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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
– international experience
To apply for possible collaboration with Bhaktivedanta College, please send us relevant documents along with 2 contacts for recomendation from authorities/senior preachers from your area.
Please send your applications till 15th of December to email@example.com 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
In May 2015, Alfred Brush Ford, the great-grandson of legendary Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, has accepted to serve as the Honorary Chancellor of the Alfred Ford School of Management, in Durbuy, Belgium and has inaugurated the world’s first Conscious Leadership MBA program offered by the school, unique for its holistic approach to worldwide business practices and the combination of ancient wisdom with the latest developments in teaching business and management. As the Honorary Chancellor, Mr. Ford, himself a pioneer of conscious leadership, offers support to the school and provides advice in areas such as ethical leadership and social responsibility.
In a recent statement, Mr. Ford applauds the highly qualified faculty of the Alfred Ford School of Management, especially trained and experienced in applying conscious leadership skills to core business areas, as well as the school’s small intake of students and high selectivity process, assuring utmost personal attention and an environment conducive to high quality exchanges.
The mode of program delivery is according to the up to date study standards: ten modules (included dissertation) are delivered online and the last module in Conscious Leadership is onsite one week residence in Belgium. Each module is having video lectures using new Polimedia technology (video screencast with the tutor’s presence) with weekly case study materials. That will offer the students complete educational experience.
The Alfred Ford MBA degree is offered in exclusive partnership with the Universidad Católica de Murcia (UCAM) in Spain, a university famous for its excellence in educational achievements, high ethical standards and outstanding sports performance. UCAM partners with Stanford and UC Berkeley and is the educational body of the Spanish LFP (Professional Football League).
Alfred Ford MBA is also in the process of accreditation at ACBSP – Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, one of four leading specialized accreditation association for business education.
Ten years ago, you were studying at Bhaktivedanta College for a year, what we call the certificate level. You gave up further study at that time. For what reason?
David: I found my year onsite a very interesting experience. I made lots of friends and had a really fun time. I especially liked it that we students were a focused group and discussed with one other the topics of our studies.
Especially fond memories are the times we ate lunch with our professors and inquired about specific subjects we were not covering in classes.
I was not so intrigued by the academic strand in the first year, since it was more like an overview, with a lot packed into it, but not going very deep. Of course, this is true of the first year in almost any field. What I liked a lot were the vocational modules with their practical approach. Those
really inspired me and helped me to pick up or refine certain skills: mediation, teaching, and so on. All in all it was a lovely experience, but I am the sort of person who likes to have an experience and then go back to my native surrounding, which I can perfectly shape to my needs. Therefore I decided to go back to Austria and start my own company and realize my vision
What were you doing?
I started an online marketing consultancy and wrote an e-book series about online marketing, which got published by a major German publisher. I am grateful that I was given this opportunity to work independently, and I used the freedom to travel all over the world during the last ten years.
Why did you decide to resume your studies?
Actually, I didn’t. It was always my plan to continue the studies online, since the possibility of an online campus was already floating around when I was studying onsite. As soon as it was possible, I grabbed the opportunity.
Now I have finished my second year, and it really is important for me to say one thing: Thank you. It cannot be appreciated enough that you give interested people the opportunity to engage their minds and scholarly natures in such a needed and important pursuit. The studies at Bhaktivedanta College touch on fundamental questions that we should be familiar with if we
want to have a high quality of living both materially and spiritually.
I already said I wasn’t so intrigued with the first-year academics. Well, this was not the case in the second year. It was a pleasure to learn about the fascinating heritage of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, especially in the modules about Srila Rupa Goswami and Jiva Goswami. These modules especially interest devotee students, since they show us what gems we actually hold in our hands through Srila Prabhupada’s presentation of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
The second year helped me gain a deeper appreciation (and it was already immense) for the philosophy presented in Prabhupada’s books. To learn in detail about the history, the sources, and the way different scholars of Gaudiya Vaishnavism built on one other increases one’s ability to see the value and sophistication of Prabhupada’s presentation.
How do you like the online delivery?
I am a huge fan of the online delivery. Sometimes I miss the direct contact with other students and the professors, which was a highlight in year one, but the fact that I can study exactly when I want and that I can learn even when I’m on the road is just perfect.
The way the learning material is presented for each module is clear, effective, and done in a way that I could immediately orient myself. And when I had questions (which almost never had to do with the online delivery itself, but rather with enrollment and legal aspects) the staff always
answered fast and helpfully. A big thanks to the staff there. In the first modules, the quality of sound was occasionally very bad, but fortunately this was the exception. Good audio is of great importance.
What I didn’t like is that many books were delivered as pdf-images, which is a pity, because they can’t be searched. Another thing which could be improved is the online library. Bhaktivedanta College provides access to many online libraries, which I appreciate very much, but it would be even better if the onsite library (which is highly specialized) could be transferred online. That would be amazing. But overall: 8 out of 10.
What is your plan for the future?
Expanding my business, while finishing my Bachelor’s degree at Bhaktivedanta College. Then I may continue academic studies (probably in psychology, philosophy, or economics), and I will definitely enter a second vocational field as a coach or speaker and hopefully be an example of a Vaishnava living happily and successfully in harmony with Lord Krishna’s social and
This is indeed sad news. Bhaktavasa Govinda Prabhu is born in Poland some 52-3 years ago; he was taking BC TRS program in period 2005-2008. While studying he was also teaching Bhakti Sasti and Intro to BY courses onsite. In 2009 he joined our Govinda’s prasadam distribution throughout Germany for two summertimes. In 2011 he joined our online department as teacher of Bhakti Sastri modules. He loved it.
In 2013 after coming back from India his health started to decline to the point of being bounded to three dialysis per week since his kidneys were not working properly. In the last two years we were in touch on more-less regular basis. This is what he wrote me on March 29th after my inquiry on his health:
“Because kidneys are not recovered yet I am still bound to dialysis centre in Opole – 3 times a week. That’s the essence of my health condition. Besides I feel OK. Still alive :-)”
I will remember him as friendly and jolly person in all circumstances. That was a great quality he had. Always keeping smile and move forward. I am sure that Krishna smiled back to him.
very sad news. He was a diligent and enthusiastic student and a very humble and dedicated devotee.
I have fond memories about his association and I pray for his ultimate spiritual success.
I am very sorry to read that our dear graduate, who also served as a teacher at the College, Bhaktavasa Govinda Prabhu has passed away and that we won’t be able to have his direct association in this lifetime anymore. As Vraja Vihari Prabhu pointed out, the Lord will take good care of him. In any case, as this world is dangerous and there are always obstacles that distance us from Krishna, please say a prayer for his smooth return to the lotus feet of Krishna or to an undisturbed condition of devotional service wherever the Lord takes him.
It is very sad news to hear of our dear brothers passing. Bhaktavasa Govinda Prabhu was always gracious, humble in his dealings, enthused to serve, learn, and teach, and inspiring to be around.
Bhaktavasa Govinda prabhu was a very warm and friendly devotee, always inquiring how things are going and with a lot of understanding and appreciation for devotees in a management position. I wish all the strength to his family, especialy his good wife, to bear the sudden separation.
For me, Bhaktavasa Govinda Prabhu was a prime example of the sort of devotee for whom Bh. College had its raison d’etre — ever eager and happy to be in the midst of a devotional learning environment, always thinking how he could bring what he learned to others (especially in Poland, where his loss as a pillar of the yatra’s budding efforts to have systematic education will be much felt). Lord Krishna must have big plans for him.
Very sad news! Bhaktavasa Govinda Prabhu was such a sweet devotee – always appreciating others and never critical. I pray that Krisna gives him all His mercy.
It is with great sadness that I receive this news, for Bhaktavasa Govinda prabhu was a fellow student, staff member and above all a good friend. I will miss his sanga.
I remember him as a caring, jolly and devoted Vaishnava who was always in good spirits. In 2007 we taught a VTE course together in Krakow, Poland, and I remember his caring mood that permeated the whole course, a quality of his that inspired everybody who had the privilege of his company.
I am very shocked by this news, as I was hoping Bhaktavasa Govinda Pr. will soon resume his service at BCO. His wish was to develop and teach Bhakti Vaibhava Modules, starting with Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1. I missed the association of him and his wife during the time of his illness, but as I mentioned- I was hopeful we will see them again very soon. Krishna had other plans..
I remember Bhaktavasa Govinda Prabhu as a devotee who was ever eager to learn and to teach, who was wholly committed to ISKCON education, who showered others with care and affection, and who never missed an opportunity to smile. Even when I spoke to him some months ago, he refused to entertain any self-pity, and spent most of the conversation discussing his plans for service and asking about mine.
His Grace Lilasukha Dasa received sannyasa initiation this morning (31st May 2015) from his own spiritual master His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami Maharaja. His sannyasa name is His Holiness Bhakti Prabhava Swami.
Four other sannyasis were also witness to the momentous occasion – HH Prahladananda Swami, HH Dhirasanta Swami, HH Dayananda Swami and HH Bhakti Prem Swami.
The ceremony took place at ISKCON Leicester, and the event was presided over by Sri Sri Jagannath, Baladeva and Subhadra, Sri Sri Panca Tattva and Srila Prabhupada. Senior devotees and leaders from around the country also attended the initiation.
Ten devotees from around the UK and Europe also received first initiation from HH Bhakti Charu Swami, with five others receiving Brahmin diksha.
This was the first ISKCON sannyasa initiation in the Midlands.
Bhakti Prabhava Swami (Lilasukha Dasa) met the devotees in Ghent (Flanders) in 1992. From 1992 to 1996 he was active in Nama Hatta preaching until 1996 when he joined the Radhadesh temple. In 1994 he met His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami who accepted him as his disciple. He received first initiation on the in March 1998 and second initiation in August 1999. Right after his second initiation he became the first secretary for the European RGB. He organised the first European Leaders Meetings (ELM) and went on several missions for the European RGB.
In 2002 he became the Secretary for the Global GBC Body and the Secretary for the GBC Executive Committee. He fulfilled that role until September 2009. He continues to attend the yearly GBC meetings as Recording Secretary.
From 1996 to 2007 he was engaged in management of the Radhadesh projects, mainly taking care of supervising the administration, tax defense and legal matters. He also served as legal director, trustee, teacher and student in the Bhaktivedanta College. In May 2004 he opened an ISKCON centre in Brussels, and ind March 2006 he received a Global Excellence Award for ÒActing in the Interest of ISKCONÓ.
Lilasuka Das graduated from the MIHE Bhakti Sastri course in June 2001, and followed the Bhaktivaibhava course (2001-2004) at the VIHE in Vrindavana where he graduated in 2004. From 2005 to 2011 he continued with the VIHE Bhaktivedanta study and graduated for Bhaktivedanta in 2011.
From 2004 to 2007 he served as Bhaktivaibhava and Bhakti Sastri teacher at the Bhaktivedanta College in Radhadesh. Since 1998 he has been mainly preaching in European countries including the presentations of various seminars on the Srimad Bhagavatam.
From July 2007 on he has been fully engaged in preaching mainly in His main preaching zones are Belgium, France, Germany, Northern Ireland and England. Since 2001 he has been assisting His Holiness Prahladananda Maharaja in preaching in the Balkan States every summer. Since 2011, his home base is Leicester (UK) where he has been developing systematic education. Recently, in 2014, he became the lead instructor of the bhakti-sastri centre of ISKCON Leicester.
Lilasuka Das has also an BA in Theology, and MA in the study of Religion – Indian Religions and is presently finishing a PhD in the study of religion at the University of Wales.
Written by: Nimai Dasi (UK Leicester)