FREE COURSE: "Shiva Stories"

Ancient Indian Wisdom
Modern Global Students

Don't just learn about Indian Wisdom Traditions, learn from them. Explore the rich philosophical, mythological and spiritual wisdom teachings of ancient India to gain insight into a life well lived.

Dr. Raj Balkaran provides a unique synergy of captivating storytelling, accessible scholarship and profound spiritual teachings. He draws form ancient Sanskrit texts to help you advance in your personal learning journey.  


The School of Indian Wisdom facilitates Embodied Online Learning, combining theory and practice, scholarship and traditional Indian wisdom teachings, to help student-seekers live meaningfully in the modern world.

School curriculum pays special attention to the feminine divine as expressed in India's Goddess Traditions. 

All School of Indian Wisdom curriculum is eligible for Yoga Alliance CE credit under the categories of Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics (YPLE) or Yoga Humanities



Traditional Teachings without the Trappings

How you successfully study/teach traditional Indian Wisdom Teachings in the West? 

How do you deal with issues of cultural appropriation?

How do you steer clear of the trappings of tradition while still respecting it?

What elements of the traditional ancient Indian student-teacher relationship (paramparā) must we maintain to receive wisdom teachings? What do we need to modify in our modern times?

This course teaches serious Indian wisdom students to engage tradition and traditional teachings while steering clear of the trappings of tradition, and skillfully navigating issues of cultural appropriation.

Learning Outcomes

  • The traditional Indian vision of student-teacher relationships.
  • The imperative of Guru’s Grace for certain levels of transmission.
  • The virtues, and pitfalls, of being in a traditional student-teacher relationship.
  • Modifications required to make this relationship work in our modern world.
  • Different kinds of student-teacher relationships.
  • Insights on how to make the most of authentic teachers.
  • Tips on spotting and steering clear of toxic teachers.
  • Tools for successfully navigating issues of cultural appropriation.
    Tools for learning and teaching Indian wisdom in a grounded way.



Decoding Myths of Shiva 

What wisdom do we find in myths of Shiva?

The mythology of the great god Śiva is perhaps the most profound in existence. From the grounding of the Ganges, to the wrathful manifestations Vīrabhadra and Bhairava; from the incineration of Kāma, to the love affair with Pārvatī; from yogic trance to cosmic dance to destroy the universe – stories of Shiva encode deep yogic wisdom.

Stories Covered

  • The Seat of Wisdom: The Decapitation of Gaṇeśa
  • The Descent of the Ganges 
  • Śiva as Bhairava: The Decapitation of Brahmā
  • Śiva as Vīrabhadra: The Decapitation of Dakṣa
  • Śiva's Dance of Destruction 
  • Śiva neutralizing Poison in his Throat
  • Bhairava's Faithful Dog
  • Śiva as Corpse 


Tapping the Power of the Devī Māhātmya

A Course In Honour of the Nine Nights Indian Goddess Festival, Oct 6-14, 2021


Why is the Devī Māhātmya chanted at the Great Goddess Festival throughout the Indic world?  

The annual Indian Great Goddess festival (Durgā Pūjā) is a potent time for divine empowerment, spiritual purification and personal transformation. It is a time when the Devī Māhātmya is ritually chanted throughout the Indic world in order to summon the grace of the Goddess.

This 4-week online course will greatly deepen your understanding and connection  with the Divine Mother, and how to use the Devī Māhāmtya to awakening her divine power. 


Learning Outcomes

  • The ritual life of the DM and the spiritual power it yields
  • The world-affirming vision of the divine feminine in the DM
  • Tantric themes covertly encoded within the DM
  • Psychological insights encoded within the DM
  • The Great Goddess Festival
  • The Nine Forms of Durga 
  • Hymns to the Goddess Durgā in the DM
  • Live Storytelling from the DM
  • Meditation Mantras (Dhyāna)
  • Ritual establishment (Nyāsa) of the Goddess’ mantra in your body
  • The Benefits of engaging the DM 


Tapping the Power of Sanskrit Mantras

What are Sanskrit mantras? What do they mean? How do they work? 


Indian Wisdom Traditions have much to say about the sacred power of sound, subtlest of elements. Mantras – sacred Sanskrit utterances – are conduits of divine experience, and potent tools for personal transformation.

This 4-week online course is for practitioners who want to leverage the power of sacred Sanskrit sound for their own spiritual development.


Learning Outcomes

  • What Sanskrit mantras are and how they work
  • The relationship between mantra, Indian philosophy and Indian esotericism
  • How to use Sanskrit mantras, key elements of proper practice
  • The Sanskrit sound system, proper pronunciation and intonation
  • Dozens of specific Sanskrit mantras including seed sounds (bīja mantras), Vedic, Purāṇic, and Tantric mantras
  • Mantra translations and their significance
  • Excerpts from the Guru Gītā, the Bhagavad Gītā and the Devī Māhāmtya
  • Energies and significations of various deities and planets
  • The benefits of Sanskrit mantra practice


Subtle Anatomy and Its Significance

What is the Subtle Body made up of?

How does it relate to Yoga, Tantra, Samkhya, Karmic Theory?

Which Practices activate it?

In this 4-week online course, you will learn about the channels, fields, locks and Sacred Centers within the Subtle Body.

You will also learn how the Sacred Body relates to Yoga, Tantra, Samkhya, karmic theory and Indian Wisdom Traditions.

Spiritual practices (breathing, postures, mudras) will also be discussed.

Learning Outcomes

  • Channels, Bodies, Fields, Centers comprising the Sacred Anatomy
  • Connections between the Subtle body, yoga, tantra, samkhya, karmic theory, and Indian esotericism.
  • The primary Sacred Centers (chakras), their powers, their blocks, their utility for spiritual development.
  • Associations of the Sacred Centres: elements, colors, shapes, deities, planets.
  • Practices for personal transformation.



Planetary Myths and their Meanings 

What human truths are encoded in Ancient Indian planetary myths?

Join Dr. Raj Balkaran as he decodes the rich life wisdom encoded in ancient Indian planetary mythology.  

According to the ancients, every aspect of the human condition pertains to one of nine hubs of archetypal energy associated with a heavenly body.

The rich mythology surrounding these heavenly bodies provides profound insight into human nature.

Celestial Stories illumine Human Stories.

In this course you will learn:

  • The mindset of the ancient Indian sky-gazers
  • The basic mechanics of Indian astronomy/astrology (Jyotiṣa)
  • Planetary mythologies and their profound meanings 
  • Planetary iconographies and their rich symbolisms
  • Each Planet's core significations
  • Each Planet's archetypal energy
  • Insight into human nature, and the human condition 
  • Tools for making sense of your own life, and current events 


10 Tantric Faces of Power

What do these intense Tantric Goddesses represent? 
Why are they worshipped?

Available Now. Study at Your Own Pace.

In this 4-Week Online Course, Dr. Raj Balkaran weaves together historical, philosophical, mythological and esoteric content to enliven these incredibly rich tantric Faces of Power. 

You will learn each Wisdom Goddess'

  • Mythology 
  • Sanskrit Syllables (Mantra)
  • Sacred Diagram (Yantra)
  • Sacred Texts
  • Iconography
  • History
  • Worship
  • Significations
  • Utility in your life


Indian Goddess Odyssey

Lakshmi  Durga • Kali • Saraswati

Available Now. Study at Your Own Pace.


What do Indian Goddesses represent? 
How can they aid in your journey? 

Indian Goddesses are associated with the ancient Sanskrit word for “power” (shakti). Each Goddess personifies a specific energy which seekers can invoke for their personal development. 

You will learn about each Goddess'

  • Mythology
  • Iconography
  • Signification
  • Archetypal Energy
  • Utility in your Life 



Threads of Indian Tradition

Sacrifice  Knowledge • Devotion • Narrative • Transformation

Available Now. Study at Your Own Pace.

This course grants familiarity with key strata of Indian Thought through in-depth reading of key sacred texts from every epoch of ancient India. All reading materials provided.

Texts Explored

  • Vedic Hymns (Sacrifice Strand)
  • Wisdom of the Upanishads (Knowledge Strand)
  • Excerpts from the Epic (Synthesis Strand)
  • Mythological Lore (Devotional Strand)
  • Tantric Esotericism (Transformation Strand)
  • The Practice Tapestry 


Natalie Rousseau

"I first came across Dr Balkaran through his work with the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and have since taken a number of courses with him, all of which have been fabulous. Dr Balkaran has a gift for synthesizing complex information and teaches with a storytelling style that supports comprehension. I am thrilled that he has opened up an online school that will make his teaching accessible to those that are looking for learning that is grounded in academic study. This is a real gift and I look forward to continuing my studies with him." 

Natalie Rousseau
Yoga Educator 


Katie Durgā Welsh

"I have participated in a couple of courses from The School of Indian Wisdom and thoroughly enjoyed them.  Raj weaves beautifully ancient storytelling with academic aspects allowing esoteric wisdom to emerge.   I look forward to his future offerings!"

Katie Durgā Welsh
Yoga Teacher and Life Coach

Dustin Nicholas Holmes

"Dr. Raj Balkaran has the profound ability to present a mythological narrative in a context that relates to modern human existence; masterful storytelling. This ability permeates an audience through an obvious depth of knowledge and cultivation for his craft. Many words come to mind with the attempt to define his style, one word shines among the rest: candor. As a graduate student in the blossoming field of Yoga Studies, I cannot express the proper gratitude for Dr. Raj and his method of mystical swagger. He has tremendously assisted my personal understanding of inherently foreign concepts embedded within Indian Wisdom and Myth. If you fancy a deeper conception of the meaning of life, Philosophy, Mythology or Spirituality, Dr. Raj Balkaran and his School of Indian Wisdom offer a sturdy platform."

Dustin Nicholas Holmes
Naropa UniversityWisdom Traditions
M.A. Yoga Studies


Aijan Kenenbaeva

"Raj Balkaran is a charismatic teacher sharing his knowledge of Indian religion and bringing ancient wisdom into modern life. His teaching style is infectious and offers a rare combination of personal practice, deep learning of the ancient texts and academic brilliance. Raj Balkaran’s skilful delivery of the courses and the ability to speak in a modern and accessible manner about the most inconceivable and controversial topics within Hindu tradition are truly wonderful and allow students to integrate various ideas from the rich tradition of the Indian philosophy and mythology into their personal practices. Dr. Balkaran is a teacher who understands the needs and quests of today’s spiritual seekers and practitioners and his School is a unique and a much-awaited opportunity for any interested-minded students to access the complex realm of the Indian philosophy and mythology explained in an approachable and engaging manner."

Aijan Kenenbaeva
Yoga Practitioner and Hinduism Student 


Pasha Hanifa

"I have had the pleasure of having Dr. Raj Balkaran teach me on numerous occasions. He is one of the kindest and most thoughtful teacher any student could have. He cares very much about his students and would go out of his way to ensure that any one with a thirst for spiritual knowledge would get the resources and understanding to satisfy that desire. He is innovative in the way he uses technology to deliver his content and is proficient in the subjects he teaches with a unique approach in the way he does them, such as using metaphors to describe "the Hindu Jungle". He is able to describe complex philosophical knowledge in terms that is both satisfactory to the rigid academic and the spiritual practitioner. I will always be indebted to the knowledge and resources he has imparted on my journey in ancient Indian wisdom."

Pasha Hanifa
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Student
University of Melbourne

Lauren Brown

"Over the past 5 months I have had the pleasure to study with Dr. Raj Balkaran on a number of different platforms, and have thoroughly enjoyed each class. Dr. Raj presents challenging topics and information in an approachable manner, welcoming all students, no matter where they are on their life path. Ideas that I have been trying to grasp in my yoga studies for years have been illuminated in new ways through these courses and discussion sessions. What sets Dr. Raj apart from others teaching on similar subjects is that he shares his teachings from a very unique perspective of one who has both extensive experience living in the yogic and tantric traditions, and deep academic study into these fields. His scholarship, experience, and instinctual wisdom shine through in his courses. I will forever be a student of Dr. Raj."

Lauren Brown
Yoga & Meditation Teacher
Hawaii, USA


Srinalini Sankar

"I have greatly enjoyed taking Dr. Balkaran’s online classes! His style of presenting content is a rich synthesis of rigorous academic scholarship and his own experiential insights which add depth, humor and clarity to the often misconstrued concepts of Indian mythology. He eloquently weaves in intricate concepts of Indian mysticism effortlessly, and I have gained deep insight about the interconnectedness of different systems of knowledge as practiced by the ancient Indian civilization. Dr. Balkaran is undoubtedly a gifted narrator. His passion and genuine quest to teach and transform lives is remarkable. Beyond his enthusiasm and compassion to teach and transform some erroneous conceptions of the Vedic practices, it is his candor and his engaging style that encourages deep reflection. He often draws from his personal experiences to drive home a point that can resonate more readily with others struggling to land certain abstract constructs. Aside from supplemental reading materials, he offers ample opportunities for Q&A and feedback through a platform to exchange different points of view. Besides, by facilitating conversations of the content he delivers, he actually helps us to both reflect and to aspire to develop our own spiritual perfection. Kudos, Dr. Balkaran for helping us refine our beliefs and practices and helping us to get a glimpse of our latent potential. Wishing you a very bright and successful future in your work of enriching and enlightening truth seekers!"

Srinalini Sankar
French Teacher and Lifelong Student

Alisa Lozhkina

"Dr. Raj Balkaran is one of the most charismatic and talented teachers I’ve met in my life. His dedication to Hindu Studies is truly impressive and so is the level of his qualification in this subject. Dr. Balkaran knows how to explain extremely complicated concepts and phenomena in simple words. He often combines the academic style of teaching with deep and inspired storytelling, and it is what makes his approach especially unique. Raj Balkaran is a scholar with an outstanding academic reputation, but he is also a very deep and interesting personality. This combination of broad knowledge, unique aura, and high emotional intelligence is what makes a perfect guru.  For me, it was both a great pleasure and honor to be Dr. Raj Balkaran’s student and I am planning to take more courses with him in the future." 

Alisa Lozhkina
Ukrainian contemporary art curator and writer 
based in the San Francisco Bay Area

Paula Kimberley

These courses are delivered with the gifts of creativity, wisdom and lineage. Professor Raj Balkaran brings more than just the delivery of dates and historical facts to our attention ... Dr Raj is the embodiment of his teachings; breathing life into every vision of the Gods and Goddesses; the soft resonance into each and every syllable of the Mantras. It is a humble joy to sit at the foot of the Guru and enjoy every moment in presence.

Paula Kimberley
Yoga Teacher


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