CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne

londonThe 2008 International Conference
Twenty Years and More: Research into Minority Religions, New Religious Movements and 'the New Spirituality'

An International Conference organized by INFORM and CESNUR in association with ISORECEA at the London School of Economics, 16-20th April 2008

The role of the Hare Krishnas In mitigating the Social Menace of Hiv/Aids in Nigeria

by Vasudev Das (Institute for Applied Spiritual Technology, Nigeria)

A paper presented at the 2008 International Conference, London, UK. Preliminary version. Please do not reproduce or quote without the consent of the author.



The social implications of HIV/AIDS on Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. USAIDS asseverates that in 2005 there were 220,000 AIDS death; 930,000 AIDS orphans (ages 0-17); 1,600,000 women age 15-49 with HIV/AIDS; and 2,600,000 adults age 15-49 with HIV/AIDS. Consequently destitution and other societal nuisance soar.   The Hare Krishnas have been transforming the lives of more than a few Nigerians for better through their Vaisnava education courses in self-realization, mantra meditation, diet therapy, sonic therapy, community of inquiry (COI), sexual-restraint/celibacy and God realization which are relevant to HIV/AIDS prevention. In sonic therapy, the clientele/learner is inculcated in the principles/practice of audition and recapitulation of transcendental sound vibrations that help to curb the excesses of the sex drive and thereby facilitate abstinence which is virtually a guaranteed prevention against HIV/AIDS.  The Hare Krishnas also embark on inter-religious, public enlightenment and media campaigns on the principles, practice and merits of sexual-restraint/celibacy; school visitation and sexual counseling support for youths; and provision of food to HIV/AIDS related victims. The study espied the foregoing and proffers abstinence through sonic and diet therapy amongst others as pragmatic approach to mitigating the social menace of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.   


Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or HIV/AIDS has proven dreadful by catapulting more than a few of its captives in Nigeria to the abode of Yamaraja (the superintendent of death).  The “hit and run” disease has wrecked havoc on more than few youths, women and men. Prabhupada (2003) posits that disease, old age and death are inevitable impositions on the embodied soul.

HIV/AIDS is a growing menace in Nigeria. USAID (2008) asseverates that Nigeria accounts for nearly 10 percent of the HIV/AIDS burden in the world, with 4 million of its citizens seropositive, that is, living with the infection, a number that may increase to between 7 and 9 million by 2010, if no urgent action is taken. USAID (2008) asserts that HIV/AIDS has turned one million Nigerian children into orphans and that the figures will be more than triple over the next seven years. Imagine a nation replete with orphans and devoid of adults because they have died of AIDS. Consequently destitution and other societal nuisance soar.

In 2005 there were 220,000 AIDS death; 930,000 AIDS orphans (ages 0-17); 240,000 children with HIV/AIDS; 1,600,000 women age 15-49 with HIV/AIDS; 2,600,000 adults age 15-49 with HIV/AIDS; and adults HIV prevalence was 3.9 percent in Nigeria (USAID 2006). According to USAID (2008), fear, stigma, and discrimination against People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are high. According to Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS 2002) HIV population in Nigeria stood at 4,064,556, new AIDS cases at 261,672 and AIDS deaths pegged at 220,540 in the year 2002.

HIV/AIDS attacks without discrimination. It is devastating to people of all ages, genders, tribes and religions  irregardless whether one is a gay, “straight”, a drug user or not. It could reach anyone in the most innocent of ways and that is what makes it dangerous. It has been brought to limelight that more than a few people living with HIV/AIDS do not wish to die alone (Vasudev 2000A; 2000C). They would go out their way to distribute the disease through indiscriminate sexual affairs. The case of HIV positive ‘call girls’ (prostitutes) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, who went to rape men and revealed that they were HIV carriers, corroborates the foregoing (Vasudev 2000A). 

Nigerian star Fela Anikulapo-Kuti had the gift of music and a personal courage that made him a larger-than-life figure. He had millions fans all over the world and was a political activist who spoke up for the rights of people and never hesitated to criticize corrupt leaders. Many powerful people in politics and the military wanted him silenced, but nothing, not even jail and torture, could break his spirit or quiet his voice. What silenced him where nothing else could was AIDS. Fela died from the disease in 1997, at the age of 58. (UNICEF 2000)

HIV/AIDS has become a social menace in Nigeria; it turns women into widows, children into orphans and weakens the breadwinner.  In addition to its horrendous human consequences, it weakens societies, destroys productive forces, reduces life expectancy, and demolish social structures (UNAIDS 2002).

HIV/AIDS is not only a horrifying illness; it is also a major challenge to development.  Oluwagbemiga (2007) posits that HIV/AIDS and the inaccessibility of available means to prevent and treat it (especially in developing countries, where 90% of the infected people are concentrated), is a demonstration of the catastrophic human consequences of a world characterized by inequality and unfairness in distribution of resources. Horizons (Oluwagbemiga 2007) pointed out that most of the people affected by HIV are men and women in their most productive and reproductive years.  They eventually leave behind children and dependants when they die. More tragic yet is the rate at which infections among these children are increasing, and with no access to sophisticated medical care, these children have little chance of surviving. Thirty-three percent of children born to HIV/AIDS mothers will probably be infected with HIV at birth (UNAIDS 2001).This means that over two thirds of the children of HIV infected mothers, even if they may be lucky not to be infected at birth, will become orphans before school age.

Given the heavy burden the HIV/AIDS pandemic places on women, children and relatives, there is a need for more information on the socio-economic consequences of
this disease, as little has been done in this area. By killing productive adults who are the key family providers, HIV/AIDS obliterates social networks that provide households with community help and support. Survivors are left with few relatives upon whom to depend. The consequential effects of modernization and present day economic realities have eroded this traditional safety net for many Africans. The support of the extended family kinships no longer exists in many countries. Oluwagbemiga (2007) argues that yet, some of the rights intrinsic to kin relationships of the past are still sometimes in place, but without the obligations they entailed.  Yamba (Oluwagbemiga 2007) asseverates that property grabbing is a common scenario these days, where relatives of the deceased may emerge to take possession of his property, not offering the widow and children the care and support that were part of this custom. The widow and her children are therefore often left dispossessed.

The family, which is the agent of socialization, has been dissolved, due to the presence of the disease within the households, as parents die and children are sent to
relatives. It is pertinent to pose these questions: Can social relationships and family ties still remain strong in urban centers with the rate of transmission of this
disease? Although treatments for AIDS and HIV exist to decelerate the virus’s progression, there is currently no known cure; it can be prevented through education, awareness and precautionary methods.

In this paper we will bring to limelight the role of the Hare Krishna Movement, otherwise known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) of Nigeria, in mitigating the social menace of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. First, let us say a few things on the causes of HIV/AIDS.

 AIDS: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Exams and Tests

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the final and most serious stage of HIV which causes severe damage to the immune system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia 2006), AIDS begins when a person with HIV infection has a CD4 cell count below 200. CD4 cells are also called "T-cells" or "helper cells"; they are a type of immune cell. AIDS is also defined by numerous opportunistic infections and cancers that occur in the presence of HIV infection (MPME 2006).
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS. The virus attacks the immune system and leaves the body vulnerable to a variety of life-threatening infections and cancers. Common bacteria, yeast, parasites, and viruses that ordinarily do not cause serious disease in people with healthy immune systems can cause fatal illnesses in people with AIDS. HIV has been found in saliva, tears, nervous system tissue and spinal fluid, blood, semen (including pre-seminal fluid), vaginal fluid, and breast milk (MPME 2006). However, only blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk generally transmit infection to others (MPME 2006).
Transmission of the virus occurs:

According to MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia (2006) HIV infection is not spread by casual contact such as hugging, by touching items previously touched by a person infected with the virus, during participation in sports, or by mosquitoes. It is not transmitted to a person who donates blood or organs. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia (MPME 2006) asserts that those who donate organs are not in direct contact with those who receive them. Likewise, a person who donates blood is not in contact with the person receiving it. In all these procedures, sterile needles and instruments are used.
Other transmission methods are rare and include accidental needle injury, artificial insemination with donated semen, and organ transplants (MPME 2006). However, HIV can be transmitted to a person receiving blood or organs from an infected donor (MPME 2006). In the circumstances, therefore, blood banks and organ donor programs screen donors, blood, and tissues thoroughly.
Those at highest risk include:

AIDS begins with HIV infection. People infected with HIV may have no symptoms for ten years or longer, but they can still transmit the infection to others during this symptom-free period (MPME 2006). Meanwhile, if the infection is not detected and treated, the immune system gradually weakens, and AIDS develops.
According to MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia (2006), acute HIV infection progresses over time to asymptomatic HIV infection and then to early symptomatic HIV infection. Later, it progresses to AIDS (defined as very advanced HIV infection with T-cell count below 200).
Most individuals infected with HIV, if not treated, will develop AIDS. There is a small group of patients who develop AIDS very slowly, or never at all. These patients are called non-progressors, and many seem to have a genetic difference that prevents the virus from attaching to certain immune receptors (MPME 2006).


The symptoms of AIDS are primarily the result of infections that do not normally develop in individuals with healthy immune systems. These are called opportunistic infections (MPME 2006). Patients with AIDS have had their immune system depleted by HIV and are very susceptible to such opportunistic infections. Common symptoms are fevers, sweats (particularly at night), swollen glands, chills, weakness, and weight loss.
Keep in mind that initial infection with HIV can produce no symptoms. Most people, however, do experience flu-like symptoms with fever, rash, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes, usually two weeks after contracting the virus. Some people with HIV infection remain without symptoms for years between the time of exposure and development of AIDS.

Exams and Tests   

The following is a list of AIDS-related infections and cancers that people with AIDS acquire as their CD4 count decreases. Previously, having AIDS was defined as having HIV infection and getting one of these additional diseases. Now it is additionally defined as a CD4 count below 200, even without an opportunistic infection. Many other illnesses and corresponding symptoms may develop in addition to those listed here.
Common with CD4 count below 350 cells/ml:

CD4 count below 200 cells/ml

CD4 count below 100 cells/ml

CD4 count below 50/ml

In addition to the CD4 count, HIV RNA load, and basic screening lab tests, regular vaginal Pap smears are important to monitor in HIV infection, due to the increased risk of cervical cancer in immunocompromised patients (MPME 2006). MPME (2006) asseverates that anal Pap smears to detect potential cancers may also be important in both HIV infected men and women.

The Rudiments of HIV Operation

After many, many years of peering at the virus particles through the electron microscope, more than a few scientists have still not ceased to be amazed and excited by the precision and intricacy of design in something so very, very small. A virus is smaller than a bacterium, which in turn is much smaller than the average human cell. According to epidemiologists, human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is so small that 230 million [particles of HIV] would fit on the period at the end of this sentence. A virus cannot multiply unless it infiltrates a host cell and commandeers the cell’s resources (Vasudev 2003D).

When HIV invades the human body, it must contend with the considerable forces that are at the disposal of the immune system. A defense network composed of white blood cells is produced in the bone marrow. The white blood cells include two main types of lymphocytes known as T cells and B cells. Some other blood cells are called phagocytes, or “cell eaters.”     

HIV is classified as a retrovirus. The genetic blueprint of HIV is in the form of RNA (ribonucleic acid) and not DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). HIV belongs to a specific subgroup of retroviruses known as lentiviruses because it can be latent for a lengthy period before serious symptoms of the disease become manifest. When HIV gains entry into a host cell, it is able to use the cell’s mechanism to further its own many copies of HIV. However, before it can do this, HIV must use a different “language.” It must change its own RNA into DNA so that it can be read and understood by the host cell’s machinery (Vasudev 2003D). To accomplish this, HIV employs a viral enzyme called reverse transcriptase. In time, the cell dies, after first producing thousands of new HIV particles. These newly produced particles infect other cells.

Once the number of helper T cells has dropped significantly, other forces can overrun the body without fear of attack. The body succumbs to all sorts of diseases and infections. The infected individual has advanced to full-blown AIDS. HIV has succeeded in crippling the whole immune system. This is a simplified explication of how HIV operates.

HIV/AIDS StatesPrevalence in Nigeria

According to Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS 2002) HIV population in Nigeria stands at 4,064,556, new AIDS cases at 261,672 and AIDS deaths pegged at 220,540 in the year 2002.  As far as HIV/AIDS is concerned no state in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a “sacred cow”. It’s ubiquitous and it is menacingly spreading its tentacles in virtually all nooks and crannies.  In 2001, Benue State had the highest prevalence rate of 13.5%, followed by Akwa-Ibom State, Federal Capital Territory – Abuja and Plateau State having 10.7%, 10.2% and 8.5% respectively. These are closely followed by Gombe State – 8.2%, Nasarawa State – 8.1%, and Cross River – 8% rates of prevalence. Rivers State has a prevalence rate of 7.7% ranking next by her neighbor state, Bayelsa with a prevalence rate of 7.2%.

State HIV Prevalence in 2001

S/N State 2001
1 Admawa 4.5
2 Anambra 6.5
3 Benue 13.5
4 Borno 4.5
5 Cross River 8
6 Delta 5.8
7 Edo 5.7
8 Enugu 5.2
9 Kaduna 5.6
10 Kano 3.8
11 Kwara 4.3
12 Lagos 3.5
13 Osun 4.3
14 Oyo 4.2
15 Plateau 8.5
16 Sokoto 2.8
17 Abia 3.3
18 Ebonyi 6.2
19 Imo 4.3
20 Ekiti 3.2
21 Ogun 3.5
22 Ondo 6.7
23 Jigawa 1.8
24 Katsina 3.5
25 Kebbi 4
26 Zamfara 3.5
27 Bauchi 6.8
28 Gombe 8.2
29 Taraba 6.2
30 Yobe 3.5
31 FCT 10.2
32 Kogi 5.7
33 Nasarawa 8.1
34 Niger 4.5
35 Akwaq-Ibom 10.7
36 Bayelsa 7.2
37 Rivers 7.7

HIV Prevalence in Nigeria (National Average) is 5.8%.


HIV Prevalence among Adolescent and Young Adult:
Ages 15 and 19 years is 5.9%
Ages 20 and 24 years is 6.0%
Ages 25 and 29 years is 6.3%
Source: Adopted from Journalists Against AIDS
 The prevalent rate among sex workers in major urban areas in Nigeria rose from 30.5% in 1996 to 34.2% in 1998, while among Nigerian youths aged 20 to 24 years the prevalence rate rose from 4.3% in 1996 to 9.7% in 1998 (Kinsete 2001:55-57). There has always been gross under reporting as pointed out earlier. In Enugu State the prevalence rate increased from 2.3% in 1996 to 16.7% in 1999. A similar increased prevalence rate of HIV greater than 10% was found in eight other areas in the country (Anih 2002). HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among young women between 15 to 24 years of age is almost twice that of the male counterpart: Young women prevalence rate was between 4.35% and 5.89% as against male counterpart of between 1.68% and 3.35% in 1999. (Anih 2002)  

The role of the Hare Krishnas in Mitigating the Social Menace of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) also known as the Hare Krishna Movement is a spiritual/non-sectarian religious organization which has its root in Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the international movement had ISKCON incorporated in New York in 1996, and since then the Movement has spread virtually all over the globe.

The Hare Krishnas have been transforming the lives of more than a few Nigerians for better through their Vaisnava education courses in self-realization, mantra meditation, diet therapy, sonic therapy, community of inquiry (COI), sexual-restraint/celibacy and God realization which are relevant to HIV/AIDS prevention. West African Hare Krishna leader - Bhakti-Dhira Damodara Swami (2008), asserts that in 1995-2000, 1,301 people benefited from the Hare Krishna Vaisnava education program; and in 2001-2006, 1, 408 people benefited from the Hare Krishna Vaisnava education program in Nigeria.

In sonic therapy, the clientele/learner is inculcated in the principles/practice of audition and recapitulation of transcendental sound vibrations that help to curb the excesses of the sex drive and thereby facilitate abstinence which is virtually a guaranteed prevention against HIV/AIDS. The Hare Krishnas also embark on inter-religious, public enlightenment and media campaigns on the principles, practice and merits of sexual-restraint/celibacy; school visitation and sexual counseling support for youths; and provision of food to HIV/AIDS related victims.

On daily basis the Hare Krishnas serve free vegetarian meals to all and sundry who visit any of their 12 major centers in Nigeria. The food distribution is extended to motherless babies, destitute, and People Living With AIDS (PLWA) and other HIV/AIDS related victims homes.  Over two million plates of vegetarian meals were served out to the public in 1995-2000 including PLWA and other HIV/AIDS related victims (Bhakti-Dhira 2008).

What is Vaisnava Education?

Vaisnava education is a process, an activity or experience which brings about required changes in behavior of the learner rooted in God consciousness. Literarily, Vaisnava means one who is dedicated to the worship of Vishnu or the Supreme Lord (Prabhupada 1996). According to Vedic literature (Prabhupada 2003) Vishnu is a plenary portion of Krishna. In a nutshell, Vaisnava education is centrally on anti-material emancipation. Vaisnava education elicits the desired relatively permanent change in the learner so as to extricate him/her from enslavement to the mundane sensory modalities. Self-realization is embedded in the Vaisnava education (Vasudev 2003D).

The Challenge of the Curriculum Paradigm Implicit in Vaisnava Education in Mitigating the Social Menace of HIV/AIDS Pandemic

Self-Realization: A desired Tool in Vaisnava Education in Mitigating the HIV/AIDS Social Menace
National Policy on Education (1998) posits that for Nigeria’s philosophy of education to be in harmony with her national goals, education has to be geared towards self-realization, better human relationship, individual and national efficiency, etc.
 Akinboye (1996) asserts that education may be described as the applied science of psychology. This is because every aspect of educational enterprise is basically influenced by psychological principles. Education has its root in the Latin word educare,or ‘to bring forth’. Hridayananda (2000) avers that this implies self-realization. According to applied Vedic science (Prabhupada 1996, 2003, 1998) self-realization is the moment to moment awareness of the atma, or ‘self’. Self-realization entails knowledge of the atma or ‘self’ and realizing same in practical terms. Self-realization stresses the need to discipline the mind in understanding and realizing man’s pristine identity, and this would undoubtedly help the child in his further decisions in life. When self-realization is inculcated in the child in early childhood, right type of values and attitudes for survival of the individual and society at large are enhanced. The learner would not grow up to be at the risk of having to rely on condoms which only reduce the chance of HIV infection by 80% (Kirtananda 1988)

Vaisnava education, in its fundamentals, inculcates in the learner that the learner is a tripartite being: the physical body composed of earth, water, fire, air and ether; the metaphysical or ethereal or astral body made of mind, intelligence and false ego; and ultimately the atma or ‘self’ which is our pristine identity.

Rudimentarily, the basic characteristic features of the atma, or ‘self’ are: (1) he is the infinitesimal part and parcel of the Absolute Truth (2) he spreads throughout the body in the form of consciousness (3) he is different from the body (the field of atma’s activities), being its knower and observer (4) he is eternal, that is, the atma or ‘self’ is neither created nor destroyed (5) he is the superior energy of the Absolute Truth (6) the atma is full of knowledge (7) he is ever blissful (8) he is ever fresh or un-decaying (9) he is changeless  (10) he is self illuminated (Prabhupada 2003)

These qualities of the atma, or ‘self’ are obviously beyond the realm of molecular interaction., According to applied Vedic science (Prabhupada 2003) life can be defined as the nonphysical, fundamental particle called the atma, or ‘self’ which is characterized by consciousness. Just as a passenger can obtain information about his vehicle and its surrounding by interpreting certain instruments within the vehicle, similarly, the atma or ‘self’ can ascertain the condition in its body and bodily environment interpreting the physical states of the body’s brain (Prabhupada 2003). In the present age of hypocrisy and defense mechanisms self-realization begins with sonic therapy (Vasudev 2000A).     

The Role of Vaisnava Education in Curbing HIV/AIDS
            In preparing the learner to be able to deal squarely with the socio-economic and political problems of life, the curriculum of Vaisnava education makes provision for inculcating in the learner basic techniques of mastery over the sensory modalities of speech, mind’s demands, actions of anger, and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals through sonic therapy (Prabhupada 1986). This is very significant because if one is a slave to his/her sensory modalities one would be living a life of crass insecurity.  That is, he/she could die at any moment as a result of unrestrained endeavor for gratification of the sensory modalities. This is exactly what is taking place with HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The curriculum paradigm implicit in Vaisnava education adopted by the Hare Krishnas in Nigeria, therefore, makes provision for therapeutic methodologies such as sonic therapy cum diet therapy that engenders in the learner a life of transformation from bestial culture to a transcendental consciousness, in which the learner can become a goswami or one who has control over his sensory modalities. This is one elementary objective in Vaisnava education.  A goswami, for instance, is not enslaved by his/her sex impulse and stands the chance of not being ensnared by sexual allurement which could very be devastating in this era of HIV/AIDS.  Rather he/she leads a purifying life of dovetailing all his/her activities in bhakti-yoga or non-mechanistic science of unalloyed loving devotion to the Absolute Truth known in Sanskrit nomenclature as Krishna.

Self-restraint, a most cherished value in fighting against HIV/AIDS in society is but one of the concomitants of unalloyed devotion to the Absolute Truth. Goswamis or those who have mastery over their genitals are products of Vaisnava education because from the very onset of institutionalized Vaisnava education, the learner is brought to bear: Aham brahmasmi or “I am not the body but spirit soul” (Prabhupada 1996). And the learner is cultured how to realize this. Furthermore, the learner is impressed with the basic idea that the objective criterion of human existence is transcendental inquiries: Athato brahma jijnasa or “Now we have to inquire into the Absolute Truth.” And the learner is shown the green light on how to prosecute this. Basic facts of anti-material culture are implanted in the learner pedagogically and andragogically so that he/she will ultimately achieve the goal of civilized human existence which is to return home, back to Godhead, after quitting the present bodily tabernacle. Vaisnava education brings to bear that everything else (occupations) the embodied soul is engaged in is geared towards just keeping body and soul together but ultimately the victory in human sojourn is escaping the hash impositions on the embodied soul of birth, old age, disease and death. Therefore supramundane professors of Vaisnava education would regularly recite mantras or sound vibrations that free the mind from anxieties, to their students’ hearing so as to facilitate the students’ de-incarceration from mundane inebriety. This is technically called sonic therapy.

A mantra is highly purifying non-material sound vibration which cleanses the dirt on the mirror of the mind of the living entity (student). The term mantra has its etymological root in two Sanskrit words, man, or mind and tra, or to free. Mantra means to free the mind from anxiety.   

Vaisnava education is enshrined with rich curriculum that enhances both teacher and the learner expedient ways of cultivating detachment from the bestial state of affairs as opposed to modern pedagogical slant of education curriculum geared towards nescience and replete with sensual aggrandizements in all ramifications. It’s not surprising therefore that the resultant products of our modern day curriculum are inclined towards animalistic orientation of eating, sleeping, mating (sex) and fighting. But this is posing a lot of problems for society. Virtually everyone in the human society is aware that the safest and guaranteed way of prevention against HIV/AIDS is abstinence but the protagonist of prevention against HIV/AIDS would prefer to advocate for “safe sex” with condoms. More than a few of the protagonists of prevention against HIV/AIDS are godasas or slaves to their senses, or are ignorant of any knowledge of therapeutic approach to abstinence, therefore, they prefer to advocate for illicit sex under the umbrella of condoms.

Sonic Therapeutic Approach to HIV/AIDS Prevention
Rudimentarily, sonic therapy primarily involves audition and recapitulation of the supramundane primary names of the Absolute Truth known in Sanskrit nomenclature as Krishna. Quick result is further enhanced when the therapy is administered under a congenial atmosphere of non-violence, transcendental austerity, truthfulness and cleanliness.

Several studies show that control of the sex urge or abstinence is possible (Prabhupada 1996; Bhakti-Tirtha 1998; Vasudev 2000A, 2000C, 2003D). Indeed, there are many people on the earth planet who have mastered the act of controlling the sex impulse by the “grace” of sonic therapy. Just because I have not met such a goswami or master of the senses does not rule out the fact that such persons exist. There are just too many of such persons in India. Since the HIV/AIDS is a sex abuse oriented disease, people should be cultured how to curb their sexual excesses or use the sexual energy purely in accordance with the laws of nature. Practicable technique such as sonic is therefore included in the Vaisnava education curriculum to help the learner out of worries about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmissible diseases.

In Vaisnava education the students are cultured in sonic therapy cum diet therapy. These therapies help the students in curbing the unruly senses especially the sex impulse. The institutionalization of sonic therapy and diet therapy in the Hare Krishna Movement has helped many of its adherents in curbing the menace of the unruly senses especially the sex urge (Prabhupada 1996; 1998). According to the Hare Krishna leader in Nigeria – His Holiness Bhakti-Dhira Damodara Swami (2008), the rank and file of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in Nigeria is administered with sonic therapy which helps them to tame the unruly sexual impulse. And they do not hesitate to take the good news to other Nigerians who voluntarily make their way to the Hare Krishna centers for more information, registration and participation in the Hare Krishna programs.

More than a few hippies in New York had their lives transformed to saintly personalities who lived above the undue manipulations of the sex impulse (Vasudev 2000A, 2003D). Sonic therapy has proven beyond all reasonable doubt in curbing the sex impulse (Vasudev 2000C; 2000A). The swamis or goswamis of Asia, America, Europe and Hare Krishna Movement are perfect exemplars in controlling the sex impulse as far as sonic therapy is concerned (Vasudev 2003D). These are a class of people who are administered with sonic therapy in Vaisnava education.

The Climate of Nigeria’s Inherited Curriculum Paradigm Vis-à-vis a Conception of Self-restraint

Hitherto, curriculum development in Nigeria has been a methodical intellectual exercise where curriculum models and/or curriculum paradigms from the West have been adopted without any germane research and consideration of the Nigerian social system. For many decades, the curriculum was thought of as a body subjects and disciplines. The universities jealously guarded the teaching of these subjects and the disciplines within their walls. The idea was intrinsic in these subjects and the disciplines were transmitted to the secondary schools and were completely divorced from the needs, culture and environment of the Nigerian peoples.

Though the use of traditional subjects and disciplines for the purpose of curriculum planning and development remains one of the principal bases of categorization of knowledge, it is possible for distinctive lessons in these subject disciplines (religious knowledge, economics, history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology etc) to pass for education in its entire ramification. According to Okam (2001; 1998) those who criticize an employment of the individual subject disciplines for the purpose of curriculum planning and development in education rationalize their antagonism on the following bases: 

Over many years on, research in education has tended to shift to empirical studies such as testing hypothesis, conducting surveys, and carrying out experiments. According to Omoteso and Popoola (Vasudev 2003D) out of a sample of 132 postgraduate thesis topics carried out at the Faculty of Education of the Obafemi Awolowo University between 1985 and 1984, 118 were empirical, making use of tests, questionnaires and carrying out somewhat complicated statistical ratiocination. The general concerns were the comparisons of methods, relating performance to different variables, curriculum development, and assessing the effects of one or more variables on another variable or set of variables. Others were in the areas of attitudes, personality, and behaviour change. Two of the said studies qualify as classroom observation research.

Obviously modern scholarship does not attach much importance to self-realization. Applied Vedic science (Prabhupada 1997) asseverates that due to the wrong type of education being imparted to students in our universities, boys and girls all over the world have no self-restraint or self-control, and therefore, have become a source of “headache” to their elders. Thus Sri Isopanisad (Prabhupada 1997) very strongly warns that the culture of nescience is different from that of knowledge. The tertiary institutions are so to speak centers of nescience only. Consequently the arms race soars. More than a few university students today are virtually devoid of moral and supramundane principles in interpersonal and human relations. This is attributable to the fact that our early childhood education emphasized only on the culture of nescience (Vasudev 2003D).

Applied Vedic science (Wolf 1999; Prabhupada 1997) posits that only one who can learn nescience and self-realization side by side can transcend the influence of the gunas, or ‘modes of material nature’. These gunas force the embodied soul to act even against his/her better judgment. Education system devoid of self-realization generates intellectual animalism. Applied Vedic science (Prabhupada 2003) avers:
     ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam ca
samanyam etat pasubhir naranam
dharmo hi tesam adhiko viseso
dharmena hinah pasubhih samanah
Both animals and men share the activities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. But the special property of the humans is that they are able to engage in supramundane life. Therefore, without anti-material culture, humans are on the level of animals.

In other words, without incorporating self-realization in our schools curricular, especially in foundational stage of education, we would succeed only in engendering a polished bestial culture.


The prognosis and cure of HIV/AIDS seems to have eluded Western medicine.  The future of mankind is endangered as far as HIV/AIDS is concerned. AIDS has turned 1 million Nigerian children to orphans and obliterated the social system. The ray of hope would be sex abstinence. Vaisnava education of the Hare Krishna Movement provides time tested methodology of prevention via abstinence and pretty numbers of Nigerians have had their lives transformed for better through the Hare Krishna educational and social welfare programs. Sonic therapeutic approach to sex abstinence as enshrined in Vaisnava education is undoubtedly immunity to HIV infection and stops the worries of HIV/AIDS.

On daily basis the Hare Krishnas serve free vegetarian meals to all and sundry who visit any of their 12 major centers in Nigeria. The food distribution is extended to motherless babies, destitute, and People Living With AIDS (PLWA) and other HIV/AIDS related victims homes.  Over two million plates of vegetarian meals were served out to the public including PLWA and other HIV/AIDS related victims in 1995-2000 (Bhakti-Dhira 2008). In 1995-2000, 2,541 people benefited from the Hare Krishna Vaisnava education program. The Hare Krishnas in Nigeria have been of tremendous assistance in mitigating the social menace of HIV/AIDS through their educational and social welfare services.


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