9 episodes

Swami Tattwamayananda’s exposition of the TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD was given at the Lake Tahoe Retreat run by the Vedanta Society of Northern California, San Francisco (founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1900) from July 27, 2019, to August 4, 2019, in a series of 9 lectures.

The Taittiriya Upanisad comprise the 7th, 8th, and 9th chapters of the larger Taittiriya Aranyaka that belongs to the Yajur Veda tradition. The Upanishad contains 31 anuvakas (lessons): 12 in the Siksa-valli, 9 in the Ananda-valli, and 10 in the Bhrigu-valli. Sri Shankaracharya’s (788-820 CE) commented on the Taittiriya Upanishad and “the fact that he cited from it 147 times in his Brahma-Sutra-Bhashya speaks volumes for its authoritativeness.” (Sarvananda, Taittiriyopanishad 5)

Before Sri Shankaracharya, the idea of Advaita or nondualistic philosophy existed because it is as old as Rig Veda itself, but the formulation of a complete and compact philosophical structure, expounding its metaphysics, ontology, cosmology, logic, and epistemology, was entirely his contribution.

Swami Tattwamayananda, currently the Minister of the Vedanta Society of Northern California, San Francisco, (originally founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1900) served in various centers of the Ramakrishna Order in India as editor, publisher, and teacher of Sanskrit, Advaitic texts such as Sri Shankaracharya's commentaries on the 'Prasthanatraya' (the fundamental Sanskrit texts of Vedanta philosophy), Buddhism and Indian philosophy. He underwent traditional training in Hindu scriptures, Sanskrit, Vedic and Vedantic literature for many years, from his early days. Before coming to the United States in January 2012 he was teaching Sanskrit, Vedantic scriptures and Indian philosophy at the Training center in Belur Math, the institution that trains the monks of the Ramakrishna Order at the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkata, India. Apart from his traditional education, the Swami has also received modern University education in English literature, psychology, European history, and Western philosophy. He is frequently invited for lectures on Yoga, Vedanta, and traditional Hindu scriptures and for participating in interfaith dialogues.

For more:
Web: www.sfvedanta.org
Livestream: https://livestream.com/sfvedanta
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sfvedanta
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SFVedanta

All Original Content © Vedanta Society of Northern California

Works Cited:
Sarvananda, Swami. Taittiriyopanishad. Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai-4, 2015.

Taittiriya Upanishad Vedanta Society, San Francisco

    • Spirituality

Swami Tattwamayananda’s exposition of the TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD was given at the Lake Tahoe Retreat run by the Vedanta Society of Northern California, San Francisco (founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1900) from July 27, 2019, to August 4, 2019, in a series of 9 lectures.

The Taittiriya Upanisad comprise the 7th, 8th, and 9th chapters of the larger Taittiriya Aranyaka that belongs to the Yajur Veda tradition. The Upanishad contains 31 anuvakas (lessons): 12 in the Siksa-valli, 9 in the Ananda-valli, and 10 in the Bhrigu-valli. Sri Shankaracharya’s (788-820 CE) commented on the Taittiriya Upanishad and “the fact that he cited from it 147 times in his Brahma-Sutra-Bhashya speaks volumes for its authoritativeness.” (Sarvananda, Taittiriyopanishad 5)

Before Sri Shankaracharya, the idea of Advaita or nondualistic philosophy existed because it is as old as Rig Veda itself, but the formulation of a complete and compact philosophical structure, expounding its metaphysics, ontology, cosmology, logic, and epistemology, was entirely his contribution.

Swami Tattwamayananda, currently the Minister of the Vedanta Society of Northern California, San Francisco, (originally founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1900) served in various centers of the Ramakrishna Order in India as editor, publisher, and teacher of Sanskrit, Advaitic texts such as Sri Shankaracharya's commentaries on the 'Prasthanatraya' (the fundamental Sanskrit texts of Vedanta philosophy), Buddhism and Indian philosophy. He underwent traditional training in Hindu scriptures, Sanskrit, Vedic and Vedantic literature for many years, from his early days. Before coming to the United States in January 2012 he was teaching Sanskrit, Vedantic scriptures and Indian philosophy at the Training center in Belur Math, the institution that trains the monks of the Ramakrishna Order at the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkata, India. Apart from his traditional education, the Swami has also received modern University education in English literature, psychology, European history, and Western philosophy. He is frequently invited for lectures on Yoga, Vedanta, and traditional Hindu scriptures and for participating in interfaith dialogues.

For more:
Web: www.sfvedanta.org
Livestream: https://livestream.com/sfvedanta
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sfvedanta
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SFVedanta

All Original Content © Vedanta Society of Northern California

Works Cited:
Sarvananda, Swami. Taittiriyopanishad. Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai-4, 2015.

    9 – Summary Part 2 | Swami Tattwamayananda

    9 – Summary Part 2 | Swami Tattwamayananda

    This discourse was given on August 4, 2019 at the Lake Tahoe Retreat run by the Vedanta Society of Northern California by Swami Tattwamayananda.

    -The knower of Brahman fears nothing. Swami Trigunatitananda is an example. It is not recklessness.
    -When we practice tapas, concentration and austerity, the external truth is opened in scientific investigation and spiritual truths are opened when we practice inward concentration.
    -Verses III.1 – III.5 illustrate Bhrigu’s journey to spiritual realization from gross to subtle.

    • 1 hr 23 min
    8 – Summary Part 1 | Swami Tattwamayananda

    8 – Summary Part 1 | Swami Tattwamayananda

    This discourse was given on August 3, 2019 at the Lake Tahoe Retreat run by the Vedanta Society of Northern California by Swami Tattwamayananda.

    -The Siksha-Valli contains various Upasanas.
    -Verse I.9 explains how to interact with all so that we will not disrupt the invisible harmonizing principle.
    -Verse I.11 is a convocation address for all graduating students, which teaches how to live life keeping these high ideals in mind.
    -When in doubt about conduct, we should consult the wise elders in our community because correct action varies according to place, time, and other factors.
    -Verse II.1 explains the nature of Brahman as satyam, existence, jnanam, knowledge, and anantam, infinity.
    -Verse II.7 explains that we become established in fearlessness, abhayam, when we are established in Ananda-svarupta, our true blissful nature.
    -There is a distinction between Ananda-maya, being full of bliss and Ananda-svarupa, our true nature of bliss.

    • 1 hr 32 min
    7 - Abhayam: Fearlessness | Swami Tattwamayananda

    7 - Abhayam: Fearlessness | Swami Tattwamayananda

    Verses: II.7, II.8, II.6. This discourse was given on August 2, 2019 at the Lake Tahoe Retreat run by the Vedanta Society of Northern California by Swami Tattwamayananda.
    -asat in the context of Verse II.7 means avyakrta, the state before differentiation into name and form.
    -Four forms of abhava, non-existence, from Nyaya philosophy are explained.
    -Spiritual life is a journey from many to one. When we no longer feel difference, there is no fear and we experience Ananda in the cave of the heart.
    -Three examples of saints who had experienced this oneness from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna are given. Some saints keep some ego of the teacher in order to teach mankind.
    -Without this Ananda, our life is driven by fear.
    -Shankaracharya says that those who take diversity to be the ultimate principle fight with each other but the Advaitin does not have a quarrel with anybody.
    -Verse II.8 explains that there is an invisible regulator, sakshi, that is aware and not involved but regulates the whole universe’s mutual coherence.
    -Verse II.6 explains creation in terms of a creator that has no desire to create because he is already perfect. After creation, he entered into creation and became one with it.
    -At the experience level, advaitins experience that Brahman exists in everything, and everything exists in Brahman.
    -The highest devotee, according to the Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad Gita Verse 12.8 sees God in everything and everything in God.
    -It is this experience of Ananda that grants Abhayam, complete fearlessness. Without it, our life is often driven by the fear of the loss of things that are inherently impermanent and changing.
    -Fear and anxiety can inspire us to work with a higher motive, this is not a negative feeling of wretchedness but there is joy in a higher pursuit. Buddha’s life is an example.
    -Asat as referred to in the Chandogya Upanishad should be understood in a different way than in Verse II.7, as it is brought up only to be refuted.
    -There is an inherent system in the universe which goes beyond himsa and ahimsa. The Bhagavad Gita gives a balanced picture of spirituality.
    -Vedanta does not propose that the world can be made perfect. A reply is given to a question from an agnostic.

    • 1 hr 30 min
    6 - Shraddha: Spiritual Evolution through Work Performed with a Sense of Sanctity | Swami Tattwamayananda

    6 - Shraddha: Spiritual Evolution through Work Performed with a Sense of Sanctity | Swami Tattwamayananda

    Verses: II.1, I.9. This discourse was given on August 1, 2019 at the Lake Tahoe Retreat run by the Vedanta Society of Northern California by Swami Tattwamayananda.
    -There are direct and indirect approaches to explaining Brahman. In the direct approach, Brahman is explained from the highest perspective. In the direct approach, the highest is explained in connection with what is already known. Both approaches can only give an approximate explanation.
    -In Verse II.1, Brahman is described as satyam, existence, jnanam, knowledge, and anantam, infinity. It is existence. The description jnanam, means it is conscious so it rules out the possibility of a mere material reality. The description anantam means infinity which rules out the possibility of a limited perception. Rather, it is the essence of all perception.
    -The method of Via Negativa of Meister Eckhart, and the seventh verse of the Mandukya Upanishad removes all possible adjectives for Brahman, what is left out is the Reality.
    -Brahman is beyond the five methods of verbalization.
    -Brahman is not something manufactured, attained, refined, or as a result of change.
    -A man is told to count 10 people. He can only count 9 because he is concentrated on the process of counting. He always forgets to count himself. In the same way, we often fail to recognize our true nature and instead identify with the external world.
    -Maya does not exist Absolutely but what we know intellectually may not be accepted by our mind.
    -Maya functions through the power of Avarana Shakti, concealment, and Vikshepa Shakti, projection of the false.
    -The 7 disciplines for realization of Brahman are (1) Viveka – discrimination between the unchanging and the changing, artha and kama must be practiced with dharma with an eye towards moksha (2) Vairagya – re-prioritization towards the longer lasting, real success means realizing the limitations of material success (3) 6 virtues of restraining the senses (4) mumukshuttvam – higher transcendental goal (5) shravana’ (श्रवण), feeding the mind with healthy food (6) `manana’ (मनन), recollection and thought (7) `nididhyasana’ (निदिध्यासन), internalization.
    -The story of Satyakama and Gautama from the Chandogya Upanishad is narrated to explain how the mind evolves and becomes our own spiritual guide.
    -When we work with a sense of sanctity and sense (rtam, dharma, satyam), our mind becomes refined and nature because an open book and we evolve.
    -Many ordinary people are able to work with great Shraddha and become spiritually evolved. It is the quality of the mind that matters most in work. Perfectionism is only a small part of the sense of sanctity.
    -Three kinds of karma (prarabdha, sanchita, agami) are explained and the dynamics of reincarnation is explained.
    -Your best friend is happy to help you when you are in trouble, but is also happy when you are happy.
    -Creative geniuses can get a glimpse of transcendental reality, but yogis are able to stay at that level.
    -Radical change is possible when we surrender to God.

    • 1 hr 34 min
    5 - Direct and Indirect Methods of Explaining the Unexplainable Brahman | Swami Tattwamayananda

    5 - Direct and Indirect Methods of Explaining the Unexplainable Brahman | Swami Tattwamayananda

    Verses: I.9, II.1. This discourse was given on July 31, 2019 at the Lake Tahoe Retreat run by the Vedanta Society of Northern California by Swami Tattwamayananda.
    -Rtam, Satyam, and Dharma are explained.
    -Svadhyaya and Pravacana are explained.
    -Vedanta allows us to see all of the world’s traditions from a universal perspective. We expand beyond our immediate interests, needs, and physical body. Our svadharma helps all people.
    -The four ashramas are reviewed. The importance of learning to retire gracefully is emphasized. 70% of ancient sages were retired householders who knew how to work not out of compulsion.
    -An indirect way of explaining Brahman, which cannot be explained, is typified by Varuna’s successive instructions relating the ultimate reality to that which we normally understand.
    -The direct method (swarupa lakshana) method of explaining Brahman, is typified by the discussion between King Janaka and Yajnavaklya in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. The question is what serves as light for a man and the student is led to understand that the sun, the moon, fire, sound, and the mind all get their light from the Atma, the light of all lights which is self-revealed.
    -The concept of aparoksha anubhuti, non-indirect experience, is clearly explained in reference to Brahman.
    -Brahman is beyond the six changes that characterize all entities within time, space, and causation.
    -Brahman is not the effect of any cause. It is not manufactured, not attained, not the result of a process of refrainment, nor through a process of change. It is de-hypnotization through removal of obstacles. It is returning to our own home.
    -Two approaches to realization are explained: (1) immediate experience through listening once due to extreme spiritual fitness, (2) 7 disciplines of practice that allow us to gradually increase our fitness.
    -Life becomes an enjoyable spiritual pilgrimage concentrating on a higher spiritual goal.
    -Thoreau is cited as an example of a practitioner of tapa, austerity.

    • 1 hr 25 min
    4 - The Science of Inner Bliss (Ananda) and Living a Sacred Life | Swami Tattwamayananda

    4 - The Science of Inner Bliss (Ananda) and Living a Sacred Life | Swami Tattwamayananda

    Verses: III.6, II.8, I.11, I.9. This discourse was given on July 30, 2019 at the Lake Tahoe Retreat run by the Vedanta Society of Northern California by Swami Tattwamayananda.
    -Ananda: attaining what ought to have been attained; having done what ought to have been done.
    -Ananda: the science of inner bliss.
    -The enjoyment of good health and wealth is very small in comparison to the enjoyment of transcendental bliss.
    -Transcendental bliss allows spiritual seekers like Prahlada and the Russian pilgrim in the Way of the Pilgrim to see every day as a holy day and handle all difficulties in the world.
    -Lesson I.11 is a convocation address for students who are to begin living with these transcendental ideas in life. (1) Imbibe what is good from your teachers (2) Respect and serve those who are even more exalted than your teachers (3) Preserve the tradition so that you are spiritually and culturally enriched. (4) Your actions towards your elders are a sacred act.
    -Lesson I.9 explains that we most always hold to Rtam, doing what which ought to be done and distinguishing between right and wrong. This Rtam preserves the whole universe.
    -Dharma is this Rtam in practice: it protects and sustains the universe.
    -Satyam is the philosophical dimension of rtam.
    -Tapas is intense concentration on your ideal, without which nothing can be achieved.
    -Svadhyaya and Pravacana are learning the scriptures and transmitting the scriptures.
    -Sama and Dama is self-restraint, which turns our mind into our tranquil friend, rather than our enemy.
    -The guest must be honored. A guest is one who comes to your home without prior notice or invitation.

    • 1 hr 29 min

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