The Winter Semester at Mayapur Institute concluded with a closing ceremony on February 21, where more than 150 students from over 40 countries were awarded certificates for Bhakti Sastri and Bhakti Vaibhav degrees. Eminent ISKCON leaders HH Jayapataka Swami, HH Bhakti Vighna Vinashak Narasimha Swami, HH Bhakti Dhira Damodar Swami, HH Yadunandana Swami, and HH Bhakti Purushottam Swami graced the occasion with their benign presence. They awarded graduation certificates to the students and blessed them.
This ceremony marks twenty years since the founding of the Mayapur Institute. Mayapur Institute started with 3 students and one classroom, and since then has grown to more than 150 students, an erudite faculty and a beautiful campus nestled in nature. Students from all over the world come to Mayapur Institute to study Srila Prabhupada’s books in depth, doing courses like Bhakti Shastri and Bhakti Vaibhav. Srila Prabhupada personally started the Bhakti Shastri course, as His Holiness Jayapataka Maharaja, one of his first students, recalls: “Srila Prabhupada wanted ISKCON devotees to study his books very seriously. To take first initiation from Srila Prabhupada, we had to read Bhagavad Gita ten times. By taking Bhakti Sastri, Bhagavad Gita is studied very intensely and properly.”
HH Jayapataka Maharaj further said, “Mayapur is a thousand times more potent for performing devotional service, so those studying here have got thousand times the benefit.”
HH Bhakti Vighna Vinashak Narasimha Maharaja, while addressing the students, said:
“Srila Prabhupada considered Mayapur the center of the universe… In the future, there is a plan to have a university here so that people from all over the world can come and study sastra… Srila Prabhupada encouraged serious devotees to take up sastric studies.”
“If you give for the TOVP you go back to Godhead, you get a place in Vaikuntha. If you give to Mayapur Institute, you become a teacher in the spiritual world.”
HH Yadunandana Maharaj expressed his joy at seeing so many wonderful teachers giving their mercy to students, and the diversity of the graduating class. He reminded the graduating class of the importance of preaching the knowledge they have gained at Mayapur Institute, otherwise they could lose it.
HH Bhakti Purushottam Swami said, “Mayapur Institute is one of the most important institutions in Mayapur.” He reminded the students that Mayapur-Nabadwip manifested 500 years ago, and Nabadwip was a city of learning, where all the pandits lived. “Mayapur Institute is doing a great job by introducing a system of education where people from the whole world can participate in studying sastra. In the Chaitanya Bhagavad, it has been predicted that people will come from desh-videsh to study here. This verdict has now been justified.”