The Nectar of Instruction is Srila Prabhupada’s translation and commentary to Srila Rupa Goswami’s Upadeshamrita. As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu left behind Him the eight verses known as Siksastaka, Rupa Gosvami gave us Upadeshamrita. He was specially empowered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to assemble instructions on how to attain the love of Godhead, Krishna-prema. His Upadeshamrita, The Nectar of Instruction, is a compilation of eleven verses that outline the gradual progress and main instructions for a serious spiritual practitioner who wishes to attain this eternal love.
This course is made of six weeks of teaching and two additional weeks to prepare for and take the final exam.
Goswamis and Being a Goswami
In the Preface, Srila Prabhupada gives a brief history of the 6 Vrndavan Goswamis and points out the significance of their writings by quoting Srila Narottama Das Thakura: “When I am eager to understand the literature given by the Gosvamis, then I shall be able to understand the transcendental loving affairs of Radha and Krishna.” He also stresses the importance of becoming a Goswami, the topic described further in the first verse.
Six Unfavourable Habits
Verse 2 describes six habits or practices that prevent spiritual progress: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) over endeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krishna consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.
Six Favourable Habits
Verse 3 explains various practices that will help devotees making spiritual progress. It lists 6 qualities ‘assuring the complete success of pure devotional service’: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles, (5) abandoning the association of non-devotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous acharyas.
Six Loving Exchanges
Verse 4 lists 6 loving exchanges between devotees and Krishna, and between devotees: (1) offering gifts in charity, (2) accepting charitable gifts, (3) revealing one’s mind in confidence, (4) inquiring confidentially, (5) accepting prasada and (6) offering prasada Verses 5 and 6 teach us how to interact with three types of devotees, and (how) to avoid offenses against a Vaishnava.
Fixing the Mind on Krishna
Verses 7 and 8 glorify the potency of the Holy Names and advise devotees to always chant. In verse 8 Rupa Goswami gives the essence of all advice: to fix one mind on Krishna without deviation by constantly hearing and chanting about Him and remembering His pastimes.
Hierarchy and the Highest
Verse 9 describes the hierarchy of the material and spiritual worlds. Verse 10 the hierarchy of different types of human beings and text 11 the glories of Radha-kunda. The verses perfectly illustrate that the cultivation of spiritual life is a gradual process. In the same way as one is meant to read the first nine Cantos of Srimad Bhagavatam before approaching the Tenth Canto, one must assimilate the first ten verses of Upadeshamrita before approaching Radha-kunda. If one fails to do so one is sure to misunderstand the instruction given herein and ruin one’s spiritual life.
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.
How To Study Online
Pre-recorded, short format
6 weeks, forum and quizzes
The course has a scheduled starting and ending date and it lasts 8 weeks in total. It is made of six 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 Instruction 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 Instruction 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 21% (pay €395 instead of €503)
– and access to one of three modules
of your choice (Caitanya Caritamrita – Self Study
, Bhagavata Purana – Self Study
or Modern Hinduism – Self Study