University Bhakti-yoga Club
By Gopika dasi
Is the grass really greener on the other side?
I used to think so and perhaps it is in relation to certain things. However, there came a time in my life when I realized I spend far too much time dreaming about the future or wishing to be somewhere else instead of actively engaging my time and energy in the present and where I am now. I am attempting to transition gradually into the concept of â€œliving in the nowâ€.
There is a poem by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur:
Forget the past that sleeps
Never dream amore
Be with times that are with thee
And progress ye shall call.
In my mind, I could create universes. I could create so many great ideas, systems, programs, events, and relationships that might lead to something, but how can I reflect these ideas through my actions and in my everyday life? How do I act in the â€œnowâ€?
I started my journey of living in the now at first by analyzing my situation. I attend the University of San Francisco as a full-time student, and study Psychology and Education. In addition to my studies, I also work part-time at the campus library. Given these facts, I figured that I spend quite a lot of my time here at the University, so why not utilize my resources and connections at school? That was when I decided to create the Pure Bhakti Kirtan & Meditation Club.
It started out with me just inviting a few of my friends over to my dorm room. I wanted to share with them the precious jewels that were mercifully shown to me. It is truly miraculous to see the magic unfolding. Although it was sweet meeting in my dorm room, I wanted a proper facility to offer to the whole university. I wanted an organization that could arrange events, reserve rooms, and have access to numerous university services. I went to the Student Leadership & Engagement office and they told me what I needed to do in order to create a registered club. I edited a constitution that Kundalata didi gave me for her club, compiled a roster, went to a club orientation, and viola! Now I have access to reserving rooms, hosting events at school, free copies, access to a Graphic Design center, university funding, and a way to channel some of the gifts Srila Gurudeva is giving into my University setting.
The group meets once a week on Mondays for an combined hour of mantra meditation, philosophy discussion, and prasadam. This is the approximate breakdown: Invocation & Mantra Meditation for 15 minutes, Silent Meditation/Guided Visualizations for 5 minutes, discussion or reading from Way of Love or some other text for 15 minutes, then a bit of prasadam and chatting at the end.
Throughout my experience of doing this at my university, many magical, beautiful arrangements and connections have been made, and there's still a lot more to look forward to! I will share a few of the incidents with you... Back when I had the meetings in my dorm room, my friend's roommate met me and said the night before she dreamed of the blue person that showed up in the movie the Little Princess. Another time more recently, I was working at the library and a girl came up to me saying she had trouble finding a book. I looked on her record and stared at the computer screen in shock. All the books she requested had to do with Krishna, Krishna and his pastimes, Krishna in Vrindavan! Would you believe it?! Now she comes every Monday and interviewed me for one of her classes about my spiritual practice and what it is like to have a spiritual master. Also, a while back right after I came back from India I saw some pictures on the wall about India and read the description of the photographer. The photographer happened to be a lady who just had visited Mathura, India and it was one of the best experiences of her life. Just now, actually, on Earth Day, they had speakers that were running on the power of people cycling (This is San Francisco, y'all :D) and I asked my friend who helped arrange the event if I could sing a small chant. After I sang, the lady who had taken the pictures of Mathura came up to me and introduced herself and wants to meet soon to talk about India. It is so amazing how people are so attracted to Krishna consciousness when you are genuine and transparent about who you are and how you feel.
One of the most prized benefits of having a club at the university is having the facility to invite traveling preachers from around the world. A few weeks ago, the Bay Area had the honor of Uma didi's presence for one week. I created a flier and posted it around my school, created an event, and invited some friends who I thought might be interested. Seven students, one professor, and other devotees in our community attended the program. When I spoke to a few of the students afterward, they were amazed by the Uma didi's peaceful energy, dazzled by what she was speaking about, and loved the kirtan.
A few days ago, I was talking with one of the girls who comes to the weekly meetings and who also attended our Gaura Purnima celebration. This was after my interview where I mentioned Krishna consciousness as being pure devotional service unto God. She said, "You know, what you were saying about service, and how it's all about being selfless, that really resonates with me. I have the tendency to serve, whether it's with a boyfriend or my dad, and I was talking to my friend the other day and he said 'You should just devote yourself to God.'. And I was thinking, yea, you know, I should do just that: serve God, Krishna."
So many beautiful things blossom from just a tiny little bit of effort. Krishna and Gurudeva have the power, so all you have to do is take the leap, be consistent, and they take care of everything else. Just be you! :) If any of you are attending a university and are inspired to share a little of Gurudeva's treasures, feel free to contact me for any advice and/or help in getting started. Srila Gurudeva ki jai! Radhe Radhe :)
University of San Francisco
B.A. Psychology in 2011