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Duty, Power, Pleasure, Release: Key Themes in Classical Indian Thought

ARHA 291
Fall 2012
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: HIST 277, RELI 236
Certificates: South Asia Studies

According to thinkers in classical India, the goals of life were fourfold: encompassing the pursuit of social-moral duty (dharma), economic and political power (artha), bodily pleasure (kama), and, finally, release from the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (moksha). The four goals provide a useful key for understanding Indian intellectual history in its classical moment--roughly, the half millennium between the 2nd and 7th centuries. This pivotal era witnessed the definition of new forms of social and political thought, the creation of new types of expressive literature in Sanskrit, and the crystallization of the Hindu religion. In this course, we explore classical Indian thought through a variety of theoretical and literary texts articulating the ideas and values of the age. Most of these works were originally written in Sanskrit, the ancient Indian language of culture and power that served as a lingua franca uniting vast portions of Southern Asia. The emphasis is on close reading and discussion of the translated texts themselves and critical engagement with the ideas and values they present.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ART
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (RELI)(SISP-Reli Conc)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on APR-20-2014
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