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Introduction to Hindu Philosophy: ‘Shad Darshanas’

Course Description:

This course will introduce the student to the six traditional perspectives of Hindu Philosophy, i.e., the orthodox (Aastika Darshanas), which include Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa, and Uttara Mimamsa (Vedanta). The course will also compare these with the three heterodox (Nastika Darshanas), i.e., Charvaka, Jaina, and Bauddha. It will review the metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical concepts in these nine Darshanas and their influence on the Hindu thought and worldview.

Course content:

The Hindu Philosophical tradition consists of a plethora of rigorous philosophical dialogues that have an intrinsic quality of being undogmatic and open towards different pathways and approaches in the pursuit of knowledge. This course aims to explore these different philosophical perspectives and their interconnections while learning about the notions of Ishwara (God), Atman (Self), and Brahman (Reality). Though all nine schools have their unique perceptions of reality, their common goal is to overcome human suffering and attain Moksha, Nirvana or Kaivalya.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:
a) Explore the main ideas of the nine philosophical traditions with a focus on the Shad Darshanas.
b) Get an introduction to the rigor and depth of logical and philosophical dialogues in the Darshanas.
c) Develop a firm philosophical foundation that will broaden and deepen their understanding of “Sanatana Dharma”.
d) Get a glimpse of the culture of open dialogue that contributed to the emergence of contrasting philosophical ideas in Hindu society.
e) Understand diverse methodologies of studying life, truth, and reality in Indian philosophy.

Class Structure:
There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour with one or more faculty every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on self-study and reflection each week. While the content being discussed in each class will be concluded within 60 minutes, the discussion time will be free format, and can continue for an additional 30 minutes maximum. During the course, students will be required to submit one short essay. They need not be academic quality papers – but should be based on students’ self-reflection on what they have learnt and assimilated in the course.

Required / Elective: Elective

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundation 

Prerequisites: Admission into program of study.

Faculty / Instructor: Dr.Kalika Uttarkar

Start Date:  January 14, 2022

End Date:  March 25, 2022

Day: Every Friday

Time: 09:00 pm EST – 10:30 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Winter 2022