Young Vaishnavas get ready to make their mark


peter_wolf.jpg

And the Oscar goes to….a Vaishnava animator was on the team that made the award- winning short animation

I’ve just completed my three days of teaching at the Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium. My students were all kind to me and stayed keen right to the end and seemed to find the subject genuinely interesting. I tried to make it all topical, relevant and fast-paced for a thoughtful and lively 18-25 group.

We did a role-play called “Not the Best Bhagavad-gita Study Group” in which all the eight participants exhibited ‘bad group member behaviour’ and the observers tried to guess what was going on, and how it might be corrected. As well as discussing styles of preaching, different modes of sanga, and helpful systems and structures, we also spent time on the contemporary issues in ISKCON that our members might find disappointing – and therefore an obstacle to our growth.

Many of the students are on a three-year course which will gain them a Bachelor of Theology degree from the University of Wales. Some ISKCON members have described this level of study and formal accreditation as a controversial innovation. They reason, quite rightly, that bhakti does not depend on prolonged study of comparative philosophy, Sanskrit, or university recognition.

While this is true, it is also true that Srila Prabhupada wanted us to challenge the contemporary philosophical worldviews, and was not opposed to devotees learning more in order to do that. Certainly some former students – all respectable and practising devotees – are using their new qualifications to communicate our messages to audiences they might never have met previously.

Speaking of bright young people and audiences, I learned this morning that one of our devotees over in Hungary was a main artist on the team that have just won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film (Foreign). Suzi Templeton and Hugh Welchman won the most coveted prize in the film industry for their British-Polish production of Peter and the Wolf.

A couple of summers ago, I remember Bhakta Kasha at the Manor. At that time he was trying to get a job with Ardman Animation, makers of Wallace and Gromit. A fellow animator from Hungary, his former student, was already there. He was unsuccessful but I told him that Krishna had given him a great gift – he’d shown me a few short films he’d made – and that he should keep trying and aim high. And keep on chanting. Now he is overwhelmed with job offers, so my hearty congratulations to him.

Devotees are talented people, and their friendliness, spirit of service, and offering of their work to Krishna all seem to help them get where they want to be. I have known many hundreds of Vaishnavas who regard their spiritual life not as a chance to opt out of society, but as a means to become more innovative and make an even greater contribution to society. To all our young students everywhere – good luck and Krishna’s blessings!

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Young Vaishnavas get ready to make their mark

  1. Brilliant! What good news to hear! Fellow animators for Krsna, what a special surprise. Would love to know more about what they’re up to. (: Thank you and please continue to encourage devotees in their talented offerings for Krsna, including your prolific self and family.

  2. Dave

    I guess it’s depending on the motive for studying, a fine student who has already completed his theological studies is now here in Wales adding to his already extensive knowledge.
    The interesting thing is that he is now using these skills to show through academia the wisdom held within the Gita and true Bhakti.
    This goes down well with other academics and those who see only an academic study as acceptable, this helps serve Srila Prabhupada’s mission even more.
    examples like this should be highlighted to the community as a whole, this way no miss understandings will be noted.

  3. WoW! This is a great surprise. I wish the devotee all the best in his chosen career. I hope we get to see him make animated series of our puranas too.
    -manoj

  4. Vaisnavi

    And keep on chanting. Now he is overwhelmed with job offers…

    Sounds like chanting got him job offers. maybe it’ll work for me too 🙂

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