As a member of the Radha Krishna Deaf Association, and a trained teacher of British sign language, Prema Pradip Dasa teaches regularly, both to the children of Bhaktivedanta Manor School (UK), as well as other devotees, both hearing and non-hearing. The classes educate students not just in standard British Sign Language, but also the additional signs that have been developed to describe Vedic philosophical concepts, main personalities, such as Radha and Krishna, and sacred texts, such as the Bhagavad Gita.
Visitors to the temple are well accustomed to seeing many plays, classes and presentations simultaneously translated into sign language by regular members of the association. Started by Dayal Gauranga Dasa over two decades ago, its primary aim has always been to give Krishna conscious knowledge to the deaf community, as well as to provide opportunities for the deaf community to integrate with hearing devotees, through mutual education.
This aim lies at the heart of their latest project, a DVD and accompanying book, entitled ‘Sign Language in Hinduism’. Using sign language with subtitles, it covers the central teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and elaborates on the practice of chanting the maha mantra, as well as narrating several stories from the Bhagavatam.
Members of the association gather regularly to discuss spiritual topics. They hold special celebrations of many festivals, and often link up with deaf communities abroad.