The following essays must be completed and handed in by 29th June. They can be mailed to me, aniruddha at pamho.net. If you are having difficulty with the fonts you can download them from here. Right click and choose Save As. Make sure they are saved with the .ttf extension, then install the new fonts on your system. There are two fonts, Sca Helvetica and Sca Helvetica Bold.
Please answer the following two questions.
In the purport to Bhagavad-gétä 2.31, Çréla Prabhupäda refers to Varëäçrama-dharma as “the steppingstone for spiritual understanding”. In an essay of about 400 words (1-1.5 pages), explain this phrase and the corresponding relationship between Varëäçrama-dharma and bhakti-yoga, particularly with reference to the perceived need (or otherwise) for varëäçrama, and citing evidence to support your case from the Bhagavad-gétä (Chapters 1-9).
As you do so, include the following:
- A concise comparison of the results of following varëäçrama-dharma with the results of practicing bhakti-yoga.
- A discussion of whether the practice of varëäçrama-dharma is required in the practice of bhakti-yoga.
(Select at least 1 appropriate verse (from BG Chapters 1-9 or from verses qoted therein) in your answer and giv specific attention to some of the Sanskrit words in the verse you select.)
- A discussion of how (if at all) the practice of varëäçrama-dharma may assist the practice of bhakti-yoga.
(Select at least 1 appropriate verse from Bhagavad-gétä Chapters 1-9 or from verses quoted therein, and give specific attention to some of the Sanskrit words in the verse you select.)
- Draw a conclusion summarizing your responses to the above and specifically answering the question “Who is required to follow varëäçrama-dharma?”
Prabhupäda writes: “The culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in bhakti yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti in bhakti-yoga.” (6.47 Purport.)
Write an essay of about 400 words (1-1.5 pages) explaining how the different yoga practices described in chapters 1-6 are progressive and lead to bhakti yoga.
Describe briefly, in your own words, the different yoga systems, mentioning where they are described. You should also:
(1) Select one appropriate verse which concisely summarises the whole process of karma yoga and give specific attention to some of the Sanskrit words in that verse.
(2) Explain how bhakti yoga contains all the essential elements of the different yoga practices described in chapters 1-6. Include appropriate verses, statements and analogies from purports and lectures to support your answer.
(3) Explain why Krishna describes the other yoga systems to Arjuna (since bhakti yoga is all that is required.)
Describe how realization about Brahman, localized Paramätmä and ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kåñëa is achieved via these different systems.
Please answer the following question.
Çréla Prabhupäda writes in the purport to Chapter 8, Verse 28 of the Bhagavad-gita, “Study of the Vedas is not meant for the recreation of armchair speculators, but for the formation of character.” Please write a concise 400 word essay explaining how you are applying this instruction in your own life, citing at least two references from Bhagavad-gétä Chapters 1-9.
Initially explain why it is important to apply sastra in one’s life. Subsequently, select at least one verse that is particularly relevant to you and explain why. Mention how you are practically applying (or plan to further apply) these lessons in your life, and reflect on how your personal spiritual life is developing by applying these particular lessons. Optionally, you might want to mention any challenges you face.
Please answer one of the following two questions.
You meet a middle-aged, respectable gentleman who says that the same result that is achieved by worshiping Krishna can be achieved by worshiping any of the devas.
Respond to him in about 400 words, making reference to the Bhagavad-gétä (Chapters 1-9). Make sure your response is balanced, neither being offensive to the demigods nor condoning their indiscriminate worship.
Just after a Sunday feast lecture, one young Western lady – whom you know is very analytical and who studies philosophy - states, “God is within all of us, as you have mentioned, so we can always get direction from him, at any moment. We therefore don’t need a guru to advance in spiritual.”
Respond to her in about 400 words, making reference to the Bhagavad-gétä (Chapters 1-9). Make sure your response is balanced, acknowledging the importance of God within, whilst expressing the authentic ISKCON view about the need for accepting a guru.
Mood and Mission
Please answer the following question.
Çréla Prabhupäda writes,
“Men who are ignorant cannot appreciate activities in Kåñëa consciousness, and therefore Lord Kåñëa advises us not to disturb them and simply waste valuable time. But the devotees of the Lord are more kind than the Lord because they understand the purpose of the Lord. Consequently they undertake all kinds of risks, even to the point of approaching ignorant men to try to engage them in the acts of Kåñëa consciousness, which are absolutely necessary for the human being.” (BG purport 3.29)
In a response of about 400 words:
Explain what, in this connection, is the ‘real purpose of the Lord’.
Explain how, in this connection, ‘the devotees of the Lord are more kind than the Lord’.
Briefly explain how this statement relates to a difference of practice between members of ISKCON and those those belonging to its broader tradition (e.g. Hinduism in general, other Vaishnava traditions, other Gaudiya Vaishnava traditions) and explore some of the reasons for the differences.
Explain how this statement gives us an insight into Çréla Prabhupäda’s and ISKCON’S mood & mission.
Why is it important to understand Çréla Prabhupäda’s and ISKCON’S mood & mission.