Scene from an animated version of the Ramayana.
Hindu epics ‘Mahabharata’ and ‘Ramayana’ will be taught in the upcoming Fall semester at Harvard University, one of the world’s top and United States’ oldest institution of higher education established in 1636.
The great Sanskrit Indian epics are focus of the graduate level “Indian Religions Through Their Narrative Literatures: The Epics” class taught by Professor Anne E. Monius of Harvard Divinity School. The class starts Aug. 30.
‘Ramayana,’ is a narrative poem of about 25,000 shlokas beginning in BCE period, is divided into seven khandas. ‘Mahabharata,’ the longest poem ever written, contains around 100,000 verses beginning in BCE period, and is divided into eighteen parvan and ‘Bhagavad Gita’ forms part of it.
Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, commended Harvard University for highlighting Hindu heritage. He 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 and traditions, of this oldest religion with the rest of the world.
Hinduism is the third largest religion of the world, and has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus living in the U.S.
Harvard University, whose motto is Veritas (Latin for “truth”) and which has about 22,000 students, boasts of “48 Nobel Laureates, 32 heads of state, 48 Pulitzer Prize winners.” The Harvard Library, claimed to be the “largest academic library in the world,” includes about 20.4 million volumes.