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Advaita Vedanta
This weekend course on Advaita will introduce the students to the Advaita Vedanta philosophy, known as the philosophy of Non-Dualism, associated with Adi Shankaracarya. It is well known that many words in Hinduism like Maya, Jivatman, Paramatman, Nirguna/Saguna Brahman and many more are part and parcel of Hindu Thought. While all these words do occur in the Upanishads, and there were earlier attempts to explain them and fit them into a system of thought like that of Gaudapada in the Gaudapadakarikas for instance, it was Shankaracarya who gave it a firm structure and built the rich Upanishadic thought into a systematic philosophical school known as Advaita Vedanta. Shankara's date is considered to have been somewhere in the 8th century A.D. and his Advaita Vedanta has become so popular that it has survived as the dominant philosophy of Indian/Hindu thought to this day. Shankara also was the first to interpret the Brahmasutras, some early Upanishads and the Bhagavadgita, collectively known as the prasthanatrayi, in the light of Advaita Vedanta. This intensive course will enable the student to appreciate not only Advaita per se, but will also open his mind to the richness of Hindu philosophical thought, whose roots go back to the Upanishads.

Friday, 30th July: 6:30pm-9:15pm: Introduction to the Advaita concepts of ontology, epistemology, axiology and other topics tracing them from the time of the Upanishads to the time of Adi Shankaracarya.

Saturday, 31st July: 8:00am-12:15pm; 2:15pm-5pm: Shankaracarya: The Man and his Philosophy. The personality of Shankara and his commentary on the Brahmasutras will be attempted through the help of the relevant texts. Reading and grasping the meaning of the first four sutras of the Brahmasutra along with Shankara's commentary. This is generally considered to be a sufficient introduction to Advaita philosophy in a nutshell.

Sunday, 1st August: 8:00am-12.15pm: Some more readings from the Brahmasutras, along with Shankara's commentary, will be covered. The readings from the original texts will enable the student to comprehend the methodology that Shankara had adopted.

Prescribed Readings: The textbooks followed for this course will be "Essentials of Hinduism" by M. Hiriyanna; and "Shankaracharya: The Man and his Philosophy" by T.S. Rukmani.

This weekend course will be followed by two more weekend courses furthering the understanding of Indian Philosophy. These courses will be announced later. The second one will address itself to the philosophy of Sankhya and the third one to the philosophy of Nyaya. Thus the student, at the end of these three weekend courses, will be in a position to appreciate the fundamentals of Indian philosophy as these courses will all have a fair amount of original Sanskrit material, done of course, through translation. The three weekend sequence earns three academic credits from Hindu University.

About the Course Instructor: Dr. T.S. Rukmani is currently Professor and Chair in Hindu Studies at Concordia University, Montreal (Canada). She was also the first chair of Hindu Studies and Indian Philosophy at University of Durban Westville, S. Africa. Before that she was the Principal of Miranda House, University of Delhi. She has a very distinguished academic career and is the only D.Litt. from the Department of Sanskrit, University of Delhi to date in its long history of 80 years. Her special areas of research are Advaita Vedanta, Sankhya and Yoga. She has written 11 books and many research papers in journals all over the world.

Date: 07/30/2004
Location: Center for Indic Studies
University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road, D
Time: Jul. 30 - Aug. 1, 2004

Cost: $100 (Tuition) & $25 (for registration with HU)

Contact: Balram Singh 508-999-8588

Email: bsingh@umassd.edu

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