Dates: 05/12/2016 - 16/12/2016
Mode of Delivery: Onsite and Online
Level: 4 (Year 1)
Credit Value: 20 (for regular BA Study)
This module introduces students to the literary and theological contribution of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada focusing particularly on critically exploring his presentation of the Bhagavad Gita within the context of Vedic texts and in dialogue with modern cultural contexts. It also considers key methodological issues of textual interpretation. The module may also include Caitanya Vaishnava theological themes and issues such as the five themes of the Bhagavad Gita according to Baladeva Vidyabhusana and Prabhupada, the soul and transmigration, symptoms of a self-realized person, devotional theism vs. impersonalism (monism), renunciation of work vs. work in devotion, the yoga processes, mind and sense control, cultivation of knowledge, levels of God realization, worship of God vs. worship of other deities, bhakti and ananya-bhakti, levels of devotion, varnasrama-dharma, and the three gunas.
Jaya Bhadra Dasi graduated from Bhaktivedanta College. She has regularly taught Bhakti-shastri courses, and she taught the First Canto module of the Bhakti-vaibhava course for three years. She has assisted students with English usage in their essay writing. Now she teaches the first module of the new, academically accredited Bhakti-shastri course, and serves as a mentor for female students.
Expected Student Learning Activity and Contact Hours
200 hours notional learning hours of which 40 hours will be contact time. Distance learning students will have access to videoed or recorded lectures and seminars, and to a moodle interactive learning environment.
Students are expected to attend all lectures and seminars. Distance learning students will participate in the lectures as explained in section 11 of this module descriptor.
To equip students with a general critical understanding of the Bhagavad Gita, with particular attention to A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s presentation of the text.
To introduce students to key issues and core skills linked to textual interpretation.
To introduce students to practical evaluative and theological skills, useful for applying and sharing sacred scripture in contemporary life.
Methods of Learning and Teaching and Formative Assessment
The teaching will be done primarily through interactive lectures, with audio-visual presentations, group discussions and some guided individual research and reflection within and outside class. In addition an IT-based educational system (Moodle) is used as the platform on which teaching is extended to distance learning students who also have direct access to tutors and to a PAT to guide their learning.
We will be using a variety of e-learning materials: classroom videos, ebooks, articles, discussion forums, webinars, quizzes, questionnaires, feedbacks and so on.
Appropriate forms of delivery and assessment will be offered to distance learning students to ensure comparability of learning opportunity. Lectures and seminars onsite will be video recorded; within 24 hours the video will be available in the moodle environment. We will also have separate MP3 audio recordings of the class.
Students will be assessed based on their ability to:
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the structure, key themes, and theological ideas found in the Bhagavad Gita, with particular attention to Prabhupada´s presentation of the text, while also considering other interpretations of the text.
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key issues and core skills related to textual interpretation, including reflection and evaluation of Prabhupada’s purpose and approach in interpreting the Bhagavad Gita.
- Critically reflect upon their own experiences in engaging with and applying the teachings of the Gita, including a range of personal and pastoral issues.
- Communicate concepts with clarity, accuracy and with appropriate reference to primary and secondary sources.
Assessment and Reassessment Components and Weighting
1) A 2,000-word essay (50%) [LO 1, 2, 4].
2) A series of short-essays or reflections (2000 words in total) consisting of critical answers to questions related to LO 1, 3, 4 (50%).
Reassessment: As assessment.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, A.C. (1989). Bhagavad Gita As it Is. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Los Angeles.
Bhanu Swami (trans). 2005. Gita Bhusana commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita by Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana. Chennai: Sri Vaikuntha Enterprises.
Bhurijana Dasa (1997). Surrender Unto Me. VIHE Publications. Vrindavana, India.
Robinson, C. A. (2006). Interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita and Images of the Hindu Tradition. Routledge, Oxford.
Rosen, Steven J. (ed.) (1995) Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Vol. 3 No 2: Focus on Bhagavad Gita.
Rosen, Steven J. (ed.) (2001) Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Vol. 9 No 2: Focus on Bhagavad Gita.
Schweig, Graham M. (2007) Bhagavad Gita: The Beloved Lord’s Secret Love Song. HarperSanFrancisco.
Sharma, Arvind (1986). The Hindu Gita: Ancient and Classical Interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita. Duckworth, London.
Sivarama Swami (1998). The Bhaktivedanta Purports: Perfect Explanation of the Bhagavad Gita. Torchlight Publishing. Badger, California.
Tamal Krishna Goswami (2012). A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti: Essential Teachings of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Oxford University Press.