ISKCON and government schools:
what Srila Prabhupada said

Spring 2007

ISKCON is currently involved in operating a number of schools which are not standard gurukulas (Hare Krishna schools), but are ordinary schools teaching the state sanctioned curriculum so that the students can get recognised examination qualifications (with some “Krishna consciousness” thrown in). However, Srila Prabhupada only sanctioned the opening of gurukulas where children would be trained full-time to become devotees, and never sanctioned that ISKCON should be involved in the mundane education business, running government approved schools. On the contrary, he stated that this should not be done:

Srila Prabhupada outlaws government school syllabus in ISKCON

“As soon as possible we should open our own school and teach children KC through English medium, that is one of our programs.
Our school will not be government recognized because we cannot follow the government syllabus. We want to teach only Krishna Consciousness. […]
If we can introduce this system, our girl disciples may be engaged for teaching them: a little English grammar, reading and writing, geography, arithmetic, history, sanskrit,, but all of them should be Krishna Conscious--that is Bhagavata program: kaumaram acarer prajno dharman bhagavatan iha
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 12/4/72)

“So far the school of Sumati Morarji, make the children into Vaisnavas through English medium of learning. We are not going to abide by the government schedule.
They should be taught our books as soon as they can read and write.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 30/7/72)

Srila Prabhupada forbids government schools in ISKCON

Gopala Krsna: “I was thinking, Srila Prabhupada, we should get this gurukula accepted by the government also...”
Prabhupada:  “No, no, no. Never do that.”
(Conversation, 25/10/72)

Indian Man: “Is this a government-recognized college now?”
Prabhupada: “No. Government recognition means we have to abide by the orders of government. We cannot teach Bhagavad-gita only or Bhagavata. But our aim is to teach... We have got another school in Dallas for small children. There we are Sanskrit, teaching Sanskrit and English. Yes.”
(Room conversation, 12/9/73)

Prabhupada:   Therefore we have to follow the sastra. Then it will be possible. Brahmacari gurukule...”
Indian lady: “Christian has their own government schools everywhere. And we can have our own Krsna consciousness school.”
Prabhupada: “Yes. We are having our own all over the world. We don’t follow the government regulations.” (Conversation, 5/1/77)

 Government curriculum is “useless” “We haven’t got to take any help from the government by getting so-called accreditation. If outsiders want to send their children to us, it will not be for their accreditation, but because they will get the best education for relieving them of all anxieties of material life and for this education the government has no idea.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 7/3/72)

Prabhupada: “Government curriculum is useless.” (Conversation, 24/6/77)

Gurudasa: “We would not do anything with the government if they restricted our curriculum…”
Prabhupada: “Yes [...] So we are not going to follow the university curriculum, no. We have got our own.”
(Conversation, 25/10/72)

ISKCON education should not turn into an “ordinary school”

“Now in Mayapur there are two much important programs, namely, first of all, a school must be started in English medium. The children may work in the temple compound for gardening and cleansing, then they shall attend class. If they are given sufficient comfort, they will stay with us and develop nicely. Comfort means no bodily discomfort, and for this Krishna Consciousness education, many Calcutta rich men will send their children. Actually the Bhaktivinode Institute was started for this purpose, but they have turned it into an ordinary school.”
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, 14/4/72)

Prabhupada:  No, if you take government help...
Indian lady:  But the students go for examination in the board also.
Prabhupada: Examination or no examination, if you, they practice the rules, that is sufficient examination. [...]
So if one is rising early in the morning, then what is the examination? That is already examined. If one has to rise early in the morning, attend the mangala arati, sitting in the class and reading Bhagavad-gita, chanting Hare Krsna... These are all practical. There is no need of examination [...]
Indian lady: But the parents want certificate.
Prabhupada: Therefore, if you want to satisfy the parents, the government, then it is not possible. You have to satisfy Krsna.
(Room Conversation, 5/1/77)

Not sannyasi business


“It is not sannyasi’s business. For starting a school, the government is there, public is there. Why you are...? That means brahma satyam you could not understand. You are coming to school-starting.”
(Conversation, 11/7/73)