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Study Abroad Programme

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
Unit I

1.  Scriptures
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.

Unit II
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
•  Sacraments
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.

Unit III
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,   
   nirvana etc.

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

Unit IV
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.


  Reference Books

Author                            Title of the Book                                              Publication

A. C. Bose                 The Call of the Vedas                                     Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,
                                                                                                               Mumbai, 1988

D. S. Sarma             Upanishads: an Anthology                             Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,
                                                                                                                Mumbai, 1989

David Frawley           Gods, Sages and Kings                             Motilal Banarsidass,
                                                                                                              New Delhi, 1993

T.M.P. Mahadevan      Outlines of Hinduism                                Chetana Pvt. Ltd,
                                                                                                             Mumbai, 1984    

Swami Prabhavananda      The Spiritual Heritage of India      Shri Ramakrishna Math,
                                                                                                            Madras, 1981

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,
                                                                                                                   Mumbai, 1983

C. Raj Gopalachari                     Mahabharata                                  Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,
                                                                                                                 Mumbai, 1988

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