If you are interested in sending in questions about Vedanta/Self-Inquiry I ask that you first do your homework. At a bare minimum you must complete the Beginners Course. If after completing the course you still have doubts you cannot resolve, please write. Make sure to take your time formulating your question.
Guidelines: The Dharma of Inquirers
Our teachers—who work on a volunteer basis—are committed to providing the highest quality support for your self-inquiry. Their commitment implies a commitment on your part—a commitment to dharma. I simply ask you to keep in mind that as inquirers, it is your dharma to value the truth, as well as the efforts put forth by those who help you find that truth. The teaching style of Vedanta, beautifully displayed in the Bhagavad Gita, is one of friendship. In that sense you can regard the Shining World teachers as your friends. And when someone is your friend, it makes sense be polite to them and respect the fact that they are taking time out of their busy lives to help you. I’m sorry to have to mention this point but it is sometimes lost on a select few who write in.
Requests for Information
Because Vedanta is not an intellectual or academic pursuit, it cannot be divorced from your life. For this reason, it is often helpful—although not always necessary—to give biographical information about yourself. It is natural to feel uncomfortable sharing ‘personal’ details with strangers but if we determine that we cannot proceed without knowing certain facts about your life and lifestyle, we expect you to reply to our questions. Although it does not happen regularly, some individuals, for reasons known only to them, ignore our requests for information. But please understand that if the required information is not forthcoming after the second request, we will no longer teach you.
However, please understand that we totally respect your privacy and will not share your personal information with anyone. However, writing to us you agree to have the satsang posted on this website as it will be beneficial to others. If it is posted, we will carefully remove your name and other personal details.
For years I have happily and diligently responded to communications on the topic of Self realization. But since the publication of my book, How to Attain Enlightenment—currently in its third printing—and the success of this website, the volume of emails has increased considerably. Unfortunately, owing to a busy schedule of teaching and writing, I am no longer able to personally answer all the emails I receive. However, my wife, who is also a teacher, and several well-qualified teachers we have endorsed are available to answer emails on my behalf. I encourage you to send them your questions.
Requirements for Writing on Us
We are extremely busy and it is essential that you first do some groundwork and establish an understanding of the teachings before you ask questions. Make use of the enormous resources on the website. Even though it is essential that Vedanta is properly taught and that you follow the methodology meticulously, it is not our place to explain every aspect of the teachings to you, and it is not beneficial to you if we do. Self-inquiry requires that you do the work and we assist you when you genuinely cannot find the answer to questions that arise on your own.
Our requirements are:
Read the Scriptures! Read either of James' books—‘How to Attain Enlightenment' or 'The Essence of Enlightenment', preferably the latter as it is the same material but more simply written. It is also the basis of a FREE 12-month teaching course on our website. Each chapter has the correct questions to ask, with the answers provided. Sign on to the logic, read slowly, do not skip and do not interpret the teachings! Make sure you understand the qualifications required for self-inquiry to work for you, carefully explained in Chapter 4 of 'The Essence of Enlightenment'. Without sufficient qualifications, self-knowledge will not obtain. If you feel you lack the qualifications, don't lose heart. It is possible to develop them, but this takes understanding what they are and dedication to freedom from limitation.
Watch as many of James' teaching videos as possible, available in the Shiningworld shop or freely available on YouTube. All of them are brilliant and any of them will unfold the teachings correctly for you.
Read as many of the e-satsangs on the website as possible, there are thousands of pages of the highest-level Vedanta in the form of Q&A available, and there is also a search function to assist you. Every question you could think of has already been answered.
If after following these instructions you feel you would still benefit from our assistance, don't hesitate to write to us.
Sundari (Isabella Viglietti): Sundari is my wife and a qualified teacher of Vedanta. She has been lovingly attending to every aspect of Shiningworld for the past five years. She has taken over writing most of the satsangs on my behalf, so please feel free to write to her, but before you do, make sure that you read the requirements we set out for all inquirers.
Rules for Vedanta Teachers
We have helped a number of people establish themselves as Vedanta teachers, and encourage and assist people who want to teach, who have assimilated the teachings and have the right attitude. More information about ShiningWorld endorsed teachers.
Vedanta is an impersonal teaching and we do not give psychological or lifestyle advice, unless it is explicitly requested and assuming it relates to the practice of Vedanta. However, if you are a serious inquirer and/or your life needs sorting, you can schedule a time to speak to me personally on Skype if you make a reasonable donation to Shining World. You can send a request for an appointment to Shining World general email address at the top of the page.
The publications on this site are free for personal use and distribution to friends. Inquiries from publishers are welcome. I am available to give seminars and satsangs. I do not ask for payment for teaching, only for incurred expenses. As I have an independent income, this is a non-profit site dedicated to the dissemination of non-dual teachings. If you would like to help defray the costs invoved in providing these teachings, please make a donation.
Finally, in the spiritual world I am also known as ‘Ram,’ one of the many Sanskrit names of the Self. It means ‘the one who revels in the hearts of all beings.’ Hence many of the questions in the satsang section are addressed to me as Ram.