This website is dedicated to the memory of Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati (1930-2015)
Without him this method of self-help, life coaching and psychotherapy would not have been developed.
Swami Dayananda was a guru in the real sense. He did not give emphasis to Himself but rather directed us to studying our own lives in the light of the meanings he unfolded.
He would repeatedly say “see the meaning”. By this he did not mean to get the correct idea of what he was saying. Grasping ideas as we do when we study something like philosophy, psychology or theology is not SEEING. His whole emphasis was to SEE what he was talking about as it exists in our own lives.
For him seeing “what is” in a clear and undistorted way IS knowledge. Without this kind of seeing becoming active in us, it is not possible to resolve all the different forms of human unhappiness which we human beings tend to suffer from.
Swami Dayananda was considered by many people one of the greatest Vedanta teachers to come out of India in recent times. However, he did not present Vedanta as a scholastic subject or as a form of Indian philosophy. He did not want people to study Vedanta as a subject away from their lives. Rather, he wanted us to study our everyday lives in the light of this teaching in order to be able to live a life which is free.
He split the subject of Vedanta into two distinct parts: Self-knowledge and self-growth.
Vedanta teachers teach Self-knowledge. Their subject matter is concerned with discovering our true nature; the discovery of WHAT REALLY IS as opposed to WHAT SEEMS TO BE in terms of self. Self-growth is the topic which I will be covering in this website and blog.
As far as Dayananda was concerned, human beings are enclosed in an emotional dependence on people, things and circumstances for their happiness and security. Such emotional dependence results in A WAY OF BEING in the world that is termed by him as being emotionally immature. Growing out of this emotional immaturity or dependence is what he meant by self-growth.
Self-growth to Dayananda is not a theory or an ideal. As we grow in the sense that he means it, we find ourselves being released more and more from the loves, fears and hatreds that tend to dominate us as human beings. The passions that normally move us as human beings (cravings, hatreds and fears) and that determine how we think, feel and act, fade into the background. As we emotionally mature, we find that we are moved more and more often by good will and concern.
It was his psychological teaching concerning self-growth that inspired me to go to study with him in India. I knew without a doubt that I suffered from what he called emotional immaturity and it was this that I went to India to resolve.
My interest with this website and blog is sharing what He and I used to joke about, namely “Dayananda psychology”. The subject matter of this psychology is self-growth; the growth of ourselves as individuals who are living in this world. This growth involves a transformation of ourselves that arises from the very core of ourselves. This transformation does not depend on religious belief or adopting a new culture but rather it involves SEEING what really is, as opposed to what SEEMS to be.
As has been indicated, we as human beings are not moved by thoughts but rather by our emotions. Emotions are what move us. Unless there is a transformation of what moves us, there is no real change in us. We can read as many spiritual books as we like, but unless there is a change in what moves us emotionally, our psychological structure remains the same. If our psychological structure remains the same, the various forms of unhappiness that go along with this structure are firmly held in place and keep on recurring.
Swami Dayananda did not unfold a religious doctrine or a spiritual philosophy. Rather his teaching opens our eyes to what it means to BE free WHILE living. In other words, what is important is discovery of what it means to BE FREE in the first place and then to learn to LIVE this freedom as we go about our daily lives.
Not only was he a great Vedanta teacher which is important in its own right, he was also an extraordinary psychological thinker. He not only clarified the nature and structure of ALL forms of psychological suffering but more importantly, he showed us how to be released from this suffering BY living our lives in an entirely different way.
Previously I had studied and practiced various forms of Western psychotherapy. But I moved away from this because I realized that I was an unhappy human being trying to help others become happy. I felt hypocritical and it felt like “the blind leading the blind”.
I had a lot of “knowledge” but no “wisdom”. I was to find out from Dayananda that to abide in wisdom was to released from psychological suffering. This does not mean that my psychological studies had no value but that without wisdom in the sense that Swami Dayananda means it, the psychological structure we are enclosed in remains the same.
After spending fourteen months studying with him almost every day, my interest in life coaching and psychotherapy was rekindled. I began to understand that I could help people in a real way.
I would ask Dayananda lots of questions and received from him his clarifications on such issues as unhappiness, anxiety, hostility, interpersonal conflict, compulsions to do things that don’t help our lives and compulsions to not do the things that would. I am not denying the fact that he was a great spiritual teacher as well as a beautiful human being. However, what stood out to me was the fact that in terms of his psychological understanding, he was a genius.
In my opinion, and it’s only an opinion therefore not sacred, so feel free to disagree with me, Freud was a genius. Likewise, Jung and Adler. Karen Horney and Eric Fromm are also outstanding examples of our Western psychological tradition. There is no doubt that our Western tradition and, in my opinion the psychodynamic schools, particularly outlined the mechanics of human suffering in a way that had not been done before or since. So, what makes Swami Dayananda so special?
Swami Dayananda talked about the same topics which our Western psychological tradition has been grappling with for years. However, he went further than psychology by unfolding universal spiritual principles which when discovered and lived, result in a psychological transformation that takes us beyond ALL the different forms of human suffering that tend to plague us as human beings. The wonderful thing is that the truth of what he talks about can be verified in our daily experience.
What was very interesting for me was that all my previous psychological, philosophical and religious studies became useful to me. I found myself understanding such things in a new way. It was like being given a big picture that enabled me to see the details in the right light.
The day before I left India, Swami Dayananda invited me to have lunch with him. During lunch I discussed with him my wish to develop a comprehensive method of life coaching and psychotherapy based on his “psychology”. I gave him an outline as to its content and emphasis. He said to me: “Yes, that will work”.
Since I left India, I have been working and developing a comprehensive method of life coaching and psychotherapy based on the big picture that Swami Dayananda outlined for me. Because he gave me such a wide and inclusive picture of human life, I have been able to easily integrate aspects of my Western psychological, philosophical and religious studies in helpful ways.
This website and blog is solely concerned with making available to those who are interested in learning what it means to be free while living. This is what this new method of self-help, life coaching and psychotherapy is all about. Every aspect of this method is informed by the psychological teaching of Swami Dayananda.