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Appendix 7 ISKCON Youth Forum (IYF) At a Glance
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was established by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1966. Srila Prabhupada always wanted young Indians to take up Krishna consciousness very seriously in their own lives and help to spread it all over the world, fulfilling the order of Lord Caitanya. Youth preaching blossomed at ISKCON, Pune in January 1996. Since then various youth activities are being carried out in colleges all over Pune.
Objectives of ISKCON Youth Forum (IYF)
1.To establish a youth group of spiritually strong students, who are genuine practitioners and representatives of Sanatana Dharma (Krishna consciousness), who will be like beacon lights for guiding the rest of the society in spiritual life.
2.To train students in the philosophy of Krishna consciousness, its universal applicability especially to the present day generation, its profound depth along with logic & reason.
3.To train students to become preachers of Sanatana Dharma.
4.To develop Personality and build up Character of youth, to give real meaning to their lives, to live a God-centered life of purity and dedication with love and trust amongst one another.
5.To identify the talents in youth, and dovetail their talents for the service of God.
6.To render the most noble service of 'JNANA DAAN' distributing the sublime message of Vedas through spiritual books distribution at subsidized prices for youth.
7.To scientifically present Krishna conscious philosophy through all possible mediums of communication - Books, Notes, Video/ Audio Cassettes, OHP presentations, Slide shows, Dramas, Charts, Pictures, Magazines, etc.
8.To teach how to practice the science of Pure Love of God,which is the real goal of life, which alone can situate every living being back in his constitutional position of being the eternal servant of God in the Kingdom of God.
What Happens At IYF?
Youth Books: IYF brings out easy-to-understand books for the youth to understand the Vedic wisdom in a scientific way. The prominent publications are 'Essence of Bhagavad Gita (a simplified version of the wisdom of Bhagavad-gita), 'Spirituality foj the Modern Youth' - comprising of 'Discover Yourself, 'Your Best Friend', 'Your Secret Journey', 'Victory over Death', 'and ' Yoga of Love' and also pocket books like 'The Art of Mind Control'. 'Practical Tips to Mind Control', 'Life after Death' and Secret of Everlasting Happiness'.
Children Books: IYF has also published various course books for children, which present Krishna consciousness in a way just suitable for their tender minds. For children in the age group 5-10, there are three books - Getting to Know Krishna, Advent of Lord Krishna and Wonderful Krishna. And for those in the age group 10-15, there are three books - Krishna's Childhood Pastimes, Krishna's Boyhood Pastimes and Krishna's Pastimes with Demigods.
Magazines: IYF also brings out three cyber magazines free for different levels of audience:
1.The Spiritual Scientist: Introduces newcomers to Krishna conscious philosophy in a scientific way.
2.Bhagyavan Jiva: Provides Krishna conscious nectar to upcoming devotees.
3.Suhrt: Gives fixed-up devotees insights into subtle aspects of Krishna consciousness.
One-time programs: Conducting one-time programs in the various engineering colleges like VIT, MIT, COET, COEP, BVP, PICT, SSPMS, SIT, DY Patil, REC Warangal, IIT Kharagpur and various companies of Pune is a regular activity. This program involves a Color Slide show, Q-A, Quiz and Prasad at the end. Hundreds of students attend these programs.
Regular Programs: IYF also conducts six-session courses and weekly programs near the colleges to help interested students to systematically assimilate the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita. Weekend IYF meeting: The IYF meeting every Saturday evening serves as an opportunity for the entire IYF family - studying and working devotees - to come together for arti, kirtan, class and prasad. Separate classes are held for upcoming and fixed-up devotees.
Public Speaking: IYF members are trained to present philosophical lectures based on various topics of Bhagavad-gita. There is a weekend IYF meeting held every Saturday for this purpose. Leadership: IYF members are also trained in developing leadership qualities like time management, sensitivity to other' feelings etc. They are also trained in playing instruments like mridangam, kartals, in singing devotional songs etc.
Yoga Retreat Camps
Weekend 3-day residential yoga retreat camps are held during the first half of each semester where the participants get a firsthand glimpse spiritual life through an enlivening blend of OHP and color slide presentations on Bhagavad-gita. devotional music, Mantra Meditation, Video show, Color slide show, Quizzes, Dramas, Sloka recitation, Self study etc. This intensive training gives the participants a fair idea about how to lead their life perfectly with proper knowledge of the goal of life besides performing their regular duties.
Jnana Daan Yajna (Book Distribution)
IYF devotees distribute a set of 5 books of Srila Prabhupada to the student community at highly subsidized rates. Thousands of books containing the divine wisdom of the Vedas have thus reached the students through this jnana daan Yajna.
Bhaktivedanta Academy for Culture & Education (BACE)
BACE is a systematic preaching forum that comprises of the youth wing, IYF (ISKCON Youth Forum), the children wing, BPS (Bhakta Prahlad school) and the corporate preaching wing, FOLK (Friends of Lord Krishna). The BACE has also established satellite youth centres close to the colleges. These centers are one of the most innovative and revolutionary projects devoted to the holistic upliftement of the youth.
When a person is sick he goes to the doctor, but if he is terribly sick then the doctor has to go to his house to treat him. In the same way, as Kali Yuga is progressing the modern youth is getting carried away by the false propaganda of sensual delight and is becoming increasingly spiritually sick. The BACE youth centres very close to the colleges are meant for training students in character build-up and personality development. These are centers of spiritual excellence where exemplary students are living, practicing and propagating the sublime message of the Vedas and its applicability to the modern times. Hundreds of books, audiotapes and videocassettes along with cubicle facilities are also available for youths. Being practically next door to the college, these BACEs are easily accessible to the students. Now IYF Pune has 10 BACE youth centres and in a brief span of time these have transformed the lives of hundreds of students and have made them a valuable asset for the family, society and nation.
Bhakta Prahlad School (BPS)
The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. IYF has therefore started preaching to children through the BPS. In this children school, many engineering students of IYF as well as many congregation members take the leading role as teachers. BPS classes are held once a week for about 3 hours in various parts of Pune. Children below 10 are trained in painting, sloka recitation, story telling & music. Children between 10-15 are trained in prayers recitation, sloka recitation, stories from scriptures, personality development & character buildup and using creative skills in God.'s service. Many times in a year all these children come together to have a Balotsava (children's festival) in the temple. IYF also has many many more activities like feeding prasadam to the poor, harinaam sankirtan, etc.
How Does IYF Operate?
IYF has more than 1000 engineering student & working members and a Core Group comprising of around 60 members. A Planning & Coordination Committee (PCC) comprising of around 40 dedicated members guides all the varieties of programs conducted by IYF all over Pune. All members of IYF are given proper guidance on a personal basis through a Counselling system. For more clarification, you may correspond at the following address:
Radheshyam das, M. Tech (HT) Director, ISKCON Youth Forum (IYF).