Introduction

The MIT ADT University’s School of Vedic Sciences (SVS) is uniquely positioned to exploit proximity to its substantial student pool pursuing contemporary education (around 14000). Given the University’s autonomy over its curriculum, it has the flexibility to introduce relevant Vedicsubjects as prerequisites and/or electives for its existing education streams.

Vedic Sciences: Overview and Relevance

The subjects matter of native Vedicinquiry can be broadly classified into subjective knowledge, objective knowledge and meta-knowledge. The following table explains these classes and modern areas where they can contribute.

Categories of Vedic scientific studies

Where useful today

(Subjective) Knowledge of oneself:

  • Integral psychology, consciousness studies

Education, Social organization, Leadership & Administration, Wellness and peace

(Objective) Knowledge of Nature

  • its resources, properties, utilization

Physical sciences, engineering, technology

 

(Meta-) Knowledge of Knowledge:

  • codifying, articulating, processing, inference

Linguistics, Math, logic, Knowledge mining, Computing and Automation Science

A Vedic education curriculum should cover all these categories for maximal benefit.

Guiding Principles for Vedic Science Education at SVS

The SVS board of studies has laid down the following principles to guide its education programs:

  • Adopt the integrative approach to education that is inherent to the Vedictradition, not the segregated study of different branches of knowledge.
  • Emphasize hands-on practice of the concepts taught, evaluate proficiency via the ability to teach others, and to apply the concept to a contemporary scenario.
  • Equip the student with both the western and Vedic view points and their comparison. This is critical to bridge the semantic gap between traditional Vedicand modern scholarship.

SVS Approach to Vedic Science Education

The mission of SVS is to enrich modern education with Vedic thought and equip the next generation for holistic success. We’d like to develop future scholars who can bridge the gap between Vedic knowledge systems and the modern discourse. Since SVS is embedded in a mainstream education system, majority of our students will have a contemporary educational background. They will likely spend relatively less amount of time studying Vedic science subjects than traditional Vedic scholars. However, Vedic sciences are deep, vast and highly inter-connected. Gaining true mastery requires years of full-time study of multiple areas and demand different learning skills that modern students are not trained in. Traditional Indian gurukula systems hone such skills, but their methods are impractical to adopt in the SVS ecosystem.

Hence SVS adopts a middle path strategy to impart vedic science education at a level more suited to modern audience. Instead of targeting deep shaastra expertise, we design our curriculum and programs to familiarize modern students with the method and applications of Vedic sciences, and equip them with enough foundational knowledge and interpretative skills to enable further study and research.

What is meant by Vedic Sciences?


For millennia, India has had its own native educational methodology that is firmly rooted in the scientific tenets of rigorous analysis, logic, experiential validation and repeatability. Vedas form the base of its unique Knowledge culture, but it has accommodated a wide variety of regional indigenous disciplines over time.

Ayurveda, Yoga, and Vedanta are three fruits of the Vedic system that are highly valued and popular today. However, it is lesser known that at their base lies a firm theoretical foundation of deep, holistic study of Nature, Human psychology, and of Knowledge itself, its means (observation), methods (logic and language) and validation (experimentation). In addition, there is a vast, unexplored body of human experience preserved in India over millennia as manuscripts and tribal knowledge in the areas of ecology, nature-friendly agriculture, technology, humanities, wellness and aesthetics.

By Vedic Sciences, we refer to this collective body of India’s native knowledge base, and not merely its religious aspect as commonly understood. The word ‘Veda’ itself denotes knowledge in its widest sense.

Why Vedic Sciences Now?

We believe that the time is ripe for a rigorous, professional study of Vedic sciences by the younger generation, for the following reasons:

  • Get a Solid Foundation for the Wellness Profession:
    World is looking for alternate holistic approaches to augment modern science for pursuing wellness and life management. In fact, this is the reason behind the huge popularity of Yoga. There will be a rising demand for professionals who not only provide consultancy in these areas, but also are capable of further research. A solid foundation in Vedic sciences is a prerequisite to fill that gap. Mere Yoga certification is not enough to differentiate oneself in the emerging world.
  • Use Latest Technology to Mine Indic Knowledge:
    Computing Technology has recently matured enough to apply to codifying and mining India’s rich knowledge base (5 million manuscripts known to date). The precise knowledge exposition methodologies adopted in Indic texts coupled with the Samskrit-like structure of Indian languages makes them more amenable to machine-processing than English texts. Big data analytics, document databases, knowledge mining, scale-out computing are valuable tools for this. Study of how to apply them for encoding, mining and visualizing Vedic scientific knowledge will yield professional experience in both fields at once.
  • Complement Modern Science for Innovation:
    To the modern seeker steeped in contemporary education, the Vedic methodology offers a very different perspective and data points that expand the horizon in his/her field of study. There are dozens of examples of better cures for contemporary illnesses, eco-friendly metallurgical and agricultural methods, and unique insights into social organization, leadership and conflict management. We believe they open up new opportunities for entrepreneurship as well as multi-disciplinary research.

The school offers a formal foundation in Vedic sciences to equip modern minds for these opportunities.

How does study of Vedic Sciences help in one’s mainstream career?

Success in today’s professional world requires three core skills:

  • Assimilation:
    The aptitude to learn new concepts and unlearn old notions quickly as needed. Swami Vivekananda defines education as the practice of concentration and renunciation which corresponds to these two traits.
  • Communication:
    The ability to bring clarity to a vague idea and distill an argument to its essence. Language and logic are its two aspects.
  • Empathy:
    Keen awareness of how others think and feel to enable one to connect with them. This is also called emotional intelligence, and is key to team work, influencing and leadership. To excel in these skills, one needs an integral understanding of the nature of mind, knowledge and human behavior. Contemporary education does not deal explicitly with how to learn, but leaves it to develop as a side-effect of studying various subjects. In contrast, Indian native educational method hones key learning skills (memory, logic, articulation) early on, and enables the student to apply them to master any subject quickly by oneself.

The study of Vedic darshanas including yoga provides deep insight into the holistic make-up of a human being and the inner springs of human behavior. They extensively deal with the nature of knowledge, its instruments, methods, obstacles and remedies. India has a well-regarded and precise system of logic and linguistics (nyaaya), effective organization and communication of thought (miimaamsa). Vedic texts themselves are monumental examples of effective expression. Even a preliminary education in these sciences sharpens one’s intellect greatly and accelerates learning and communication.

The school of vedic sciences has a unique curriculum that imparts these fundamentals. Thereby, it equips the modern student with the ACE skills for success in any career.

Vedic Sciences: Curriculum

SVS has the dual responsibility to inspire and educate the MIT ADT academic community (students and faculty) about Vedic sciences and their applications. Hence we plan to offer four types of courses:

  • Appreciation courses that introduce an aspect of vedic science highlighting contemporary value, and kindle interest to attend a full course. They have no load outside class attendance.
  • Foundation courses that are common prerequisites to study any vedic science. They include Samskrit, basics of India’s native education system, its methods and branches of knowledge.
  • Stream-oriented courses that delve deeper into vedic subjects relevant to a modern discipline.
  • Research courses that involve doing a research-grade project in a specific area.

Course Subjects

The subjects of Vedic education in its purest form as traditionally studied up to two centuries ago are called the chaturdasha vidya sthaanas. They are broadly categorized as varna-based and ashrama-based. While the former provide the conceptual knowledge relevant to one’s varna (or area of interest or profession), the latter deal with applying that knowledge in various stages of one’s life.

The modern education system deals with different perspectives of Nature or human activity as separate subjects of study, e.g., physics, chemistry, mathematics, management, politics, sociology, engineering etc. Hence these two streams approach education in different ways. Below, we outline the two streams and identify the subjects of study under the Vedicstreams. We intend to offer courses based on the Vedicstream classification, and prescribe various combinations of them to serve different contemporary educational streams. This is to preserve the integrated approach of Vedic education.

Vedic Sciences: Course Syllabus Descriptions

Vedic science curriculum consists of two parts - Theory and Practice – that go hand-in-hand.

Theory Subjects

Skill Area

Subject

Topics Covered

Psychological Counseling: Motives and Mechanics of Human Behavior

Yoga: Holistic Human Psychology (Inner Science)

Prakriti Vijnaanam: Vedic Ecology

  • Patanjali Yoga Sutras

  • Bhagavad Gita

  • Upanishads

  • Application to Psychological Counseling

  • Eco-friendly living

Improving learning agility and effectiveness

Vedic Theory of Education

(Using excerpts from Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Life Divine’)

  • Types of knowledge

  • Methods of acquisition

  • Indriyas: Instruments of learning

    • Training methods

    • Defects, causes, remedies

  • Obtacles to knowledge

Vedic Scientific Discipline – Systematic Analysis

Ganita Jyotisha: Mathematical and computational concepts in Vedic Astrology

  • Geometry, Calculus, Approximation Theory

Group Dynamics and implications for social organization, politics and economics

Artha Shaastra: Vedic Social and Political Sciences

  • Vedic Social organization

  • Varna, ashrama, jati, kula system

  • Dharma, Religion, Culture, Customs, Traditions

  • Vedic concept of ethics, morality, justice

  • Economics

Thought, language and effective communication

Vedic Science of Communication

  • Vyaakarana: Samskritam

  • Tarka: VedicScience of Logic & Debate

  • Miimaamsa: Language Semantics

  • Samskritam: Usage proficiency

Vedic Approach to Branding and marketing

Kalaa: Vedictheory of Aesthetics and the art of pleasing

  • Rasa: Pleasure and its grades

  • Alankaara: The Art of Presentation

  • Multi-lateral ideation

  • Creativity and its methods

Wellness and Healing

Ayurveda: Wellness Science

Vedic Cooking for Health and enjoyment

  • Introduction to Ayurvedic concepts

  • Yogic Healing Concepts: Praanic Healing, Reki etc, and their basis

Advanced Studies as Electives

Elective Subjects:

  • Advanced Ayurveda

  • VedicBotany, Zoology

  • Vyakarana: Ashtadhyayi

  • Nyaaya and Mimaamsa

  • Vaastu shaastra

  • VedicCooking Science

 


Practice Subjects

Skill / Character Trait

Mode of Practice

Topics Exercised

Skill and Efficiency in Execution Physical fitness and emotional stability

Memory and alertness

Regular Practice of Ashtanga yoga. Certification-level proficiency in teaching Yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga

Empathy, Team work

Seva Internships

 

Team work, Independent thinking, Tenacity

Team projects, corporate internships

 

Communication Skills

Regular Seminar Presentations, Technical reports

Curriculum subjects

Empathy, inter-personal skills, teaching

Mentoring juniors, teaching assistantships

Curriculum subjects

W.I.S.E. qualities

Final project

Student choice

Syllabus Rationale

 
  • Thorough familiarity with the Samskrit language in 1st year – conversation, self-study, authoring
  • All meta-learning concepts and practices for skill development introduced in 1st year
  • Each major area of Vedic Science allotted 2 consecutive semesters in a staggered fashion:
    • Ashtaanga Yoga, Vyakarana, Nyaaya Shaastra, ganita jyotisha, Aesthetics and Vedanta in that order.
  • Ayurveda and Mimaamsa are allotted one semester each, just to introduce them.
  • Vedic elective subject (Vaastu, Ayurveda, VedicBotany, Jyotisha) taught in 3rd and 4th years
  • Software engineering and Minor elective subject (in any field) in every semester
  • Seva internship at the end of 2nd year for 2 months
  • Other external internship at the end of 3rd year for 2 months
  • Mandatory Teaching assistance and mentoring duty from 3rd year 2nd semester onwards.
  • Last 6 months of course allotted to a hands-on final project.
  • 18 credits per semester for a total of 144 credits.