Students at the Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium sang and ate, laughed and applauded, reflected upon and appreciated ISKCON together at the inauguration of their new school year on September 27.
Both the students, who were there to be formally introduced to the ISKCON Radhadesh community, and the community members who accompanied them to show their support, approached the event in the same mood: with thoughts of how to further Srila Prabhupada’s mission.
For some, learning is about academic knowledge, while for others it is about building relationships. Both types of learning help produce the well-rounded Vaishnava graduates of Bhaktivedanta College, and the eighth freshman class is being given all resources to achieve this goal.
The college has seven new students, including this reporter. It also has a new building in the middle stages of completion, and is coming up with a new Bachelor's degree specialization. Yadunandana Swami, the Principal, is eager for these developments.
“This year,” he said, “We intend to complete the residential building for students and teachers, to write the curriculum for an undergraduate program in business administration, and to further develop our prasadam food distribution as a source of funding.”
Laxmimani Dasi, the Dean of Students, expressed her appreciation and inspiration for the new academic year in a poem:
A staff of great mahatmas (souls)
sadhus very rare
Persons like our Yadu
Always there to care.
Jaya Krishna working hard
to keep us solvent still.
And exceptional teachers
with knowledge and great skill.
The loving mood continued as Anuradha Dasi, the Orientation Week facilitator, introduced us new students with continuous compliments for five minutes. This left us speechless, smiling, and blushing for a group photo.
A drama produced by the College’s female students was vibrant and imaginative. It told the tale of Lalita swinging with Krishna. The clever, charming depiction was as comforting as a bedtime story, and Vinode Manjari Dasi’s soulful background singing soothed the audience.
Capping the night off under the marquee, everyone tasted the scrumptious student-made pizza and strawberry sweet-rice.
“Making sweet rice is an art requiring integrity and righteousness,” joked the cook and second-year student, Ramachandra Kaviraj Dasa. He gave credit for his ability to Kripa Sindu Dasa, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, who taught him how to make it. He added, “It was my immense pleasure to use this ability in the service of Bhaktivedanta College.”
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