Studies at a Sandeepany Institute are quite intensive thus the two year curriculum is standardized and traditional in its teaching method. Swami Chinmayananda knew that the curriculum of the Vedanta Course had to be well-rounded to develop both the head and the heart of the students. The focus of the exhaustive curriculum is, of course, Advaita Vedanta in which the primary trio of the Hindu scriptures called the “Prasthana-Trayi” is studied. It consists of the major Upanishads, Bhagavad-gita, and Brahma-sutras, all of which are examined using Adi Shankaracharya’s detailed commentaries. To aid understanding and provide greater depth to their knowledge, students are also taught Sanskrit grammar. Training in Vedic chanting and stotram singing are incorporated in the daily routine as well. Since students have to soar high with the wings of both knowledge and devotion, the coursework also includes an in-depth study of devotional texts and hymns composed by great spiritual masters.
The English medium curriculum includes but is not limited to the following:
- Sanskrit: Basic Paninian grammar is taught to students through an array of grammar exercises, subhashitas, and sutras. Upon entering Sandeepany, each student will be asked to take a Sanskrit examination to determine his/her level and then he/she will be placed in the appropriate Sanskrit class (beginner, intermediate or advanced).
- Vedic Chanting: Students are taught to chant the following mantras in the traditional Vedic style of chanting.
Medha Suktam, Shri Suktam, Durga Suktam, Purusha Suktam, Narayana Suktam, Vishnu Suktam, Rudram (Laghunyasa, Namakam, Chamakam), Mantrapushpam, Gayatri Mantra, Mahanarayana Upanishad.
- Prakarana Granthas: These are essential texts which analyze and clarify key concepts of Vedanta.
Tattva Bodha, Bhaja Govindam, Atma Bodha, Upadesha Sarah, Sadhana Panchakam, etc.
Drg-Drshya Viveka, Vivekachudamani, Vakya Vritti, Panchadashi (Selected Chapters), Advaita Makaranda, Vedanta Sarah, Saddarshanam, Hastamalaka Stotram, Manisha Panchakam, Dakshinamurti Stotram, etc.
- Shrimad Bhagavad Gita: This most sacred dialogue spells out the practical application aspect of the Upanishadic teaching. In other words, it shows us how to live Vedanta. This text is covered in the second year of the course along with Shankarabhashya.
- Upanishads: These mantras are the core of Vedanta. The major Upanishads are taught along with Shankarabhashya and study of a few minor Upanishads is taken up in detail as well.
Major: Isha, Kena, Katha, Mundaka, Aitareya, Taittiriya, Prashna, Mandukya with Karika, Chandogya (Ch. 6-8).
Minor: Kaivalya, Amrta Bindu and Shvetashvatara.
- Brahma Sutras (first 4 adhikaranas): This text is a logic-driven, highly analytical survey of the entire Upanishadic corpus meant to resolve any and all doubts in the minds of those dedicated to the study the Upanishads. For this reason, it is typically taught at the very end of the course.
- Devotional Texts: Vedanta is beautifully illustrated in Bhakti literature and thus many devotional texts are also taught to students during the course. Some are studied in detail while others are taught through selected verses.
Shrimad Bhagavatam, Tulsi Ramayana (Ramacharitamanas), Narada Bhakti Sutra, Mukunda Mala, etc.
- Hymns: Students are taught to sing and recite a number inspiring stotrams throughout the course. The primary book from which the stotrams are taught is the Chinmaya Book of Hymns though the course repertoire encompasses many more.
Guru Stotram, Gurvashtakam, Tapovan Shatkam, Ganesha Pancharatnam, Acyutasthakam, Marga-bandhu Stotram, Dakshinamurti stotram, Vishnu Sahasranam, Lalita Sahasranam, Shiva Sahasranam, etc.