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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:  July 15, 2022

End Date:  September 23, 2022

Day: Every Friday

Time: 09:00 pm EST – 10:30 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Summer 2022

Introduction to Upanishads – Part 1

Course Description:

Upanishads constitute the foundation of Hindu culture and civilization. The study of Upanishads is central to the discovery of Hindu philosophical thought and its immediate relevance. They are timeless i.e., Sanatana. They speak to each individual freshly and newly at every stage of life. Each encounter with the Upanishads unfolds our understanding of the meaning and purpose of human life in a deeper and broader sense.
Introduction to Upanishads is a 2-course sequence consisting of two parts. The 2 parts can be taken in either sequence.
Part 1 will introduce the first six Upanishads: Isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka and Mandukya
Part 2 will introduce the next five Upanishads: Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhadaranyaka, and Shvetasvatara Upanishad.

Course content:

The course ‘Introduction to the Upanishads’ will introduce different Upanishadic dialogues and stories reflecting philosophical understanding of the concepts like Brahman, Aatman, Creation, Universe, Bondage, Moksha, Karma, Immortality, and Anand. This course aims to explore and understand the roots of Hindu philosophy and its contemporary relevance in our life.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:
a) Recognize the teachings of six major Upanishads.
b) Distinguish the philosophical foundations of Hindu culture and civilization.
c) Examine their own life in the light of Upanishadic teachings.
d) Demonstrate a philosophical understanding of the purpose and meaning of life
e) Discover a new level of clarity and confidence as a Hindu.

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 two short essays. They need not be academic quality papers – but should be based on students’ self-reflection on what they have learnt and assimilated so far.

Required / Elective: Core

Area of StudyHindu Studies Foundation 

Prerequisites: Admission into program of study.

Faculty / Instructor: Dr.Kalika Uttarkar

Start Date:  October 7, 2022

End Date:  December 16, 2022

Day: Every Friday

Time: 09:00 pm EST – 10:30 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Fall 2022