IsA-vAsya Upanishad – A study based on Advaita, Visistadvaita and Dvaita Commentaries
An overview of three commentaries on the IsA-vAsya Upanishad is the main topic of this course. IsA-vAsya Upanishad is traditionally listed as the first among the well-known ten Upanishads, namely, 1) Isa 2) Kena 3) Kata 4) Prasna 5) Mundaka 6) Mandukya 7) Taittiriya 8) Aitareya 9) Chandogya 10) Brihadaranyaka.
This Upanishad contains the main tenets of all the major Upanishads useful to understand the philosophy of Vedanta.
This course focuses on the summary of the views of Shankaracharya, Vedanta Desika and Madhvacharya on the IsA-vAsya-Upanishad. These three commentaries represent three Vedantic schools are known as mata-traya or the 3 major schools namely Advaita, Visistadvaita and Dvaita respectively. These three views are comprehensive and definitive in terms of concepts of Vedanta in general.
The word “Vedanta” means “end of the Vedas”, and encompasses the ideas and philosophies present in the Upanishads, with a focus on knowledge and liberation. Vedanta developed into many sub-traditions, all of which base their ideas on the authority of a common group of texts called the Prasthānatrayī , translated as “the three sources”: the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita. All Vedanta traditions contain extensive discussion on ontology, soteriology and epistemology.
IsA-vAsya Upanisad, according to tradition, contains the important tenets of Vedanta and gives a methodic guide for a deep study of the Upanishads, in general. A superficial analysis of these three different commentaries on IsA-vAsya Upanishad, gives the reader the impression that they are too divergent. However, a deeper analysis, will be presented in this course that can illumine the underlying harmony between these views.
Any student interested in a deep study of this Upanishad will benefit immensely from this course.
Basic level knowledge of Sanskrit will be useful but not necessary to understand the Upanishad. Any reference to Sanskrit verses will be explained in English. There are no other prerequisites for this course. Further, in this course, a reconciliation between these views will be attempted based on works by well-known scholars. Rarely scholars venture into such a reconciliation.
Course Learning Objectives:
In this course students will be able to:
1)Understand the basic message of this Upanishad and the structure of it based on three schools.
2)Explore deeper views, paradigms and concepts pertaining to this Upanishad.
3)Understand the portions of the Upanishads where there is no disagreement between these schools.
4)Identify the key verses of the Upanishads that are understood differently by these commentators.
5)Understand how these different views can be reconciled.
There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour with one or more faculty every week. The class is 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. During the course, students will be required to submit a paper of 1000 to 1500 words. They need not be academic quality papers – but should be based on students’ self-reflection on what they have learned and assimilated so far.
Required / Elective: Elective
Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study
Faculty / Instructor: Mr. Krishna Kashyap
Time: 9:00 pm EST – 10:30 pm EST
Day: Every Saturday (India – Sunday – 6:30 am IST)
Start Date: April 8, 2023
End Date: June 24, 2023
Quarter Offered: Spring 2023