CAMBRIDGE, MA–Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana will be taught in the upcoming Fall semester at Harvard University. These great Sanskrit epics will be focus of the graduate level “Indian Religions Through Their Narrative Literatures: The Epics” class taught by Professor Anne E. Monius of Harvard Divinity School starting August 30.
Ramayana, a narrative poem of about 25,000 slokas is divided into seven kandas. Mahabharata, the longest poem ever written, contains around 100,000 verses, and is divided into eighteen parvan and Bhagavad-Gita forms part of it.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed commended Harvard University for highlighting Hindu heritage.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged major universities of the world; including Oxford, Stanford, Cambridge, Princeton, UC Berkeley, Yale, Columbia, Toronto, Tokyo, Melbourne, etc.; to frequently offer Hinduism focused classes, thus sharing rich philosophy-concepts-symbols-traditions of this oldest religion with the rest of the world
Harvard University, whose motto is Veritas (Latin for “truth”) has about 22,000 students, boasts of “48 Nobel Laureates, 32 heads of state, 48 Pulitzer Prize winners”.
Hinduism, the third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.
Prof. Monius is a historian of religion specializing in the religious traditions of India. Her research interests lie in examining the practices and products of literary culture to reconstruct the history of religions in South Asia, according to her profile on Harvard University website.
Her first book, Imagining a Place for Buddhism: Literary Culture and Religious Community in Tamil-Speaking South India, examines the two extant Buddhist texts composed in Tamil; her current research project, “Singing the Lives of Śiva’s Saints: History, Aesthetics, and Religious Identity in Tamil-Speaking South India,” considers the role of aesthetics and moral vision in the articulation of a distinctly Hindu religious identity in twelfth-century South India, according to her profile.
Her future research projects will explore the relationship of Hindu devotional and philosophical literature in Tamil to its Sanskritic forebears, as well as consider the transmission of South Indian strands of Buddhism and Hinduism to Southeast Asia.