Experiencing Vedas and Vedanta
On the morning of 27 October 2018, SSIO members of Sydney participated in the first session of Experiencing Vedas and Vedanta, a session prepared under the National Devotion Wing of SSIO. The presenters were Nick Goritsas, Sridhar and Ram Naresh. Nick was a student of the late Professor Sundaram who taught in Sydney. Sridhar and Ram Naresh are former students of the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSIHL), and currently teach Veda chanting and Vedanta in Sydney. The day started with chanting of the Rudram and devotional singing.
Nick Goritsas was welcomed to the dais to speak on the topic “Vedas and Vedanta in our daily lives”. Nick took the audience on a journey by explaining step-by-step how a spiritual aspirant progresses towards finding the answer to that salient question “Who Am I?” by making references from the Vedas and Vedanta. He compared this journey to building a structure brick by brick. It was an eye-opener to many that Vedas are the purest form of instructions and they are in fact scientific in nature rather than religious as many people had perceived.
After a short break, we were separated in to two groups for an interactive workshop. The facilitators were Sridhar and Ram Naresh. Participants were asked to chant Omkar eleven times in very slow, long breaths. After the chanting, devotees were asked to share their inner experiences when they chanted Omkar. After listening to the feedback, the facilitators gradually embarked on the inward journey. We discussed about the Five Sheaths of our being that we need to travel through to see the real “I”
After the workshop, devotees assembled back in the main hall to join the facilitators on the next demonstration of an important journey – a journey that takes the aspirant to find ‘Who am I?’ Sridhar and Ram Naresh chanted the lines “aum saha navavatu . saha nau bhunaktu . saha viryam karavavahai . tejasvi navadhitamastu ma vidvishavahai . aum shantih shantih shantih” which in English translates to May Brahman protect us both! May Brahman bestow upon us both the fruit of Knowledge! May we both obtain the energy to acquire Knowledge! May what we both study reveal the Truth! May we cherish no ill—feeling toward each other! Om Peace! Peace! Peace!