Three-year course Syllabus

Swami Parthasarathy has clearly defined a syllabus for the three-year course. He propounds the knowledge of Vedanta through his discourses on Sanskrit texts and his books in detail. The students absorb the knowledge by individual study in the early hours of the morning. All the titles are written or commented upon by Swamiji.

The Fall Of The Human Intellect

Stress, depression, disease in individuals and militancy, vandalism, terrorism in societies is threatening humanity with extinction. The course material traces back the source of this impending disaster to the continual neglect of the human intellect. It highlights the fundamental difference between intelligence and intellect. Intelligence is acquired from schools and universities while the intellect is developed through one’s personal effort in thinking, reasoning, questioning before accepting anything.

Governing Business and Relationships

Deals with the basic concepts associated with the running of a business such as Value Systems, Work Ethics, Stress Management, Productivity, Leadership and Time Management. Also analyses one’s relationship with the world at large. The emphasis is on self development through study and reflection of the higher values of life rather than correcting the external world. Towards the end the course highlights a human being’s role in achieving the ultimate management by gaining identity with one’s own Self.

The Holocaust of Attachment

The lack of intellect has caused the mind’s attachment to spouses, children, wealth, religion, practically everything. The virus of attachment has reached epidemic proportions and the world is in a state of emergency. Yet none seems to recognise the problem, much less tackle it. The solution lies in a concerted effort worldwide to resurrect the fallen intellect. A powerful intellect alone would destroy the virus and generate peace and harmony in the society. 

Select English Poems

A study of Classic English literature including works of William Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, John Milton, Oliver Goldsmith, Matthew Arnold, Robert Browning and William Wordsworth focusing on intellectual governance of human emotion, moral values and philosophical themes.

Bhaja Govindam

An analysis of the scriptural text by Adi Shankracharya, the 8th century philosopher-saint of India. Topics include the temptation of sense pleasures, motivations for acquisition and indulgence, and the effects and hollowness of external pursuits.

Atmabodha

A detailed exploration of a composition by Adi Shankracharya, the 8th century philosopher-saint of India. The text extensively employs the simile and metaphor to help communicate the deep import of subtle philosophical concepts.
Vedanta Treatise

Vedanta Treatise I: Introduction to Vedanta

This course covers basic philosophical concepts and principles starting with the nature of the world and the human being, and provides an exhaustive insight into human life and its three fundamental aspects – namely action, emotion and knowledge.

Vedanta Treatise II: Practical Vedanta

This course gives the practical application of Vedantic philosophy to everyday life. Topics include human composition, self-analysis, interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships the three states of consciousness – waking, dream and deep-sleep. Followed by a detailed study of the avenues for spiritual growth: Karma Yoga Path of Action, Bhakti Yoga Path of Devotion, and Jnana Yoga Path of Knowledge which lead to meditation and Self-realisation.

Vedanta Treatise III: The Essence of Vedanta

An in-depth analysis of subtle philosophic concepts of the essence of religion, law of causation, law of karma, theory of reincarnation, theory of perception, illusions, the supreme Reality and Enlightenment.

The Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Vedantic text revered in Indian tradition and culture for thousands of years. It is the philosophical kernel of the Mahabharata epic composed by the celebrated sage Vyasa. Originally written in Sanskrit language it is a systematic and exhaustive presentation of an array of philosophical truths and instructions on life enabling comprehensive development of the personality.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter I:

Yoga of Arjuna’s Despondency Students begin to explore the struggles facing humanity such as the dilemma of choice and emotion and intellection. The first chapter provides the historical and contextual relevance of the Bhagavad Gita within the epic Mahabharata. Themes include emotional upheaval, action, duty and surrender to a higher intellect.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II:

Yoga of Knowledge This course introduces the concepts of the indestructibility of the Spirit Atman , Brahman enlivening all beings and actions, the role of desire in the course of life, the path to enlightenment and the qualities of an enlightened soul.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter III:

Yoga of Action This section explores the path of action (Karma Yoga) for both the introvert and extrovert spiritual aspirant. Topics include the intellectual and emotional appeal for action, the technique of right action, its impediments and the method to overcome the impediments.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IV:

Yoga of Renunciation of Action in Wisdom Karma Yoga is examined as a means of acquiring wisdom through right action. Topics include exposition of the supreme Self which enlivens all action, and the 12 yagnas (spiritualisation of every type of activity) to gain wisdom thus removing ignorance and agitation.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter V:

Yoga of Renunciation of Action This course chronicles the three stage path to Enlightenment; active life, ascetic, and Enlightened. The qualities of actions of each are discussed along with dispassion, exhaustion of desire, meditation, and Self-realization.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter VI:

Yoga of Meditation This course analyses the spiritual practices recommended for seekers at different stages of development and investigates the external and internal prerequisites for meditation. Also stipulates explicit procedural details for meditation; and how the prepared seeker practices meditation and achieves Enlightenment.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter VII:

Yoga of Knowledge and Wisdom This course introduces the nature of immanence and transcendence of the Supreme Reality Brahman. It also includes an in-depth discussion of the vicious and virtuous, deluded and wise. The deluded seek finite enjoyments of the world whereas the wise pursue the permanent bliss of Enlightenment.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter VIII:

Yoga of Imperishable Brahman This course delves into abstract concepts linking the world and Brahman. Topics include waking, dream, and deep sleep states, manifest and unmanifest Reality, and the effects of performing spiritual actions for those who fail to attain Enlightenment in their lifetime.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IX:

Yoga of Royal Knowledge and Royal Secret This course covers the subtle concepts governing reincarnation, ignorance of the Reality, the limitations of the mundane, utilizing the world and oblation of actions to achieve the ultimate goal of Self-realization.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter X:

Yoga of Supreme Manifestation This course offers a detailed analysis of how Brahman pervades and supports the entire manifest world. Attention is given to the human tendency to focus on the non-essential details of existence while ignoring the quintessence of all life Brahman.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XI:

Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form This course deals with the synthetic manifestation of the Reality in one form; The destructive manifestation of the Supreme Reality is also explored.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XII:

Yoga of Devotion This course considers form and formless worship, and the relevance of both to spiritual development. The difference between devotional and intellectual seekers is explored including the 35 qualities of a Bhakta devotional seeker.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XIII:

Yoga of Distinction between Field and Knower of Field This course seeks to explains the union of spirit and matter; form and enlivener. The path of knowledge is detailed by the 20 qualities of a Jnani intellectual seeker who has used action to gain knowledge and now is prepared for meditation.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XIV:

Yoga of Distinction of the Three Gunas This course delves into the subtle matter of how ignorance of Reality is the source of all beings. It also discusses the three gunas mental temperaments (tamas, rajas, and satva), their effects and how to transcend them.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XV:

Yoga of Supreme Being This course covers the perishable natures of the microcosm and macrocosm, pairs of opposites, and the gross, subtle, and causal bodies. The manifestation of the three gunas enlivened by Self is detailed.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XVI:

Yoga of Distinction of Divine and Demoniac Nature This course covers the qualities and conduct of the divine and the demoniac. Also an in-depth analysis of the qualities of greed, egoism, power, and pride and how these lead to devolution.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XVII:

Yoga of Threefold Division of Shraddha Faith This course discusses the importance of faith to seekers. The quality of faith is based on how a seeker relates to the four fundamental aspects of food, sacrifice, austerity, and gift.

The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XVIII:

Yoga of Liberation through Renunciation This course distinguishes the qualities of action, actor, knowledge, intellect, steadfastness, and happiness according to the three gunas mental temperaments. The content also covers renunciation versus relinquishment, the caste system, the three Yogas, and a dissection of action.

The Upanishads

The four Vedas – Rik, Sama, Yajur and Atharvana – are known to be the primeval source of the scriptures. The Upanishads form the philosophical portion of the Vedas. The Upanishads are a record of a dialogue between guru preceptor and shishya disciple on the subject of the transcendental Reality, Brahman and are dated by some scholars to have originated around 6000 BC.

Kenopanisad

The Kenopanishad appears in the ninth chapter of Jaiminiya or Talavakara Brahmana of Samaveda. Hence it is also known as Talavakara Upanishad. This Upanishad has four khandas parts. The first two parts expound the supreme, impersonal God, Nirguna Brahman. The third and fourth parts analyse the idea of personal God, Saguna Brahman.

Isavasyopanisad

The Isavasyopanisad appears in the Yajurveda.This Upanishad focuses on spiritual paths of renunciation, meditation, and action. The effects of not having a path and the drama of Self-realization are contrasted.

Kaivalyopanisad

The course explores how one gains the knowledge of Brahman Reality, the Unmanifest and manifest nature of Brahman, Pure Consciousness, the aphorism “I am Brahman” and the aids to Realisation.

Mundakopanisad

The Mundakopanisad appears in the Atharvanaveda. The first chapter of the Upanishad draws the distinction between the lower and higher aspects of Brahman manifest in the world. Provides an eloquent definition of Brahman. And gives three famous similes to illustrate the creation of the world. It explores the fates of people in various stages of spiritual development. The second chapter pronounces that the world has emerged from Brahman. And that Brahman remains the Core, Supporter of the universe of things and beings. The last chapter clarifies the path to Brahman, the ultimate liberation.

Thesis on God

The human race has accepted the word God unquestionably from time immemorial. Which has resulted in an avalanche of diverse faiths warring with each other. To circumvent this and present the true nature of God the thesis provides adequate literature. God is the supreme Self, a Sakshi, a detached Witness of activities of the body, mind and intellect. A role in beings which fits in with that of petrol in vehicles. Petrol is a sakshi which activates vehicles while witnessing the best or worst of their performances.

Non-detailed Study

The Symbolism of Hindu Gods and Rituals

Students are exposed to the most popular and prevalent themes of Hindu culture. The philosophical basis and symbolic function of the varied and numerous gods and goddesses, epics, rituals, festivals, prayers, and invocations are analysed in detail to enable a comprehensive understanding of Indian tradition and religion.

Other course activities

Yoga

Instruction in Hatha Yoga postures, pranayama breathing exercises, and relaxation. Daily practice focuses on consistency and proficiency of basic postures and strength.

Verse Presentation

Required oral presentation of an assigned topic or scriptural verse summarizing key points and concepts.

Campus Work Activity

Daily work in campus departments emphasizes the role of Karma Yoga Path of Action and service to the community in the spiritual path.