Annual International Education Symposium
Since 2019, the Ministry of Education embarked upon an annual symposium called “Viplavah” where ISKCON educators from around the globe gather in Sridham Mayapur to share some of the invaluable insights they’ve acquired through years of practice. It’s with great pleasure that we now invite you to join us in this enlightening journey. We hope you enjoy imbibing this knowledge as much as we did. We hope to release one seminar every fortnight and if you like what you see and would like to be kept informed, then please register on our website or with our email newsletter system to be kept updated on new releases.
Tapana Mishra dasa,
Realizing Srila Prabhupada’s Vision for Sastric Degrees
Synopsis: In this video, “Realizing Srila Prabhupadas vision for sastric degrees” Atul Krsna Prabhu discusses the obstacles faced in conducting sastric degree certification programs and explains how the newly developed system of assessment is effectively increasing the number of degrees awarded. Srila Prabhupada’s vision was that all of his followers would be highly learned in scripture and carry the title “Bhaktivedanta”. While His Divine Grace’s vision is far from realized, we are fortunate to have Atul Krsna Prabhu outline steps that can be undertaken to make Srila Prabhupadas vision a reality.
Bio: Atul Krsna dasa joined ISKCON’s Melbourne Mahaprabhu Mandir in Australia in 1985. He served as a book distributor and fundraiser in ISKCON Melbourne for 12 years. He also had the privilege to play a leading role in the development of the ISCKON Disciples Course, which has now become a mandatory educational program in ISKCON. Today Atul Krsna dasa resides in Sri Dhama Mayapur, and teaches throughout India, Bangladesh and the Middle East in both English and Bengali mediums. He currently serves as the Chairman of the ISKCON Board of Examinations, which sets standards for sastric study courses in ISKCON, and is an Executive Member of the Ministry of Education.
Education, not indoctrination
In this video, “Education not Indoctrination” His Holiness Krishna Kshetra Swami discusses the issue of indoctrination that our movement was accused of in its infancy, while also sharing tips on how to promote free thinking within ISKCON to prevent it from becoming an issue today. His Holiness goes on to explain how indoctrination is severely detrimental to the process of learning/realizing the teachings of the absolute truth, while also giving sastric evidence proving that free thinking is not only encouraged in Bhkati Yoga; but is part of the culture.
His Holiness Krishna Kshetra Swami is a disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. His Holiness served as a missionary, temple pujari, and counselor for bhakti-yoga practitioners from the time of his formal initiation in 1972. In 2004, after eight years of university study, he received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Oxford for his dissertation on Caitanya Vaishnava image worship, now available as a book “Attending Krsna’s Image: Caitanya Vaisnava Murti-seva as Devotional Truth”. Krishna Kshetra Swami is now a Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He also teaches at Bhaktivedanta College, Radhadesh.
Training the Teachers
In “Training Teachers” Her Grace Urmilla mataji shares best practices to institute in educational programs within ISKCON. These methods are focused on improving the ability and character of teachers, which are derived from sastra and years of hands on and adminisrative experience. Mataji proceeds to showcase videos that are part of an instructional program she teaches in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, made available online so devotees can learn how to be a more effective teacher anywhere in the world!
Urmilla Devi Dasi has been a member of ISKCON since 1973, and is a disciple of His Divine Grace AC. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Her primary work in ISKCON has been in the area of education. In 1982, she and her husband started ISKCON’s first day school in Detroit, where she served as principal for eight years. In 1990, she founded a K-12 school in North Carolina, where she was appointed principal and served for ten years. During her many years as an educator, Urmilla Mataji has had the privilege to teach children in nursery, elementary, and high school for a total of 27 years. Urmila Devi Dasi received a Master’s of School Administration and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2010 she published a three-volume set “Dr. Best Learn To Read”, a program comprised of children’s reading books, teacher guides, and activity books to take a young child from learning the English alphabet to fluent reading. Today, Urmilla Mataji serves as a chair of the Sastric Advisory Council to the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON. She regularly travels throughout the world teaching about spiritual life and education.
How to Read Srila Prabhupada’s Books
His Grace Vaisesika Dasa was born in 1956. As a teen, he was an avid spiritual seeker. Soon after receiving a Back to Godhead magazine from a friend in the spring of 1973, he moved into the ISKCON temple in San Francisco at the age of sixteen, and with the blessings of his parents, became a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and a full-time monk dedicated to the practice of Krishna bhakti. Today he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Nirakula Devi Dasi, also a disciple of Srila Prabhupada. Together they have developed an ISKCON spiritual community of three hundred families in Silicon Valley, which is based on the study and distribution of Srila Prabhupadas books. He is an initiating guru and spiritual master in ISKCON. He travels widely to teach the tenets of devotional service and the great art of distributing Srila Prabhupadas books.
Here you can find the rest of the videos from our 2020 Viplavah Symposium.