online trs

Orientation Module: Introduction to Online Study is an open module offering an overview of the Bhaktivedanta College study methodology. It is designed to introduce students to the Bhaktivedanta College Online Campus (BCOC) environment.

Future students are invited to carefully explore the Orientation Module before proceeding with any of our online programs. In the Orientation Module, you will also find plenty of material on study skills, essay writing, online research resources, general information about the program, and audio PowerPoint lessons on academic writing (including referencing) and critical thinking. 



The module covers the following topics: Introduction to the Bhagavata Purana: Its antiquity, authorship, structure in terms of its twelve books (cantos), and status within Hindu tradition. Narrative and contents: A detailed examination of the narrative structure and contents of the Bhagavata Purana. The Theology and Philosophy of the Bhagavata Purana: A consideration of Samkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti and the role of the Bhagavata Purana in shaping Vaisnava theology and practice. Stories of Creation in the Bhagavata Purana and Brahma's prayers for creative energy. Looking at the Bhagavata Purana's teaching on avatar, stories of avatars, and the status of Krishna and Vishnu. Devotional Role Models 1: Readings from the life and teachings of Prahlad in book 7. Devotional Role Models 2: Reading from the lives and teachings of Dhruva, Gajendra, Kuntidevi, Ajamila, and Bali Maharaja. A consideration of the gender roles in the Bhagavata Purana. Sages and Kings in the Bhagavata Purana: Looking at the pedagogical, sociological and political roles of the main sages and Kings in the Bhagavata Purana (Narada, Vidura, Kapila, Suta, Maitreya, Durvasa, Markandeya, Avaduta brahmana, Prithu, Ambarisha, Chitraketu, Pariksit etc.). Siva in the Bhagavata Purana: A consideration of the stories and status of Siva in the Bhagavata Purana. Krishna in the Bhagavata Purana (1): Looking at Krishna's birth and childhood in Gokul-Vrindavan as described in book 10. Krishna in the Bhagavata Purana (2): Readings from Krishna's Gopi-lila in book 10 in the light of their religious significance to the Vaisnava tradition.

The module will cover the following topics:
• Defining Hinduism
• The Vedas and Vedic ritualism
• Dharma-shastra, caste and gender
• The Upanishads and the renouncer traditions
• Devotional traditions
• Tantric texts and traditions
• Vaishnava traditions
• Shaiva traditions
• Shaktism and worship of the Goddess
• Modern Hindu Reformers
• Contemporary Hindu Movements.

More about this module read here.

  • Introduction to issues of traditional and modern scholarly interpretation of a Hindu text and presenting a broad overview of the position of the Bhagavad Gita in the Hindu tradition up to Charles Wilkin’s English translation in 1785.
  • The Bhagavad Gita and the Bible: A consideration of some Christian responses to, and interpretation of, the Bhagavad Gita in 19th and early 20th century.
  • The Universal Gita: A consideration of Neo Vedantic representations of the Bhagavad gita in India and the West, with particular reference to the contributions of Swami Vivekananda, Swami Prabhavananda, and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
  • The Gospel of Action: In this session we will explore the influence of Hindu nationalism on representations of the Bhagavad Gita with particular reference to Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Aurobindo Ghosh.
  • Gandhi’s Gita: In this session we examine Gandhi’s allegorical interpretation of the Gita, the doctrine of ahimsa and his influence on Western and Hindu views of the Gita.
  • The Counter Culture and the Bhagavad Gita: This session explores representations of the Gita in the West in the 1960’s and early 70’s with particular reference to Swami Bhaktivedanta and the emergence of ISKCON.

More about this module read here.

This module focuses on the transformations of Hinduism during modernity and late modernity, while covering, as background, the development of Hinduism and the bhakti movement during Islamic rule. One of the key objectives of the module is to understand the history of modern Hinduism as part of the cultural, social, and philosophical contexts of its time, attending especially to how the tension between nondualistic and personalistic worldviews take varied shapes in these contexts. Central to our historical approach will be attention to the growth and development of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

The Caitanya-caritamrita (“The Nectar Acts of Sri Caitanya”) is the magnum opus of Krishnadas Kaviraja, a sacred biography that is foundational for all followers of Sri Caitanya and his path of Krishna-bhakti. As such it has served Sri Caitanya’s followers since its completion in the early 17th century as a source of theological understanding, devotional inspiration, and means of connection with Sri Caitanya and his immediate associates. In this course we will explore the Caitanya-caritamrita from several perspectives, providing students with frameworks for reading and relishing this text as a lifetime literary companion, but also for considering various angles of understanding such as the text’s hints about historical and social conditions. Whether or not one is already familiar with the Caitanya-caritamrita, the content and delivery of this course are sure to open one to a deeper appreciation of the Caitanya Vaishnava tradition.


The module will cover the following:

• The Goswamis of Vrindavan: Overview of module and introduction to the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan, including Rupa and Jiva, their principal written works and their significance to the Chaitanya Vaishnava tradition.
• The Bhakti Tradition: An exploration of the historical and theological context from which the writings of Rupa and Jiva emerged, with particular reference to Chaitanya and the development of ‘intellectual’ and ‘emotional’ bhakti.
• The theology of Rupa Goswami: An examination of the structure and contents of the Bhaktirasamrtasindu, noting in particular his theory of bhaktirasa and the interpretation of the Vedantic ideas of ‘brahman’, ‘jiva’ and ‘moksa’.
• Indian Aesthetic theory: A consideration of the aesthetic theory of Bharata, Abhinava Gupta, and Bhoja, their influence on Rupa Goswami’s religio-aesthetic theory, and the importance of this idea for religious practice in the Chaitanya Vaishnava tradition.
• The Puranic basis of the Bhaktirasamrtasindhu: A consideration of the role of the Bhaktirasamrtasindhu as a commentary on the Bhagavata Purana.
• A consideration of the theological contributions of Rupa to Chaitanya Vaishnavism, noting the similarities and differences to other schools of Vaishnava thought.
• A consideration of the influence of Rupa on later Chaitanya Vaisnava theologians, (Vishvanatha Cakravarthi • Thakur, Baladeva Vidyabhushana) and on the wider Hindu tradition.

More about this module here.


The module will cover the following: 

• An outline of the life of Jiva Goswami, an introduction to his principal writings (Sat-sandarbhas and Gopal Campu) and a consideration of their historical context and relevance to the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. 

• The Puranic basis of the Sat-sandarbhas: An examination of the significance of the Bhagavata Purana for the theology of the Sat-sandarbhas.

• The Methodology and Epistemology of Jiva Goswami: A consideration of Jiva Goswami’s Tattva sandarbha as the cornerstone of his Sat- sandarbhas. 

• The Metaphysics of Jiva Goswami; Jiva Goswami’s theology of acintya-bhedabheda with reference to the Vedantic ideas of ‘brahman’, ‘jiva’, and ‘moksa’. 

 • Bhakti in the Sat-sandarbhas: Jiva Goswami’s understanding of bhakti in relation to the ideas of the Puranas, Chaitanya and Rupa Goswami. 

 • A consideration of the theological contributions of Rupa and Jiva to Chaitanya Vaishnavism, noting the similarities and differences to other schools of Vaishnava thought. 

 • A consideration of the influence of Rupa and Jiva on later Chaitanya Vaisnava theologians, (Vishvanatha Cakravarthi  Thakur, Baladeva Vidyabhushana) and on the wider Hindu tradition.