From: Chicago, USA,
Posting: Chinmaya Saket – Dallas, Texas
“The three rarest things in life are a human birth, the desire for liberation, and the mentorship of a man of realization. Typically these are attained by the highly qualified – but by the overflowing grace of Pujya Gurudev and Pujya Guruji, all three are openly given to even unqualified students like me in the Vedanta Course. Out of infinite compassion, they hand out the secret treasure of Upanishadic knowledge freely to all who are interested. The greatness of this Guru-Shishya-Parampara is alive in very few places today, but it shines most vibrantly here in Sandeepany Sadhanalaya. Coming from America, I was accustomed to living in an extremely materialistic and self-conscious culture – so it was a strange adjustment to the austere culture based around knowledge of the consciousness, the Self. But after the adjustment I understood that there is no rest or joy in any other lifestyle, and now there’s no turning back.”
From: Tekumatla, Warangal, Telangana (AP)
Posting: Kareemnagar, Telangana (AP)
“My graduation was in Telegu and the medium of instruction in Sandeepany was English so it was a little bit difficult to adjust, but with Acharyaji’s guidance and with the help of co-students, it became easy to continue. I also never spoke in public before and thus had enough stage fear to deal with. With practice, now I feel more confident addressing an audience and that too, about the highest teaching. Sandeepany gave me the knowledge by which I can forever act fearlessly under any situation. Only by knowing that my nature is happiness, can I spread the same happiness to each and every one.”
Jhansi Rani Elumalai
From: Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu
Posting: Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu
“When I joined the course, I felt an initial freedom from my past world (work pressure, etc.) but it didn’t last long. I noticed mind racing here and there as I tried to keep up with my Sanskrit studies as well as the Vedanta classes which were taught in English. I felt like everything was just going over my head. Despite this, I always kept one of Acharyaji’s teachings in mind – “Knowledge is the only way to gain moksa. In the beginning, the journey may seem like poison but in the end it is like nectar.” Swamiji’s words inspired me throughout the course to do my absolute best and to have faith in God. I now finally feel that freedom within me.”
From: Thane, Maharashtra
“There were no surprises when I came here.” Kulkarni says. Before the वेदान्त course, he was attending Jnana yajnas and study groups so he was already familiar with Chinmaya Mission.
What did he do to prepare? Before starting the course, he already practiced waking up early.
His advice to Sandeepany students:
- Follow Swamiji’s instructions 100%.
- Whatever is provided as food, eat it without any complaints. Don’t go hungry and don’t eat too much.
- Be careful and drink only filtered water.
- Have a nap after lunch so that you are fresh for the next set of classes.
- And have the zest to complete the course SUCCESSFULLY to your MAXIMUM ability.
As a result, in the two years of study, he hasn’t missed a single class nor had a single illness. “I haven’t found anything difficult in the course.”
As far as his sadhana, he would re-write the shlokas and mantras along with their meanings to keep his mind in the teaching.
From: Paris, France
“Preparation is a big plus. Before I came to Sandeepany, I took a class on ‘Introduction to Spirituality’ and a few classes in Sanskrit so I knew how to read the alphabet before I came and that made it easier for me.”
What was it like when you came to Sandeepany?
“Before I was working 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. My lifestyle in Paris was very Rajasic and all of a sudden, when I came to Sandeepany, all my activities stopped. My way of life changed. I had to learn a new identity and I knew nobody. I was afraid because I might be judged because I’m foreigner. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to adapt. Would they accept me?”
It turned out that everyone accepted him just as he was. He did face some challenges like the food, weather and lifestyle changes but then everything was taken care of and he was able to focus on his studies.
“I was lost in a quest. I didn’t know where I could find answers and now I found answers which will be with me for the rest of my life. This is a huge turning point for me.”
From: London, UK
Posting: London, UK
Starting from Bala Vihar, Chinmaya Mission was already part of her life. She also set out to do the Youth Empowerment Program where her quest for the Truth grew deeper but it was never exclusively what she was pursuing so she came to the Vedanta course.
“Getting used to the ashram wasn’t a big deal, it was just like being in another home and everyone is like family. There will be things that you won’t foresee but you just keep going and remember why you came. Be full of enthusiasm and if you have the right resolve then nothing will be a problem.”
From: Goa, Maharashtra
Posting: Vasco, Goa
“Being a participant, a Chyk, a Yuvaveer, a sevak…everything is but a preparation for the study. One would think having stayed here at the ashram 2 yrs prior to the course would make it easier to slip into the course schedule… but it’s not that easy unless you have trained your mind to slowly ease into routine, firmly avoiding all distractions. It was only thanks to the Gurukul method of teaching, and a compassionate Acharya that the transition came about slowly but surely. The knowledge of the scriptures, thanks to the Guru’s grace, makes one realise the depth of the Master’s Vision, His every action. Having taken a dip into the scriptures you can’t possibly not meet Gurudev!”
“Prior to attending the course, I had attended lectures on Panchadasi as a day scholar. When I decided I wanted to join the course as a residential student, I had no idea about what ashram life would be like….but that was completely okay because I found what I was looking for. Being away from home was not that difficult for me as I was already accustomed to travelling globally throughout my life. It taught me not to expect anything and not to keep any expectations either. This allowed me to to focus on the teachings and the teaching alone during the course. Healthwise, I did what I could manage without taking too much strain physically. I have only the highest gratitude to Pujya Acharyaji without whom I couldn’t have successfully done the course. I hope that I can cherish this knowledge from now on through the practice of sadhana.”