BY JAI SITA RANI DEVI DASI
PHOTOS BY JOHN FAHY, JAGANNATH KIRTAN DASA AND OTHER MAYAPUR DEVOTEES
KUALA LUMPUR - June marks the arrivals of Ratha Yatras around the world making it very special, but even more dear to my heart was the return of both my children, Shevaanni Pillai and Gauravani Dasa to Kuala Lumpur after spending two years in Mayapur doing Cambridge A levels and IGCSE levels respectively. I get so many devotees asking me about them that I thought I might as well let you know the frequent questions asked.
What would they do after studying in Mayapur?
Cambridge A and IGCSE levels are recognised worldwide and you can easily place your children in any private Universities. A degree program is available after A level holders, and there are 1 year Foundation courses for IGCSE holders, if you do not want to continue with A levels.
What was the cost there?
We spend around RM50K (USD16K) for both the children which include accommodation, flight fare, school and exam fees, clothings, visa etc. Was it too high? No, it was worth every sen. Read on...
What have they achieved there?
The Sri Mayapur International School offers an environment where you can have the best of both academic and spiritual studies. My children only took a minimum of 5 academic subjects and focussed the rest of the time on Bhakti Shastri, Mrdanga, Harmonium, Basketball, Pot painting, Drawing, Cooking, Drama, Dancing, Deity dress making, bouquet/garland making, Rangoli making. They participated in so many festivals there including the ones that are not so famous there such as Panihati Cida where pot painting has been made popular by a school teacher (Amala Caitanya Prabhu), Hatti procession, Candan yatra, Spring festivals etc. My daughter had an award for "Most responsible" and my son got "Ramananda Roy" award for his directing and script writing for the school dramas.
I never expected my children to take up Krishna Consciousness so seriously. All I wanted was for them to get a holistic education both spiritually and academically. However, on their own they started chanting 16 rounds and aspiring for their guru. And as an icing on the cake, my 16 year old son got initiated there as well!! It was just amazing. When HH Janananda Maharaj asked me if I had any preference in his initiated name. I told him that it would be nice if he added on something to his existing name "Vinodh". But my son, had something else in mind, he wanted the name "Visvambhara" for some reason or another. Yet Maharaj had the name "Nimai Pandit" in his mind, since my son had a flair in writing scripts for dramas for school performances. So when the priest for the Pancatattva got the japa mala blessed and told Maharaj he prayed that the person who takes on the japa mala should become an ambassador for ISKCON and spread the glories of Krishna Consciousness around the world, Maharaj changed his mind about the name he had in mind and that's how "Gauravani Dasa" was born.
Check this slide show out and you can see the number of activities they participated in during their stay in beautiful Mayapur...
And please do not think too hard, if you have children, pleeease send them to Mayapur to study for at least two years. Give them what you didn't get... something that will keep them deeply rooted in Krishna Consciousness for life, an experience and treasure that they can hold in their hearts forever....You will never regret it.. It will be the best investment you have made in your life.. and the only thing that matters in this lifetime and you are guaranteed a ticket back home, back to Godhead... at least I strongly feel so..