The Heart of the Spiritual Search in India: From the Rig Veda to the Yoga Sutras

with Ravi Ravindra
Saturday 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. CDT
August 6 – 27 (4 classes)

In this class, we will explore the heart of the spiritual search in India based on some profound and frequently quoted remarks of the great sages in the classical Indian spiritual texts. We will begin with several profound teachings from the Rig Veda, which is the oldest text in any Indo-European language. We will then explore several profound remarks in the Upanishads, which are the spiritual and philosophical heart of the Vedic tradition. The Bhagavad Gita is likely the single most important text to emerge from the vast spiritual traditions of India, so we will delve into some of the teachings presented in this text by the God-incarnate Krishna. We will complete our exploration with some remarks in the Yoga Sutras, a classical spiritual text for undertaking the journey of self-transformation. This will be a journey into the Heart of the Indian Spiritual Tradition.

See below for the full course syllabus.

TS members: $65 • Non-members: $80
Registration includes on-demand access to recordings of all the classes, which can be viewed for two weeks following the date of the last class.

Late registrants will receive recording links to all missed sessions for on-demand viewing.
Please go to the following link for registration:


Week 1: The call of the Rig Veda, the oldest text in any Indo-European language, as well as of the other Vedas, is to “Ekam Sat, The One Reality” (Rig Veda 1.164.46), or simply to “Tad Ekam, That One” (RV10.129.2), the realm of Satyam, Ritam, Brihat, Amritam, Jyoti—Truth, Order, Vastness, Eternal Life and Illumination, since we are the children of Eternal Reality (amritasya putra).

We will explore several profound enunciations in the Vedas, including the ones quoted below:
“Let us bring our minds to dwell in the glory of Divine Truth; may Truth inspire our reflections.” (Rig Veda 10.62.10)

“Gone are those who in the days before us gazed at the rising of the morning Sun. It is we the living who now behold the Dawn; others will see her shining when we are gone.” (Rig Veda 1.113.1)

“I, ignorant, unknowing, seek knowledge from those seers who may know. What was the One? Who was the Unborn One propped apart the six regions?” (Rig Veda 1.164.6)

“In the beginning arose love which was the primal germ cell of the mind.” (Rig Veda 10.129.4)

“Yajña (sacrifice) is the very navel of the cosmos.” (Rig Veda 1.164.35).

“Two birds, beautiful of wings, close companions, cling to one common tree: of the two one eats the sweet fruit of the tree, the other eats not but watches his fellow.” (Rig Veda, 1.164.20, repeated in Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.1 and in Shvetāshvatara Upanishad IV.6)

Week 2: The Upanishads are the spiritual and philosophical heart of the Vedic tradition, a real jewel of Bhārata. Bhārata literally means ‘that which is obsessed with and is dedicated to the pursuit of light.” The Upanishads are the repository of that search. We will explore several profound remarks in the Upanishads, including the ones quoted below:

Who am I? Whence is this widespread cosmic flux? These, the wise should inquire into diligently, soon --nay, now. (Mahopanishad IV.21)

“Those who depart from this world without having realized their inner world, For them, life has been of no service; it remains unlived, like the unrecited Vedas or any other undone deed.” (Brihadāranyaka Upanishad I.4.15)
"Considering religion to be observance of rituals and performance of acts of charity, the deluded remain ignorant of the highest good."(Mundaka Up. 1.2:10)

“All human realization is a subtle combination of tapas-prabhāva (effect of effort) and deva-prasāda (benediction of the devas).” (Shvetāshvatara Up. VI.21)

“Om! Lead me from unreal to the Real;
         Lead me from darkness to Light;
         And from death to Eternal Life.” (Brihadāranyaka Up. I.3.28)

"The mind should be kept in the heart as long as it has not reached the Highest End. This is wisdom, and this is liberation. Everything else is only words." (Maitri Upanishad 6:24)

“Om, Fullness here, Fullness there Fullness emerges from Fullness. When Fullness is taken out of Fullness, what remains is Fullness.” (Brihadāranyaka Up. V.1.1)

The Four Great Enunciations (Mahāvākyas) are: aham brahmāsmi (I am Brahman) in Brihadāranyaka (Up 1.4.10); tat tvam asi (You are That) in Chāndogya (Up 6.8.7); ayam ātma brahman (the Atman is Brahman) in Māndukya (Up. 2); prajñānām brahman (Consciousness is Brahman) in Aitareya (Up III.1.3)

Also, a remark of the great Indian sage, the Buddha: “Look within, you are the Buddha.”

Week 3: The Bhagavad Gita is likely the single most important text to emerge from the vast spiritual traditions of India. We will explore a few of the following remarks of the God-incarnate Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita:

“Just as a person discards worn-out clothes and puts on new ones, so the dweller in the body discards worn-out bodies and takes on new ones. Weapons do not cut it, fire cannot burn it, water does not make it wet, nor does the wind dry it. It cannot be cut, it cannot be burned, it cannot be made wet or dry. It is eternal, all-pervading, permanent, immovable, and primordial. It is unmanifest, unthinkable, and immutable. Knowing this, you should not grieve.” (BG 2.22–25)

“All the scriptures [Vedas] have as much value for those who have spiritual discernment as the water in a well has when there is a flood of water on all sides.” (BG 2.46)

“Offering all your actions to Me, mindful of your deepest Self, without expectation, without self-occupation, struggle without agitation.” (BG 3.30)

“Yoga is breaking the bond with suffering.” (BG 6.23)

“At the end of many births, a wise person comes to Me, realizing that all there is is Krishna. Such a person is a great soul and very rare.” (BG 7.19)

“To those who are constantly disciplined and who adore Me with love, I give Buddhi Yoga [the yoga of awareness] by which they come to Me.” (BG 10.10)

Week 4: In this class, we will explore some remarks in the Yoga Sutras, a classical spiritual text for undertaking the journey of self-transformation.

“Yoga is the stopping of the movements (vrittis) of the mind. Then the Seer dwells in its essential nature. Otherwise, the movements of the mind are regarded as the Seer.” (Yoga Sutras 1.2-4)

“Stillness develops through practice (abhyāsa) and non-identification (vairāgya).” (Yoga Sutras 1.12)

“The practice of yoga consists of self-discipline (tapas), self-study (svādhyāya), and dedication to Īshvara.” (Yoga Sutras 2.1)

“Yoga is for cultivating samādhi and for weakening the obstacles (kleshas). Samādhi is the state when the self is not, when there is awareness only of the object of meditation.” (Yoga Sutras 2.2, 3.3)

“The obstacles are ignorance (avidyā), the sense of a separate self (asmitā), attraction (rāga), aversion (dvesha), and clinging to the status quo (abhinivesha). Avidyā (ignorance) is the cause of all the others, whether dormant, attenuated, intermittent, or fully active.” (Yoga Sutras 2.3-4)

“The Seer is only the power of pure seeing. Although pure, the Seer appears to see with the mind. The seen is for the sake of the Seer.” (Yoga Sutras 2.20-21)

“By practicing the limbs of yoga, impurity is destroyed and the radiance of jñāna (sacred knowledge) leads to viveka (discernment).” (Yoga Sutras 2.28)

“This knowledge is knowledge beyond thought. … This knowledge is different from the knowledge obtained by testimony or by inference. … Jñāna born of viveka is liberating, comprehensive, eternal, and freed of time sequence.” (Yoga Sutras 1.43, 1.49, 3.54)

Program Format
This is a live, interactive online program that will also be recorded for on-demand viewing. Our goal is to send recordings to you within two business days, often sooner. Recordings will be available for on-demand viewing for two weeks following the date of the last class. 
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