This course gives an overview of the various discoveries in astronomy by observers of the sky in ancient India. From the heliocentric model, which Indian astronomers had noticed thousands of years back to the establishment of nakshatras from the milky way as well as calendar construction. The earliest text on astronomy available today is the Vedanga Jyotisha that came towards the end of the pre-Siddhantic period.
The Buddhist influence on Ayurveda initiated a change in the practice of medicine, not so much in the theory medicine but in the disappearance of many mantras and rituals. This was because of the influence of Buddhism which was the dominant religion in India during those 1000 years from its inception to around the middle of the first millenium CE.
The philosophical concept of Ayurveda made it more than just a symptomatic form of medicine due to its holisitc approach. Unlike other forms of medicine, it took into account the psychological, inherent and cosmic nature of man before developing a potent mixture for him. A practioner was not considered astute unless he had knoweldge of the prevalent philosophical systems.
Even after 70 years of independence of the Indian republic, the shadow of colonialism looms large. Governments through the years still tend to blame every ill affecting Indians squarely on the British which in turn has made them interiorize it. Without doubt till a decade or two after freedom when India was reorganising, the colonisers were culpable, but the need to move on and build on the great legacy that Indians have inherited is the need of the hour. This course identifies the impact of colonial policy masterminded by British, the direction it has moved along after independence and the measures Indians need to incorporate to rid themselves of this hangover.
Indian psychology has a consciousness driven approach that emphasizes on the first person perspective. It's practical outlook promotes self understanding instead of an outsider looking in to provide a panacea for the masses. Hence this subjectiveness which is essentially derived from the yoga school of thought encourages the reflection of one's consciousness in our actions for the ultimate aim to achieve moksha.
The Vedic period is often called as the golden age of Indic civilization, and for good reason. The time period of the Vedic era is debatable, but there is no doubt regarding the influence it still has on the Indian sub continent, be it in spirituality, culture, language as described in the Vedas. With the passage of time, a lot of the wisdom from that age has either been lost or misinterpreted. This course hopes to highlight some of those teachings passed on by the sages of a bygone era which we can hope to incorporate in our present lives.
This course covers a broad range of topics and instances from the Upanishads to texts such as the Arthshastra that offer guidelines on the role of ethics in the life of an Indian. The viewpoints and day to day actions of many individuals from India's past & present is also mentioned to highlight the actual practice of such traditional values.
Kashmir Shaivism is the essence of Tāntric thought. Tāntrism developed around the 4th or 5th century CE as a powerful religious current and gave a new dimension and direction to India’s medieval religious culture and spiritual life. This was a period when numerous Shaiva cults belonging to different preceptorial lines were flourishing in Kashmir, and Kashmir came to be known as a great centre of Tāntric thought and practice. Scholars divide the entire medieval Shaiva tradition into two main streams – the pre-Tāntric Atimārga or the Outer Path, and the Tantric Mantramārga or the Path of Mantra.
The Sitar is one of the most popular melody instruments in Hindustani Classical music and is a part of the family of long neck lutes. Because of its versatility it is used in other genres of music such as western fusion music, film music and is gaining more acceptance in Carnatic music due to more collaborative projects with Hindustani music. This course helps a beginner with hardly any background in the Sitar to understand its various elements and forms a solid base to continue further.
Kashmir Shaivism is a theological and philosophical system that has its roots in the Tantric worldview. Some scholars now prefer to call it non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir while others prefer Trika Shastra or Trika Shaivism as its name. It emerged from the numerous cults of Tantric Shaivism, preceptorial lines and Shaivagamic textual traditions that evolved, developed and flourished in Kashmir from as early as the 5th century CE.
This course deals with how the Buddha is inextricably linked with Hinduism and was just one in a long line of gurus that the dharmic faith produced. Buddhism was discovered by Orientalists outside of India which is why Gautama Buddha is thought of as a revolutionary religious leader with no ties to any previous school of thought. Buddha's philosophy was shaped by the scriptures and so too were the meditative practices that he learned at the feet of several rishis, who were invariably Hindus. Due to Buddhism's disappearance and its development outside of India, the connection with its roots is either unknown or neglected.
Jhaptal is one of the most prominent 10 beat taals in Hindustani classical music. It has a very rich history in semicalssical music as well being present in bhajan, Rabindra sangeet and kheyal forms of music. Shri Anand Lahiri from the Benares gharana performs Jhaptal in this course and overs the nuances of unsymmetrical structured taal which gives wider scope to experiment.
Ayurveda's development was the result of natural progression from the Atharvaveda which preceded it by more than a millenia. It kept the textual knowledge of medicinal plants, bodily functions, structure of the body while also incorporating certain foreign inlfuences. Charaka is credited for developing the systemized character of Ayurveda and also making it free from some of the ritualistic practices of Atharvaveda
Like many Indian instruments, there are many interesting myths and legends about the origin of the Tabla. Some say that it evolved from the dholak and pakhawaj while others cite the 13th century Sufi poet Amir Khusru as the inventor of the instrument. It is the foremost rhythmic element in Hindustani music. In this beginners course for tabla, the history, essential elements and playing techniques are discussed a length for a well rounded introduction.
Advaita Vedanta is the knowledge of reality of self. In the vision of Vedanta, the relationship of the individual with the universe, as also the cause of the universe, is that of undivided oneness. This course is an introduction to the knowledge of this reality. The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras, analyzed and explained by Adi Shankaracharya, are its foundational texts. The knowledge is brought down to us through an unbroken chain of teachers and students and the effort is to present it maintaining the sanctity of this long-preserved tradition.
This course throws light on the traditional system of education in India, drawing from sources of the Vedic, Buddhist and pre-colonial periods. It shows how India was a society deeply invested in creation, preservation and spread of knowledge that ranged from mundane and materialistic to philosophical and spiritual. This course is for anyone who wants to understand the current crisis in education in India from the perspective of history.
Shri Anand Lahiri is a renowned Tabla player from the Benares gharana who gained his mastery under the tutelege of the great Pandit Kishan Maharaj. In this exposition on Teental he takes us through one of the most popular taals in Hindustani classical music and discusses its various rhythmical patterns.
This course takes a look at some of the technological developments in ancient India and how it impacted the world around it. A lot of scientific know-how from that period has either been expunged from history or due credit hasn't been given to the originators. Various vedic texts are also referred that highlight the marvel of technology in the Indian sub-continent and how it progressed across millennia.