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Dhyaanam – Meditation and the Meditator

Course content:

Amrtabindu Upanishad reveals that the mind is the cause of both bondage and liberation. How can we transform our relationship with the mind such that it does not bind us but leads us to the truth? In the light of Vedanta, we move through three stages –

  • First stage – My mind is a problem. I want to fix my mind.
  • Second stage – My mind is an instrument, a glorious gift from Ishvara. True to its name (antah-karana-inner instrument) I use it as and when required for my different pursuits.
  • Third stage – I, chaitanyam illumine my mind and do not judge myself on the basis of the conditions of my mind.

Millions have traversed the landscape of transforming their minds and living happy, purposeful lives guided by the wisdom of our revered Rishis.  The course will include the understanding of the mind in the Vedic tradition, some meditation practices and an enquiry into the nature of the meditator. Drawing from the Yoga sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads, this course will lead the participant to have a guided, suitable and meaningful meditation practice.

 Course Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn the purpose and practice of at least six types of meditation.
  2. Transform your relationship with your mind such that you use the mind effectively
  3. Discover a peace, cheerfulness and gratitude for your life and in your relationships
  4. Develop a closer relationship with Bhagavan
  5. Enquire into the nature of the meditator (Atma) through the varying meditation practices.
  6. Integrate dhyaanam into your lifestyle meaningfully

Class Structure:

There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour with one or more faculty every week. Since this is an experiential course, the class is structured such that there will be a lecture component along with different practices of meditations, discussion 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 share their reflections and write a short essay. This need not be an academic quality paper – but should be based on students’ self-reflection on what they have learnt and assimilated so far. The significance of the course is on learning and integrating Dhyaanam into one’s lifestyle while being centred in the battlefield of life.

Required / Core: Core

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundation 

Prerequisites: Admission into program of study.

Faculty / Instructor: Swamini Brahmaprajnananda Saraswati

Start Date:  July 17, 2022

End Date:  September 25, 2022

Day: Every Sunday

Time: 11:00 am EST – 12:30 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Summer 2022

Living our Svadharma in a contemporary world

Course content:

The resistance and misunderstanding of Dharma in contemporary society is a result of separation of ‘values’ and living which was due to the separation of the church and state. This historical perspective and connection of Dharma with religion will be explored. The course will include the Hindu worldview of Dharma drawing from selected sections of the Vedas, Upanishads, Itihaasa, Bhagavad Gita and Dharmashastra. Samanya Dharma (universal values common to all) and Vishesha Dharma (specific duties) in the light of the framework of pancha-mahayajna (five sacred duties) will be elaborated. Through the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, the framework of karma, karma yoga and svadharma as a worship to Bhagavan will be unfolded. The distinction between a Dharma centred life vis-à-vis a life centred on wealth and pleasure will be drawn out leading to clarity amongst the students regarding their core values and priorities and clarity for their
lives ahead. In the Hindu worldview, living the good life is a life of svadharma.

Course Learning Objectives:
In this course students will be able to:
a) Understand and apply the framework of Samanya Dharma and Vishesha Dharma to their own lives.
b) Reflect on contemporary issues (e.g. Family and Marriage, War and peace, Conservation and Climate change etc.) in the light of Dharma
c) Integrate the Hindu worldview of Dharma into their own lives and develop clarity about their svadharma
d) Embody Dharma based leadership for the change they wish to contribute to, in the world

Class Structure:
There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour with the faculty instructor every week. The classis 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.
In alignment with the culture of the Hindu University of America, the interactive course is designed to be a samvaada (a meaningful dialogue) which results in jnana and yoga, a transformation paving the way for leading meaningful change in our communities. The significance of the course is on living an enriched life of svadharma in all aspects and hence emphasis will be given to assignments aiding reflection and practical application. During the course, students will be required to submit two short essays. These will be based
on students’ self-reflection on what they have learnt, assimilated and applied in their lives.

Required / Elective: Elective

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundation 

Prerequisites: Admission into program of study.

Faculty / Instructor: Swamini Brahmaprajnananda Saraswati

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