Srila Prabhupada's vision for ISKCON’s world headquarters in Mayapur, West Bengal, India focuses on inspiring devotees worldwide through education. For the last fifteen years, the Mayapur Institute (MI) has been developing as a powerful institute to fulfill his vision.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura (1838-1914), a prominent preceptor in our succession of spiritual masters, described Mayapur as the holy place with the most potency in this age to help one advance spiritually. With this understanding, Srila Prabhupada stressed the importance of coming to Mayapur, as he put it, “to recharge one’s spiritual batteries,” and then going back to one’s temple to preach with heightened enthusiasm and effectiveness.
Since it began in 2000, the MI has been doing lots of this recharging. The MI has awarded its students, over 1,800 devotees, their sastric degrees (over 1/3 of such degrees offered within ISKCON) and over 1,500 have received devotional life-skill certificates in areas such as teacher-training or leadership-training (over 1/2 of such certificates offered within ISKCON), all in pursuance of a foundational instruction Srila Prabhupada gave back in 1971:
“Throughout the whole world there is no institution to impart education in the matter of spiritual understanding. So we are going to open a big center in Mayapur where this education will be internationally imparted. Students from all parts of the world will go there to take education in this important subject” (Letter to Atreya Rsi, 20 August 1971).
This is what the MI is all about.
Kadamba Kanana Swami teaching a MI course
When MI’s first-level, Bhakti-sastri students begin studying The Nectar of Devotion, they are intrigued and inspired to learn Rupa Gosvami's analysis of the qualification for advancing in Krishna consciousness: faith in and knowledge of sastra. When they really understand this principle, the “lights start to go on” as to why Srila Prabhupada made writing, publishing and studying Vaisnava literature the No. 1 Priority.
Sastric knowledge is not merely theoretical knowledge but the realized knowledge one naturally acquires by hearing and inquiring with the support of serious and sincere devotees.
“In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.25)
Atul Krishna Das, one of MI's core teachers
Self-study is important, of course. But ask any of MI's graduates about the transformations in consciousness and increased capacity to serve which they’ve experienced as a result of studying Prabhupada’s books in one of our systematic sastric courses, and you will understand why we are so enthusiastic in encouraging your participation.
Visvambara Caitanya Dasa says: “To me MI (Mayapur Institute) stands for (M)ost (I)ntimate, because the satisfaction I felt while studying Prabhupada's books was not ordinary but profound and soul-touching. And like a most intimate relationship, I have not forgotten those MI times, which still provide me with much insight for my daily life.”
Incidentally, quite a few of MI's sastric graduates take MI’s teacher-training courses and upon returning to their temples become sastric teachers themselves, thus uniquely pleasing the Lord.
“For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me. There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” (Bhagavad-gita, 18.68-69)
Anuttama Dasa facilitating a course
Here’s MI’s powerful lineup of courses to help devotees access the abundant mercy available in Srila Prabhupada’s books and increase your service potency:
Bhakti-sastri Course: Separate Sections for Men and Women (Nov 1, 2015 to Feb 17, 2016)
Bhaktivaibhava Course - Module 1: Srimad Bhagavatam, Cantos 1 - 3
Bhaktivaibhava Course - Module 2: Srimad Bhagavatam, Cantos 4 - 6
Bhaktivedanta Course - Module 1 (Newly Launched!)
Srimad Bhagavatam, Cantos 7 - 9
After finishing your sastric course, MI also encourages devotees to participate in the Gaura Purnima Courses, which will aim to deepen the devotional life skills needed to be an effective representative of the guru-parampara.
Gaura Purnima Courses: (February 18 to March 25, 2016)
Feb 18 - 22: ISKCON Disciple Course (Women Separate), Laxmimoni-devi dasi
Feb 18 -21: ISKCON Disciple Course (Men Separate), Radhika Nagara dasa
Feb 18 - 23: Teacher Training Course One, Atul Krishna dasa
Mar 1 – 5: Book Distribution and Leadership Seminar, Navina Nirada dasa
Mar 3 - 6: ISKCON Disciple Course (To be confirmed)
Mar 3 - 8: Teacher Training Course One, Atul Krishna dasa
Mar 7 - 10: Krishna Conscious Grhastha Ashrama, Harilila dasa / Divya Lila-devi dasi
Mar 7 - 12: Leadership and Management Course, Anuttama dasa
Mar 11 - 15: Spiritual Leadership Course, Prahladananda Swami
Mar 13 - 18: Teacher Training Course Two, Atul Krishna dasa
Mar 24 - 25: Bhakti-sastri Teacher Training Course, Harilila dasa[ mayapura ] [ mayapur-institute ]