Thursday, 8 October 2015

Bhakti-Shastri Course

With a motive to draw devotees' attention towards a great wish of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada regarding conducting “Bhkati-Shastri” examinations among his disciples and followers and to encourage devotees around the world to study the enormous and great literature written by Srila Prabhupada, Hare Krishna Community, Jaipur is launching a “Bhakti-Shastri” course all around the world. So we invite devotees living in any part of the world to participate in this examination via e-mail.

One has to pass an exam on the following books in order to get Bhakti-Shastri degree as per the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada.

  1. Beyond Birth and Death
  2. Perfection of Yoga
  3. Easy Journey to Other Planets
  4. Nectar of Instruction Upadeśāmṛta
  5. Rāja-Vidyā: The King of Knowledge
  6. Śrī Īśopaniṣad
  7. Science of Self Realization
  8. The Nectar of Devotion
  9. Bhagavad-gītā As It Is
  10. Booklet on Deity Worship

Srila Prabhupada on Bhakti-Shastri Examination

1.Unless one passes bhakti-sastri, he cannot be second initiated

Acyutananda: [break] ...comprises the examination for bhaktivedanta and bhakti-sastri?
Prabhupada: Hm?
Acyutananda: There was talk that they would be given examinations.
Prabhupada: Yes. Yes.
Acyutananda: What is the syllabus for...?
Prabhupada: Whatever books we have got, it should be studied. Bhakti-sastri means Nectar of Devotion, Bhagavad-gita, Nectar of Instruction, Beyond Death -- in this way we select some ten books. That is bhakti-sastri.
Acyutananda: So when will that...
Prabhupada: Then we come to Bhagavata, then we come to Caitanya-caritamrta, in this way. So from next year, unless one passes bhakti-sastri, he cannot be second initiated. First initiation is open for everyone. "Come on. Chant Hare Krsna." That will purify him. Then let him understand
Morning Walk -- January 6, 1976, Nellore
In the near future we shall introduce the Bhakti-sastri examination for second initiation and this shall be one of the required books of study.
Letter to: Radhavallabha  --  Nellore 5 January, 1976

His Divine Grace therefore wishes to institute examinations to be given to all prospective candidates for sannyasa and brahmana initiation. In addition he wishes that all present sannyasis and brahmanas also pass the examination. Awarding of these titles will be based upon the following books:

Bhakti-sastri -Bhagavad-gita, Nectar of Devotion, Nectar of Instruction, Isopanisad, Easy Journey To Other Planets, and all other small paperbacks, as well as Arcana-paddhati (a book to be compiled by NitaiPrabhu based on Hari-bhakti-vilasa on Deity worship)

Bhakti-vaibhava - All of the above plus the first six cantos of Srimad-Bhagavatam

Bhaktivedanta - All of the above plus cantos 7 through 12 of Srimad-Bhagavatam

Bhakti-sarvabhauma - All the above plus the entire Caitanya-caritamrta

Anyone wishing to be initiated as a brahmana will have to pass the Bhaktisastri exam and anyone wishing to take sannyasa will have to pass the Bhaktivaibhava examination as well. This will prevent our Society from degrading to the level of so many other institutions where, in order to maintain the Temple, they accept all third class men as brahmanas. Any sannyasis or brahmanas already initiated who fail to pass the exams will be considered low class or less qualified. Anyone wishing to be 2nd initiated will sit for examination once a year at Mayapur. Answers will be in essay form and authoritative quotations will be given a bigger score. During the exams books may not be consulted.
Letter to: All Governing Body Commissioners  --  Nellore, South India 6 January, 1976


But if you become preacher member, in that case you will have to pay once Rs 10/- only for the degree of "Bhakti-sastri'' which will be awarded to you by registered certificate of degree for your becoming preaching member of the League and doing the necessary preaching work on behalf of the League. The preaching work is conducted as follows:
(1) As soon as you get the certificate of degree of "Bhakti-sastri'' at once you become a bona fide preacher of this institution and for this you will have to read "Bhagavad-gita'' regularly.
(2) As you go on reading "Bhagavad-gita'' question will arise in your mind for so many teachings in that Book & you are at liberty to ask us for answers of those questions which will be replied to you very clearly for your understanding.
(3) Some of the general questions are already answered in different pamphlets & one of them is sent herewith for example and your understanding.
(4) These questions & answers you will have to preach to others, so that both yourself& your audience will be benefited by that process.
(5) If you cannot go to others outside your hearth & home, you can do the preaching work amongst your family members only and in this meeting your other friends, neighbors & relatives also can join.
(6) Hold this meeting regularly for one hour in your home or any other suitable place near about your home, and chant the hymns or slokas of "Bhagavad-gita'' with reverence & devotion. If possible the reading of Bhagavad-gita may be preceded & followed by a congregation chanting of the holy name of God as mentioned below -- Hare Krishna . . . Hare Hare.
(7) Now relevant questions that may be arising out in the meeting may either be answered relevantly &just according to the authority of "Bhagavad-gita''. But if it is found difficult the question may at once be referred to us and it will be very nicely & clearly answered by us for clear understanding of all concerned.
(8) Some of the audience also may be interested in becoming a preaching worker of this League & we shall be glad to substain him in the same way as we shall be dealing with you. We are interested more in preaching members than in the sleeping members.
Letter to: Brother  --  Unknown Place September 1955
We wish to hold examinations and award titles such as Bhakti-sastri, Bhakti-vaibhava, and Bhaktivedanta. The whole program will continue for seven years, and the students who will be fully engaged in this study of a seven year course will be classified in the 4-D section of the draft board.
Letter to: Aniruddha  --  Los Angeles 4 February, 1969
Bhakti-sastri is actually recognition, accepting a person that he knows the principles of devotional service.
Letter to: Rupanuga  --  Los Angeles 24 July, 1969

Regarding the examinations, the idea is that anyone, after studying the books, who wants to gain the title of Bhakti-sastri, can take the exam. This is academic. Just like a brahmana with sastric knowledge and a brahmana without. It is optional -- one who wants may take. The real purpose is that our men should not be neglectful of the philosophy. The examinations will begin on GauraPurnima, 1977, not this year, so there is no reason why any of the devotees should give up their normal engagement.
So far your idea for teaching classes, this should be discussed at the GBC meeting. If it does not hamper our normal procedure then it is welcome.
I hope this meets you well.
Letter to: Satsvarupa  --Mayapur 3 February, 1976

Answer papers with some contribution to my book fund may be submitted to me. I shall personally examine the papers, and those who will pass will be sent a certificate of Bhaktisastri in due course. The minimum passing mark is 300 out of 1,000.
Letter to: Bhakti SastriExamination  --  Los Angeles 4 September, 1969

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of September 4th, 1969 and the enclosed check for the Bhakti-sastri examination. As I have already mentioned in my letter of September 7th, I have also duly received the contribution of 150 dollars from Laksmimoni and yourself.
Letter to: Jagadisa  --  Hamburg 9 September, 1969
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Please accept my blessings. I beg to thank you very much for your letter of September 4th, 1969, sent along with the Bhakti-sastri examinations and a maintenance check of 15 dollars.
Letter to: Bhurijana  --  Hamburg 9 September, 1969
Please accept my blessings. I beg to thank you for your letter dated September 11th and the contribution check for the Bhakti-sastri examination.
Letter to: Prahladananda  --Tittenhurst 5 October, 1969 

How to participate:
Those devotees who wish to take this test online should first of all enroll themselves by sending an enrollment request to the email address and they will be informed about the upcoming exams and they will be sent the question paper on the day and time scheduled by the examinee devotee. Already the first test on the book "Beyond Birth and Death" has taken place but it is possible for newcomers to take another test on this book on 17th October 2015 along with "Perfection of Yoga".

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