Message from Annapurna Sarada

Durga_Logo_ovalA Living Vedanta

Dear Friends,
SRV Associations, a sangha intent on sadhana and service, has just completed its 17th year.  As 2011 begins, a few of us have taken stock of what SRV offers and come up with a list of 15 projects and activities (see list) that we are continuously offering.  In this coming year a whole new effort is underway to make the teachings of Vedanta and our Ideals, so lovingly gathered, synthesized, and presented by Babaji, ever more accessible to larger numbers of seekers.  

Swami Vivekananda, during one of his several visits to the U.S. at the close of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, stated that westerners would have to teach westerners the Vedanta.  This could not happen initially, for the Vedanta is a vast treasure house of philosophical knowledge and revealed Truth.  It is subtle and multifaceted,  and requires assimilation and realization.  To attempt to teach Vedanta to others before one has realized very much of it only leads to misunderstanding, compromise, and gross oversimplifications.  But in order for Vedanta to fully take root in the West, it must be taught by qualified westerners.  And where is that happening?

SRV is not alone in this effort, but SRV Associations is unique in the breadth of Knowledge being transmitted so lavishly to householders and non-monastics.  There are some who say that westerners are not really ready for the philosophical teachings of Vedanta.  We will have to qualify ourselves first in the yogas of devotion and karma.  That is probably true of most of humanity.  Yet, Swami Vivekananda was adamant about giving the highest Truth out first so that aspirants would have the necessary foreknowledge that Atman/Brahman is our true nature and the only Reality.  But simply hearing “Tat tvam asi,” That thou art, or asking oneself, “Who am I?”  without the philosophical tools to reason it out, leaves an enormous gap in any seeker’s ability to bridge the gulf between ignorance and Knowledge.   Relying on devotion, service, and even meditation, without nurturing an appetite for philosophical systems, short-circuits the potential of Vedanta in the West.  Lack of this philosophical grounding renders parents unable to raise children in the fullness of the dharma, a path which prevents unnecessary suffering and bestows balance and harmony on society.  Thus, like Swamiji advised for the poor and oppressed in India,  that is, educate them and they will solve their own problems, similarly, give us Americans Jnana yoga, Nondual philosophy, and Yoga psychology and we will generate a living Vedantic presence here in the West.

Our own Babaji Bob Kindler, and Lex Hixon before him, have gone to great lengths and continue to make every effort to help seekers create samskaras for spiritual practice, philosophical Knowledge, and single-minded devotion to a high spiritual Ideal.  The form of ritual worship in SRV, our devotional music, the synthesis of Vedanta’s treasure house of wisdom in the form of some 200 teaching charts, our published books, the style of our retreats  — all this is a kind of western lava tube through which the illuminating force of Vedanta and the Ramakrishna lineage is now flowing.  Om