What made you decide to join the College?
I see my coming to Bhaktivedanta College as the fulfillment of a desire that Krishna very kindly arranged in due course of time, rather than a decision made on my part, considering the pros and cons.
When I joined the movement, my first desire was to quit the university and proceed with academic studies in a devotional environment. At that time the College was not yet functioning, and the opportunities I found for studying in the association of devotees were the MIHE and VIHE. During those years I was looking forward to the opening of the College.
It is interesting how Krishna fulfilled that desire. Actually at one point I even replaced that first priority with another one, until later I could clearly understand that it is not Krishna’s plan for me. And immediately the desire for Vaisnava studies popped up again, but then I was afraid to invest hopes in that.
Very soon, without me even revealing my desire for studying, my spiritual master told me that it would be nice if I took some courses at the College, especially the Teacher Training courses.
I thought, “My dear Lord, this is what I really want, and surely now I can go for it.”
Once I was clear about joining the College, every single step went so smooth. Not to go into details, but there seemed to be many obstacles on my way here: I had to complete my university studies, pacify my parents, and so on. It was amazing how smoothly everything went.
Are your expectations being fulfilled?
I was so fascinated by the thought of coming to study at the College, with the temple of Sri Sri Radha-Gopinatha, in the association of the Radhadesh devotees, that I had no doubt: “What a wonderful year is coming!” And now during the College year I am even happier.
My purpose in studying is to develop various skills and to use sastric and academic knowledge in steady service, and thus deepen my relationship with my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, and Krishna. The courses I went through during the first term of the College year provided required skills for my services.
My expectations were exceeded in that I met so many warm and caring devotees. There is such a nice atmosphere in the College, the temple, and the community that I have both the opportunity to focus on my studies and deepen my relationship with devotees.
What are the challenges you experience?
My challenge is to be well-organized and balanced in studies, service, and sadhana.
In which areas did the College enriched your life?
The devotees running the College create a warm atmosphere of care and concern for everyone individually. Just as a child brought up in a family of caring parents becomes a grown-up who can care for and give a lot to others, similarly, a student who receives a lot from teachers has the potency to give it to others. I receive a lot, and I would like to give what I have received. In the College I get the knowledge and skills to communicate what I learn to various types of people.
To reawaken my relationship with Krishna and His devotees and to help others come closer to Him is what I would like the picture of my life to be. My experiences at Bhaktivedanta College and Radhadesh are great steps toward that goal.
The introspective courses deepen my realizations. The vocational courses are providing tools I need in my service. The academic courses are giving me the opportunity to eventually present Krishna to scholars, religious people, intellectuals, and students.
What are your plans for the future?
I have some concrete options for the future, yet I leave it open for unexpected things to happen, so it is not clear for me what exactly the next step is.
My main focus, whatever situation in life I might be in, is that I would like to see happy devotees staying in ISKCON and new people joining and becoming happy in Krishna consciousness. This is where I want to put my efforts, and the College is giving me a broad range of opportunities in achieving that.
Whatever is to come true in my life I will happily accept, provided it helps me deepen my service to Krishna and develop heart-to-heart relationships with His devotees.