Adhyatma Vidya Mandir is pleased to introduce a Guided Vedanta Study for all seekers who are new to Vedanta as well as for seekers who have been following Vedanta since years.

Why do I require to study Vedanta in a structural way? I am listening to Vedanta day in and out!  I have listened to all the Upanisads!  I have listened to all these many times!  And continue to listen to Vedanta!  If these are the questions which arise in your mind, then we have to present another question.  How much of what you are listening is retained?  How much is being assimilated?

Assimilating Vedanta first requires a good understanding of Vedanta, which also requires retaining this understanding.  It is to grasp this understanding of Vedanta and retain the understanding of Vedanta, that a structural study of Vedanta is very beneficial to serious seekers.  Because human mind has a tendency of glossing over, and so even though one may be listening to Vedanta everyday, the whole process involving watching our mind, the mechanism of the mind in entertaining false notions, may be overlooked.  A structural study emphasizes these fundamental concepts in a manner that the new concepts and mechanisms become engrained in our mind, and weakens our hold on the incorrect patterns of thinking.

What is Vedanta?  And why study Vedanta?  Vedanta is the ultimate truth revealed by the scriptures, the Vedas.  It is the unfoldment of the truth about myself, the truth about the universe, and the truth about God.  When we examine what we are seeking in life, we find that in and through all our different activities and different pursuits, each of us is seeking happiness alone.  Every moment we are trying to seek happiness and avoid unhappiness.  Our life is a constant endeavour to attain limitless happiness.  Happiness not conditioned by time, place and condition! Vedanta addresses this fundamental search of ours, this quest of happiness, and hence the study of Vedanta is relevant to each of us.  Therefore, the study of Vedanta should indeed become our priority, since it leads to the Param Purushartha, the ultimate goal of life, our quest for happiness.

Vedanta reveals non-duality between Jiva, Jagat and Isvara as the ultimate truth. The study of Vedanta reveals the folly in our current understanding of taking Jiva as limited, the universe, Jagat as diverse and different from me, and God, Isvara as distant from me.  Vedanta corrects our present understanding through the statements of the Sruti, scriptures.  Sruti is taken as Pramanam, the valid means of knowledge, when unfolded by a qualified teacher.  And reasoning is presented as supporting logic to understand the statements of the Sruti.  Vedanta unfolds the true nature of self as Sat, existence, Cit, awareness, and Ananda limitless or happiness, and boldly states that happiness is my very nature, one need not search for happiness outside!

Knowledge alone is the means for happiness: If happiness is our ultimate search, what is the means to attain it?  Knowledge alone is the means for happiness.  Knowledge about the realities of life.  A correct understanding of the self, universe and god – Jiva, Jagat and Isvara!  This knowledge is gained by the study of the scriptures, Vedanta, traditionally the Prasthanatrayee which includes Bhagavad Gita, Upanisads, Brahmasutra and Prakanagranthas.  But knowledge requires certain qualifications.  A preparation of mind is called for, which requires us to live a life of right values and right attitudes.  Only when the life is lived in keeping with the universal order, one becomes ready for the knowledge of the self, for discovering the truth about oneself.

Selfless action prepares a person with an emotional maturity required for knowledge of the self.  Emotional maturity gives the person the objectivity required for the knowledge of the self.   When such a qualified person seeks refuge of a qualified teacher, an Acharya who is well-versed in scriptures and who is a living embodiment of the scriptures; when one accepts such an Acharya as Guru; having prostrated to the Guru, when one does Shravanam, Mananam, Nididhyasanam, listens to the scriptures, contemplates upon the teachings to remove the doubts, and dwells upon the statements of the scriptures to abide in non-duality, then this attitude of surrender becomes the means of liberation.  Through the knowledge of the scriptures as communicated by such a Ananyaprokta Guru, the Shishya knows the self as limitless happiness.

अनन्यप्रोक्ते गतिरत्र नास्ति ananyaprokte gatiratra nāsti

Adhyatma Vidya Mandir has contributed and continues to contribute to a large number of publications and lecture series by Pujya Swami Viditatmanandaji Saraswati.  The wealth of data in itself is equivalent to a university. Keeping this in mind, a guided study format is presented here so that seekers can sequentially progress in their understanding of Vedanta.  A structural Vedanta study will help the seekers gain clarity of the fundamental realities of life, and will aid them to work at both levels, mind and intellect, by incorporating the understanding in their daily life and assimilating the understanding.

The study of Vedanta has been presented here in three stages to account for seekers with varying degree of orientation to Vedanta, ranging from those completely new to Vedanta to the seekers in their advanced stage.  The three stages adopted here are:  Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.  These stages are based on the seekers’ qualifications, the stage of life, orientation to Vedanta, and the outlook towards life.  The idea is that each seeker can follow the structural study presented in the level fitted to them, and progress in their study by gaining clarity about Vedanta, about life, and subsequently progress on to the next level. As the seekers progresses on to the subsequent levels, they will find that the fundamental understanding of Vedanta remains the same, but the vision just becomes clearer and clearer.  The more the seekers dwell upon this understanding, live this understanding and continue to assimilate it, the clearer the vision will be.  At each stage, the understanding of the truth, understanding of the values and interpretation of what a value means in a given context, is expected to become subtler and subtler, with a corresponding emotional maturity in the seekers’ personality.  Seekers are encouraged to do introspection of how the values are expressed in their life and how it can be improved upon.

In order to integrate Bhakti, devotion and prayers in life, supplemental publications and lecture recordings has been recommended at each level, to empower the Vedanta study, and ensure that the study does not remain just an intellectual exercise but serves in transforming our personalities.  Supplemental resources to motivate the seekers throughout their spiritual journey has also been recommended.

The presence of a Mahatma in our life serves as a beacon in our spiritual journey.  A Mahatma is a living embodiment of the values, and by observing and contemplating upon the life of a Mahatma one imbibes the great qualities of the Mahatma and assimilate the true meaning and the extensive scope of values in life.  It is indeed a blessing that we have such a Mahatma at arm’s reach.  With the aim to provide the blessings of this Mahatma, we provide a virtual Gurukulam setting here, sharing glimpses of Pujya Swami Viditatmanandaji’s reaching out to the world.  A segment has been introduced here, showcasing the various facets of Pujya Swami Viditatmanandaji’s personality, with an attempt to look into the life of this Mahatma. Experiences from daily life are shared here to show how this Mahatma converts simple occasions of life into an expression of love, compassion, care and concern for everyone around.

The Guided Vedanta Study, along with the supplemental readings and the segment ‘A peek into the life of a Mahatma’, is together meant to transform our personalities.  It is meant to bring us one step closer to what we all have been searching for all these years, limitless happiness, our true nature!  An in-depth understanding and assimilation of Vedanta culminates into this realization that happiness is my very nature!

Realization is however a process.  With persistent efforts, there is progressive transformation in one’s personality, which gets reflected in our interactions with the world.  A transformation from a Consumer to a Contributor needs to occur, and this is the indication of the degree to which one has assimilated the knowledge.  As one assimilates the values of non-violence, forgiveness, etc., one becomes sensitive enough to recognize and acknowledge the needs of others.  Subtler our understanding and assimilation of values, more the contributor, the giver in us is invoked.  While each of us may be a contributor to some extent, the degree and intensity of giving, contributing, heightens with the subtleness in our understanding of these values.  The giving is giving only when it pinches you!  Meaning when there is an occasion to part with something that is important to oneself, it pinches to give it away, and in the process of self-growth, one learns to give, or one grows to include more of the world as I.

The key is first to become clear of our activities and the purpose of our activities.  What is it that we have been searching for?  And where are we searching this?  Second, an understanding that where we are searching is the wrong direction.  Third, the knowledge of the right direction where one should look for, and the proper means to adopt it.  Clearer our understanding that our ultimate goal behind any pursuit is for limitless happiness which is my very self, the more committed we will be towards knowledge as the means, and easier it will be to assimilate this understanding and enable us to stand out against all the odds.

Following are the study categories please click below: