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Upgrade Your Life: Systematic Sastric Study in the Holy Dham

Sunday, 24 June 2007 / Published in Announcements, Newsletters / 3,409 views

By Janmastami dasa

When I joined the movement in 1977, "Chant, dance and be happy" was the motto on all the devotees’ lips. It was like the implicit contract we signed when we joined: if we chanted and danced, we would be happy. As the years rolled by I found out about the fine print in the contract: to "chant, dance and be happy", we had to go through a lot of hardships. So it wasn’t always easy to remain enthusiastic and determined in my service. The upheavals and changes in our movement sometimes bewildered me, but in 1989 I discovered something that makes chanting, dancing, and being happy a lot easier. I discovered the Vrindavana Institute of Higher Education (VIHE).

After that, I would work hard at my service all year and then go to Vrndavana to take the VIHE courses on Srila Prabhupada’s books, offered by senior Vaisnavas. Taking these seminars gave me such deep realizations and inspirations that I would return to my service of preaching and book distribution with greatly renewed enthusiasm and determination. After relishing the nectar in Srila Prabhupada’s books, I had no choice but to distribute it. I attended VIHE seminars seven times, and they really helped me keep going in my service year after year.

Now we have developed the Mayapur Institute for Higher Education and Training (MIHET) in cooperation with the VIHE, under the direction of the Ministry of Educational Development. We hope the MIHET addresses current needs, similar to those I experienced in the 1980s, and fulfills a desire Srila Prabhupada expressed in a 1971 letter:

"…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."
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I actually sent all of the above 7 1/2 years ago as part of an invitation to devotees all over the world to participate in the first MIHET courses that began in February, 2000.

Since those early days, the MIHET has made progress by the mercy of the Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the parampara and Vaisnavas from all over the world, as demonstrated by the statistics and testimonials that I have pasted at the end of this message.

We hope you may have benefited by taking MIHET courses in the past and we hope you will seriously consider participating in one of these upcoming courses and and in these parikramas:

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VTE Bhakti-sastri Course
November 21, 2007 – March 4, 2008
Separate Sections for Men and Women

Bhagavad-gita

Jayadvaita Swami
BVV Narasimha Maharaja
Laxmimoni devi dasi
Rasa Manjari devi dasi

Nectar of Devotion

Kadamba Kanana Swami
Nanda devi dasi

Nectar of Instruction

Devamrita Swami
Srimati devi dasi

Sri Isopanisad

BVV Narasimha Maharaja
Laxmimoni devi dasi

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VTE Bhaktivaibhava Course, Module 1
November 21, 2007 – March 4, 2008

Srîmad-Bhagavatam, Cantos 1–3
(Before entering this Bhaktivaibhava Course Module, students will complete
a 13-week Preliminary Home Self-study Unit available on our website.)

Atul Krishna dasa

BVV Narasimha Maharaja

Hari Sauri dasa

Kadamba Kanana Swami

Laxmimoni devi dasi

Lokanath Swami

Madhavananda dasa

Praneswhar dasa

Tara dasa

 

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2007 – 2008 MIHET Parikrama Schedule

Date

Venue

Parikrama Leaders

November 24

Dhameshwar Mahaprabhu

Kadamba Kanana Swami
Jayadvaita Swami

December 8

Mamgachi

Kadamba Kanana Swami
Jayadvaita Swami

December 15

Jagganatha Temple

Jananivasa dasa
Panjakanghri dasa

January 12 – 15

Gangar Sagar Mela

Bhakti Purusottama Swami

January 26

Yoga Pitha / Caitanya Math

Jananivasa dasa
Panjakanghri dasa
BVV Narasimha Maharaja

February 2

Godruma Dwip:
Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s House

Jananivasa dasa
Panjakanghri dasa
BVV Narasimha Maharaja

Please visit http://www.mihet.org for details and to register online.

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We are looking forward to serving you when you come to Mayapur to receive the mercy of Navadvipa Dham and the blessings of the Vaisnavas.

STATISTICS

* 361 students have received Bhakti-sastri degrees,

* 182 students have attended the professionally designed VTE Teachers Training Courses,

* Over 250 students are curently studying in Bhakti-sastri courses arranged by MIHET-trained devotees in different temples throughout the world

* Over 6000 students have enjoyed yearly seminars and workshops ranging from leadership and management training, deity worship, Bhagavad-gita, to fund-raising, and Ayurvedic health, and

* The MIHET currently serves over 2500 students every year with courses ranging from 4-day seminars to 13-week intensive sastric degree-oriented courses.

TESTIMONIALS FROM ISKCON LEADERS


ImageAnuttama dasa (GBC & ISKCON Communications Minister): "I have taught the ISKCON Leadership and Management course, as well the Communication Course, as part of the MIHET for almost 10 years.

I find the opportunities to educate devotees from our international community at Mayapur are an untapped treasure. As Lord Chaitanya’s movement spreads around the globe, it is mandatory that we train our new members in understanding the depth of Vaishnava philosophy and culture, as well as in practical skills to improve their service to Srila Prabhupada’s movement.

When education and training are given priority at our world headquarters, we will build a culture of service to the devotees and develop a standard of excellence for ISKCON that combinedly will help transform the world."


Devamrita Swami (GBC, Mayapur Bhagavatam Class, March 1, 2006): "Here inImage Mayapur, we have the Bhakti-sastri program. I have heard from so many devotees who have studied Bhakti-sastri here in the holy atmosphere of the dhama that their lives were transformed by three or four months of daily full-time study of Srila Prabhupada books. They said it just turned their whole life around. Why? Your life will become transformed when one way or another when you deeply accept the principles, these sacred principles of sastra, of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam."


ImageJayadvaita Swami: "It’s just a damn good program!"

Praghosa dasa (GBC): "The MIHET is a wonderful project that has alreadyImage benefited so many, however, it is but at the dawn of its development. I look forward to the day when the MIHET is not only the center of advanced studies in Mayapur, but is at the very heart of the Mayapur project itself."

 

TESTIMONIALS FROM STUDENTS


ImageSita dasi (Vaisnavi youth, Australia): "I’d say Bhakti-shastri revolutionized my spiritual life. I’ll never be the same after taking the course. Now I feel so strong, inspired, and enriched by studying Srila Prabhupada’s books, and I just want to preach Krishna consciousness all over the world."

Bhakta Kevin (Ireland): "Philosophy I did not fully understand has become clear.Image Now I am more determined in my spiritual practices. I saw the conviction of the teachers in Prabhupada’s mission."


ImageKaivalya Sundari devi dasi (New Talavan Farm, USA):"I am happy to be home, although I must say that attending the MIHET Bhakti-sastri course was one of the most enriching things I have ever done. I am still feeling separation from the many devotees with whom I shared that ecstatic 13 weeks.


Mahamantra dasa (Vaisnava youth, Australia): "The course really sobered me,theImage  way I see and deal with people. It was the teachers. They empowered and challenged me to apply what I was learning. To complete the course, I had to discipline my mind and senses more than ever. But I also tasted more love and trust with the devotees than I ever have. I want to learn more, and teach others."


ImageVijaya devi dasi
(Vaisnavi youth & medical student, Bolivia): "It was the way the teachers taught, — lots of group work and interactive learning, using music, art, and drama. At nineteen, I was the youngest student, and I was afraid to speak in front of so many senior devotees. But they encouraged me and gave me confidence that I could realize the truth of the Bhagavad-gita. I read it all the way through for the first time. Bhakti-Shastri pacified my heart and gave my studies and career goals a transcendent purpose – to please Krishna. I owe a lot to my facilitators."

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