Self Study

The sanskrit word Swadhyaya means Self-study (swa = self and adhyaya = study). By self-study is understood the endeavour of studying ourselves by reading and reflecting on the teaching given by books of self-knowledge such as BhagavadGita, Upanisads and Yoga Sutra, which will hold a mirror in front of our minds to reveal one’s true nature as free from struggle, fear and sorrow.

Taittiriya Upanisad implores its students to never be indifferent to the pursuit of self-knowledge and remain committed to share it with others who seek it. In the vision of Upanisads (also known as Vedanta) each soul is essentially free and it is suffering only due to erroneous conclusions it has made about itself.

Vedanta is a teaching tradition. It has no dogmas to offer nor does it promise its student any kind of mystical experience. It considers that nature of self can be revealed through words and it is perfectly communicable as the very “listener” happens to be the meaning of these words. It does expect certain preparation in the student which is where Yoga walks in. It is not that these books offer the theory and then one employs certain yogic practices to “experience” that theoretical self, instead, Vedanta is a Pramana (a means of knowledge). It employs methodologies to reveal a crystal clear vision of self (free from doubt and vagueness).

In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali uses the word Swadhyaya to mean chanting of sacred mantras. In particular, he presents chanting of Om with a contemplation on its meaning as a means to attain self-knowledge and to nullify any and all obstacles.

स्वाध्यायोऽध्येतव्यः - तैत्तिरीय आरण्यक २.१५)
Swādhyāyo Adhyetavyah - Taittirīya Āraṇyaka 2.15
May one recite one’s own branch of Veda (daily).


Courses and conferences

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

This book contains 196 concise sentences, well-connected as flowers in a garland, presenting the subject of Yoga in its entirety. Agamas or Vedas look upon Lord as a limitless conscious- being and a repository of all knowledge. Knowledge of Yoga also, therefore, comes from the lord and has existed for millennia. Even though it came much later, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a pioneering work as the eight limbs of yoga summed up in this book form the basis of Ashtanga Yoga. One meaning of the word Yoga is self-knowledge. A life-style followed to gain self-knowledge is also called Yoga. Yoga is, therefore, both the journey and the destination. The book addresses both categories of yogis, those who are naturally contemplative and are pursuing knowledge exclusively (Chapter 1 -Samadhi Pada); and those who are pursuing other goals in life but have a value for self-knowledge and would like to become contemplative (Chapter 2 - Sadhana Pada).


Gita means a song. The prefix Bhagavad has two valid meanings – from the lord, and, about the lord. Therefore, we can say that Bhagavad-Gita is a song where the lord is singing his own glories; or Gita is the introduction of the lord in his own words. As we assimilate the teaching, we find that the Lord is saying to each one of us, You are Me. In other words, in the vision of Gita, the individual self is equated to universal self. This transcending understanding of oneself takes away the conflict in performance of one’s duties and allows one to live one’s life freely.


Yoga Philosophy and Sanskrit interpretations

Arvind Pare has been teaching classes in Yoga Philosophy in Gokulam, Mysore since 2013. His evening sessions on Bhagavad-Gita and weekly talks on yoga-related topics are very popular among students. Prior to this, he lived for 15 years in ashrams learning Vedanta from his teacher Swami Dayananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. Arvind has masters degree in Engineering and Business Administration from USA where he spent 12 years. His effective use of language and adherence to traditional methods of teaching allows him to communicate most complex concepts to his students, who range from beginners to yoga teachers.