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Dakṣiṇāmūrtistōtram by Ādi Śaṅkara

Course content:

The Dakṣiṇāmūrtistōtram by Ādi Śaṅkara consisting of ten stanzas is a profound Vedantic text expounding the various tenets of Vedanta. The hymns are in praise of Lord Dakṣiṇāmūrti visualized as the embodiment of Self-knowledge. Hence, the text describes the reality of the Self as the limitless Brahman in ten verses which are linked together in such a way leading to the discernment of the one indivisible reality threading through the individual self, the world, and the causal principle, Īśvara. The text pulls together the philosophical content of the Upaniṣads, the Bhagavad Gītā and the Brahmasūtras – the three core pillars of Vedantic knowledge and presents a comprehensive summary. The profundity of the ten verses inspired Surēśvarācārya, a well-known disciple of Ādi Śaṅkara, to write a lengthy commentary (vārtika) known as Mānasōllāsa, meaning that which invigorates the mind of an assiduous seeker of Self-knowledge.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will:

a) Examine the ten meditation verses of the Dakṣiṇāmūrtistōtram
b) Discuss their meanings through a detailed exposition of the verses
c) Interpret the relevant commentaries on the text
d) Recognize the nature of the Self, in relation to the world and its cause
e) Establish a grounded understanding of the core teachings of Vedanta

Class Structure

There will be one 90 min class every week. This will consist of a lecture for 75 min and a 15 min Q&A pertaining to the subject matter discussed. Class-room participation is encouraged.

Purchasable Readings before the Course:
Readings:
1. Hymn to Sri Dakṣiṇāmūrti of Ādi Śaṅkara – A commentary by Swami Chinmayananda, 2009
2. Sri Dakshinamurti Stotram: In praise of the teacher of teachers, by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Kindle edition from https://www.amazon.com/
3. Sri Daksinamurti Stotram of Sri Sankaracarya by Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswati, 2002, – https://www.avgbooks.org/
4. Dakshinamurti Stotra with Manasollasa, Swami Harshananda, https://www.amazon.com/

Required / Elective: None

Prerequisites: Some exposure to the Vēdānta śāstra and ability to read Sanskrit.

Faculty: Dr. Venkataraman Swaminathan 

Start Date: July 12, 2022

End Date: September 20, 2022

Time: 07:00 pm EST – 8:30 pm EST

Day: Tuesday

Quarter Offered: Summer 2022

Introduction to the daśaśāntimantras

Course content:

Vēdānta śāstra is the summit of Hindu thought, comprising of the various Upanisads in the Vedas, along with the commentaries (bhāṣyas) written by numerous Acharyas across the millennia. In the traditional learning of the Vēdānta śāstra (i.e., the Upaniṣads) it is customary for the student and the teacher to recite the daśaśāntimantras (10 invocatory verses) before the commencement of the classes. These śāntimantras are taken from the different Vedas. When a particular Upaniṣad is studied, the śāntimantra of that Veda to which the Upaniṣad belongs is recited. The commentaries on the Upaniṣads by Ādi Śaṅkara also include the śāntimantras and sometimes they serve as a nice introduction to the subject matter. In addition to Śaṅkara’s commentary on the Upaniṣads there is also the Veda bhāṣya of Sayanācārya and other secondary commentaries from which one can glean the enriched meanings of the śāntimantras. This course will give an introduction to the daśaśāntimantras and an initial exposure to the bhāṣyas for the beginning students of Vēdānta.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students of Vēdānta will:

  1. Learn the daśaśāntimantras and their detailed meanings,
  2. Gain exposure to the study of the bhāṣyas,
  3. Be able to develop a plan for a structured study of the Upaniṣads.

Class Structure

There will be one 90 min class every week. This will consist of a lecture for 75 min and a 15 min Q&A pertaining to the subject matter discussed. Class-room participation is encouraged.

Course Material: Class notes and other sources available on the internet

Required / Elective: None

Prerequisites: Some exposure to the Vēdānta śāstra and ability to read Sanskrit.

Faculty: Dr. Venkataraman Swaminathan 

Start Date: 13th April 2021

End Date: 22nd June 2021

Time: 07:00 pm EST – 8:30 pm EST

Day: Tuesday

Quarter Offered: Spring 2021