Srila Prabhupada's gurukula agenda
Posted on June 1, 2014
This morning's verse for class emphasized the necessity of studying the Vedas under the guidance of the guru. Prabhupada explained that this does not mean everyone has to know Sanskrit. One simply has to hear and chant nicely; it isn't required that one be an erudite scholar. So the program he advised for the gurukula is for the students to attend mangala-arati and guru-puja, and then Srimad-Bhagavatam class. "So one should read or hear: candamsy adhiyita guroh. It is guru's duty. Transcendental knowledge, one should approach guru. So gurukula means "guru's place." So he keeps the disciples to learn the Vedic literature. This is gurukula.
"Our mission is to invite people to take advantage of learning Vedic literature. And what is the ultimate goal of studying Vedic literature? To understand Krsna. Therefore our Movement is known as Krsna consciousness movement."
He also gave a practical example to show the nature of the exchange between guru and disciple. This is something that we on his personal party experience daily. "The son may be offender, but when he comes and offers his respect to the father, he [the father] forgets.
"So that should be done regularly, suyantritah, just like machine. As soon as one sees guru, immediately he must offer obeisances. Beginning, end also. When he comes to see guru he must offer obeisances, and when he leaves that place he must offer obeisances. And in the in-between, coming and going, he should learn from the guru Vedic understanding. This is the principle of living in gurukula. So our students, they are very obedient. And if our students see the guru hundred times, he practices this process, offering obeisances while meeting and while going. These things are to be practiced. Then he'll be self-controlled.
"Obedience is the first law of discipline. If there is no obedience there cannot be any discipline. And if there is no discipline you cannot manage anything. That is not possible. Therefore this is very essential, that the students should be very disciplined."
He told us how this idea of gurukula training had long been on his agenda, complaining again about the unfortunate mentality that has overtaken the people of India. "This is essential. To make the human life really civilized, the children should be sent to the gurukula. But there is no gurukula at the present moment. So we are starting. We have some gurukula in the United States, Texas. We are starting another gurukula in Vrndavana, and we can start another gurukula here in Bombay to train the students.
"I wanted to start this gurukula long, long, ago before going to the USA, in 1960. Say '62, '61. But I approached so many gentlemen friends; they never agreed to give their sons to gurukula. They never agreed. Everyone said, 'Swamiji, what benefit there will be by training our students in the gurukula way? They have to earn their bread.' So that is India's position now. They do not care for their original culture. They are after money."
From Transcendental Diary by Hari-sauri Prabhu