The Nectar of Devotion is Srila Prabhupada’s summary study of Srila Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, the ocean of eternal nectar in devotional service, which he published even before Bhagavad-gita. In it “the complete science of devotional service” is presented. During this course, the first 19 chapters of the book are studied which correspond to the four waves of the eastern ocean of Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. The objective of this book, and studying it is, according to Srila Rupa Goswami, Krishna, who is the reservoir of all rasas and lover of Srimati Radharani!
This course is made of eight weeks of teaching and two additional weeks to prepare for and take the final exam.
The Ocean of Eternal Nectar in Devotional Service
In the preface, Srila Prabhupada briefly discusses the history of The Nectar of Devotion and explains the meaning of the title ‘Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu’. The Introduction presents us with a mangalacarana (invocation), an overview of the book, and a detailed analysis of the definition of pure devotional service.
Six Characteristics of Pure Devotional Service
Chapter 1 describes 6 characteristics that develop in a devotee who practices pure devotional service according to the definition given in the introduction: 1) relief from material distress; 2) bestowing of all auspiciousness; 3) deriding even the happiness of liberation; 4) rarely achieved; 5) bringing incalculable transcendental pleasure; 6) the only means to attract Krishna.
Eligibility, Qualifications, and Proofs
Chapter 2 describes the eligibility for performing pure devotional service and definitions of sadhana bhakti, devotional service in practice. Sadhana bhakti is divided into two parts – vaidhi sadhana bhakti, devotional service performed because of regulations, and raganuga sadhana bhakti, spontaneously performed devotional service. In chapter 3 we learn about the qualifications which help us progress once we have taken to the process, namely our faith that the goal in life is to please Krishna, and knowledge of sastra. Desires for liberation and sense enjoyment disqualify us from accessing happiness from devotional service. In chapter 4 we find a list of sastric evidence that devotees pray only for satisfying Krishna and that they reject any form of sense enjoyment or liberation if these are not beneficial to their service.
Performing Devotional Service is Independent
Chapter 5 provides further evidence that performing devotional service is not dependent on one’s birth and that it transcends prayascitta (purificatory rites) and varnashrama duties. Chapter 14 discusses spiritual practices which are not counted among items of devotional service, such as varnashrama, jnana, vairagya, service executed with dependence on followers or wealth, and cultivation of saintly qualities.
64 Practices of Devotional Service, part one
Chapters 6-13 describe 64 principal practices of devotional service. Up to chapter 5, the philosophical foundation of devotional service in general and specifically devotional service in practice (vaidhi sadhana bhakti) was established, and now Srila Prabhupada explains how to discharge devotional service – practices one should adopt, practices one should give up, and offenses to avoid.
64 Practices of Devotional Service, part two
Chapters 10 to 12 describe further practices of devotional service and Chapter 13 describes the last of 64 – five most potent practices of bhakti (pancanga bhakti) namely: hearing Srimad Bhagavatam in the association of devotees, serving Vaishnavas, worshiping the Deities, chanting the Holy Name, and residing in a holy dhama.
Spontaneous Devotional Service
Chapters 15 and 16 describe spontaneous devotional service, raganuga sadhana bhakti. Srila Prabhupada discusses two different categories and their corresponding forms of ragatmika bhakti (sambandha-rupa and kama-rupa) and raganuga bhakti (sambandhanuga and kamanuga). He further explains specific practices of raganuga sadhana bhakti and serious deviations.
Bhava and Prema Bhakti
Chapters 17 and 18 describe bhava bhakti, its primary and secondary characteristics, prerequisites leading to it, and nine reliable symptoms manifesting in a devotee who is experiencing bhava. “When that bhava softens the heart completely, becomes endowed with a great feeling of possessiveness in relation to the Lord and becomes very much condensed and intensified, it is called prema [love of Godhead] by learned scholars.” (Cc Madhya 23.7) Chapter 19 describes the primary and secondary characteristics of prema bhakti and ways to achieve it.
All assessment is done online, at a time convenient for the student.
Weekly question(s) – are answered in the course forum where the interaction with the teacher is happening throughout the course.
Weekly quizzes – are based on multiple-choice questions.
Two essays – topics for essays are available from the beginning of the course so students can immediately start writing.
Final exam – at the beginning of the course, students also get access to the question bank – the list of questions from which the questions for the final exam are selected.
Nityananda-kari devi dasi
Nityananda-kari devi dasi was exposed to transcendental influence of Srila Prabhupada’s books since childhood when her father brought a set of them. Only years later, after a lot of prasadam and devotees’ good wishes, did she start her spiritual path in this lifetime. Krsna consciousness philosophy was always her biggest interest as well as finding ways how to apply it in daily life. For the past 20+ years her services were mostly connected with preaching and organizing different events. Since 2015 she is serving at Bhaktivedanta College as one of the permanent staff members.
How To Study Online
Pre-recorded, short format
8 weeks, forum and quizzes
The course has a scheduled starting and ending date and it lasts 10 weeks in total. It is made of eight weeks of teaching and two additional weeks to prepare for and take the final exam.
Each week, on Monday, students get access to different sets of materials and then have that week to go through the materials and do the assignments. All the lectures are pre-recorded and put on our learning platform along with other learning materials. There are no live lectures so students don’t need to be present online at a specific time but can watch the videos and study at their convenience. Students do need to set the time aside to dedicate to the course but it can be at the time that suits them.
A convenient feature of the lectures is that they are cut into small units dealing with one specific topic. So, whenever there is some free time, a student can use it to go through the topic, then continue with other activities and think about what has been said. This system is very practical for those who have busy lifestyles but it is also proving to be helpful for just anyone, helping to better focus on the most important points from the lectures.
The Nectar of Devotion can be attended without any special requirements as it is a self-standing course. It is also a part of the Bhakti-sastri course made of six self-standing modules/courses. You can enrol only for The Nectar of Devotion or for the whole Bhakti-sastri course and get a 21% discount!
Bhakti-sastri course is always going on, with six modules being delivered one after another in one year. It is possible to enrol at any time and continue from the next scheduled module or to just study a module of choice.
By clicking the enrollment button, you will be required to create a profile on BCOC – Bhaktivedanta College Online Campus (if you don’t have one already) and then proceed with the payment.
Benefits of enrolling for the whole Bhakti-sastri course:Read more
– a tuition-fee deduction of 15% (pay €505 instead of €594)
– and access to one of three modules
of your choice (Caitanya Caritamrita – Self Study
, Bhagavata Purana – Self Study
or Modern Hinduism – Self Study