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:
- Learn the daśaśāntimantras and their detailed meanings,
- Gain exposure to the study of the bhāṣyas,
- Be able to develop a plan for a structured study of the Upaniṣads.
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
Quarter Offered: Spring 2021