Teaching Hinduism is not always easy. Teachers and students face so many challenges: unfamiliar concepts, foreign terms, cultural differences, the “one God or many” conundrum, general misconceptions, and misleading stereotypes. Apart from these, there is no one leader, no one founder, no clear starting point, and what’s more – how do you define Hinduism anyway? We cannot simply squeeze Hinduism into a framework based on more familiar religious traditions; we require a fresh perspective in order to understand it in context, enriched by those who live it.
In the beginning
In 1990 Rasamandala sent a mailout to all schools in England, Wales and Scotland – “Would they like help in teaching Hinduism?” The replies came pouring in in the thousands – an astounding 11% reply rate. From necessity ISKCON Educational Services was born! Rasa was soon joined by his brother Indriyesha, and along with a few volunteers they were soon serving two hundred schools per year. With raw enthusiasm and a policy that “RE is about understanding, not belief”, they developed new activities, workshops and lesson plans as they went along. Their pioneering work was sometimes challenging, oftentimes scary, but always exciting!
Avesha Presentations Hinduism Workshops for Schools
With the help of teachers, RE advisers and other professionals, IES grew and established itself further by producing resources and publishing books. Then in 2007 Krishna, Indri’s wife, started Avesha Presentations Hinduism Workshops for Schools. Seeing how the growing demand from schools in the home counties for visits to Bhaktivedanta Manor was occupying the temple to capacity, she became inspired to offer guest speaker visits to schools on a comprehensive scale all over the UK.
Hinduism Education Services
In Spring 2015, after twenty-five years of service, Indri, wishing to concentrate on teaching rather than management, retired from IES to join Krishna in Avesha Presentations. Subsequently in 2016, after moving to the East Midlands, the husband and wife team expanded their remit and renamed the organisation Hinduism Education Services.
Indri and Krishna continue to serve the RE community nationally with the aim of showing that Hinduism is easily understandable, accessible and relevant – and, of course, exciting. Teaching Hinduism is not always easy . . . but sometimes it can be.