Bhaktivedanta Academy Mayapur 2015
Bhaktivedanta Academy Mayapur 2015 by Riktananda Das

Prabhu: Mahārāja, about that... About the training of the children from a young age, I am not sure about so many other communities, devotee communities around the world, but in the community that I live in New Zealand it seems it can be like a predominant sort-of philosophy there that if we... I shouldn't say predominant, but there's definitely elements of philosophy there that if we repress the children and, you know, enforce so much kind-of Vedic type understanding then at a later age they will feel repressed and there will be the suppressed Gurukuli syndrome, and they'll want to go out into the world and enjoy, so better that we let them read karmī books from a young age, go to the movies, eat chocolate, give them all these alternatives... They can go to karmī school and this will be better in the long run...

His Holiness Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Svāmī Mahārāja: Hmm? Do they let them smoke cigarettes? Take drugs? I mean, in America sometimes the blacks have sex at eight. Do they allow that? So, therefore, if you check carefully, what are those things they are allowing? These are things that the parents don't think they are bad. In other words, a parent will naturally always give the best to the child. So those things that they think are of value, are of use, or at least are not bad, only those things they will allow them to do. So if you look at it, these are just common things of the Western Christian culture that are not considered... You know, they are very nice, wholesome. But did the parents ever read some of these books? I mean, they should sit down and read some of these modern science fiction books that the kids read. I mean it's just, there is a lot of sex in it, a lot of sex. And it's not of any character, it is not even of the go back into your fairy tale romantic, at least there there was some emotional exchange, at least there was some idea of ideal relationships and proper dealings amongst people. But these modern books, it's just, you know, it's just skin. So they have to really think. That's one aspect. So that's just the natural reaction.

The actual, you know, my answer would be: is, now, this is coming from, the point is, they have seen children go through the Gurukula and then they have come out and they feel they didn't get a good result. So, therefore, we should just let them do whatever they like and then they'll come out nice. So now... And that's all right, is if as long as that is why the Gurukuli syndrome manifest. But then maybe, I mean, if we had discussed and seen whether the relationships going on in the Gurukula that are described here in the Vedic culture, because they will use the term 'Vedic', so then were those present? Did the students have natural firm affection and respect for the teachers? Did the teachers have that for the students? Were the teachers giving to the children what they thought best and what they followed themselves? Were the teachers dealing with individuals? Or there was just a program that everybody had to follow? Was the individual consideration there? Means, the real individual of the student starts coming out in the teen years. We have maybe like 30 schools or more in the movement, how many deal with children above 12? Many? No. So, therefore, we can understand that there may have been a lack of understanding how to deal with the individuals and how to imbibe in them a set of values. Because the whole purpose of the Vedic education is, if you stay in the house you are going to take things for granted. You know, you make a mess, your mother cleans up the mess, you just, you go in at certain times of the day and generally then there is something to eat, and even in-between times then there is cookie jar, a bowl of fruit, or there is the refrigerator and you can come in and you can sleep. You lose something, your father buys you a new one, and it just happens, it's like automatic pilot. So then the problem happens is is that child in that environment, his brain is also an automatic pilot. So academically he may learn, but culturally not so much is necessarily gained. So unless the child is made aware of what is a value and made to think for himself, he is not going to accept that. Means, the first aspect of education is śravana, you hear. The second aspect, after you've heard and you know the subject matter is: you have to be trained how to contemplate, understand and follow. Why you are following? Why it is done? Then by practice of that, then you come to the platform of realizing what it is, and then you value it. And once you value it, you do it. So if the children didn't come to the point of valuing the Kṛṣṇa conscious culture, that means the system didn't make them contemplative. So by keeping them at...

But we see that if you stay at the home, one has a tendency not to actually contemplate things. So when one goes away to the school, then one has a tendency to contemplate. Only girls actually in the house can be observative. Boys in the house, they are not, they're blobs, they're slobs. You ask any woman, any mother: girls, nine years old they can chant 16 rounds, they can know what to be done what not to be done, they are clean, orderly, tidy, right? Do you ever see a slovenly, slobby little girl? Their braids are perfect, their dress is perfect. The mother may have dressed them up, but it stays that way the whole day. But you can dress up the boy, you let him out the door, and before he has walked down the step he looks like a monster. So, therefore, the boy, unless he is in an environment that makes him think that it is not coming for granted, only then he becomes, he develops, only then he prospers. So, therefore, the Vedic culture arranged that those who are interested seriously in spiritual life went to the Gurukula, so they became observant and they actually valued these things for themselves. They are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa because they want to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. They have been taught to chant, but they do it because they want to chant. So that's the element that is important. So now, if they didn't come to that point of value then we have to check what was the system. So we can't say, 'Well, the system is no good, throw it out,' because the home doesn't work either. Home doesn't work either. When Prabhupāda came to America and all these people were joining him, they were all persons who were comfortably situated in their homes and perfectly satisfied just living in their home environment? Or they were people who were frustrated with that and gone out in search of something, something more than just the rut of family life? Right? So, they were praṇipāta, they were interested in knowledge. So when they met Prabhupāda then they took it up.

So that's a very important element, you have to create interest, you have to create thoughtfulness, you have to create value in the student. And that can only come if the teachers are like that. So that element has to be seen, and one can say, 'Well, there is no teachers like that,' so then why is anybody having children? As we discussed before, who before having the child is not... Who, who is cultured doesn't think, 'How is this child going to be raised?' 'I just would like to have a child. How he will be raised, what he will do, what his future will be, what can I say?' Now, is that not selfish or what? So then if it's not there, why it's not created? Why mature devotees are not found for this? But in those days that they are talking about, now who was put into the Gurukula as a teacher? Someone who, one, couldn't manage a temple, that's first; second, could not do saṅkīrtana; third, was not good as, you know, a secretary, a temple commander or head of some other department in the temple, head pūjārī. Means they were, okay, they were better than the guy washing pots, but they didn't know what was going on and they seemed to be a little educated, so what do you do? You stick them into Gurukula. So then, is that how the Vedic culture would choose their teachers? No. They would take the most qualified people, make them teachers. Then you get the most qualified students. You go to any good educational institution in the world, the better the institution the better the teachers. You go to Harvard or Oxford, or Cambridge, now they just have guys that couldn't make it anywhere or they have the best teachers? Do you understand?

So that element is very very important. So then we have to look at what created that, not just off the top of our head, 'Because they weren't allowed to read karmī books, therefore they became like they became.' No, because they were regulated to some degree therefore they are only reading a few karmī books, smoking a little dope and hanging out with other Gurukuli kids. They are not off doing all kinds of crazy things like other kids are doing. Restriction - they can just do anything in the house? You know, can the kid just invite all his friends over and in his bedroom sit and yell and scream all night and party? Will the parents allow it? No. So then why restrict? Means, if you are going to take the philosophy, take it! I mean, there is a school in England called Summerhill - whatever they want they can do it. They want to burn down the classroom, they can burn it down, no one will stop them. They may come to them and explain to them the use of the building and how if they burn it down then, you know, there won't be any classes and all that. But if you really want to burn it down they'll let them burn it down. They actually live the philosophy they say, like that. But we can't just... We only restrict on the good, upstanding, moral Christian side and then kind-of like ignore or throw out the Vedic because it's not practical. So like that. Means, those parents, when they were kids, they read karmī things, they did this and that, all it is is that they are bringing their kids up in the 50s and 60s that's all. But they are not allowing their kids to grow up in the 90s. What would they say, would they restrict if they find out that their 12-year old kid is taking crack? And he makes his money by going down and selling crack down in the local... Goes down to, you know, hops on his chopped chrome Harley and rides down to Auckland's center and sells crack to make his petrol money? Would they allow that? Good chance, they'd just telling him, 'Sorry, hit the road, get out of here!'

So, therefore, we really have to look at it. It's very nice, it sounds very nice, but what's the reality of what is being said? That has to be studied. Because Vedic culture means knowledge, and we have to study and actually understand what is being said and understood. Otherwise it sounds good, but they can read any karmī magazine? I mean karmī, I mean, Playboy magazines are also karmī magazines, can they look at those? No. So then, but why restrict? Any 12-year old boy would like to check out the Playboy magazine. But why restrict? Can he watch porno movies? Why restrict? Because what is the bottom line? It's not moral, right? That is the bottom line: if it's against, it's not moral. Taking drugs, smoking, all these illicit activities - they are not moral. So, therefore, that's as low as we can go, but they won't let them go below that. So they are restricting them just to don't drop below the moral principles, the moral platform. And Prabhupāda was trying to get them don't drop below the religious platform. Religion means social codes. Moral just means just there is a little bit of basic character, like that. So it's just a matter of where you want, where you place your bottom line, because restriction is there. They can say, 'We don't restrict,' but they are restricting, very much they are restricting their children. But it's just at what point of cutoff of consciousness they restrict them.

So a restriction in the West means prāṇa-maya. But restriction in the Vedic culture means mano-maya. Because, as we discussed some days before, the restriction creates relationships. If you don't restrict there is no relationship because there must be give and take. I don't restrict myself, I can't have a relationship with someone else properly. Means, can I be a proper son and have a relationship with my mother if I just call her, badmouth my mother and say all kinds of nasty things, and whack her on the back and joke with, you know, make jokes about her? Can I do that? No. So I have to restrict myself. I may not appreciate what my mother just did, but can I, if I want to maintain the relationship of mother and child, can I speak like that? No. So, I have to restrict. Mother has so many things she'd like to do, but instead of doing that she is picking up your socks and cooking and doing all these funny things. So, she is restricting what she would like to do to do this, and therefore it creates a relationship. So this is actually just another form of Kali-rāja's entrance. He knows: you break down restriction, you break down relationships. You break down relationships, people can't work together. People can't work together, you cannot have saṅkīrtana. Saṅkīrtana means congregational chanting. Congregational chanting is Yuga Dharma. So if you make it so nobody can work with anybody else, no one trusts anyone else, no one respects anyone else, no one wants to follow authority, then you have just wiped out the saṅkīrtana mission. And who in this age can just sit down and chant three lakhs of names on their own and just become bābājīs? 'Okay, you know, I am not dealing with this institution and all this, I am just going to sit down and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa all day and go back to Godhead.' Who is there? Let them step forward. So without the support of the saṅkīrtana mission how is it going to happen? Therefore Kali-rāja just has to break down relationships. How does he break it down? Break down restriction.

Why do joint families not function nowadays? They are still there, but I mean, so why are they on the decrease? Because you are restricted, right? You have 10 brothers living in one monster house and all that with basically a common kitchen, with the grandparents like running the whole show, then you don't have that much things of what you can do. So, therefore, they want to be independent, so therefore, you know, the birth of the nuclear family. But then in the nuclear family now even husband wants to do his thing, wife her thing, son his thing, daughter her thing, then what happens to the nuclear family? Doesn't exist. Nuclear family was something, the wonderful nuclear family, some of the 50s and early 60s, nowadays where is the nuclear family?You have to leave? Okay, I will end now anyway.

So we have to see that we have to actually look at what is there. Otherwise we are not necessarily going to get the result that we want. Means, we have to actually deeply have to look at it. Culture and and social structure is something very highly developed, it is beyond morality it is a higher, it is called religious principles. Morality is called sub-religious principles. So Prabhupāda is trying to introduce us to religious principles. Religious principles include sub-religious, just as emotions include senses, right? The emotional exchange between the mother and the child, the mother wants to do something for the child, she feeds the child. But her cooking and serving the child is all working on the emotional platform. But the senses of the child are being taken care of, right? And the child is enjoying not so much just necessarily the taste, but mother has cooked it, mother is serving it, mother has cooked it because of her affection, so that is what is being appreciated. The taste - how long do you appreciate that? The taste of eating, what? 10 minutes, 15 minutes - finished. But mother is in the kitchen cooking or she has gone to the market or made so many preparations, it maybe days that this emotional experience of doing something for the child is there. While serving, afterwards, she knows he is satisfied, that doesn't leave. But the sense lasted for 15 minutes, 10 minutes. Do you understand? So if you have the emotional, you have the senses. So if you have Dharma, you have morality, the higher includes the lower. Each rasa as you go up includes the lower one. So each level of consciousness as you go up includes the lower one.

So like that, is you train the children in religious principles then they will automatically be moral. You try to train them in morality, they may or may not be moral. I mean, for a devotee is it hard to follow the Ten Commandments? No, because they are working on a higher platform. But amongst Christians how many are following the Ten Commandments? You know, just general average? Difficult. So like that, one has to actually see what is the real, what is actually happening. The children don't, one generation... Means, the second generation doesn't follow the first generation, means the first generation was not able to transfer the values. So then one has to actually look at it what went wrong that the values weren't transferred and then try to figure out how to correct that - that is the real thing. It is not a matter of more liberal, more strict, that's not the... The point is, is actual dealings in the values.

I would, just my own experience, I probably gained more as far as culture, as far as emotional dealings with others, relationships, depth of being able to relate with other people from my father who was more strict than from my mother who was more liberal. And I respect my father for his dealings, his discipline and that, I don't respect my mother for the way she disciplined. Because my father was disciplining on rules and regulations, 'This is the rule, this is the culture, you break that, it's a disturbance, so therefore there must be some method of of correcting that.' While the mother is that you don't behave properly, she becomes frustrated and angry and emotional, and then she tries to discipline in that atmosphere, nothing is gained, neither discipline nor respect. But for the father who is dealing with 'This is the way it should be done,' and he would explain it and discuss it, then the values were transferred. So these essential things are transferred in that way, respect of authority, natural religious feelings, dealings with others, exchange with others - these are all the things they are supposed to learn from the parents before they even get to the Gurukula. You can also, if you really want to open a Pandora's Box, then you can find out from the teachers who knew what were the children like when they went to the Gurukula? Were they angels when they went to the Gurukula? And then the Gurukula itself turned them into demons? Or they came undisciplined and wild, and then the school being untrained itself didn't know how to discipline and train them, so it just worsened the situation, you know, frying pan into fire. Maybe they may have been innocent and just kids, but did they have, you know, what was the position? Many may have had and by the bad teachers that may have been removed, but many didn't. Many of the kids themselves were crazy. Crazy meaning not clinically, it just means wild, coming from broken families and this and that.

So it is a very deep subject, it has to be very, very carefully looked at if we want to actually solve. If we just want to make a superficial quick fix solution, then these kind of slogans are great. But if you actually want to solve a cultural problem, then you have to look at what is culture? How is culture imbibed? How is it taught? What is the source of culture? Means, what is the standard of culture, where do we take it from? We go down to the Five-and-ten and and pick one up? You know, or the Kmart, or we send away for it from a... What do you call it? Sears and Roebuck, or we just collect enough Cracker Jacks lids, you know, box lids and send away and get it, or how...? I mean, where does it come from? What is the standards? Then based on that then you can actually establish culture. But you have to have, you have to first know what it is. I want to go to the market to buy a potato, I first have to know what a potato is, I have to know what a market is. If I go down to second-hand cars shop, I probably won't find a potato. Maybe in one of the exhaust pipes, but otherwise I'm not going to find a potato, right? So I have to know what I am looking for and where to find it. Then - then we can be successful.

Excerpt from a lecture series on Manu Saṁhitā Overview, part 13, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Śrīdhāma Māyāpura. This passage starting at 1 hr 7min 40s
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