What my teacher learnt from his teacher

Swami Paramarthananda ji on Lessons from his Guru, Pujya Swami Dayananda ji’s Teachings


On the auspicious occasion of Pujya Swamiji’s satabhishekam, I would like to share some thoughts. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a disciple of Pujya Swamiji. This is the best thing that has happened to me in my life and that can ever happen to me. For me, Swamiji is Guru, shastram, daivam. Every class, every satsangh session, every conversation- in short every action of Swamiji has been a learning opportunity for me. And that continues to be so even now. Whatever I am now, leaving aside my limitations, is because of my association with Pujya Swamiji and his teachings. It is very difficult for me to express what I got from him. However I will share some of the lessons I have learnt from Pujya Swamiji’s teachings and life. I am limiting them to a select few that are prominent in my mind and that appeal to me the most.


1. Veda is a primary means of knowledge like the sense organs. This means Veda is valid by itself.

2. Attempting to validate Veda through scientific analysis or mystic experience is a misguided approach. By this we are reducing Veda to a secondary means of knowledge like inference. Treating a primary means of knowledge like a secondary means is worse than rejecting it. Once we fall into this trap, there will be endless problems.

3. We continue to accept the validity of the eyes inspite of occasional optical illusions. Similarly we have to accept the validity of the Veda , inspite of certain seeming aberrations in certain portions of the Veda. if we reject the eyes because of occasional optical illusions, we are the losers. Similarly, if we reject the Veda because of certain seeming aberrations, we are the losers.

4. Respecting Mahatmas does not mean unconditional acceptance of all their statements. We should never surrender our intellect in the name of shraddha, bhakti, or sharanagati. Transcending the intellect in the name of spiritual pursuit will not lead us anywhere.

5. Samadhi as a state of stillness or concentration cannot lead us to any new knowledge, material or spiritual. Any knowledge, material or spiritual, has to take place in the intellect only. Any knowledge material or spiritual has to arise by the employment of a relevant means of knowledge.

6. Dakshinamurthi’s silence cannot be taken literally as a non- verbal communication, because silence is not a means of knowledge. That silence has to be understood as an indirect form of verbal communication i.e. A verbal communication through implication.

7. Self- realisation is not a mystic experience. It is nothing but Self- knowledge. And self- knowledge is nothing but a clear understanding of the fact that the ever experienced – self i.e. the ever evident I is the non- dual Brahman.

8. To grasp the message of Vedanta, we don’t require any new experience. Whatever experiences a normal human being undergoes are more than enough to grasp the message of Vedanta.

9. Desires are said to be the root cause of all evils. In fact it is the blind demonisation of all desires as a whole that is the root cause of all evils. The faculty of desire is a unique privilege enjoyed by a human being. Without the faculty of desire, one cannot even pursue self-knowledge or liberation. Abusing that faculty due to ignorance and immaturity alone is the cause of all problems.

10. Moksha is not something to be attained through a single path or multiple paths. For, moksha is not a destination. It is our very nature which has been disowned due to ignorance. Whatever is disowned due to ignorance has to be claimed through knowledge. Whenever we say that self -knowledge alone is the means of moksha, it does not mean that we are fanatics. It only means that we have diagnosed the problem correctly.

11. Self-knowledge cannot be gained through several methods. It is possible only by employing the appropriate means of knowledge i.e. by exposing oneself to the teaching of Vedanta. Any system of teaching which reveals the fact that I am the whole is Vedanta, irrespective of the language in which it conveys this fact.

12. One who knows Vedanta and knows how to handle its words properly, can communicate its message directly to a prepared student. Self- knowledge is an extra-ordinary knowledge. But it does not mean that a man of knowledge should resort to an extraordinary lifestyle.


1. Show unconditional love and compassion towards all.

2. Accommodate everyone irrespective of who the other person is.

3. Help everyone known or unknown unconditionally.

4. Pay attention to every single person even when one is surrounded by a huge crowd.

5. Listen to everyone intently even when there are endless people.

6. Remain relaxed inspite of hectic activity.

7. Live a life of deliberate thoughts, deliberate words and deliberate actions, without any agenda of one’s own, taking things as they come.

8. Derive inspiration and motivation from oneself inspite of old age and poor health.

9. Lastly it is possible but not that easy to emulate Poojya Swamiji.


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2 Responses to What my teacher learnt from his teacher

  1. Ravi Varadhan says:

    Thanks for posting these. I really like the list of “It is possible to.” However, I have some difficulty with #5 and #7 of the “Lessons from his teaching.” And, I do not understand #6 at all.

    Please allow me to explain my difficulty with #5 and #7. Both seem to downplay the importance of certain types of experiences that arise in meditation. How can one truly appreciate the “That thou art” equivalence unless one has a first-hand experience? Mere intellectual understanding will not suffice. Also, any amount of “neti neti” is not going to provide a clear picture as a mystical experience can. It seems to me that countless Vedantic saints have affirmed the value of these experiences. Hence, I find it surprising that Poojya Swamiji does not think much of these experiences.

    Having said that, let me also clarify my point. I am not saying that these mystical experience of “oneness” is the goal. Ultimately, we live in the world of relativity and the notion of “I” cannot be completely negated while living in the body. A clear intellectual understanding, where the vedantic values are well assimilated, is essential. No amount of ecstatic, mystic experience can help us when we are in the plane of relative existence. But, Sri Ramakrishna says that the ego of the realized soul is harmless. Such a person assumes an “I” only provisionally, for the purpose of helping other jivas.

    I thank you for posting this uplifting message.

  2. gokulmuthu says:

    Dear Raviji,

    What you have asked is a very valid question. Swami Dayanandaji and Swami Paramarthanandaji have very clearly articulated the answer to it in great details in their various talks. I would recommend that you listen to a few of their talks. “Introduction to Vedanta” is a good place to start. It is a series of 16 talks by Swami Paramarthanandaji. You can find it on YouTube and several other websites.

    With regards,

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