Resource Library
Awakening Teachings

Our Resource Library provides materials for interest, inspiration and study in the wisdom of vedanta.

These Awakening resources are for those with experience in spiritual practice who are seeking to absorb deeper aspects of the mystery of existence and its divinity.

Written pieces
The written pieces are all transcribed extracts from talks Derek has personally given and other writings he  has done.

Audio recordings
The audio recordings are all from satsang sessions delivered by Derek in various locations over recent years. 

Vedanta texts
The traditional texts listed are the recommended works for this awakening level of exploration.

Also available are the Foundation Teachings and the Realisation Teachings emphasising differing  elements of spiritual development.


Written Pieces

These short articles describe inspiring and illuminating aspects of the Vedanta teaching. They are for the intelligence in you that is motivated to explore the higher spiritual nature of what you are and what this world is.

The search for the higher Self

What is this experience that we call Life? How grand it is, how wondrous, how extraordinary, how incredible! Look at it – people, trees, stars, vast tracts of time, culture, societies, relationship, birth, death. What an incredible thing all this is.

To be caught up in the small issues of the moment is perfectly understandable. We all have to live a practical life. But cast your mind beyond those immediate concerns and consider the grandeur of your existence. What is this experience called life? The shocking recognition is, we don’t know! This is a remarkable thing. We don’t know the purpose or the reason for our own existence.

Because we do not know, another huge force moves in humanity – curiosity. We are curious to discover what this is. It’s a beautiful restlessness. There’s a vibrant interest in trying to discover and explore. And what of the focus of that exploration? Most people are striving for some kind of change, some kind of development in various ways, usually to improve pleasure, happiness or a sense of achievement. Where do you look to gain this satisfaction? In what direction should this dynamic of curiosity be targeted?

There is a sentence in The Upanishads which is incredibly revealing:

“The good is one thing; the pleasant is quite another. Both of these, serving different needs, seize a person. It goes well for the one who takes the good. The one who does not falls from the aim of life.”

This little piece of poetry is pointing out a very simple fact, trying to satisfy this curiosity with sensory inputs doesn’t work. ‘The pleasant’ means stimulating the senses with pleasing activities. Nothing wrong with pleasure, of course not, but you will know, through your experience, that saturating our lives with sensory pleasures in the hope that that will bring enduring satisfaction is a blind alley. This Upanishad is saying, instead of doing that, look for the good, the ‘good’ means higher truth. Your curiosity is to know what your own higher truth is. To spend time doing that, the Upanishadboldly says, is the aim of this human life. Now that is quite a remarkable thing. That curiosity in us to find out, matures into the desire for the higher truth of ourselves. So, if that’s true, where do you look?

The second quote I want to give you is also from The Upanishads and it says:

“The knower of Brahman finds him hidden in the cave of the heart and attains the highest and is satisfied.”

These statements are so simple but in these words is a magnificent understanding. The heart means the innerness of this Being, the inside-ness of my own experience. The word ‘cave’ is pointing to something inner, something special, something central. Sometimes caves can be a little unwelcoming so, with all respect, I would like to change this sentence so it says, ‘The knower of Brahman is found in the temple of the heart’, the innerness of yourself.

Now we have a very special piece of information. This desire for the higher truth of ourselves is discoverable in the inner temple of our heart. There is now a way, an intelligence, that suggests, guides and encourages a path. From this we can conclude the essential essence of Vedanta which we’re looking for, is our own innermost essence. There’s a word for that called ‘Swarupa’. Now we have a very concrete position. What we’re doing is seeking the inner essence of ourselves – Swarupa.

This third reference from The Upanishads says this:

“The one who knows Brahman becomes Brahman, crosses beyond sorrow and is delivered from the knotted cord of the heart.”

The one who knows Brahman.” Brahman, the unknowable, the vastness of everything. The word ‘knows’ is the key, the one who knows becomes what they know. In other words, the one who knows their own essence, their Swarupa, becomes and is, that essence, through the knowing of it.

Right now, your inner essence is clearly present, otherwise you wouldn’t exist, but you don’t know what it is. If we come to know what it is, then the non-knowing disappears and here we are, satisfied, not finished in the journey of what’s possible in the unknown, but the summit of what’s knowable in this human experience. Now it looks more do-able. It’s not so unreachable ambiguous or mysterious any more. We are seeking to know the Swarupa of ourselves, this is the task.

Vedanta describes exactly how you do that, in three words: sravana, manana, nididhyasana. It means that to know this Swarupa, we must receive the teachings, hear them, read about them, know what they are, have them passing through our senses and into our mind. That’s the sravana.

Then the manana means to ponder, reflect and consider what it is that you’ve heard. Think about it, examine it, ask questions about it, debate it in your own mind, ponder its mysteries, try to come to a clearer understanding of what it is that is being pointed at.

And then nididhyasana means to meditate on that which you have understood, bring it into reality rather than it being an idea in the mind. Sensing it, discovering it in the real world, seeing it as you walk about the place. Feeling it to be true, realising it and actualising it. So those three words are very special, really solid, a grounded, architectural scaffolding for sadhana.

Hear it, reflect and think about it, discover it in life. That is the answer to the curiosity. Vedanta is its means.

Can you speak about karma?

Q: I would be grateful if you could speak a bit more about our coming into the world with past karma.

A: There you sit asking this question. Here I am answering it. My name’s Derek, your name is something else, we are different units of intelligence, perceiving and expressing. You have a certain set-up to your personality and your character. You are recognisable for that. You have a certain set of attitudes and desires, likes, dislikes and motivations. You are recognisable for that. The other people in this room have motivations in them, a style of character that we can identify and recognise. This individuality of thought and expression has been seeded by the karma of the past. You are born into this life, carrying those seeds. They came from the past and they have formed the underlying characteristics of your mind. Your life is going to be shaped by the style of your mind, which itself has been shaped by a previous life in a previous place.

Similarly, for me. Here’s Derek. From where did he come? Out of the blue? No. From some blank sheet? No. Nothing arises like that, if it did there would be uniformity, we’d all be the same and demonstrably that is not true. Something has preceded Derek. Something has preceded you. You can do nothing about that. What you have inherited can’t be changed. Same with everyone in the room. We are what we are in the moment it happens.

Now, the karmic process is not stopping. Life happens. The seeding within you then meets the conditions of the garden of life. The impact of those conditions, experiences, encounters effect the flowering of the new growth. It hasn’t come to a finish and it is not linear and mechanical. That which happens in this life is going to evolve the flower and then seed some future state. All the actions that take place in this life have an impact and leave a legacy, an essence, which moves forward through a constant dynamic of influence and change, emerging beyond death as a future existence. Biologists would call that DNA. We call the same conditioning process karma. It’s the same idea, just like the tree drops an acorn and the acorn grows into a particular style of oak tree because of what’s in the seed. Similarly, you began, from your birth in this life, with content, with seeding from previous karma.

Karma is misunderstood. It is not restricted to events. Karma means your own instincts, your own motivations; the style of your mind is your karma. People sometimes assume karma means, you know, if I walk across the road, maybe I’ll get knocked down by a car, maybe I won’t. That’s actions. That’s a small understanding of karma. A much more relevant, meaningful understanding is the style of my mind, the opportunities and the restrictions that are there, have been inherited and the wisest course is to recognise that fact, respond to that initiative, use your insight and your intelligence, do something about the tendencies in you and point them towards the benevolent, the altruistic, the developmental and the creative. To point them toward your vision of truth. This endeavour will not always be smooth or clear, by no means. But the incentive is, your instinct is. Recognise what it is saying to you. There is a guidance voice encouraging you to use this life positively and productively in the way we’ve been discussing today. To evolve that mind. To align more and more with the light. To overcome the ridiculous waste of time of superficial endeavours that seem pleasant in the moment but just disappear in space. To give some attention in this life to improving the state of your mind so that it dies better than when it started! This is evolution, this is the divine project, this is sadhana and that’s the task. To come to recognise karma as this immediate, active, healthy and nourishing process is thrilling, it’s literally why you are here, the physics of it, it’s the point and purpose of this very moment, to flower, fruit and contribute to divine expression. The world is for that, this life is for that and this is karma.
Extract Bucknell 29.09.18

Spiritual tactics for living

We are all facing a particular set of characteristics as a consequence of our karma. We are experiencing, perceiving and expressing through these dynamics. There is a need to surf the waves of life and achieve an effective route through those currents. With that in mind I have my tactics for living, to offer. A set of five very simple approaches – Accept what comes; Release what goes; Claim the moment; Trust the future and Realise the Self. It is my experience, my observation and my advice that, if those things are properly understood and implemented, they are profound and effective interventions for living through your adventures and sustaining your spiritual goal. I’ll elaborate on each of them.

Accept what comes

Trillions of things are going to happen to you in this life, personally, internally, externally, in the environment and in the wider space. When they happen, whatever they are, there’s nothing you can do to alter that fact. It’s fighting physics to think that you can. So, when something has happened, there and then, the only wise course is to accept it. In other words, don’t deny it and don’t try to change the past, because that is completely impossible. Yet human beings spend so much time evaluating past events and thinking, “I wish”, “What if”, “I wonder”, “How could it be so”, “It’s unfair!” All of that is commentary, fantasy, unnecessarily complicating thought. When the thing’s happened, that event, there in the moment, has to be accepted.

Release what goes

When something changes and leaves us, whatever it is, when something fades, wears out disappears, or is gone, it has actually really gone. ‘Release what goes’ is the companion to ‘Accept what comes’. It’s instantly recognising and accepting change. It’s happened, it’s an event, the situation or thing, whatever it is, has gone. The word “release” is beautiful. Do you notice the tendency in you to cling to the impossible, or to cling to something you can’t have, to cling to that which is no longer there, or to wish for it to come back and worrying about that, expressing grief or longing for those things? This is understandable but it is the suffering of attachment. It’s only intelligent to release something.

Claim the moment

If you just do those two things, Accept and Release, they’re crude on their own. They’re not sophisticated enough, they’re passive, insensitive and weakening. The third thing, ‘Claim the moment’, is where the power and the action is. The freedom space between accept and release is full of rich potential and rich possibility, unencumbered by regret about the past and anxiety about the future. This vibrating moment is the only possible place in which you can act. You cannot act in the past and you cannot act in the future. Only in this moment, now, can you act. I wonder what percentage of mental resources are used in abstract commentary, thinking about the past, thinking about the future, going over and over it, trying to navigate all those meandering pathways of possibilities and reasons. Some of it is purposeful evaluation and necessary planning, and that is alright, that is productive claiming, but aside from that effectiveness most of this noise of dialogue is nothing more than fantasy. Claim the moment is taking action, responding and doing, activity, engagement, getting involved, expressing yourself and taking it on, focussing on the actions not the narrative around the actions. Then the moment is spontaneous and fresh, not repeating the stuck habits of the past or fantasising about the future. It’s a very vital and energetic place to be. There’s a lot of freedom in there, and creativity comes out of that freedom. Nothing is or can be stuck. Claim the moment is creative.

Trust the future

The fourth thing is exhilarating – ‘Trust the future’. The future’s coming, you can be sure of that. The momentum of the physics of life are such that you cannot switch it off. The future is coming, with a power and a rush, whatever you might have to say about it. You can’t fight it. The future doesn’t care what you think, it’s coming and it is full of your destiny. It’s not going to be quiet. It’s going to be busy and active. You’re going to constantly meet things and see things and have things and think things, events will come, ideas will come, problems and opportunities will come, things to resolve will come. It’s all coming, like a great wave.

When I say, ‘Trust the future’, I mean trust that fact that you don’t have to worry about that momentum. You are being carried on a wave into your future. You can allow that to happen and trust it. What you cannot do is be certain about its content or have the future on your terms. That’s what you can’t do. Planning can happen as in ‘Claim the moment’ but the idea that you can infinitely shape the future for it to be as you want it to be is not only naïve, it’s insane. The world is far too dramatic, far too cathartic and exploratory for it to be contained by your frame of reference and if you try to do that, you will absolutely limit your ability to discover and express. Containment is a limiting position, a tense and frustrating position. The future’s coming. You can trust it to materialise and allow it to reveal itself as you intelligently claim the moment. It’s much more natural than you think, much more spontaneous, it doesn’t need so many controls and restrictions only your application.

Realise the Self

Then the fifth point is the most crucial for spirituality. Amidst all of those tasks that I’ve just described, ‘Realise the Self’ means devote resources to the faith and belief that the instinct you have in your heart for God is very important, it needs to thrive and not to be diminished or threatened. If you allow the mundane things of life that come in to threaten it that will go on for year, after year, after year, after decade, after decade. The seeker may say it’s all happening by itself. That is absolutely correct and true but that does not mean you coast along. There’s a spiritual vitality and a presence vibrating in your life, a power that at your discretion you can align with and travel into. Once you connect with that, then your life is spiritually adventurous with the potential for complete fulfilment. This is the territory of the Self. Realise the Self.

Accept what comes

Release what goes

Claim the moment

Trust the future

Realise the Self

There is magic in these tactics, real magic.
Extract Glastonbury 01.03.13

The summit of vedanta

All this is Brahman. If you were a young nun or monk choosing to begin a life of Vedanta in a monastic setting, one of the first things you would be told is, “All this Brahman. It is the summit of Vedanta.” You’d be told that at the beginning. Then you’d spend years, decades, a long time, studying what that meant, meditating, inquiring, speaking with your teacher, working to overcome the pride and the arrogance and the defences in you, opening the heart, breaking down the self-importance of the mind, to come to the realisation of that statement. All this is Brahman.

It is useful to transcribe the word ‘Brahman’ as God. So, I’m saying to you, all this is God. It means the entire thing, existence itself, appearance itself, stuff, the universe, the vastness of space, all the events, all the things, time, history, objects, forces, physics, chemistry, biology, stars. All of it. The whole thing is God; is what God is.

I hope you’re comfortable with the word ‘God’ because, depending on your up-bringing and your training and your education, you may have differing concepts of what God means. You might think God is an objective entity, no. The whole miracle, the whole phenomenon of existence is God. Just consider how majestic that is. I know this is obvious but we miss it. It is a tragedy we miss it and it’s staggering that we do, but day by day, we miss the wonder, the incredible phenomenon, the inexplicable, amazing, glittering beauty of existence itself. Today it’s a glittering day. It’s easy to say it’s a beautiful day. But if it was terrible weather outside, if it was dark and dull and menacing, if we were sitting in the middle of a tremendous storm, if there were snow drifts against the door, there would be some practical threats but I would still say to you, “This is majestic. This is extraordinary. This is wonderful,” because I’m not pointing to an aspect of the day. I’m pointing to existence itself.

What’s happening right now, in this room? Look at it. Air, light, intelligence, communication, the sound of my voice, the senses, hearing, the feel of your skin. This exists and the fact it does is incredible and it bears noticing. If you do notice it more and more, your heart will open more and more to the reality that all this is God. The fact that the universe exists, that this shines, that you are, that this moment is happening here and now in this room is incredible.

When I say to you, “All this is Brahman,” it doesn’t mean what’s out there only. It means what’s in here too because, if there is nothing which is not Brahman, then it also means that the inner forces of you are also God. The consciousness illuminating your life, the intelligence moving in your mind, the motivations and actions arising in your heart, you, your very self, is also Brahman. Is also God. This is the unifying message of Vedanta.

This is the summit. There that’s the highest spiritual wisdom in the world just being conveyed in that sentence. But hold on you may say it doesn’t seem like that. I woke up this morning with a sense of separateness, a sense of containment, a sense of ‘little me’, a sense of hopes and fears and issues and faults and dreams and problems and desires and so forth. A sense that I’m private, in my mind, and out here are lots of other private people, separate from me. It feels like that. It’s all very well to hear the voice of the Guru say, “All this is Brahman.” It doesn’t seem like that to me. Why might that be? It would be like that for the monk and the nun too when they went to the join the monastery, all excited, and gave up their homestead and came to be initiated by the guru into monastic life. All this is Brahman. Great! Great! Now what? Well now sort yourself out to actually realise that truth. And there thereby starts mature spiritual life.

So, the Upanishad said the mind gropes in darkness and I’ve explained that the word darkness means not knowing, ignorance, a mind driven by its attitudes and habits. The only way to remove ignorance is to know something, to turn it around, to have a different perspective. The way to find the different perspective is Vichara, enquiry, looking into the nature of things. This is Vichara, this conversation is Vichara. When we do the meditation, we call it Atma Vichara. It means looking into myself. That’s Vichara, but also these words are Vichara and what you read is Vichara and the way you choose to apply your interest in studying these things and trying to understand them is Vichara. So, if you don’t know something then, of course, you have no opportunity to see the truth of something. You only have the events and you respond and react to the events. If you know something with great depth and insight, not because you made yourself believe it, but because you see it “Yes! Obviously. This is obvious,” then the habits of your mind are bound to change because the futility of them is seen. This is enquiry, this is Vichara, this is insight and the outcome of that is knowing the summit of Vedanta.
Extract Bucknell 29.09.18

How do you deal with all the pain?

Q: How do you deal with personal pain and all the pain in the world?
A: That is a big question, isn’t it? Let’s talk about our own pain first and then about the pain of the world. To be very direct in my answer, the way we deal with our own pain is through courage, endurance and intelligent action that gives us some respite from time to time. Put some little’ fixes’ in to respond to the circumstance and make it bearable. That is the most direct, truthful answer, that and persistence. Endurance is not some kind of hard torture. It is the capacity to pass through things, the capacity to keep going, the capacity to accept, the capacity to go forward. That is what endurance is. But it is also perfectly fine at the same time to do balancing things to offset the pain.

The pain of the world is a bigger question. To put it in context it’s important to realise that humanity has always been painful, not just now, but last century, the century before and throughout history. There has always been ignorance, warfare, tribalism, fighting, selfishness, terror, torture and pain and at the same time there has also always been creativity, beauty, kindness, compassion, glory and love. It is not just now that pain is happening, it is very important to recognize this. It seems that it’s got worse because firstly there are more people in the world, eight billion, whereas, in previous millennia, there were hardly any. Secondly, we know more about all the distant events through communications. Thirdly the technologies are different, so the types of warfare, tribalism and selfishness are different. But the phenomena of selfishness, grabbing and grasping, wanting and intolerance have always been in humanity because they are in nature itself. In animals, plants, star systems, galaxies and the very atom, there is turbulence, there is spinning, the need to align, claim, get and have. There is selfish behaviour taking place across the entirety of nature. That is important to recognize and realise. It is not just now and it is not getting worse. The types of warfare and torture that were prevalent in the Crusades and before that were really terrifying, so it has always been there, but it’s a minority activity, it has a big impact but it is a minority activity. This is the point I really want to make to you. It is a minority here and now.
Wherever you go in the world, whether you live here or in another country, or in somewhere that is under attack, ordinary people that you might come across are almost always good-hearted. Almost always there is the desire in ordinary people to look out for one another and to be generous. If you had some disaster wherever you live, in your road or street, in your neighbourhood, then your neighbours would come together in some way and there would be a real interest, and a very spontaneous one, to try to help one another. This arises out of people and it is very beautiful. When you see acts of terror in the world, it is a desperate tragedy, but you also see the reaction in people across the whole globe, who want to do something, want to support, want to help, want to recover, want to give.

There is turbulence in human beings and in societies, political systems and countries but the intolerance and conflict are in a minority. The majority are generous, good-hearted and wanting to be kind to one another. As you go about your life, most people you come across will be decent to you. Not all, but most, you should notice that as well as noticing the latest terrifying news in the newspaper. And this is true around the world. In developed countries and under-developed countries, in very primitive peoples who have no materialism, there is kindness. In places where there is a lot of wealth, there is also kindness. Kindness is in the majority. Terror and selfishness are also there but kindness is in the majority. If you went into a primary school playground, and you had no control and there were no playground assistants, no teachers, there were just the kids, you would see kindness and some conflict behaviours coming out of beautiful little boys and beautiful little girls. You would see selfishness displayed. It is managed out but it is there and it is in all of us. The animal is in all of us but so is the angelic.

I am suggesting you notice that reality. Horror is not consuming the planet but there are horrible things that take place. Altruism and goodness are endemic on the planet and is more powerful and enduring than any horror. This is a potential unifying force that brings disparate people together to align towards an ambition for something good. We get seduced into thinking everything is falling apart and being destroyed. It is not. There are some bad things happening but there always have been.

It is not your responsibility to heal the world, not your job. It is your responsibility to act in a decent way to your immediate neighbour. If everybody does that across the world – wow!

Do you feel optimistic about the long game? I don’t mean next year; I mean evolutionary time. It is possible that there is some meaning in the suffering of humanity out of which humanity will emerge. I feel certain that humanity will emerge out of suffering in the long game.

Notice that you and all others with a spiritual interest align themselves with the benevolent, the decent, the pure and the good and dis-align themselves from brutality. This transforms your own mind but also has a greater evolutionary meaning. Focus on that and go in that direction throughout your life.
Extract Broadmayne 2015

Gratitude-a secret mantra

I wish to make a gift of a secret mantra to you. It is exposed in the world, completely obvious, but it is secret because its profound meaning is hidden within its own simplicity. It’s a big secret. The mantra is ‘gratitude’. To see the remarkable, generous abundance of this experience of life, mind and existence, to be thankful for its assets and its opportunities, recognising the mysterious benevolence from which this all arises. It is a higher power than anything we can identify in ourselves. This we call divinity. Appreciation is our own inner prayer to this wonder. Even though we do not understand all of its ways, we do intuitively know that there is meaning in all that takes place for us, as we weave through this magnificent tapestry of life.

Gratitude for life. Gratitude for this moment of existence. Gratitude for me and my experiences. Gratitude for my karma. Gratitude for the circumstances that come. Gratitude for the obstacles that arise and my powers of response. Gratitude for endurance. Gratitude for the capacity in me to improve myself and harmonise my mind. Gratitude for Vedanta. Gratitude for the Upanishads. Gratitude for Vichara. Gratitude for sadhana. Gratitude for saints and gurus. Gratitude for texts and teachers. Gratitude for the heritage of sadhaks of which I am part. Gratitude for the shishya in me. Gratitude for the opportunity to come close to the guru. Gratitude for the felt presence of the guru. Gratitude for the fire that moves between us. Gratitude for the signs of the guru that appear in my life. Gratitude for the aspiration that has risen in me. Gratitude for the capacity to succeed. Gratitude for grace. Gratitude for devotion. Gratitude for humour. Gratitude for intelligence. Gratitude for maturity. Gratitude for the ability in me to recognise and praise divinity. Gratitude for devotion. Gratitude for the realisation that when I chant the mantras, I am chanting them for gratitude. Gratitude to God. Gratitude for people. Gratitude for the encounters with people. Gratitude for relationships. Gratitude for the ability to communicate. Gratitude for all the things that surround me. Gratitude for my mind, my ego and my memory. Gratitude for thoughts. Gratitude for skin. Gratitude for touch, for eyes and ears and taste and nose. Gratitude for birth in this realm. Gratitude for this place. Gratitude to be born in a circumstance where profound personal change is possible. Gratitude for the provocations in life that stimulate change. Gratitude for the qualities of faith, self-control and concentration which sustain me. Gratitude for the very presence in my mind of the interest in sadhana. Gratitude for beauty. Gratitude for wonder. Gratitude for breath. Gratitude for Monday mornings and Sunday nights. Gratitude for seasons, years and decades of time. Gratitude for the faith within me that enables me to move forward through all experiences. Gratitude for experiences. Gratitude to be here now and in this. Gratitude for me.

I wish to give you this mantra. Gratitude. I wish to invite you to let it seep deep, deep, deep into your understanding, then into your attitude of mind, then into your responses and behaviour, then into what you see and how you see it, then into your actions, then into your truth. Gratitude for your truth.
Om Namah Shivaya
Extract Glastonbury 140717

Audio Recordings from public events 

Studying Vedanta

What a stimulating thrill it is to undertake and pursue the sadhana of spiritual awakening and Self-realisation through Vedanta. In so doing you are participating in a 5000 year old spiritual heritage. This influence can be felt in the authenticity of the teachings, the inspiration you feel from them and the practice you now undertake.

How to practice the sadhana of Vedanta

One of the great understandings in Vedanta is the method of practice. First you hear the teachings, secondly you ponder upon them, thirdly you meditate and see their truth reflected in your world experience.

I have followed this method myself and have observed it underway in others. I can attest that it is effective but that effectiveness doesn’t start from nowhere. Vedanta assumes there is a certain receptivity in the mind and heart already in place, a capacity to be calm, open and concentrated. This comes about through overcoming the otherwise competing tendencies of selfish desire, attachments, instability and distracting noise in the mind. This refinement is addressed through preliminary sadhanas such as yoga, meditation and similar pursuits, so that a reasonable maturity and inner balance is established.

I have my own additional contribution to make in defining sadhana, which I call 2 tracks. This specifies two complimentary methods to put in place side by side. The first track is karma by which I mean all of the active spiritual practices that are available to us such as, chanting, rituals, service to others, meditation, devotion, prayer, good actions, positive living etc. The second track is jnana. This is the active investigation of the reality, using the mind’s own intelligence to discriminate into the real. It is this knowledge which is the conquering factor. It is this in combination with refining the mind through the karma practices that transforms experience.

Levels of practice
Vedantarama organises its teaching resources and outputs into 3 progressive sections:

Introductory and foundation
These respond to your curiosity, provide accessible food for the questing heart and offer an opportunity to explore the spiritual meaning of life in the foothills of Vedanta.

Spiritual Awakening
This is focused material elucidating the principal insights and observations that bring alive the spiritual nature of life, answer questions such as what am I, what is this world and what is divinity.

These are for more experienced people who have completed their phase of exploration, have some established spiritual security and now wish to commit to a dedicated mature sadhana into the nature of their own experience of reality.

These are in addition to the three and are the highest most advanced teachings. Seemingly simple, they convey Advaita alone and are for those with already realised insight who now wish for confirmation of their vision and support for the most subtle, final doubts. These teachings are not on the website.

Traditional Vedanta texts 
Alongside Vedantarama’s own resources, satsang and the opportunity to engage with the teacher, there are a wide range of materials in the heritage of Vedanta for stimulating and guiding personal study. In the authentic world-wide tradition these are identified as:

The Prasthana Trayi (The 3 foundations)
The three works that constitute the foundation texts of Vedanta.

1. The Upanishads – The original source of Vedanta and its ground 1500 BCE.

2. The Bhagavad Gita – A rich narrative telling a profound story of suffering and realisation 500 BCE.

3. The Brahma Sutras – A collection of philosophical works debating detailed points on reality 200 BCE.

Prakarana Grantha (The written texts)
These are the varied works and commentaries that lay out the Vedanta philosophy and its spiritual guidance in organised and detailed ways. They are necessary for understanding the original texts and their profound but sometimes obscure content. There are many of these texts and around a dozen which are prominent and popular.

What to read
Each of the pages in this resource library gives specific advice on what to read at each level of practice.
The Upanishads are stunning, mighty in their status and magnificent in their impact. They are however eclectic, unorganised, repetitive and even contradictory in parts. Put all that aside, plunge into their character and symbolism and be inspired by their soaring mysticism.
The Bhagavad Gita is a beautiful narrative, coherent, easy to read, understandable and applicable to life. It is a world renowned text for living a spiritual life. It is God centred, featuring karma, love, service, devotion, raja and jnana. A text to lift your heart, support your mind and stimulate spiritual living.
The Brahma Sutras are deep philosophical works, very intellectual and academic in nature. They are for focused and persistent scholarly study and need not be part of most people’s sadhana

Anyone can read any of these texts  at any time but there are questions of relevance to take into account. To make real progress in jnana I have made recommendations on each page of the texts to study. Most texts are available both online through a simple search, as well as in book form. In this way the seeker  can progress in the assimilation of Vedanta from the introductory to the advanced.

Reading list for further study

Working with the Vedanta texts

The following are recommendations  for reading and study at the Awakening level:

Aparokshanabhuti: (direct realisation) 144 verses on the exploration of the nature of reality.

Satdarshanam: (40 verses on reality) Another of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s primary texts. This version is my own simple translation.

The Bhagavad Gita: The version by Easwaran is accessible for its poetic and simple language, an easy and beautiful read.

The Upanishads: The version by Easwaran was proposed at the Foundation level and remains suitable for the Awakening teachings. In addition to the Upanishads already listed for Foundation study, the specific Upanishads now recommended are:

Katha – The King of death.  Smaller than the smallest.  Cave of the heart.  City of 11 gates.
Brihadaranyaka – Stories of Yajnavalkya.  Lump of salt.  Janaka’s sacrifice.  Light of man.  Gold & Self.  As a person acts.
Chandogya – Stories of Svetaketu & Narada.  City of Brahman.  Lotus of heart.  Indra seeks for 101 years.
Taittiriya – 1000 measures of joy.  Stories of Brigu realising Self.  Food is life.  The five koshas.
Aittareya – Evolution.  Senses are but servants of the Self.

Further teachings

Advaita Vedanta  for members

Vedantarama offers two organised and progressive programmes of jnana sadhana to its members:

  • Vedanta Prakriya – These 12 progressive teachings are for spiritual awakening.
  • Advaita Prakriya – These 12 progressive teachings are the higher advanced insights of Self-realisation.

Members’ Community : Membership of Vedanatarama is available. A place of belonging for like-minded people. Here the Vedanta teachings can be undertaken in full measure within everyday life, in what Derek calls the new monastic

Advaita Vedanta

Advaita Vedanta