Hindu Philosophies


Hindu Philosophies is a term used for identifying the various systems of Hindu philosophy evolved over a period of time. This program is designed for strengthening the understanding of the various philosophical schools based on original philosophical texts and their interpretations. The three program core courses are designed to address this need. The electives/ thesis option may be selected by the student for advancing subject knowledge on any specific or supplemental aspect of the program.

Master’s Degree ( or Advanced Diploma in Hindu Philosophies)

Requirements (Minimum 30 credits)

University Core Courses – 9 credits

HUC 5001 Principles of Hinduism – 3 credits

HUC 5002 Practices of Hinduism – 3 credits

HUC 5003 Basic Sanskrit – 3 credits

Hinduism Program Core Courses – 9 credits

(Completion of 3 courses from the following)

HNP 5001 Vedic Philosophy – 3 credits

HNP 5002 Philosophy of the Upaniṣhads – 3 credits

HNP 5003 Philosophy of Śrīmad Bhagavad Gītā – 3 credits

HNP 5004 Introduction to Vedanta – 3 credits

Elective Courses – 6 credits

Master’s Thesis or 2 Additional elective courses – 6 credits


Doctoral Degree (Fellow) Requirements  – Minimum 60 credits

Students may be admitted directly to the Doctoral program, when they meet the admission requirements to Hindu University of America (Bachelor’s Degree with 6 credits of Philosophy/Religion courses) and the admission committee approves such admission; or they could register for the Master’s program and transfer their registration to the Doctoral program after taking a few courses, or after completing the requirements for the Master’s degree.

The distribution of credit requirements is as described here. All the course credits for HUA Master’s degree (Advanced Diploma) program are directly applicable to Doctoral (Fellow) program.

University Core Courses – 9 credits (same as for Master’s Program)

Program core courses – 9 credits (same as for Master’s Program)

Electives – 12 credits

Doctoral Thesis – 30 credits


HUA Diploma Program in Hindu Philosophies Requirements    18 credits

The Diploma is intended to provide the students an exposure to the Hindu philosophies at a level intermediate between Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

The following courses are required for the Diploma

1 University Core Course

HUC 5001 Principles of Hinduism – 3 credits

6 Program courses

HNP 5001 Vedic Philosophy – 3 credits

HNP 5002 Philosophy of the Upaniṣhads – 3 credits

HNP 5003 Philosophy of Śrīmad Bhagavad Gītā – 3 credits

HNP 5801 Nyāya and Vaiśheṣhika – 3 credits

HNP 5802 Sāmkhya and Yoga – 3 credits


Core courses for Master’s (or Advanced Diploma) and Doctoral (Fellow) Programs in Hindu Philosophies

HNP 5001   Vedic Philosophy                                                    3 credits

Social, cultural life of Vedic people, philosophical background of the Veda’s – Samhitas, Brāhmaṇa’s & Āraṇyakas, the concept of Karma, Jñāna, UpĀsana and Sādhana Kāṇcas, connectivity of Veda’s and Purāṇas, six limbs of Veda’s, commentators of Veda’s, Ṛigveda and Sarasvati civilization, Vedic Cosmology and creation (curiosities about the Universe, gods related to creation, thoughts Sat- Asat, primordial elements), evolution of gods and goddesses in Veda’s, Veda’s and Upaniṣhads – a comparison, concept of Ātman & Brahman, early Vedic thoughts on Karma, rebirth and liberation, (meaning, significance, kratu and rewards); Concepts of the ‘other world’ (Yama & Pitṛus, Hymns of cremation, life after death, heaven and hell, transmigration); Vedic notions on ways to perfection (Ṛta & Satya, Vedic ethics, meditation), Vedic system of education, Veda and spiritual symbolism, Veda’s on environment and ecology (Prithvi Sūkta of AtharvaVeda), philosophical thoughts on Humanism (Universal brotherhood, equality and harmony, generosity, benevolence), Vedic values and contemporary Hindu culture.

HNP 5002   Philosophy of the Upaniṣhads                             3 credits

Upaniṣhads as epitome of Vedic spiritual science; concept of Ātman – individual being and Brahman – Universal Being; universe as Lila – divine play; law of Karma and reincarnation; ideal of Mokṣha or liberation from Samsara.

 HNP 5003 Philosophy Of Śrīmad Bhagavad Gītā                    3 credits

Philosophical teachings of Gītā; Gītā as a popular religious manual; philosophical teachings of some major commentators of Gītā including Śhankara, Ramānuja, Aurobindo, Tilak, Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave, Prabhupada, Gnaneshwar, Vivekananda, S. RadhaKriṣhṇan, Roy Emerson and others; significance of karma and incarnation, duty, selfless deeds, emphasis on Yoga, Sannyāsa, Yajña, concept of Divine Incarnation; eclectic nature of Gītā and ideal of Bhakti or loving devotion.

 HNP 5004 Introduction to Vedanta                                      3 credits

Vedanta is an ancient body of knowledge occurring at the end of the Vedas, the holy scriptures of the Hindu tradition. Transmitted orally from generation to generation through ancient and well established lineages, the Vedas are committed to memory by students in India. Also known as the Upanishads, the philosophy of Vedanta teaches that one is whole and free, unencumbered by self-judgment. This knowledge is communicated through well-established pedagogies that reveal the oneness that pervades all things in creation. The knowledge of Vedanta frees one from samsara, the relentless striving to make the “finite infinite”.

 Electives for Programs in Hindu Philosophies


HNP 5101 Hindu Law Books 3 credits
HNP 5102 Hindu Historical Epics 3 credits
HNP 5103 Purāṇas 3 credits
HNP 5201 Śaivism 3 credits
HNP 5202 Vaiṣṇaivism 3 credits
HNP 5401 Hindu Medieval NirGuna Mysticism 3 credits


(Course descriptions of above courses are the same as the corresponding elective courses in Hinduism program – HIN 5101, HIN 5102, HIN 5103, HIN 5201, HIN 5202 and HIN 5401 respectively).

HNP 5501 Katha Upanishad                                                            3 credits

The meaning and interpretation of Katha Upanishad, one of the main Upanishads of Hinduism with the summary of the commentary by Shankaracharya.

 HNP 5602   Tantrism                                                                 3 credits

Concept of Śhakti, the cosmic energy; Śhaktas; various sects; views about creation, destruction, worship, occult powers, and ‘Union’; right-hand and left- hand Tantrics; prevalence of Tantrism in east India during medieval period and rise of Buddhist Tantrism and its spread to Tibet, Śhakti peethas in India, great tantriks and their contributions.

HNP 5701 Contemporary Hindu Philosophers                     3 credits

Contemporary Hindu Philosophers constitute a cross-section of views of modern Hindu Philosophers concerning religion and metaphysics and their interpretative role.

Most Hindu Philosophers are practical men of religion. They lived in accordance with what they preached and they were mostly realized souls (i.e. people who have had experience of the ultimate reality through their own specific ways).

The course involves the evaluation and appreciation of the work of contemporary Hindu philosophers including

  1. Sri Ramakrishna
  2. Swami Vivekananda
  3. Rabindranath Tagore
  4. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan
  5. Sri Ramana Maharishi
  6. Sri Aurobindo
  7. Jiddu Krishnamurthy


HNP 5702   Introduction to the Philosophy of Sri Aurobindo 3 credits

Sri Aurobindo, the great Indian sage, philosopher, poet and revolutionary, virtually defies description in light of the immense range of his achievements and impact. This course presents an introduction to Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy as the foundation of his Integral Yoga. Sri Aurobindo described his philosophical perspective in his masterwork, The Life Divine. Portions of this profound work will be studied as the basis of the course, addressing primarily Sri Aurobindo’s conceptualization of the nature of reality and the implications that extend from this, including his world view of integral Advaitism. Sri Aurobindo’s writing includes an evolutionary perspective, addressing evolution at both the individual and cosmic levels. Within this is his vision of a higher destiny for humanity, as the evolutionary trajectory extends into the future.

 HNP 5801   Nyāya and Vaiśheṣhika                                          3 credits

Schools of logic and analysis; both of these as twin philosophies; Indian logic and epistemology; Vaiśheṣhika’s emphasis on ‘atomic’ theory; individual and particulars; valid means of knowledge (pramāna, their categories), theory of errors, plurality of souls; Nyaya’s logic, comparison with Aristotelian logic, comparison of some of the Nyāya Vaishesika concepts with modern scientific concepts, concept of liberation.

HNP 5802   Sāmkhya and Yoga                                                3 credits

Two sister philosophies, purpose and goal, dualism in Sāmkhya, concepts of Puruṣha and Prakṛiti, theory of causation, three Guṇas, Sāmkhya and psychological evolution, valid means of knowledge, concept of God, twenty-four basic principles (Tattvas); Yoga-meaning and definition, eight limbs of Yoga, Yoga as an instrument of meditation and psychology and discipline for Self- realization.

 HNP 5803 Purva Mīmāṃsa and Uttara Mīmāṃsa                    3 credits

Important teachings of Purva Mīmāṃsa vis-a-vis concepts of Dharma (duty), and authenticity and infallibility of Veda’s importance of Karma Kāṇca of the Veda’s, valid means of knowledge, the schools of Prabhākara and Kumarila Bhatta, nature of reality, ethics, Apūrva, liberation, concept of God. Uttara Mīmāṃsa or Vedanta as philosophical culmination of Vedic and Upaniṣhadic learning; two Mīmāṃsas as representative of Karma Kāṇca and Jñāna Kāṇca, two directions in Vedic philosophy, relation of Vedanta to other schools of philosophy, the concepts of Ātman, Brahman, the world and liberation.

HNP 5900 Independent Study I                               variable 1-3 credits

HNP 6101 Selected Topics in Hindu Philosophies      variable 1-3 credits

HNP 6900 Independent Study 2                                 variable 1-3 credits

HNP 6999 Master’s Thesis Research                                        6 credits

Research of sufficient merit and originality leading to a Master’s thesis in Hindu Philosophies

HNP 7999 Doctoral Thesis Research                                        30 credits

Research of sufficient merit and originality leading to a Doctoral thesis in Hindu Philosophies


 Summary of Requirements for Hindu Philosophies Programs for Coursework and Thesis Option


HINDU PHILOSOPHIES PROGRAMS HU Master’s Degree (or Advanced Diploma) Program (30 credits) HU Diploma in Hindu Philosophies

(18 credits)

Doctoral Program (HU Fellow) in Hinduism

(60 credits)

HU Core courses HUC 5001 HUC 5001 HUC 5001
HUC 5002 HUC 5002
HUC 5003 HUC 5003
Program Core Courses Selection of 3 Core HNP 5001 Selection of 3 Core
Courses HNP 5002 Courses
(9 credits)


HNP 5003

HNP 5801

HNP 5802

(9 credits)
Electives Options Course- Work option Selection of 4 elective courses (12 credits) N/A
Thesis option Two Elective Courses (6 credit)

+ Thesis (6 credits)

Four Elective Courses (12 credits)

+ Thesis (30 credits)