Welcome to the

Foundations and Approach

course support page!

“The Divine Mother’s magic is ancient as life itself. She existed before gods and mortals and She will exist even after the great dissolution. Mother is pure energy in subtle form, but in times of need or just out of a desire to play, She manifests.”

~ Elizabeth Usha Harding

A required course for the Certificate in Hindu Studies and Diploma in Applied Theology programs.

In this course we explore the history, ritual standards, philosophical framework, and theological approach of Kali Mandir and the Ramakrishna Seminary, focusing on our unique combination of a committed spiritual focus and a radical religious pluralism.

The course is divided into sections called modules. The course runs for eight weeks, with one module per week, with new materials being made available each week. Materials for this course will be a combination of original and curated content. Original content consists of lectures, live webinars, and writings from the instructor, and curated content consists of PDFs of articles, essays and selections from books and journals, readings from textbooks, and links to online videos and articles.

By participating in any program or course given by Ramakrishna Seminary, students consent to our Terms and Conditions Agreement.


Due to the generosity of our supporters, this course (normally $500) is being offered tuition free to our founding students, as we begin this auspicious service. While the course is offered free of charge, please consider making a donation to support the seminary if you are able.

Your Instructor


Rev. Swami Dr. Bhajanananda Saraswati


Kali, the Black Goddess of Dakshineswar

Elizabeth U. Harding, Nicolas-Hays, York Beach 1993

This course is worth 8 Seminary Credits, and can be taken for either Credit or No Credit.


No Credit Option

Students not taking the course to earn Seminary Credits are not required to turn in written assignments or a final paper, but are expected to participate in online lectures and discussions and keep up with assigned readings and other materials.

Credit Option


Attendance and Class Participation: Students, who are taking this course for Seminary credit, are expected to attend weekly online lectures and discussions. If students must miss a live lecture, they are expected to watch the recording of the session and to participate in the discussion forum.


Class assignments: Each module includes assigned reading and/or engagement with other curated material such as articles, videos, audio files, PDFs, etc. These assignments and their supporting material will be available on these Course Support Pages. Short writing assignments that may be assigned should be emailed to the instructor as Word files.

Final paper: At approximately the halfway point of the course several topics will be suggested for students to choose from for their writing project. The final paper should be six to twelve pages in length and be handed in or emailed to the instructor as a Word file within a week after the final day of the course.


Evaluation of Student Performance

Attendance and class participation    40%

Class assignments                                    40%

Final paper                                                  20%

90% - 100%     A (Credit)

80% -89%        B (Credit)

70% - 69%       C (Credit)

Under 70%      No Credit

Accessing Course Modules

Click on the module links below to access online meetings, supportive materials, and assignments.

(Access restricted to registered students)

MODULE 1:  Founding and History of Kali Mandir 



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MODULE 2:  The Dakshinewar Kali Temple 


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MODULE 3:  Our Holy Trio -  Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi & Vivekananda  


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MODULE 4:  Bhakti and the Mother-Child Relationship  


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MODULE 5:  Traditions and Standards  


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MODULE 6:  Lineages and Influences


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MODULE 7:  Ritual and the Language of Devotion


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MODULE 8:   Tradition Beyond Cult


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Ramakrishna Seminary is an educational ministry of Kali Mandir,

a registered 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit religious organization founded in 1993

Ramakrishna Seminary 

P.O. Box 4700

Laguna Beach, CA 92652

(949) 715-6712


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All courses, certificates, diplomas and degrees offered by Ramakrishna Seminary are religious in nature and meant for the personal and professional enrichment of mature spiritual seekers.  Prior to enrollment, students should not assume that credits will be accepted by other schools, businesses or governmental agencies.  Learn more>>