What do you like about Bhaktivedanta College?
It is a great opportunity for devotees to take advantage of the vast experience of many senior devotees and also to learn how to build bridges with the world. The classes give a lot of information about different views held by people in the world.
The College gives a devotee an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Krishna consciousness on a personal level and to communicate it to others in a much more mature way.
What compels you to teach Faith Development, given your busy schedule?
It is important. Our movement needs to invest in education, and I want to contribute to that. I think that the Radhadesh community is benefited by an educational program. I think if such a big facility does not have an educational aspect to it, then it becomes shallow. Education adds brahminicalculture to a project like this, which will increase the spirituality of it. Radhadesh is an important project in Europe. It is a centrally located place, and devotees from around Europe come here from time to time for the programs, meetings, seminars, conferences and so on.
Is there some direction you would particularly like to see the College take?
I would be happy if it could become financially more accessible to devotees. I understand why the various costs are there, but I hope that the financial needs of the College can be met through donors and sponsors. If this could happen I would be inspired because I feel that we now invest a lot of energy in very few people. We could open it up much more broadly, and that would be good.
Was there anything particular about the mood of this year’s group compared to the last two years?
Every group is different, and my presentation is different each year. I thought that this year we had a lot of discussion on a lot of topics. As time went on, students began to open up more. I feel that we should just trust each other and should go beyond trying to project an image. We should just accept what we are and be honest about that. Openness is a natural quality for a Vaisnava. We should try and cultivate more openness about ourselves and how we communicate. It should be straight from the heart, honestly, and we should not be too worried about whether we make a good impression or a bad one. If we make a bad impression it probably means that we need to grow in some areas. We know we need to grow in some areas and so it is all right to just be open and honest. I think everyone should work on this quality of arjavam — simplicity. Simplicity is defined as being straightforward. So that is an important element of Vaisnava behavior and I feel that this particular course is meant for that purpose. It is character building. We are investing in our own individual development rather than in our intellectual capacity and so on. I think that this is the principal objective of the course, because ultimately we want to come out of such a college as more mature devotees who have broadened their horizons and deepened their commitments in Krishna consciousness.