Skip directly to content

Understanding Hinduism: Ritual, Yoga, Caste, and Gender

This course follows on from our very successful May course, Understanding Hinduism. However, attendance at the May course isn't a prerequisite for attending this course.

In this course we turn our attention first of all to Hindu religious practice, including temple ritual and the meditational techniques of classical Yoga. We then move on to explore social Hinduism, and in particular issues of caste and gender, before considering the ways in which the religion has sought to respond to the challenges posed by foreign rule and the onset of modernity. In the final part of the course we take the opportunity to look in a little more detail at some of the great works of Hindu religious literature.

The seven sessions into which the course is divided are as follows:

  1. Forms of Worship. In this opening session we consider the ways in which the devotional teachings we previously considered are reflected in various forms of ritual and spontaneous worship. This will include a brief discussion of the Vedic fire ritual and an explanation of the worship performed in the Hindu temple.
  2. The Yoga Systems. In this session, continuing our consideration of Hindu religious practice, we look at the ways in which the pursuit of spiritual knowledge is conducted with a particular emphasis on the various types of Yoga exercises.
  3. The Caste System. Turning now to social Hinduism, we first consider the background to the caste system, noting the extent to which it is related to specifically Hindu beliefs as well as examples of Hindu opposition to caste barriers.
  4. Gender Issues. Continuing on from the previous discussion of caste, we will use this session to consider the role and status of women in Hindu religious teachings as well as a brief consideration of marriage and family life.
  5. Modern Trends, Part 1. In this session we begin to consider the ways in which a number of modern Hindu teachers have sought to reinterpret and reform the tradition, challenging the established practices in relation to caste and gender and seeking to establish forms of Hinduism appropriate for the modern age.
  6. Modern Trends, Part 2. Here we continue the previous discussion, moving into the post-independence era and considering the way that Hinduism has been affected by secularism and the pervasive influence of modernity.
  7. Reading Hindu Texts. We conclude the course by taking the opportunity to look in a little more detail at some of the most important Hindu texts, including passages from the Upanishads and Bhagavad-gita, as well Hindu devotional literature.

Dates and location

Mondays 7.30 - 9.30pm
21 October - 16 December (except 28 October and 4 November)
Sattavis Patidar Centre
Forty Avenue (Corner of The Avenue)
Wembley Park, HA9 9PE


Enrolment costs £75

Click here to enroll

Enrolments can also be made at the first session if places are still available.

Further queries? Contact us