Bhakti Sastri Examinations

General Guidelines:

    1.  The Bhakti Sastri Degree Examination will consist of a minimum of the following: 60 short answer questions, 9 essay questions, and knowledge of the Sanskrit transliteration and English meaning of 15 Sanskrit verses.
    2.  Examinations should be completed within one day, in two three-hour sessions. Short answer questions should be answered in the first three-hour session. The second three-hour session can be split according to the discretion of the Examination center.
    3.  The Bhakti Sastri examination shall only require knowledge on the first nineteen chapters of the Nectar of Devotion.

Short Answer Questions:

    1.  An individual should be able to write his/her answer to a short answer question within 1-2 minutes. This means an answer should not require more than three sentences.
    2.  The 60 short answer questions should be broken up as follows: 40 on the Bhagavad-gita As It is, 10 on the Nectar of Devotion, 5 on the Nectar of Instruction, and 5 on Sri Isopanisad. "
    3.  Short answer questions should cover, in a balanced fashion, all sections of the required books.
    4.  Short answer questions should be balanced between essential facts, key concepts, and analogies.

Essential Facts: Sastra inform us of essential facts, such as those related to the Lord’s activities, the activities of His devotees, the organization of the universe, the different yoga systems, the structure of Vedic society, qualifications for an individual to become spiritually advanced, etc. Devotees should know these essential facts.

Key Concepts: Devotees should know the philosophical concepts which form the basis of Krishna consciousness, such as the transcendental nature of the soul, the law of karma, the influence of the modes of nature, the process and development of bhakti, the purpose of creation, the qualities and opulences of the Supreme Lord, etc.

Analogies:  Srila Prabhupada and our great acaryas have taught via analogies, which help us understand new concepts indirectly. We should know and be able to explain these analogies. Some examples are the analogy of the man lost in the middle of the ocean, of the sun rising on the horizon, of the mailbox, of the eggs of the scorpion, of the green bird in the green tree, etc.

Essay Questions:

    1.  Five essay questions should test a candidate’s deeper understanding and practical application of the philosophy. Candidates will be required to answer five of the nine questions. Three of the essay questions should be on the Bhagavad-gita As It Is.
    2.  An individual should be able to write his/her answer to each essay question within 20-25 minutes. This means an essay question should not require an answer of more than 150 words.

Required Verses:

    1.  Centers should require candidates to learn a minimum of 45 verses. Of these, the Board of Examinations will choose 30 standard verses and the individual center will choose the additional verses. Of the required verses to be learnt 15 will be selected for testing on the Bhakti Sastri Examination.
    2.  Candidates will be required to write the transliterated Sanskrit of all required verses. Correct use of diacritic marks is not mandatory. Candidates shall also be required to write a translation that contains each main concept of the verse. An exact, literal, “book translation” is not required.