Here's a bit of orientation for the accidental visitor:
The "Big Picture" background can be gotten from the introduction to That Alone: The Core of Wisdom, found
on the Book Introductions page. It briefly chronicles the wisdom of Narayana Guru and its explication by two of his admirers,
Nataraja Guru and Nitya Chaitanya Yati. The three Gurus have brought the cream of ancient Indian philosophy up to date, rendering
it not only accessible to the modern mind but a delight to imbibe.
I readily agree that most writing on Vedanta is among the dullest on earth. These folks are an exception. Let me offer
a quote from Nataraja Guru, from his commentary on verse 46 of Chapter VI of the Bhagavad Gita:
"Mere tapas (austerity) as it is known in the field of Indian spirituality, is a severe form of joyless self-discipline.
The jnani is a wise man who might at best belong to the Samkhya (rationalist) or Nyaya (logical) philosophical schools, whose
life is based on reasoning which generally ends up with sophistications and academic discussions, by themselves dry as dust.
Likewise the ritualist tends to become ego-centered and harshly exclusive. Yoga generally understood is both a way of thinking
and a way of life. The yogi is a dialectician who harmonizes old in terms of new and vice-versa, and is capable of giving
fresh life to arguments which otherwise would be dead or stale. The breeze of a fresh life enlivens the ways of a yogi."
By focusing on quandaries and dilemmas as actually encountered by real human beings, and providing a uniquely scientific
framework of understanding, the Gurus impart the blissful relief of actual and broadband problem solving.
This website consists entirely of my writings, though offering access to the Gurus' books. The categories are:
Taken together, the book introductions found on this website are a good way to learn about the wisdom of Narayana Guru's
family, often called the Narayana Gurukula. A sensible sequence would be: That Alone, Darsanamala, Love and Blessings, Unitive
Philosophy and lastly Saundarya Lahari.
Nataraja Guru and Nitya were among many other things unexcelled commentators on the Bhagavad Gita. My Gita commentary
is an ongoing compilation of insights drawn from them, as well as inspiration from teaching the work myself on numerous occasions.
The stuff on the Gita is quite helpful and well worth a perusal. Some key teachings are explained and a number of misconceptions
dispelled. Since there are already thousands of Gita commentaries in existence, I realize there is no point in adding another
to the pile. But many of the ideas you'll find here are unique to this school of thought, and serve to make the great work
shine all the brighter. My commentary is a work in progress, so you may or may not find a particular verse commented on. Feel
free to email me questions or complaints.
Nataraja Guru's commentary on the Gita was a breakthrough work, a quantum leap in the field, and I owe many of my ideas
to him. The present year 2006 marks the 36th year of my apprenticeship to the Bhagavad Gita, most of that time under Guru
Busy Americans are frequently absent from class. To fill in what they missed, several years ago I began to write a summary
of the class content, under the spectacularly boring title of class notes. These have come to be an expected part of the process.
Some of the notes, combining as they do the subject matter with people's comments and questions, are quite fascinating, and
an excellent study guide for anyone reading the works we're studying. For now there's a Gita set completed, and Darsanamala
is unfolding. We have one class per week here at the Portland Gurukula, the notes for which I'll occasionally add to the website.
Currently, a small group of fine folk from many corners of the world receive the notes "hot off the press." Anyone
impatient to be in on the weekly emailings can contact me to sign on via the address at the bottom of the page.
The Portland Gurukula currently puts out Gurukulam Magazine twice a year. A smattering of my articles may be found on
the Magazine Articles page. They are mostly lighter in tone and nearly bite-sized. Contact me about subscriptions, as well
as books for sale.
I hope you find the ideas stimulating, and am happy to hear from you. This is after all the age of the electronic ashram.