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Bhakti and Philosophy

In religious studies, bhakti is often described as devotion or intense feeling, and presented as “faith” in contrast to “reason.” This course seeks to develop a deeper understanding of bhakti by studying four key texts: the Bhagavadgītā, Nārāyaṇīya, Nārada Bhaktisūtras, and Bhāgavatapurāṇa. Bhakti is essentially connected to an understanding of Brahman (Being). If the universe emanates from Brahman, bhakti enacts a reversal, the reabsorption of the individual soul (jīva) into Brahman. Once we understand these cognitive, reflective, and meditative aspects of bhakti, we shall see that opposing bhakti to knowledge is an untenable interpretation of the phenomenon.

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Course Code: TAT 6201

Credit Hours: 3

Course Level: 600

In religious studies, bhakti is often described as devotion or intense feeling, and presented as “faith” in contrast to “reason.” This course seeks to develop a deeper understanding of bhakti by studying four key texts: the Bhagavadgītā, Nārāyaṇīya, Nārada Bhaktisūtras, and Bhāgavatapurāṇa. Bhakti is essentially connected to an understanding of Brahman (Being). If the universe emanates from Brahman, bhakti enacts a reversal, the reabsorption of the individual soul (jīva) into Brahman. Once we understand these cognitive, reflective, and meditative aspects of bhakti, we shall see that opposing bhakti to knowledge is an untenable interpretation of the phenomenon.

Registration for this course is not open yet

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Description

Students will read several of the most important primary sources for bhakti. They will gain an understanding of the philosophy underlying the concept of bhakti and how bhakti enables moksha i.e. salvation for the individual soul. The course will also provide a basic introduction to concepts such as non-dualism, ontology, cosmology, emanation, procession, and the relation of the macroscopic universe to the individual. Students will simultaneously gain an appreciation for different textual genres and how poetics corresponds to the fourth puruṣārtha of mokṣa.

Area of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Vishwa Adluri

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