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Ādi Śaṅkara

This course provides a comprehensive explication of Ādi Śaṅkarācārya’s philosophy. Students will gain an understanding of his views of phenomenal reality, perception, scripture, revelation, the soul, transmigration, dharma, creation, nescience, and ultimate realization. They will be introduced to his thought systematically, showing how he develops his hermeneutics and argues for the cogency of the non-dual (advaita) standpoint vis-a-vis alternative viewpoints.

Area of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor:  Dr. Vishwa Adluri

 

Advaita Vedanta: A Method

Learning Outcome:-

  1. Develop a clear understanding of Advaita Vedanta as a method, and the ramifications of that.
  2. Gain a comprehensive understanding of Advaita epistemology and its role as a key to understanding the vision of the Upanisads.
  3. Connect the epistemology to Advaita ontology and the fulfillment of its soteriological end.

In this course, we will examine the methods (prakriyas) used in the Upanisads to reveal the existence and nature of the non-dual reality.  We will begin with a basic discussion of Advaita epistemology to understand the important claim of the Upanisad that it provides, not just information about the non-dual reality, but the means through which one can directly know it. First, we will undertake a close reading of Sankara’s introduction to the Brahmasutra, and commentary on Taittiriya Upanisad 2.1.1 to establish the core principles of superimposition and negation as well as implicative statements. With these parameters, we will study dialogues in the Mundaka, Taittirya, and Mandukya Upanisads that employ the foundational method of inquiry into cause-effect, and also, the methods of analysis of the levels of our waking experience and analysis of the three states of waking, dream, and sleep. Throughout, we will be connecting what we discover to the soteriological aim of Advaita Vedanta—release from human suffering and the cycle of birth and death.

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Introduction to Advaita Vedanta

Faculty/Instructor: Swamini Agamananda Saraswati

Quarter Offered: Winter 2020

Area of Study:- Hindu Studies Foundation 

An Overview of the Veda

The Vedic-view of the purpose of life as explained by the four puruṣārthas – Dharma, Artha, Kāma, and Mokṣa will be discussed. An overview of the four Vedas, each consisting of the two major categories, which are further subdivided into different portions, the arrangement of the mantras into mandalas and aśtaka systems, internal classifications of each Veda into Samhitā, Brāhmana, Āraṇyaka, and Upaniṣads will be covered. The Veda’s structural hierarchy and purpose, and supplementary texts of the Vedic corpus such as – Sūtra – Bhāṣya – Vyākhyā – Ṭīkā – Ṭippaṇī – Prapaňcikā – Saṅgraha – Kārikā – Vṛtti – Vārtika – Prakaraṇa – Vāda – Khaṇḍana, including an overview of the six Darśanas will be examined, in addition to the differences between śruti and Smṛti

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Recognize the whole Vedic body of knowledge and its layout.
  2. Understand the inter-relationships of the various components of the Vedic corpus.
  3. Inquire into the concept of human progress in relation to the timelessness of ancient Vedic knowledge.
  4. Explore the relevance of the Vedic body of knowledge in today’s age.
  5. Examine contemporary views and interpretations of the Veda.

Areas of Study: Hindu Studies Foundations

Required / Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission into a program of Study

Faculty:  Sri Swāmi Svātmānanda

Ancient Greek Philosophy

Course Content:

Students will receive an intensive introduction to the core issues in ancient Greek philosophy by reading excerpts and complete texts from ancient philosophers including Parmenides, Empedocles, Plato, Aristotle, and Proclus, writing response papers, engaging in-class discussion, and submitting a final paper.

Students will gain insight into philosophical discourse and terminology, as well as intellectual tools with which to contribute to today’s philosophical and theological disputes.

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundations

Required/ Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Edward P. Butler/ Dr. Vishwa Adluri

Applied Vedic Science – Advanced (Āyurveda)

Course Content:

This course provides an in-depth appreciation of the science and practice of Āyurveda, through a study of one of the core texts pertaining to the portions suggesting regimen for individuals corresponding to the different seasons. This primary text in Sanskrit will be discussed, along with some of the major commentaries on the source text.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the sensibility in the system of Āyurveda that customizes its prescriptions based on factors that impact the health and wellbeing of people.
  2. Assimilate the role and relevance of Āyurveda as a manual of holistic wellbeing.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Completion of the Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Ayurveda)

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

Applied Vedic Science – Advanced (Jyotisha)

Course Content:

This course provides an introduction to basic mathematical operations, the Indian way, through the text named Līlāvatī.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the methodology and approach of theorizing and calculating in the Indic system of mathematics.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Completion of the Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Jyotisha)

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

Applied Vedic Science – Advanced (Yoga)

Course Content:

This course introduces the portion of the Yogasūtras that defines and discusses the systematic means – sādhanā – of attaining the most exalted spiritual state and substantiates the process with reasons where necessary.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Comprehend the means of attaining an exalted state of spirituality along with the systematic technical definitions of such means
  2. Logically understand the process presented in the Yogasūtras

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Completion of the Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Yoga)

Faculty / Instructor:  TBD

Quarter Offered:  TBD

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 (Vedanta)

Course Content:

This course provides a survey of the basic philosophical tenets of the different schools of Vedānta and introduces their primary sources. This course also provides the opportunity to study comparatively the respective commentaries of a principal Upaniṣad to aid the student in understanding the philosophical standpoints of these different schools.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the role of Vedānta in governing the Indic way of life.
  2. Understand the convergences and divergences of views among the different schools of Vedānta.
  3. Observe the multiplicity of interpretations of Vedic literature and the rationale behind such interpretations forming the basis of tenets propounded by the different schools of Vedānta.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Required

Prerequisites: 

1) The medium of Instruction is Sanskrit

2)Only currently enrolled Sanskrit master’s certificate students can register for these courses. (MIT-SVS)

3) Admission into Master Program in Sanskrit through MIT-SVS

4) Completed previous MA Sanskrit Course 

Faculty / Instructor: Dr. Mahabaleswara Bhat

Quarter Offered: Spring 2020

Start Date:-  March 10th, 2020

End Date:-  April end, 2020

Day:- Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

Time:- 8.00 pm to 9.30 pm EST

Applied Vedic Sciences Basic (Yoga)

Course Content:

This course introduces the categories of Yoga with their respective definitions, based on the Yogasūtras of Patañjali along with its prominent commentaries.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Assimilate the role and relevance of the system of Yoga through a comprehensive understanding of the mental and cognitive categories in the Yoga system
  2. Comprehend the definitions of the categories according to the Yoga system with elucidations from various commentaries.

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

Arthaśāstra

Kautilya’s Arthaśāstra, written around 300 BC, is a text on statecraft, a book of political realism. It deals with various topics including war and diplomacy, how a king can retain his kingdom and become a conqueror, how to make allies and know the enemies, and how to make treaties. It focuses on elements, what can be termed in modern usage diplomacy, such as the doctrine of a silent war, propaganda, secret agents, how to use women as weapons of war, and how to use religion and superstition to advantage. According to Kautilya, “power is (possession of) strength” and “strength changes the mind.” More importantly, Kautilya emphasized power to control not only outward behavior but also the thoughts of one’s subjects and enemies. According to him, “one possessed of personal qualities, though ruling over a small territory … conversant with (the science of) politics, does conquer the entire earth, never loses.” Kautilya is the founder of Mandala Theory of foreign policy, which can be termed as a precursor of the theories of political realism and balance of power. Kautilya favored righteous war than greedy and demoniacal wars. The course will delve into various elements of this insightful text and juxtapose the main ideas in the text with similar theories and approaches in the modern world. The students will be able to draw parallels between the core ideas embedded in this ancient text with many modern ideas.

In this course the students will be able to:

  1. Identify how this ancient text could be considered a precursor to the modern theory of Realism in international relations.
  2. Delve into various elements such as Mandala theory in this insightful text and juxtapose the main ideas in the text with similar theories and approaches.
  3. Explore the significance of this ancient text to address problems in the modern world.

Area of Study: Conflict and Peace Studies

Elective/Required: Elective

Prerequisites: Concurrently enrolled in Orientation to Hindu Studies / Must have completed Orientation to Hindu Studies. 

Instructor: Dr. Debidatta. A. Mahapatra

 

Bhakti and Philosophy

Students will read several of the most important primary sources for bhakti. They will gain an understanding of the philosophy underlying the concept of bhakti and how bhakti enables moksha i.e. salvation for the individual soul. The course will also provide a basic introduction to concepts such as non-dualism, ontology, cosmology, emanation, procession, and the relation of the macroscopic universe to the individual. Students will simultaneously gain an appreciation for different textual genres and how poetics corresponds to the fourth puruṣārtha of mokṣa.

Area of Study: Text and Traditions

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Vishwa Adluri

Brahmasūtras

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

Certificate Program on Holistic Yoga for Pain Management

In this course, students will learn about how to manage musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, chronic pain, and osteoporosis using yogic techniques. Students will learn the anatomy/physiology behind each disorder, the medical management process, and the yogic management process of how to heal these disorders. Students will be learning from case studies and a practical approach.

Learning Objectives:

In this course, students will:

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the musculoskeletal system, physiology of pain, chronic conditions such as low back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, spine disorders, and other similar conditions
  • Understand the medical management process of pain disorders
  • Learn therapeutic yoga techniques for pain conditions

Area of Study:- Yoga Studies

Required/Elective: Required

Program of Study: Certificate Program on Holistic Yoga for Pain Management

Prerequisites:  Foundation for Holistic Therapeutic Yoga Teaching

Quarter Offered: TBD

Instructor:- TBD

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

Contesting Neo-Hinduism

The course, in the beginning, introduces writings of the western authors who claim that there is something called “neo-Hinduism,” which is significantly and characteristically different from “traditional Hinduism.” Once those claims are situated, the evidence of those claims will be critically examined and will lead naturally to insight into the agendas, motivations, and general ignorance of these writers who are behind the creation of the “neo-Hinduism” theory. The course will then veer into showing how contemporary Hinduism transcends the binary divide of traditional and neo, and that even when it has innovated and answered the contingencies of the colonial context, it has always maintained its continuity with the past and that it has not compromised with its core cosmology.

In this course, the student will

  1. be able to learn about the coordinates on which the divide between traditional and neo-Hinduism has been created;
  2. be able to critically examine the evidence on which the divide has been created;
  3. be able to learn that binaries like traditional and neo do not apply to Hinduism, for Hinduism transcends and exceeds the traditional and contemporary divide.

Area of Study: Postcolonial Hindu Studies.

Required/Elective:  Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Instructor: Dr. Kundan Singh

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