Finding God Without Faith – A Personal Reflection – Based on Advaita Vedanta
Swami Tadatmananda’s journey from being “allergic to religion” to a contemplative life of prayer, scriptural study, and meditation. God or Ishvara is a reality that can be clearly known through Vedantic teachings and your own power of reasoning.
Ishvara is not merely a matter of faith, shraddha. The teachings of Advaita Vedanta provide a surprisingly clear definition of Ishvara as the “abhinna nimitta upadana karana” the efficient and material cause for the universe that is non-separate from it. Material and efficient cause are philosophical terms used to describe the two main factors necessary for any act of creation.
Guru Parampara – The Ancient Lineage of Teachers of Advaita Vedanta
We have access today to the profound wisdom of the ancient rishis due to a sacred tradition that has preserved and transmitted those teachings from generation to generation through the ages. That unbroken lineage is revered even today.
An important Sanskrit shloka (prayer verse) says, sadashiva samarambham, beginning with Lord Shiva, shankaracharya madhyamam, with Adi Shankara in the middle, asmad acharya paryantam, and extending to our current generation of teachers, vande guru paramparam, I venerate the lineage of teachers.
Is Renunciation Necessary for Enlightenment?
Being obsessed with worldly pleasures is an obstacle to spiritual growth and enlightenment. But merely giving up those pleasures won’t make you enlightened either. Then, what is the purpose of renunciation in spiritual practice?
The Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions all have great value for renunciation or monastic life as a spiritual practice. Shankara, the greatest teacher of Advaita Vedanta was a sannyasi, as were his disciples. But many scriptures, especially the Bhagavad Gita, praise the engaged spirituality of karma yoga as being better than renouncing the world and living as a sannyasi, a monk. There, Sri Krishna told Arjuna to stay on the Kurukshetra battlefield and fight the war, to fulfill his personal responsibilities, his dharma.
The Seasons of Life – A Vedantic Contemplation for the New Year
The beginning of a New Year is a good time to reflect on the changing seasons of life as we grow older. Join Swami Tadatmananda for a guided meditation and contemplative walk on the beautiful trails behind his ashram. (Immersive experience – best on a large screen using headphones.).
KARMA–Your Past is NOT Your Future – How to Manage Your Karma
The false belief that you’re helplessly afflicted by “bad karma” can lead to apathy, despair, and worse. Properly understood, karma is a force that you can anticipate and manage, allowing you to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals..
Turiya – The FOURTH State of Consciousness – Transcending Ordinary Experience
Turiya is a state of consciousness that transcends your experiences in the states of waking, dream, and deep sleep. The teachings of Advaita Vedanta describe turiya as being imperceptible, ungraspable, and inconceivable. But then, how can it be EXPERIENCED?.
Truth is ONE. Why so much Divisiveness? Advaita vs. Vishishta Advaita vs. Dvaita
For centuries, followers of Shankara, Ramanuja, and Madhva have argued stridently about the nature of absolute, universal reality – brahman. This divisiveness might possibly be harmful to sincere spiritual seekers. What can be done to resolve these differences?.
Anger vs Forgiveness: Yudhishthira and Draupadi’s QUARREL in the Mahabharata
Should you forgive those who CONTINUE to hurt you? Prince Yudhishthira and his wife, Draupadi, strongly disagreed about the true path of dharma, righteousness.
The BLISS of Non-Attachment – The Spiritual Path of Letting Go: Vairagya Shatakam of Bhartrihari
Perfect peace and contentment in life are gained, not by striving harder, but by letting go. The futility of conventional worldly life and the blissful delight of rejecting it are shown with biting sarcasm in Bhartrihari’s remarkable work, “One Hundred Verses on Non-Attachment”.
Bhartrihari’s beautiful and profound Sanskrit poetry emphasizes a key principle in Advaita Vedanta – to gain enlightenment (moksha), ignorance of your true Self (atma) must be removed by spiritual knowledge (jnana, vidya). But that knowledge remains inaccessible unless you become an adhikari, a fully prepared aspirant, which is possible only with the cultivation of vairagya, dispassion or detachment.
If the World is an Illusion, why does it SEEM so Real? Insights of Science and Advaita Vedanta.
The world you directly experience is unreal; it’s a mere mental representation produced by your brain and senses. The outside world perceived by your senses is also unreal, according to the sages of ancient India. Then, why do they both seem so real? Maya is powerful indeed.
Satyam and mithya, absolute and apparent realities, nididhaysana / Vedantic contemplation, and the need for assimilation of jnana / truth, explained following the teachings of Shankara, who said, “brahma satyam jagan mithya” brahman is real, the world is apparent, merely nama rupa, name and form.
Does Prayer Really Work? Prove it!
When common misconceptions are dismissed, it becomes possible to understand how prayer truly works – both according to the laws of nature and the doctrine of karma. Scientific evidence for the benefits of prayer must be considered, along with the limitations of scientific inquiry. This question leads beyond the boundaries of science.
Dakshinamurti Stotram of Shankara – Recitation and Explanation
This sacred hymn presents the loftiest, non-dual teachings of Vedanta in delightful verses rich with powerful metaphors. Shankara himself is portrayed in this video, reciting his own work.
Advaita vs Bhakti – Is Devotion Compatible with Non-Duality?
Advaita Vedanta teaches that non-dual brahman alone exists; the world, it’s beings, and even its creator are not real. Then on the path to enlightenment, to whom can you pray?
Is Meditation ITSELF the Key to Enlightenment? One Guru’s Struggle.
Based on Swami Dayananda’s personal struggle to discover a crucial but often overlooked principle: Vedanta is a pramana, an instrument of knowledge that removes the “veil” of ignorance covering atma, the true Self.
Part 2: The Journey of Enlightenment – Reaching the Goal
What’s it like to be enlightened? Unless you clearly understand the goal you seek, how can your spiritual journey lead you in the right direction?
Part 1: The Journey of Enlightenment – First Steps
The direction of your is determined mostly by the decisions you make every day. You can choose to follow the path to inner peace and perfect contentment, a path discovered by the sages of ancient India.
Maya’s Mysterious Magic: Nasadiya Suktam – Vedic Hymn of Creation
This famous hymn from the Rig Veda poetically depicts the emergence of the entire universe due to the mysterious and inexplicable power of Maya. Entire hymn recited at 19:35
How to Unlock Unconditional Love and Compassion.
Discover the true, inner source of love and compassion, guided by the spiritual teachings of the sages of ancient India, and supported by the practice of Maitri Meditation. Meditation begins at 26:15.
OM Meditation – The Ecstatic Journey of Transcendence.
How ecstatic, transcendent experiences arise in pure consciousness can be discovered by meditating on the sacred syllable OM as taught by the ancient rishi who composed the Mandukya Upanishad.
Do Hindus Really Worship IDOLS? Symbolism of Puja.
Hindus don’t worship idols; they worship God, Ishwara, in many forms, including forms of stone or metal. Consecrated deities in temples are used to pray to God like you use a phone to talk to a distant friend. The sixteen steps of puja performed in temples is explained in this video.
Atma Bodha–Self-Knowledge: Shankara’s Teachings for Enlightenment
Atma Bodha is a Sanskrit text of 67 verses in which Shankara reveals your true nature (atma) to be eternal, limitless consciousness, non-separate from the supreme reality, brahman. The discovery of this truth (bodha) results in enlightenment.Because of the profound nature of this text, it might be helpful to pause the video at the end of each verse and re-read the verse for the sake of deeper comprehension.
Morning Meditation on the Ultimate SOURCE of ALL.
Shankara’s Pratas Smarana Stotram with line by line translation, chanted in Rag Bhairav.
Is Homosexuality FORBIDDEN in Hinduism? A Scriptural Perspective.
Hindu scriptures neither condemn nor condone same sex relationships and gender nonconformity — because the ancient sages considered these to be natural parts of God’s creation.
A Spiritual Cure for Hate, Racism & Casteism: Manisha Panchakam
Discovering the essential divinity of all beings leads to love and respect for everyone. Based on Shankara’s hymn, Manisha Panchakam, and the story of his encounter with a filthy outcaste who was actually Lord Shiva, taking this guise to teach Shankara an important lesson about bias and discrimination.
Click here for chanting instruction by Swami Tadatmananda:
Manisha Panchaka of Shankaracharya (learn to chant series)
The Eight Limbs of Yogic Meditation – Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras
All forms of Yogic Meditation practiced today are based on the Yoga Sutras — a Sanskrit scripture by the ancient Indian sage, Patanjali. This famous text prescribes a sequence of eight specific practices, ending with samadhi, to reach the ultimate goal of spiritual life.
Yoga Sutra Lectures
Meditation – A Journey of Exploration
An Intimate Encounter with Your Ego
Inside your mind dwells a thought unlike any other, a thought that represents you. It’s called ego, or I-thought, or ahankara. Discerning the nature of ego and differentiating it from the consciousness that is your true nature is a crucial step in gaining spiritual wisdom.
Seeking the Treasure Hidden in your Heart
The traditional parable called Hiranya Nidhi or Hidden Treasure describes the nature of our search for the ultimate source of happiness and peace within, the inner self, atma.
The Confused Lion – a Story of Self Discovery
This traditional Vedantic parable tells the story of a lion cub who grew up in a herd of sheep, believing that he, too, was a sheep. Just like the lion failed to recognize his true nature as king of the jungle, we fail to recognize our true nature as unborn, limitless consciousness. The solution to the lion’s problem, and ours, is revealed in this delightful story.
Kedarnath – Abode of the Limitless
The famous temple of Lord Shiva in Kedarnath, at an elevation of 12,000 feet, holds an amazing secret with a powerful message for every student of Vedanta — the all-pervasive God of the cosmos cannot be confined within a temple, nor can consciousness be confined within your mind and body
Sadhana Panchakam – Life’s Spiritual Journey in Forty Steps
This short text of Shri Shankaracharya outlines forty steps or spiritual practices to be undertaken to reach moksha, liberation or enlightenment. These steps are like those one climbs to enter a temple – both kinds of steps lead to discovering the divinity within.
Guru: Remover of Darkness – A Personal Reflection
The role of guru – one who removes the darkness of ignorance, enabling you to discover the divinity within yourself – is explained here through Swami Tadatmananda’s personal experiences of his guru, Swami Dayananda.
Still Point at the Center of the Mental Storm…and Beyond
When the mind’s turmoil becomes overwhelming, it can be impossible to maintain your attention on pure consciousness at the center of your being. But, you can discover those mental storms to be harmless collections of thoughts and emotions, as insubstantial as a soap bubbles.
Pancha Kosha – Five Sheaths that CANNOT Cover Atma
The five koshas – food, prana, mind, intellect, and bliss – cannot cover atma because atma pervades the universe. Correctly understood, each kosha is a locus of ignorance or wrong conclusions about atma.
Desire and Knowledge – Two Blazing Fires
In the Bhagavad Gita, fire is metaphorically “the Fire of Desire” as well as “the Fire of Knowledge.” The ravenous, insatiable fire of desire is burnt to ashes by the blazing fire of self-knowledge – a unique instance of fighting fire with fire!
Escaping from the Forest of Samsara — Role of Guru
We are all subject to getting lost in the tremendous complexity of daily life, and this can prevent us from appreciating the true source of peace and contentment within us. An proper guru can lead us out of this “forest of struggle and suffering” and teach us how to never again get lost.
Sanskrit – Language of the Gods
Sanskrit – the language of the ancient Hindu scriptures – claims to be of divine origin. Its unequaled sophistication allows for the precise expression of subtle philosophical and spiritual truths found in its vast literature that spans more than 2500 years.
The Filth Polluting India’s Sacred River of Knowledge
India’s holiest river, the Ganges or Ganga, symbolically represents the flow of spiritual knowledge from ancient to modern times. Like the river Ganga has become terribly polluted, the flow of spiritual knowledge — the Jnana Ganga — has also become polluted by the modern corruption of ancient teachings.
Beyond Words – Transcending the Limits of Language
The sages of ancient India admitted that the supreme reality lies beyond the scope of words, yet they used words — not to reveal that reality, but to negate everything else in a highly systematic way, leading one to discover of that reality.
Discovering the True Source of Happiness – Intro to Vedanta – part 1
The sages of ancient India discovered that atma – the inner divinity or conscious essence of each person – is the true source of happiness. Failing to recognize that inner source of happiness, one endlessly seeks lasting happiness in the world without success
Atma: Sat Cit Ananda – Intro to Vedanta – part 2
Your essential nature is consciousness, unborn, uncreated, untouched by suffering, the true source of happiness. But this inner reality is hidden behind a veil of ignorance, and as a result, we identify ourselves as being male/female, young/old, healthy/ill, etc. when these attributes actually belong to the body, not the true self, atma.
Unchanging Consciousness – Intro to Vedanta – part 3
Perceptions, thoughts, and emotions arise in your mind as vrittis and become known to you, the eternal conscious being. To observe these changing vrittis, consciousness must necessarily be unchanging, and is therefore utterly unaffected by the vrittis it reveals — like the sun is unaffected by all it shines upon.
Sakshi – The Awareful Witness – Intro to Vedanta – part 4
The consciousness that is your essential nature, atma, is the sakshi, awareful witness, of all mind’s activities when you are awake, dreaming, or in deep dreamless sleep. In deep sleep, you remain conscious, but there’s nothing to be conscious of. That consciousness is all-pervasive and is reflected or manifest differently by every mind as the divinity dwelling within.
Ishvara: Blind Faith vs Knowledge – Intro to Vedanta – part 5
Rather than relying on blind faith in scriptures, as Western religions do, Vedanta unfolds the existence and nature of Ishvara (God) through scriptural teachings that are extensively supported by the use of reason and rational discourse. Thus, Ishvara is shown to be the efficient cause (intelligent agent) for the universe, who possesses both the knowledge
Ishvara: The Fabric of Creation – Intro to Vedanta – part 6
Ishvara is not only the intelligent creator of the universe, but is also the very material out of which the universe is fashioned. The material for a spider’s web comes from its body, but the spider remains separate from the web, unlike Ishvara who is non-separate from the universe like a dreamer is non-separate from his or her dream
Symbolism in the Bhagavad Gita
In the Gita, the Kurukshetra battlefield symbolically represents the battle between dharma and adharma. It also represents the inner battle between intellect and emotions, or between head and heart, which is further explained by the famous chariot metaphor.
Reincarnation: Who is that Travels?
Atma, the eternal consciousness which is your true nature, and soul – sukshma sharira – are often confused with each other. This presentation employs the traditional sun/bucket metaphor to make the difference between these two easily understood.
Doctrine of Karma – part 1: Drishta & Adrishta Phala
Every action produces two kinds of results, drishta phala – the immediately seen result, and adrishta phala – the result that fructifies at some later time, accounting for the “hidden variables” that affect the outcome of every action you perform.
Doctrine of Karma – part 2: Karma and Free Will
The outcome of every action is determined by two primary factors: effort born of free will and adrishta phala from deeds performed before. Though either free will or past karma can be dominant, you are never helpless because you can always choose how to respond in any situation, being endowed with free will.
Doctrine of Karma – part 3: Sanchita, Prarabdha & Kriyamana Karma
Reincarnation is explained in this way: Your present life has been brought about by a portion (prarabdha karma) of the infinite accumulation of past karma (sanchita karma) accrued over an infinite number of prior lives.
Consciousness: Vedanta’s teachings about your true nature
According to the teachings of Vedanta, your consciousness is utterly unaffected by all sources of suffering in life, like sunlight is unaffected by what it illumines. By discovering this truth, which was first taught by the sages of ancient India, one can become completely free from suffering and enjoy the state of liberation — moksha
The Vastness of Consciousness — Vedantic teachings for liberation
According to the rishis – the sages of ancient India – the consciousness which is your true nature is not limited by your body and mind; it pervades the universe. This video explores the nature of consciousness and experience, drawing upon the teachings of advaita Vedanta