About Dhanya

Dhanya developed an interest in Hinduism and Eastern philosophy in the early 1970s. In 1973, she traveled to India in search of a guru to guide her on the spiritual path. While there she encountered disciples of Neem Karoli Baba and his teachings of bhakti and karma yoga which influenced her life from then on. She studied Vipasana meditation for some time with S.N. Goenkaji beginning in 1974. In 1991 she met HWL Poonja, whose words sparked a desire in her to understand the teachings of nonduality. Subsequently she met other advaita teachers, including Jean Klein and Sri Ranjit Maharaj, who were great sources of inspiration to her. In 2002 she met her current teacher, Dr. Carol Whitfield, a traditional teacher of Advaita/Vedanta and a disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Having found a teaching and a teacher with whom she has a deep resonance and who clearly and effectively elucidate the means for self-knowledge, Dhanya now lives in Northern California, where she studies Vedanta and writes on the topic of nonduality.

Ishvara or God

Vedanta uses the word ‘Ishvara.’ When teaching, my teacher, who is western, never uses the word ‘God.’

Why? Well, the word ‘God’ can be very loaded, and often for us born in the west, negatively so.

So what is Ishvara? When I first met my teacher, I noticed she used the word ‘Ishvara’ a lot, and I never really know what she meant by it.

The first time I met Swami Dayananda and heard him teach, he said, “If you want to see Ishvara in action, look around you.” Continue reading

TWO TYPES OF VIVEKA (DISCRIMINATION) AND VAIRAGYA (DISPASSION)

The teachings of advaita/vedAnta list several qualifications necessary for a student of self-knowledge to have. The first two are known as viveka and vairAgya. viveka is often translated as discrimination, which definition is further expanded to mean the ability to discriminate between the real and the unreal.

The real is defined as that which never changes. It is also known as Atma, brahman, the self, or absolute reality. The unreal is everything else. The hallmark of the ‘unreal’ is change.

vairAgya is often translated as dispassion. But as my vedAnta teacher has often pointed out, this isn’t really a very good translation of the word because it can conjure up images of a person with no apparent emotions who holds the world at bay. Continue reading

Shirley Now

When I was a little girl, in summer camp, there was a game we play called, “The Wonder Ball.” I really enjoyed this game.

We would stand in a circle, and pass a large ball to the next person while singing this song:

“The wonder ball, goes round and round,
to pass it quickly you are bound.
If you’re the one to hold it last,
the game for you is Shirley Past.
You Are Out!” Continue reading

Presence

Question: Can you learn to be presence, or show someone how, or do you just have to wait for presence to arise?

Answer: ‘Presence’ is. It neither arises nor diminishes.

There is nothing one can do to ‘be’ presence, because one already is presence, but rather there are things which can be done in order to bring about the recognition of the presence one already is. Continue reading

Life’s Goals

I flirted with Fame. After a couple of dates
 we called it off.

I courted Wealth. She told me, 
”Better luck next time.”

Progeny left before we even got started.

Finally I found my true love, Satchitananda.

And we can never be parted.