This course serves as an introduction to Advaita Vedānta philosophy. It is a blend between traditional and academic material, seeking to bridge the gap between the practice of Advaita Vedānta and its academic study. We will contextualize Advaita historically, understanding when, why, and how the authors of the Upaniṣads (the main scriptural source for Advaita) started to speculate about the nature of the self and the cause of unending happiness. During this course, we will dip our toes into the vast ocean of Advaitic terminology and philosophical analysis, gaining a broad overview of the methods and goals of Advaita Vedānta. We will touch on Advaita’s epistemology, ontology, and soteriology in general, followed by a taste of more advanced concepts from later Advaitic material. As an introduction, this course can lead interested students into deeper study of Advaita Vedānta.
Module 1 — History
Module 2 — Basic Concepts
Module 3 — Epistemology, Ontology, and Soteriology
Module 4 — The Mahāvākyas and Some Deeper Concepts
Students Will Receive:
- 4 Pre-recorded Video + Audio lectures (90 min)
- 4 Pre-recorded Q&A sessions (90 min)
- 4 YS Credits
- 12 Hours of CE credit with YA
- Course Syllabus (PDF)
- Weekly Readings (PDF)
- 4 Multiple Choice Quizzes
- Yogic Studies Certificate (PDF)
- Access to the private Community Forum
Dr. Varun Khanna
Visiting Professor, Swarthmore College
As a pre-med undergrad student, Varun Khanna accidentally stumbled into Sanskrit when he tried to learn Ayurveda during a study abroad program in India. After learning to speak and becoming fluent in the language, he changed direction and became a full-time student of Sanskrit and Indian philosophy. He then traveled through various jungles and cities in India to learn from different Sanskrit gurus, specializing in Pāṇinian Sanskrit grammar. Varun later earned both his master’s degree in Sanskrit and his PhD in Hinduism (studying consciousness in the Upaniṣads) at the University of Cambridge. He has been teaching spoken Sanskrit, Pāṇinian Sanskrit grammar, and topics in Indian philosophy since 2008, and is now a Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics teaching Sanskrit at Swarthmore College.
Varun’s research interests lie in the intersection of Sanskrit grammar, Vedānta philosophy, and social justice. His latest work centers on the perspectives that ancient Sanskrit literature offers for thinking about equality, freedom, and justice. He is also working on a new Sanskrit primer that incorporates Pāṇinian grammar in order to help students learn the exact boundaries of the rules of Sanskrit.
This course is eligible for 12 hours of Continued Education (CE) credits with Yoga Alliance
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