Arsha Vidya Pitham, Saylorsburg, PA

Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati

President
Arsha Vidya Gurukulam

Sri Swami Viditatmanandaji, a disciple of Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati, expounds Vedanta with a simplicity and directness that make it easy to assimilate. Having lived and worked in the United States prior to becoming a renunciate, Swami Viditatmanandaji is familiar with the lifestyles in India and the West. With his insight into both cultures, he reaches out to everyone with equal ease.

Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Visionary
Arsha Vidya Gurukulam

Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati was a distinguished, traditional teacher of Vedanta. His in-depth understanding and nuanced appreciation of Western culture made him that rare teacher who communicated the vision of non-duality to modern listeners. He was able to make one see, with immediacy, the truth of oneself as the whole.

Swami Dayananda taught Vedanta in India for more than four decades, and around the world since 1976. In his public talks abroad, Swamiji had spoken at many of the most prestigious American universities and had addressed international conventions, UNESCO and the United Nations, where he participated in the Millennium Peace Summit.

Site News

Kumbhabhishekam to Lord Dakshinamurthi at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam on May 17 (Friday) to May 19 (Sunday)

Upcoming Events

Resident Acharyas

Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati

President

Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswati

Vice President

Swami Muktatmananda Saraswati

Swami Sachidananda Saraswati

Gurukulam Notice


 

Temple Updates:

The Temple is open to the public daily from 5:30am-7:30pm. 

This summer, we at Arsha Vidya are gearing up to receive a large number of campers and visitors. In order to accommodate everyone , visitors are required to register prior to arrival by an email – suddhatma@gmail.com 

As usual, campers have priority in dining hall. NOTE: The dining hall is closed from 2:00 to 4:00 pm for sanitization.

Abhisheka and Arati will continue to be streamed on YouTube at 5:40 am and 5:45 pm ET, respectively.

Gurukulam is now open to all visitors for Vedanta Courses , Weekend Classes, Temple pujas, and Temple services.  

Swami Muktatmananda is at the Gurukulam as a resident acharya. He is offering in-person and online Vedanta classes at the Gurukulam. 

Upcoming Public Events:

Please join us with your family and friends

Please see the 2024 Programs for information on all the upcoming Camps and Program Registration details. Send an email to suddhatma@gmail.com or

Call 570-992-2339. Mrs.Vimala Sadasivam 570-656-0193.

(Patrons of the Gurukulam, who pledge $2000 for the year and renewable, are entitled to select four Gifts-For-a-Day and attend one Patrons’ Retreat without any charges. They will also receive a one-time gift of special collections of Pujya Swamiji’s books).

Online Classes

36th Anniversary Souvenir Book

Participate - Make a difference in your life !

The knowledge imparted at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, being the knowledge of the Rishis, is sacred. And Vedanta being the knowledge that solves the human problem, it frees an individual from samsara, a life of becoming. Accordingly, one cannot put a price on it, and this is the reason that there are no fees for Vedanta classes at the Gurukulam.There are also no other conditions for access to the knowledge. It is available for anyone who is interested—for the asking.

Those who have a value for this knowledge, and those who have benefitted from it, are naturally inclined to ensure that it continues to flow, which includes preserving the Gurukulam, the infrastructure that supports it.

Thus, the Gurukulam has been developed and is being supported almost entirely by the donations of these people who have imbibed the spirit of loka-anugraha, furthering the welfare of the people. Most of the expenses of running the Gurukulam are paid for by generous contributions and Gurudakshina, offerings to the teachers at the conclusion of courses. And the entire campus with all its facilities, including the new lecture hall complex, was developed because of the contributions of people who benefited from teaching.

There are nominal fees as required by IRS Regulations for course registrations and lodging, which help offset the operating expenses of the Gurukulam.

Note: If you are a part of Phoneix Satsang Group,
Please Click Here for the Donation Form

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Contact Us

Our Hours
MON-FRI 09:00 – 19:00
SAT-SUN 10:00 – 14:00

Contact Us

LOCATION

651 Route 115, Saylorsburg,
PA 18353, United States

PHONE

+1- 570 992 2339

E-MAIL

avpoffice@gmail.com

OUR HOURS

MON-FRI 09:00 - 19:00
SAT-SUN 10:00 - 14:00

Follow Us

Lord Daksinamurti

In the vision of the Veda, this creation is a manifestation of the Lord. Being the cause, he is all knowledge, especially spiritual knowledge. We have a name for that Lord Daksinamurti.

The Lord presented in this form as Dakṣiṇāmūrti is the one who has eight aspects. The first five aspects are thefive elements. In the Veda the world is presented in the form of five elements—ākāśa, space,which includes time; vāyu, air; agni, fire; āpa, water; and pṛthivī, earth.

In this Vedic model of the universe, the five elements are non-separate from the Lord. In fact, these five elements constitute the Lord’s form, which is this universe.

The next two aspects are represented by the sun and the moon.

When, as an individual, I look at this world, what stands out in the sky are the sun and moon.

The moon represents all planets other than earth, and the sun represents allluminous bodies.

The eighth aspect is me, the jīva—the one who is looking at the world.

These eight aspects are to be understood as one whole. This is the Lord.

When we look at the form of Dakṣiṇāmūrti, we can see representations of the five elements. Space, ākāśa, is represented by a ḍamaru, a drum, in his right hand. In order to show space in a sculpture, it needs to be enclosed.

Empty space is enclosed in the ḍamaru, enabling it to issue sound, or śabda.

Next, vāyu, air, is represented by Dakṣiṇāmūrti’s hair with the bandana, the band, holding his hair in place against the wind. Bandana is a Sanskrit word which comes from the root band, to bind.

In his left hand, you will see a torch, which represents agni, fire.

Āpa, water, is shown by the Gaṅga, in the form of a Goddess, which you can see on Dakṣiṇāmūrti’s head.

Pṛthivī, the earth, is represented by the whole idol.

Then there are people, the jīvas, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana and Sanatsujāta, who are the disciples of Dakṣiṇāmūrti, sitting at the base of sculpture.

The sun and moon are also shown in this form of the Lord.

On the left side of Dakṣiṇāmūrti you will find a crescent moon, and on his right side there is a circle, representing the sun—a whole circle.

So we see five elements, two planets and the jīva constituting the aṣṭa-mūrti-bhṛt, the Lord of these eight factors that are the whole.

You can worship Dakṣiṇāmūrti as the Lord, the one who is aṣṭa-mūrti-bhṛt, or you can invoke him as a teacher, because he also is in the form of a teacher.

His very sitting posture, āsana, is the teacher’s āsana. What does he teach? Look at his hand gesture. That shows wha the teaches. His index finger, the one we use to point at others, represents the ahaṅkāra, the ego.

The other three fingers represent your body, deha, mind, antaḥkaraņa and sense organs, prāņa.

They also may be seen as the three bodies, śarīras, the gross, subtle, and causal. This is what the jīva mistakes himself to be. The aṅguṣṭha, the thumb, represents the Lord, the puruṣa. It is away from the rest of the fingers of the hand, yet at the same time, the fingers have no strength without it.

In this gesture, mūdra, in Dakṣiṇāmūrti’s right hand, the thumb joins the other fingers to form a circle, teaching that the jīva, who takes himself to be the body, mind and senses, is the whole. The circular hand gesture visually states the entire upadeśa, teaching: tat tvam asi, “You are That.” Just as a circle has no beginning or end, you are the whole. That is the final word about you. Nobody can improve upon that vision; no culture can improve upon it.

Even in heaven, it cannot be improved upon, for the whole includes heaven. Therefore, you have the final word here, because you are everything. It is better that you know it. That teaching is contained in the Veda, represented by the palm leaves in the left hand of Dakṣiṇāmūrti. And to understand this, you require a mind that has assimilated certain values and attitudes and has developed a capacity to think in a proper and sustained way.

This can be acquired by various spiritual disciplines represented here by a japa-māla, The fact that the Lord himself is a teacher, a guru, means that any teacher is looked upon as a source of knowledge. And the teacher himself should look upon Īśvara, the Lord, as the source of knowledge. Since the Lord himself is a teacher, the first guru, there is a tradition of teaching, so there is no individual ego involved in teaching.

Dakṣiṇāmūrti is seated upon a bull, which stands for tamas, the quality of māyā that accounts for ignorance. This is the entire creative power of the world and Dakṣiṇāmūrti controls this māyā; Then, there are bound to be obstacles in your pursuit of this knowledge. Dakṣiṇāmūrti controls all possible obstacles.

Underneath his foot, under his control, is a fellow called Apasmara—the one who throws obstacles in your life. This tells us that although there will be obstacles, with the grace of the Lord, you can keep them under check and not allow them to overpower you. There is no obstacle-free life, but obstacles need not really throw you off course; you keep them under control.

Thus, the whole form of Dakṣiṇāmūrti invokes the Lord who is the source of all knowledge, the source of everything, the one who is the whole, and who teaches you that you are the whole. He is Dakṣiṇāmūrti, the one who is in the form of a teacher, guru-mūrti.

We invoke his blessing so that all of you discover that source in yourself. If this self-discovery is your pursuit, your whole life becomes worthwhile. This project of self-discovery should be the project of everyone. That is the Vedic vision of human destiny

Arsha Vidya Gurukulam was founded in 1986 by Pujya Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati. In Swamiji’s own words,

“When I accepted the request of many people I know to start a gurukulam, I had a vision of how it should be. I visualized the gurukulam as a place where spiritual seekers can reside and learn through Vedanta courses. . . And I wanted the gurukulam to offer educational programs for children in values, attitudes, and forms of prayer and worship. When I look back now, I see all these aspects of my vision taking shape or already accomplished. With the facility now fully functional, . . . I envision its further unfoldment to serve more and more people.”

Ārṣa (arsha) means belonging to the ṛṣis or seers; vidyā means knowledge. Guru means teacher and kulam is a family.  In traditional Indian studies, even today, a student resides in the home of this teacher for the period of study. Thus, gurukulam has come to mean a place of learning. Arsha Vidya Gurukulam is a place of learning the knowledge of the ṛṣis.

The traditional study of Vedanta and auxiliary disciplines are offered at the Gurukulam. Vedanta mean end (anta) of the Veda, the sourcebook for spiritual knowledge.  Though preserved in the Veda, this wisdom is relevant to people in all cultures, at all times. The vision that Vedanta unfolds is that the reality of the self, the world, and God is one non-dual consciousness that both transcends and is the essence of everything. Knowing this, one is free from all struggle based on a sense of inadequacy.

The vision and method of its unfoldment has been carefully preserved through the ages, so that what is taught today at the Gurukulam is identical to what was revealed by the ṛṣis in the Vedas.