Vedanta and Samkhya Philosophy
In this course, we will cover two of the six Indian philosophical systems, Vedanta and Samkhya. In the course, we will include a close look at the life and teachings of Shankaracharya, the great teacher of Advaita. Enrolling on this course is the perfect introduction to Hindu philosophy.
We will begin with a brief look at all six systems of Hindu Philosophy before considering Vedanta and Samkhya in greater detail. After this, we will delve into individuals such as Ramanuja and Madhvacharya. We will look at how these philosophers contributed to the Vedanta philosophy.
To learn more about this course, read the course breakdown below. To view other courses, click here.
Start Date: 21 April 2024
Course Duration: Seven Weeks
Tutor: Dr Raj Balkaran
Course Creator: Dr Nick Sutton
Optional Assessment: Essay
The main video component of your course. On-demand means you can watch at the time that suits you.
Five Zoom sessions
Meet tutors and students from other courses and explore other areas of Hindu studies. These sessions are open to students enrolled in any course.
Monday 29 April 2pm
Tuesday 7 May 2pm
Thursday 16 May 3pm
Saturday 25 May 5pm
Sunday 2 June 6pm
These are all UK times. Recordings are available for any sessions you miss
Session One: An Introduction to Advaita Vedanta
We begin our study with the Advaita school of Vedanta. We pay particular attention to the teachings of Shankaracharya.
Session Two: The Life and Works of Shankaracharya
There are said by some sources to be ten biographies of Shankaracharya. Of these, only five seem to exist today, the best known of which is called the Shankara Digvijaya, written by Madhava Vidyaranya in the fourteenth century.
Session Three: The Teachings of Shankaracharya
We look at Shankaracharya’s ideas. These are largely built upon the teachings of the Upanishads, on the aphorisms of the Vedanta Sutras, and on the writings of earlier acharyas, most notably Gaudapada.
Session Four: Ramanuja and Visishtadvaita
In this session we are going to look at another of the main schools of Vedanta, the Visishtadvaita (visishta advaita). This is generally associated with the work of Ramanujacharya, a Tamil Brahmin teacher who lived in the South of India in the 11th century AD.
Session Five: Madhvacharya and the Dvaita Vedanta
The contribution of Madhvacharya to the overall system of Vedanta is too often minimised or overlooked altogether. We take a look at his work and its relevance.
Session Six: Understanding Samkhya
There are few today who would identify themselves as adherents of the Samkhya system of religious philosophy. However, this was not the case in the past when Samkhya appears to have rivalled Vedanta. We might classify Samkhya, along with Vaiseshika and Nyaya, as an interesting ancient phenomenon but no longer of any great relevance to the contemporary Hindu tradition. To do so would, however, be a mistake, for despite there being few overt manifestations of Samkhya, it continues to have a significant influence over Indian religious thought.
Session Seven: The Samkhya-Karika
For this second of our two sessions on Samkhya we focus on a close reading of the Samkhya Karika, which is widely accepted as the principal text outlining the ideas of the Samkhya system.