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INTERVIEW WITH SWAMI SHANKARATILAKANANDA
Swami Shankaratilakananda Sarasvati
From a very young age was interested in yoga and was initiated in 1974. One and a half years later he met who would later become his greatdirect master, the Very Venerable Swami Tilak from India. Under his blessings he studied with him and with othermasters the depths of Vedic Dharma, Vedic Theology, Advaita Vedanta,Hindu religion, the history of the orient, Yoga, Vyayam and Ayurveda,as well as the sacred scriptures of the Vedas. In 1984, Swami Tilak died and since then he serves his memory through the Vedic FoundationInternational, which looks after his legacy. He has participated innumerous organized activities for Hindu institutions. He is the creatorof the “Traditional Vyayam School” and the person responsible for divulging Vyayam in the West. He is the author of the Vyayam book, thefirst methodological book about Vyayam that has been published not onlyin Spain but in the entire world, and has been translated into numerous languages.
Vedic Foundation, Vedic School, Vedic Philosophy, what do they follow? How do they support themselves?
The Vedic Foundation is a consecrated institution to theological andphilosophical teachings for all those people who wish to learn more seriously about the teachings that are found in the Vedas; Yoga,Tantra, Meditation…and in this way benefit from the wisdom and thespirituality according to their needs independently of their religionor ideology. The Vedic Foundation is also involved in a mission tosolidly form knowledge and mysticism in an internal way, to all those who look to embrace dharma considering it as part of their lives andthey are instructed in the profound teachings of the sacred Scriptures.
The Vedic School is the name of our Dharma School, responsible for assessing spiritual life according tothe light of Vedic Dharma and making learning Vedic theology easier,and from Sanscrit which is the language that the ancient rishis and siddhas expressed, who were the Masters that founded and strengtheneddharma. The Vedic School is part of the Vedic Foundation International,and is one section of the vedic sangha of Spain.The Vedic Sangha ofSpain is a Religious Community recognized legally in Spain as a Hinducult and legally and religiously protects the needs of the secular and monastic devotees of this country. In different countries the differentsanghas are differently recognized, in India, the vedic sangha ascribedto the Vedic Foundation International is called the Vedic Foundation ofthe Himalayas.
The global finality of the Vedic Foundation International is Diffusion through encouragement, implantation and development of Vedic Dharma. The fundamentals or sustenance of the teachings about Dharma come from the teachings recognized in the Vedas and in its orthodox tradition but without losing sight the reformatory needs and adaptation to our modern times.
The East has given the world great religions and illuminative philosophies that humanity can enjoy; but I am not here to say now that the east is currently more spiritual that the west.
Essentially, what are the differences between the west and the east?
The east and west in the 21st century are slowly losing the force of differentiation. Global consumerism is unifying the necessities of the people and therefore alters their ways of life; so problems that we had as human beings in the east are in the west and those problems in the west are creating problems in the east.
If we want to understand east and west as a way of understanding the nature of the Self and the nature of human beings, then we have to go back to philosophy, the spiritual life, when the east and west were very different.
The east is still incredible and there are very modern countries that create sophisticated technology that is consumed in the west, and what was before spiritually exclusive from the east in its spiritual vision of a human being, today flourishes in the west with great force, and with a great sense of necessity which is practically essential so it becomes more popular, and so it is propagated all around the world so there are fewer people in the west that do not know what Yoga or Meditation is, and that ideas like Karma or reincarnation are converted into daily conversation. The teachings that come from the west take different historical ways, one is a Semite way and the other is the Aryan way. The Semite way has given us a great legacy in Judaism, Christianity and Islam and the Aryan way has given us Vedism (Hinduism), Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, and also in a very inspirational way it has given us Taoism and Shintoism.
The east hasgiven the world the greatest religions and illuminative philosophies known to humanity, but I do not agree in saying that the east is currently more spiritual that the west.
Those of us who live in the east, as is my case, I reside in India, see that the two sides of the river of the world that are east and west are united by the bridge of knowledge and by the boat of mutual necessities; s…o we should think more than in just west and east, and more like a unified human being; and this unity is in the desire to know the means to be able to do it. As the Rig Veda says, in the same way we open ourhands to gold without asking ourselves where it came from, lets open our arms to knowledge no matter where this wisdom has come from.
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