An Introduction to Vivekananda Vedanta

Rooted in Hinduism and branching outwards...

5 Month Study Course Sacred Pilgrimage to Chicago and India...


A 5 month study program exploring Vedanta and Hinduism.
July - December

Meets the 1st Saturday of the month,
July to December

1:30 - 4:30pm
Register by calling (616) 293-6884
Click here, complete and return this form.

Mothers Trust Ashram- Lakeshore Interfaith Institute
6676 122nd Ave. Ganges Mi. 49408 ---( 616) 293-6884

Vivekananda at the Hindu Temple in Lemont where the Vivekananda statue resides. All interesedt in pilgrimage phone Swami Atmalokananda

Study the Sacred Texts

Discussing main concepts month by month.

In Light of VEDANTA



FIRST Saturdays, 1:30pm - 4:30pm, (AUGUST - DECEMBER 2008)
Mothers Trust / Mothers Place - Lakeshore Interfaith Institute
6676 122nd Ave. Ganges MI. 49408-- (616) 566-4318--

The Study of Vedanta...

The course promises to illuminate the scope and possibilities of the Vedanta Philosophy, an ancient system of thought that Hinduism was built upon. Over the course of 5 months, various aspects of Vedanta will be presented and explained. The subject matter for each month is outlined below.

Srimati Indra Makhija, Professor, Pujari, Scholar of Eastern and Western Studies, will be leading this course with the president and directors of the Mothers Trust Ashram, Lakeshore Interfaith Institute.

Saturday: (1:30pm - 4:30pm)

The Vedas and the Formation of Hinduism

The Vedas are the most ancient spiritual texts in Hinduism. The earliest Vedic hymns date back to 4000 B.C.E. In the very early times they were transmitted as an oral tradition, and the written versions came a little later. There were four major Vedas and each was divided into four parts. The fourth section in each Veda contained the Upanishads, which are dated between 1500 B.C.E. and 500 B.C.E. The knowledge contained in them is what is referred to as Vedanta. This knowledge forms the spiritual foundation of Hinduism. The practices in Hinduism are so varied that they cannot be enumerated, but the spiritual foundation underlying these various practices is the same.

Saturday: (1:30pm - 4:30pm)

Specifics of Vedanta Philosophy

The knowledge of the Upanishads can be looked at either as the macrocosm (creation and the dissolution of the universe and other related questions) or the microcosm (understanding what constitutes the individual, the goal of life and related questions). This session will look at the microcosm as well as the macrocosm. In addition to looking at the creation and dissolution of the universe and the implications of that, we will also look at all the issues related to the individual; the various layers that constitute an individual; the functions of the mind, the three levels of consciousness, karma and reincarnation and other related issues.

Saturday:(1:30pm - 4:30pm)

The Texts

There are three major texts (or groups of texts) that are the basis of Vedanta: the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras (or Vedanta sutras).

There are 108 extant Upanishads of which ten or eleven are considered the most important on which commentaries have been written by the renowned teachers. Shankarcharya, the greatest exponent of Vedanta lived during the eight century C.E. and among his other writings are commentaries on ten of the Upanishads. We will look at two, very interesting and easy to understand, Upanishads – the Katha Upanishad and the Kena Upanishad.

In the second half of the session we will look at the Bhagavad Gita, a text which presents the teaching of the Upanishads in a simple cohesive form. This is a text that is most widely read by Hindus and could be compared in importance to the Bible and the Koran. The text has more than 700 verses and is in the form of a dialogue between Sri Krishna (recognized as one of the forms in which the Divine took birth on earth) and Arjuna (a very heroic but somewhat muddled student like most of us). In the brief time we have we will look at the background setting of this conversation and some of the highlights of the text.

Saturday: (1:30pm - 4:30pm)

Spiritual Practices, the 4 Yogas

So far we have looked at the theory and philosophy underlying Hinduism. It is now time to look at the practices. There are many varied practices that are followed by the Hindus. The reason for this is that the enlightened teacher plays a very important role. Whenever there is such a teacher (and there have been many, many such over the ages) the practices are adjusted to be perfect for that time and place. Spiritual truths never change, but the detail of practices may change over time to adjust to historical changes. Another reason why practices may vary is because people vary in ability, in taste and temperament. A moth er cooks different dishes for her teenager, toddler and the baby! And Grandpa my get something special to meet his needs!

Broadly speaking these practices fall into four groups: those for the active worker (Karma Yoga), those for the devotional person for whom love of the Divine is very important (Bhakti Yoga), those that focus on knowledge and for whom intellectual understanding is very important (Jnana Yoga), and those that focus on concentration and meditation (Raja Yoga). Most of us prefer some combination of these.

Saturday: (1:30pm - 4:30pm)


Meditation is a spiritual practice that overarches all the others. No matter where you start and how you proceed, at some point you are going to end up trying (and very hard, at that!) to meditate. This session will be devoted to the various practices that are really a pre-requisite to meditation. We will also look at the different types of meditations and the different phases of meditation. This discussion will loosely follow a classic text, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. We will conclude with some guided meditation.

Pilgrimage to India...dates will be announced,

This guided tour of India is an optional feature [a really great one!] and will focus on visiting Tirthas [Holy Places] in India. Cost is aproximately $3,000.00 depending on airfare and lodgings; visa and valid passport required.

Cost- $250.00 for the entire 5 month, mentored program -- payments are acceptable-- some scholarships are available for those with a demonstrated need.
20.00 for non students to audit programs:

Staff include [not an exhaustive list] the following; Program leader Srimati Indra Makhija Phd, Monastics: Sannyasini Gaurima Puri Devi, Swami Tapasananda, Swami Atmalokananda, Sannyasini Shivavrata, Sannyasini Shaktivrata, Sannyasinni Yogabrata, Dr. Sripada Raju of the Lansing Temple, Dena Blay-Stroba OCDS- Director of the Institute/World Religions, Herb Hoster- disciple of Swami Bhashyananda, Ruth Harring PhD, Srimati Vichitra Nayar, Mira Patricia Kerr and Dr. Partha Sinha, plus occasional special guest speakers:

FOR DISTANCE LEARNERS-- COMPLETE VIDEO AND AUDIO RECORDINGS CAN BE MAILED and essays exchanged between staff and students.