MU-CIF PROJECT Summer School 2014
Light is the metaphor for knowledge as darkness is for ignorance. Hence the prayer, “lead us from darkness to light”. India, a country and culture specialized in seeking and spreading this pure light of knowledge all over the world for more than five thousand years, according to a creative etymology, is “bhā (knowledge) + rata (seeking)” Bhārata. Through a close study of the pluralistic and argument-rich rational philosophies of India, and an immersion in its rich spiritual culture of music and dance, knowledge-seekers of our contemporary, globalized world can, not only begin to know India but also begin to know themselves.
The reflections on every aspect of human existence are spread in the original textual resources starting from Vedas, the earliest literature, to the literature of philosophies like Cārvākas (materialists and sceptics), Buddhism, Jainism, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Vedānta and other schools of Philosophy. The quest for the Self and the deep urge to seek the truth, have made the Indian thinkers engage in a dialogue with an open mind for more than 5000 years. Those reflections are depicted in epics, Purāṇas and other literature that provide for multi-dimensional insights into Indian thought and culture. With the acquaintance of the western thoughts and modern science, a new understanding of unity among the diversities of Indian philosophies and spiritual cultures attracts thinkers from all over the world to gain from these rich resources.
An intensive two-week Summer School by Manipal University (MU) and Chinmaya International Foundation Shodha Sansthan (CIFSS) is designed for the participants with an interest in the cornucopia of cognitive and cultural wealth of Bhārata, the India.
Aitareyabrāhmaṇa, a part of the Veda, describes the arts of dance, drama and music as ātmasaṁskṛti - cultivation and improvement of the Self. Besides reputed philosophers, scholars and Yoga teachers, this Summer School will also feature some of India’s topmost music and dance gurus from the north and the south, who will engage us in this divine experience of self-cultivation. It is a unique opportunity to be engrossed in a community of learners of the logical, spiritual and cultural aspects of India.
It is also important to note that Manipal University has a Dvaita Philosophy Resource Centre (DPRC) whereas, Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF) focuses on Advaita. The coming together of these two modern institutions rooted in traditions itself is very significant and upholds the spirit of Indian philosophy. Details of these organizations can be found in DPRC www.manipal.edu/des/about-des.htmland CIF www.chinfo.org
Scholars from different schools of thought will engage with participants during this period through seminars, lectures, workshops and presentations on various themes. Intensive discussions will be conducted on philosophical literature of Vedic and non-Vedic schools, teachings of Upaniṣats and Bhagavad-gītā. Traditional art forms, cultural events, narrations of Purāṇas and visit to significant places will be organized during the Summer School to enhance experience of traditional learning methods.
In the three lecture sessions, the weekly themes and daily topics are planned as follows:
Theme/Week I – Overview of Philosophical Theories and Cultural Practices of India
- What are the Vedas? Who are the Vedic gods?
What is yajña (sacrifice)?
- “Reality is one, but thinkers speak of it in many different ways”
ekam sad viprā bahudhā vadanti – an overview of Vedic and anti-Vedic philosophical schools
- Upaniṣats – Yājñīyamantra (Īśa), Talavakāra (Kena) and Kāṭhaka
- Ethics and epistemology of the Mahābhārata and Bhagavad-gītā, and Sāṇkhya on pre-existence of the effect in the material cause satkāryavāda
- Yoga – the eight steps to peace of mind and the pure aloneness kaivalya of puruṣa
- Vaiśeṣika on the six basic types of existent entities and on absences
- Nyāya on the means of knowing pramāṇas and Indian logic
- Advaitavedānta: Brahman is real, the world is illusory, Brahman and self are identical – its criticism by Rāmānuja’s qualified non-dualism
Theme/Week II – Close-up: Indian Metaphysics,
- Indian materialism and scepticism (Cārvāka)
- Buddhism: Early Sarvāstivāda/Vaibhāṣika philosophy – all is momentary
- Yogācāra Buddhism – mind only is real, there is no external world
- Mādhyamika voidism – everything, including emptiness, is empty
- The realism and pluralism of Śrī Madhva’s Dvaitavedānta
- The four goals or puruṣārthas of human life and Indian ethics
- The nine rasas and theatre – basic elements of Indian aesthetics
- Text reading of Īśopaniṣat with Śaṅkarācārya’s and Madhvācārya’s commentary
- Lectures on the Sanskrit text and multiple ancient and modern commentaries on the Īśopaniṣat by Prof Arindam Chakrabarti.
- Yoga, meditation, and Sanskrit classes will be conducted during the morning and evening hours for those interested.
Course credits and Eligibility - The two-week Summer School of six European credits (ECTS) is open for masters, doctoral and postdoctoral students and faculty members from across disciplines.
For more details on summer school 2014click here