This course offers an in-depth study of the Devīmāhātmya, the foundational Sanskrit text of Indian Great Goddess worship. Composed some fifteen centuries ago, it signals the Brahmanical sanctification and crystallization of indigenous Great Goddess traditions thriving on the Indian subcontinent for untold centuries prior.
We will perform a close reading and analysis of the monumental feats of the Goddess Durgā, who quells demonic forces and restores the sovereignty of the gods. She is the refuge of all, restoring order to the cosmos in times of peril. We will also examine the four hymns to the Goddess incanted by the gods throughout the text, paying special attention to the theological vision of the feminine divine they advance.
Reading the Devīmāhātmya
Beyond the “world within the text”, we will also look at the “world beyond the text”, turning out attention to the vibrant ritual life of the Devīmāhātmya during the Nine Nights autumnal Goddess festival, and the role the text plays in the worship of the Goddess across the Hindu world.
In this course, we will be reading selections of the Devīmāhātmya in English translation based on the Thomas Coburn edition.
Join Dr. Raj Balkaran and a global cohort of students for a captivating journey into the tales of the Goddess as recounted in the Devīmāhātmya.
Module 1 — Episode I: The Goddess at Creation
Module 2 — Episode II: The Goddess Slays the Buffalo Demon
Module 3 — Episode III – Part 1: The Return of the Goddess
Module 4 — Episode III – Part 2: The Triumph of the Goddess
Module 5 — Episode III – Part 3: The Grace of the Goddess
Module 6 — The Significance of the Devīmāhātmya
Students Will Receive:
- 12 pre-recorded class sessions (90 min each)
- 5 YS Credits
- 18 Hours of CE credit with YA
- Course Syllabus (PDF)
- 6 Multiple Choice Quizzes (for fun)
- Yogic Studies Certificate upon completion (PDF)
- Access to the private Yogic Studies Online Community Forum
Dr. Raj Balkaran
Continuing Studies Tutor, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies
With Hinduism degrees from the University of Toronto and University of Calgary, Dr. Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Hindu mythology and author of The Goddess and the King in Indian Myth (2018) and The Goddess and the Sun in Indian Myth (2020), both published as part of Routledge’s Hindu Studies Series.
Alongside his academic training, Raj apprenticed with an Indian master for twelve years as part of a living oral tradition dedicated to the preservation and application of Hindu philosophy. He therefore brings hundreds of hours of traditional transmissions on yoga philosophy to the table, which he dovetails with academic rigor and captivating storytelling to deliver impactful instruction at Yogic Studies.
A seasoned online educator, Raj also teaches online courses privately and at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Beyond teaching and research, Raj enjoys a thriving consulting practice and hosts the New Books in Hindu Studies podcast.
"Simply - an amazing class! As a man, I learned the significance of the divine feminine existence in all souls. More importantly, the need to cultivate the feminine nature in our actions, thoughts and how we love and care for each other & Mother Earth.I highly recommend that all men take this class to gently open our eyes."
— Tim Mills, Lecturer, Harvard University
"A course for our times. The power of the divine feminine shines through the playful erudition of Raj Balkaran. Highly recommended!"
— Dr Simon Shaw, New Zealand
"Dr. Raj is an amazing teacher and the engagement of students really helped. The content and depth and just the utter beauty and power of the DM shone through. I’ve learned and loved so much throughout (and I was in another time zone catching only the recording!)"
— YS 208 Student
This course is eligible for 18 hours of Continued Education (CE) credits with Yoga Alliance
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