by Hanumatpresaka Swami (Professor H. H. Robinson)
Texas and NOD-2
As we start this report, the Road to Higher Education finds us continuing our travels from Houston, Texas (Radha Nila-madhava Dhama). We presented our Radha-desa, Nectar of Devotion-Two seminar, with about 42-devotees registered. It´s a 12-hour Seminar, the next step after the Bhakti-sastri NOD study. NOD-2 focuses on the Southern Quadrant of the NOD, Bhava-bhakti, whereas NOD-1 focuses on the Western Quadrant of NOD, Sadhana-bhakti. NOD-2 includes very practical and sharp connections with modern university and industry drama theory.
It was the first time participants in Nila-madhava Dhama experienced such a university level demand in a seminar but many being professional engineers and doctors found it very gratifying in the end, and it stood as an introduction and challenge to beginning the teaching of the Bhakti-vaibhava level Diploma in the Fall of this year.
The Golden Gate
Packing up our bags and heading for the airport as the Seminar closed we went on down the road to San Jose, California (ISKCON Silicon Valley). The next day was the Rathyatra in San Francisco where Vaisesika Prabhu orchestrated the distribution of about 1,700 books to parade on-lookers and new and old guests at the Festival. This seemed to be well related to establishing measureable goals for what is an educated man, a Sankirtan man.
During the following week we worked with Srivasa Pandita Das, our local Bhakti-vaibhava Director. We finished answering the questions that the Board of Examiners had presented to us when we made our application for ISV to become a Bhakti-vaibhava Teacher and Testing Center as we are aspiring for with Houston also. Factually, along with the NIMSAR group in Lima, Peru, the ISV Bhakti-vaibhava teaching is now in its second year, Canto Three, with cutting edge team building, methodology and curriculum development. We teach on-line.
The other prominent educational unit we rubbed shoulders with was Bali-mardana Prabhu´s Krishna Kidz. It is an independently incorporated educational institution that now has three branches in the San Francisco Bay Area teaching Hare Krsna academic and cultural life with face painted little Kamsas and Sita-Ramas, chanting prayers and songs at the festivals and for their parents. He has started to pay the teachers for their Saturday School work. They advertise in such places as Indian grocery stores and radio-stations and attract children from diverse religious groups.
FOREST OF HAPPINESS
The next to last stop on this trip was Boise, Idaho (New Bihar-van). Here we met with our largest Bhakti-vaibhava group in North America, which administratively is a part of ISV. We had five classes with Students and interested guests on the materials studied and relished from the first Semester of Canto Three, ¨Maitreya uvaca!¨. Furthermore, Ananta-rupa Das and Mother Aruddha devi Dasi who founded the Temple were there. We had very nice discussions about the Radha-desa Bhakti-vedanta College with Ananta-rupa Prabhu and also his two sons, Radhika-raman Das and Gopal-hari Das. As Administrative Director Prabhu feels the College is in a very critical condition needing intellectual and devotional support from a Board of Directors and he has a specific plan for developing the diploma in Business Adminstration which would give ISKCON graduates a real opportunity at gainful and meaningful employment after graduation. Mother Aruddha Devi Dasi is of course famous for her experiences in home-schooling which in the Boise community alone has resulted in one University Professor and Oxford PhD, two Oxford PhD candidates, four Boise State University first place graduates in Mathematics, Philosophy and Engineering as well as students still in home schooling. Her book on home schooling is now available and she has three Yahoo Groups on educational development which have total membership of 1,200.
Radhika, Gopal and Aja-govinda Das are the Oxford graduate and students. Radhika´s book on contemporary thinking on the Srimad Bhagavatam by Columbia University Press will be released in March 2013 and we feel it will have revolutionary impact on academic thinking about the Srimad Bhagavatam, just as Tamal-krsna Goswami´s book is having the same response in thinking about Srila Prabhupada as a rigorous theologian.
Gopal´s PhD thesis is on the concept of Maya in the Srimad Bhagavatam and Aja-govinda’s is on mathematical models of pig hearts, but he is very intensely dovetailing it with devotional models of human hearts. The Balarama Purnima and Janmastami festivals were supreme there. After two months of suffering from stress induced inflammations in the throat and mouth we finally cleared them up in Boise. We have learned so much from Ayurveda about how to live properly for successful service.
BACK TO THE BIBLE BELT
Coming to a conclusion we got back in the airplane on Friday morning with Prabhupada´s Vyasapuja in progress and arrived back at our NIOS office in Tennessee by 3.30PM. Altogether it was 10-hours of travel from door-to-door. We divide education into three aspects: Basic Principles of Varna-ashrama-dharma, how to personally find your position in the Sankirtana movement (inside of airplanes), and developing your own esoteric relationship with the prime being, Visnu.
In Tennessee we are just getting settled. Trying to follow proper life-style and diet for a 65-year old donkey, prepare for our Annual NIOS Symposium September 8th and the September 20th Grand Rounds at The Center for Health and Spirituality with the Texas Medical Center. NIOS (North American Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies) is a non-profit education corporation in Tennessee whose 13th Annual Symposium will begin an investigation into The Phaedo – How to live, how to die: Socrates, Christ, Confucius, Krishna.
For more Information Contact:
Hanumatpresaka Swami at our Blog: www.hps.monkeywarrior.com
Hari-lila Das for ISKCON Houston Bhakti-vaihava Development: firstname.lastname@example.org
Srivas-pandita Das, San Francisco Bay Area, Academic Education: email@example.com
Bali-mardan Das, Little Krishna Kidz (Bhaktivedanta College for Humanitarian Excellence): www.bc4he.org
Ananta-rupa Das, Bhaktivedanta College: firstname.lastname@example.org
Smt. Aruddha-devi Dasi, Home Schooling: www.krishnahomeschool.org
Professor Ravi Gupta, William and Mary College: email@example.com