Overwhelming Response to New York Gita Class Offered by JKP Barsana Dham

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More than 100 adults and 50 youth attended all seven days of the course entitled “Essentials of the Gita for Children & their Parents”. The course, which took place in Long Island, NY during this year's mid-winter school recess, was presented by Swami Nikhilanandji, a disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.

The U.S. ashram of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, JKP Barsana Dham (http://www.BarsanaDham.org), offered a 7-day course on the Gita in New Hyde Park, NY from February 14th to 20th. The course, designed so that both adults and kids could learn the main topics of the Gita in a relaxed and interactive setting, attracted an unprecedented crowd. More than 100 adults and 50 youth attended all seven days of course. The classrooms at the Vaishnav Community Center, which hosted the event, were overflowing every night – even on Tuesday, February 16th, when the city endured another snowstorm. The “Essentials of the Gita” course generated an excitement which carried through the entire week, as families learned how to apply the philosophy of the Gita into their life, one chapter of the Gita at a time.

The course was taught by Swami Nikhilanandji, a pracharak of JKP Barsana Dham and a disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj (http://www.jkp.org/jagadguru_kripaluji/index.html). It was specifically planned to happen during the mid-winter school recess so that youth could take full advantage of the hour-and-a-half-long program each evening. Two separate rooms were used, so that youth and adults could receive separate instruction according to their personal needs. Using this format, one chapter of the Gita was covered each night.

The program began each evening with kirtan and vandana, followed by instruction to the youth on the most important points of that night’s chapter. One adult participant remarked that he could see the glow on the faces of the kids while they were listening, indicating their involvement and desire to learn. Many remarked at the insightful questions asked by the kids who showed that they were indeed processing the information and trying to understand it. The class moved along quickly in order to keep up with the all the kids’ questions. There was hardly a moment when there was not an enthusiastic hand in the air eager to get the answer to a burning question. Following that, the youth moved into the media room to review their knowledge by playing a friendly game of Jeopardy. The Jeopardy questions challenged them to recall the information they had just learned in the class, while allowing an atmosphere of fun to prevail.

Meanwhile, the adults, who had been watching a video speech by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj during the youth class time, returned to the classroom to receive their lesson on that evening’s Gita chapter. Like the kids, the adults appreciated the clear explanation of Krishn’s teachings by Swami Nikhilanandji (http://www.SwamiNikhilanand.com). Much time was also dedicated daily for question and answer with the adult group on that night’s topics.

Every night the class concluded with the arti and then a tasty and satisfying dinner prasad was served by the JKP volunteers.

On the last day youth were given an exam, and prizes were handed out for the highest scores, as well as for perfect attendance. All youth received certificates of participation.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the program was the enthusiasm of the kids to come each day. One parent remarked, “When I would return home from work, my three kids were already dressed and anxious to leave. They were the ones making sure that we got here on time.” To see an interview with Swami Nikhilanand on ITV about the Gita class, visit http://www.YouTube.com/JKPBarsanaDhamCenter.

Due to the overwhelming response for part one of the “Essentials of the Gita”, which covered the first 6 chapters, part two has been organized during the school spring break, from March 27 to April 2, 2010. During part two, chapters 7 to 13 will be covered. The location of the program is the Vaishnav Community Center, 100 Lakeville Rd, New Hyde Park, NY 11040. The timings will be as follows: Saturday, March 27, 7:00-8:30 pm; Sunday, March 28, 1:00-3:00 pm; Monday-Friday, March 29-April 2, 7:00-8:30 pm. The course is offered free of charge. For more information and to register, call (516) 281-5973. You can see more pictures of the recent event at http://www.SwamiNikhilanand.com/facebook.

Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat (JKP) is a religious, non-profit, charitable, educational organization that was founded in India by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. Shree Kripaluji Maharaj is the fifth original Jagadguru in the last 5,000 years. The main center of JKP in the West is Barsana Dham ashram in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 1990 by the foremost disciple of Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, His Divinity Swami Prakashanand Saraswati.

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Rohit Sharma
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