Dates: 17/09/2018 - 31/01/2019
Mode of Delivery: Campus
Bhakti Sastri Plus will empower you with answers based on scriptural study:
- When a non-devotee friend asks you “WHY are you a Hare Krishna?”
- When facing an existential crisis, you ask yourself “WHY am I a Hare Krishna?”
- When, despite all the opportunities coming your way, you still feel like asking yourself “WHY am I not a better devotee?”
- When a coworker asks you “WHAT do the Hare Krishnas believe?”
- When an agnostic asks you “WHAT does Vaishnavism have to say about the human condition?”
- When you ask yourself “WHAT should I do to improve my spiritual life?”
- When a relative asks you “HOW does it all make sense: your lifestyle, your philosophy and your goals?”
- When you ask yourself “HOW can I better share Krishna Consciousness with others?
- When a skeptic asks you “HOW do the Hare Krishnas contribute to the modern world?”
Bhakti Sastri Plus will equip you with more confidence in being a Hare Krishna devotee because it will help you understand the meaning and reasons behind our daily spiritual practice, theology and culture.
The Sastric Studies programme, which awards its students a Vaishnava Training and Education (VTE) Certificate, is designed to familiarise students with the theological background underpinning Vaishnavism and the practices of bhakti-yoga.
The course takes a personal approach to learning, encouraging students to not only memorize the content of Srila Prabhupada’s books but to assimilate the philosophy and practically apply it. The course focuses on behaviour and character, nurturing students in appropriate Vaishnava values.
Evaluation of ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ perspectives, as well as case studies of modern definition and expression of religious/spiritual and nonreligious/ atheistic worldviews, is meant to assist students in developing a sara-grahi Vaishnava attitude. Thus students can fulfil Srila Prabhupada’s dictum: “We must know the present need of human society.”
Professionally designed and written, Bhakti Sastri Plus draws on the principles of Krishna consciousness and the best of progressive education. Thus while remaining true to ISKCON’s heritage, the course highlights how Krishna consciousness is applicable in contemporary society.
Challenge yourself with numerous systematic learning opportunities to strengthen your critical thinking skills and deepen your faith in the scriptures. Learn the broader Vaishnava context of the Bhakti sastri books – expand the borders of your knowledge of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. Think outside of the box – learn how to present the Bhakti sastri teachings in the context of contemporary society.
Besides being a place of education, Radhadesh is well known for being a place of kirtan. Your studies will be imbued with regular evening kirtans culminating with the Radhadesh mellows.
Radhadesh is a thriving community with various departments ready to give you an opportunity to im(prove) your skills and talents
Self-reflect use the transformative potency of this extraordinary place, Vaishanva sanga and scriptural studies
Socialize with like-minded persons pursuing the path of learned saragrahi Vaishnavas
Bhakti Sastri Modules
- Bhagavad-gita 1 (Chapters 1-6) – Karma Yoga
- Bhagavad-gita 2 (Chapters 7-12) – Bhakti Yoga
- Bhagavad-gita 3 (Chapters 13-18) – Jnana Yoga (Transcendental Knowledge)
- Sri Isopanisad
- The Nectar of Instruction
- The Nectar of Devotion
The Plus modules
Modern Interpretations of Bhagavad Gita
All of humanity converges in one person – Arjuna — to hear the divine instruction disclosed in the Bhagavad Gita. However, to understand, apply, and disseminate this teaching, the entirety of humanity diverges to produce a vast spectrum of multiple translations and interpretations.
- The Bhagavad Gita within the broader picture of Vedanta tradition, discussing the commentaries of Sankara Acarya, Madhva Acarya and Ramanuja Acarya
- The Bhagavad Gita and the Bible: A consideration of some Christian responses to, and interpretation of, the Bhagavad Gita in 19th and early 20th century.
- The Universal Gita: a particular reference to of Swami Vivekananda, Swami Prabhavananda, and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
- The Gospel of Action: In this session we will explore the influence of Hindu nationalism on representations of the Bhagavad Gita with particular reference to Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Aurobindo Ghosh.
- Gandhi’s Gita: In this session we examine Gandhi’s allegorical interpretation of the Gita, the doctrine of ahimsa and his influence on Western and Hindu views of the Gita.
- The Counterculture and the Bhagavad Gita. Gita in the West in the 1960’s and early 70’s with particular reference to Swami Bhaktivedanta and the emergence of ISKCON.
The Vedic Way – The Art of Spiritual Transformation
The Vedic Way is a school of life for the complete progression and elevation of the whole human being. It takes all of you into account as you begin your spiritual development – the physical, mental, emotional, and interpersonal parts of yourself that support the uplifting of spirit.
The Vedic Way is supra-denominational – relevant for everyone no matter what his or her religious or spiritual orientation.
- Satva – Living in Balance
Balance the factors that influence your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, and create the foundation for a healthy spiritual life.
- Dharma – Living Your Purpose
Find out what you are meant to be and do, and experience the universal force of dharma.
- Atma – Living in the Self
Become aware of yourself as an eternal spiritual soul, and confront both your mortality and eternity.
- Paramatma – Living with a Higher Connection
Connect with the Supersoul, and become fearless as you contact your intuition and guide.
- Bhakti – Living in Love
Embark on the path of devotion in a mood of service, and feel the pleasure of spiritual relationship with God and all His creatures.
Teacher: HH Sacinandana Swami
The main inspiration for this course is Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s notion of the sara-grahi vaisnava — the devotee who is able to grasp and appreciate the essence of life situations, places, persons, and faith traditions. Here we will explore a few selected elements—practices, texts, images—of faith traditions, with the aim of reflecting on how we might meaningfully engage with practitioners of these traditions in pursuit of genuine friendship and cooperation for fostering the spiritual upliftment of all. Lectures will be complemented with thought-provoking discussions based on relevant case studies of the contemporary ways of defining and professing religious/spiritual and nonreligious/ atheistic worldviews.
Teacher: HH Krsna Ksetra Swami
Bhakti shastri in a wider Vaishnava context
- a series of lectures on Mahabharata, the Upanishads and Rupa Goswami.
- An introduction to the Mahabharata – setting the scene for Bhagavad Gita.
- Who, What, How and Why: presenting the structure of the Mahabharata and providing an overview of the central narrative, characters, theological themes and teachings.
- Examining the Sri Isopanisad’s position and distinctiveness within the Upanishadic corpus.
- The Bhakti Tradition: An exploration of the historical and theological context from which the writings of Rupa Goswami emerged, with particular reference to Chaitanya and the development of ‘intellectual’ and ‘emotional’ bhakti.
Rupa Goswami s theory of bhaktirasa and consideration of the role of the Bhaktirasamrtasindhu as a commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam
Teachers: Anuradha dasi and Gopinath acharya das (OCHS)
HG Jaya Bhadra devi dasi, Syamananda das, Dinadayala das, Anupama devi dasi, Mangala Candrika devi dasi, …
Jaya Bhadra dasi
HG Jaya Bhadra dasi is Srila Prabhupada’s disciple who 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. Currently she is acting as an internal monitor for TRS program.
Joined Inis Rath temple, Ireland, in 1992, after completing a three year diploma in environmental studies. He served as a manager/temple resident in England and Ireland. Currently Syamananda das serves in Radhadesh as a temple co-vice president. In 2006 he had completed his Bhakti Sastri degree and since then he participated in teaching Bhakti-sastri. Besides his interest in studying and sharing Vaishnava philosophy, Syamananda is an expert cook and theater director/actor.
Krsna Ksetra Swami, Sacinandana Swami, Kadamba Kanana Swami, Yadunandana Swami, Anuradha devi dasi, Gopinath Acharya das
VTE Aims of Systematic Sastric Study
- To help students memorise and recall the (theoretical) knowledge which forms the foundation of their ongoing progress in Krishna consciousness.
- To deepen students’ understanding of Krishna conscious theology, particularly through studying it from a wide range of perspectives and through developing thoughtfulness and introspection.
- To help students apply Krishna conscious theology with reference to:
- their external practices
- their inner development of Vaishnava qualities and behaviour.
- To enhance devotees’ desire and ability to outreach effectively.
- To help build and maintain students’ faith and conviction in:
- the process of Krishna consciousness
- the scripture as its foundation.
- To simultaneously cultivate within devotees:
- wholehearted acceptance of the authority of scripture
- a mood of open and honest inquiry and a desire to factually understand and realise the import of Vedic knowledge.
- 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 and evaluative skills, particularly with respect to the practical application of scriptural knowledge.
- To develop students’ analytical, interpretative and evaluative skills, particularly in respect of the practical application of sastric knowledge
- To facilitate devotees in:
- understanding and appreciating the mood and mission of Srila Prabhupada
- perpetuating that understanding within the Society and its members.
- To ensure that devotes develop moral and academic integrity in the interpretation, evaluation and application of sastric knowledge.
- 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.
- 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.
You can submit your Bhakti Sastri Plus On-site 2018 application using the link below. Applications will be reviewed immediately. The total number of students is limited to a maximum of 10.
Price packages (tuition fee, accommodation and prasadam):
- College building (single room), 2 hours service per week: €1,600 per person
- College building or temple ashram accommodation (room with two beds), 2 hours service per week: €1,300 per person
Study and serve options:
- College or temple ashram accommodation (room with two beds), 8-11 hours service per week: €700 per person
- College or temple ashram accommodation (room with two beds), arrival one month before the course begins, 6 hours service/day, 6 days/week, and during the Bhakti Sastri Plus course 8-11 hours/week: €108 per person
Two additional days are included. Each extra day is €20 (prasadam included).
To register, please fill out the registration form.