The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Tennessee Monk on CMU Campus

By: for Central Michigan Life on Nov. 14, 2009
World News
Photo Credits: Libby March
Bahkta Mike, a Vaishnavaist monk, offers free literature to students Tuesday near Brooks Hall. "This was actually one of Ghandi's favorite books," said Mike. "We're just trying to enlighten the world."

Few people have had the opportunity to learn from a monk who travels countrywide to teach his religion.

Bhakta Mike, a Vaishnavist monk, came to Central Michigan University to meditate and teach others about Vaishnavism, also known as the Hare Krishna movement.

Vaishnavism is a part of Hinduism, which worships God under the name of Vishnu, the one who is all-pervading.

South Lyon senior James Scott said it was not what he is used to seeing on campus.

“It was pretty cool,” Scott said. “It was a breath of fresh air to see something different.”

Vaishnavism believers use Bhakti yoga to help practice their religion. It helps the body prep for meditation and gives satisfaction to the soul, Mike said.

Soul satisfaction

Vaishnavism, which originated in India, is 5,000 years old, making it one of the oldest religions. It was not introduced to America until 1965, Mike said.

Mike is from Knoxville, Tenn., and started traveling to schools to talk to students about a year ago. He targets big schools across the United States and Ontario, Canada.

“I am part of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness,” Mike said.

He said he started going to campuses because it is part of the Yoga practice and it satisfies his soul.

“Bhagavad Gita” is a book Mike handed to students to help understand his religion. He said the book contains everything a person would need for self-realization. “Bhagavad Gita” also references to the yoga and meditation the Vaishnavism religion uses.

Mike said he came to campus to enlighten society. All problems in society come from people misidentifying with their bodies with problems such as violence, he said.

“We are not the body. We are spiritual beings,” Mike said.

By realizing people are spiritual beings, it will give people the opportunity to have unlimited satisfaction instead of temporary satisfaction of the body, Mike said.

He said the main reaction he receives from students he talks to is bewilderment.

“I was surprised,” said Grayling junior Dan Latusek. “I have never been too exposed to this before.”

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