Every human being is naturally seeking peace, security and happiness and hence they are on a journey, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. Most organized religions promise better life in special places or heavens, to be achieved in the future by living a life of doing righteous (dharmic) actions. With the human mind’s capability of understanding, it is the inherent goal of humans to enquire about their inner purpose, their interaction with the surroundings, and open their mind to the intelligence around them. With earnest enquiry, begins the journey from ignorance to knowledge. Advaita Vedanta scriptures (Upanishads) guides and teaches unique and life transforming messages on this journey to discover the purpose of life, Here and Now, (independent of space, time and actions), fulfilled, peaceful and accepting of what “is”.
This is a personal blog site for the journey of knowledge, clearing doubts and contemplating on the path of discovery to the Self. The early start was with J. Krishnamurthi’s direct teachings at the deep end of detachment, “Observer /Observed viveka”, recognizing “conditioned minds” of traditions, and evolve to responsible living. This was a great awakening. Later, the Art of Living principles of relationships with society, yoga and pranayama, seva and study of some Vedanta texts added more balance to body and mind and yearning for greater truth during the later stages of family life. In recent years, with more time and dedication to more traditional study of Vedanta through the Arsha Vidya parampara, a thorough understanding, clarification and absorption has been possible. I am deeply grateful to several Gurus and Swamis who have guided my path on this wonderful journey. These are highlighted on this site so that their teachings may be of benefit for others too.
I have been extracting insightful messages from Vedanta teachings and find this website medium to be a good method to collect and access the information.
With the gracious and dedicated gurus of Arsha Vidya parampara, I am continuing with a systematic study of the important Vedantic texts. These acharyas have given me this wonderful knowledge and guided my spiritual journey. Click on the links to learn more about their teachings. A companion satvichara youtube channel also has selected playlists of key insightful talks organized by category which may be helpful.
Swami Tattvavidananda with his direct, pure and deep insights has made significant personal transformations in my life. His 7-9 week courses at AVG has been in unique opportunity for in-depth immersion in the study, and personal transformation for me. More youtube videos are becoming available. See this page for more information and links.
Swamiji's emphasis on being a "dhirah" to pursue this journey diligently, has been the key driving force in my life.
Swamiji has written many insightful books and article. See this recent article: Self Inquiry - Swami TV, 2020
Video talk on Sarvatmabhava and Vivekabhava
Swami Paramarthananda has unfolded the major spiritual texts with utmost clarity and depth. He has provided thorough and complete teachings in audio and written form available via multiple websites, and these are part of my daily study. His exposition of Ashtavakra Gita brings out the special joy of the enlightened person. See this page.
Swami Sarvapriyananda has a wonderful style of expressing the essence of the Advaita Vedanta teachings in light of his up to date interactions with current scientists, philosophers and in depth interfaith studies at universities. This approach gives so much more solid foundation to Advaita Vedanta and I am grateful for its availability via youtube. See this page for more details.
Sri Vijay Kapoorji's dedicated weekly classes provide opportunity to students for general Vedanta knowledge in SF Bay area. We have grown from his teachings and are grateful for the seva opportunities provided by the Arsha Vidya Center, hosting visiting Swamis Talks and related events. See this page.
Swamini Svatmavidyananda brings a clear, fresh and lively style to the teachings which appeal to broader audiences. She is widely recognized as a scholar of Advaita Vedanta and lectures at GTU Berkeley. She is technology smart and up to date with current thinking and approaches to teaching. Students find her compassionate and approachable for guidance. See this page.
Swami Viditatmananda with his calmness, personifies the essence of the teachings. See this page.
Having understanding of Advaita Vedanta, Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi's direct path of focusing/dwelling on "who am I" beyond the ahankara (ego) thought is very important key for ongoing spiritual life. See a Jnani's life and teachings, at this page .
From very early days J. Krishnamurti's message of recognizing "the conditioned mind" of the individual, resonated well with me. Even today keeping the constant "observer" principle in mind helps me be aware of the behaviors and reactions that stem from previous conditioning, and thus alleviate getting too "caught up" in over-reactions. See this page for more details.
We learnt the wonderful practices of daily pranayama, yoga, the art of volunteering / seva and glimpse of Vedanta thru the Art of Living org. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's meditations and discourses still resonate well. See this page for more details.
Science and Vedanta.
Swami Sarvapriyananda interacts with the current leading philosophers and scientists and brings a unique understanding and teaching to his insightful and compelling talks. Science and modern philosophies offers specific knowledge on the macrocosm and the material world which appear as experienced reality. Vedanta offers a great deal on the understanding of the microcosm and consciousness and the intelligence pervading the universe. See these talks and other topics.
Conventional “ETU Reality” and Vedanta approach
Conventionally “reality” of the world is assumed because of ETU (Experientiability, Transactibility and Utility). During the waking state, the world appears to be “real” thru our body-mind interactions. However we know thru neuro science and quantum physics that what we perceive and transact with is just a learnt behaviour of abstration of names and forms of constantly changing matter. Further the dream world’s ETU factors are quite different from that of the waking world’s ETU factors. The realities are not the same. e.g. a person’s debt in a dream cannot be paid by the bank balance in his waking life.
Vedanta teaches that actual Reality cannot be dependent on such changing ETU criteria. True Reality is unchanging substratum, relative to which changes appear to happen. This Reality is the Conciousness, the Self and has to be understood.
Dwelling in the Self
Swami Paramarthananda teaches: Practice of Nidhidyasana (Ni), is keeping Vedantic knowledge alive in the mind all the time, by all spiritual seekers, even if they are not continuing to pursue further knowledge (e.g., for health reasons). In life we face troubling events caused by our Prarabda which at times may be traumatic and overwhelming; The only solution may be remembering Vedantic knowledge constantly as the “emergency exit” out of samsara’s traumatic grip. It may rarely be used; however, this exit path must be “well serviced”. The “normal exits” from samsara are by practicing karma yoga of dharmic actions as “duties” without expectations in return. During sravanam, mananam we use the words like atma, sakshi, brahman etc., implying reference to something else. In Nidhidyasanam, we need to use the words “I”, the subject.
5 capsules for dwelling in Nidhidyasanam. Remembering these is “servicing the emergency exit” out of samsara.
1) I am of the nature of eternal and all-pervading Consciousness.
2) I am the only source of permanent peace, security and happiness. Don’t lean on the mithya world for external joy.
3) By my mere presence, I give life to the material body and thru the body, I experience the material world.
4) I am unaffected by any event that happens in the material universe or the material body.
5) Forgetting my nature will convert life into struggle and remembering my nature will convert life into entertainment.
It is in my own hand! Not with Guru, not with Scriptures, and not with Ishwara.
The mithya jagat is beyond comprehension and beyond control which are the negative aspects. The positive aspects is that the mithya world cannot affect “I” (Asango hum). A jnani understands that all divisions in the triangular format of Jiva, Jagat, and Ishwara (which are all Names&Forms), implies that Jiva is afflicted by Karma, and he has to beg Ishwara for protection. However, Ishwara cannot take Jiva out of karma cycles. The jnani, through understanding, knows the Self as Atma, and all appearance as N&F and therefore anatma. Anatma borrows its temporary existence from Atma alone, which leads to the understanding of Sarvaatma bhava. Only Atma exists. The jnani relaxes in this understanding and enjoys witnessing the fluctuations of jagat (including body/mind) as entertainment.
It is said that after great deal of purification of mind through Sadhana Chatusthaya Sampathi, and thorough understanding of the Sruti (Upanishads), that glimpses of Jivan Mukti is achieved. This manifests as the “apparent liberation” of the Jiva/ahankara from its previous “attachment state” to the world of N&F, and also owning up to the Consciousness/atma that one always is. This Jivan Mukti is however, relative with levels of steadfastness in this blissful state. A Jivan Mukta will usually say he is continuing to dwell in the Nidhidyasanam to purify his mind, and not there yet. There are extremely rare individuals who are true Siddha Purusha, who have totally foregone the world and are in constant state of independent consciousness.