Arsha Vidya Center has been formed to introduce, promote and establish study of Vedanta for students and seekers in the San Francisco Bay Area in a traditional way through an unbroken sampradaya, that began with Lord Dakshinamurti, uplifted and maintained by Veda Vyasa and Adi Sankara, now handed directly to us by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati.
Shri Vijay Kapoor, a disciple of Pujya Swami Dayananda, established the Arsha Vidya (Knowledge of the Rishis) - Center for traditional teaching of Vedanta, Bhagavad Gita, Meditation, Sanskrit and Vedic Chanting in 2001. All his lectures are in English, and are free of charge. Read more
1) Swami Viditatmanandaji's discourses and retreat went very well
Swamiji took up the qualities from the 13th chapter of the Gita, which if one cares to cultivate makes
one's life very happy. It is like wearing good shoes -- with them one can go anywhere and the
imperfections of the surface do not bother one. The retreat turned out to be a treat! The new place in
Novato turned out to be a gem, and Swamiji taking Sri Ramana Maharishi's Upadesa Saram was like a nectar.
2) Please look for the 2014 AIM for Seva appeal email
In the next few days, please look for an email in re a fundraising appeal for AIM for Seva.
The movement, started by Pujya Swami Dayanandaji in 2000, continues to do well, thanks to your
past support; we look forward to your generous support once again. Do not forget to save
Saturday, August 23 for a grand celebration in the form of a classy dance drama,
Kalidasa's Meghadootam, at the Chabot College Performing Arts Center.
If you enjoyed Nayani in 2012, you will enjoy this even more.
3) Please join two new weekly Vedanta classes starting mid-July
Vedanta holds that human suffering is primarily due to the fact we don't fully understand what we are
made out of -- not just our partial, physical anatomy, but the complete anatomy. Once we learn that,
we can deal with our life and future much more effectively. So taking up a text is about learning your
own complete anatomy -- much like Medical Science 101, 201 etc. Starting in another few days, I will
be teaching two new Vedantic texts, that may be new to most students in this area. They are:
(A) Laghu-vasudeva-mananam (Tuesdays from 7:30 to 9 PM, starting Tuesday, July 15) Chapter Outline.
This serves as an excellent review of the complete anatomy of the human being. It introduces all
technical terms in Vedanta, and is laid out very logically. It is much more comprehensive than
Tattvabodhah, but is still considered foundational in nature. In medical circles, it would be like a
review of the nature of the body and mind, of diseases that affects them, and an introduction to the treatments. Both beginning and intermediate level students will benefit from this class.
This is an unusual Vedantic text -- it is in prose. If you know some Sanskrit, it will be very helpful to
you; not only will I explain the sentences in the class, but Sri Srida Joisa, who has been studying this
text with me, will be available to run a companion class (perhaps online) that helps you with Sanskrit
words contained in it, including breaking sandhi. This way your Sanskrit will also get a brush-up.
(B) Taittiriya Upanisad (Saturdays from 8 to 9:30 AM, starting on Saturday, July 19) Chapter Outline
This is a more advanced text, suitable for people that have been studying Vedanta for some time.
The analogy in medical terms is to specialize on more entrenched diseases of the body-mind
complex (panca kosa viveka), and offer detailed assistance on how to get rid of them.
The specialty of this Upanisad is that all of it is usually chanted in Vedic svaras. That by itself
is very beneficial, and very enjoyable. We will take between 20 to 30 minutes of each class learning
to chant in unison.
For the Taittiriya class, you need to write to me ahead of time, and let me know your
background in studying Vedanta.
An All India Movement for Seva Benefit Program on August 23, 2014 Event Flyer
Since 2000, I have been associated with AIM for Seva, a movement that addresses the enormous problem of educating the remote tribal children of India in a very innovative way, by building Free Student Homes (FSH) close to Government run schools. I always ask four questions of myself, and expect you to do the same: Is this important work? Is it well managed? Will my gift make a difference and is it reaching the intended recipient? And finally, is supporting this worthy cause satisfying to me?
This is important work, because it addresses the sheer size of wasted human lives. Currently, over 42 million children do not attend schools in India: the schools are located too far, families cannot afford to give them quality education, and many families are broken or dysfunctional; the collective results are dismal - children suffer, and fail to become productive adults. AIM for Seva offers a very practical solution. At no cost to the parents, FSH provides shelter, access to schools, clothing, medical care, after school supervision and much, much more.
That we are well managed, and have already made a significant difference can be seen - over 100 fully-functional FSHs built, 35,000 students educated, over 9,000 villages covered. We are on a pace to reach 300 FSHs by 2020.
The US donations have been a major contributor. Our nation-wide goal is to raise $1.5M. In the Bay Area, we hope to raise at least $250,000, enough to start one new FSH, and take complete care of 300 to 400 students for one year. We need your help. Please send your tax deductible contributions to the address provided. I also believe that giving is twice blessed; it blesses the one who receives and the one who gives.
I am very happy to invite all donors to a grand celebration of the 2014 fundraising. On Saturday, August 23, we will be staging a classy, quite-out-of-the-ordinary operatic ballet, Kalidasa's Meghadootam. It will be at the Chabot College Performing Arts Center in Hayward. The music for this unique production is especially composed by Bombay Jayashri Ramnath (Oscar nominated for The Life of Pi), choreographed by India-based acclaimed dancers Shijith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon, and produced by the well known Cleveland Cultural Alliance. This show is by invitation only - no tickets are being sold and there will be no fund-raising at the event.