Vedanta Classes

Vedānta classes are one of the principle activities of Adhyatma Vidya Mandir conducted by Pujya Swami Viditatmananda Saraswatiji for the last 40 years. Vedānta enables a person to develop a healthy appreciation of the world through a healthy understanding of one’s own experiences and of the nature of the world. Through the teachings on Vedānta, Pujya Swamiji brings to our attention the purpose behind all seeking, which is to be free from bondage, free from limitations. One becomes convinced that freedom from limitations is the goal of human life and knowledge alone is the means to attain this freedom. The knowledge of my true self as limitless is the only solution to all sorrow and unhappiness in life. For this knowledge one must seek shelter of a Guru, and of a Guru alone. A Guru, a teacher, who is not only well-versed with the scriptures, but also belongs to a lineage of Guruparampara, a succession of teachers and thereby can unfold the truth of one’s true nature as limitless. Representing such a Guruparampara, the Śānkara Guruparampara, Pujya Swamiji has been teaching Vedānta for last 40 years in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and other cities in India, as well as in foreign countries, with the sole objective of imparting the knowledge of self which is the only solution to all the sorrow and sense of inadequacy in one’s life.

A range of texts belonging to Vedānta comprised of the PrasthānatrayīUpaniṣads, Bhagavad Gītā and Brahmasūtra, and Prakaraṇagranthas, as well as Purāṇa are taken up during the Vedānta classes. Pujya Swamiji selects the Vedānta texts to be studied during the Vedānta classes and expounds them with simplicity and in detail. The classes are held on a regular basis in the Ashram, as well as in different locations around the city. These classes are conducted both in English as well as in Gujarati. Pujya Swamiji unfolds each Vedānta text methodically in all of its details along with the Śānkara Bhāṣya and ṭikā. For years together seekers have taken advantage of these Vedānta classes, and the continuous process of śravaṇa, listening and manana, contemplating has enabled these seekers to gain clarity and firm their conviction.

Current Vedānta Classes

ब्रह्मसूत्र Brahmasūtra

Brahmasūtra forms one of the 3 fundamental texts  of the Prasthanatrayee studied as part of the Vedanta study.  It gives us an insight that Jiva-Brahma Aikya alone is the purport of all the Upanisads. The individual self himself is Brahman.  Further the Upanisads do not disagree with each other, there is Samanvaya, congruity, consistency, and one truth alone is revealed through all these Upanisads.  The text is meant to resolve doubts based on reasoning and logic, and hence it is known in Shastra as Nyaya Prasthana. There are 5 aspects in Nyaya: Vishaya (subject matter of the sutra, particular mantra taken for deliberation or Vichara), Samshaya (to resolve doubt), Purva Paksha (when doubt is there, the opponents’ view is first presented), Uttar Paksha (doubt is resolved, siddhantin’ or Vedantin’s answer to the opponent), and Siddhanta (conclusion).  In this way Vichara or deliberation is carried out taking the particular mantra of the Upanisads which form the subject matter of discussion in a particular Adhikaranam.

The text is composed by Badarayanam, who is supposed to be VedaVyasa, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.  The place of Brahmasutra is one of the most important.  The text is presented in the form of aphorisms or sutra.  Each sutra has a given mantra of an Upanisad in mind, and that forms the subject matter.  The text has a total of 555 sutra grouped under 191 topics which are called Adhikaranam. These Adhikaranam are included under the 4 chapters of the text.  Each chapter is called Adhyaya.  The 1st Chapter is called Samanvaya Adhyaya, and primarily establishes that there is consistency in what the Upanisads reveal: Jiva – Brahma Aikya.  The 2nd Chapter is Avirodha Adhyaya.  It establishes that there is no Virodha or contradiction to what the Upanisads has to says and what I experience.  The 3rd Chapter is called Sadhana Adhyaya where different forms of meditations are brought to discussion.  The 4th Chapter is called Phalam Adhyaya.  Here the 2 kinds of results, krama mukti and Sadyomukti are discussed.

On the Sutra, Ādi Śaṅkarācāryajī, Bhagavāna Bhasyakara has written a commentary known as Adhyasa Bhasya.  The commentary by Bhasyakar is known to be profound, Prasanna and Gambhira.  It is considered to be the most outstanding literature with the amount of depth presented.   Further upon the Bhasya, there are other commentaries.  Of these 3 principal commentaries are studied: Bhasya Ratnaprabha by Ramananda, Bhamati by Vachaspati Mishra, and Nyaya Nirnaya by Anandagiri, another disciple of Bhasyakar.  Upon these commentaries there are further more  commentaries  also written.  We find a commentary of Purnanandiya on the commentary of Ratnaprabha for the 1st 4 Sutra of Brahmasutra.

Of the whole text and of all sections, the 1st 4 sutra are most important.  Each of these 4 form an Adhikaranam, and these 4 sutras or topics essentially gives the idea of the entire principle of Vedanta.  Of these the 1st Sutra is in the form of preface to the entire Shastra, text, revealing the Anubandha Chatustaya: Vishaya (subject matter), Adhikari (audience), Prayojanam (purpose) and Sambandha (relation with the text and purpose), and thus establishes the need for the study of Brahmasutra.  The study of Prasthanatrayee is essential for every teacher, and so study of  Brahmasutra also becomes crucial for gaining the firm conviction of the vision of Vedanta.

Pujya Swamiji unfolds this text in Gujarati, and the classes are held at the Tattvatirtha Ashram  Monday to Saturday morning between 7 to 8 am.

लघुयोगवसिष्ठ Laghuyogavasiṣṭha

THE YOGA-VASISTHA is a popular text on Advaita Vedanta, Puranic in form and philosophical in content. It is also known by other names like Arsa Ramayana, Jnana Vasistha, Maha Ramayana, Vasistha Ramayana and Vasistha and is ascribed to sage Valmiki himself. It is in the form of replies given by Vasistha to Sri Rama’s queries regarding philosophical problems of life and death, and human suffering, and treats the essentials of Advaita Vedanta. It seems to advocate the dristi-sristi-vada which holds that the world exists only so long as it is perceived: manodrsyam idam sarvam, “the whole world of things is the object of the mind.”  The Laghu-Yoga-Vasistha is an abridged version of the Yoga-Vasistha, compiled by one Abhinanda of Kashmir.  (Based on Laghu Yoga Vasishtha English Translation by K. Narayanswami Iyer).

Pujya Swamiji unfolds this text in Gujarati, and the classes are held at the Tattvatirtha Ashram every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday evening between 6 to 7pm.

Schedule of the current Vedānta classes :

Discourses in Gujarati

ब्रह्मसूत्र Brahmasūtra
Monday and Saturday: Morning 6 to 7 am; Tattvatirtha Ashram

लघु योग वासिष्ठ Laghu Yoga Vāsiṣṭha
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday: Evening 6 to 7 pm; Tattvatirtha Ashram