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Para Siksha – A Symposium on Vedic Education Day 2

Morning Class, Priti Vardhana Prabhu

Sravana, manana and nididhyasana.

If one keeps aquiring knowledge and applying it, it furthers more and more, until one comes to the ultimate realization.

The teacher cannot make the student realize the knowledge, unless the student applies an endeavor.

If education is only based just on sravana, it is incomplete. The education must lead the student to the need to contemplate.

It is actually the jiva’s free will that determines whether he can contemplate on what he has heard.

If the jiva desires to enjoy the material world, Krsna will give that opportunity, and same for Krsna consciousness.

The teacher applies the principles of education and guides the student as he contemplates. In this way student can

The ability to have the right desire depends on the anarthas.

The anarthas from the heart should preferably be removed before the student reaches puberty, therefore education has to be started early.

Samskaras help the child to develop good qualities, health etc, so that the process of education is more smooth.

Srila Prabhupada mentions in a purport in the 16th ch. of Bhagavad-gita that if one wants one’s child to develop divine qualities, one has to perform the 10 samskaras for them.

Samskaras are there to create an impression and to change consciousness. Samskaras should be done with an endeavor to change consciousness. Samskara is not just the yajna or mantras, it is the whole environment.

When Samskaras are done properly in the right consciousness, it works.

Samskaras are like good bank accounts for the children.

In the mantras of the samskaras one surrenders to Krsna and asks for His help.

Samskara is proper when the consciousness is elevated. If the occasions of samskaras are used just for socializing, it is not proper.

There are various samskaras starting with marriage, then garbhadana, pumsavana, simantonayanam, jata-karma, niskramanta, nama-karana, anna-prasana, cuda-karana, vidyarambha, samvartana and then again vivaha.

There is no guarantee that the child will be Krsna conscious, but we should make all possible endeavor.

Because Maharaja Anga did everything he could for Vena, when he couldn’t change anything, he could just walk out without any attachement. Therefore from the very beginning we should try to do everything we can for the child.

Samskaras constitute about 40 percent of the child’s character. The other 60 percent is formed by association.

An adult can be trained if he has the desire to be trained.

Without a training 90% of people will treat their kids the same way they were treated by their parents.

If the second generation are not properly trained, they cannot actually be called the 2nd generation.

One may learn by hearing, by seeing or by experiencing. But the main thing is that one has to realize, even though one would have to experience to do that.

People realize by hearing from someone if there is a relationship.

One always has to be a step ahead of the children and think what they would have to understand and how. If they don’t learn by hearing, one has to create an experience for them.

The purpose of all the samskaras.

The purpose of marriage is to make a commitment to cooperate together to advance in Krsna consciousness.

Grihastha can easily realize that he does not want to come back to the material world due to the severe difficulties experienced.

Who makes the first step – the teacher or the student?

The teacher encourages the student to do what is good for him, but he cannot force. At the time that the child is interested in something, he is encouraged in that way, even though the interest does not last very long. Both the student and the teacher endeavor so that the student becomes elevated.

Devotional qualities being developed depend on the single quality of surrender.

The parents have to have faith in the teacher and encourage the child to have such faith. Then it is easier for the child to surrender to the teacher.

Education is a cooperation between the parent and the teacher, not competition.

The parent or teacher has to guide the child in contemplation.

Menial services are the best opportunities for contemplation. When contemplation happens, questions come.

When one makes a mistake, one simply realizes one way of how to not do things.

The consciousness is the most powerful that we have and it can be on any of the 5 levels.

Gurukulas should be established in many places, and the parents should know about the importance of gurukulas and demand them.

Is gurukula only for brahmanas? All the children can take advantage of the gurukula system, but it will be different according to their different natures.

Evening Class, HH BVPS Maharaja

Since one wants to go back to Godhead, one has to be comfortable with the lifestyle of the Lord.

The form and activities in the spiritual world go along with the devotional mood.

Since in the material world everything is about the secondary, we start with the cultural aspect of doing those things for Krsna, but people in the spiritual world follow the scriptural regulations out of spontaneous love.

The form of the varnashrama system is the same as in the spiritual world.

The syat-vada – modern academics work on the system of ‘maybe.’

To not be convinced about Krsna consciousness is a lack of faith.

On the madhyama platform one is fixed in devotional service because one’s faith is fixed.

To understand which of Krsna’s activities we should follow, we follow the acaryas.

There are four divisions of the curriculum are ashrama, academics, vocational and cultural.

If there is not enough training in science, character and culture, people very easily get distracted by the arts and cannot function properly.

In India, even the artists, musicians run like a Gurukula.

A gentleman is cultured. Culture is the common thing among humans, no matter what is their varna or social background.

Even if people say that one needs a degree, still the people hired are those who have some character.

When ashrama side is strong, one will be able to learn. There has been no student in the Gurukula who had a good character who was bad in the academics, and there was no student with bad character who was good in academics, even though they were very intelligent.

Universities want to take Gurukula kids who have character, even though there are sometimes some shortage in academics.

Serious education may be started at the age of 5 or 6, not earlier.

The real point of being a parent is to help the children to be Krsna conscious. Of course, these souls at some point will be brought to Krsna consciousness, but we can just take part.

The modes do their work, we do not have to worry about it, but we as devotees have the choice of not being under the modes.

When Daivi-varnashrama is looked at from the viewpoint of service, there are no more prestigious and less prestigious positions.

Even though the modern talks about equality, they differentiate so much based on the degrees.

We do not want to accept varnashrama because we don’t want to be in a lesser position, but if things are seen in connection to Krsna, there are no lesser positions.

The more character, responsibility and morals one has, the better they can be engaged in devotional service.

Morality had no value unless it is connected to Krsna. The only reason good qualities are emphasized are due to their usefulness in devotional service.

All the cultural activities prepare one for actual initiation.

There are two types of mantras – Vedic Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit.

In the Vedic Sanskrit each syllable has a specific tone, and changing tone changes the meaning of the words.

There are only 2 people in our movement who know Vedic Sanskrit – Srila Prabhupada and Bhanu Maharaja.

In the Vedic karma-kanda yajnas, the whole endeavor is ruined by a little fault, but in bhakti small faults are being adjusted. However we should not use bhakti as an excuse to throw out rules.

One either follows the eternal religion, or one makes up one’s own rules.

There is no cramming in the Vedic education.

There is no children education in the Vedic system, the children learn parts of adult education that they can learn.

All of memorization is done by little children. From about 13 everything needs to become useful and practical. As an adult one learns the subtleties and philosophy, metaphysics etc.

Vedic education starts with principles, structure, and builds on the details.

Activity is the basis of language. The verb is the core point, noun is a form of activity. All nouns are connected to verbs.

There are 24 parts of speech, verb and 6 parts of noun are the main 7.

Modern cannot properly define the parts of language.

Language is meant for communication, but the modern does not understand even that.

Mathematics and astronomy are meant to establish the proper times.

The whole Vedic mathematics is based on addition. Subtraction is addition reversed, multiplication is addition in groups, division is subtraction in group.

Algebra is just arithmetics were multiple functions go on at the same time.

Modern academics would not like things reduced down to just aritmetics because it is all just about speculation, while Vedic is about understanding things and then applying them.

The rituals are only in expression of devotion to Krsna. One should focus on the devotion to Krsna in the rituals, not on the technicalities.

Some boys upon graduation have already done 10,000 yajnas, while devotees in the West may do a few yajnas a year.

There is always preliminaries, the process itself and then the conclusion in the rituals. If one understands that, it becomes easier to understand the purpose of the rituals. The procedure of acamana takes up 1.5 pages when written down, but so does the description of a handshake.

Everything in philosophy fits within sambandha, abhideya and prayojana.

Everything in our philosophy fits within sambandha, abhideya and prayojana.

Srila Prabhupada makes the point that in educated circles things are always presented according to Pancanga-nyaya.

Everyone will go through the same 14 books of Vedic knowledge, so they all have the same culture. Then one has one’s occupation, then there are hobbies.

One may know music, but one is not an artist, unless one uses music as one’s occupation.

Even though one does yajna only once a day, the whole day one practices the proper behaviour and culture that one will use in the yajna.

Srila Prabhupada gave the pancaratric lifestyle when he noticed that nobody was reading the books and therefore could not answer bogus philosophies.

If one has the training in science, one can deal with the art properly.

Education starts in a classroom setting, but once a child has learned how to learn, it moves into tutor system where each child moves at their own pace in each subject.

Varnashrama college is part of Gurukula.

All English classes are happening at the same time, so one can be present in whatever level one is at. Then Math class starts, so one can go to another level if one is more or less developed in it.

The Vedic system is the most sophisticated,  but at the same time it is very simple and not complicated.

A quarter is learned from a teacher, a quarter from self-study, a quarter from others and from experience in life.

The quality of one’s character will determine the quality of one’s realization.

One may graduate at 16-18, or 25, or 32, whenever the individual has completed their education.

Individuals have to choose from activities recommended in the shruti, smriti, and things recommended by the acaryas.

Bhagavata-viddhi is enough, but since we are conditioned, we have to apply the Pancaratra.


Brihad Manu Siksha #8 Lecture Notes


Full lecture transcription [Link not active yet]

  • Savitri = Gayatri
  • Rules for chanting Gayatri
  • During sandhyas mind is more easily controlled, or it becomes more disturbed.
  • Facing east vs facing Srila Prabhupada
  • There are times when Vedas should not be studied, but this does not apply to repetition, recitation at yajnas etc.
  • Persons who may be instructed in the Vedas.
  • Brahmana should move around as if he does not know anything, unless there is proper situation and person to teach.
  • Person learning must at least have respect for knowledge.
  • Brahmana should rather die with his knowledge than impart it to unqualified people.
  • 28:30 Book distribution to people who don’t appreciate – Krishna consciousness must be presented honestly, not with cheating and simply to get people’s money.
  • Knowledge should not be secretly heard from someone who does not intend to impart it. From a tape it is ok if the person himself has put out the tape.
  • By respecting the guru one will anyway get the benefit of it, independent of the Guru’s higher or lower qualification.
  • Small amounts of money should be given only to those beggars who do not ask themselves, who do not pursue people.
  • When superiors enter, life airs move up, so we should stand up to receive and salute them.
  • Length of life, knowledge, fame and strength increase by respecting elders. Elder means by age or by knowledge of the Veda.
  • 42:10 One who does not know how to receive salutation should not be respected.
  • Different words are used to inquire about the health of different castes: welfare, freedom from sinful reactions, gain and safety and freedom from disease.
  • One initiated for sacrifices should not be addressed by name even though of younger age.
  • Wife of another man who is not a relative should always addressed respectfully, ‘Bhavati.’
  • Superior relatives like uncle should be addressed respectfully, even though they are younger by age.
  • 50:20 In ISKCON respects are expressed by ‘Prabhu’ and ‘Mataji’
  • 50:40 Matajis that want to be called ‘Prabhu’ are not returning respect in a proper way, so they may be ignored.
  • Eating little and having much energy for service – that is spiritual potency.
  • 10 yr old brahmana is as father to a 90 yr old kshatriya.
  • Among ordinary citizens those within 10 yrs of age difference are considered equal.
  • Wealth, family relations, age, performance of sacrifice and knowledge – these are the criteria of seniority, in increasing order. 
  • A shudra who is above 90 yrs of age is respected by everyone.
  • Everyone is respected by what they have, but there are gradations of respectability.
  • Of 2 people with the same knowledge, one who is more humble is higher.
  • Of a Western and Indian scholar of similar achievements, Indian is higher, because the science is more complex. Transcendental knowledge is still above that.
  • Even people who are more respectable will respect other people with respectable qualities.
  • The way is made for king, snataka, bridegroom, carrier of a burden, person above 90. Of them snataka and king are the most honored, and of them snataka.

Holocaust Explained

Reading from Nectar of Instruction Study Guide: The devotee’s duty is to practice forgiveness and show mercy.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Because forgiveness, it’s one of the, you could say, the shastras will talk that it’s one of the prominent qualities of the brahmana, if not the most important, is forgiveness. Because it’s harder when you add the mode of passion or the mode of ignorance, it’s very hard to effect forgiveness, so it’s a quality of goodness. So then forgiveness means that whatever is the cause of the problem has already been dropped. Continue reading Holocaust Explained

“The body of knowledge doesn’t change. If it’s connected to Krishna, then it’s considered knowledge, if it’s not connected to Krishna, the same facts and figures are ignorance. Why? Because they’ll bind you. It doesn’t mean it’s not a fact, but just you’ll become bound by it. But if it’s connected to Krishna, you are not bound by it, you are freed.”

– 4th Feb 2011, BG Sastra Caksus course, Mayapur

Devotion Resides in Perfect Knowledge of the Supreme

or Why Do We Study Shastra?

Devotion resides in perfect knowledge of the Supreme. In other words, that knowledge that you have of the Supreme, your devotion can be based on that. It is being cultivated by that, it’s being developed by that, it’s being practiced by that. So if you don’t have knowledge of the Supreme, it will be really hard to cultivate the devotion.

Means, if you, seeing the Deity or hearing about Krsna and that, spontaneously just have a natural attraction just for Him, then means other than giving us great moral support there is no real need for you to be here. Other than, means, unless you sat here and gave the class, that would then be very good.

But the point is if that hasn’t happened then the idea is, then through knowledge, then you are able to properly situate yourself in devotion because then you know who you are, who Krsna is and what is your relationship. So he is making this point* is that it is not just a heading. Devotion resides in perfect knowledge of the Supreme that this is the basis of the whole course. Because we are trying to get knowledge by which we can base our devotion on. So that is the whole idea. To be able to see through this vision, to understand. It is not a matter of memorizing a few things because devotion is not based on a few things you have memorized.

Your devotion is based on what you understand, what you practice, that is manana. Manana is you understand it, you practice it. By practicing it you try to understand it more, you contemplate it more. By that contemplation you are better able to perform your practice. By continuance of this process, then you come to the platform of realization. That is then what you are trying to get to.

You realize this knowledge. You realize your position as Krsna’s servant, then act in that devotional platform. So you still have to take up seriously the devotional process. But the point is, first you have knowledge, that is the basis of your devotional service. Then by practicing that, then you come to realization. Then it becomes spontaneous. It is natural then. It is natural that you are doing it and in your mind it becomes a natural part of what you do.

So the whole idea is to situate yourself in devotional service. Otherwise, why would we have it? Why should we have study of the sastras? Why should we have organized classes in which people then study this knowledge and get degrees? To get degrees, to increase our prestige, make outside people think that we are educated. But that is not the purpose. The purpose is to develop devotion. This whole movement is only for that, it is not for something else. There is not another idea about it.

Devotee (1): If someone doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to go through this?

HH BVPS Maharaja: Why wouldn’t they?

Devotee (1): I know devotees, for them it’s a little bit hard to learn.

HH BVPS Maharaja: It is hard to learn things, but that is to memorize things. We are talking about understanding something. Understanding is based on some form of learning, but it’s more is what is the principle it is working on, principles are very easy. Krsna is God, we are His servant and our natural relationship is through devotion and for the purpose of expressing our love for Him and developing that love. That you can teach to a three-year-old. But that is the complete concept of the philosophy. The process we use is chanting Hare Krsna. The goal is love of God. You can easily teach that to a three-, four-year-old. No problem. So what is it that can’t be learnt?

So that is the whole point, the Vedic system is so perfect that it starts with the highest part and then it descends. The modern is, you start on the bottom and you ascend. Therefore what they speak in the university, the nursery school kid could not understand. But the Vedic is you start with the highest principle which is universal, everybody can understand it. Then according to the individual’s capacity then you descend down into the detail.

Because if someone knows ‘I chant Hare Krsna, I please Krsna, I go back to Godhead,’ if they only know that, that is their inspiration to chant, and they chant, they’ll get perfection. While someone else can tell you all the technical details about the different kinds of names and their effects, namabhasa and chayanama and all these different things like that, that’s because they have that kind of intellect. So that’s what it takes to engage in.

Means, somebody eats two three chapattis, someone eats ten chapattis, we take chapattis over to the elephant house we got a problem. So it is a capacity. So, therefore, because there is more intellect you have to give more detail. But the knowledge about Krsna and the process – that everybody can understand. It is just within that how much detail we deal with.

One is, because we want to make sure there are no doubts on any side, therefore very elaborately or exhaustively we will deal with the point. But the principle of that point is very simple. It will have been stated basically in the beginning. So then if we go on for a three days pontificating on all kinds of technical points then it is still that, it is not that the person who didn’t understand any of that lost anything. Because the beginning, the main point and the conclusion of the pancanga-nyaya are the same. So may be all the examples and all the technicalities given in clearing doubts may not have made sense, something will have made sense.

So that’s why the discussions, what you will be tested on in this course is not what you have memorized but what you understand. That is different. We are not looking for what you have realized. We are looking for what you have understood. Because realization is going to come from practice. This knowledge then you take it, you build on it for the rest of your life. We know Krsna is God, so how He is God, so how you can see Him in His creation as God, how you can see Him in our devotional activities or in others’ lives that we can go on spending the rest of our life seeing.

So that means devotion resides in perfect knowledge of the Supreme, so that perfect knowledge means actually understanding who you are and who Krsna is. So that means, then your devotion is going to be based on that.

(From Lecture on Science of Inquiry, 28th Oct 2008, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur)

*HH Suhotra Maharaja in his introduction to Bhakti Shastri study courses of the Bhaktivedanta Academy [editor note]

Transcription by Uddhava Priya Prabhu. Used with permission, minor adjustments in the text made by website editors.

Modern Academy and the Items of Knowledge as per Bhagavad-gita

“Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bonafide spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification; absence of false ego; the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age, and disease; detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest; even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth—all these I declare to be knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance.” (Bhagavad-gita 13.8-12)

HH BVPS Maharaja: This is God’s opinion. He is saying anything else other than this is ignorance. So if it is not based on this, it is ignorance. So it doesn’t matter if others think otherwise. They are out-numbered. God takes precedence here.

So now we see here, approaching a bonafide spiritual master, in there there will be the element of knowledge, study and instruction and all that. All the others are qualities required, qualities, mentalities, ways of endeavoring. So the attitude is the most important. So if the attitude is correct and the proper knowledge is there then the action will be correct. But if the knowledge is not proper, the attitude is the biggest of all this. The attitude, the lifestyle. That’s what knowledge is. Therefore the Vedic system of education the emphasis is on the character development, on the qualities. Because if you have that, then you are educated.

But if you don’t have that, then you are not educated. Krsna says, it is ignorance. It may be a piece of paper, it may get you a job, it may get you money, but it is still ignorance. Maybe important, maybe useful, but ignorance. It should never be considered knowledge. Knowledge means, you have an understanding of guru, sadhu and sastra and other aspects of information of this world, but with these appropriate qualities to understand it in the proper way. You don’t have those understandings, we are not educated.

Because otherwise here, humility, pridelessness… Someone has knowledge they are very proud of it, the modern academy is very proud of their knowledge. Tolerance, non-violence is not there because they are neglecting the soul. Tolerance, they don’t tolerate other things. Simplicity, they try to make it very complex otherwise it doesn’t appeal to their intellectual brain. Approaching a bonafide spiritual master, they don’t bother with that. They only deal with being in line with whoever is in the chair above them so that they don’t get kicked out, they get ten years with time they can sit in that seat. Cleanliness, that is definitely not very popular at the modern academy. Steadiness, maybe in the way of your job, a little bit steady they can have that. Self-control, maybe in some areas maybe in not, they maybe very well in their speech, and their intelligence might be quite controlled but we don’t know if they are controlled in others. Renunciation of the objects of their sense gratification, that is not in any way a prerequisite of the modern academy, especially depending upon which aspect of the modern academy they take. Absence of false ego, that’s definitely you wouldn’t want to go there. Perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease, that is lacking. Detachment is lacking. Freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest, that is lacking. It is not saying that one is not a family person, it says one is not entangled with it. In other words, one is performing one’s duties, one knows the rules, one is properly following it, so one is engaged in the activities of household life but one is not entangled in it. So that will be absent. Even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events, that is not because that would be the impersonal character so that won’t fall into the modern training in the academy. Constant and unalloyed devotion to Me, that is definitely lacking there. That is faith, that is a big ‘no-no.’ Inspiring to live in a solitary place, okay, a solitary place happens to be in an office in the corner of the building somewhere, but it has a great prestige because that is where the head of the department sits. So it is a solitary place, but the problem is, it is based on false ego. Detachment from the general mass of people, because they are socially dysfunctional they generally tend to be. But it is not that that is their preference. Accepting the importance of self-realization, that is very individual, that they can’t actually do that as an academic, as an individual they may be, but as an academic they would not. And philosophical search for the Absolute Truth, they may claim it is but they wouldn’t want to find it. They look all day, but if they find, oh that is bad, and then the search is over, then you got to work.

(From Lecture on Science of Inquiry, 27th Oct 2008, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur )



PHILOSOPHICAL DEFINITIONS LECTURE #4, 23rd Sep 2008, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur

HH BVPS Maharaja: Continuing 5 levels of consciousness.

Anna-maya means the senses, it is sensual perception, or engagement of the senses. Prana-maya that you are going to extend the sense gratification for others. In other words, you care about other’s sense gratification. Mana-maya will be the platform of religiosity, not even technically be your ethics, ethics would prana-maya. Where you understand the nature of something and act according to that. Vijnana-maya will be the platform of understanding the nature of the soul. Ananda-maya will be situated on that transcendental platform, so specifically for us it means devotional service Continue reading PHILOSOPHICAL DEFINITIONS #4

Philosophical Definitions #3

PHILOSOPHICAL DEFINITIONS LECTURE #3, 22nd Sep 2008, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur

HH BVPS Maharaja: One has to have an interest to know before one will be involved in the activity of learning and having been engaged in the activity of learning then one will naturally apply it. In this way you get pranipata, pariprasna, sevaya as sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana. Means you are taking the Pradyumna aspect, pranipata, you have a desire, then pariprasna is the process of interaction between teacher and student, and sevaya is the goal that you will apply it in your life, you use it, it will be yours and develop the character, the qualities necessary. Continue reading Philosophical Definitions #3


MAN WOMAN INTERACTION LECTURE #24 Budapest, Hungary, 10th Aug 2007

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

So human life is special. That specialness is that it can be connected, or one can understand one’s relationship with Godhead. Other species can’t understand these things. Continue reading MAN WOMAN INTERACTION LECTURE #24


MAN WOMAN INTERACTION LECTURE #5 Eger, Hungary, 2nd Aug 2007 Part 1

So the Vedic culture then begins with the brahmachari ashrama. Brahmachari means is where one is studying actually to understand what is human life. One understands what is transcendence, how is the process of attaining it. Because from there, then any other position that one will be in society it’s supposed to be for attaining to God consciousness. Continue reading MAN WOMAN INTERACTION LECTURE #5