Shankaracharya’s Song to Fool Caught in Samsara (Bhaja Govindaṃ)

Bhaja Govindaṃ was written by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya. Bhaja govindaṃ is one of the minor compositions of the spiritual giant, Ādi Shankarācharya. It is classified as a prakaraṇa grantha, a primer to the major works. Though sung as a bhajan, it contains the essence of Vedānta and implores the man to think, “Why am I…

Advaita Vedanta in a Nutshell (Aparokshanubhuti by Adi Sankara)

Our ancient teachers have left behind a treasury of useful and convenient means of understanding Vedānta, the science of life, contained in the prasthana traya. Mainly in the Bhagavad Gīṭa, the Upaniṣads and the Brahma Sutras. One such stream of teaching is through their works called prakiriya granthas. A Prakarana Grantha is a User’s Manual or a Guide Book…

7 Stages of Enlightenment (Panchadasi by Swami Vidyaranya)

(Following excerpts are from book Inquiry to Existence by James Swartz, chapter 7. Whole text is actually from Panchadasi by Swami Vidyaranya. James provided some commentaries for legibility. We will go through these stages in detail in class.) Seven stages can be distinguished with respect to the realization of the Self: ignorance, veiling, projection, indirect…

Purpose of Studying the Scriptures (Śruti)

Śruti (Scriptures), the Vedas is the only means of knowledge to understand nondual Brahman – I am the limitless reality I seek. Above statement doesn’t exclude Scriptures from other world’s Religions. For sake of this article, we’ll focus on Vedas. Science is primarily based on three other means of knowledge – perception, inference and two…

How is Vedanta Different to Other Systems?

Firstly, what we mean by “system” is what’s called Pramāṇa – or “means of Knowledge”. In Vedānta case, it’s a means of Self-Knowledge. Self-Knowledge in stage of “listening” can be equated to object knowledge – as in “I am now learning about the Self, and that I am that Self, even though I can’t see how…

Does a Liberated Person Also Experience Happiness from Objects?

Object-happiness (viṣaya-ānanda) is a name given to a phenomenon that naturally occurs in the subtle body. Brahman is of the nature of sat-cid-ānanda (Existence-Awareness-Bliss). Although Brahman pervades the entire world/universe (jagat) as its substratum (adhiṣṭhāna) – the manifestation of its nature varies from object to object. The inert objects (eg: rock) of the world fully…

Who gains Self-Knowledge? Self, Subtle Body or Reflected Consciousness?

First of all “Self-Knowledge” is NOT mokṣa (Freedom, Enlightenment, Liberation). It is the means to mokṣa. It is a “knowledge-thought” that is created/assimilated in the Subtle Body… by the teachings of Vedānta. The content of this thought is “I AM brahman” (aham brahmāsmi). It destroys the ignorance that is the cause for saṃsāra (believing or…

Test Your Understanding of Reality Using This Test (Real vs. Unreal)

Look at some object in the room. Now please. Is it “over there”, or is it in you (Consciousness)? Even “in” is a cautionary word because it implies separation. If it’s “over there”, that means space and time is real. In which case you’re fooled by Maya. In reality there is no “over there”. Everything…

How To Apply Knowledge of Vedanta in Daily Life (nididyasanam)

QUESTION: How should nididhyasanam (contemplation) be practiced? ANSWER: The biggest obstacle to ‘aham Brahmāsmi’ (I am Brahman) knowledge is the basic ignorance of the jiva (individual soul) identifying himself with his body/mind. Even after understanding what the Srutis (Scriptures) teach, the orientation that he is the body/mind still remains. Just because he has a body/mind…

10 Basic Qualifications for Liberation

This is not a popular topic because most of us are wanting shortcuts. Unfortunately like all valuable things in life, freedom is earned by diligent work. To make the changes necessary for self-inquiry, constant vigilance and a devotional attitude are required. Freedom is a gargantuan task that can only be undertaken by the purified and highly motivated mind.…