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Advaita, Viśiśtādvaita and Dvaita – The three flavors of Vēdānta śāstra

Course content:

Advaita, Viśiśtādvaita and Dvaita – the three flavors of Vēdānta śāstra also called the three “Schools of Vedantic Thought” cover the whole range of possibilities, with reference to the relationship between the three main entities in question i.e., Jiva (living beings), Jada (matter) and Ishwara (Lord) as being one and the same i.e., non-dual, (abheda), or fundamentally and irreconcilably different (bheda) or something in-between (visista). All the other schools of thought within Hindu thought, end up being some variation or combination of these three fundamental perspectives.

This course will examine the conceptual overview of the Bhagavad Gita, through selected verses, according to the perspectives of these three Acharyas (S, R, M), by exploring the original commentaries of the main Acharyas of these three schools in Sanskrit, instead of derived works. It will cover the fundamental concepts of Advaita, Viśiśtādvaita and Dvaita in reasonable detail, highlighting the areas where these Acharyas concur and where they differ. The Course will include the following:

  • Introduction and Background of Gita as per the three Acharyas (S, R, M)
  • Summary of Gita according to Shankarāchārya
  • Summary of Gita according to Sri Rāmānujācharya
  • Summary of Gita according to Sri Madhvāchārya
  • A “Samanvaya” or establishment of the close relationship between these three schools (mata traya samanvaya)

At the completion of this course, students will gain a greater clarity regarding common misconceptions held by many people, regarding these three perspectives.  Students will clearly understand how these three schools of philosophy approach the Bhagavadgita, which is one of the three main textual sources of Arsha Vidya or the “philosophy of the Rishis”, known as “PrasThana traya”, the other two being the Brahmasutras and the Upanishads.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Appreciate the Bhagavad-Gita from three perspectives of Advaita, Viśiśtādvaita and Dvaita.
  2. Distinguish the unique views and concepts of these three schools of thought.
  3. Access the essence of the Upanishads i.e., Vedanta through the Bhagavad-Gita.
  4. Deepen the understanding of the main Yogas of the Gita i.e., Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Dhyana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga
  5. Recognize how all these Yoga’s lead to “Sharanagati” or “Jnana”, no matter where they begin.

While no prior knowledge of Sanskrit is required, it will definitely be helpful. Prior knowledge of the perspectives of anyone Acharya will also be valuable.

Class Structure

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 two short essays of between 1000 and 1500 words each. 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 / InstructorMr. Krishna Kashyap

Time: 8:30 pm EST – 10:00 pm EST

Day: Every Monday

Start Date: October 11, 2021

End Date: December 20, 2021

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Antaranga Yoga

Learning Outcome:-

  1. Awaken the archetypal characters from the Mahabharata in one’s own life through dialogue and reflective activities
  2. Develop greater insights into one’s own psyche and patterns of the mind through an experiential engagement with the Mahabharata
  3. Experience yoga as an integral science beyond postures (asanas) or breathing techniques (pranayama).
  4. To develop the sakhi bhava (friendliness) and sakshi bhava (meditative listening) to be able to listen to our own self and the others from a deeper space
  5. To evoke healing processes within oneself

In this course, we explore our psyche using stories of characters from the Mahabharata, with an aim to bring clarity and meaning in our life. This 11-week course requires a pre-work of reading select stories from the Mahabharata and writing reflections before attending each session.

This course is not a didactic course on Mahabharata but enables one to delve into one’s psyche using the Mahabharata as a mirror into one’s mental processes. The course is dialogic and calls for a willingness to be self-reflective, share of oneself, and listen to others sensitively. This course is not recommended for anyone who is going through treatment for any psychological illness.

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission to the program of study

Faculty/Instructor: Sri Raghu Ananthanarayanan

Area of Study:- Yoga Studies

Start Date:- October 6, 2021

End Date:- December 15, 2021

Day:- Wednesday

Time:- 09:30 pm EST – 11:00 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Āyurveda)

Course Content:

This course provides a survey of the science and practice of Ayurveda, through an overview of the key texts and contributions in the discipline. The concept of wellbeing, and not merely medication, that is central to Āyurveda is elucidated in the course.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the major contributors and their writings and commentaries that built up the applied science and knowledge system of Āyurveda.
  2. Assimilate the role and relevance of Āyurveda as a science of wellbeing.
  3. Recognize the different schools of Āyurveda based on their theories.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites:  Completion of 12 Credit-Hours of Course work in the MA in Sanskrit / Masters’ Certificate in Sanskrit

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Jyotiṣa)

Course Content:

This course provides a survey of the science and practice of Jyotiṣa, through an overview of the key texts and contributions in the discipline. A primer text in Sanskrit which discusses the categories of this science and how they are interpreted to provide insights related to their influences at different levels is studied in this course.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the scientific/ mathematic relevance of astronomy as essential for the study of astrology.
  2. Understand the major contributors and their contributions to scientific thought in the Indic knowledge system.
  3. Observe how the basic astrological elements have been derived and interpreted in the Jyotiṣa-śāstra.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Completion of 12 Credit-Hours of Course work in the MA in Sanskrit6 limbs / Masters’ Certificate in Sanskrit

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  Fall 2021

Beginning Sanskrit – Proverbs & Stories

Course Structure 

This course is structured in the form of one Quarter (10 weeks, 1.5 hours per week). Students will take an exam at the end of the course during the 11th week. Structured innovatively using the curriculum and textbooks designed by Samskrita Bharati USA (SBusa.org), the course will be based upon material contained in the SB – USA – published book, “SUVAANEE”, augmented with other appropriate course content.

This course is structured to allow a beginner-level student to start listening, writing, and reading the DevanAgari Script through a streamlined set of exercises.

Required / Elective: Required 

Program of Study: Beginner Level Certificate Program in Sanskrit Proficiency

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Prerequisites: None

Faculty / Instructor: Mr. Srinath Chakravarty 

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Start Date: October 7, 2021

End Date: December 23, 2021

Day:  Every Thursday

Time: 08:00 pm EST – 09:30 pm EST

Beginning Sanskrit – Script & Sounds

Course Structure 

This course is structured in the form of one Quarter (10 weeks, 1.5 hours per week). Students will take an exam at the end of the course during the 11th week. Structured innovatively using the curriculum and textbooks designed by Samskrita Bharati USA (SBusa.org), the course will be based upon material contained in the SB – USA – published books, “AYANAM” & “SAARINEE”, augmented with other appropriate course content.

This course is structured to allow a beginner level student to start listening, writing, and reading the DevanAgari Script through a streamlined set of exercises.

The course fee includes the cost of tuition, 2 textbooks, and the shipping & handling cost of the textbooks.

Faculty: Sri Chandrashekhar RaghuSmt. Parvathi Sriram

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission to Program of Study

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Program of Study: Certificate Program in Sanskrit Proficiency (CP SP)

Start Date: October 7, 2021

End Date: December 16, 2021

Day: Thursday

Time: 8:00 PM EST – 10:00 PM EST

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Beginning Sanskrit – Sentences & Comprehension

Course Structure 

This course is structured in the form of one Quarter (10 weeks, 1.5 hours per week). Students will take an exam at the end of the course during the 11th week. Structured innovatively using the curriculum and textbooks designed by Samskrita Bharati USA (SBusa.org), the course will be based upon material contained in the SB – USA – published books,“SUSHAMAA” & “SUBHAASHAA” augmented with other appropriate course content.

This course is structured to allow a beginner level student to start listening, writing, and reading the DevanAgari Script through a streamlined set of exercises.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Program of Study: Certificate Program in Sanskrit Proficiency (CP SP) 

Prerequisites: Successful completion of SAN 0002

Faculty / Instructor:  Sri Chandrashekhar Raghu , Smt. Rama Shripati

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Start Date: October 11,  2021

End Date: December 20,  2021

Day: Every Monday

Time: 08:00 pm EST – 09:30 pm EST

Bhagavad-Gita for the Beginner – Sadhana

Course Content:

The Sadhana Course helps students to understand, explore and apply the divine wisdom of the Bhagavad-Gita in their own lives. This course simplifies the learning process of the Bhagavad-Gita for the beginner by using easy to understand graphic illustrations and simple to practice recitations. The course is divided into 3 modules Deha, Gnana and Yoga. The Deha module highlights the Material and Psychic aspects of the body. The Gnana module describes the Physical, Social, Occupational, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual dimensions of divine wisdom. The Yoga module explains the four paths of Yoga in Bhagavad-Gita. The course simplifies the learning process for the beginner using specially designed graphic workbooks, transliteration textbooks in multiple languages and guided audios, available in recitation and practice versions. The interactive sessions are conducted online in English.

The Course lays the foundation to the 3-part series of Sadhana, Sodhana and Vaadana courses, through which Students will acquire a thorough overview of Hindu Dharma and enrich the quality of their spiritual lives.

Shloka Parichaya (Introduction to the verse): Students understand the verses in two steps. 

Step 1: Shloka Shravana (Listening to the verse): In this step the students will get to know the accurate pronunciation of each verse.

Step 2: Bhava Darshana (Graphic illustration): In this step the meaning of the verse is explained through graphic illustration.

Shloka Sadhana (Practice of the verse): Students shall practice the verses in two steps.

Step 3: Shloka Anucharana (Guided recitation): In this step students will learn the accurate pronunciation of each verse through guided practice. After this step the students would be able to independently practice the recitation using the guided chanting audios available online. 

Step 4: Shloka Rachana (Copy writing the shloka): In this step each verse is written in a language of choice by copying from the transliteration textbook. 

Course Description:

“Bhagavad-Gita for the beginner” introduces about 140 carefully curated verses (out of 700) under 17 thematic lessons from the Bhagavad Gita to students, who have no prior exposure to this important Hindu Text. In this course the participants shall study the meanings of each verse followed by guided recitation during online interactive classes. The Sadhana course is carried out using Active, Interactive and Collaborative ways of learning and offers guided practice of shlokas followed by interactive discussion of their meaning. It is the first of a three-course series titled, Sadhana, Sodhana and Vaadana. 

Class Structure:

There will be a minimum of 1.5 contact hours with faculty every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on self-study and reflection each week. After the weekly class the students will be required to submit audio recordings of verses and complete online assignments with drag and drop type questions. 

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: N.A.

Faculty / InstructorMr. Gopi V. Prasad

Time: 11:00 am EST – 12:30 pm EST

Day: Every Saturday

Start Date: October 9, 2021

End Date: December 18, 2021

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Disease through the lens of Ayurveda

Course Content:

In this 11-week program, we will be applying the basic principles of Ayurveda, the Pancamahabhutas, Trigunas and the Tridosha models of creation, to understand some common health conditions.  We will explore the human condition in its physical, emotional, and psychological constitution, through the model of Prakriti, Pancamahabhutas, Trigunas, and the Tridoshas, to recognize the source of specific disorders, arising from their imbalance.

In the course, we will look at common health conditions, diseases and disorders of the various body systems. We will also learn to recognize patterns of imbalance and apply the wisdom of Ayurveda to complement and support ongoing treatment.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Apply the principles of Ayurveda to understand common health conditions.
  2. Understand progression of disease according to Ayurveda.
  3. Explore the application of diet and lifestyle to support the body towards wellness.
  4. Understand how Pancakarama and other treatment options work with the body

Class Structure

There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour with the faculty every week. The curriculum will include reading, reflection, observation, and interactive practices. The class time will include an additional 30 minutes that will provide an opportunity for Q&A and group discussion.

Required / Elective: Elective

Area of Study: Text & Traditions

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Faculty / Instructor: Ms. Luvena Krishnamurthy

Time: 09:00 pm EST – 10:30 pm EST

Day: Every Thursday

Start Time: October 7, 2021

End Date: December 23, 2021

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Distortions in Indian Historiography

Course content:

The central argument of the course will be made by a close study of key texts produced by denialist historians and their critics. We will examine modern historiography before Indira Gandhi by stalwarts like Jadunath Sarkar and R.C. Majumdar. Though generally honest and consistent with the then prevailing international standards, it was the object of the “secularist” historians’ ire, mainly for taking the communal dimension of Indian history seriously and for promoting the idea of India’s historical unity. This Hindu-centered idea of India had been taken in his stride even by Jawaharlal Nehru but would subsequently become a battleground both in India and around the world. From the 1970s onwards, historiography became ideologically streamlined in a “secularist” sense. We look into the dramatis personae (S Nurul Hasan, P.N. Haksar, R.S. Sharma, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, et al.), their motivation and methods, and the resulting distortions of the historical record. This approach has remained dominant till today, unchallenged even by the present Indian government. It can often be characterized as having the typical elements of a grand but little-questioned conspiracy theory. Finally, we highlight the handful of critical publications that have nonetheless been devoted to this trend.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate Facts, Distortions, Narratives, and Motives.
  2. Recognize ‘Negationism’ as a phenomenon and its consequences
  3. Explore Case Studies such as the Ram Janmabhoomi issue.
  4. Assess if the Hindu experience can be characterized as a Holocaust or Genocide.
  5. Reflect on the prospects for reconstructing Hindu history without biases at either end

Class Structure

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 90 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 one or two short essays. They need not be academic quality papers – but should be based on students’ self-reflection on what they have learned and assimilated so far.  Selected essays may qualify for being published on the University’s website.

Area of Study: History and Method

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Faculty / InstructorDr. Koenraad Elst

Day: Sunday

Start Date: October 10, 2021

End Date: December 19, 2021

Time: 12 pm EST – 2 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Hindu Contributions to the world in the realm of matter

Course Content:

In contemporary times, following the European Colonization of India, it has become ‘received knowledge’ that the Hindus were and continue to be ritualistic, superstitious, poverty-ridden, timid, bare and barely noticeable as a ‘static’ people, whose history is nothing more than the history of successive waves of invaders and colonizers who made India their home for a time. This course looks beyond this myth set in motion by a 200-year colonial encounter, and examines the evidence for the sciences, technologies, inventions, industry, prosperity, and wealth that made India such a desirable civilization across time. It addresses the question, why did everyone, seemingly the world over, seek out the Hindu civilization, and for what?

This course can be taken as a continuing course in the series titled “Exploring Hinduism”, or as a stand-alone course. Both the parts can be taken sequentially in any order or as a stand-alone course. It can be enjoyed by teenagers in the age group 12-18, on their own or together with their parents and grandparents too.

“Exploring Hinduism” is a series of courses that facilitate a structured exploration of various facets of one of the world’s most ancient families of traditions and civilization.  This course moves past the modern myth that the Hindus were ‘other-worldly’ and were immersed in nothing more than the Vedas, Yoga, Spirituality, Meditation, Penance, and in seeking Liberation from birth and death. It uncovers a holistic view of the source of the sustained prosperity and wealth of the Hindus across vast stretches of time. It investigates the question – “Are Hindu ideas obsolete? Or do they have contemporary relevance?”

Over 2 parts of 10 sessions each where each part spans a quarter, this course will cover a variety of areas of innovation, inventions, development and trade, and sustained contributions that characterized the Hindu civilization for millennia. These areas will include Metals, Textiles, Dyes, Spices, Diamonds, Navigation, Fireworks, Perfumes, and how these innovations impacted the world. During this course, students will acquire newfound confidence from the dawning of a recognition that the Hindu Civilization has been quite different from what our received knowledge has led us to believe and renew their trust in the Hindu worldview and way of life, that has been so sustainable and successful for so long.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course, students will

  1. Discover the prosperity of the Hindu Civilization that lasted for millennia, till about a few hundred years ago.
  2. Uncover the advanced state of technology and industry practiced by the Hindus.
  3. Discover the Hindu ethos and perspective of practicing industry and trade in a sustainable manner.
  4. Examine the forces that can upset and destroy such millennia-long cultivated prosperity in a short time
  5. Gain insight into the secret of prosperity and balance that the Hindus possessed which enabled their civilizational advancement and affluence
  6. Develop the confidence to think laterally with regard to the challenges and problems facing humanity and propose paradigm-shifting approaches towards the future

Class Structure:  The course is designed as 2 parts –

Part A – The BIG 5

To gain an understanding of the 5 major contributions that were made by the Hindus to the world. How they impacted the world and the Hindu Civilization? What happened to them and what can we learn from them for today’s context?

Part B – The Game Changer

To gain an understanding of what was the advantage that the Hindus had cultivated, due to which they had been able to rule the tastes, possessions and obsessions of the world. How was this advantage snatched away and how does an understanding of the same bear relevance today?  

Each part will span 1 Quarter, with 1 online session per week. Each session will comprise of 90 minutes with live online lectures and interactions with the faculty and will include Quizzes and Assignments.

Each part is independent of the other and can be taken in any sequence.

Course Being Offered : Part A – The BIG 5

Faculty: Dr. D.K. Hari & Dr. Hema Hari

Required/Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission to Program of Study

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundation

Program of Study: Community Education Program (CEP), Certificate Program in Hindu Studies (CPHS)

Start Date: October 9, 2021

End Date: December 19, 2021

Day: Every Saturday

USA Time: 11:00 AM EST – 12:30 PM EST

AUSTRALIA Time :  6:00PM AEST –  7:30PM AEST

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Hindu Temples and Traditions

Course content:

Our goals are:

  1. To provide an overview of the various temple architectural styles across India.
  2. To provide an introduction to the history of temple building, patronage across the ages
  3. To provide an introduction to sthala-puranas and related local traditions
  4. Study temple clusters and the sacred geography of India
  5. Introduce basic vocabulary related to temple culture
  6. Introduction to the influence of Hindu Temple culture on the far East.
  7. A perspective on the Temple culture in the modern Hindu diaspora. 

After completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Discern the antiquity  and of Indian temple traditions
  2. Reflect on the significance of Hindu temples for Hindu life
  3. Acquire a simple vocabulary of terms related to Hindu temples
  4. Recognize basic elements of temple architecture
  5. Appreciate the Hindu calendar as it relates to temples
  6. Place the lives of Kings, Yogis and Musicians in the context of Hindu temple traditions
  7. Develop an appreciation for temple related literature 

Curriculum Overview:

This course will provide a cultural immersion into the world of Hindu Temples with a set of reading and guided research assignments. The overview course will perform the ambitious task of integrating various piceces of history related to temples covering the diverse sacred geography of India. It will strive to emphasize commonalities across diverse regions.

Course Description

Module 1 Overview of Hindu Temples Topics:

  1. A geographical overview of temples and traditions across India
  2. A historical overview of the temples of India
  3. Diaspora temples

Module 2 Hindu Temple Architecture and History Topics:

  1. The Nagara Style of Temples
  2. The Dravida Temple Architecture
  3. The Vesara style of temples
  4. Temples of the Western Ghats
  5. Evolution of Temple Architecture
  6. The Pallava, Chola, Pandya, Hoysala and Vijayanagar Contribution to temples
  7. The Kalinga, Rashtrakoota, Chandela contribution to temples
  8. The Bhakti movement in Tamilnadu
  9. The Bhakti movement of the 2nd millennium.

Module 3: Hindu Temple Traditions Topics:

  1. Temples and references in Puranas
  2. Sthala Puranas or Local Traditions
  3. Temple Clusters – Abodes of Shiva
  4. Temple Clusters – Abodes of Vishnu
  5. Temple Clusters – Shakti Pitham
  6. Temple Clusters – Other
  7. Festival Traditions – The Bhrahmotsavam
  8. Worship Traditions – Agamas
  9. Temples and Music
  10. Temples and Dance – The Devadasi Tradition
  11. Current State of Temple Worship

Area of Study: Texts and Traditions

Prerequisites: None

Faculty/InstructorDr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran

Start Date: October 12, 2021

End Date: December 21, 2021

Day: Every Tuesday

Time: 08:00 pm EST – 9:30 pm EST

Quarter Offered:  Fall 2021

Holistic Yoga -Philosophy and Practice

Course Description:

Developed by the ancient Hindu sages in the Indian subcontinent, yoga is a psycho-somatic discipline with its roots going back over 5,000 years. The word “yoga” means “union” and hints at the final goal of yoga practice–to be in union with one’s true nature. This goal, which leads one on the path of optimal health and human wellness, can be achieved by following the practices developed as a part of an integrated and holistic system of yoga.

In this course, we will explore the concept of Pancha Kosha, the five sheaths of human personality as defined in yogic texts: Annamaya Kosha — the physical layer; Pranamaya Kosha — the vital layer; Manomaya Kosha — the emotional layer; Vijnanamaya Kosha — the intellectual layer; and finally the Anandamaya Kosha — the pure-consciousness layer of our existence.

Furthermore, we will study Sage Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga, popularly known as Ashtanga Yoga. These eight steps give a comprehensive and systematic approach to developing one’s mind. Ashtanga Yoga includes Yama (guidelines for ethical relationships), Niyama (guidelines for ethical personal living), Asana (postures for physical practice), Pranayama (controlled and deliberate breathing patterns), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the mind from distractions), Dharana (focus of the mind upon a goal), Dhyana (the expansion of the focused mind into everyday life), and Samadhi (Complete Absorption in Oneself).

Yoga is not just a practice of asana and meditation on the mat. While such a practice constitutes the practice of Raja Yoga, the other three disciplines that we include are: Karma Yoga — the yoga of detached action; Bhakti Yoga — the yoga of love, acceptance, and devotion; and Jnana Yoga — the yoga of contemplation and reflection, completing the holistic practice of yoga. By combining all four streams of yoga — Raja yoga, Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, and Jnana yoga — one is able to achieve a state of peace, creativity, and fulfilment in life.

We will learn about each stream of yoga and delve deeply into Raja yoga, which focuses on disciplining the mind and body using yoga practices. This holistic yoga course contains guided physical yoga practices, lectures, discussions, and offline assignments.

Learning Outcome:

In this course students will be able to:

  • Learn basic yoga practices of breath-synchronized movements, asana, pranayama, and meditation.
  • Understand the scope and relevance of yoga philosophy and how to apply it to one’s daily life.
  • Apply yoga practices and concepts to manage their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
  • Gain clarity on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita in relation to practicing yoga.
  • Explore the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga — yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and Samadhi.

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission to the program of study.

Faculty/Instructor: Anil Surpur ,  Ashwini Surpur

Area of Study:- Yoga Studies

Day:- Saturday and  Sunday

Start Date:- October 9 ,2021

End Date:- December 19, 2021

Time:- 10:00 am EST – 11:30 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

How Hindu Dharma Transformed America

Course content:

In rigorously exploring the history and influence of Hindu Dharma, the course will be organized mainly around the key disseminators who forged a vital connection between the ancient rishis and the modern West. First among those Vedic transmitters were the swamis, gurus, and yogacharyas who brought their gifts to the West, from the earliest (Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda) to those who established a foothold in the 1960s and 70s (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Srila Prabhupada, Swami Muktananda, and others) to those teaching today (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Mata Amritanandamayi, Sadhguru, etc.) – as well as luminaries who strongly impacted America without ever coming here (Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, and others). We’ll examine both the diversity and commonalities of teachings that penetrated America’s spiritual soil, and show how the core principles were skillfully adapted to the language, values, and communication methods of the new cultural context—and the tradeoffs that were made in the process. The obstacles the ambassadors from India had to overcome—racism, religious bigotry, colonial assumptions, finances, etc.—will be discussed as well. Also covered will be the prominent Westerners who imbibed Vedic wisdom through gurus and/or texts, integrated what they learned into their personal lives and their areas of expertise, and ultimately disseminated what they valued most to vast numbers of people. This second-hand transmission was sometimes explicit and properly attributed, and at other times altered so much (in style if not substance) that the original source was either vague or entirely obscured. In that context, we’ll examine the contribution of philosophers and public intellectuals (from Emerson to Aldous Huxley to contemporary scholars); psychologists (William James, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow); scientists (Nikola Tesla, Erwin Schrodinger); and artists, including novelists (Herman Hesse, J.D. Salinger), poets (W.B. Yeats, Allen Ginsberg), filmmakers (George Lucas), and musicians (the Beatles especially).  The course will also describe how Hindu Dharma has influenced certain Christian and Jewish leaders, leading to significant shifts in religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. The course will conclude with a look at the future in light of recent phenomena such as the medical embrace of hatha yoga and meditation and the assimilation of Hindu citizens of Indian descent since 1965.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the profound impact of Hindu Dharma on American institutions, culture, and spirituality.
  2. Appreciate the remarkable achievements made by gurus, swamis, and yogacharyas in the face of challenges, obstacles, and resistance.
  3. Identify and evaluate the subtle (sometimes hidden) ways that Vedic principles changed American psychology, medicine, the arts, and religion.
  4. Distinguish between skillful adaptation and misappropriation in the Western embrace of Hindu Dharma.
  5. Discover the enormous breadth, variety, and depth of the Dharmic teachings that came to America.
  6. Learn about American history from different angles.
  7. Contemplate the future of Hinduism in America and how to safeguard the integrity of the ongoing adaptation to Western culture.

Class Structure

The class will meet once a week for up to 90 minutes. The teacher’s presentation, with the help of audio and video recordings, will last approximately 60 minutes. The remaining time will be devoted to questions and open discussion. There will be 10 such sessions followed by an additional session devoted to the presentation and discussion of student’s reflections regarding what they learned from the course and how they expect it will influence their lives.

Required/Elective: Elective

Area of Study: History & Methods

Prerequisites: None

Faculty/InstructorPhilip Goldberg

Start Date: October 5, 2021

End Date: December 14, 2021

Day: Every Tuesday

Time: 08:30 pm EST – 10:00 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Intermediate Sanskrit – Exercise in Cases

Course Content:

1.avyayAni (indeclinables)
2.The “tumun” usage
3.The 5 th case (Ablative)
4.Simple stories
5.Refreshing all 7 case endings through special exercises
6. Adjectives Prefixes
7.The continuous tens e

Required / Elective: Required 

Program of Study: Beginner Level Certificate Program in Sanskrit Proficiency

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Prerequisites: Successful completion of SAN0005

Faculty / Instructor: Sri Chandrashekhar RaghuSmt. Brindha Aangarai Venkataraman

Quarter Offered: Fall  2021

Start Date: October 12, 2021

End Date: December 21, 2021

Day: Every Tuesday

Time: 08:00 pm EST – 09:30 pm EST

Introduction to Bhagavadgita

Learning Outcome:-

  1. Gain a comprehensive and consistent overview of the Bhagavad Gita as both a moksha-shastra and a yoga-sastra.
  2. Understand the scope and relevance of the pursuits of knowledge and action in the Bhagavadgita.
  3. Be able to resolve paradoxes and seemingly competing viewpoints in the verses.
  4. Gain clarity on the meaning of moksa, karmayoga, bhakti, and meditation, in the Gita.
  5. Discern some of the paradigms that underlie various interpretations of the Gita.

The non-dual vision presented in the Gita has its origin in the Upanishads, where it is revealed through a teacher-student dialogue. Consistent with this, the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita are delivered through a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Unlike the Upanisads, the Gita discusses at length the participants in this dialogue. The Gita also goes much further than the Upanisads in expanding the discussion of the philosophical teachings, approaching them from a variety of perspectives, sometimes precipitated by a question from Arjuna. Its uniqueness, however, lies in its elaboration of the necessary conditions for understanding its core teaching, and the means, including Ashtanga Yoga, for creating those conditions.  Our inquiry into the vision of the Bhagavad Gita presented in this course is based on the commentary of Sankara, the principal exponent of non-duality, advaita. Sankara’s is the earliest extant commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, and arguably the most consistent, as will be demonstrated in the course of our study through an examination of paradoxical verses. As we proceed, we will also gain a clear understanding of the meaning of moksha, karma yoga, bhakti, and meditation, as presented in the Gita. And throughout the course, we will see, over the shoulders of Arjuna, the relevance of the teachings of the Gita to our lives today.

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission to the program of study/Must have completed Orientation to Hindu Studies or Concurrently enrolled in OTHS.

Faculty/Instructor: Swamini Agamananda Saraswati

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Area of Study:- Hindu Studies Foundation 

Start Date:- October 9, 2021

End Date:-  December 19, 2021

Day:- Saturday & Sunday

Time:- 03:00 pm EST – 04:30 pm EST