Original Online Courses
Integrating EMPIRICAL and EXPERIENTIAL Knowledge
Ancient Wisdom for Modern Life
Why just learn about Indian Wisdom Traditions when you can learn from them?
Don't just read about spiritual truths - realize them.
When studying at the School of Indian Wisdom you will
- Move beyond just acquiring information to experience transformation.
- Benefit from the power of traditional wisdom transmissions, without the trappings of tradition.
- Integrate physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual selves.
- Live meaningfully in the modern world.
- Experience embodied online learning
*** All courses count as Yoga Alliance Continuing Education credit ***
Exploring Vedic Lunar Mansions
Which stars did the ancient Vedic sky watchers pay attention to, and why?
Whether by the mystique of the Pleiades, the royal splendor of Regulus or the alure of Aldebaran – the eye of the bull of Taurus - the ancients have long been fascinated with certain stars that illumine the night sky.
Ancient India has produced a comprehensive system of 27 Sacred Stars across the ecliptic called Nakṣatras, or lunar mansions. The Nakṣatra system comprises the most ancient strata of Indian astrology. In vogue since Vedic times, this system remains quintessential to Indian wisdom traditions today, used to elect certain activities and make sense of situations, events and experiences.
This 4-week online course integrates philosophical teachings, captivating storytelling, and embodied esoteric insight to teach you the power and application of India’s sacred stars.
THE STORIES BEHIND THE POSES
Official Companion Course
How do you harness these ancient Indian stories to deepen your teaching and practice?
Ancient Indian stories encode profound yogic wisdom. This course integrates pedagogical content, captivating storytelling, and esoteric insight to teach you how to use these ancient Indian stories to take your teaching and practice to a whole new level. It is the official companion course to Dr. Raj Balkaran's brand new book The Stories Behind the Poses.
Telling Tales of the Sacred Feminine
What wisdom can we learn from ancient Indian Goddess Stories? From stories of devout consort Goddesses such as Sītā, to those of fierce martial mothers such as Durgā, Indian Goddess Stories have much to teach. This course is consists primarily of storytelling and elucidation of the wisdom teachings therein. We will also examine specific yoga postures connected with each Goddess Story covered.
Decoding Myths of the Blue-Throat Lord
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.
Inspiring Tales of Divine Descent
What wisdom can we learn from tales of the great god Vishnu?
Vishnu is the cosmic Preserver, striving to protect the world age after age. He takes on a variety of incarnations – from fish, to tortoise, to boar, to lion-man, to dwarf, to human being. Tales of Vishnu are full of vibrant characters, powerful lessons, and mind-blowing wisdom.
Yogic Wisdom from Ancient India
What wisdom can we learn from the Sages of ancient Indian? Stories of the ancient Indian Sages are rich with yogic wisdom. This is why so many yoga poses are named after them. This course integrates academic content, captivating storytelling, and esoteric exposition to bring to life the wisdom found in the stories of the sages. We will also examine specific yoga postures connected with the sages.
Tapping the Power of the Devī Māhātmya
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 deepen your connection with the Divine Mother, and how to use the Devī Māhāmtya to awakening her divine power.
FACES OF POWER
An Indian Goddess Odyssey
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'
- Archetypal Energy
- Utility in your Life
Ten Tantric Faces of Power
What do these intense Tantric Goddesses represent?
Why are they worshipped? 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'
- Sanskrit Syllables (Mantra)
- Sacred Diagram (Yantra)
- Utility in your life
REALITIES OF REBIRTH
Karmic Theory for Spiritual Seekers
Have you walked the earth before this life, in different form?
The ancients teach that we walk the earth again and again, life after life, taking on new bodies as we go. This process is propelled by the principle of karma whereby previous actions generate life experiences. Knowledge of karmic theory radically alters how you view the world and how you respond to situations, especially as compared to operating from the dominant single-life view.
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.
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.
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.
Traditional Teachings without the Trappings
How you successfully study/teach traditional Indian Wisdom Teachings in the West? How do you steer clear of the trappings of tradition while still respecting it? 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.
THE TEXTUAL TAPESTRY
Threads of Indian Tradition
What are the most dominant threads of Indian tradition? This course grants familiarity with key strata of Indian Thought through in-depth reading of key sacred texts from every epoch of ancient India. Texts Explored: Vedic Hymns ; Wisdom of the Upanishads; Excerpts from the Epic; Mythological Lore; Tantric Esotericism.
"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."
"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."
Yoga Practitioner and Hinduism Student
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 University, Wisdom Traditions
M.A. Yoga Studies
"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."
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Student
University of Melbourne
"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."
Yoga & Meditation Teacher
"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!"
French Teacher and Lifelong Student
"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."
Ukrainian contemporary art curator and writer
based in the San Francisco Bay Area
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.