The first Bhakti-tirtha Course at Jiva Institute will be inaugurated on 16th October 2016. His Holiness Srivata Gosvami of Radha-raman Mandir will be the chief guest. This course is a unique opportunity to study Gaudiya Vaishnava scriptures in specific and the Sad Darshanas in general, which are necessary to understand Gaudiya philosophy properly. Such an opportunity may not come again because our lives are not eternal.
Therefore anybody who is serious about knowing the Gaudiya siddhanta in a systematic and lucid way and who can afford to come and study at Jiva Vrindavan for six months a year for the next five years, should not miss this opportunity.
All classes are free of charge, but there will be a yearly registration fee of US $250 to cover administrative expenses. Students who plan to stay at Jiva ashram need to pay for boarding and lodging.
The details of the various courses and the books required are as follows:
1) Introduction to Sanskrit
2) Study of the Yoga Sutras for the first part of the course, followed by Tattva Sandarbha and further by Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu.
3) Nyaya Sutras for the first part of the course followed by Tarka-sangraha (Nyaya)
4) Readings from Gopala Campu
Class schedule from Monday through Friday:
|Period||Time||Part 1||Part 2|
|1||10 am||Sanskrit (16th Oct – 31st March 2017)|
|2||11 am||Yoga Sutras (16th Oct. – Mid. Dec.)||Tattva Sandarbha / BRS|
|3||12 am||Nyaya Sutras (16th Oct. – End of Nov.)||Tarka-sangraha|
|4||5 pm||Gopal Campu (16th Oct – 31st March 2017)|
The classes on Sanskrit, Tattva Sandarbha by Jiva Gosvami, Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu by Rupa Gosvami, and Tarka-sangraha will be given by Babaji Satyanarayana Dasa. Tarka Sangraha is an entry level book which is a systematic overview of Nyaya/Vaisheshika in its newer (navya) period.
Advaita Prabhu Das (Prof. Edwin Bryant) will teach the Yoga Sutras, which is helpful in understanding the first two chapters of Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu. This course will consist of a close reading the the Yoga Sutras, the classical Vaidica text on the nature of mind and consciousness. It will especially engage the first chapter, which outlines the various stages of samadhi, as well as the second chapter, which focuses on the mechanisms underpinning rebirth and samsara, and the requisite practices for purifying the mind such that it can engage in meditative practices culminating in samadhi. Additionally, the course will compare and contrast the goals and techiniques underpinning Patanjali’s classical dhyana yoga with the smarana practices of Vaishnava bhakti. Students will be provided with a copy of the Sutras with the Sanskrit text and English translation.
Prof. Matthew R. Dasti will teach the Nyaya Sutras. This course will study the fundamental text of ancient Nyaya by looking at some of its most important debates and discussions. These include a defense of the existence of the self, an argument that God must exist as creator, and a vindication of the reality of the world against Buddhist skeptics and idealists. Readings will be English translations of passages of the sutras with portions of important commentaries. This course is coupled with the Tarka Sangraha taught by Babaji.
Jagadananda Das (Dr. Jan Brzezinski) will read from Jiva Gosvami’s classical literary composition Gopala Campu, which narrates the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. We will start in the beginning, referring to the relevant portions of Krishna Sandarbha and Vaishnava Toshani Bhagavata commentaries, reading from there also according to need. We will start by explaining things in easy Sanskrit and then translate into English, according to the level of qualification of the students . The point will be to make the readings as enjoyable as possible rather than to make it an intellectual exercise per se.
Importance of Sanskrit and Nyaya
Knowledge of the Sanskrit language and Nyaya is essential to understand any school of Vedic thought. Therefore, one should not think that these two subjects have no utility for a devotee.
Among the traditional Indian Sanskrit scholars there is a very popular saying, kanadam paniniyam ca sarva sastropakarakam (“The knowledge of Logic and Sanskrit grammar are indispensable to understand any scripture”).
This course is not meant to just give theoretical knowledge, but also to have a personal experience of Gaudiya Philosophy and an understanding of how to practically apply it in life.
The course will cover the most important aspects of the entire Sanskrit grammar. It will give students a working knowledge of the most important aspects of Sanskrit grammar together with core vocabulary and prepare them to the more advanced Sanskrit grammar studies taught in the traditional way.
The goal of this course is to give a student the basic knowledge of the Sanskrit language which will enable him or her to study the original Bhagavat Gita, Upanishads, Ramayana, etc., initially aided by word-by-word translations. This will be the first step to prepare a student to approach more complex Sanskrit Vaishnava literature such as Srimad Bhagavatam with its commentaries or the Gosvamis’ works. The knowledge of Sanskrit acquired in this course will be put to immediate use while studying Nyaya and Tattva-Sandarbha, two other subjects of the 6-month program. This course will give a student a working knowledge of the most important aspects of Sanskrit grammar together with core vocabulary. It will also prepare a student to the more advanced Sanskrit grammar studies taught in the traditional way using Aṣṭādhyāyī by Pāṇini or Śrī Harināmāmṛta-vyākaraṇam by Jiva Goswami.
The course will cover the most important aspects of the entire Sanskrit grammar, including the following topics:
Daily Class and Homework:
A daily 45-min class will include an explanation of a particular grammar topic, a short grammar and/or vocabulary quiz, reading and translation exercises, homework-based short story telling and question answering in Sanskrit, etc. Daily homework will include grammar exercises, reading and translation of original Sanskrit texts, such as Bhagavat Gita or Hitopadesha, memorization of Sanskrit vocabulary as well as word paradigms.
Note: Given the richness and complexity of the Sanskrit language a fair amount of grammar and vocabulary daily memorization is necessary. This is actually a great blessing as memorization is one of the best ways to keep one’s brain sharp.
Prerequisites: This introductory course does not require any prior knowledge of Sanskrit except the knowledge of the Devanagari script.
Textbooks: This course will primarily use the textbook by R. Goldman and S. Sutherland Goldman, Devavāṇīpraveśikā (available from Amazon)
In addition “A Sanskrit Grammar for Students” by Arthur McDonell is quite useful.
There are a number of useful Sanskrit resources for the smart phones (iPhone, Android), such as “Sanskrit Primer”, a free application, and Sanskrit-English Dictionary, a paid application by Academic Room.
Here is playful way a learning Sankrit declensions online: Memrise
Tarka Sangraha: Introduction to Nyaya philosophy
(Mm. Mahesh Chandra Nyayaratna)
A primer of Nava Nyaya Language and Methodology to understand the terminology of Nyaya.
English translation, printed by Asiatic Society 2004
Textbooks on Tarka Sangraha, Yoga Sutras and Nyaya Sutras are available in Vrindavan and will be made available at Jiva Institute at the cost price. For Sanskrit we will supply free soft copies.
Those who are not able to attend the course thiso year can receive all audio lectures for a fee of $ 108 per month on a monthly basis. They also have the facility to participate in weekly Question and Answer sessions over an electronic conference system. For the complete course it will $ 550.- for distant learners, payable before the course starts. Those who are registered and physically attend the course in Vrindavan can receive the recordings for 30 US $ per month or for 150 US $ if paid in advance for 6 months. Registrations should be addressed to: email@example.com. Payments can be made through the website.
Next year a new Bhakti-tirtha course will also be offered for beginners.
Classes on the Yoga Sutras, Tattva Sandarbha, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu and Gopal Champu will be open to the public, and not restricted only to registered students. The classes on Sanskrit and Nyaya can only be attended by students who are registered for the complete course.
Time is more valuable than money because once time is gone, we can’t get it back. So we have to be very careful on how we spend our time. With each activity we do, we should ask ourselves, is this increasing our knowledge, or helping us to reach our spiritual goal? Whenever we get any free time, the best way to utilize it is to chant or listen to a spiritual lecture.
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