This Course is the first course in a two-part course sequence that introduces Advaita Vedanta systematically based on a text called Vedantasara by Sadananda. Advaita Vedanta is the most dynamic and popular of Vaidika Darshanas (philosophies). It is very well formulated, and it answers our fundamental questions regarding life and our human condition. Although there are many texts that deal with the principles of Advaita Vedanta, Vedantasara is a very good entry level text. This Text is prescribed at the Graduate levels at universities in India. What Sankhya Karika is to Sankhya philosophy, Vedantasara is to Advaita Vedanta. Composed in Prose form, the Vedantasara consists of forty-two Gadyanshas. Other Texts such as the Brahmasutra, the Bhagavadgita, Upanishads and other Darshanas will become more accessible once the student acquires a firm foundation in Advaita Vedanta.
In the first course, approximately half the text will be covered, and the second course will cover the remaining portion. Prior knowledge of Sanskrit or Vedanta philosophy is not necessary to take up this course. A PDF file of the main text with Devanagari and Roman script will be shared with the students. In addition, supplementary reading material will be shared in PDF form. Through this course, students will also get initiated into the Sanskrit language.
Course Learning Objectives:
In this course students will be able to:
1)Distinguish the fundamentals of Advaita Vedanta Philosophy, including the nature of Brahman, Maya, Avidya, Vidya, and Samsara.
2)Establish a strong grasp of the technical Sanskrit terms involved such as panchikarnam, Iswara, jiva, smasti, vyasti.
3)Evaluate the view that Advaita advocates renunciation of the world, developing deep insight into the concepts of ‘mind’, ‘ego’, ‘intellect’ and ‘atma’.
4)Discuss the four mahavakyas and correlate the Vedantic teachings of the current text with the Upanishads and the Bhagavadgītā.
5)Demonstrate a deep interest in the Sad Dharshanas, especially the schools such as Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, and Vaisheshika.
There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour 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 answer one assignment at the end of the course.
A model question paper would be provided quite early in the course so that the students can take guidance from the instructor if necessary.
Area of Study: Texts and Traditions
Program: Certificate Program in Hindu Studies
Required/ Elective: Elective
Prerequisites: Admission into program of study.
Faculty: Dr. Kuldip Dhiman
Time: 09:00 pm EST – 10:30 pm EST
Start Date: October 12, 2022
End Date: December 21, 2022
Day: Every Wednesday
Quarter Offered: Fall 2022