Introduction to Indian Religions and Philosophy
Aims and objectives
To introduce an outline of Indian religions namely, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism.
To introduce an outline of systems of Indian Philosophy.
Duration: Three weeks,
Four lectures for one hour per day + discussion and Yoga practical
Visit to important places- mainly in and around Mumbai such as Siddhivinayaka Temple, Vipassana Pagoda, ISKCON Temple, Manibhavan ( Mahatma Gandhi's Residence), Haji Ali Durgah, Mount Mary Church and so on.
Credit Points: 3
Outline of Syllabus
Introduction to Vedas- the practice of sacrifice, Vedic gods and goddesses – doctrine of cosmic order.
Development of the Vedic literature, Upanishads- their impact on Indian value system. Epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata) and Puranas.
Introduction to Jain Agamas and allied texts.
Introduction to Buddhist scriptures: Tripitaka and Mahayanasutra
2. Theories of Creation
Creation of world according to Vedas with reference to selected hymns.
Theories of creation in Upanishads.
Manu-matsya myth – Avatara (re-incarnation).
The Buddhist theory of creation: Pratityasamutpada (the theory of dependent origination)
There is absence of the theory of creation in Jainism as creation is considered as beginningless.
Religious practices –
• From sacrifice to daily worship (devapuja)
• Special performances on festive days like Ganesha festival and observances like fasting, etc.
• Living practices such as Pilgrimages, Kumbhamela and Vari.
• Buddhist religious observances such as pavarana, Kathina ,Buddha Purnima, Dhamma cakka pavartana day in Buddhism
• Jaina practices such as Paryushanaparva, Mahavira Jayanti, Santhara
• Symbolism: Explaining the meaning of symbols such as Om, Kalash (pitcher), lamp, swastika, wheel, Buddha's footprints, Symbolism in Jainism
Hindu sacraments- the most popular sacraments such as initiation, thread ceremony, marriage, funeral rites and tribute to ancestors (Shraddha).
Buddhist Sacraments - Pravrajya and Upasampada
Jaina Sacraments - Diksha
3. Concept of good and evil - the change in interpretation of these concepts as in terms of merit/ demerit, swerving from one's own duty, freedom from the noose of evil.
4. Purushartha – Fourfold goal of life –Dharma-performance of duty, Artha-resources, polity, Kama- enjoyment of pleasures and aesthetics, Moksha-liberation.
Vedic and Non-Vedic Schools of Philosophy
Tradition of texts and commentaries
1. Metaphysics – Nature of Reality, World and Self
Realistic and Idealistic views about world
Realistic – Samkhya-Yoga, Nyaya-Vaisheshika, Purva Mimamsa, Theistic Vedanta schools, Theravada Buddhism, Charvaka and Jaina
Idealistic – Kevaladvaita (Absolute Monism), Mahayana Buddhism
2. Philosophy of Bhagavadgita
3. Concept of Liberation
Difference in concepts of Salvation and Liberation.
Different concepts of liberation in Indian Philosophy such as mukti, moksha, kaivalya,
4. Means to Liberation
Means of liberation - path of knowledge, of action, of devotion, of breath control and mind control (Yoga)
Eightfold Noble Path in Buddhism
Ratnatraya (the three jewels – right faith, right knowledge and right conduct) in Jainism
1. Karma and Transmigration / Rebirth- the doctrine of Karma and transmigration Justification of theory of rebirth and criticism against the doctrine of karma and rebirth. The problem of free will and destiny. The Buddhist and Jaina theory of Karma.
2. Code of conduct
(A) Hindu Ethics
• Rinatraya – concept of personal obligations to Gods, parents, and ancestors.
• Panchamahayajnas – Symbolic sacrifices prescribed for house-holders addressed to Gods, teachers, parents, guests and other living beings.
• Concept of Yamas- Restraints – non-injury, truthfulness, abstinence from theft, continence, non -accumulation of wealth
• Concept of Niyamas - Rules of individual conduct- Purity, contentment, penance, self-study, surrender to God
(B) Jaina Ethics
Anuvrata – Jain concept of observances
(C) Buddhist ethics
Concept of morality- Panchashila the five precepts – abstinence from killing, stealing, non-chastity, falsehood, and use of intoxicating drinks.
Author Title of the Book Publication
A. C. Bose The Call of the Vedas Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,
D. S. Sarma Upanishads: an Anthology Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,
David Frawley Gods, Sages and Kings Motilal Banarsidass,
New Delhi, 1993
T.M.P. Mahadevan Outlines of Hinduism Chetana Pvt. Ltd,
Swami Prabhavananda The Spiritual Heritage of India Shri Ramakrishna Math,
Dr . Chandradhar Sharma A Critical Survey of Motilal Banarsidass,
Indian Philosophy NewDelhi,1991
S.Radhakrishnan Indian Philosophy Oxford University Press,
S.Radhakrishnan Recovery of Faith Orient Paperbacks ,
S.Radhakrishnan The Present Crisis of Faith Orient Paperbacks ,
C. Raj Gopalachari Ramayana Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,
C. Raj Gopalachari Mahabharata Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,