A ‘Race Course,’ ‘Running,’ and a ‘Chariot’: Using the Katha Upanishad to Inform a Curriculum of Selflessness


  • Suparna Roy Queen’s University


selflessness, Karma Yoga, Vedanta, Upanishads, method of currere, curriculum, chariot, moral education, ethics, Indian philosophy


Jackson (1992) demonstrates that most dictionaries define curriculum as a “course of study.” However, he also includes the interpretations; “a race course,” “running,” and “the chariot used in races.” Using a critical interpretive practice of genealogy to organize discourses, Roy first characterizes learning as a yearly “race” around a track where learners pick up a “course of study.” Then, using Pinar’s (1975) method of currere to correspond with “running,” the author shifts from the “race course” to the “runner” (or the learner) and address the learner’s past, desired future, and present context. Finally, drawing upon a “chariot” analogy taken from The Upanishads of Indian Vedantic literature, she probes further into the realm of cognition and provides a philosophy, based on the yoga of selfless action, to inform the runner and the course of study. The paper ends with a bid for a curriculum of selflessness.