(1975). "What is Bhaktivedanta Institute?": Aims and Objectives, December 1975

"What is Bhaktivedanta Institute?"

Aims and Objectives, December 1975


"The Bhaktivedanta Institute for Vedic Studies is the official institution of higher learning and research for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). There are hundreds of departments of knowledge for advanced study in thousands of institutions all over the world, but there is practically not a single department dealing with the science of atma, the 'self', and the relations between jivatma (individual self) and Paramatma (Superself). Ironically, atma-jnana, the science of the self is the most important branch of knowledge. However, this branch of knowledge is completely neglected and as a result everybody is struggling hard for existence. In spite of the many scientific and technoilogical advances, people are suffering and are confused so much in all respects, scientifically, technologically, politically, and sociologically, morally and ethically. The root cause of all these is due to the complete lack of this very science of atma and its real duty. There is, thus, a great necessity to impart this imperishable supreme science to everyone, young and old. The Bhaktivedanta Institute is an attempt to fulfill this basic necessity of utmost importance."

Svarupa Damodara (later Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Maharaja), the founding Director of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, included this document as part of a letter he sent to Bhaktivedana Swami Prabhupada (26 December 1975). It also included a set of papers describing an extended list of early members, along with a detailed curriculum proposal for higher education. Click here to view a copy of the original full set of materials.

Bhaktivedanta Swami's reply to Svarupa Damodara (10 January 1976), approving this early proposal for a BI mission statement of purpose, can be viewed here.

In 1977, the BI published a formal mission statement with the title, "About Bhaktivedanta Institute." It was included in materials produced for the innagural Bhaktivedanta Institute "Life Comes From Life" conference hosted in Vrindavan India. One example can be viewed here. A recently released fascimile reprint compilation offers a comprehensive collection of publications and other historical documents related to the 1977 conference.