By: Shubhananda Hari Das
‘Varnasrama Dharma is the society of Vaisnavas in their conditional stage.’
(Bhaktivinod Thakur in Sajjan Toshani)
A 3-day seminar on Vedic Sociology was held at ISKCON Juhu under the aegis of IDVM-India on 1st – 3rd of October 2017. The seminar was given by His Holiness Bhakti Raghava Swami Maharaj. Posters of the event were displayed in the temple premises. Information about the same was also circulated on social media. There was a lot of excitement amongst devotees for the seminar.
The first day of the seminar was an introduction to Vedic Sociology. His Holiness explained that the Vedic Society is primarily an agrarian society and encouraged devotees to lead a more natural life based on land, cows, and Krishna. His Holiness also mentioned that cities are supposed to be our preaching bases and villages our living bases. The presentation had many direct statements from past acharyas emphasizing the importance of Varnasrama Dharma. His Holiness explained about the ISKCON’s four movements. His Holiness explained that Srila Prabhupada wanted Krishna Consciousness movement to be not only Religious movement, Cultural movement, Educational movement, but also a social movement.
The presentation was based on Kautilya’s Arthasastra.
The second day of the seminar dealt with another very important topic of Varnasrama Education. His Holiness first explained about the three types of vidyas and then about the five pillars of education. He also explained about the qualities which student and teachers should possess. Maharaja gave the seven pillars of success under the science of politics wherein His Holiness compared the vedic perspective and their counterpart in the modern organization. Then, Maharaj explained about the char vidyas namely Vedic Philosophy, Vedic Education, Vedic Politics and Vedic Economics. There was an interesting topic about how to determine one’s varna. At the last phase of the seminar on day 2, Maharaja showed an interesting video by Srila Prabhupada on education and politics.
The third day was on Varnasrama Economics. Due to bad health, His Holiness could not present the seminar. His Grace Vishnunam Prabhu, Vice President ISKCON Ahmedabad presented the seminar. Prabhu started with many direct quotes from Srila Prabhupada on cow protection. In his presentation, he shared his own experience with ISKCON Ahmedabad goshala and his experience with the cows. It was interesting to know that milk production could be increased by allowing calves to stay with their mother cow for 12 hours every day. He explained about the animal impact on the land through planned grazing of cows. He also gave few quotes from Vedas regarding taking care of Gomata. He explained how cows help in increasing organic matter of land and thus enables the soil to hold more water. Another interesting point he made was if we eat grains, vegetables etc made out of cow dung and urine, we do not need medicines made out of cow dung and urine.
Devotees attended the seminar in large number. They were very happy to gain holistic vision of vedic sociology with the seminar and wanted more such kind of seminars to broaden their horizon of thinking. The audience also asked many interesting questions on the topic.
The seminar will be soon uploaded on the youtube channel ‘Varnasrama Media service’. Interested devotees may subscribe the youtube channel to watch full seminar.