-caritamrita, and Krsna book. He was the BBT’s co-art director, along with his wife, Dhrti Dasi, in Europe between 1980 and 1986, when they were based in Italy.
Exhibits in Galleries: Simic Gallery, Beverly Hills, 1988; Carmel and La Jolla, CA, 1989 and 1990, respectively; Summerfield Fine Arts, Aspen, 1990-99; Fox Theater, 2003; Dassin Gallery, Los Angeles, 1987; Masterpiece Gallery, Carmel, CA, 1995-2000; Pasadena Art Museum, 2005.
Join the mailing list for the Transcedental Art Seminar, if you want to be informed about the development of the program.
by Krishna Kshetra Dasa
In the Gītā’s sixth chapter, Arjuna seems to want to persuade Krishna that it is pointless to try to control the unwieldy mind. And when Krishna initially responds to Arjuna’s complaint, he appears to concede the point: ‘O great-armed one, no doubt the mind is difficult to curb, being unsteady.’ But this cozy reassurance extends for only half a verse. Krishna then makes his main point with an equally brief but pithy formula for curbing the mind: ‘But by practice and detachment (the mind) can be subdued’ (6.35). This news might have disappointed Arjuna, but heroic bhakta that he is, he’s ready to take the lesson and apply it in his embattled life.
For us lesser mortals situated on the battlefield of the computer screen, these two principles – practice and detachment — can be usefully applied to the process of writing; moreover, we can appreciate the process of writing as an excellent means of disciplining the mind so that it becomes more the friend we would all prefer it to be, the fine instrument that it is meant to be for clarifying our thoughts and expressing ourselves effectively. And while we are at it (that is, while we are looking for ways to be inspired to put the best of ourselves forward into the writing task) we might very well identify this process of writing as itself a type of yoga. I call it ‘Likhana Yoga,’ the discipline of writing (one meaning of the word ‘yoga’ is ‘discipline’). Perhaps we could display a slogan over the entrance to our Likhana Yoga ‘studio’ (the BC library?): ‘We Practice Writing With Detachment!’ Let’s reflect briefly on these two principles of disciplining the mind, considering how they can apply to writing.
Becoming skilled in anything requires practice, whether the skill is walking (as a toddler), mṛdaṅga playing (as a gurukuli), or writing (as a BC student). Good writing, like good mṛdaṅga playing, is worlds above the writing or playing of beginners: rather than being muddled, painful to read, and pointless, good writing is clear, engaging to readers, and conclusive.
In his book The Craftsman, Richard Sennett notes that to become a virtuoso in any craft or art — whether it be violin building, ballet dancing, or prize-winning novel writing — requires an average of 10,000 hours of dedicated practice. I suspect that as a Bhaktivedanta College student you might not feel ready to put quite so much of your time – your life – into writing practice. Still, you should be ready to put plenty of time – again and again – into your essay writing. Think of your writing as yoga practice, and you’re bound to find yourself learning to think and express yourself more clearly. And you’ll surely find that you have good ideas to express in writing, ideas important enough to express well!
To me, ‘practice’ suggests, first, doing something rather than just thinking about doing it. To think about writing may be a first step, but sooner, rather than later, one has to ‘put words to paper’ (or words in a computer file). Sooner is of course better than later, but now is best for entering into the act of writing.
Second, practice means repetition – writing a sentence, paragraph, or whole essay, and then doing it again, improving after recognizing weaknesses or faults. An important form of repetition in the process of writing is revision. Writing, rewriting, and rewriting again – and probably yet again – is a standard procedure in the craft of writing. Even the pros do this; in fact, it’s quite rare that a good writer does not subject his or her writing to self-critique and revision.
Repetition also means writing again on topics you have already written about in an earlier essay, this time building on new information and understanding, from a new angle, with clearer sense of what you really want to say, or for a different audience. Or, repetition can mean writing something entirely new, but with added substance based on your previous writing experience. In any case, repetition in writing enables us to reinforce improved work and to get over the haunting disappointments and fearsome nightmares of mediocre or bad work. It strengthens the writing mind.
Effective practice in writing also opens us to correction – learning to recognize the difference between effective and ineffective written expression. And essential to this kind of learning is the second principle for taming the mind of which Krishna speaks.
Several years ago, as I was hesitantly dipping my writing-toes into the chilly waters of academe, a devotee-scholar (in English literature) advised me, ‘You have to learn to “kill those babies”.’ ‘Babies’, he explained, are the well-intended words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole sections of an essay-under-construction that an aspiring author becomes charmed by and attached to, thinking they express brilliant insights when actually they hinder, rather than help, the writer’s purpose. To ‘kill those babies’ – cruel as it sounds — means to be ready to decisively remove anything that doesn’t serve your present writing task (hint: if you are like me – too attached to delete forever those brilliant-but-useless brain-children – you can instead banish them to a ‘dump file’ from which you can always recall them for duty in other contexts).
I have found that detachment with respect to writing is best applied with a simple, cheeky, and challenging question: ‘So what?’ Every sentence, every paragraph, every section, and indeed whole essays, should be able to stand up to this nasty question. Detachment means being your own best critic. Leave the reassuring words to your friends and family. When writing, we need to be our own ‘devil’s advocate’ who constantly nags us with awkward questions, doubts, and challenges.
Finally, we might recall from Bhagavad-gītā that yogīs can be recognized (among other symptoms) by their detachment from success and failure. In writing, as with other skills, failure can lead us to success; to be shown why something we write is sub-standard or how it could be improved is, for the yogī-writer, seen as just that – an opportunity to make something mediocre into something meaningful. But one needs to then go forward and make improvement – if not in the same essay, in the next one. Success is sure to come with persistence, a higher level of success – that of the practitioner of likhana-yoga. Such a yogī, undaunted by the winds of uncertainty, inexperience, and distraction, engages the mind in word-crafting through practice and detachment that leads to wonderful things – valuable thoughts clearly and persuasively expressed in essays one can always be justifiably satisfied to have written. Best of all, one can see that Krishna is right: The mind is difficult to curb, but by practice and detachment it is possible to do so, not least by engaging the mind seriously in ‘likhana-yoga’.
Leading representatives of Avanti Trust, Goloka Education, Bhaktivedanta College (Radhadesh, Belgium), Bhaktivedanta Manor, ISKCON Ministry of Educational Development and ISKCON Executive Secretary Office met at the Krishna Avanti School in Harrow and Bhaktivedanta Manor with the purpose of discussing how to create synergy among their respective educational initiatives. The meetings were rewarding in many respects. Bhaktivedanta College and Avanti Trust, for example, discussed to expand their partnership by committing to offer higher education courses in the UK with the aim of qualifying teachers. Goloka Education agreed to provide educational resources to the Avanti schools, according to the schools’ curriculum needs.
Other areas of cooperation that were discussed include placement of Bhaktivedanta College graduates, a vision for future cooperation and educational development, and how to better serve the educational needs of the ISKCON community worldwide, with special focus on the younger generation, as well as how to make the UK a centre of excellence for education.
Learning and teaching sastra is one of the most important aspects of any Krishna conscious education. Srila Prabhupada’s books form the foundation for ISKCON’s activities and therefore devotees hold the bhakti-sastri study as essential to their spiritual practice and growth.
In order to create opportunities for devotees to study sastra in any ISKCON centre worldwide, qualified teachers are needed. VTE, recognizing the need for these qualified teachers, established TTC1 and TTC2. These courses offer training
in basic knowledge, skills and values required of a competent teacher. The VTE Bhakti-sastri TTC further builds on these, with the aim of equipping Bhakti-sastri teachers with the specific skills, necessary for systematically teaching sastra.
The VTE Bhakti-sastri TTC offers potential teachers training in lesson planning, analyzing the aims of sastric study, effective assessment as well as the practical details of organizing a bhakti-sastri course.
An important note: It is possible to receive a certificate for BSTTC only if you have successfully completed TTC1 and TTC2. In case you still haven’t completed the TTC2, it will be held in Abenteuer (Germany) from the 20th till 26th April 2013. For registration and detailed information please contact email@example.com
Dates: 10 – 14 May, 2013 (Friday – Tuesday)
Course Fee: 79 Eur
Tutor: Rasamandala Dasa
We have decided to launch the Kirtan Course next summer (2014), not this summer. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
What’s the reason? We decided to offer a high quality and very well developed course, which takes extra time to design. Because more teachers are now on board, we will do extensive research on the kirtan tradition. We need one more year to prepare. In our course we want to bring you the best information and experience available on kirtan.
We humbly request you to await more detailed information and give us your blessings to create something unique.
Wishing you all the best and lots of spiritual strength,
Teachers: Krishnangi-lila, Krsnadas and Santusha.
Visiting teachers: Sacinandana Swami (course leader), Jahnavi Harrison, Kadamba Kanana Swami, Krishna Kshetra Prabhu, Lokanatha Swami, Ojasvi Prabhua, Yadunandana Swami and few more.
Aims of the course:
1) Empower students to deepen their understanding of kirtan;
2) Offer practical lessons in kirtan.
Each evening is a wonderful opportunity to have a big kirtan in front of Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha.
Join the mailing list for the Kirtan Course, if you want to be informed about the development of the program.