Dates: 03/08/2015 - 28/08/2015
Mode of Delivery: Online
Level: 5 (Year 2)
Credit Value: 20 (for regular BA Study)
This module deepens students’ critical engagement with the Bhakti-shastras and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s literary and theological contribution, by focusing particularly on critically studying and evaluating the Isa Upanisad, The Nectar of Devotion, and the Upadesamrita. It explores hermeneutical and epistemological issues concerned with the Vedic tradition from Chaitanya Vaishnava perspectives. The module may include exploring Caitanya Vaishnava theological themes and issues such as the rasa theory, mind and sense control, guru and disciple, guru-parampara and initiation, sadhu-sanga, the theology of yukta-vairagya. eligibility for bhakti, the Isavasya principle, different types of happiness, the relations among God, the soul and nature, and surrender to God. Themes and issues will be considered in terms of both traditional and contemporary practices and context, by looking at how textual traditions contribute to shape popular practice of theology and religion.
This module is Bhaktivedanta College’s BA degree program in Theology and Religious Studies, accredited by the University of Chester. To pursue the BA, you must complete the application procedure and be accepted into the program. The academic year starts in September. This module can also be taken without special requirements. You may study the BA module as an auditing participant, independent of BA accreditation, without an obligation to complete the final assessment. You would be expected to complete the reading assignments, view/hear the lectures, and take part in the discussion forums. By clicking “Enrol Now” you will be redirected to Bhaktivedanta College Online Campus, where you will proceed with registration and payment. The Paypal fee for this module is €99 fully inclusive. Once your registration is complete, you will have access to the virtual classroom and all learning materials. Upon successfully completing this module, you will be awarded with a Certificate of Attendance mailed to your home address.
Yadunandana Swami has been the Principal of Bhaktivedanta College since its opening, in 2002. He joined ISKCON in 1977 in Spain and received initiation from Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami and later sannyasa initiation from Jayadvaita Swami (both disciples of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada). He has performed leadership and educational services in ISKCON since 1982. The latter include ministering spiritual education and counseling to many persons; teaching scriptural, academic, and vocational courses; and lecturing in more than twenty universities. He holds a MA in the Study of Religion from the University of Wales. He is the ISKCON Minister of Educational Development in Europe and the Rector of the Instituto de Estudios Bhaktivedanta in Spain.
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 critical thorough understanding of the Isa Upanisad, Nectar of Devotion (especially Part 1), and Rupa Goswami’s Upadesamrta.
To promote students’ interpretive skills, especially through comparing and critically examining a wide range of interpretations and exegeses of sacred scripture, with particular focus on the Bhakti-shastras.
To nurture students in practical evaluative and theological skills – and the corresponding dispositions – as relevant to 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 critical understanding of the structure, key themes, and theological ideas of the Isa Upanisad, the Nectar of Devotion, and the Upadesamrita.
- Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of key issues and core skills related to textual interpretation, including critical reflection and evaluation of Prabhupada’s purpose and approach in interpreting sacred scripture, and evaluative analysis of other interpretations of the same texts.
- Critically reflect upon their own experiences in engaging with and applying the teachings of the Bhakti-shastras, including a range of personal, social, moral, topical, theological and pastoral issues.
- Effectively communicate concepts, develop arguments and analysis in a variety of forms to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
Assessment and Reassessment Components and Weighting
1) A 2,000-word essay (50%) [LO 1, 2, 4].
2) A 2,000-word essay (50%) [LO 1, 3, 4].
Reassessment: As assessment.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, A.C. (1993a). Sri Isopanisad. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Los Angeles.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, A.C. (1993b). The Nectar of Instruction. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Los Angeles.
Bhaktivedanta Swami, A.C. (1985). The Nectar of Devotion. Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book
Bhanu Swami (trans). 2003. Srimad Bhagavad Gita commentary by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Chennai: The Parampara Publishers.
Dhanurdhara Swami (2000). Waves of Devotion. USA: Bhagavat Books.
Gosvami, Rupa (2003). Bhaktirasamrtasindhu. Transl. by David Haberman. New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in association with Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
Haberman, D. L. (1988). Acting as a Way of Salvation: A Study of Raganuga Bhakti Sadhana. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hopkins, T.J. (1994). Bhakti in the Bhagavata Purana. Journal of Vaisnava Studies, Vol. 2: N 3: 7-44.
Kapoor, OBL. (1974). The Philosophy and Religion of Sri Caitanya. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers.
Kapoor, OBL. (1995). The Gosvamis of Vrndavana. Sarasvati Jayasri Classics.
Majumdar, A. K. (1969). Chaitanya – His Life and Doctrine: A Study in Vaisnavism. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Olivelle, P. (1996). Upanisads. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rosen, Steven (1990). The Six Goswamis of Vrindavan. New York: FOLK Books.
Rosen, Steven J. (ed.) (1998) Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Vol. 6. No 2: Focus on ISKCON/A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.
Tamal Krishna Goswami (2012). A Living Theology of Krishna Bhakti: Essential Teachings of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Oxford University Press.