ISKCON Daiva Varnasrama Ministry (IDVM) – India is conducting some courses during Gaura Purnima Festivals every year in Sridham Mayapur. One of these courses is Dharma-Sastri Course. This course was held from February 27 to March 2, 2017 at Mayapur Institute, Sridham Mayapur. The first and the second day sessions were conducted by Vishnurata Prabhu. He gave the six participants from different countries a basic of Dharma. In the beginning he explained the meaning of Dharma and Sastri. Dharma is translated as duty or religion in English but there is no English equivalent word for Dharma. In its proper sense, dharma cannot be divorced from the living entity at all. It is to the living entity what sweetness is to sugar, or saltiness is to salt, or solidity is to stone. In no case can it be cut off. The dharma of the living entity is to serve, and we can easily see that every living entity has the tendency to serve himself or others. He quoted a few slokas which relate to the Dharma. Sastri means one who studies sastra (Veda). It is like a person who is doing Bhakti will be called Bhakta. The next session was about Varnasrama.
As we know, Varnasrama consists of four Varnas and four Asramas. The four Varnas are brahmana, kshatriya, vaisya and shudra. On the other hand the four Asramas are Brahmacarya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, and Sannyasa. Vishnurata prabhu gave an explanation about Varnasrama very lucidly. He explained that Varnasrama is one of the four movements within ISKCON Society. The four movements in ISKCON are Sankirtan Movement (Holy Name and Books), Temple Worship Movement (Deities and Temples), Spiritual Initiation Movement (Guru Parampara), and Classless Society (Daiva Varnasrama). The participants showed keen interest in this topic because they never heard about this topic earlier. In general, only three movements are known to the devotees in ISKCON. Some of them have not known that there is another movement within ISKCON called as the Daiva Varnasrama movement. The last topic that was discussed by Vishnuratha Prabhu was the role of dvijas in the Society. This session covered the duties of brahmana, kshatriya, vaisya and shudra.
On the third day, the course was conducted by Rama Lakshman prabhu. As scheduled for third day he spoke on Bhagavat Dharma; the topics covered in this session are:Bhagavad-gita describes about the five tattvas, Srimad-Bhagavatam describes ten tattvas, Dasamula tattva by Srila BhaktivinodaThakur describes about ten tattvas, Satsandarbha by Srila Jiva Gosvami describes six tattvas; Nectar of devotion by Srila Rupa Gosvami describes nine tattvas (nava vidhi bhakti), Nectar of devotion also describes Sixty four angas (tattvas).
On the final day Rama Lakshman Prabhu presented practical application of Varnsrama Dharma and Bhagavata Dharma within ISKCON–in city temples and rural projects. He specially highlighted the activities of IDVM-India.
Different initiatives taken up by IDVM-India were introduced to the attendees; the initiatives are: Twelve-year OM Sri Surabhé global campaign, IDVM–India offering to Srila Prabhupada–Sri Govinda Gau Gram Prachar Yatra [traveling to 108 villages], uploading of video interviews every week; uploading PowerPoint presentations and other activities.
Shasvat Narayan Das commented that the content and delivery of the subject was excellent, Yadav Hari said he could understand many concepts related with Varnasrama Dharma and would like to read and understand more about Chanakya Pandit’s “Kautilya Arthashastra”.
Srila Prabhupada –Because there is no institution to teach people how to become brahmana, kshatriya, vaisya and shudra or brahmanas, grihasthas, vanaprasthas and sannyasis, these demons want a classless society. This is resulting in chaotic conditions. In the name of secular government, unqualified people are taking the supreme governmental posts. No one is being trained to act according to the principles of varnasrama-dharma, and thus people are becoming increasingly degraded and are heading in the direction of animal life. The real aim of life is liberation, but unfortunately the opportunity for liberation is being denied to people in general, and therefore their human lives are being spoiled. The Krishna consciousness movement, however, is being propagated all over the world to reestablish the varnasrama-dharma system and thus save human society from gliding down to hellish life [—SB 5.19.19 Purport].