Welcome to the
Hindu Thought and Practice
course support page!
A required course for the Certificate in Hindu Studies and Diploma in Applied Theology programs.
In this 8 week course we will explore foundational aspects of Hinduism.
Our approach to the subjects of this course is traditional, yet informed by contemporary scholarship and responsive to modern challenges. At Ramakrishna Seminary our focus is on the practical applications of religious thought and philosophy to the active spiritual lives of our students. Emphasis is given to personal spiritual development, cultural authenticity and service of God in the world.
This course consists of 8 modules, one module per week. Materials for this course will be a combination of original content (such as live webinars, recordings, and writings from the instructor) and curated content (such as PDFs of articles, essays and selections from books and journals, readings from textbooks, and links to online videos and articles).
Each Monday students will have access to the new module’s study material related to the following Sunday’s live class-lecture via Zoom. These Sunday lectures will be given by the instructor at 3:30pm (PST) and will last approximately two hours.
We will also have a more informal Zoom meeting on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8pm (PST) for questions and discussions.
Recordings of lectures and discussions will be posted within a few hours of the live meetings for those who could not attend.
A Hindu monk, priest, author, and educator with more than twenty-six years of experience in presenting the teachings and practices of Sanatana Dharma, Indian philosophy and the Hindu devotional schools.
Most study material for this course will be provided by the instructor as part of the modules. But we recommend acquiring this small, inexpensive, and easily available book to serve as a general introduction to the study of Hinduism.
Hinduism, A Very Short Introduction
Kim Knott, Oxford University Press, 2000
"This book is instantly accessible in its approach without being in any way condescending or an oversimplification. Each of the chapters tackles a crucial issue or web of interconnected issues, none of them straightforward and yet all conveyed with an elegance and simplicity that belies their inherent complexity."
~ from back cover
Evaluation of Student Performance
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.
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.
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: Sanatana Dharma – Hinduism and Its Self-Understanding
August 17 - August 23
MODULE 2: Hindu Cosmology – Cycles Within Cycles
August 24 - August 30
MODULE 3: Textual Traditions — The Scriptures and Their Commentaries
August 31 - September 6
MODULE 4: Sects and Lineages – Unity and Diversity
September 7 - September 13
MODULE 5: Darshana – Classical Schools of Indian Philosophy
September 14 - September 20
MODULE 6: Karma, Reincarnation, and our Final Destination
September 21 - September 27
MODULE 7: Varna and Ashram — Ancient Ideals of Dharma and Their Modern Challenges
September 28 - October 4
MODULE 8: Purushartha – the Four Goals of Human Life
October 5 - October 11