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Seminar on Varnasrama Education

  • Bhakta Naresh

With the increasing unemployment and dissatisfaction among employed there are growing questions about the modern education system. It seems that parents are fed up with the Macaulay’s education system but are not able to find alternatives and are forced to send their children to modern schools. Srila Prabhupada on number of occasions called the modern schools and colleges as slaughter houses. ISKCON devotee parents and ardent followers of Prabhupada’s teachings are forced to send their children to modern schools, unable to find accessible and effective Vedic education school models.

Thus, this is right time to introduce and establish Vedic education systems. Many attempts continue to be made by individuals and groups to educate general people and introduce, especially the parents who are looking for alternative education, to Vedic Gurukula education.

In one such attempt a two days seminar was organised in Iskcon Ujjain. HG Rasananda Prabhu who is very active in organising such programs teamed up with HG Hari Kirtan Das on behalf of ISKCON Daiva Varnasrama Ministry-India, Sriman Mehul acharyaji, an Ayurveda pandit and a gurukuli himself who is running a Gurukula in Rajkot, and his good wife Smt. Jigyaben ji and HG Tirtharaj Prabhu (a devotee and scientist who has been working on developing Krishna conscious science curriculum for those looking for alternatives to modern atheistic sciences) for presentation for two days.

The program was held in the conference hall within the ISKCON Ujjain temple compound on 18th & 19th November 2017. Around fifty participants attended the seminar after prior registration.  The attendees were mostly congregation devotees from Ujjain and Indore and also a few educationists. The program was planned for three sessions before lunch and two sessions after lunch.

First day first session included inaugural addresses by the Vice President of ISKCON Ujjain and by HG Damodar Prabhu, an active senior congregational preacher.

The first session was presented by HG Harikirtan Das on the topic “Srila Prabhupada’s guidelines on education and training the children”. The presentation focused  on the need to introduce the traditional education systems, definition of education, gurukula, different types of Vidya, concepts of formal, informal, non-formal education,  the relationship between Varnasrama and education, reasons for failures of Gurukulas and need of development of Varnasrama communities and following Srila Prabhupada’s instruction to establish Varnasrama Colleges. A report of the attempts made by IDVM-India to develop Gurukulas and Varnasrama Colleges was also given. The whole presentation was mostly based on the book Varnasrama Education written by HH Bhakti Raghava Swami.

The next sessions was taken  by Mehulji acharya presenting the Vedic Gurukula siksha paddvati and comparison between Gurukula and modern schools. Mehulji expertly revealed the fallacies of modern education with appropriate examples. The next session was taken by Jigysaben mataji on the topic “Kitchen chemistry and Vedic home sciences”. The session was very lively and interactive.

The last session was of vibrant question and answers.

The first session of the second day was presented by HG Tirtharaj Prabhu on the entitled “Scientific understanding of Gurukula”. The presentation discussed the several myths of modern day science and comparatively presented Vedic sciences to establish the latter as the actual science. Tirtharaj Prabhu shared his long years of experiences and efforts in developing curriculum.

The next session was taken by Mehulji again on pancha kosa knowledge and its application and on Ayurveda for children.

Jigyasaben mataji took session on parents’ role in educating the child.

Last session again was of question and answers.

The participants gave very good positive feedback to the seminar. There were many requests to have such thought provoking presentations.

Participants look forward to seeing such traditional education models and they showed great interest in sending their children to such gurukulas and even encourage others to do so.

Twenty copies of Varnasrama Education authored by HH Bhakti Raghava Swami, Minister,IDVM-India were also distributed.

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