WHAT IS ARSHA VIDYA ANANDA?
Arsha Vidya Ananda is the discovery of the fullness that you are, through the light of the wisdom of the rishis. The Sanskrit word Arsha means that which comes from a Rishi. A Rishi is one who knows, or sees things that others don’t see – the reality of the self. Vidya means knowledge, that which is opposed to error and ignorance. Thus, Arsha-vidya means knowledge of the rishis.
We have a body of knowledge coming down from generation to generation through the lineage of teacher and student (guru-shishya-parampara).
This body of knowledge is called the Veda which has two parts: one part dealing with prayers and rituals, karma for different goals in life and the other part called Vedanta which is the pursuit of freedom from inadequacy and limitation in this life itself. You step into the river of a glorious tradition when you are exposed to the teachings.
WHAT IS VEDANTA?
Vedanta is a word mirror to see the wholeness/fullness that you are. It is a body of knowledge revealed by Ishvara to the rishis about the reality of the individual, world and God as fullness.
Although Vedanta is a positional name to indicate the section at the end of the Vedas, it is the pinnacle of the highest knowledge. Vedanta is not a belief system nor a religion nor does it make false promises. Vedanta helps you discover yourself as fullness and wholeness.
WHAT IS THE MAIN METHOD OF LEARNING IN VEDANTA?
The teachings in the Upanishads (revealed knowledge of the absolute reality) occur through dialogues between the teacher and student. A dialogue allows for a flow of meaning such that the student is in tune with the vision of the teaching. For the student to be in tune, the student has the opportunity to ask questions, clarify doubts so that the understanding can be free from vagueness, doubt and error.
The very Vedas which reveal the fullness that you are, also unequivocally reveal the method of learning. The teacher is a sampradaayavit (belonging to a traditional guru-shishya lineage), a shrotriya (studied the main texts with a guru systematically for a length of time) and a brahmanishtha( abides in the knowledge of the self).
Traditionally, the primary mode of learning for the student is through Shravanam by the student, listening to the teacher for a length of time, live. The primary mode of learning is not Pathanam, reading the Vedanta texts by yourself.
IF I WANT TO DISCOVER THE ATMA, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
The very Vedas which reveal the Atma, the nature of yourself also reveal the method. The method is to find a guru whom you can relate to, a guru who stands in a traditional lineage.
For self discovery, you need to be exposed to the teachings of Vedanta alongside working on self growth which will help you to think clearly, feel deeply, act decisively in life and love without fear.
For self growth, many sadhanas, disciplines are required to enable a mastery of the mind, which is a part of the pursuit and is suggested by the guru according to what you need.
WHO IS QUALIFIED FOR VEDANTA?
Vedanta is sacred knowledge handed over to us by the rishis across generations and countless gurus.
The one who wants everything that life can offer but still feels ‘something is missing’ is the right candidate for Vedanta. Vedanta is for a thinking person not a blind believer.
HOW CAN VEDANTA HELP ME?
You think you are insecure. In the vision of Vedanta, you are secure.
You feel that ‘you are not good enough.’ In the vision of Vedanta, you are wholeness.
You think that ‘you are in the process of becoming better and improving yourself.’ In the vision of Vedanta you cannot be improved upon. Discovering the Atma to be wholeness frees you from inadequacy and sorrow for good.
IF I DISCOVER THE ATMA AS WHOLENESS, WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
Nothing earth shattering!
You will see that you are the wholeness you seek, in all situations, in all places and all times. With your insecurities going away, you will also find that you have the ability to handle anything in life cheerfully.
You will discover yourself as wholeness and joy which will radiate to all by your being andpresence.
You celebrate all of life and continue to live a life of contribution.
You would have discovered that you have accomplished by seeing that you were the accomplished.
You will be more objective, joyful and free from conflict.
You will welcome every situation and not resist life.
Your heart will expand like space to accommodate everything and everyone.
You will flow like the water, yourself a source of nourishment, nurturing, caring and loving for all you meet.
You will be solid, stable and unshakeable like the earth despite the many storms of life
You will be like fire where you will burn away all ideas about yourself that you are not.
You will be like the air that moves with enthusiasm and does not get stuck or limited by anything.
WHY VEDANTA AND NOT ANY OTHER APPROACH OR METHOD IN SPIRITUALITY?
Vedanta is about discovery of the Atma, I as wholeness.
Most of the methods in spirituality are to have a healthy and better body, improved mind or powerful experiences. While, all these approaches and methods are helpful and can be used as appropriate, in the vision of Vedanta, you in your true nature cannot be better than the wholeness that you already are.
You as consciousness cannot be improved upon.
In fact, all forms and approaches are based on the consciousness that is you.
Vedanta helps you discover that you are the fullness you seek.