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Varnasrama FAQs

1) Is there any option to learn courses taught in Varnashrama College on the Internet?

In addition to the courses we are offering at our Sahyadri Varnasrama College, we are also in the process of developing courses on-line. You may visit the following site for more information. We have not yet started but will be happy to receive any inquiries. Please visit the site

For more information on internet courses you may write to Parasurama prabhu at

For more information on direct courses offered at Sahyadri Varnasrama College, you may write to Hrdoya Caitanya prabhu at

2) In one settlement at devoted there are 176 cows, they redeemed them generally for donations and partially contain for donations. Whether it will be correct to create dairy business on the basis of this herd and to sell milk and products from milk?

Srila Prabhupada wanted householders who are not in front line preaching to live in a rural setting (localized living in a village
environment), and to be self-sufficient through natural organic agriculture and cow protection. Srila Prabhupada also gave instructions regarding prasadam and how householders especially can make and sell prasadam.

The real opulence as we learn from the Bhagavatam is in having cows and land. But the first objective for having cows and land is not for selling or making business but for maintenance. There are two most important guidelines:

  • Produce only what you need and
  • Use only what you produce.

From cows, not only is milk important but also cow urine and cow dung. If someone from the Ukraine can come to India, they can learn how to make some 20 different kinds of cow products (these include soap, incense, tooth paste, shampoo for hair, eye drops, etc.) and those can be sold. Devotees may learn how to make fertilizer and manure from cow dung and sell that as well.

From milk, yes, devotees may learn how to make ghee and other milk products. But we should be cautious about getting into a whole business mentality. For our maintenance and for preaching purposes, that is fine, but we must side by side learn to grow our own food.

3) Whether there are any methods to define ones Varna?

In his essay called GITA NAGARI that appeared in the 1956 Back to Godhead magazine (you can read that in the Folio or Veda-Base) Srila Prabhupada identifies four ways to identify a person’s varna:

  1. By astrological test (need a qualified astrologer)
  2. By study of family hierarchy or family lineage (going back as many generations as possible)
  3. By observation (simple observation to see the behaviour of someone)
  4. By psychological test (I am not aware of any devotee psychological test but some simple psychological tests have already been worked out that could be used). I am in the process of developing one such test.

This assessment of varna was generally done by learned brahmanas in the village when the boys were between the age of 7 to 12 approximately. Once knowing the varna, that would help them chose the type of education for that student (formal or non-formal) and also would help determine the asrama he may chose later in life.

4) Whether all participants of a community have to follow strictly at once to spiritual standards (16 circles of japa, the morning program, etc.)? Or those who have just joined, can approach it gradually?

Each community should decide what standards it wants to follow. This needs to be clearly spelled out before a family decides to join a particular community. This decision is generally made by those who are in the category of brahmana and ksatriya or those who are leaders of the community. Not everyone can be a leader. So every community must have a leader, a ksatriya leader, who is guided by a brahmana or a council of brahmanas.

5) At present generally that lodge in the land devoted who has an opportunity to get the house and the land at own expense. And those who has only desire, but has no financial opportunity can’t lodge. Whether prompt, please, there are any acceptable ways of financing of a community at first to construct housing and to buy necessary stock, etc.?

If I understand correctly, you want to know how a family interested to live in a community but who does not have finances to purchase or build a house can do this. A few things to keep in mind.

  1. Initially housing facilities should be very very modest and simple so that the cost or investment is very less. This means also learning to make houses using local materials. I know that in a country like Ukraine this may not be so easy compared for example to India or other Asian countries where the climate is not at all as severe as in Ukraine. But the idea is the same, making a dwelling as simple and less expensive as possible using local materials.
  2. Before moving on the land or before becoming part of a community, a family will need to work to make some laksmi for making a small house.
  3. In Vedic times, the King would assist in different ways by providing free land, wells or ponds, seeds, tools and construction materials for residence. The closest thing we have to such Vedic Kings are rich devotee householders who can help sponsor a family with the idea that the basic cost for building a house will be repaid within a reasonable period of time.
  4. A community may decide to make a few dwellings in advance to attract serious devotees to come and live under some legal contract or legal agreement whereby the intial investement cost is repaid to the community.
  5. Many things need to be discussed before setting up a community and this requires that those interested to live in a community develop a common vision and work towards realizing this vision.

6) Whether it is possible to buy in villages milk from ordinary people and to offer it to Krishna?

As devotees we should try and understand the importance of what is called AHIMSA MILK. “Ahimsa milk” is pure organic milk from protected cows. If we know that the cows from these “ordinary people” will not be sent to the slaughterhouse or sold and if the cows are being fed organic food and not being injected with hormones to produce larger quantities of milk, etc.,
then yes, that falls in the category of “ahimsa milk” and devotees can purchase from such ordinary people (in that case because they will not kill or sell the cow, they are not actually “ordinary people”) and offer to Krishna. Best of course that we purchase milk from devotees or that we have our own cows.

7) If anyone is interested in the courses of Varnashrama College and wish to arrive, whom can he contact ?

I request you to communicate with one of our devotees who is involved in presenting these courses, Hrdoya Caitanya prabhu. You may write to him at the following address: He will be happy to answer other questions you may have.



Answers By H. H. RP Bhakti Raghava Swami