Activities

There are an abundance of educational activities and service opportunities at Jiva Institute.  Some highlights include:

  • Teachings by Dr. Satyanarayana Dasa: Seminars and daily classes on Shrimad Bhagavatam and other Shastras. He also teaches summer courses at the State University of New Jersey, Rutgers, USA and Mississippi State University, USA. Students from Rutgers University also come to study at Jiva Institute in Vrindavan during their winter vacation.
  • Sanskrit School for Indian and international students at its Institute in Vrindavan and its branch in nearby Radha Kunda. Through our partnership with Sampurnananda Sanskrit University in Benares, Jiva’s Sanskrit School offers students the ability to pursue undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate degrees. Classes are taught in English and in Hindi. In addition to studying grammar, scholars from around the world also frequent the Institute to study philosophical scripture under the guidance of renowned Sanskrit scholar, Dr. Satyanarayana Dasa.
  • Music School teaches traditional Indian Music to students of all abilities and levels of experience.  It is our mission to preserve the classical tradition of Indian Music and to inspire a lifelong connection to the art.   Whether you are a professional musician, have never picked up an instrument, or are somewhere in between, Jiva Music can create a custom program to fit your needs.  Course programs range from several days to multiple year study. Jiva’s outstanding faculty consists of master teachers in the following disciplines: Vocal, Sitar, Percussion ( Mridanga, Tabla, Dholak, Djambe) and Music Therapy.  Meet our team of teachers:

 

Dr. Acharya Trigunateet Jaimini

Dr Acharya JaiminiJaimini teaches sitar and music therapy.  He holds a Ph.D. in Music from M.J.P. Rohilkhand University Bareilly as well as five masters degrees in the fine arts, humanities, and Hindi.   Jaimini conducts lectures at various universities and institutes throughout India. He is trained in the classic Dhrupad tradition of music particular to the Vraja region of North India and made famous by the internationally renowned musician, Tansen.

Jaimini also offers courses in music therapy.  Hippocrates, the Greek philosopher who pioneered the Western System of medicine, used music in the healing process. The healing effects of music therapy have been observed in plants, animals, and humans.  Jaimini has brought relief to students suffering from stress, insomnia and various mental and physical ailments.

 

Gopal Kamal Vatsa Upadhyaya

Gopal is professional musician and teacher of percussion instruments including mridanga, tabla, dholak and djambe. He holds a Masters Degree in Music from Banaras Hindu University.  Gopal studied under  Dr. Uddhav in Banaras and has performed over 150 live concerts  in India and Asia. His teaching style merges the theoretical and practical understanding of percussion.

Schoolchildren and Staff at the entrance of Jiva Institute

 

  • Children’s Project: Jiva Institute of Vaishnava Studies is committed to supporting the health of its community and children.  The purpose of the Jiva Children’s Project is to provide nutritious meals and clean drinking water to the one hundred children living nearby the Institute who don’t have access to these basic services. Poverty and malnutrition affect over half the Indian population.  Daily income of impoverished families is less than 2 US $ per day and these economic circumstances often prevent children from having an opportunity of living a healthy and happy life. While poverty and malnutrition are endemic in India and around the world, Jiva is committed to making a difference in its Vrindavan community to support the health and well-being of its children.If you would like to make a donation to the Jiva Children’s Project, please contact Jaya at: jaya@jiva.org
  • Goshala & Cow Service:  Feeding cows is very auspicious in Vedic Culture. Caring for and protecting cows is one of the oldest and most important features of Vedic culture. Cows are considered holy in India. They maintain human life through providing milk and tilling the land.

    Cows also serve as a practical example of proper conduct for humanity as they work for the welfare of other beings without causing them distress.  Goshala means the home of protected cows. Jiva Institute maintains a small Goshala at its facility for residents to interact with India’s sacred animal. Jiva Institute also supports several larger Goshalas in Vrindavan where residents are able to render service to the cows. Jiva ensures its students and residents the opportunity to participate in the timeless tradition of cow service and to benefit from the qualities of humility, compassion and selflessness such work instills in one’s character.

  • Bio-Faming: Jiva Institute of Vaishnava Studies believes in the importance of an organic lifestyle and this begins with the food we eat.  Jiva owns 17 acres of farmland around Vrindavan where it grows the organic grains and vegetables consumed at its Institute.  While refraining from using pesticides and chemicals is important, organic farming goes beyond these fundamental principles.  It encompasses the environment, agricultural traditions, traditional seeds, animal protection, community, responsible resource use, and resource conservation.  Organic agriculture is based on the maintenance of local community through adhering to its inherent ecological cycles and conditions rather than using external inputs, which ultimately yield adverse effects.

    Satyanarayana Dasa (r.) and Professors of Jiva Institute on the Jiva Farm in Vrindavan

    Organic farming promotes a high quality of life for all living being involved. India has been steeped in the ancient wisdom of farming since the dawn of human civilization. The enlightened sages living in the forests understood the rhythms of nature and how humans could exist in synergy instead of opposition to these rhythms. Jiva Institute is committed to preserving this ancient knowledge and integrating it into our lives. We are currently offering internships and volunteer positions in organic farming.  Please contact Jaya at: jaya @ jiva.org for additional information.

Future Plans and Projects

Jiva Institute of Vaishnava Studies is constantly planning, evolving and improving itself for the future. Our plans include:

1. To conduct research in Vaishnava literature. Apart from translating texts and conducting classes and seminars, Jiva will also conduct research in specific topics of Vaishnava literature and publish conclusions in the Jiva newsletter and other publications.

2. To create critical editions of the major works of the Gosvamis.

3. To reprint rare and out-of-print books in their original language. This keeps books from going out of existence.

4. Setting up a university that represents the complete conception of Vedic culture in a modern context.

5. Expanding our online courses for promoting Sanskrit language, philosophy and other Indian sciences, such as astrology and music.

6. To establish an art department for illustrating the books produced at Jiva Institute.

7. Publishing popular editions of Vedic texts and entry-level books on Vedic culture and philosophy.

8. Digitalizing its manuscripts to make them accessible to a wider body of people. We want to make ancient texts, written on mango leaves and tree bark, available on this website in the near future.

 

The following projects have already been taken up by Jiva:

Translation with commentary of Jiva Gosvami’s Sat Sandarbhas

  • The Bhagavat Sandarbha is edited and ready for typesetting.
  • Editing of the Paramatma Sandarbha is in progress.
  • The Tattva Sandarbha needs to be revised and reprinted.
  • The Siddhanta Darpana of Baladeva Vidyabhusana is in the editing stage.
  • A commentary on Sarva Samvadini by Jiva Gosvami is in progress.
  • A translation of the slokas of the Bhagavad Gita, along with a summary of each chapter, is soon to be published.
  • A commentary on the Second Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is in need of editing.
  • The writing of the books “Understanding Shastra,” “Acintya Bhedabheda: Theology of Gaudiya Vaishnavism” and “Art of Love” is in progress.
  • We are creating virtual reality projects of different sites around Vrindavan which simulate their historical settings around 5200 years ago.