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Brahmasūtras

The Brahmasūtras are aphorisms on Brahman. Along with the Upaniṣads and the Bhagavadgītā, they form a triad of foundational texts of Hinduism (prasthānatrayī). All great commentators, ranging from strict monists (Advaitins) such as Śaṅkara to dualist theists (Dvaitins) wrote detailed logical expositions on this text. The Brahmasūtras consists of 555 sūtras based on various upaniṣadic passages. The sūtras are organized under four sections, each containing a set of topics. These topics systematically discuss all issues pertaining to the subject matter: Brahman, the nature of the universe, the soul and liberation. In addition, it provides tools for interpretation such as harmonizing apparent contradictions in the Upaniṣads, the combination of passages from different texts, and in some cases, the impossibility of doing so. We will be using Gambhīrānanda’s translation of the Brahmasūtras with Śaṅkarācārya’s commentary, the Brahmasūtrabhaṣya.

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Credit Hours: 3

Course Level: 600

The Brahmasūtras are aphorisms on Brahman. Along with the Upaniṣads and the Bhagavadgītā, they form a triad of foundational texts of Hinduism (prasthānatrayī). All great commentators, ranging from strict monists (Advaitins) such as Śaṅkara to dualist theists (Dvaitins) wrote detailed logical expositions on this text. The Brahmasūtras consists of 555 sūtras based on various upaniṣadic passages. The sūtras are organized under four sections, each containing a set of topics. These topics systematically discuss all issues pertaining to the subject matter: Brahman, the nature of the universe, the soul and liberation. In addition, it provides tools for interpretation such as harmonizing apparent contradictions in the Upaniṣads, the combination of passages from different texts, and in some cases, the impossibility of doing so. We will be using Gambhīrānanda’s translation of the Brahmasūtras with Śaṅkarācārya’s commentary, the Brahmasūtrabhaṣya.

Registration for this course is not open yet

SKU: N/A Category:

Description

Learning Outcomes:

The course covers a brief introduction to the text, its compositional history, some text-historical scholarship ranging from Deussen to Hacker, and controversies in contemporary scholarship. The major portion of the course will be devoted to understanding the structure of the text, exposition of key themes and the logical disputation of rival views. At the end of this course, students will gain: (1) a good grasp of the philosophical textual tradition of Hinduism: Upaniṣads, Brahmasūtras and the Bhagavadgītā; (2) an understanding of the Brahmasūtras: their comprehensive theory of Brahman and the rigorous logic underlying it; and (3) an overview of the reception of the text within the tradition and in recent critical scholarship and the issues raised in these contexts.

Area of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Vishwa Adluri

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