for ISKCON News on March 11, 2011
Fourth Annual Global Daiva Varnasrama Convention was recently held at Sridham Mayapur from 4th March to 7th March.
The event was inaugurated by Lokanath Swami, Bhakti Raghava Swami, Bhakti Dhira Damodara Swami, Samba Das and Bharat Chandra Das by lighting the lamp.
Lokanath Swami in his keynote address, said that, "In the beginning, the ISKCON movement moved at a high pitch. Changing ashram was considered as a black spot. The scene changed after many years. Not all will become brahmacharis and sannaysis. Over time, we have seen sannyasa ashram has shown black spot. If we had varnasrama system, the devotees who changed ashram, would not have had to leave ISKCON to survive in the society. We want to keep everyone in the house which Srila Prabhupada built, where whole world can live. 'varnasrama caravata...na anyat tat tosa karanam', there is no other way to please Krishna other than varnasrama system in this material world! Srila Prabhupada mentioned that this is 50% of his mission!"
Lokanath Swami giving a piece of advice said, "Those who want to be protected, should protect dharma - Dharmo rakshanti rakshitah".
The free seminar was well attended by 50 devotees representing various countries and coming from various background.
Bhakti Raghava Swami leading the seminar expressed his deep conviction and inspired the audience with his experience. Maharaj, taking a session on "Four waves of Srila Prabhupada's movement" explained that it is order of Srila Prabhupada that devotees bring about an overhaul of the the society and revert to Daiva Varnasrama.
Bhakti Dhira Damodara Swami speaking on "The Need for Varnasrama", asked the audience that - how many would go to the harinam without prasadam? Our philosophy is harinam and prasadam, and prasadam comes from land!
Various topics were presented in the four day convention, with a theme of four varnas covered on each day.
Topics such as:
1. Varnasrama College - Bharat Chandra Das
2. Brahmana occupations - Bharat Chandra Das
3. Varnasrama Development-Global Overview - Bhakti Raghava Swami
4. Ksatriya Dharma - Yogesh Chandra Das and Bhakta Nikhil
5. Land Ownership and Land Distribution - Jiva Tattva Das
6. Adopt a Village - Hari Kirtan Dasa
7. Traditional Agriculture - Bharat Chandra Das
8. Biodiversity of Food - Sanat Kumar Das
9. Sustainable Cow Protection - Bhakta Vatsala Das
10. Self-sufficiency Efforts - Rama Vigraha Das, Jananivas Das Murari Mohini Dasi
11. Social Norms & Traditional Occupations - Samba Das
12. Home Schooling and Role of Women - Vrindavana Lila Dasi
One of the most attractive sessions were on Ksatriya dharma by Yogesh Chandra Das, Social norms- a case study of Amish community by Samba Das and Self sufficiency efforts by Rama Vigraha Das, who joined ISKCON in the early 70s and right from the beginning days of his devotional life has been involved with the Varnasrama movement.
Another interesting session was on "Role of Women" by Vrindavanlila Dasi. She spoke quoting from 7th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam and other references about role of women in a Daiva varnasrama society.
Also, lot of discussions and urgent need was felt to introduce the efforts of realizing the world lead by ideal leaders during the presentation on Ksatriya dharma by Yogesh Chandra Das. The presentation showed the stark reality of the nasty affairs of the parliament where the leaders of the society fought each other almost to death.
The four days of the seminar was well spent in sharing, discussing, learning and enthusing each other.
The last day was concluding session. The teams came up with recommedations and suggestions for the Daiva Varnahrama ministry to implement.
Some of the concluding recommendations from the audience were:
1. Creating widespread awareness within devotee and non-devotee communities.
2. More emphasis on creating model projects.
3. Preparing a guide on how to start a varnasrama project.
4. Literatures of varnasrama dharma to be sent to all the ISKCON temples.
5. Developing curriculum and systems to train girl children on varnasrama culture.