Devotees inaugurated the 2007-08 academic year at BhaktivedantaCollege on September nineteenth, the anniversary of Srimati Radharaniï¿½s appearance. After performing morning festivities in Her honor, the Radhadesh community offered to Srimati Radharani the ï¿½giftï¿½ of thirteen new students. They sat in front of everyone and rose, one after another, while being introduced and garlanded.
Their names are: Aksara Dasa (Germany), Bhakta Ali Molavi (Iran), Bhakta Rsabhadeva Hauter (France/New Zealand), Bhaktin Anna Kravtzova (Russia), Braja Biharini Dasi (Macedonia), Bhaktin Gandharvika Loison (France), Bhakta Patrick Tahon (France), Bhaktin Santusha Enjoem (Holland), Bhaktin Susana Sanchez (Spain), Manasi Ganga Dasi (New Zeeland), Ramakeshava Dasa (Russia/Canada), Shyama Sakhi Dasi (Bosnia).
Senior devotees extended their blessings and good wishes, starting with the guest of honor, Kadamba Kanana Maharaja. Addressing the students, he said, “The academic field is huge, and till now we only have scratched the surface. Without fear or shyness we should enter that arena and present ourselves as we are. We have a great task in front of us, to establish the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada as the most complete understanding of the Absolute Truth. Bhaktivedanta College can play a vital part in this. Of course, one may obtain a Bachelorï” degree, but that in itself will be insufficient. As Sri Ramananda Raya said, we have to strive for the higher goal of pure devotional service.
Jaya Krishna Dasa, the Administrative Director of Bhaktivedanta College, said, “The staff members and teachers and students are strongly connected. Your service is to study. Ours is to serve you in your studies, to make life as comfortable as possible in Radhadesh, to educate you, to give you feedback, to define with you room for improvement, and to support you in finding your mission in life.”
Although the College staff and teachers will do their best to help the students, there will be challenges caused by academic, social, and devotional pressures. Thus Mahendra Dasa, the Assistant Course Director, said, “Discipline and determination are essential for success.” He urged the students to build a solid foundation for their spiritual practices and to find the proper balance to take advantage of Bhaktivedanta College.
New students expressed gratitude and joy to be part of the College and the Radhadesh community. Shyama Sakhi Dasi said, “Coming to Radhadesh was one of the best experiences I have had. Immediately upon entering the ISKCON property, I could feel a pleasant spiritual energy. On the first day of Orientation Week, a senior devotee welcomed us to the family. A student at the college has the great opportunity to live in this nice community and study with wonderful, experienced devotees. I am happy and honoured to be here and hope that I will be able to offer service in the future to the college and community.”