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Comparative Religion: Death and Meaning

Learning Outcomes:

This is a comparative course in the Abrahamic, Greek, and Hindu paradigms. At the end of this course, students will be able to: 

  1. Understand the phenomenon of death and its importance to religion; 
  2. Interpret, analyze and critique the views on death and meaning in major religions of the world; 
  3. Show the relationship between death, salvation, and personal identity; and 
  4. Discuss and clarify philosophical arguments as they arise in these texts.

Required / Elective: Required

Faculty: Dr. Vishwa Adluri

Prerequisites: Admission into a program of study

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundations

Quarter Offered: Spring 2020

Gandhian Philosophy

The relevance of Mahatma Gandhi for the contemporary world, characterized by turbulence, is indisputable. Gandhi’s principles of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satyagraha (love for the truth) stemmed from his religious tradition, and he applied these principles to political action in South Africa and India. The course introduces a Gandhian perspective on conflict resolution and peacebuilding. It examines ideas of Gandhi in academic and policy debates towards the development of rich and multiple perspectives and pathways to address the gap between principles and practice. It also explores the relevance of Gandhi for contemporary global issues including, but not limited to, inter-state and intra-state conflicts, climate change, religious extremism, rich-poor divide, education, economic development, and women empowerment. Gandhian ideas such as frugal economy, Gram Swaraj (grass-roots democracy), Ram Rajya (ideal state), trusteeship, social service, Swadeshi (self-reliance), bread-labor, social and religious harmony, and optimal use of resources will also be explored in the course. The students taking this course will be able to apply a Gandhian perspective on the prevailing discourses on human life and society and appreciate the significance of dialogue among civilizations and cultures.

In this course the students will be able to:

  1. Gain a broader understanding of Hindu thought and its problem-solving aspects.
  2. View contemporary conflicts from a Hindu conflict resolution lens and explore the relevance of Hindu perspective for the contemporary world. 
  3. Examine a contemporary conflict while drawing on the Hindu conflict resolution theories and practices.

Area of Study: Conflict and Peace Studies

Required/Elective: Elective

Prerequisite: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Debidatta. A. Mahapatra

Orientation to Hindu Studies

An overview and insight into the design of the curriculum offered by the Hindu University of America. A survey of the central ideas of Hinduism – covering an Ontology of key Sanskrit terms and the principal ideas that are central to the cosmology, practice, and expressions of Sanatana Dharma. The course will include reflections and perspectives on these core concepts, using selected readings from source texts such as the Vedas, Upaniṣhads, Sutras, Itihaasa, Bhagavad-Gītā, Purāṇas and Dharma-Śhāstras. The Hindu world-view based on Dharma with its emphasis on duties and responsibilities and sustainability of life will be contrasted with contemporary ideologies and their focus on rights and privileges, competition and survival of the fittest. The distinction between a discourse of knowledge and a discourse of power will be drawn out. 

In this course students will be able to: 

  1. Explore various options and trajectories available within the Hindu Studies Program
  2. Distinguish the central ideas and concepts that constitute the Foundations of Hindu Dharma; Reflect on the Hindu Studies Foundations area
  3. Inquire into and evaluate different elective areas of study and Courses offered: Sanskrit Studies, Texts and Traditions, History and Method, Post-Colonial Hindu studies and Conflict and Peace studies.
  4. Distinguish between pathways towards a deep study of Hindu thought, or towards deep engagement with western thought from a Hindu perspective
  5. Discover and Create customized pathways for engagement with the Hindu Studies curricula

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundations

Prerequisites: None

Faculty / Instructor:  Kalyan Viswanathan (along with others) 

This course is a recommended prerequisite for all students who wish to enter into the Graduate program.

Day:- Thursday

Start Date:- 9 January 2020

End Date:- 19 March 2020

Time:- 9-10pm EST

The Mahābhārata II

Thorough knowledge of the extent and divisions of the Mahābhārata; its different editions; and reading and working with its critical edition. This course will also prepare students to read the Mahābhārata thoughtfully, using the tools of philosophy, logical inquiry, hermeneutics, and poetic theory. Students will learn to locate the Mahābhārata within a textual tradition extending backwards into the Vedic Saṃhitās and forward into the Purāṇas and Āgamas. They will also develop an appreciation for why, even today, this text continues to be foundational for the living tradition of Hinduism.

Areas of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Vishwa Adluri

 

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