Plato Goes East: The Republic and The Bhagavad Gita

Vishwa Adluri at Online

Sun, Jun 14 at noon   |   3-hour sessions with a 20 minute break   |  3 sessions on consecutive Sundays
Seminars: Intensive multi-part courses led by professors

The aim of philosophy is to provide an account of living in a mortal universe without 1)succumbing to nihilism in terms of what we think, 2) relativism in terms of what we do, and 3) the meaninglessness of material explanations of who we are. In this 3-part seminar with Visha Adluri, we'll look to two of the most influential philosophical texts and ask them questions in view of our modern lives.


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Plato Goes East: The Republic and The Bhagavad Gita

June 14, 2020, noon ET   |   Online   |   $100

Dedicate yourself to learning monthly and get 2 for 1 Olios!

This seminar will take part over 3 consecutive Sunday afternoons.

In a world of extreme academic specialization, imagination and interdisciplinary conversation are the remedies.

In this Olio seminar, we will embark on a conversation between an ancient Greek thinker, Plato, and an ancient Indian text, the Bhagavadgītā. The connection here, with this kind of a dialogue, is the shared experience at the heart of being human, which is the essence of why we study the humanities. 

Plato’s Republic and the Bhagavadgītā are pillars of their respective traditions. The European philosophical tradition is a series of footnotes to Plato (Whitehead). The Bhagavadgītā, too, is a fundamental text in Indian and Hindu philosophy, one of three canonical texts that a philosopher developing their independent view is supposed to comment upon. It belongs to cultural tradition but also has the status of revelation. The Gita will have us question what the boundaries between philosophy and spirituality are.

The purpose of this seminar is to investigate these texts with specific questions in view. What do the texts say about: The nature of justice, the immortal soul, individual responsibility and action, contribution to society (even a chaotic one) and ultimate concerns of meaning?

When studying philosophy, we hope for an account of being mortal in a mortal universe without succumbing to nihilism in terms of what we think, relativism in terms of what we do, and the meaninglessness of material explanations of who we are.

The Republic and The Bhagavad Gita, two accounts coming from different corners of the earth, undertake this task with such mastery that you'll hold them dear and keep them on all of your future bookcases. 


Session 1 Sunday, June 14th 12 -3:00 PM

In this session, we will explore the contexts, concepts, and terms of these texts. You will be assigned reading materials for the next class. For this session, we will use PowerPoints and handouts and you'll have all the intellectual keys you need to begin reading. 

Introduction to the Republic

Introduction to the Bhagavadgītā

Session 2 Sunday, June 21st 12 -3:00 PM

In this session we will read key passages together and analyze them; however, these readings will be guided by the instructor. You will have read some texts and we will address your questions and discuss them.

Reading the Republic

Reading the Bhagavadgītā

Session 3 Sunday, 28th 12 – 3:00 PM

By this time, you will have reread the texts, and we will explore ways of interpreting the texts for contemporary concerns. This session will be in the form of a discussion led by participants.

Interpreting the Republic

Interpreting the Bhagavadgītā


*Early bird pricing is $100 until May 28th*

Teacher: Vishwa Adluri

Vishwa holds PhDs from the New School and University of Marburg, Germany. He recently published 'The Nay Science' and is the author of many books and articles. Dr. Adluri teaches courses on: Approaches to Religion, Indian Philosophy, Christian Theology, Mysticism, Hinduism, art history and The Religious Meaning of Death. He has been thinking about Space, Time, and Death since he was 5.

Venue: Online

Zoom link will be sent upon signup.


3 sessions on consecutive Sundays

What is Think Olio?

Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info

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Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.