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Ādi Śaṅkara

This course provides a comprehensive explication of Ādi Śaṅkarācārya’s philosophy. Students will gain an understanding of his views of phenomenal reality, perception, scripture, revelation, the soul, transmigration, dharma, creation, nescience, and ultimate realization. They will be introduced to his thought systematically, showing how he develops his hermeneutics and argues for the cogency of the non-dual (advaita) standpoint vis-a-vis alternative viewpoints.

Area of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor:  Dr. Vishwa Adluri

 

Advaita Vedanta: A Method

Learning Outcome:-

  1. Develop a clear understanding of Advaita Vedanta as a method, and the ramifications of that.
  2. Gain a comprehensive understanding of Advaita epistemology and its role as a key to understanding the vision of the Upanisads.
  3. Connect the epistemology to Advaita ontology and the fulfillment of its soteriological end.

In this course, we will examine the methods (prakriyas) used in the Upanisads to reveal the existence and nature of the non-dual reality.  We will begin with a basic discussion of Advaita epistemology to understand the important claim of the Upanisad that it provides, not just information about the non-dual reality, but the means through which one can directly know it. First, we will undertake a close reading of Sankara’s introduction to the Brahmasutra, and commentary on Taittiriya Upanisad 2.1.1 to establish the core principles of superimposition and negation as well as implicative statements. With these parameters, we will study dialogues in the Mundaka, Taittirya, and Mandukya Upanisads that employ the foundational method of inquiry into cause-effect, and also, the methods of analysis of the levels of our waking experience and analysis of the three states of waking, dream, and sleep. Throughout, we will be connecting what we discover to the soteriological aim of Advaita Vedanta—release from human suffering and the cycle of birth and death.

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Introduction to Advaita Vedanta

Faculty/Instructor: Swamini Agamananda Saraswati

Quarter Offered: Winter 2020

Area of Study:- Hindu Studies Foundation 

An Overview of the Veda

The Vedic-view of the purpose of life as explained by the four puruṣārthas – Dharma, Artha, Kāma, and Mokṣa will be discussed. An overview of the four Vedas, each consisting of the two major categories, which are further subdivided into different portions, the arrangement of the mantras into mandalas and aśtaka systems, internal classifications of each Veda into Samhitā, Brāhmana, Āraṇyaka, and Upaniṣads will be covered. The Veda’s structural hierarchy and purpose, and supplementary texts of the Vedic corpus such as – Sūtra – Bhāṣya – Vyākhyā – Ṭīkā – Ṭippaṇī – Prapaňcikā – Saṅgraha – Kārikā – Vṛtti – Vārtika – Prakaraṇa – Vāda – Khaṇḍana, including an overview of the six Darśanas will be examined, in addition to the differences between śruti and Smṛti

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Recognize the whole Vedic body of knowledge and its layout.
  2. Understand the inter-relationships of the various components of the Vedic corpus.
  3. Inquire into the concept of human progress in relation to the timelessness of ancient Vedic knowledge.
  4. Explore the relevance of the Vedic body of knowledge in today’s age.
  5. Examine contemporary views and interpretations of the Veda.

Areas of Study: Hindu Studies Foundations

Required / Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission into a program of Study

Faculty:  Sri Swāmi Svātmānanda

Ancient Greek Philosophy

Course Content:

Students will receive an intensive introduction to the core issues in ancient Greek philosophy by reading excerpts and complete texts from ancient philosophers including Parmenides, Empedocles, Plato, Aristotle, and Proclus, writing response papers, engaging in-class discussion, and submitting a final paper.

Students will gain insight into philosophical discourse and terminology, as well as intellectual tools with which to contribute to today’s philosophical and theological disputes.

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundations

Required/ Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Edward P. Butler/ Dr. Vishwa Adluri

Antaranga Yoga

Learning Outcome:-

  1. Explore yoga as a holistic science beyond postures (asanas) or breathing techniques (pranayama).
  2. Develop greater insights into one’s own psyche and patterns of the mind (Antaranga Yoga) through an experiential engagement with Yoga Sutras.
  3. Develop an authentic understanding of the concepts in the Yoga Sutras based on the teachings of Yogacharya Sri T Krishnamacharya and learn to apply them in their daily lives to lead a life replete with RASA. 
  4. Contemplate upon Indian itihAsa-purANa tradition in an experiential manner as a mirror to understand themselves.
  5. Inquire into the foundations of Indian Psychology in the light of Yoga Sutras, Sankhya Philosophy and Bhagavad Gita.

This course is an invitation, to a student of yoga, for a deeper exploration of one’s own psyche and patterns of mind in the light of the ideas and propositions contained in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The ultimate goal of all bahiranga yoga practices like Asana, prANAyAma, yama and niyama is to prepare the psyche so that it can engage in antaranga yoga. This is amply clear from the fact that only few sutras in Yoga Sutras mention about Asana, prANAyAma, yama and niyama as compared to the many that are devoted to the process of perception, how misperception happens, how duHkha is caused by an inability to use one’s inner faculties in a proper manner and how this can be worked with. It is only after a deep study of this process that we are introduced to the even deeper process leading to samyama (meditation). This course will help a student gain a firm understanding and clarity of the relationship between ashtAnga yoga and antaranga yoga

Our exploration of Yoga Sastra in this course is based on the teachings of Yogacharya T Krishnamacharya, the father of modern yoga, and his son Shri TKV Desikachar. A unique feature of this course is that we will explore self-reflective work through the itihAsa-purANa, the Mahabharata in particular. It is not commonly understood that the Mahabharata was written to make the subtle truths of Sankhya and Yoga Philosophy accessible to everybody.  We will explore antaranga yoga through the Mahabharata stories to understand one’s mind and its patterns better.

This is a 1-credit course that will have a total of 10 hours of instruction (contact hours) over ten weeks (1 hour per week). Students will have to devote 2 hours per week for self-study and assignments. Students will take an exam in the eleventh week.

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission to the program of study

Faculty/Instructor: Sri Raghu Ananthanarayanan

Quarter Offered: Winter  2020

Area of Study:- Yoga Studies

Start Date:- 08th January 2020

End Date:- 18th March 2020

Day:- Wednesday

Time:- 9pm-10:15pm EST

Anticolonialism and Postcolonialism

Much more than the economic exploitation of the colonized, the colonization process hovers around destroying their cultural fabric. This necessarily involves the production of literature on the colonized and the creation of institutions through which the understanding of the colonized within and without their culture is significantly altered. There have been influential writers during the colonial period who understood the impulse of power and domination behind the production of literature on the colonized “other,” and there have been others who have analyzed the psychological and sociological effects of colonization. Through the literature of writers such as Aime Cessaire, Albert Memmi, Franz Fannon, Edward Said, Ashish Nandy, and S. Balagangadhara, this course will give the students the theoretical tools to understand the impact of colonialism on the psyche and culture of the Hindu people.

In this course, the student will

  1. be given a sound introduction to literature and theorists whose work will be extremely beneficial in critically examining the European literature that was generated on India and Hinduism in the colonial times;
  2. will be given the framework and the container to study the cultural and civilizational impact of European literature on India and Hinduism during the colonial times;
  3. will begin to gain a vision of how European Indology significantly altered our self-understanding as Hindus and our representation to the world, the impact of which we continue to deal with in a postcolonial world.

Areas of Study: Postcolonial Hindu Studies

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Kundan Singh

 

Applied Vedic Science – Advanced (Āyurveda)

Course Content:

This course provides an in-depth appreciation of the science and practice of Āyurveda, through a study of one of the core texts pertaining to the portions suggesting regimen for individuals corresponding to the different seasons. This primary text in Sanskrit will be discussed, along with some of the major commentaries on the source text.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the sensibility in the system of Āyurveda that customizes its prescriptions based on factors that impact the health and wellbeing of people.
  2. Assimilate the role and relevance of Āyurveda as a manual of holistic wellbeing.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Completion of the Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Ayurveda)

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

Applied Vedic Science – Advanced (Jyotisha)

Course Content:

This course provides an introduction to basic mathematical operations, the Indian way, through the text named Līlāvatī.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the methodology and approach of theorizing and calculating in the Indic system of mathematics.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Completion of the Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Jyotisha)

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

Applied Vedic Science – Advanced (Yoga)

Course Content:

This course introduces the portion of the Yogasūtras that defines and discusses the systematic means – sādhanā – of attaining the most exalted spiritual state and substantiates the process with reasons where necessary.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Comprehend the means of attaining an exalted state of spirituality along with the systematic technical definitions of such means
  2. Logically understand the process presented in the Yogasūtras

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Completion of the Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Yoga)

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Āyurveda)

Course Content:

This course provides a survey of the science and practice of Ayurveda, through an overview of the key texts and contributions in the discipline. The concept of wellbeing, and not merely medication, that is central to Āyurveda is elucidated in the course.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the major contributors and their writings and commentaries that built up the applied science and knowledge system of Āyurveda.
  2. Assimilate the role and relevance of Āyurveda as a science of wellbeing.
  3. Recognize the different schools of Āyurveda based on their theories.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites:  Completion of 12 Credit-Hours of Course work in the MA in Sanskrit / Masters’ Certificate in Sanskrit

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Jyotiṣa)

Course Content:

This course provides a survey of the science and practice of Jyotiṣa, through an overview of the key texts and contributions in the discipline. A primer text in Sanskrit which discusses the categories of this science and how they are interpreted to provide insights related to their influences at different levels is studied in this course.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the scientific/ mathematic relevance of astronomy as essential for the study of astrology.
  2. Understand the major contributors and their contributions to scientific thought in the Indic knowledge system.
  3. Observe how the basic astrological elements have been derived and interpreted in the Jyotiṣa-śāstra.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Completion of 12 Credit-Hours of Course work in the MA in Sanskrit6 limbs / Masters’ Certificate in Sanskrit

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Vedanta)

Course Content:

This course provides a survey of the basic philosophical tenets of the different schools of Vedānta and introduces their primary sources. This course also provides the opportunity to study comparatively the respective commentaries of a principal Upaniṣad to aid the student in understanding the philosophical standpoints of these different schools.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the role of Vedānta in governing the Indic way of life.
  2. Understand the convergences and divergences of views among the different schools of Vedānta.
  3. Observe the multiplicity of interpretations of Vedic literature and the rationale behind such interpretations forming the basis of tenets propounded by the different schools of Vedānta.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites:  Completion of 12 Credit-Hours of Course work in the MA in Sanskrit / Masters’ Certificate in Sanskrit

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

Applied Vedic Sciences Basic (Yoga)

Course Content:

This course introduces the categories of Yoga with their respective definitions, based on the Yogasūtras of Patañjali along with its prominent commentaries.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Assimilate the role and relevance of the system of Yoga through a comprehensive understanding of the mental and cognitive categories in the Yoga system
  2. Comprehend the definitions of the categories according to the Yoga system with elucidations from various commentaries.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites:  Completion of 12 Credit-Hours of Course work in the MA in Sanskrit / Masters’ Certificate in Sanskrit

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

Arthaśāstra

Kautilya’s Arthaśāstra, written around 300 BC, is a text on statecraft, a book of political realism. It deals with various topics including war and diplomacy, how a king can retain his kingdom and become a conqueror, how to make allies and know the enemies, and how to make treaties. It focuses on elements, what can be termed in modern usage diplomacy, such as the doctrine of a silent war, propaganda, secret agents, how to use women as weapons of war, and how to use religion and superstition to advantage. According to Kautilya, “power is (possession of) strength” and “strength changes the mind.” More importantly, Kautilya emphasized power to control not only outward behavior but also the thoughts of one’s subjects and enemies. According to him, “one possessed of personal qualities, though ruling over a small territory … conversant with (the science of) politics, does conquer the entire earth, never loses.” Kautilya is the founder of Mandala Theory of foreign policy, which can be termed as a precursor of the theories of political realism and balance of power. Kautilya favored righteous war than greedy and demoniacal wars. The course will delve into various elements of this insightful text and juxtapose the main ideas in the text with similar theories and approaches in the modern world. The students will be able to draw parallels between the core ideas embedded in this ancient text with many modern ideas.

In this course the students will be able to:

  1. Identify how this ancient text could be considered a precursor to the modern theory of Realism in international relations.
  2. Delve into various elements such as Mandala theory in this insightful text and juxtapose the main ideas in the text with similar theories and approaches.
  3. Explore the significance of this ancient text to address problems in the modern world.

Area of Study: Conflict and Peace Studies

Elective/Required: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Debidatta. A. Mahapatra

 

Bhakti and Philosophy

Students will read several of the most important primary sources for bhakti. They will gain an understanding of the philosophy underlying the concept of bhakti and how bhakti enables moksha i.e. salvation for the individual soul. The course will also provide a basic introduction to concepts such as non-dualism, ontology, cosmology, emanation, procession, and the relation of the macroscopic universe to the individual. Students will simultaneously gain an appreciation for different textual genres and how poetics corresponds to the fourth puruṣārtha of mokṣa.

Area of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Vishwa Adluri

Brahmasūtras

Learning Outcomes:

The course covers a brief introduction to the text, its compositional history, some text-historical scholarship ranging from Deussen to Hacker, and controversies in contemporary scholarship. The major portion of the course will be devoted to understanding the structure of the text, exposition of key themes and the logical disputation of rival views. At the end of this course, students will gain: (1) a good grasp of the philosophical textual tradition of Hinduism: Upaniṣads, Brahmasūtras and the Bhagavadgītā; (2) an understanding of the Brahmasūtras: their comprehensive theory of Brahman and the rigorous logic underlying it; and (3) an overview of the reception of the text within the tradition and in recent critical scholarship and the issues raised in these contexts.

Area of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Vishwa Adluri

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