Swami Dayananda Saraswati is a traditional teacher of Vedanta, the teaching og the Knowledge of Self found in the Upanisads at the end of the Veda. In addition to giving public talks, Swami Dayananda conducts comprehensive residential courses in Vedanta and sanskrit from time to time, training other teachers to carry on the tradition of teaching , swamji teaches his courses in English but uses texts printed in the original Sanskrit. He introduces and defines, as needed, technical Sanskrit words, helpful in grasping the subject matter, and frequently redefines them until they become familiar. This book is based on the opening talks given by Swami Dayananda at the start of a 3-year course in November 1979, at Piercy, California. The first text studied at this course was Tattvabodha, a simple textbook of definitions, comprising an outline of Vedanta. Swamiji’s introductory talks were aimed at helping the new students discover the nature of the fundamentals human problem. Barbara Thornton compiled, abridged, and edited the talks, Laurel Elkjer, Mahadevan Embrathiry, Diane Piskulic and Ruth Greenfeld addicted in editorial review and proofreading.
We spend all our lives in the pursuit of varied pleasures, wealth and fame expecting these will give us total fulfillment. Yet , each moment of joy is only that: momentary, showing up the rest of our lives to be unsatisfying, somehow lacking and incomplete. On the other hand, Vedanta, the body of knowledge found at the end of the Veda, asserts with breathtaking boldness that one’s true nature is completeness and limitlessness. Vedanta also promises that moksa, liberation from all forms of limitations that seem to bind a human being, is possible here and now.
In this lucid, lively introduction to Vedanta, Swami Dayananda shows how man’s constant struggle to overcome these limitations through the ceaseless pursuit of security and pleasure are pre-destined to failure for the simple reason that they are misdirected; they stem from a failure in understanding the real nature of the fundamental problem itself. All effort howsoever great or unremitting being limited, the result of such effort is also bound to be equally limited, inadequate. The road to freedom from limitation, then can scarcely lie that way indeed, asserts Vedanta, it is only to be found in the correct knowledge of one’s true nature as absolute. This vital first step, a clear understanding of man’s fundamental problem of ignorance and error about his real nature is what this book is all about.
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