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Free Skool Grand Opening January 21, 2010

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On JANUARY 30th, the Bhakti Yoga Center at ISKCON Gainesville will celebrate the inauguration of FREE SKOOL, a sister project of the Bhakti Academy that is committed to offering free or inexpensive classes to EVERYONE!!! The party will start @ 6:30pm and end at midnight in celebration of World Yoga Day 2010!

Inauguration Party Event Schedule:

6:30pm-8:00pm
Inauguration evening will begin with an hour and a half mindful and spirited Yoga session led by Jaya Sita. Please reserve yourself a space at: jayasitadevi@gmail.com
8:00pm-9:00pm
Express yourself as BYC hosts Open-Mic Night! Play music, read poetry, teach us something…anything goes people…but please, we love appropriate entries.
9:00pm-Midnight
Grand Kirtan Finale! (Ecstatic musical meditation!!! Bring your instruments if you like).
MIDNIGHT
We will cut the egg-less cake to officially open FREE SKOOL at midnight on January 31st, in recognition of WORLD YOGA DAY!!

Free SKOOL classes will include Hatha Yoga, Veg Cooking, Sustainability Projects, Philosophy Night, Decaf Coffee House and Open-mic Night, Sisters’ Circle, Healing Arts, Sanskrit Calligraphy, Stump the Swami, ‘Let’s Make Indian Sweets’, Bengali Music, Kirtan parties and tons more!

Printed calendars for Free Skool classes will be passed out during the inauguration party. If you do not receive a printed copy of this month’s calendar, check it out online at www.freeskoolgainesville.wordpress.com.

Vaishnava Olympics December 21, 2009

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* To see more pictures, go here.

This year, Krishna House established its 1st Annual Vaishnava Olympics!  That’s right folks, you read it correctly.  You see, after a tough semester of school and a packed semester of Bhakti Academy (BA) classes, service, and programs, it’s time to kick back and enjoy the fine association.  After all, in chapter six of the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says, “He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.”  At the BA, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between recreation and yoga.

On that destined afternoon, the teams assembled at Lake Wauburg and began the first of four events, the scavenger hunt.  Each team was given a list of analogies mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita that involve elements of nature.  Krishna also declares in chapter six, “For one who sees Me everywhere and who sees everything in Me, I am not lost nor is he ever lost to Me.”  However, this requires practice.  Thus, the event involved finding all of the analogies on the list then explaining the significance of each analogy in the Gita.

While the students enthusiastically pursued their analogies, preparations were made for the next three events: balloon toss, three-legged race/gulabjamon eating contest, and the ultimate Vaishnava obstacle course.  Dare I say more?

Thanks to the effort of Jaya Sita devi dasi, the entire event was videotaped, edited, and made into a short movie.  Enjoy!

In Thanksgiving November 22, 2009

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It has been a beautiful semester at the Bhakti Academy.  As we prepare for our annual Thanksgiving Vegetarian Extravaganza, it is most appropriate to acknowledge the service and input of so many individuals who make Krishna House the amazing place that it is today.  I can’t imagine a more worthy cause than creating, providing, and maintaining a center that educates young college students about the techniques of spiritual life that will enable them to maximize their potentials in both their careers and personal lives.

A special thank you to all of you, both currently and in the past, who have made the atmosphere at Krishna House thick with devotion and spiritual inspiration.  It is by your efforts that thousands of students are taking their spiritual lives seriously and actively practising devotional service.  In this way, by checking the imbalance of values in life, we will achieve real unity and peace throughout the world.

Hare Krishna & Happy Thanksgiving!

Hallowed Be Thy Halloween? November 2, 2009

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Jaya Hari das, former Krishna Lunch chef and Krishna House resident, dressed as Lord Rama

Every Halloween, it is a tradition at Krishna House that we head downtown for Harinama Sankirtan and chant Hare Krishna.  This year we did a group costume theme based on the great Indian epic, Ramayana.  Former Krishna Lunch chef, Jaya Hari das (pictured above), was our manifested hero, Lord Rama.  Together, with an army of monkeys and demons, we took to the streets and didn’t stop chanting until hours later.  What appears as play is actually the essence of our philosophy!

Harinam Sankirtan is a Sanskrit term meaning glorification of Lord Krishna by two or more people.  There are many ways this can be done.  By the congregational chanting of Krishna’s names, we purify ourselves from other distractions that draw us away from doing so.  How does it work?  Well, you see, it’s so darn fun that people tend to get addicted to it and then it manifests into what we call the ‘higher taste’- the highest utilization of our senses accomplished only by cultivating spiritual desires.  The ‘higher taste’ comes when Krishna is pleased.  And just as when the root of the tree is watered, all parts of the tree become satisfied, similarly, when we glorify and please God, everyone benefits.

Please join us at Krishna House, as we continue expand the kirtan in Gainesville and discover the essential role it has to play in our spiritual lives.  No previous experience is necessary!

UF Homecoming ’09 October 22, 2009

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*To view more photos, go here.*

Krishna House has been serving healthy and affordable vegetarian meals to UF students for over 38 years!  As a student at the Bhakti Academy, you will have the opportunity to be a part of Gainesville’s largest community service project.  Go Gators!

Come Visit Us at Krishna House September 21, 2009

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Back in session and better than ever.  Come visit us at Krishna House and check out all the classes, service opportunities, and events we are offering this semester.  You can also email us at krishnagator@gmail.com and subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Hare Krishna!

Welcome Back Bhakti Academy Students! August 22, 2009

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The Srimad Bhagavatam, or Bhagavata Purana, described as containing the distilled knowledge of all the ancient Vedas combined, is one of the primary scriptures included in the curriculum at the Bhakti Academy (BA).  The intention of the Srimad Bhagavatam is to invoke a revolution in the hearts of a misdirected civilization.  The philosophy and history contained within offer us a profound cultural presentation for the respiritualization of human society.  It is said that by regular attendance in classes on the Srimad Bhagavatam, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed.

Anxiously anticipating the arrival of this year’s residents, we are hopeful that, as instructors, we can thoroughly convey the meaning and significance of these literatures, commonly classified as the bhakti-sastris (ie. Bhagavad-gita, Sri Isopanisad, Nectar of Devotion, and Nectar of Instruction)Bhakti-sastri refers to those those Vedic literatures specifically describing the processes of bhakti yoga.  It is understood that all religions practice yoga, defined as various processes of remembering our relationship with the Absolute Truth.  Bhakti yoga is a unique path in that it stresses devotional service as the primary means of attaining self-realization, inner-peace, happiness, and the culmination of religion itself.

As a recognized student center within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Krishna House strives to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalances of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace throughout the world.  We warmly invite you to join us at Krishna House this year and enroll in the many yoga classes we have to offer.

Congratulations Bhakti Academy Class of 2009! April 22, 2009

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On April 19th, we celebrated our first Bhakti Academy (BA) graduation ceremony.  Held at the historic Thomas Center in downtown Gainesville, the ceremony was attended by all of our students, teachers, staff members, friends & family.  After receiving their certificates, each student shared their appreciation and gratitude for the BA.  How proud we were to watch these amazing young people dedicate their year towards inquiring, personally defining, and practicing bhakti yoga!

Applications have been pouring in and we are pleased to announce a full roster for next year’s class.  Because the program is steadily growing in both interest and participation, next year’s program will include more classes, retreats, recreation activities, and applied learning experiences.  Thank you to the BA family for continuing to support and provide for this exciting opportunity for young students to maximize their college experience, prepare for a dynamic future, and fulfill their life-long dreams.

Alternative Spring Break March 18, 2009

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This year’s Bhakti Academy alternative spring break featured a special opportunity to volunteer at the ISKCON Atlanta temple, where we helped the ISKCON community prepare for Gaura Purnima, one of the biggest festivals celebrated annually on the Vaishnava calendar.  Because our days were mostly spent in the kitchen, cleaning the temple, and organizing the temple grounds, morning and evening Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita classes were especially relishable.  Lots of chanting, lots of association with saintly people, a day of fasting, subsequent feasting, and a weekend spent camping and hiking at Vogel State Park, turned out to be a perfect recipe for a rejuvenating spring break.

Next year, BA students will partake in one spiritual retreat per month during the academic school year.  This year’s retreat sites included Rainbow Springs, Goldhead Branch State Park, and Ocala National Forest.  In addition to a week-long alternative spring break, students will have an opportunity to travel to India during the winter break.

As a recognized students center within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Krishna House strives to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and and peace throughout the world.  If you share these same goals and are seeking something fresh in the fall, the Bhakti Academy experience may be exactly what you are looking for.

A Need for Knowledge February 21, 2009

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The Bhagavad-gita defines intelligence as the ability to differentiate between spirit and matter, that which is temporary and that which is eternal.  Krishna explains as one changes clothes similarly we change bodies that the end of live, in that our bodies are temporary whereas our souls remain eternal.  New bodies are awarded according to the desires and activities of one’s previous birth.  We can see that in the absence of this knowledge, our society has become obsessed by the pursuit of temporary gains, such as better bodies, nicer cars, bigger houses, more clothes, larger incomes, etc.  But where can one go to learn about the real meaning of life, far beyond the demands of materialism and comsumer culture?

At the Institute for Vaishnava Studies, we provide education to students who are interested in discovering an alternative way of living.  By studying ancient books of knowledge like the Bhagavad-gita, we learn that the highest degree of freedom is found when we do not identify ourselves according to gender, ethnicity, color, creed, economic class, IQ, etc.  But what is the alternative?

We extend an open invitation to anyone in the community to attend our classes for further discussion and explanation of these ideas.  Our morning class is a continuous study of the Srimad Bhagavatam, an Indo-European scripture over 5,000 years old.  Srila Prabhupada explains in the introduction of this text that it is a “transcendental creation meant to bring about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization.”  Do you have a need for knowledge?