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Mayapura Academy The Development of a Diploma in Arcana

Mayapur Academy is a joint educational initiative of the Mayapur Deity Department and ISKCON Deity Worship Ministry with the aim of training brahmanas that are capable of fulfilling the needs of ISKCON communities. The Mayapur Academy, commencing late 2007, will offer an outstanding range of innovative courses for devotees interested in developing their skills and ability as pujaris and brahmanas. These courses will present a relevant and challenging response to current demands of deity worship and brahminical services in ISKCON. They will be offered by some of the finest and most active educationalists in their fields in ISKCON. Underpinning the academic structure is a developing base of support; including training facilities and input from senior ISKCON members.

These courses will present a relevant and challenging response to current demands of deity worship and brahminical services in ISKCON.

Needs Statement
You just worship Radha-Madhava nicely, and everything will come by Their mercy. You don't have to worry about money.
-- Srila Prabhupada Since founding ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada trained devotees in the practices of deity worship. At the New York storefront temple, devotees daily saw Srila Prabhupada worship pictures of the Panca-tattva and his spiritual master. He encouraged everyone to bring flowers or fruit for the deities and thus introduced devotees to deity worship. It was his desire to have hundreds of Radha-Krishna temples all over the world with high standards of worship following the principles given by the Goswamis of Vrindavan.

This course is an academic, practical and integrated approach to deity worship and brahminical development. It offers comprehensive training in the knowledge and skills of deity worship and aims to assist devotees in developing the qualities of a brahmana. Such development will empower devotees to become leaders of the Vaisnava community. This course will help to develop and maintain worship standards as desired by Srila Prabhupada. In achieving this aim devotees will be guided in the developing the qualities of a vaisnava. Not only will this assist the development and maintenance of deity worship but will contribute to the healthy functioning of ISKCON society. A society without brahmanas is a society without a head.

Course Units
Festivals Tulasi Samskaras Deity Dressing Standard Temple Worship Advanced Deity Worship Brahminical Culture & Ethics Cooking for the Deities Salagrama Worship Practicum Plus Elective Options

Who is it for
This course is for devotees interested in developing brahminical skills and qualities. The course offers a particular focus in the areas of arcana and the abilities needed to function as a head pujari and a minister within ISKCON communities.

The course requires that entrants are brahmana initiated devotees (or devotees who will get brahmanical initiation during the period of the course). The course also requires competency levels of English literacy.

Course outline
For students to graduate from the Mayapura Academy - Diploma in Arcana they must successfully attain 48 credits points obtained by passes in the following units of work: Core units (28 credit points) Elective subjects (10 credit points) Practicum (10 credit points)

(transfer of credit from previous study and past practical experience may be negotiated) These units will be presented as two or three classes per day for three months (approx 120 classes). The course begins December 7, 2007 and will continue until the beginning of the Mayapur Festival at Gaura Purnima, 2008.

Course Description
The course will follow a university style approach to education with lectures given by senior devotees who are expert in various fields of arcana, tutorials given by facilitators and senior students and practical workshops where in the students will learn the skills of deity worship. The course will run for the duration from the end of Kartika to the Gaura Purnima Festival each year. To accommodate all devotees sections of the programme will be made available for study through permutations of distance learning, including internet based learning.

Course Aims and Learning Outcomes

Course Aims:
To equip devotees with the knowledge, skills and values associated with being a temple pujari and brahmana in an ISKCON community.

Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the course devotees will be able to: demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the philosophy and practices of ISKCON deity worship and perform any aspect of deity worship in an ISKCON temple demonstrate the internal qualities and external practices of a brahmana capable of servicing a vaisnava community cultivate members of the congregation through servicing with various samskaras, counselling, etc. demonstrate the ability to act as an educator capable of imparting brahminical knowledge, skills and values to other members of the society (including giving a sastra class) demonstrate proficiency in cooking for the deities identify and examine a range of organisational approaches and structures to managing a deity department including organising rosters, deity festivals, etc. identify the nuances and importance of cultivating and worshiping Tulasi devi demonstrate the ability to proficiently dress deities demonstrate in-depth knowledge and understanding of the philosophy and of Salagrama worship and demonstrate ability to worship the Salagrama

Units at a Glance
Standard Temple Worship
Temple worship Level 1 Introduction

(Core Unit)
(11 classes)

This unit is an introduction to the basic knowledge, skills and values of Temple worship Temple worship Level 2 (20 classes) This unit develops further the knowledge, skills and values of temple worship and gives devotees practical experience in the various procedures of daily worship. 31 Classes, 12 credit points

Brahminical Culture and Ethics - Unit 1

(Core Unit)

In this unit devotees will develop values and knowledge required to lead / guide a spiritual society. Devotees will learn the role of a brahmana in giving guidance and direction to various social and managerial structures according guru, sadhu and scripture. This will include elementary teacher training and giving sastra class. (28 classes), 12 credit points


(Core Unit)

In this unit devotees will develop skills and knowledge required to perform major samskaras. Devotees will learn the function of samskaras and how to set up and perform a fire yajna. (12 classes), 4 credit points

Devotees will learn the function of festivals, the meaning of the different festivals, and how to observe various festivals. (12 classes), 4 credit points

Devotees will learn to appreciate the identity of Tulasi and will also develop knowledge and skills for caring for, and worshiping Tulasi. (6 classes), 2 credit points

Cooking for the deities

Devotees will learn the process of cooking within ISKCON and how to develop and refine their cooking skills. (12 classes), 4 credit points

Deity Dressing
Devotees will learn how to dress deities. Skills included will be color matching, how to select appropriate jewelry, wrap a turban, hang cloth and garlands etc. (12 classes), 4 credit points


(Core Unit)

This unit will involve students being placed in appropriate Temple settings and functioning in a professional manner for a three day period. This will be done under the tutorage of experts in specific fields. Students will be assessed by keeping a professional journal and the observation records of the tutor. (5 days), 10 credit points

Year Two Subjects

Advanced Temple Worship Salagrama Worship Brahminical Development 2 Teacher training 1

Proposed Elective Units: (for future courses)

Clothes and jewelry design and creation Introduction to Vedic Astrology Introduction to Vastu Introduction to Sanskrit Worshiping Prabhupada (Murti & Instruction) Teacher Training 2 Vaisnava Songs and Bhajanas Poetry of the Vaisnava traditions Civic training in ISKCON Vaisnava Drama Introduction to Ayurveda Vedic mathematics