Swami Dayananda Saraswati


Back in the late ’70s the Hindu teacher, Swami Dayananda Saraswati came to town and gave a series of lectures on the philosophical concepts and perspectives in Hindu scriptures such as the Vedas, the Puranas, Bhagavad Gita, and Upanishads.  Also in attendance was my buddy and fellow musician, Allan and, unbeknownst to me, the woman I would marry some years later. So these lectures marked a changing point for me in many ways.

I was fortunate to receive a transcription of his lecture on Vedanta and am making it available to you here with permission of his school Arsha Vidya Gurkulam. Proceeds from any purchase of this lecture will be forwarded to them.

Vedanta, “the end of the Vedas”, refers to the ultimate perspective available to man. In particular, Advaita (“Not Two”) Vedanta is a perspective of non-separation, a perspective of the immediacy of consciousness. From a perspective of consciousness, there is apparent distance between you and the moon, but the moon is in your consciousness and you have immediate access to your consciousness.

The point of Advaita is: Sure there’s apparent separation between things, but that’s only one view of what is. Suppose you take a perspective of oneness, where reality is unbounded. First of all, fear disappears because there is nothing of which you are not a fully conscious part. Secondly, there are no hindrances.  You’re already there.

If you’re not familiar with this perspective, you might question its value.  However, in application, it’s a tool which enhances your abilities and your life in general.

Another great concept is “Viveka”, i.e. seeing things for what they are, in essence. Consider a gold ring. What is it’s essence? It’s metal on which society has a superimposed a value. What is the Grand Canyon? Essentially dirt, rocks and trees. But what are they all? Elements of consciousness. This is not to say that it’s better to not give things value, but it’s better to have the clarity of seeing things for what they are in essence, so that one makes wise decisions along one’s path.

Swami Dayananda’s Treatise on Vedanta is a “must read” as far as I’m concerned.

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