Applied Education: Preaching in Den-Haag
An article from the Bhaktivedanta College Newsletter
By Syama Sakhi Dasi
In May, eight students went to a three-day program in Den-Haag, because a key part of their education is applying the theoretical knowledge from their courses. Students learn how to speak in public, give presentations, and explain philosophy. So when there is an opportunity to meet new audiences, everyone feels enthusiastic.
In February, some students had already visited Den-Haag, and the local devotees invited more students to return for the three-day program in mid-May. The students enjoyed every moment of the many events in May.
On the first day, Jayadharma Dasa and his wife, Natasha, the main organizers, warmly received the students at their home and provided places for them to relax before the Sunday Feast. The Den-Haag ISKCON center houses Deities of Sita-Rama, Laxmana and Hanuman. Gaura-Hari, a first-year student from India, gave a Bhagavad-gita class, which was followed by forty minutes of chanting (kirtan) by students. After the program, devotees took their instruments and kirtan to a beach. While chanting at sunset, the devotees were joined by various people.
The students enjoy a picnic in Den-Haag.
On the second day, a morning program at the center was followed by a kirtan,short dramas, and lunch in a park. In the evening, Parvati Dasi’ family hosted the students and local devotees. Her two children, Varsha and Arvin, were good hosts. After dinner, the students performed a kirtan that everyone enjoyed.
On the third day, the students gave an hour-and-a-half presentation at Den-Haag University. Everyone did his or her best to prepare. The idea was to present yoga as a way to connect to our inner self, the environment, the universe, and the spiritual world. Everyone in the audience was attentive and enjoyed it. Ali and Gopinatha, both first-year students, ended the program by leading a kirtan that enlivened all. Devotees made a number of friendships with the university students.
Gopinatha, from India, said, “We had a great time, great kirtans,and great hosts. I could feel the team spirit of the devotees and was impressed that everyone took part. I find it hard to preach alone, but in a group preaching becomes a natural thing. Our chanting attracted people, and we were all so inspired that it was hard to stop. I am happy that we made new friends. I hope to take part in more preaching opportunities.”
Preaching is more then just giving people information. Building relationships is what will inspire others to accept Krishna consciousness. And by taking care of and helping one other, devotees show how their philosophy is applied in daily life. The devotees in Den-Haag have a great service attitude and strong friendships. This inspired and left an impression on the students. Although the students went to Den-Haag to apply in practice what they learned from various teachers, they received more than they offered. They were able to preach the philosophy, chant the holy name constantly, and make new friends.
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