The Theosophical Society in America

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The Essence of the Advaita Vedanta Tradition: Exploring the Crest-jewel of Discrimination
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with Janani Cleary

Tuesdays, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. CDT [UTC-05]

April 16 – May 14 (5 classes)


The Crest-jewel of Discrimination, or the Vivekachudamani, is one of the Hindu books of knowledge and a master work on Advaita Vedanta. The text has been attributed to Adi Shankaracharya, who is renowned for his role in resurrecting and reestablishing the Vedic tradition in India. Shankara and his disciples have played a pivotal role in reviving the study of Advaita Vedanta as unfolded in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and other related texts.

Vedanta is a direct means of knowledge that unfolds the vision of truth. The Vivekachudamani extols the essence of Advaita Vedanta in 581 verses. In this series, Janani Cleary will present a distillation of these verses, categorized into four major topics that provide an overview of the essential aspects of the study. Join us for an exploration of this profound, inspiring text.

Topics include: the qualifications of a fit student; the nature of the individual, the world, and the higher power; how liberation is accomplished; and how meditation factors into gaining this knowledge. Please click on “Read more” for further explanation of topics. 

Janani Cleary began her pursuit in Vedanta as a yoga teacher in New York City. She then completed an intensive course in India to obtain her teaching certification and has shared knowledge and insights with students for several decades. She has been engaged with various Vedic cultural centers and other venues across the country, including participation in a White House conference. She also served as an advisor to the movie Gurukulam (2016), a documentary on what it is like to be a student in an ashram. Learn more at her website:

Registration includes access to recordings of all the classes.

$50 Nonmembers $40 Members

Register here





Course Outline

1. What Are the Qualifications of a Fit Student? To be successful in any undertaking, it is ultimately all about attitude. The selected verses unfold how to prepare the mind for the study of Advaita Vedanta. In the process, students will be able to determine whether they need to make an attitude adjustment and if so, what, why, and how.  

2. Continuation of Week 1

3. What Is the Nature of the Individual, the World, and the Higher Power? Sometimes we realize we may have lost perspective on the genuine reality of a situation. When our perspective is not objective, this can potentially do us harm. In this context, knowing the difference between what is real and what is otherwise is crucial to discovering the Ultimate Truth.  Without this recognition all seeking is useless.

4. What Is Liberation, How Is It Accomplished, and How Does It Relate to the Seeker? This topic is self-explanatory, yet still very much misunderstood. If we are intent upon liberation, it behooves us to know the answers to all of these questions. 

5. What is Meditation, How Is It Done, and How Does It Factor into Gaining This Knowledge? Again, the answers to these questions are self-evident but still not generally understood. Yet meditation serves as a key component in “gaining” liberation, so it is critical to grasp it fully and practice it effectively.

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