In spiritual circles it has become an article of faith that the quest for spiritual knowledge is an 'intellectual' and therefore misguided pursuit. But it should be noted that anyone seeking enlightenment through the 'heart' or other paths would necessarily be motivated by the intellectual belief that he or she was limited, inadequate and incomplete i.e. unelightened. To pursue experience is natural but to pursue it at the expense of understanding is foolish because it is only misunderstandings about our true nature that make us think we are unenlightened in the first place. The Self realized beings who went before left a vast body of information to help us purge erroneous concepts that stand in the way of appreciating who we really are.

Although written by me, the books and articles found here are not my personal theories, ideas, opinions or beliefs. They are an attempt to render in clear modern English the Vedantic teachings that set me free.

—James Swartz

Inquiry Into Existence

The Vision of Non-duality

Panchadasi, ‘the book with 15 chapters,’ was written in the 14th century by Vidyaranya Swami, one of the Shankaracharyas of Sringeri Math. Unlike some Vedantic texts, Panchadasi presents the entire teaching in a clearly arranged fashion that avoids excessive repetition of ideas. It is considered to be one of the greatest scriptures of Vedanta and a compulsory textbook for all serious inquirers. It is one of James’ personal favorites, an opinion shared by the great mahatma of Chennai, Swami Paramarthananda.


The Yoga of Love

The Yoga of Love is an important text that addresses the many erroneous notions of devotion and liberation floating around in the spiritual world need to be properly contextualized to help devotees, East and West, achieve non-dual love. It is also important because seekers need to know the benefit of self-inquiry: how Vedanta will transform them and their lives. This text provides an an excellent picture of a self-actualized person, someone who enjoys complete freedom and non-dual love.


The Mystery Beyond the Trinity

I decided to rework Tripura Rahasya for several reasons. First, to make it more readable in English. The translation from Sanskrit was credible but inevitably suffered from lack of precision, as second- language works often do. Precision is important because Vedantic ideas are often subtle and technical. Although I don’t know Sanskrit grammar, I know Vedanta reasonably well. Furthermore, my spiritual teacher was a Sanskrit scholar who conducted Vedanta classes in English, so I learned most of the important Vedantic Sanskrit by heart in the two years I sat at his feet. Vedanta is best in Sanskrit but in the last analysis the ideas and the skill with which they are communicated, not the language in which they are rendered, reveal the mystery beyond the trinity.

Essence of Enlightenment

Vedanta, The Science of Consciousness

After much anticipation we are pleased to announce the publication of James’ new book, “The Essence of Enlightenment.” Here is what James has to say about it. “I wouldn’t say that it is the same as “How to Attain Enlightenment” and I wouldn’t say that it is different. Vedanta is Vedanta; if properly taught it always covers the same topics in the same logical sequence...It may be a little ‘better’ in that I am a better writer than I was than I was five years ago. In it I have developed themes which in “How to Attain Enlightenment” needed further attention: qualifications, dharma, values, the enlightened person, Isvara and Jiva.

How to Attain Enlightenment

The Vision of Non-duality

The knowledge contained in this book is a great secret that hides itself. Even when it is clearly presented, it is rarely assimilated because you need to be prepared to understand it. Ordinarily we gain knowledge by experience, but the object of this knowledge lies beyond the scope of perception and inference, the senses and the mind. To know it, another means is required. There is such a means, but it is unlikely that you have come in contact with it...until now.


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