Swami Viditatmananda is one of the most respected teachers of Advaita Vedanta in India. He is considered to be a Mahatma in the true sense of the word. A senior disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati (also referred to as Pujya Swamiji by his followers), he expounds self knowledge with a simplicity and directness that makes it easy to assimilate. Having lived and worked in the United States prior to becoming a renunciate, Swami Viditatmananda is familiar with the lifestyles in both, India and the West. With his insight into both cultures, he reaches out to everyone with equal ease. The directness of his teachings, the depth of his scholarship, and his loving nature has created a large following of students in India and the United States.
It was in the late 1970s that Swami Viditatmananda, working as an engineer in New York, met his guru, Swami Dayananda Saraswati. So impressed was he by his guru’s teachings, that he gave up his job and studied the complete shastras and the Sanskrit language with Pujya Swamiji in Bombay for three years. Following that period of intense studying of scriptures, his guru asked him to return to his native Gujarat and teach Vedanta. Since then he has been extremely active, teaching, writing books, and preparing Pujya Swamiji’s words for publication.
He has also established the Tatvatirtha Ashrama, a residential school situated on the western outskirts of Ahmedabad. Under the banner of Adhyatma Vidya Mandir, Swami Viditatmananda conducts various programs to disseminate the knowledge of the scriptures. In addition to daily classes in Gujarati and English, he travels all over Gujarat, giving public lectures, and advanced classes on the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. He also conducts management seminars with a view of showing the relevance of Vedanta in management. Today, he is referred to as the “Pride of Gujarat.”
Swami Viditatmananda presents seemingly complex issues related to one’s existence with humor, and a practical point of view. He explains,“One mistakenly blames oneself and the world for our problems and sorrow. In fact the world merely acts as a trigger, reminding us that problems are caused by self-ignorance alone. Just as on waking up from a dream one does not chide oneself about the events in the dream, similarly upon learning from a teacher who is well schooled in the shastras, one discovers freedom from all sense of limitations and shortcomings. In reality all problems are limited to the external cover of body, mind, and relationships, and I am inherently free from it. In essence I cease to mix up actor with the roles. This is the discovery of unlimited joy.”
Today, his teachings have become well known in Gujarat and beyond. Every spring or summer, Swami Viditatmananda visits the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Saylorsburg, Pa., as the resident acharya. During his stay in the United States, he often travels to other parts of the country giving discourses.
The trip to San Francisco Bay Area, beginning June 19, is one such visit he has been undertaking for public lectures and retreats every year, for more than a dozen years. His talks this year will cover Chapter Four of the Bhagvad Gita, in which lord Krishna advices that knowledge alone ultimately leads to freedom from sorrow.
Monday-Thursday, June 19-22, 7-8:30 p.m. Jain Center, 722 S. Main St., Milpitas. (408) 733-3794, (650) 269-5793. email@example.com. www.arshavidyacenter.org