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.
A note about writing on palm leaves: After palm leaves are inscribed with a stylus, the the etched letters are not clearly visible until ink is applied, as seen in the final scene.
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.
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