Frequently Asked Questions:
1) Why should the children be sent to gurukula to be trained in Krishna Consciousness?
Why can’t they be sent to ordinary karmi schools for education or be trained at home?
See Answer:Prabhupda's Comments:
Prabhupada:Why should the parents not feel attachment for their children, that is natural. But our affection is not simply sentimental, we offer our children the highest opportunity to become trained up in Krsna consciousness very early so as to assure their success in this life to go back to Godhead for sure. That is real affection, to make sure my child gets back to Godhead, that is my real responsibility as a parent. And I have seen that Gurukula offers this opportunity more than any other place anywhere.
Letter to: Satyabhama,Hyderabad 23 Mar, 1973
Prabhupada:No they say, they simply give primary education (indistinct) they can read, that's all. And (indistinct). They don't send because everyone knows that sending boys to the school means spoil them. That's all. I have seen intelligent boys, they go to school and he is spoiled. Yes, spoiled. He learns how to smoke, how to have sex, how to talk nonsense, how to use knife, how to fight, these things. At least at the present moment. Yes. Simply slaughterhouse, this so-called school is called slaughterhouse. Yes, slaughterhouse.
Room Conversation -- July 9, 1973,London
Prabhupada:So this birth, death, old age, disease, this is due to this unclean, infected, material body. That we are not concerned, that how to stop this infected material body, how to revive our original spiritual body. That spiritual body is within, but we have no information. Therefore it is said, alpa-buddhayah. The real life is within. We don't take care. Who is taking care of the spiritual... Where is the university? Where is the college where is this training is given that "We are spirit soul. This body is temporary, and the spirit soul business is this so that spirit soul may be purified, no more he accepts this material body"? Where is that education? Therefore alpa-buddhayah: less intelligent. They are simply busy with these bodily necessities of life. There is no education of the real living force. That education you will get -- this Krsna consciousness movement. Therefore it is unique. It is the education to get people of the human society liberated from the animalistic ignorance. Because those who are under the impression of this bodily concept of life, sa eva go-kharah: [SB 10.84.13] they are no better than the asses and the cows.
Bhagavad-gita 16.10 -- Hawaii, February 6, 1975
Prabhupada: So in the Kali-yuga, this age, there is no such king. There is no such government. Therefore people are becoming polluted. It is the duty of the guru, the duty of the parents, duty of the government to train people in such a way that they may become pious, sinless. But they do not believe, even in the next life, that "If we act impiously, then we have to suffer next life." They avoid to believe that there is next life. But there is next life. Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.19 -- Honolulu, May 19, 1976
Prabhupada: So we are eternal spiritual spark. Krsna says that the living entity is eternal. Nityah sasvato 'yam, na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. This is the information we get from the authority, that "The living entity is eternal," nitya, sasvata, "and ever-existing, and does not die on the death or annihilation of the body." Then what is the duty of the father? What is the duty of the government? Duty of the guru? Now how to save him from this repetition of birth and death. And that is the duty.
Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.2.5-6 -- Vrindavana, September 9, 1975Devotee's Comments:
As we can see from the above quotes that it is the duty of the parents to train the child to become Krishna conscious. If the parents really love their children they should save them from materialistic way of life and give them a chance to go back to Godhead escaping the horrible cycle of birth and death.
And as stated by Srila Prabhupada "And I have seen Gurukul offers this opportunity more than any other place anywhere." As everyone knows sending the children to ordinary karmi schools means to spoil his character. As far as home schooling is concerned it may not be as bad as sending the boy to karmi school if the parents are Krishna Conscious.
But if we really want the child to become self controlled, well read in Srila Prabhupada's books, celibate etc., it requires a whole environment of living with the other devotee children, attending regular Krishna conscious programs in the temple, keeping away from T.V, internet, opposite sex which can be offered by a gurukul if it is running as per Srila Prabhupada's instructions. Otherwise at the most he may become a pious person, get married, work for some karmi to earn his living etc.
Moreover if somebody enters grhastha asrama without being strongly trained as a brahamcari from 5 to 25 years it is very difficult to follow Srila Prabhupada's standard of Krishna consciousness, obviously exceptions are always there. On the other hand to become a strong brahamcari or an ideal grhastha devotee, preacher dedicated to Srila Prabhupada's mission is a different thing and it requires a thorough training by experienced devotees in a Krishna conscious environment.
We at Bhaktivedanta International gurukul (BIG) & Varnasrama College (BIVC are committed to train the children as per Srila Prabhupada's instructions so that they can learn to lead a sinless, pious life, become devotees of Krishna with all good qualities of demigods.
2)Who is the Guru for whose vision/desires the students will work? What is the role and mission of other teachers in the gurukula?
See Answer:Prabhupda's Comments:
Prabhupada: ―Guru cannot be a conditioned soul. Guru must be liberated…Lecture at Krishna Niketan, Gorakhpur, 16 February, 1971
Prabhupada: ―The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want.”
Letter to: Madhudvisa, Detroit, 4 August, 1975
And if these instructor gurus deviate then we have the following instruction of Srila Prabhupada to fall back upon.
Prabhupada: ― Siksa-guru does not mean he is speaking something against the teachings of the diksa-guru. He is not a siksa-guru. He is a rascal.
Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 17.1-3 - Honolulu, July 4, 1974
So Krishna is advising that "I am in everyone's heart." You can take advice from Krishna. Krishna is ready. Krishna's another name is “caitya-guru.” Caitya-guru means the guru who is situated within your heart. Krishna comes out as instructor guru or initiator guru outside, and he is sitting within the heart as caitya-guru. Krishna is ready to help you, help us, every one of us, in two ways: by the external guru and internal guru. Internal guru, He is Krishna Himself, and external guru, His manifestation, the spiritual master. So we should take advantage of two gurus and make our life successful. This is Krishna Consciousness movement.
Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 13.3 - Bombay, September 26, 1973
Prabhupada: Yes, I am the spiritual master of this institution, and all the members of the society, they're supposed to be my disciples. They follow the rules and regulations which I ask them to follow, and they are initiated by me spiritually.
Radio Interview - March 12, 1968, San Francisco
This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission, that "I give you order. You, every one of you become a spiritual master." "Oh, I have no qualification. How can I become spiritual master? It requires high knowledge, Sanskrit understanding." "No, you don't require anything. Simply you speak Krishna-upadesha." What is krishna-upadesha? Krishna says, “sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja” [Bg. 18.66]. You simply go door to door and say, "Please surrender to Krishna." Then you are spiritual master.
Krishna Book - Meeting of Lord Krishna with Sudama Brahmana Everyone should consider his father to be his first teacher because by the mercy of one's father one gets this body. The father is therefore the natural spiritual master. Our next spiritual master is he who initiates us into transcendental knowledge, and he is to be worshiped as much as I am. The spiritual master may be more than one. The spiritual master who instructs the disciples about spiritual matters is called siksa-guru, and the spiritual master who initiates the disciple is called diksa-guru. Both of them are My representatives. There may be many spiritual masters who instruct, but the initiator spiritual master is one. A human being who takes advantage of these spiritual masters and, receiving proper knowledge from them, crosses the ocean of material existence, is to be understood as having properly utilized his human form of life.
Lecture on S.B 2.1.1, Delhi, November 4, 1973
The essential point to remember is that you should try always to please your spiritual master under every condition. That means to follow his orders and instructions very carefully. My first instruction to all of my disciples is that they should help me spread this Krishna Consciousness movement all over the world, utilizing their energy as best they are able to do it. In this way, keeping yourselves always engaged in Krishna's business 24 hours, you will become free from all attachment to maya by Krishna's grace. Just as when the darkness and light come together, the darkness cannot stand before the light, so maya cannot remain in the presence of Krishna. Always remember therefore to chant Hare Krishna and that will save you in all circumstances without any doubt.
Letter to Hasyakari (Howard Bernd), Rathangapani (Randy Buchert).
Note – For more details in answer to this question one may refer to the book ―The Final Order‖ by Krishnakant.Devotee's Comments:
As we can see from the above quotes Srila Prabhupada is the initiator (diksha) as well the instructor (siksha) guru for all the members of our society if they follow the rules and regulations given by him.
The other teachers are also instructor gurus if they are teaching what Srila Prabhupada is teaching and doing what Srila Prabhupada is doing. We at BIG and BIVC are committed to ensure that the devotees who will teach in the gurukula are fixed up initiated disciples of Srila Prabhupada having great love and respect for him & are following all the rules and regulations.The aim of these teachers will be to act as senior godbrothers to the students and train them to become attached to Srila Prabhupada – his vani, his vapu, his desires, his mission, his activities.
To ensure the above, Srila Prabhupada‟s deity is installed in the gurukula wherein all the students pay obeisances to His Divine Grace on rising in the morning and before going to sleep. The students personally dress and worship Srila Prabhupada every day, make garlands to offer him – like that engage in his vapu seva.
And more important the students hear exclusively Srila Prabhupada’s audio lectures, see his videos, read his original books and become Krsnaized in Srila Prabhupada's way. Passing Bhakti Shastri course is compulsory for all the students of Varnasrama College in which they study basic ten books of Srila Prabhupada (BBD, POY, EJTOP, RV,ISOP, B.G, NOI, NOD, TLC, Book on deity worhip).
Brahamanas and Ksatriyas must clear the Bhaktivedanta exam in which they will study the 10 cantos of Srimad Bhagavatam translated by Srila Prabhupada and then brahamans can go on to study Caitanya Caritamrata and get the title of Bhakti Sarvabhouma.
These students will save and propagate the original teachings of Srila Prabhupada all over the world and will be able to immediately detect any deviation from his original teachings and thus they will never be misled by anyone.
Our main policy at BIG & BIVC is that the teachers will work on behalf of Srila Prabhupada to ensure that students are becoming more and more attached and dependent on these two gurus – Internal guru, He is Krishna Himself, and external guru, His manifestation, the spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and as a result they will preach the message of Lord Caitanya wherever they may go and their life will become successful as confirmed by Srila Prabhupada.
3)What is the main purpose or aim of gurukula? What sort of training will be given to achieve the above aim?
See Answer:Prabhupda's Comments:
Prabhupada:[break] By practice. We are training them to practice how to become devotees. By superficial seeing the activities of Krishna, this is not... One has to practice. Just like we are going to start…Gurukula means practice. ―Brahmacari guru-kule vasan dantah” [SB 7.12.1]. How to become self-controlled, danta.That is the... So our mission is to awaken the original consciousness, and that can be done by practice. Without practice, it is not possible.
Morning Walk - August 14, 1976, Bombay
Prabhupada: Vasan danto guror hitam. The word is used, danta. Danta means sober. Children are generally restless, and the brahmacari-asrama means to train him how to become peaceful. That is the first training, not that to make him very good scholar in grammar. It is not said there. That is later on. First thing is how to make him sober.
Evening Darsana - February 26, 1977, Mayapur
For more details, please refer to Q.No.3 in the Magazine - Back to Srila Prabhupada's GurukulaDevotee's Comments:
As we can see from the above quotes the main aim of gurukula is to train the child to control the mind, control the senses, observe celibacy, to become peaceful, sober, detached from so called society, friendship, love and become attached to serving Krishna as per the instructions given by our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada.
And how we will achieve the above aim – As Srila Prabhupada is saying “Simply follow the program of the elders, let the children associate as much as possible with the routine KC program, and when the others go out for working and business matters, the children can be given classes as you describe.‖ How simple!!!
The result of such training should be that he will become jolly, no moroseness (brahma bhuta prasanatma), peaceful, sober, gentle, obedient always serving Krishna as per the instructions given by our spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada is assuring the parents that if the child is trained in this way he will get real knowledge which will create best citizens of brahminical type, clean, honest, law-abiding, healthy, industrious, all good qualities they will have.
Who will not like his child to become like this?
We should also note that Srila Prabhupada is even considering the basic knowledge of reading and writing in English/Hindi etc. also secondary to the above training!!! So real education, training is to make the child self controlled, celibate, obedient – overall a good devotee of Krishna.
We at BIG & BIVC are dedicated to train the child so that he develops all these good qualities and becomes a devotee of Krishna by following Srila Prabhupada‟s instructions of rising early in the morning, attending mangala arti, chanting, reciting shlokas, taking bath at least twice, obedient to parents, elders, guru and Krishna etc.
4) Other than self control, brahamcharya etc. will the students also learn other subjects like English, Maths, Geography, Science etc.?
See Answer:Prabhupda's Comments:
Prabhupada: Yes, Gurukula, Gurukula education.
Ramesvara: Still we'll be teaching subjects like history and math.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Without teaching, how the human society will exist? There must be.
Hari-sauri: No, he's talking about some of the subjects they teach now.
Ramesvara: Material science as well as spiritual science?
Prabhupada: No. No, no. There is no need of so-called material science - how to kill children in the womb. These things will be kicked out. Nonsense.
Room Conversation - January 21, 1977, Bhuvanesvara
The children should be doing the same thing we are doing, plus giving them the playing facility, a little ABC, history, mathematics, geography, like that. They should not help in cooking, nor should they take part in any hard work, they must study. After initiation, then they can learn cooking. They should not be utilized for giving service to the elderly members, they should be given chance for reading and writing. So far marriage is concerned, they must be legally married.
Letter to Satsvarupa - Paris 25 July, 1972
For more details, please refer to Q.No.4 in the Magazine - Back to Srila Prabhupada's GurukulaDevotee's Comments:
As we can see from the above quotes, Srila Prabhupada wants that the children should be taught to read and write in English, Hind and little Sanskrit so that the they can recite shlokas and a little mathematics, geography and history which is practically required in this material world.
And as soon as he knows how to read and write in English and little Sanskrit he should study Srila Prabhupada’s books!!! How simple!!! We do not even have to bother the child to become big scholar in Sanskrit, Vedas etc.
Another point to note is that Srila Prabhupada is saying that “our children are not meant to work outside” so if our children are not going to work outside then anyway what use is there in teaching science, biology, botany, complicated mathematics etc. etc. Simply theory - of no practical use in life!!! Except for the sudra class of technologist etc. nobody (even the big businessman) use this complicated material education (alpha, beta, theat …) in real life and even these technologists are using this material science till this complicated civilization based on flimsy things like petrol, electricity, machines, computers etc. is going on …once this crashes this education will not be able to fetch them even food to eat!!!
And Srila Prabhupada has already predicted - "This motorcar civilization will be finished within another hundred years."
- Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.15 - Los Angeles, August 18, 1972
Srila Prabhupada‟s mood is that he never rejects anybody but if we note carefully Srila Prabhupada is saying that “those who are going to accept service later on we cannot help them”!!!
That means accepting service or working for karmis is such a degraded position for a devotee and if we do not want our children to come to such a degraded position than what help will be this material education (so called science,biology etc.) be for him.
For more details, please refer to Q.No.4 in the Magazine - Back to Srila Prabhupada's Gurukula