• DATES:ALWAYS OPEN

  • MODE OF DELIVERY: ONLINE

  • COURSE CATEGORY: DISCOVERY

  • LECTURES: 5 (8 VIDEOS)

  • PRICE: 49 EUR

Bhagavad-gita is a widely read scripture that for centuries has been considered the heart of India’s timeless wisdom. In this course, we will explore the five main themes of the Gita – the self, matter, action or karma, time, divinity – and get some new insights into the mysteries of life!

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Course Summary

This course explores five traditional themes of Bhagavad-gita: the self, matter, action (karma), time, and divinity. When we think about or if we try to explain anything in life, we do so with a specific issue, question, or concern in mind – in other words, we naturally thematize. Therefore, the thematic approach of this course is a natural way for us to examine and eventually explain the complexities of the Gita. The themes bring a focus to our studies and also act as a catalyst and method for further explorations of the text.

Weekly Schedule

This course is made of six weeks of teaching and two additional weeks to prepare for and take the final exam.

The first week is on the theme of the self. It is through the Gita’s narrative on Arjuna’s lamentation that the self is introduced. Arjuna’s grief is misdirected because he does not know the difference between self and body. To explain the self, Krishna contrasts it with the body, or matter. This contrast is expressed in three ways. This analysis will also touch on egoism and reincarnation.
The second week is on material nature. This refers to the physical and cognitive aspects of the phenomenal world we live in. Physical material nature, or matter, is similar to that which we term “substance.” The cognitive aspect comprises three qualities (goodness, passion, and darkness). They affect the moral quality of our choices and acts. They also affect the way we can know anything. Free will is fully expressed through understanding material nature and regulating one’s activities so that matter doesn’t affect us.
The third week addresses karma, or activity. Karma can be defined in three ways: as action itself, as a system of universal justice, or as a vocation or duty. Karma is a force and a practice. As a force, it is none other than our actions, which can affect us in good or bad ways. When transformed into a practice by means of selfless offerings, or yajna, our actions become yoga (karma-yoga), which gives us self-understanding and relief from the results of our unsavory prior acts.
The fourth week looks into the theme of time. Time can be thought of as objectively reliable – the time of day is accurate. However, it can also be relative in respect to experience – it can seem to run quickly or slowly. According to the Gita, time is a factor that brings about change in matter. Yet it has no effect on the eternal self. It can also be seen as both linear and cyclical – events repeat themselves but are never exactly the same.
The fifth week examines three expressions of divinity in the Gita: Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. Brahman is the all-pervasive impersonal expression of divinity. Paramatma is its immanent or localized personal expression. Bhagavan is the highest expression that is personal and transcendent. Bhagavan is Krishna (or God) in the Gita, in whom the other two expressions rest. Connecting with Bhagavan is achieved by bhakti-yoga, or devotion.

Assessment

The course can be simply followed as an overview of the discussed themes without any assessment.

Those who wish, can do the following assessment:

  • Weekly question(s) – answered in the course forum where the interaction with the teacher is happening throughout the course.
  • Weekly quizzes – based on multiple-choice and matching the pairs questions.
  • Final exam – also based on multiple-choice and matching the pairs questions, taken at the end of the course.
  • One essay – if a student is inspired to explore more deeply into any specific issue regarding one or more of the five themes, a final essay explaining his/her thoughts can also be sent to the teacher for comments and feedback. Any form of final essay is acceptable – it can be written, it can be an art project, a graphic novel, a narrative, or a fictional dialogue – as long as it is relevant to the course and it is possible to submit it as one electronic file (pdf or doc).
  • All assessment is done online, at a time convenient for the student.

Certificate

  • At the conclusion of the course, we offer a certificate of attendance if either the test or the essay has been submitted. A digital certificate is sent to the student’s email address. Alternatively, if they wish so, students can receive a hard copy of the certificate to their home address. For more info, please contact us at studentcare@bhaktivedantacollege.comm.
Aisvarya dasa
Aisvarya dasa
Aisvarya Dasa (Alan Herbert, PhD) has both an insider and outsider perspective on Indian religion. He has spent thirty-five years living by the principles of Bhagavad-gita in India and throughout the world as a Vaisnava monk. He has also earned degrees at the University of Hawaii and a doctorate at the University of Oxford exploring Indian philosophy and religion. He is presently a post-doctoral research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and is involved in two academic projects: A Philosophical Approach to the Vaisnava Concept of God (https://www.logicandreligion.com/vaishnava-concept-of-god) and a sociological project looking at Hinduism in Modern Secular Society (https://ochs.org.uk/hinduism-in-modern-secular-society/). He is co-writing a chapter on the concept of God in Bhagavad-gita in an edited volume for the first of these projects.

How To Study Online

Regular course:

The course has a scheduled starting and ending date and it lasts 5 weeks in total.

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. If they want to interact with the teacher and peers, students do need to set the time aside to dedicate to the course but it can be at the time that suits them.

Self-study course:

In the self-study mode, students can start and finish whenever they want as they immediately get access to all course materials. The teacher is available for answering questions once a week.

Registration

Thematic Bhagavad-gita course can be attended without any special prerequisites. It is meant for those who want to get an initial basic insight into the main teachings of the Bhagavad-gita.

  • Price: €49

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.

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UPCOMING COURSES

Living Name Retreat

25 March, 2019

Madhurya Kadambini

2 May - 5 June

Kirtan Course

20 July - 18 August

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