Theology and Religious Study Year 2 - TRS2

Jiva-Goswami-51

The module will cover the following:

• The Goswamis of Vrindavan: Overview of module and introduction to the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan, including Rupa and Jiva, their principal written works and their significance to the Chaitanya Vaishnava tradition.
• The Bhakti Tradition: An exploration of the historical and theological context from which the writings of Rupa and Jiva emerged, with particular reference to Chaitanya and the development of ‘intellectual’ and ‘emotional’ bhakti.
• The theology of Rupa Goswami: An examination of the structure and contents of the Bhaktirasamrtasindu, noting in particular his theory of bhaktirasa and the interpretation of the Vedantic ideas of ‘brahman’, ‘jiva’ and ‘moksa’.
• Indian Aesthetic theory: A consideration of the aesthetic theory of Bharata, Abhinava Gupta, and Bhoja, their influence on Rupa Goswami’s religio-aesthetic theory, and the importance of this idea for religious practice in the Chaitanya Vaishnava tradition.
• The Puranic basis of the Bhaktirasamrtasindhu: A consideration of the role of the Bhaktirasamrtasindhu as a commentary on the Bhagavata Purana.
• A consideration of the theological contributions of Rupa to Chaitanya Vaishnavism, noting the similarities and differences to other schools of Vaishnava thought.
• A consideration of the influence of Rupa on later Chaitanya Vaisnava theologians, (Vishvanatha Cakravarthi • Thakur, Baladeva Vidyabhushana) and on the wider Hindu tradition.

More about this module here.

Level: 5 (Year 2)

Credit Value: 10 (for regular BA Theology and Religious Study)

Jiva-Goswami-51

The module will cover the following: 

• An outline of the life of Jiva Goswami, an introduction to his principal writings (Sat-sandarbhas and Gopal Campu) and a consideration of their historical context and relevance to the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. 

• The Puranic basis of the Sat-sandarbhas: An examination of the significance of the Bhagavata Purana for the theology of the Sat-sandarbhas.

• The Methodology and Epistemology of Jiva Goswami: A consideration of Jiva Goswami’s Tattva sandarbha as the cornerstone of his Sat- sandarbhas. 

• The Metaphysics of Jiva Goswami; Jiva Goswami’s theology of acintya-bhedabheda with reference to the Vedantic ideas of ‘brahman’, ‘jiva’, and ‘moksa’. 

 • Bhakti in the Sat-sandarbhas: Jiva Goswami’s understanding of bhakti in relation to the ideas of the Puranas, Chaitanya and Rupa Goswami. 

 • A consideration of the theological contributions of Rupa and Jiva to Chaitanya Vaishnavism, noting the similarities and differences to other schools of Vaishnava thought. 

 • A consideration of the influence of Rupa and Jiva on later Chaitanya Vaisnava theologians, (Vishvanatha Cakravarthi  Thakur, Baladeva Vidyabhushana) and on the wider Hindu tradition.

Level: 5 (Year 2)

Credit Value: 20 (for regular BA Theology and Religious Study)

 

purana

The module covers the following topics: Introduction to the Bhagavata Purana: Its antiquity, authorship, structure in terms of its twelve books (cantos), and status within Hindu tradition. Narrative and contents: A detailed examination of the narrative structure and contents of the Bhagavata Purana. The Theology and Philosophy of the Bhagavata Purana: A consideration of Samkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti and the role of the Bhagavata Purana in shaping Vaisnava theology and practice. Stories of Creation in the Bhagavata Purana and Brahma's prayers for creative energy. Looking at the Bhagavata Purana's teaching on avatar, stories of avatars, and the status of Krishna and Vishnu. Devotional Role Models 1: Readings from the life and teachings of Prahlad in book 7. Devotional Role Models 2: Reading from the lives and teachings of Dhruva, Gajendra, Kuntidevi, Ajamila, and Bali Maharaja. A consideration of the gender roles in the Bhagavata Purana. Sages and Kings in the Bhagavata Purana: Looking at the pedagogical, sociological and political roles of the main sages and Kings in the Bhagavata Purana (Narada, Vidura, Kapila, Suta, Maitreya, Durvasa, Markandeya, Avaduta brahmana, Prithu, Ambarisha, Chitraketu, Pariksit etc.). Siva in the Bhagavata Purana: A consideration of the stories and status of Siva in the Bhagavata Purana. Krishna in the Bhagavata Purana (1): Looking at Krishna's birth and childhood in Gokul-Vrindavan as described in book 10. Krishna in the Bhagavata Purana (2): Readings from Krishna's Gopi-lila in book 10 in the light of their religious significance to the Vaisnava tradition.

Thisociology of religions course aims to identify the key concepts of both Western and Vedic sociological theory and examine them in the context of present day ISKCON. The aim is to examine changing societies (particularly ISKCON) with the purpose of digesting the constructs so that they may be deliberately applied for the improvement of relationships, communities, and societies. Thus the theory, methodology and practice of Western Sociology will be examined in an applied manner, and then supplemented with the higher understanding revealed by Srila Prabhupada and shastra through the subject of Varnasrama Dharma. The intended result is that the students understand the various ideas and concepts that have molded and continue to mold ISKCON, so that they themselves feel empowered to navigate Srila Prabhupada’s dynamic, global society towards the ideals of a Vedic Vaisnava society.

The course covers the following topics:

  • Research methods and introduction to Sociology, including definitional debates about what religion is and the strengths and limitations of a social science of religion
  • Sociology of Religions and changing definitions of NRM’s
  • Identity in Religions and in ISKCON history
  • Classes and Stratification
  • Organizational Culture and membership: changing definitions
  • Organizational Structure and Sociological Types of Religious Organizations
  • The Relationship between Mainstream Culture and the Culture of Religious Groups, including  the changing role and influence of religion in contemporary society and  secularization theory
  • Why religions succeed or fail
  • Overview of ISKCON history

RamayanaThe module will cover the following topics:

• An introduction to the Ramayana: Presenting the structure of the Ramayana in terms of its seven khandas and providing an overview of the central narrative.

• The main characters as role models: Presenting a systematic review of the main characters of the Ramayana and considering their position as role models for Hindus.

• Religious teachings in the Ramayana: Presenting the key theological themes of the Ramayana, such as the doctrine of avatar, and exploring the ethical dilemmas and notions of dharma raised by its narrative.

• An introduction to the Mahabharata: Presenting the structure of the Mahabarata and providing an overview of the central narrative and the extensive didactic interludes.

• The main characters as role models: Presenting a systematic review of the main character’s of the Mahabharata and considering their activities in terms of the varying expressions of dharma presented by the epic.

• Religious teachings in the Mahabharata narrative: Considering the central theological themes, such as the position of Krishna, the epic’s theological ideas, and the different views of dharma it offers its readers.

• Religious teachings in the Mahabharata’s didactic passages: Presenting a brief review of the passages of religious, philosophical, and ethical teachings that punctuate the central narrative of the Mahabharata.

More about this module here.

Level: 5 (Year 2)

   The module will cover the following topics:

•Definition of 'science'. Introduction to the philosophy of science and how it is related to theology.

•The conflict model and other possible relationships between science and religion.

•The Galileo affair. A case study of the classic encounter between science and religion.

•Copernicus and the place of humanity in the cosmos.

•Newton and the Enlightenment of the 17th century.

•'Nature red in tooth and claw' reactions to Darwin in the 19th century.

•Rise of Fundamentalism, Positivism, Scientism versus Critical Realism.

•Big Bang and creation. A new argument from design?

•God the destroyer, scientific and theological eschatology.

•The implications of Quantum physics: God and quantum indeterminacy.

The module covers the following topics:

  • The Vedic World View.
  • Origins of the Vedas.
  • Vedic Texts.
  • Vedic ritual.
  • Vedic Interpretation.
  • An Introduction to the Upanisads.
  • Readings from the Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad.
  • Readings from the Chandogya Upanishad.
  • Readings from the Katha and Kena Upanishad.
  • Readings from Taittiriya and Mundaka Upanishads.

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    This module deepens students’ critical engagement with the Bhakti-shastras and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s literary and theological contribution, by focusing particularly on critically studying and evaluating the Isa Upanisad, The Nectar of Devotion, and the Upadesamrita. It explores hermeneutical and epistemological issues concerned with the Vedic tradition from Chaitanya Vaishnava perspectives. The module may include exploring Caitanya Vaishnava theological themes and issues such as the rasa theory, mind and sense control, guru and disciple, guru-parampara and initiation, sadhu-sanga, the theology of yukta-vairagya. eligibility for bhakti, the Isavasya principle, different types of happiness, the relations among God, the soul and nature, and surrender to God. Themes and issues will be considered in terms of both traditional and contemporary practices and context, by looking at how textual traditions contribute to shape popular practice of theology and religion.