Here, you will find teachings from the scriptures and the writings of realized masters in different formats. These writings will not follow the order of the scriptures, rather, they will focus on themes that are of vital importance to the spiritual seeker for understanding and meditation.
I. From the Yoga Vasistha...
Yoga Vasistha Series (16 March 2015 - 23 October 2016)
A series of informal talks on the Yoga Vasistha. Though we will follow the general flow of the text, we will focus on the teachings that can be put into practice in life and on the mat. The video and audio will be on the website for download, the video will also be on YouTube. A concise pdf summary of the main points covered in each episode, will be on the website.
Part 1 (17 March 2015)
Focus: background / examining everything / awakening / at the crossroads
Part 2 (26 March 2015)
Focus: the liberated sage / self-effort / essence of all scriptures / the course of action
Part 3 (2 April 2015)
Focus: Four Gatekeepers to the Realm of Freedom or Moksha
Part 4 (9 April 2015)
Focus: the task / in the heart first / self-control next / then inquiry
Part 5 (16 April 2015)
Focus: the illusion / the cure / spiritual discipline / all these help
Part 6 (23 April 2015)
Focus: beyond conditioning / purification / staying undistracted / beyond restlessness
Part 7 (30 April 2015)
Focus: restlessness is ignorance / controlling the mind / understanding renunciation / renunciation
Part 8 (7 May 2015)
Focus: how bondage happens / mind is the doer / liberation and delusion / the unconditioned state
Part 9 (14 May 2015)
Focus: The Seven States or Planes of Wisdom
Part 10 (21 May 2015)
Focus: Yoga—the means of purification / appearances—reflections in consciousness / reality—the indivisible consciousness.
Part 11 (17 April 2016)
Focus: Simple Ways to Increase Satva or Natural Goodness
Part 12 (27 April 2016)
Focus: Simple ways to transform existing rajas and tamas into satva
Part 13 (6 May 2016) New!
Focus: The seeds of samsara and the mind and conclude with some practical ways to unmind the mind.
Part 14 (29 May 2016)
Focus: the state of quiescence; going beyond - the no-mind; and; reality - the seed for consciousness.
Part 15 (5 June 2016)
Focus: (1) The state of pure being, (2) Attain a quiet mind first, (3) Inner ascent, (4) Control of mind, (5) Cause and cure of samsara, (6) Avoid conceptualization, and, (7) Relentless self-inquiry.
Part 16 (13 June 2016)
Focus: The first of the seven states or planes of wisdom: śubhecchā or a noble wish. Towards this, we will cover: awakening; renuciate; renunciation; behavior of a renunciate, and, focus of the renunciate.
Part 17 (25 June 2016)
Focus: The second of the seven states or planes of wisdom: vicāraṇā or direct and steady observation of the mind. Towards this, we will cover: study, right conduct and meditation; company of the wise and the good; know what is good, harmful, right and wrong; and; resolutely giving up what is not good.
Part 18 (6 July 2016)
Focus: The third of the seven states or planes of wisdom: tanumānasa or the thinned and weakened mind. The characteristics of one in this state: (1) one assimilates the teaching of the scriptures, lives with masters and listens to their teachings; (2) being indifferent to this world, one leads a very disciplined life, away from society and completely free from all contacts; (3) practice of the teachings results in right perception of what is; (4) the spirit of non-attachment of both types increases.
Part 19 (27 July 2016)
Focus: the fourth of the seven states or planes of wisdom: satvāpatti or natural turning away from sense pleasure and dwelling in truth. We also talked about four simple ways towards this: (1) do what should be done because it needs to be done and not for any other purpose, (2) refrain from doing what should not be done, knowing intuitively that it should not be done, (3) live a simple and natural life, and, (4) live in accordance with the teachings, engage yourself in appropriate activity and accept whatever happens naturally.
Part 20 (18 September 2016)
Focus: the fifth of the seven states or planes of wisdom: asamśaktti or natural and total non-attachment or freedom. Towards this, we will discuss: (1) total non-attachment or freedom and conviction in the nature of truth happen together, (2) the state of non-attachment or freedom is asamśaktti, (3) perception of the world gives way to the feeling of being, and, (4) though engaged in ‘worldly activities’, one is established in an inner vision of non-duality.
Part 21 (1 October 2016)
Focus: the sixth and seventh states or planes of wisdom: padārthābhavanī or natural cessation of objectivity and turīya or liberated while living.
Part 22 (16 October 2016)
Focus: The Dreadful Elephant in The Forest of Saṁsāra.
Part 23 (23 October 2016) New! (series complete)
Focus: We will conclude this series with focus on: (1) what liberated sages conclude, (2) attitudes conducive to liberation, (3) overcoming saṁsāra and some sorrow, (4) a noble person, and, (5) Vāsiṣṭha’s concluding instructions.
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Inner Journey (select verses from the Yoga Vasistha in Poem)
The Yoga Vasistha is a mighty scripture that has long been the mainstay of those sincere seekers. It is a lengthy scripture in the form of a dialogue between sage Vasistha and Rama. Today, we have good translations in English and concise versions which make it much easier to access.
Poetry is an excellent medium to highlight subtle teachings as it is not bound by the rules of grammar. Using fewer words, the focus can be sharper on what the words point to rather than the words themselves.
I have already rendered what I’ve felt were the important verses in poem in line with the flow of the scripture. It was felt to find a way to distil the earlier effort further and bring out the Yoga Vasistha’s teachings on different themes in such a way that one feels directly engaged with sage Vasistha.
II. From the Upanishads...
Beyond Sorrow and Delusion (60 min / 26 Oct 2013)
The four questions put to the sage in the Devi Mahatmyam, are our questions today too. What is good? Why is it hard to pursue the good? Why do we suffer? How does one go beyond suffering and delusion? Could you please destroy our ignorance with your wisdom?
Let us turn to the Katha Upanishad for answers. Yama or death is the teacher and Nachiketas or fire is the student. Death is the pivot of change, something dies and a new form is seen. When the fire of aspiration faces this truth of life that everything changes—light, power and wisdom arise.
III. From the Bhagavad Gita...
Gita Meditations (92 min / 21 Jan 2014)
From the book, 'Gita Meditations' by Sri Swami Sivananda.
(Reproduced for free distribution for personal and non-commercial use by permission of The Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India.)
About this work: I have long been wanting to in some way share the teachings of this magnificent book, ‘Gita Meditations’ by Sri Swami Sivananda. The author’s introductory essays will say all that has to be said about the work and its vital importance to the spiritual seeker.
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The Bhagavad Gita is many things at the same time. First, it is a narration in the form of a dialogue between Sanjaya the charioteer and Dhritarashtra, the blind king of the events that were taking place in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Some of the verses concerned with the narration are not as important for the seeker but more for the information of Dhritarashtra. Second, we have verses that are revelations where Krishna reveals the truth about his transcendent and immanent aspects, He grants Arjuna the vision of his cosmic form and we have Arjuna’s words on beholding the vision granted. Third, we have the verses on how the vision or experience Arjuna was granted can be had by any and all who sincerely seek. We are told about the qualities of the seeker and the way of sadhana.
Swami Sivananda has distilled the verses of the Gita, bringing together the most important verses that concern with the nature of God, the seeker, spiritual life and sadhana and the attainments on the path. These are beautifully brought out in his book, ‘Gita Meditations’ on which this series is based.
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Society and the Individual (86 min / 18 May 2014)
Swadhyaya is often translated as ‘Study of the scriptures’ but, one can look at this term from a broader sense to mean, ‘Study of the self through scriptures’.
Today, we take up five verses from the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: verses 40-44 to understand how life was viewed and lived in the time the Bhagavad Gita was first given, some very pertinent observations of Arjuna and its meaning to our lives today.
Though outer conditions change with time – outer problems and our inner conflicts remain the same. The ancients had a deep understanding of our problems, the real cause, practical solutions and devised a way of living which answered all these. This way of life was a very well thought out system which was a direct answer to all the problems one could face while working out our karma and moving towards moksha.
The battle which forms the backdrop of the Bhagavad Gita is our battle today and the conflict that arose in Arjuna is the conflict that arises in us even today when we stand face to face with certain conditions.