Center for Sanskrit Studies, Goa



(Prof. Dr. Monika Boehm-Tettelbach)


Vishvarupa of Krishna

The course will hopefully be largely dialogical, for here is one of the Sanskrit classics that have formed the Indian mind to this day. We will read select portions and weave them into the enquiry which the audience may wish to share among themselves.

Time: 9:30-11:30 AM

Sat. 08 Nov. Sun. 09 Nov.
Sat. 15 Nov. Sun. 16 Nov.
Sat. 06 Dec. Sun. 07 Dec.
Sat. 13 Dec. Sun. 14 Dec.

Discourses on Dharma in Mahabharata

(Dr. Mukund Lath, Jaipur)

The focal point here would be to look at and seek to understand human action, especially in the light of dilemmas inherent in it.

There is, as one might say, a given contrariness in the very nature of the values we seek through - take, for example, love and justice. But the dilemma, perhaps goes deeper and lies in the very nature of dharma. This comes out very well in the Mahabharata, where there is also a short discourse given by Krishna on dharma and how it cannot be made to fit into any pre-given rules, howsoever good and universal they might be.

The Mahabharata, with its rich narrative discourse on dharma, and what Krishna has to say will form the centre of these talks.

Time: 06-08 PM

Fri. 28 Nov. Sat. 29 Nov. Sun. 30 Nov.

On Darkness and Light

(Prof. Dr. Monika Boehm-Tettelbach)


Shiva (ca. 5th cent. C.E.)
Bharat Kala Bhavan, Varanasi.

We will basically explore the Stavacintamani, a mystical Sanskrit text written by Bhattanarayana in the 9th century A.D. This brief praise of Lord Shiva as Parameshvara - a mere 120 stanzas of great beauty and fervour - which belongs to the tradition of Kashmirian Shaivism and stands in the tradition marked by Utpaladeva (9th c.) as well as Lalla Ded (14th c.) is exemplary of issues surrounding mystical experience. How far are the mystical revelations culturally specific, how far are they expressions of the universal givens of human experience? Are these expressions only valid within a given theological system (Hindu, Shivite) or do they transcend these limitations? In order to probe into this, we will also read portions of St. John of the Cross's Dark Night of the Soul.

Participants will be provided both text and translation material. Please collect your material before the first session (available from 7 November at Shadvala).

Time: 06-08 PM

Sat. 08 Nov. Sun. 09 Nov.
Fri. 14 Nov. Sat. 15 Nov. Sun. 16 Nov.
Fri. 12 Dec. Sat. 13 Dec. Sun. 14 Dec.

Hinduism - Religious Beliefs and Ritual Practices

(Anand Mishra, Heidelberg)


A Hindu Ritual

Hinduism is better understood as a voyage than a destination. Historically it is a long journey and individually a great pilgrimage.

Starting from the earliest times up to the modern period, we find attempts to analyze the nature of human beings and accordingly, develop means to fulfil their aspirations. Permanence and change have been travelling together in this pilgrimage of ideas, ideals and the means to realize them.

We will discuss a few major milestones of this journey, especially the theoretical and practical aspects of important religious beliefs and customary rituals.

Time: 9:00-11:00 AM and 06-08 PM

Sat. 22 Nov. Sun. 23 Nov.

Sanskrit - an Introduction to the Spiritual Language

(Anand Mishra, Heidelberg)

The aim of this course is two-fold:

  1. to explore and appreciate the linguistic aspects of Sanskrit on the basis of selected examples from the traditional literature, and
  2. to familiarize ourselves with the religio-philosophical perspectives, which these examples enshrine.
We will begin with a brief introduction to the basic structural features of Sanskrit language and then move on directly to the examples from ancient literature. The main focus is not to overflood the participants with grammatical rules, or to bring them to speak simple everyday sentences in Sanskrit, but to bring them linguistically closer to the spiritual literature.

Participants will be provided relevant study-material.

Time: 06-08 PM

Sat. 06 Dec. Sun. 07 Dec.
Sat. 13 Dec. Sun. 14 Dec.


And here is a preview of the spring term (2009), tentative, but not wildly tentative:

But aren't those just the old household stories...? Stories of the saints of India (Maharashtra and North India) as vademecums for a fruitful life (and not just for muddling through).

Nanddas: Raspancadhyayi Nanddas was one of the eight seals of the Vallabha tradition (Pushtimarg). It was from that perspective that he composed his bhasha version of the five chapters of the Bhagavatapurana devoted to the rasa dance of Lord Krishna in its religious dimensions. We will explore both the model and Nanddas's famous poem.