Chakra Announcements

Bhakti Camp held at ISKCON Secunderabad

by Rajaram Das

Posted May 12, 2005

ISKCON Secunderabad has held its Bhakti Yoga summer camp for the fifteenth consecutive year. About 200 children participated. Students from 6 and 16 years old were given training in Bhagavad-gita using our study course and lessons on varnashrama-dharma, supplemented by japa meditation, kirtans, sloka recitation and painting.

To get the feel of gurukula, the camp was conducted in the woods behind Secunderabad ISKCON's Sri Sri Radha Gopinath temple. The children sat under tamarind trees with scattered illumination from the sun shining between the leaves, but did not want to go indoors, as they simply loved the forest-like ambience.

There was extraordinary media coverage of the camp. One TV channel broadcast a special 15-minute program on the camp. Newspapers splashed photographs of the summer camp on their pages. One leading Telugu tabloid newspaper carried a lengthy full-page article with about 10 photographs, titled "Bhakti yogam for Children", with interviews of the children and their parents. The report commented that they found children ecstatically participating in kirtan and in japa meditation:

"Even though children were wearing modern dress, with traditional tilak and japa mala in their little hands and reciting Sanskrit slokas, they were looking like child vedantists... Looking at the devotion of these little children and the bliss in their faces shall put the so-called modern high-society crowd to shame..."

To train children in varnashrama-dharma from a very young age, different virtues and aspects of a varnashrama society were presented. A potter with his wheel and clay demonstrated how different pots and vessels can be created. Students appreciated how simply and happily one can live while depending on the cow and the land.

The camp concluded with a grand finale picnic. About 250 devotees (children and parents) were taken in three buses to New Naimisaranya Farm in Medchal, about 40 Km from Secunderabad.

H.H. Gaur Narayan Maharaj gave a blessing to the children. Students participated in a "Krishna treasure hunt," in which they searched for Krishna in different Vanas of Vrindavan. This was followed by a grand music show by Sangeeta Mataji, where children danced ecstatically, singing the Hare Krishna mahamantra accompanied by rock music.

Later a grand feast, followed by a couple of skits, delighted the students. The camp wrapped up with a touching and inspiring "realization session," where children and parents shared their feelings as to how this camp had impacted their lives.