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• Bhagavad-gita As It Is • The Nectar of Devotion • The Nectar of Instruction • Sri Isopanisad The Bhakti Sastri course is taught annually for four months, from January to May and is subdivided into four modules: • Module 1 Bhagavad-gita, Chapters 1-9 • Module 2 Bhagavad-gita, Chapters 10-18 • Module 3 Nectar of Devotion, Sri Isopanisad, Nectar of Instruction • Module 4 Thematic Module, covering all four books "The curriculum has a number of distinguishing features. Possibly it is the first to be built on sound and explicit educational principles and a well-articulated methodology. It thus goes beyond memorisation and intellectual understanding, to explicitly promote students’ application of knowledge, their development of appropriate values, and, ultimately, personal realisation. This slant on conduct and character, I believe, gives it great potential in addressing our numerous individual and societal challenges. Furthermore, its detailed delineation of “the aims of sastric study” is a welcome feature at a time within ISKCON marked by lack of clear direction. I was particularly impressed by the aim of “Mood and Mission”, which even today will help students appreciate Srila Prabhupada continuing presence. Conscientious teachers will recognize how this course offers support to the less able and yet respects the expertise and initiative of the more experienced. For students it offers a quality of learning which is relevant, practical and enjoyable. I particularly liked the use of progressive assessment procedures, such as project-work, which free students from unnecessary pressure and promote their natural creativity." Sesa Dasa Adhikari, GBC Ministry of Education
Bhaktivedanta College has offered the VTE (Vaisnava Training and Education) Bhakti Sastri course since 2003.
The VTE Bhakti Sastri course is in accordance with Srila Prabhupada's instruction of December 26, 1976: "Brahmana means pandita. Therefore I am suggesting examinations. Bhakti Sastri - (for all brahmanas) based on Bhagavad-gita, Sri Isopanisad, Nectar of Devotion, Nectar of Instruction."
The course takes a personal approach to learning. It encourages the student not only to memorize the content of Srila Prabhupada's books but also to digest the philosophy and pratically apply it, as it is presented in the VTE Aims of Systematic Sastric Study. The course focuses on behavior and character, nurturing students in appropriate Vaishnava values. Professionally designed and written, it draws on the principles of Krishna consciousness and the best of progressive education. In this way, it is true to ISKCON's heritage and at the same time relevant to its mission in contemporary society.
1. To help students memorise and recall the (theoretical) knowledge which forms the foundation of their ongoing progress in Krishna consciousness.
2. To deepen students' understanding of Krishna counscious theology, particularly through studying it from a wide range of perspectives and through developing thoughtfulness and introspection.
3. To help students apply Krishna conscious theology with reference to:
· their external practices
· their inner development of Vaishnava qualities and behaviour.
4. To enhance devotees' desire and ability to preach effectively.
5. To help build and maintain students' faith and conviction in:
· the process of Krishna consciousness
· the scripture as its foundation.
6. To simultaneously cultivate within devotees:
· wholehearted acceptance of the authority of scripture
· a mood of open amd honest inquiry and a desire to factually understand and realise the import of Vedic knowledge.
7. To help create learned Vaishnava theologians who are expert in assisting the Society through application of scriptural knowledge to a wide range of personal, social, moral, topical and theological issues.
8. To develop students’ analytical, interpretative and evaluative skills, particularly with respect to the practical application of scriptural knowledge.
9. To facilitate devotees in:
· understanding and appreciating the mood and mission of Srila Prabhupada
· perpetuating that understanding within the Society and its members.
10. To ensure that devotes develop moral and academic integrity in the interpretation, evaluation and application of sastric knowledge.
11. To encourage students to take responsibility for their learning and develop healthy study habits by:
· enhancing their desire to study Srila Prabhupada’s books (particularly by nurturing their appreciation of scripture and scriptural study, and by demonstrating scripture’s relevance to everyday life)
· equipping them with the appropriate learning skills.
12. To equip students with the ability to see through the eyes of scripture with a Krishna conscious worldview. Ultimately, to assist the students in realising scripture, and in seeing Krishna, at all times and in all places.