Bhakti-Śāstrī Summative Examination for Senior Devotees

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If you want to see the course information in a PDF Document, please click here.

The Bhakti-Śāstrī Summative Examination (BŚSE) program is designed for the senior devotees of ISKCON who wishes to complete their Bhakti-Śāstrī degree without observing the regular schedule, including the lessons and standard assessments. Our typical student is over 40 years of age with senior preaching/leadership commitment in ISKCON for a minimum of 10 years and is devoted full-time. 

Bhakti-Śāstrī course is an ISKCON sastric course enfolding Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, The Nectar of Devotion (Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu), Nectar of Instruction (Śrī Upadeśāmṛta) and Śrī Īśopaniṣad. This course was envisioned by ISKCON founder-acharya - His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and he wished his disciples who want to understand the science of Krsna Consciousness should take this course.

"Bhakti-Śāstrī, Bhakti-vaibhava, Bhaktivedanta, and Bhakti-sarvabhauma. All our brahmanas and anyone wanting to become brahmana, will have to sit for Examination once a year at Mayapur. They will be expected to know Bhagavad-gita, Nectar of Devotion, Nectar of Instruction, Sri Isopanisad, a book soon to be published on Deity worship, as well as all the small paperbacks. If they pass the Examination they will be awarded Bhakti-Śāstrī certificate."
- Letter to Tusta Krsna, Bombay 9 January 1976

The aspirants can register for this course, where they will be shared a question bank worth 50 questions from the four books. They can take around 3 to 12 weeks to prepare for a one-time 4 hours written Examination online or onsite. The Summative Exam will consist of 20 Questions drawn from the question bank provided to the student. And the student will answer eight questions of around 3-4 paragraphs each (approx. 300 words each). Said exam should be completed within 4 hours. The Examination is prepared systematically with Bhakti-Śāstrī aims & objectives, such as understanding the themes, mood & mission of Srila Prabhupada, preaching application, personal application, etc.

Although the application is open to everyone, however, the Mayapur Institute reserves the right to select potential candidates for the Bhakti-Śāstrī Summative Examination (BŚSE) program.

ADMISSION PROCESS :

  1. Applicant visits the Mayapur Institute website, reads all the particulars of the BŚSE program & fills out the admission form.
  2. Applicant receives an automated welcome email & copy of the question bank.
    1. The applicant is recommended to prepare answers to the questions from the question bank as soon as they obtain the question bank.
  3. The applicant is contacted by the Mayapur Institute's student selection panel via a call on cellular call/Whatsapp/Telegram within 2-4 weeks of application.
    1. If the application is denied, the applicant may reapply for the BŚSE program after 365 days.
    2. Some applications can also be held for 4-20 weeks for internal review.
  4. Once the application is approved, the applicant will receive a confirmation email (as provided by the applicant) & will be officiated as a BŚSE student. The student should pay the fees now as per the details provided in the email. The student will receive Online Examination slots as per the availability of our invigilator. They have to choose the slot by replying to that email.
    1. If the furnished slots don't work for the student, they may only request more slots in the next calendar month.
    2. If the student doesn't or couldn't appear for the Online Examination, then they may elect for offline invigilation. For such cases, the student must find & submit the details of the local invigilator (only a G.B.C. member, G.B.C. Minister, ISKCON Sannyasi, ISKCON Diksa guru, Zonal or Regional Secretary, Global Duty Officer, Zonal Supervisor, Temple President or Temple Board member can invigilate) to the BŚSE program counsellor. We will contact provided invigilator & provide them with the necessary Examination guidelines.
  5. The student appears for the test as per the choice of their Examination convention.
  6. Answer sheets are usually assessed around 4-6 weeks (sometimes even longer) & the student receives the result via an email.
    1. If the student is passed, they will receive their Bhakti-Śāstrī certificate within 4-8 weeks (depending upon the choice of delivery) from the publication of the result.
    2. If the student is failed, they may retake the test after 180 days. They should contact the Mayapur Institute's BŚSE program counsellor for future slots post 180 days. (Student doesn't have to pay any additional fees/fines for this)
      1. If the student fails the retest, then there will be no more retests. The student has to reapply for the BŚSE program after 365 days & go through the whole admission process again.


Types of Examination Convention:

1.    One sitting: Students will write the test in one day in a 4 hours session. There will be two breaks in the Examination of 10 minutes each to allow the students to take breaks. The question paper will be divided into three segments. The first segment will be supplied pre-first break. The second segment will be the post-first break, and the third will be the post-second break. All three parts will be not provided at the same time.
a.    If a student wishes to take one or no breaks, they may tell this to their invigilator, and they shall give the next segment without breaks.

2.    Phased: Students will be writing the Examination in two or more sessions on one day or spread across multiple consecutive days. Such students will receive question papers in phases divided as per the course books. Maximum, there can be 4 phases. This method is recommended for those who cannot sit for 4 hours straight. Mayapur Institute reserves the right of phase convention exam to prevent its wrongful use. It is only for devotees with ages more than 60 years.

To register for this course, please click here.

Please find more information below in Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) format.


1.    Who is eligible to take this course?
The following categories are immediately qualified without the requirement of any recommendation letter/endorsement:
i.    Prabhupada Disciple
ii.    G.B.C.
iii.    ISKCON Diksa Guru
iv.    ISKCON Sannyasi

For others, they need approval from the Mayapur Institute's selection panel and a recommendation letter. Also, they need to qualify on the parameters below:
i.    Senior preaching/leadership responsibility for a minimum of 10 years
ii.    At least 40 years of age

The recommendation letter should be from one of the following:
G.B.C. member, G.B.C. Minister, ISKCON Sannyasi, ISKCON Diksa guru, Zonal or Regional Secretary, Global Duty Officer, Zonal Supervisor, Temple President, or Temple Board, ITB (ISKCON Teachers Board) approved teacher.

2.    Do I need to submit a recommendation letter?
If you are a Srila Prabhupada Disciple, G.B.C., ISKCON Diksa Guru and/or ISKCON Sannyasi, you do not need to submit a recommendation letter.

For others, a recommendation letter is required at the time of registration from one of the following:
G.B.C. member, G.B.C. Minister, ISKCON Sannyasi, ISKCON Diksa guru, Zonal or Regional Secretary, Global Duty Officer, Zonal Supervisor, Temple President, or Temple Board, ITB (ISKCON Teachers Board) approved teacher.

3.    Can I apply without a recommendation letter and submit my recommendation letter in a few days?
To complete the form – it is mandatory to provide us with the recommendation letter.

4.    On what grounds does the Mayapur Institute's selection panel select?
Our selection panel accentuates the qualitative characteristics of the applicant's profile. These could be things like the magnitude of service, the scale of preaching, unique qualifications, eclectic background etc. We give meticulous & personal attention to each applicant in our admissions process. We seek to recognize students who have understood the mood and mission of Srila Prabhupada and are instrumental in propagating the movement of Srila Prabhupada.

5.    How would I know that my admission is confirmed?
We will send you a confirmation mail within one week of your interview with our selection panel.

6.    What happens if I fail my interview? How would I come to know that I am not selected?
We will send you an email with the result of your interview within one week of your interview.

If the application is denied, the applicant may reapply for the BŚSE program after 365 days.

7.    When do I pay my fees?
After you receive the selection confirmation email within one week of your interview.

Bank details will be provided in that email.

8.    When will I receive the question bank?
As soon as you will complete your registration form.

9.    How can I apply for this course?
Please visit our website; you will find all the information regarding the course, including the registration process.

Those who are unable to fill the online form, please take the assistance of your contacts.
Since the application form is confidential, no one from the Mayapur Institute will fill out anyone's paper for them. 

10.    What are the fees for this course?
Rupees Twelve Thousand, Five Hundred and One Rupee (₹ 12,501).

11.    Why is the Mayapur Institute charging the fees as the regular Bhakti-Śāstrī program with all the lessons?
The Mayapur Institute doesn't make any quantitative & qualitative distinction in its Śastric programs ranging from Bhakti-Sastri, Bhakti-Vaibhava, Bhakti-Vedanta & Bhakti-Sarvabhauma.

Creating a financial difference between the regular Bhakti-Sastri program and Bhakti-Śāstrī Summative Examination will lead to doubts about our courses' quality. We do not believe in any such discrepancies. Our Bhakti-Śāstrī Summative Examination aims to honour qualified senior devotees with the Bhakti-Sastri title and enable them to take up higher courses such as Bhakti-Vaibhava, Bhakti-Vedanta & Bhakti-Sarvabhauma.

Since the inception of the Mayapur Institute, we have kept our fees fixed even though the global inflation for past decades is around 60%.

Please read more about financial considerations at the Mayapur Institute on our website.

12.    Can I apply for a Scholarship or Financial aid?
Unfortunately, we do not have any such programs for Bhakti-Śāstrī Summative Examination.

13.    Do I need to study these four books of Bhakti-Śāstrī?
Ideally, the applicant for Bhakti-Śāstrī Summative Examination should have studied & taught upon these four books numerous times. After reading these books, if one has not read/reviewed/understood them several times, they should consider taking our regular Bhakti-Sastri program.

Bhakti-Śāstrī Summative Examination aims to award the Bhakti-Sastri title to those full-time devotees who have been involved in preaching & propagating the movement of Srila Prabhupada for many years but do not have time to attend this regular Bhakti-Sastri course.

14.    Can I take the help of a tutor for this?
One may take the help of their peers in preparing for this Examination. However, this course is especially for those devotees who already have an outstanding understanding of the subject matters of these books. This is not an honorary course/title program.

15.    Can someone on my behalf write this Examination?
No.

16.    What is the passing percentage of this Examination?
Same as the regular Bhakti-Sastri program – 65%

17.    Can I reschedule the Examination? No slots work for me!
Yes, but you will be given an option in the next calendar month. Our slots are given as per the availability of the invigilator.

18.    What will happen if I fail to appear on the date of my Examination?
On the first no show, the student will be allowed to reappear next month.
On the second no show, the student will be absconded from the course, and they have to re-register for the course.

19.    How many times can I reschedule the test?
Only one rescheduling is allowed.

20.    Can I take this Examination in writing physically?
If the student doesn't or couldn't appear for the Online Examination, then they may elect for offline invigilation. For such cases, the student must find & submit the details of the local invigilator (only a G.B.C. member, G.B.C. Minister, ISKCON Sannyasi, ISKCON Diksa guru, Zonal or Regional Secretary, Global Duty Officer, Zonal Supervisor, Temple President or Temple Board member can invigilate) to the BŚSE program counsellor. We will contact provided invigilator & provide them with the necessary Examination guidelines.

21.    Can I take breaks throughout the Examination?
See Types of Examination Conventions.

22.    Can I take my test in one sitting?
See Types of Examination Conventions.

23.    How long do I have to wait to be contacted by the Mayapur Institute's selection panel?
We usually contact applicants within 2-4 weeks of registration. Due to festivals or high volume, we may take longer.

24.    What all arrangements do I have to make to take the online Examination?
All students should arrange for One Laptop with a Camera, One Cellphone with a Camera and a good internet connection.

25.    How long does the Mayapur Institute take to check my paper?
Answer sheets are usually assessed around 4-6 weeks (sometimes even longer) & the student receives the result via an email

26.    What happens if I fail my Examination?
If the student is failed, they may retake the test after 180 days. They should contact the Mayapur Institute's BŚSE program counsellor for future slots post 180 days. (Student doesn't have to pay any additional fees/fines for this)

If the student fails the retest, there will be no more retests. The student has to reapply for the BŚSE program after 365 days & go through the whole admission process again.

27.    Can I reappear for the Examination to improve my marks?
No.

28.    After clearing my exams, how many days will I receive my Bhakti-Śāstrī certificates?
If the student is passed, they will receive their Bhakti-Śāstrī certificate within 4-8 weeks (depending upon the choice of delivery) from the publication of the result.

29.    If I cannot find answers to questions from the Question Bank, can I take help from Mayapur Institute?
The student has to work out solutions by themselves.

30.    What is the word count for my answers in the Examination?
Each answer should be a short paragraph of 200-300 words.

31.    I cannot write. Can I give an oral examination?
Please write to office@mayapurinstitute.org explaining your case.

32.    Can I take more than 12 weeks to prepare for the Examination?
Students can take as much time as they want to prepare for their exam.

33.    Can I give the exam before three weeks of preparation time?
Examination solely depends upon the availability of our invigilator.

34.    What time and date will be the Examination? Will I have a choice in selecting what time my examination?
After approval of their registration, the student will receive Online Examination slots as per the availability of our invigilator. They have to choose the slot by replying to that email.

If the furnished slots don't work for the student, they may only request more slots in the next calendar month.

35.    If I cannot take tests due to some unforeseen reasons, will the Mayapur Institute refund my fees?
Your registration (including fees) is good with us for the subsequent two years.

36.    Just like an open book examination. Can I refer to books while writing my test?
No devices, cellphones, books, or devotees should be present in the room while giving the exam. Our invigilator will check the student's room before Examination and sometimes during the exam as well.

37.    Four hours is a very long period? Will I be allowed to take breaks in between my test?
See Types of Examination Conventions.

38.    What are the violation norms of the Examination?
The following activities are entirely forbidden during the Examination:
•    Appearing for late in Examination. The student should report 15 minutes before the scheduled time for the exam.
•    Keeping or using any devices, books, or material that can be used for writing and maintaining information.
•    Presence of someone else in the room.
•    Turn off any of two cameras during the Examination, including during the breaks.
•    Turning off or muting the microphone during the Examination, including during the breaks.
•    Taking frequent toilet breaks without permission/consent of the invigilator.
•    Use of headphones
•    Covering face, ear and/or by anything, including facial hair

39.    What happens if I violate the Examination norms?
Immediately disqualification and upon review there can be a ban for 365 days aswell.

40.    What all paraphernalia I can keep during the Examination?
Nothing at all.

41.    What will be the duties of the invigilator? ("Rights of Invigilator")
The respectable invigilator is taking the service of invigilation at the request of the Mayapur Institute and students likewise. The student should obey any decision made by the invigilator in respect to examinations without questioning the integrity of the invigilator. The invigilator reserves the right to abscond the student if the course norms are not met.

42.    What if I am unable to finish my Examination in the allotted time?
A negative marking of 1 mark per minute will be applicable.

43.    I live outside Mayapur, and I would like to receive a Hardcopy of the Certificate. What should I do?
When you receive your Examination result, you will be given the option of opting Hardcopy of the certificate. Please reply to that email or contact your BŚSE program counsellor.

*Please note shipping charges are not included in the student fees.

To register for this course, please click here.

If you still have a doubt, don't hesitate to get in touch with H.G. Aniruddha Prabhu at iamaniruddhadasa@gmail.com