Let It Begin-“School’s Out for Summer!”

by Bhakta-Chris


Some of us remember the feeling….the last tick of the second hand, the sweet tone of the ringing bell, running away from that classroom as fast as we could.

Jumping into a rapidly moving away vehicle, “toilet-papering” the rascal old man neighbor’s estate, strapping on the roller hockey pads, hitting the nearest pond for a dip…

As this summer’s edition of Bhakti-Sastri at New Vrindaban comes to a close, I can speak on behalf of the twenty-odd devotees, some coming from such far-away and exotic places as Guyana and Towaco, New Jersey, by saying that we certainly feel relief to be out in the warm summer air again, but above all, we feel deep appreciation for the knowledge, guidance, and wisdom we received.

I, a uppity bhakta and actual sense enjoyer, certainly was in no position to have been rather matter-of-factly (and without charge) thrust into this international emporium of elite scriptural education.

Krsna thinks differently. I am in no position to argue with Him.

It was funny though. Three years removed from the academic whirlpool that is the University of Michigan, and as I soon as open up the notebooks, all the ol’anarthas rear their ugly, scaly heads.

Sitting spaced out, rather be outside, as it’s such a nice day. Can’t study by myself, as my mind jerks me this way and that. Classroom lessons don’t quite jive with my style. I sit and complain and offend to myself. Boring, sleepy…but it’s Gita…As It Is! This I have to remind myself over and over.

Thankfully, the professors kept going without me, and I happened to be able to grab on for enough of the ride. The calm, careful, thorough mercy of HG Siddhilalasa Devi Dasi, making sure again and again we dug deep enough to see beyond the surface and into what Prabhupada really wants us to know and practice as devotees.

I know the kids I speak to this year during our college programs will get some of that mercy as well, because of her tireless efforts. So many thanks…

As well, we were treated to the saffron dust particles of HH Bhakti-Caru Swami and HH Jayadvaita Swami as guest professors. This truly is part of the special mercy of being a aspiring resident of New Vrindaban Dham.

Sadhus staying for weeks and making sure our misunderstandings of sastra fall by the wayside. (I was particularly enthused by Jayadvaita Maharaja’s presentation relating the divine and demoniac qualities to the events of 9/11. Those who really know me will understand why..)

Best of all, as always, was the association. Meeting HG Rajarsi Prabhu and HG Paramatma Prabhu, coming all the way from Guyana, was a real refreshing treat, and I hope to take up their offer of joining them in Guyana next year to help them with their KC efforts in two of my favorite mediums of communications, radio and television.

Young Mohit from Towaco, NJ, about to receive the special mercy of the NYU, also became a very good friend. Speaking on behalf on the New Vrindaban Bhakta Program, I cannot wait for Mohit to become the first neuro-surgeon bhakta in our program’s history. Our brains and hearts will rejoice.

I continue to develop a wonderful relationship with HG Ramkesava Prabhu, from Montreal, as we spent much time studying and relishing the deeper imports of the Gita and also performing some of these aspects for the instructive pleasure of the class. Check us out later this summer as we travel across eastern Canada and Quebec performing our two man show-Chapter 11: The Universal Form

It was also a very unique pleasure to be “the bad kids in the back of the class” with HG Yugal-Kishore Prabhu. Throwing flowers at each other, falling asleep, making subtle noises, trying to one-up each other in glorification of each other, I think we still managed to pass the course. I promise we will be better behaved next year.

We now return back to our regularly scheduled programming, hoping to imbibe and pass on what we have soaked in for the past six weeks. We also count down the days til next year’s edition of Bhakti-Sastri at New Vrindaban, this time focusing on The Nectar of Devotion, Sri Isopanisad, and The Nectar of Instruction.

We’ll know what to expect next time, and maybe we’ll even prepare. Best of all, we’ll know first-class association, prasadam, and knowledge-gathering awaits us, completely making the price of admission fully worth it.

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