We would like to share with you the latest news concerning Bhaktivedanta College, particularly our most recent graduates and new arrivals, modules that have been added, and how our first building under construction is coming along.On June 19, 2008, seven Bhaktivedanta Collegestudents were awarded a B.A. n Vaishnava Theology. Their marks were on the two top levels according to the marking system of the University of Wales Lampeter.
While a number of these students are continuing their studies abroad, others have taken up frontline services within ISKCON. Aravindaksa Dasa is the first graduate from Bhaktivedanta College to take up a post as temple president (in Antwerp). Bhaktavasa Govinda Dasa was recently elected vice-president at the Wrozlaw temple in Poland. Both graduates are also delivering educational programmes based on what they have learned at Bhaktivedanta College.
This school year (2008-09), the seventh in which Bhaktivedanta Collegehas been operating, has welcomed twelve new first-year students; seventeen other students are continuing their studies on level two and three. Altogether, the students represent twenty countries.
After reviewing its curriculum last year, Bhaktivedanta Collegehas added a module that has an academic approach to Bhagavat-gita. Anuradha Dasi recently facilitated this course, which the students found very interesting and relevant. In the devotional strand of the curriculum, a retreat centred on Srila Prabhupada has been added to enable students to become better acquainted and connected with Srila Prabhupada. During this retreat, Srutakirti Dasa unreservedly shared stories of his years of direct service to Srila Prabhupada. Not only the students, but many community members were transfixed while hearing firsthand accounts of Prabhupada’s intimate dealings of compassion and love. Srutakirti thus deeply impressed Srila Prabhupada into the consciousness of his audience, many of whom said that they wanted the retreat to continue for at least another week. When it was time for Srutakirti to depart, students and community members assembled and performed a heartfelt kirtana to express their deep gratitude for his so kindly having strengthened their connection with Srila Prabhupada. Along with their theoretical and practical studies, students of Bhaktivedanta College are given ample preaching opportunities. This year they have been on Harinama in Paris, Gent, Antwerp, have facilitated Namahatta preaching in Luxemburg and Brussels, and have also organised an impressive preaching event for international students at the University of Leuven. During the month of December which is dedicated to Srila Prabhupada’s book distribution marathon, students are planning to take their part as well.
Bhaktivedanta College is also working on a new undergraduate programme that is, for the time being, entitled “Spiritual economics and Management” and will be offered in distance learning. Its curriculum is meant to offer students a BA in business administration, and to teach students an alternative economy based on universal principles delineated in scripture. The course’s topics will include management, varnasrama-dharma, self-sufficiency and healthy living. Sri Isopanisad’s first verse, the ‘isavasyam’ text, will be foundational to this new programme. In addition, as soon as facilities are available, arrangements will be made so that the programme will become available onsite as well.
The exterior of Bhaktivedanta College’s first building has been completed; meanwhile we are working, praying and waiting for additional donations to finance the completion of the ground floor of the main building, as well as the attached building. The situation is somewhat urgent at this point, since Bhaktivedanta College is required to relinquish its present office and move its library within the upcoming weeks. Some hopeful prospects are in view, however, and we are confident that Krishna will surely fulfill our desires to serve Him through offering educational opportunities to the upcoming generations of Vaishnavas.
Bhaktivedanta College Team