Connecting Devotees Worldwide - In Service Of Srila Prabhupada
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By Bhakta Wilfred
The Hare Krishna training centre (HKTC) was officially opened in 11th January 2017 by HH. Krishna Gopal Maharaja. Prior to its official opening, the Programs had been in operation since April 2011. With an initial population of 5 students, the centre has seen steady and consistent growth since then and now the total population stands at 43 full time residents and a number of part time weekend only residents.
There is emphasis on early morning meditation on the Holy name of Krishna and also heavy discussion on spiritual topics to make better the lives of the students. The students go through morning Srimad Bhagavatam classes and evening discussions on Morality and living a simple life while maintaining higher thinking.
Every week, the training centre hosts a class on Wednesday and Saturday where the centre students engage in preaching to the local university and campus students.This year we had 720 registered students.Lengthy discourses are held on Srila Prabhupada’s Books, and exams are held regularly.
Despite the political tension in Kenya especially in Nairobi, every week an average of 200 students attend the program.
Besides the preaching program, the HKTC students also engage themselves in different forms of Seva. They also volunteer for temple activities like the Food For Life program, book distribution, and also harinama Sankirtan.
While staying at the training centre the students are exposed to Vaisnava culture, Vegetarian Eating, cleanliness and living a life as Gentlemen. Through counselling and teaching, students who have trouble with addictions and drug abuse get help from their peers and also through exposure to an alternative lifestyle that makes them better people in society.
It is Srila Prabhupada’s dream for the training centre that it may always be active, and through the instruction of the teachers and devotion of the students, the centre is always in progress growing with every passing day.
On 18th October 2017, the Hare Krsna Training centre Nairobi held its 6th graduation ceremony. Students from different universities and their friends streamed into the graduation hall. Before the ceremony started there was soulful kirtan by HG Bankebihari Prabhu. After the kirtan, HG Padmalocan Prabhu made the dedication prayers and shared on the importance of chanting the Hare Krsna Mahamantra and also how a person will find happiness by devoting his life to God.
After the invocation prayers, Her Grace Manasiganga Mataji, commonly known as ‘mama’ talked passionately about the need to practice God consciousness from a young age. She also said that the students should take full advantage of the facilities available to learn about Self realisation. She emphasised the fact that God is not tribal, or ethnic, and that as individuals we are eternal spirit souls and that is how we need to live, a life that seeks to nourish the soul. This will lead to a better society. This was echoed by HG. Rukma Prabhu who appreciated the students for turning up in such large numbers to learn.
Presentations for the entertainment of the guests and for the Glory of Krsna were made by the Students and local devotees. Manfred, a student of Mechanical Engineering made a serenade on his guitar, a song of thanksgiving to God. HG. Rupanuga Prabhu s local poet gave an enlightening piece about love. The topic that appeals to most youths. After that, an ensemble of HKTC actors led by HG Pitavarna Nimai das presented a short skit on the beginning of the Hare Krsna movement by Srila Prabhupada initiating the hippies and converting them to ‘happies’.
Before handing over the certificates the chief guest HG Mayur Pattni prabhu, talked about life as a Hare Krsna devotee and how it brings fulfilment and happiness to a person’s life. He urged the students to continue learning and practicing what they were taught to make their lives better. He handed over the certificates to the excited students as he said that besides the certificates, it is the knowledge that was more important and vital to personal development of a person.
Before the ceremony came to a close, HG. Umapati Prabhu gave appreciation to HG. Govinda Prem Prabhu and his team for consistently and devotionally managing the training centre despite the challenges that come with it. He noted the strength and patience that HG Govinda Prem had in dealing with the students, and facilitating different programs for the benefit of the students and for the glory of Krsna.
As the evening came to a close, the guests and students were served sumptuous Mahaprasadam. Groups of students could be seen inside and outside the hall discussing all that was learnt it was a fruitful event and a blessing for all who were in attendance.
Testimonials by HKTC students:
“Staying in the training centre has made me a better person, more focused in living a simple wholesome life. I am happier and get fulfilment as every day I learn more about who I am as a person, and the meaning of life. Working on my relationship with God has made me free from depression and misplacement in life.” Says Manfred Mongare, Student of Mechanical Engineering.
‘’They say show me your friend and I will show you who you are, this was my sole stimuli in joining the Hare Krishna Training Centre. Precisely, this is not only a structural establishment but also a home away from home centre that has really elevated and subsequently fortified my spirituality to the world citizen I am today. This centre runs on two inevitable wheels of morality and spirituality which I, as a student of the Natural Law Theory, gladly find it a fertile ground for the propagation of both my spiritual life and material pursuits as well. Hare Krishna, and Glory to H.D.G. Srila Prabhupada.’’ Jean M. Ogolla, LLB Student at MKU, Nairobi, Kenya.
More photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/MIZfuQWWgNPvBuG43
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.