Jananivasa Dasa, Pankajanghri Dasa and Bhakti Charu Swami officially open the new school.
Whenever devotees visit Mayapur, they always have a list of "to do" items in Mayapur: visit the holy places, render service for the deities, and partake in scriptural courses. Among these, learning to play devotional instruments, like the kartal cymbals, Mrdanga drum and harmonium keyboard are always a major item, and one often sees in the parks, devotees learning these skills from local experts.
With the inauguration of new Bhakti Vedanta Music School, devotees from around the world can systematically learn to play traditional Indian musical instruments. Bhakti Charu Swami, Jananivasa Dasa, Pankajanghri Dasa and Umapati Swami graced this auspicious occasion.
The school is an initiative of Naru Gopal das, CEO of ISKCON Mayapur, who has been working for years to achieve this dream. Pankajanghri Dasa said that ISKCON is an educational institution. All branches of knowledge should be imparted and now, with the opening of Bhakti Vedanta Music School, there is a facility for everyone to gain knowledge of musical sciences. He recalled when, in his early days, he wished to go to Mayapur, his temple president asked him what he would do there? He replied that he would fetch water from the Ganga river for Sri Radha-Madhava and learn to play Mrdanga. But he couldn’t do the latter as this school was not present at that time.
Jananivasa Dasa thanked Narugopal for his endeavor to start this music school in Mayapur. He added that it is apt to have Bhakti Charu Swami and Narugopal Dasa on this inaugural day as they both are accomplished musicians and sing like the celestial gandharvas musicians. He said, "This is the speciality of Gaudiya bhaktas (devotees of Lord Chaitanya). They are expert in music and use it in the service of the Lord. I will also visit this school some time to learn some beats in kartal as I only know how to do a simple beat."
Bhakti Charu Swami said, "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement is based on Sankirtan. Many of the associates of Mahaprabhu were musicians. They sang for hours together for the pleasure of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is evident from the songs of Padyavali. These songs are full of classical music, sastra sangeet. Later on the classical music was influenced by the Muslim invasion. When the emotions of the heart are expressed in words, it is called song, and when they are expressed through bodily movements, it becomes dance. So, the purpose of music is to glorify the Lord. ISKCON has got a solemn responsibility to reestablish this purpose. We have to train our children in arts and culture so that they can express Krishna Consciousness in a way to attract the whole world. We are grateful to Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami for training young boys in music, cooking and in philosophy. Under the guidance of Bhakti Purusottama Swami, Sankarshan Nitai Dasa and the principal, Bhakti Vedanta National School students are well trained in art and culture. Mayapur was the center of learning in the past. ISKCON Mayapur is making it happen again by establishing several educational institutions in Mayapur like Gurukula, Mayapur Academy, Mayapur Institute and now the music school."
He felt the present premise is too small for the school, and blessed the school to grow into a bigger institution.
Speaking on the mission and vision of Bhakti Vedanta Music School, Narugopal Dasa expressed that the responsibility rests on devotees to work hard and take advantage of this music school. They are planning for a new syllabus common to all the schools in Mayapur. He welcomed the Mayapur community to take this opportunity very seriously to learn music. Expert teachers have been appointed to give training. Devotees can learn to play Mrdanga, harmonium, kartals and sitar in a very systematic manner. The school will strive hard to establish the glory of Navadvip once again as a seat of learning.
Everyone congratulated Venudhari Dasa of the Sankirtan Department for his efforts in establishing this school, and the program ended with a sumptuous feast.