Resource Library
Realisation Teachings

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

These realisation resources are for those with developed insight and experience in spiritual practice and Self-enquiry. They convey developed aspects of jnana and point at  the non-dual reality of Advaita.

Written pieces
The written pieces are all transcribed extracts from talks Derek has 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
For further exploration and study of Vedanta, the listed texts are the recommended works for this realisation level of understanding and practice.

Also available are the Foundation Teachings and the Awakening Teachings which emphasise earlier elements of spiritual development.


Written Pieces

These short articles describe inspiring and illuminating aspects of the Vedanta teaching. They are for the bright intelligence in you that has an awakened understanding and is eager to go further into the nature of the Self.

The ocean and the raindrop

Imagine an ocean, vast, huge, massive. Imagine the ocean had consciousness. I’m not sure what that would be like, the consciousness of the ocean. It would be some vast power, some security of oceanness, some infinity of ocean. Then, as a consequence of the properties of nature, the sun would shine upon the ocean and evaporate some of its surface, so some of ocean would turn into mist and rise up into the sky. That would be quite unusual for ocean, quite strange. Maybe it would be like ocean dreaming; maybe it’s like a little death. There’d be some bits of the vastness of ocean that were now ascending into the sky as particles of mist. Then there’d be a collaboration of those particles of mist, again through the forces of nature, not through anything the mist was purposefully doing, a combining of those particles into clouds. A new density would arise. These would be powerful forces happening to the bits of ocean. Then, when the conditions were correct, those particles would form together into objects and fall out of the sky as a raindrop. That would be a pretty remarkable experience. While the raindrop was falling as a raindrop, the consciousness of ocean would be the consciousness of raindrop. Ocean would have forgotten it was ocean and would be experiencing raindrop. “Here’s my size, here’s my shape, here’s my descent, here are my attributes,” and from the time of leaving the cloud to coming back to the earth, there’d be some duration, some longevity of experience, a lifetime of being raindrop. You might bump into other raindrops, reflect sunlight from your surface, go past ice particles, go past turbulence and wind, change your shape, you might decay as you were falling; you might even split a bit and then come back together. There’d be a lifespan of raindrop in all its drama and all its complexity, amidst the surrounding nature. And during that time, because it was conscious raindrop would be alive, experiencing its limited self. Then, reaching the surface, the raindrop would hit the ocean and completely merge back into what it was and had always been.

All the time that whole thing was going on, never, ever, was that substance not water. It had always been water, from being ocean, to being mist, to being cloud, to being raindrop, to falling, to splashing, to dying. It’s always been water. The experience of being raindrop has been valid and legitimate as part of the nature of water.

It is the same with us. Everything is Brahman, everything is this single power, one power, one ocean. But it doesn’t seem so inside the human condition and the state of ignorance. This recognition, this conundrum is the very heart of Vedanta, central to the Upanishads and expressed in many ways. Sri Ramana Maharshi put it most beautifully when he said:

“In the heart, Brahman shines alone, only Brahman. It is known as the form of Self experienced as I, I, I.”

This means that the sense ‘I’, that of itself is ocean, is Brahman, is Self and is literally what you actually are, consciousness. Surrounding that reality so to speak, are all these configurations of skin and blood and memory and mind and body and bones and instincts and desires all arisen by some property of nature. In the same way that the mist configures as raindrop, so these powers of consciousness configure in man and woman as me and my independent life and this experience comes about. The life of a raindrop is perhaps five minutes maybe; the life of man or woman is 100 years maybe. This experience of 100 years is legitimate, valid, part of nature and important because of it. It’s a wondrous thing. There are some downsides to being human, certainly, some entrapments, some burdens, some difficult experiences to go through. Never mind. The whole thing is majestic. Not always nice, but majestic, wonderful to know it, to be able to experience this as this. Majestic. All the time, throughout all those varied experiences, that power which radiates as I, I, I, is the essence, the nature from which this human raindrop has appeared.

Now, if the raindrop, while it was falling for five minutes, knew that it was water, I think that it would be happier, because it must be quite lonely being a raindrop falling through the sky not knowing anything about what you are, where you have come from or where you are going. Similarly, for people to become knowledgeable and spiritually realised, to see and experience the nature of their enduring constant Self, is a great freedom, not as an idea or a hope, but a living, tangible, real power. It’s to that power that our teachings and our practices are pointing. The power ‘I’ is not of the body, you see. It’s prior to body, prior to raindrop, prior to hopes and fears and mind and tasks, prior to your face in the mirror and prior to man, woman and gender. Prior even to the sense I am me, prior even to that.
Extract Glastonbury 24.10.15

Eternal radiance of your existence

Irrespective of the movements that happen in your life and mind, consciousness is stable and enduring. The stuff changes; the experiences change but the enduring consciousness is not changing. This is a tremendous recognition and discovery, very beautiful. Here is a quote from Pancha Dasi:
“Through many months, years, ages and world-cycles past and future, consciousness is the same. It neither rises nor sets. It is self-revealing.”

Neither rising nor setting, gosh, neither rising nor setting, gosh. Consciousness endures during this day, this Saturday, this Sunday, this Monday and Tuesday, through all the experiences you have had today and will have tomorrow. The same consciousness endures tonight during your dream. And for the days ahead, the weeks ahead, the months ahead, the years ahead, the decades ahead, for the ninety-plus years of your life ahead, for your death, for the lives that come and go – on and on and on. Consciousness endures, persisting, persisting, persisting. Through ages, through millions of years, through billions of years, through the rising of universes and the descending of universes, through the creation of the cosmos itself and the dissolution of that same cosmos – on and on and on and on and on. This consciousness is the same enduring and persisting. Within it, all this wondrous staggering drama, takes place, all this divine magnificence, playing out its stunning creativity. Somehow, out of the incomprehensible power of consciousness, this creativity is springing forth, on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

Don’t think of yourself now as some limited unit of life with a pocket of consciousness inside you. Don’t think of it like that. Not like a little bubble but the ocean massive whereby the bubble arises. Consciousness in everyday understanding is confined to a small word meaning what I sense and think, the content of me. Consciousness, for us, for the wise, for the awakened, consciousness with a big C, is something utterly grand and majestic, some absolute power, that out of which all of this is being projected and experienced. Across aeons of time, consciousness is this same, effulgent abundant radiance of potentiality, not affected, nor impacted by the events taking place within its embrace, enabling all the creativity, allowing all the creativity, shining in its divine nature. Consciousness is the shruti flavour of experience, whether it’s on the snow slopes of a Himalayan peak, the surface of Mars, a Somerset village or right here in this very moment wherever you are. Pure consciousness, not the limited reflection in individual beings, not the bubble, but pure consciousness, infinite consciousness, divine consciousness, which is the very nature of the bubble itself, is the same, on and on and on and on and on. This is why through your sadhana it is possible for you to experience a deep, profound, inexplicable sense of absolute security. Never mind the vicissitudes of life. Beneath them all there is a deep, profound security of Being and that’s because this consciousness, Being, is there, persisting, persisting, persisting, persisting; enduring, enduring, enduring. It is the ground itself, the ground of all experience itself. This is divinity and this is your absolute nature. Absolute, note that word, it means not qualified by anything else, independent, not subject to being diminished, not rising nor falling.

Now something of that universal calibre means it’s infinite, not rising, not falling. We are not used to this. It’s not part of our everyday experience. We’re used to things rising and falling. We see decay, we see ending, we see starting. This is different. This is that out of which physics, world, life and me has come. This is infinity we are now speaking about and yet, that same infinity is intimate, secure, here, sweet, touching and immediate as our very substance, our sweet, sweet, substance. This is a remarkable thing, a very wonderful, beautiful thing, like the sun and the moon. Everyone knows the moonlight is very sweet and at the same time the sun is not necessarily sweet to our experience because it’s ferocious. Just because of its power, not because it’s choosing to be ferocious. But just because it’s not on our terms; it’s powerful beyond our terms. To stand in brazen sunlight, with no protection is not necessarily pleasant or sweet. To stand in the moonlight with no protection is very, very, very sweet. Note this reality and let it thrill you, the reflected power is sweet. By the grace of God, in your mind and your heart and your life and your intelligence and your senses, the reflected power of the might of divine infinity is utterly, utterly sweet as, you.
Extract Glastonbury 20.10.17



How can I know consciousness?

If you were in love and someone came to you and said, “What is love? Tell me what it is,” you’d struggle. You’d come out with some words. You might speak about exhilaration in the mind, tingling on your skin. You might speak about waking up in the morning with great enthusiasm and delight for the day, feelings of affection and so on. But what is love? Love isn’t those things. Love is a field, a default state that comes upon you when the heart is open and there is no filter in the mind restricting that openness. Love is a natural phenomenon of openness, but you’d find it very difficult to pin down and let this person who is asking the question know what it is.

If you’re searching for anything which is very subtle, you have to point to other things that indicate its presence. Again, you might try to describe a state of love to your friend but, if your friend had never experienced love, they’d come away thinking it’s happiness. It’s tingling on the skin, it’s phenomena. Now here is the insight I wish to share with you, the phenomena are secondary. Love is the primary state that produces the phenomena. If we are looking to distinguish that which we call consciousness, then we have to point at other things which indicate its presence and use that same intelligence of insight.

In the Upanishads, it says, “The Self is realised in a higher state of consciousness”. It implies a transcendental state but that’s not sophisticated understanding, it’s not the viewpoint of the wise. It’s possible to understand those words as some kind of samadhi, some deep, absorbed, meditative condition where there’s the sensation of what we’re pointing at.

The term ‘a higher state of consciousness’ means a mind which is perceiving consciousness in all states of experience. It is a position of recognition that has come about as a consequence of your jnana. It is apparent to you that there is constant never-ending evidence for consciousness because nothing can possibly happen to your sensory system without consciousness being there to support it and to generate it. So that illusive property, you may say mysterious property, which we are choosing to call consciousness is evident in every single thing that happens. Consciousness is constant, the continuous natural field of your whole life, in the same way that love is the natural field of a fully open, undisturbed heart. Consciousness is the constant, natural field of everything, whether it is a good thing, or a bad thing, or a tedious thing, or a stimulating thing.

Every event is evidence of consciousness, so while the event is happening you know that to be so as an action of knowledge. You feel it to be so as you sense the substance of yourself with your mind and you enjoy that pleasurable discovery of deep, deep, security of Being. It’s an experience of sensory information, knowledge and the flavour of consciousness, bundled together in one event. So never are you not experiencing consciousness and you know this to be so as the natural enduring state of the real.

In other places, because we’re so clear consciousness is not an object, the Upanishad will say to you discover it by negation – “neti, neti, neti, neti, neti, neti”, which means consciousness is not this, not that, not this. Not that object, not this object. If you keep denying the objects, then that which is left is what? Can you resolve this conundrum this paradox? Is there anything to experience at all after all the objects have been deleted and denied? What’s left? Is it something or is there nothing at all?

In the great Vedanta text known as Pancadasi, there’s a fabulous verse which I’m paraphrasing here:

“If the meditator says, “Swami, after negating all the names and all the forms, nothing remains. Then the reply we give is, “That which you describe as nothing is the Self.”

This is powerful. Dwell on it deeply. Remember the other groundbreaking Upanishadic wisdom, the Self, consciousness is ‘neither known, nor is it unknown’. Can you make sense of this? For if you can that is the answer. If you can’t then put this koan to the guru.

Just as physics will say nothing is not an empty state, so we can say there’s no such thing as nothing, when we enquire into consciousness. The nothing is something but it doesn’t have the objects you want it to have included in it. It’s free yet integral, integral to every experience you have. Integral to this moment now. The experiences you’re having are dependent on this flow and flood and radiance of self-illuminating consciousness. Consciousness is independent. Consciousness is primary and fundamental. Consciousness is not dependent on the experiences, but the experiences are utterly dependent upon consciousness. Consciousness is reality.
Extract J919 130524

The swan of divinity

I’m going to paraphrase a verse from the Shvetashvatara Upanishad. This is one of the most beautiful things I can express to you.

“Hamsa, the Swan, the ruler of the whole world, of all that is moving and all that is motionless. The Swan becomes the embodied Self and dwelling in the city of nine gates, flies outward.”

Hamsa is the Sanskrit word for swan, meaning the divine, deva, the Lord or the Goddess all according to your preference, flying forth and dwelling in the city of nine gates. Where is that you may ask? It is your body. The gates are the holes in your body, the physical holes. It doesn’t work for both genders. This is a masculine phrase, it’s 2000 years old. So let me restate it into an equality phrase as the city of many gates; the human body. The swan, the ruler of the whole world, God, becomes the embodied Self, within your own form. This is very thrilling. Can you feel that thrill? This is illuminating intelligence that responds to the most mystical of questions put to the guru. What is that deva? What is the one within me? What is that? Don’t tell me about the architecture of physical and subtle form, don’t tell me about world and karma. I don’t care anymore. Tell me what the deva is inside me.

The answer is Hamsa. The divine swan is the embodied Self, that is the deva in you, shining in the city of many gates, and then flying outwards from that city. In other words, through the senses. Just take in the weight of this knowledge. Right now, my dear friends, right now, this is taking place. The deva is consciousness, the swan is consciousness, dwelling within your city, flying forth through your senses, outward, to encounter and perceive and express all of this. The ultimate position of Vedanta is Advaita, and the deepest understanding of this verse is how Advaita is literally known. That which flies out from the senses, becomes this experience and is the substance of this experience, consciousness.

Prior to this big picture of Advaita, we address the primary instruction which the Upanishad gives us; to recognise the essence of ourselves as distinct from the objects. That’s a purposeful activity for a long time. These outcomes are grand attainments both in jnana and the felt expansion of the heart. Right now, however, I want to claim and state something else. It may seem basic to you, it may seem something of an earlier time, something of a lower order but my friends it is not. It is a necessity, it is a doorway, it is how you honour that deva within you and let her out.

This habitation of the swan, this city of many gates, is it not desirable to make it really clean and a beautiful home for Hamsa? A place that sparkles with efficiency and smooth running, a place where the air is pure and trees are green. If you were the mayor of a city, you would do your best to ensure the streets are clean, the bins are emptied, education, health and welfare of your people is well attended to, cultural activities express the best of endeavours and inspire wonder and ambition.

In your own city of many gates the buddhi in you is the mayor. You know, from your jnana, from your enlightened knowledge, that the ananda itself is how consciousness is experienced, that is its tangibility. You also know that the love, the delight which all human beings want to experience and want to share, is reflected in a sattvic mind. It is sensible for you then, as mayor of the city to initiate a programme of improvement works toward that goal of sattva, to improve the air quality of the city. Make the city kinder, more accepting, less needy, easier with things, more generous, more tolerant, more gracious, happier, less demanding, less critical, faster-moving so it doesn’t get stuck, elegant in its form, lean, fit, agile and bright, decisive in its actions, devoted to God, charming in character, spontaneous. Do you like this list? It could go on but I feel I should stop there, so it is attainable and doesn’t seem out of reach. The key thing is to constantly move in this direction.

The greatest burden for people is the burden of mind. You wake up with this mood, this habit, this tendency, this instinct, this repetitive thought, this attitude, this opinion, this neediness, this grumpiness. It’s a stain on the city. Everyone here knows that there is a lot of suffering in the human mind and there is soaring, shining, sparkling, cleansing vision as well. There is the potential for the swan to dwell in the city of many gates and fly forth from that city in a cascade of love, for that to be authentic and tangible, as the default platform upon which mood, attitude, thought and behaviour draws its nourishment and its identity. The swan is elegant, she glides, the waters through which she travels fall from her feathers without friction. She preens in the sunlight, she is content in her own nature, she embodies the perfection of the universe. And in a moment with muscular power, she leaves the water and she flies with her neck straight and true and her mighty wings purposeful in their skillful connection with the vast, open, clear and inviting sky.

Every human being experiences contraction and expansion, defence and openness, ignorance and vision, suffering and pleasure. These are the properties of the human experience. These are the weather systems that fall upon the city. It’s an obvious point that to improve and make fit and clean the city of many gates is a sensible thing to do. Then Hamsa, the Lord or the Goddess, the divine one, your Ananda, shines forth, both upon the city within and from the city without. Oh, a wonder!
Extract Ammerdown 200719

What is Ananda?

The famous hymn Nirvana Shatkam, which we love to chant, confidently says Chidananda Rupaha, Shivoham, Shivoham “I am blissful consciousness, I am Shiva, I am Shiva.” What a fantastic affirmation of reality, but how to know it. The word chidananda means knowing or feeling Ananda. Let’s look at the word Ananda which is the Sanskrit term for bliss. What does it mean in experience? Other words that describe what’s being pointed to are ‘peace’, ‘purity’, ‘security’. Radiating out from that substance comes delight, cheerfulness, happiness and positivity, the impulse for goodness. But the ground, peace, purity and security, this is what bliss is in continuous experience. In the Upanishad story, to distinguish what is true and real, Nachiketa’s teacher points out the difference between the good and the pleasant. Peace, purity, security, this is the good in his terms, in other words the desirable and dependable, the actual. The pleasant on the other hand are all of the diverse things that come to mind in this life that we want to do, feel and enjoy, and why not? Out of that peace, purity and security this universe is launched. Vitality, expressiveness, creativity, productivity is the very light and shine of this energy. In any circumstance, whatever you are doing, the dance of the pleasant or the unpleasant will play in all its temporary manifestations but the ground, the absolute reliable source is steady, the base is steady, like the sky is steady, even in the presence of weather. If you rely upon the temporary comforts in the mind for your well-being and security, you will be disappointed regularly and often because the mind is not stable. Emotions are not stable. The pleasant is not stable. If you come to see that the actual energetic stability is the on-going constant radiance of blissful consciousness, chidananda rupaha, then your security is steady, even in the presence of disturbance. To retain the knowledge of blissful consciousness, even in the presence of difficulty, is enlightening.

Deeper awareness of the word ‘bliss’ also reveals something extremely profound. Reality is infinite and therefore it must actually be bliss. It cannot be other than bliss because something which is infinite has no edge. Something which has no edge is constant, permanent, all-flowing, all-encompassing and unlimited and that is what bliss is. Freedom from limitation, that very state is what bliss actually is. We know this because in the Taittiriya Upanishad, God is defined. The nature of God is defined. This is incredible. And this definition is, is highly, highly respected not only by Vedantins but by philosophers of different persuasions, who see this definition as being very, very fine indeed. The definition is this: “God, Brahman, is Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam.” Three words. They mean: Satyam – existence itself. The fact there is existence. The is-ness of things. Jnanam, knowing or intelligence for us here, it means consciousness. So, there is existence, stuff and there is consciousness of the stuff. Then the third term, Anantam, means infinity. In other words, the stuff and the consciousness of the stuff is limitless, unlimited. There isn’t a limit. Not an edge. And that very truth of reality is the Ananda. Anantam is Ananda. Now listen to this for surely what I will now say is the doorway to realisation.

The word ‘Brahman’, if you translate it literally, means ‘vast’, infinity. So, you see, Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam must be and is the power which is also you. How could it not be so? How could it be possible that you were somehow ring-fenced and different and separate from all this? Impossible! In the common state of ignorance it feels like that because of skin and mind and karma, and ego but these phenomena have arisen with Brahman, Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam, shining forth. The rays of the beloved shining forth. Chidananda Rupaha, Shivoham, Shivoham. So, the whole intimacy of the shining of you right now is Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam, in which all these faculties come about and in which bliss, Ananda is the felt component. How to see this? How to see into the infinity of the moment, the Ananda shining? You cannot use the normal tools. You must absorb the jnana and then make an intuitive leap of insight. To stimulate such a leap I have my own statement to offer:

“That which I previously considered to be ‘I’, that very same power, I now realise is God. In that recognition, my life shines.”

Right here in the sweetness of the heart, in the charm of the soul, in the glory of the internal happiness, in the beautiful, sweetness of loving life. The infinity is right there in this immediate intimacy. That is where the person in you has companionship with God trickling in the heart through all your veins, filling your mind with the joy of divinity.

“That which I previously considered to be ‘I’, that very same power, I now realise is God. In that recognition, my life shines.”

This shining is the Ananda. This is what bliss is.
Extract Ammerdown 170721

Realising your true nature

Sat-chit-ananda. Satyam-jnanam-anantam has three parts. That can suggest they’re separate things – existence, consciousness, joy. This is incorrect understanding and incorrect vision because it is not experienced like that. Existence is itself conscious, consciousness is itself unlimited, the unlimited is of itself blissful. They are simply three possibilities for pointing at the same incredible, constant reality of this. Ananda is conscious and existent, a new way to say the three separate words, no longer sat-chit-ananda, but ‘unlimited existence-consciousness’. Existence-consciousness flowing forth, responsible for all this, in every single aspect of all its detail, the thriving appearance of the entire cosmos. Unlimited existence-consciousness – oneness, wholeness, Advaita, Brahman. Brahman is the source out of which all beings arise, that which sustains all beings and that into which all beings merge back. Constant, continuous infinitude, unlimited, and the unlimited is ananda.

So now here we are, sensing and feeling the grandeur, the might, the thrill of this revealing insight. “This ananda that I had thought was a sensation is not being witnessed as a second sensation. It is truly the continuous flavour of my reality, the radiance of existence. It is Swarupa. It is atman.”

What is that that was constant throughout a whole lifeline of photographs of you? All your life, what was constant? You don’t know what it is but now we’re declaring it: Atman. Before, philosophically speaking Atman was some obscure, strange thing that you didn’t really understand. Now, Atman is being presented to you as this immediate ever present flowing forth of unlimited, conscious existence.

If there is a mind, an intellect, a ‘me’ that is there, looking at ananda, then ananda is being thought about as an object of duality. There is you, thinking, and then there’s the ananda that’s being described and there’s you looking at the ananda. Then you can say it’s being witnessed. But it’s actually being thought about, not witnessed and the thought has captured you so it feels like ‘I am thinking about and looking at ananda’. If, alternatively, that shining force of ananda dissolves the separate intellect which is examining it, then that, is Swarupa. That is the essence ‘I’. That is what has been responsible all your life for presenting the sense ‘I’m here having these experiences’ – this Swarupa, this Atman.

“Is ananda being witnessed?” the body is being witnessed, the pranas are being witnessed, the mind is being witnessed, the intellect is being witnessed. That’s completely clear. But is ananda being witnessed? No. It’s being thought about and if I see that and resolve that dualistic situation, then there just is ananda. That is Swarupa and that is Atman.

How come, if this is true, you’re not lost in joy all the time? We must answer that question now because it is a clear, obvious challenge. It must be in your mind, surely. If I’m telling you that you are ananda, then why aren’t you continuously happy and satisfied? It’s for this reason. When the mind has risen into the foreground and has ignorance, identity and agitation in it, then the subtlety of that ananda is not perceived because competing concepts reign and the loudness of that mind is in the forefront and is taking all your attention.

Ananda is experienced when the mind is sattvic, in other words, when the mind is clear, mature and open, when the mind is resolved from the habits which previously clouded it. If ananda is the truth of everybody, why, then, are there so many human beings who clearly are not experiencing the happiness we’ve discussed, the ananda we’ve discussed and the spirituality which we’ve discussed? It is because of the content of the mind, the state and status of the mind, all that the mind does, all those habits, assumptions and concepts we talk about endlessly. Yoga is most responsible for dealing with all of that content, all of those ideas, all of that conditioning, all of those desires, all of those confused thoughts, all of that strength of ego, all of that protection, defence and selfishness. All of that noise is loud and, in that circumstance, ananda, even though it’s fully present, is not being perceived.

Ananda is known in a sattvic mind. In a very small way, you can easily prove this to yourself. Whatever situation you came from on Friday, there was maybe some agitation going on regarding your engagement with the world. You come here to a peaceful place with like-minded people, open hearted people engaged in this pursuit. You feel at home, you feel inspired and you feel a respite from that agitation. So, very quickly, you feel good, relieved and expanded. It’s a simple example of equilibrium.

The fact that spiritual practice, in its preliminary and medium stages, is all concerned with ethics and morality and positivity, devotion, healthy living, self-improvement and so forth, is to bring the mind to a greater state of equilibrium, stability and security. Ananda then becomes accessible, perceivable, demonstrable and self-evident, not because you’ve made it happen and brought it into you, but because you have cleared away that which was previously obscuring its perception.

This is the atmosphere of ananda, the outer rays of the summit of spirituality that is achievable in this human condition. It’s an important illuminating point. Rather than trying to define, or meet, or solve the immensity of Brahman, to find the Swarupa of yourself is the summit of spirituality possible and attainable here in this life. To really accept that and move in that direction is liberating and an important step.

So, we can now sit in this recognition, this success and satisfaction. Your Swarupa is clear. It is none other than unlimited existence-consciousness which shines with the flavour of ananda. The flavour of bliss. It is possible to say that ananda is the taste of existence-consciousness, its flavour. It is possible to say that ananda is the way that consciousness is experienced. This is why the default nature of spiritually mature people is peace and happiness most of the time.

Do you remember ‘neti, neti’ says it’s ‘not this, not that’ to make the point you can’t experience consciousness. Remember the caution in the jnana which reveals the hazard of looking for consciousness as an object and so forth? We know these things but it is possible to say ananda is the experience of consciousness, its actual radiance. Consciousness, your Swarupa cannot be witnessed, it is not subject to witnessing, it is the very nature of the radiance, it is Swarupa.

This is very high information. I don’t know how these words are landing with you but I’m giving them anyway. Swarupa cannot be witnessed, it is Swarupa.
Extract Ammerdown 161020

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 Realisation level.

Drg Drsya Viveka: (discriminating the seer and seen)
A short work profoundly identifying the witness consciousness.

Pancha Dasi: (fifteen)
15 comprehensive chapters giving deep and transforming analysis of all points of Vedanta.

The Bhagavad Gita : An accessible version has already been proposed for the earlier Foundation and Awakening levels.  Now a  more direct translation with less poetry and greater  detail will be found in the Nikhilananda version.

The Upanishads : As above. A more detailed and profound version of these classic texts is now appropriate. The translation by Nikhilananda will provide this.

The specific Upanishads to now study are:
Mandukya – Om. The 3 states and turiya.
Shvetashvatara – Cause of cosmos.  Wheel of Being.  Butter in cream.  Supreme magician.  Shiva is my refuge.
Prasna – The 6 sages.  Self casts prana as body.  Body casts a shadow.

Additional text : Nisargadatta I am That – A world renowned classic of radical and original Realisation.

Further teachings

Advaita Vedanta  for members

Vedantarama offers two organised and progressive specific 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 Vedantarama 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