I have written on this blog, in the past, on various workshops on Indian philosophy subjects and related topics based on Sanskrit source books which contain Indic knowledge, conducted by Prof V N Jha. You may refer them here. Prof V N Jha, after his retirement from Center for Advanced Sanskrit Studies(CASS), has been on a mission of making India and world aware of Indic knowledge tradition. I had attended his session on Indian Logic at a beautiful location at Chinamya International Foundation(CIF), Veliyanad in Kerala back in 2009 and found it so useful in the content and style in which it is delivered.
In the past he has conducted following workshops for general public:
Sankhya, level#1, at Sri Taralabalu Jagadguru Brihanmath, Bengaluru in June 2017, Purva Mimamsa, level#3, at Arunodaya Institute of Culture at Shrirampur in Feb 2017. Purva Mimamsa, level#2, Chimanya Vibhuti, Kolvan, Pune, in 2016, Purva Mimamsa, level#1 at Kaivalyadham Yoga Institute, in Lonavala, June 2016, Bhakti Rasayana of Madhusudan Saraswati, at Mira Ghar, Lonvala, Feb 2016, Shandilya Bhakti Sutra, at Mira Ghar, Lonvala, Oct 2015, Narada Bhakti Sutra, at Pune, July 2015, Sanskrit level#1 through level#4 at CIF, Veliyanad, Kerala, Indian Logic level#1 through level#3 at CIF, Veliyanad, Kerala, Foundations of Indian Logic at CIF, Veliyanad, Kerala in June 2009
I am glad to let you know that he is conducting a week long workshop on Yoga Philosophy this year. It will be a first part of series of three workshops. As you all know when people know that you are from India, next thing they talk of is yoga. Yoga has has become so popular ever since India started celebrating International Yoga Day. But, it may be noted that yoga had established itself long long ago with efforts of many such as Swami Vivekananda, B K S Iyengar, Paramhansa Yogananda etc. This workshop is not about practice of yoga postures, in the form of physical exercises which is what one thinks of when one talks of yoga. The workshop is about spiritual aspects, philosophical aspects as they are outlined in the original texts and commentaries. The workshop also examines its relation with other streams of Indian philosophies such as Sankhya. In this first level, the first pada(titled Samadhi) of four padas of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra will be read along with commentary on it by Sage Vyasa. The yoga philosophy was first described in the Yoga Sutras, a collection of aphorisms offered more than 2000 years ago by the Indian sage Patanjali. Other 3 padas will be covered in subsequent workshops as part of the series. Second level will focus on understanding the eight instruments (sadhana) elaborated by Pantanjali to materialize the desired psychological transformation in life as elaborated in second pada. And third level will cover, goal of life according to Yoga, and will go through the pada 3 and 4.
Prof Jha says in a write up created for this workshop, “Philosophy of Yoga(Yoga Darshan) is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian Philosophy. It is a discipline to undertake inquiry into one’s inner world. It aims at disciplining man in order to bring about inner transformation. Man is in a conditioned state and hence suffering. Yoga philosophy prepares a man both physically and psychologically to take up the journey towards his or her de-conditioned state from his or her conditioned state. Hence, Yoga philosophy is a deep psychology. It shows the path to be at Peace which is the real State of a person. It disciplines mind to be introvert. It teaches to discover one’s own Form. That is why all other systems of Indian philosophy ultimately take the help of Yoga Philosophy to realize the ultimate goal of life even though the nature of that goal may differ from system to system. Practice of Yoga generates extra-ordinary capacity in man, claims Patanjali. Many types of miracles can be performed. But Patanjali as a philosopher cautions the practitioners by telling that it is very likely that the practitioners may get attracted towards the performance of those miracles which will prove to be detractors towards the real goals of life. Thus, one should try to avoid going for performing miracles. Ultimately, the practitioners should try to discover their real Form and finally be in that. That alone will bring them the sense of fulfillment. That is the ultimate goal of human life according to Patanjali”
Level-1 is organized during Dec 17-23 this year and venue at Sri Aurobindo Center for Advanced Research at Pondicherry. In this level the first chapter called Samadhi-pada) of the Yogasutras of Patanjali will be read. While explaining the sutras the commentary of Vyasa will be consulted. This level will be the foundation for the next two levels. The focus will be to introduce basic terms and concepts of the Yoga system. Prominently the philosophical aspect the Yoga will be discussed. Attempts will be made to understand the meaning and implication of the each sutra of the in the light of the commentary of Vysa. It will cover aspects of metaphysics, epistemology and the goal of life as per the philosophy of Yoga. The aim of this level is to provide an overall picture of Patanjali’s Yoga as a system of Indian philosophy to bring about transformation in life. The workshop’s brochure can be referred (Yoga-darshana final) for more details.
This will be also first workshop conducted under the auspices of Rishi-Rina(ऋषि-ऋण), a trust which was formed by Prof V N Jha and Mrs Ujwala Jha, recently. The trust has the same goal, that of spreading Indic knowledge by arranging various workshops and activities. Expect to see many many more programs under Rishi-Rina(ऋषि-ऋण) going forward. The creation of website of the trust is also underway.
As mentioned earlier, first level is being held in Pondicherry. This is beautiful place I visited long time back, at Pondicherry University. I had taken nice East Coast Road from Chennai to reach there. It was Pongal time, and festivity was in the air. Pondicherry was once a French colony, hence influence of French architecture and culture can be still seen. One can also visit famous Auroville, which is nearby as well during the trip.