For students interested in learning further about the Upanishads, this is an excellent course that studies verse-by-verse three of the shortest and most accessible Upanishads. Students will review the Kena, the Isha and the Mandukya. These three Upanishads actually reflect the foundation for the religious teachings of Hinduism and how it relates to modern spirituality in Hinduism.
In many ways, the Upanishads are the perfect place in which to understand the revolution in thought that took place at the end of the Vedic period. This “revolution” transformed Hinduism into one of the most philosophically sophisticated, deep thinking and extraordinary religious cultures in the world.
Here is an overview of the seven sessions:
- Session One: You'll begin by studying the Kena Upanishad and its origins. You'll learn how the older culture of Vedic thought is transformed into something new, something more abstract, personal and spiritualized. This Upanishad is the beginning of discovering the profound shift in Indian thought.
- Session Two: In this session, you'll be learning how the old notions of the Gods alter and how they’re replaced with the concept of Brahman – a universal and more abstract concept of the divine.
- Session Three: You'll conclude study of the Kena Upanishad in this session, with further study of Brahman as an overriding principle that transcends even the gods. We will also reflect on the indication of a Supreme Deity.
- Session Four: We move into the study of the Isha Upanishad in this session, studying the different perspectives from Shankaracharya and Swami Prabhupada based on their commentary in the Advaitic and Vaishnava perspective respectively.
- Session Five: As we finish up the study of the Isha Upanishad, we will review the concepts of Atman and the Self, and the re-negotiation of what is around us everyday. You'll examine what it means to seek higher knowledge and what it means to obtain "moksha", or "liberation".
- Session Six: You’ll now explore the Mandukya Upanishad, which was a text highly considered by Shankaracharya. The Mandukya Upanishad, considered by some to be a mysterious text, uses symbolism that has inspired plenty of different interpretations over the past 2000 years. We will be delving into that symbolism, specifically centering on the ‘Om’ and its usage in Hindu Dharma.
- Session Seven: We’ll conclude the course with the final four verses of the Mandukya and critical Hindu concepts. We will study Gaudapada’s treatise and how it influenced the doctrines of the Advaita Veda.